August Postcards from Symi The view from the top. Pedi bay has been very full for the past couple of weeks. Symi has always been a popular destination for Turkish yachtsmen and the recent Eid holiday brought lots of maritime visitors, despite the plunging value of the Turkish lira. This opulent creeper caught my eye in Pedi recently. The jetty in Pedi is not just for pleasure boats and water taxis. Pedi is the port for the fuel tanker for the power station, water ships, small freighters and all sorts of random commercial traffic destined for the yards and warehouses that line the Pedi road. A few of the houses along the seafront in Pedi have managed to hang onto some sort of water frontage and outdoor living space, unlike the ones along the north side who lost their frontage to a sea of concrete when the ill-thought out ‘marina’ was built. The million dollar question is why the cat in the previous photograph is snoozing on a pallet when he would be so much more comfortable on the neighbours’ cushions. Cockerels roosting in a tree in the valley. Chickens are actually by nature woodland fowl and when they go feral this becomes quite obvious. The hens may nest and lay eggs in shrubby places at ground level when they go broody but the rest of the time everyone prefers to roost as high up as they can get. Some more Pedi seating. That looks a bit like an old bench off the Symi I ferry. The method of hauling boats out of the water hasn’t changed much since Homeric times. ‘Greased ways’ are still used. The local wooden boat designs haven’t changed their underwater profiles much since Homeric times either which is why these wooden skids still work. An advantage is they can be infinitely modified by whacking on extra bits of wood as required to keep the caique stable. Something else that probably hasn’t changed much over the centuries either. A recent view from Villa Jasmine in Pedi. The view from my ironing board. These days I spend much of my time down in Pedi, washing and ironing the sheets and towels for the houses I look after. From where I stand I can look out of two windows and all sorts of interesting things happen if one looks carefully enough. I saw vague movement on the hillside and the zoom lens of my camera revealed a local beekeeper, checking his hives. The view from the front window alternates between very busy with the bus and taxis rattling past to very peaceful, depending on where we are in the hourly bus schedule and the harbour ferry movements. About 15 minutes after a ferry comes into Yialos, a cavalcade of taxis and mini buses roars past, tooting on the blind bend. Then it is all over for another half an hour or so. Garden furniture for sale. The gypsy hawkers are an important part of island life, selling all sorts of items according to the season. Right now it is garden furniture, clay pots, potting soil and the hardier drought resistant plants. Next month they will be selling hunting clothes and carpets. If you are patient, everything comes to you eventually on Symi, whether it be day old chicks, artisanal cheese, Chinese power tools, designer knock-offs or shag-pile carpets. This is how people on the smaller islands got their necessities before on line shopping, car ferries to Rhodes, IKEA deliveries and other modern conveniences. There’s still some excitement in seeing just what trundles off the car ferries and there are bargains to be had if you aren’t too picky about designs and colour schemes. We have an elegant new bus stop at the fork in the road in Pedi. The local carpenter who made it specialises in ecclesiastical furniture for the island’s numerous chapels and churches, hence the delicate roof. Whether it will survive the rigours of a Symi winter remains to be seen. It had only been up a couple of days when I took this photograph. A far cry from the robust corrugated iron bus stops immortalised in Will Travis’ famous book about Symi in the 1970s called ‘Bus Stop Symi. What made bus stops note worthy on Symi in the 60s and 70s was that the island had neither roads nor buses at the time!