SKopelos

By Sofia, Jan 5 2021 04:06PM

It has been a long and stony path to 2021 hopefully leading to recovery and health.

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A pomegranate is an ancient symbol of health and prosperity, but a vaccine is still good to have on Earth's 2021 journey around the Sun.


Stay safe everyone!



By Sofia, Dec 21 2020 11:26AM

I have photographed this Skopelos meadow year after year for many years now. It is an event I look forward to at around Easter time, although Nature does not follow a calendar. The suspense of waiting for this momentous miracle in nature to happen, watching for that moment when the meadow is at its best clothed in an array of colourful flowers, a twinge of regret when some colours seem to be missing and joy when they gradually surface is indescribable. So my mind is content to forgo the spirit of Christmas and to bask in the anticipation of the Spirit of Nature in the Spring.


Enjoy the seasonal holidays and stay safe to enjoy the miracles of nature in the spring time!


A joyous Christmas message for difficult times!



By Sofia, Dec 19 2020 11:26AM

Even now, as the vaccine is rolled out - even towards Skopleos - matters of patriotism and politics prevail, with governments competing on which vaccine is better and who is going to be vaccinated first. What is certain and endorsed by scientists is that now is still not the time to phase out 'the mask', which entered our lives as an accessory early this year. The mask is here to stay with us for the foreseeable future and it is for certain that if the fashion gurus take this apparel into their sphere the mask will be with us for a long time.


When the mask first appeared on the stage of humanity, its survival as a fashion accessory seemed unlikely. Not only was there public scepticism but also shortages of protective equipment. Firm encouragement in the use of masks outside the Health Service, where of course wearing them was the norm, came from the hands of an army of volunteer women. These pioneers, noting the shortage of the called for regalia, sat at their sewing machines with their baskets of scrap materials and started to make face coverings and masks, making up for the shortages their governments were failing to address and supplying masks to protect the front line including our overworked and endangered health workers. Fear and panic co-existed in those days for all of us but these women with a flare for creativity used their skills to provide a practical solution. Shortages were eased and people began to get used to seeing and wearing the mask. It was the creative drive of the women at their sewing machines which pushed fear and panic aside well ahead of the fashion industry taking the opportunity to mark this new accessory as its own.


When properly worn, the mask covers more than half of our face, but this also conceals our individuality! The people began to find novel ways of compensating for this and from those early days there is a prevalence of selfies of all kinds, coordinated masks, mirror glasses, and even helpful internet lessons on how to fashion emergency and personalised masks!


It is very likely that masks are here to stay and will remain as fashion items and not only as a merely functional or protective commodity. With the encouragement of the scientists I predict that we will continue to wear masks for some time, to shop, to walk and run and to engage in other everyday activities, even political demonstrations. Most likely masks will still be worn even after the crisis of the virus abates. The fashion industry will make sure of that as it takes the mask from functional object into the sphere of fashion.


Meanwhile, let us wear the 'The Mask' as a mark of a tribute to the women of the sewing machines and stay safe.


Have a good Christmas!



Coordnates of the early days of the mask
Coordnates of the early days of the mask
An early version
An early version
Drama and also fear, early on
Drama and also fear, early on
Lessons in recycling early shirt sleeves...
Lessons in recycling early shirt sleeves...
Skopelos old timers with masks
Skopelos old timers with masks

By Sofia, Dec 13 2020 07:08AM

We are now in the middle of the Christmas Fast which lasts for forty days. This fast is regulated by the CE (common era) calendar rather than by the motions of the celestial bodies of the universe, which can vary the dates of a given fast considerably.


I like to regulate my food and avoid overindulgence, especially in flavoursome, addictive food which can easily lead to gluttony. Thus I join others in the Skopelos community who fast and I observe most of the fasts and follow the rules, albeit in my case to detox. In my view, this diet has stood the test of time, was put together over eternity and survives today - so why shun it?! It proves to be of benefit to some spiritually and to others physically, regardless of cultural or religious differences.


The Christmas fast lasts from 15 November to 24 December and prohibits all food that derives from mammals and poultry. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the two strict fasting days throughout the year on which additional restrictions are observed, no oil and no wine are to be consumed. On the other days of the week, the Christmas fast is rich in all varieties of fish, shellfish and other foods, but only up to 17 December. There are other restrictions on diet for the last week of the Christmas fast, to end on 25 December.


We are fortunate here on Skopelos, as during the Christmas fast, there is always the opportunity to source fresh fish and the potential of foraged greens from nature, and a glut of ripening citrus fruit. The fast gives us an opportunity to be grateful for these gifts.



Collage of mushrooms, nettles and other forage
Collage of mushrooms, nettles and other forage
Some culinary creations from forage
Some culinary creations from forage
Forage of nettle
Forage of nettle
Stinging-nettle risotto, olives and carrot salad
Stinging-nettle risotto, olives and carrot salad
'Fish 'n chips' ala Skopelos
'Fish 'n chips' ala Skopelos
Glut of citrus with mandarins
Glut of citrus with mandarins

By Sofia, Dec 5 2020 07:57PM

The currently reigning mood and the nearing holiday season seems to have inspired a wave of creative nostalgia and a need to share with others. I chose two of the respondents to my blog to share here with you.


The black and white photo is by our local priest, Pater Konstantinos. He is a native of Paleo Klima with a deep love for the village of his birth, which was nourished in him by his mother Kyria Magdaleni, the last of the indigenous population to leave the village. The photo sent to me by Pater Konstantinos is in fact a colour photo, taken at night from a high spot over the old village, looking towards Loutraki and the port of Glossa.


The second choice is a poetic composition complete with photos: 'Autumn Light'. The author and photographer, Rafael Pittman, is an old friend and flatmate from when I lived in the UK. Although the photos are not of Skopelos, under the circumstances and in view of world wide shared events, I feel that this can be overlooked.



Autumn Light


A neighbour muzzled as never before

walking her open mouthed hound


Autumn light illuminates lonely

leaves about to be released to flutter

to the ground


A beam of hope to save us from the

ghost of the unspeakable.


To strike at what cannot be seen and

bring back joy to us the people.


The last of lockdown and hello to

Christmas in London Town.



Rafael Pittman

18 November 2020



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I'm Sofia, 39 Steps' owner and host. This is an occasional blog to keep in touch with my regular guests, give a taste of Skopeliti life and share my experiences of foraging through the summer season

 

Sofia

 

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