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Newsletter Archive > August 2010

17919: Newsletter Archive

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 08.08.2010

August 2010



Dear Friends of Kythera,

our Kythera, ever full of surprises, last week yielded up yet another to me, although I've been exploring the island almost every year since 1984. The seed was planted after a dinner in Potamos I had when major friend and minor geek (and Greek) Nicholas Gianniotis - usually tinkering with website-coding in Tokyo - mentioned in passing that they'd been on a boat trip to the west coast of the island. His wonderful wife Keiko showed us pictures she'd taken of a huge ocean pool they'd visited. I'd never seen it before. Nicholas and Keiko explained they had reached the pool, invisible from the sea, after hopping from rocking boat to shore and then making a short but nasty climb up volcanic rock. They didn't know if the pool was even accessible from land.

Ever ready for a challenge, I sent out an "adventure email" to regular hikers on the island, announcing our plans to find the pool. Nicholas had taken a GPS-reading of the pool's location so I knew its approximate position south of Limnionas, but not how to get there. A couple of Greek friends had also visited the pool before by boat. They assured me access by land was impossible as the pool was surrounded by "sheer cliffs". Well, I've been around Greeks long enough to know how overly-cautious they can be  – I remember my yiayia considering skateboard-riding to be tantamount to attempted suicide, and local fisherman explaining to me that no-one on Kythera had catamarans due to the fact that the waters were so treacherous (despite smallish sailing boats visiting the island regularly). So I didn't take their warnings particularly seriously. It was certainly possible that the pool was inaccessible by land, but I wasn't going to be put off by unsubstantiated Greek warnings.

In the end we had a group of 10 explorers, most of them coaxed into the adventure by the intrepid Dara and John Faros-Wilson.

My own mountain-goats Jasper and Louie (8 and 11) led the way from the outset as we scampered over the coastal flats south of Limnionas, regularly looking over the edge of the cliffs for signs of the secret pool. We skirted the rim of a huge brown crater – see the map – and after scaling a rise braved the coastal volcanic rock in the final push to the probable location of the pool.

Jasper, a few hundred meters out in front, was first to spy the edge of the pool, and less than 90 minutes after having left Limnionas we were at a magic green pool, in volume about as big as an olympic-sized pool.

Separated a few meters above the ocean, it seems to receive its water completely from the stormy occasions where the waves crash a few meters up the shore. As a result of this and due to evaporation by the sun, the pool is slightly saltier than the ocean itself and offers correspondingly high buoyancy. It is full of small fish and has an almost luminous green glow to it in the evening light. Parts of it are deep and cool and others are shallow, warm and dotted with sea anenomes.

We repeated the trek to the pool a week later with a new group including the amicable paleoantropologist Prof. Antonis Bartsiokas(-Trifyllis), who, in addition to being extraordinarily learned in everything from geology to comparative anatomy and oceanography, is something of a cave-nut. Now our Magic Green Pool might not look like much of a cave, but my friend Prof. Antonis assures me that it once was, and is now a collapsed cave, which was formed over millions of years by the flow of fresh water from the hillside. At some stage the roof of the cave collapsed and the pool, which is many metres deep in some areas, was filled with the debris. The only question which vexed the good professor: how did the rocks from the roof of the cave, now submerged in the pool, become rounded without them having much room to roll around? I'll try to include the answer in my next newsletter, which I hope will include an in-depth interview with Prof. Antonis.

The Magic Green Pool is definitely a "must-see" and swim for all who can handle a mildly strenuous trek. Just don't forget to take your shoes, goggles and swimmers with you!

Sponsor a Trail!
In a previous newsletter I reported that a group of us are arranging for the wonderful trails of Kythera to be sign-posted to make them more accessible to all. We're now preparing our EU submission – they will double any sum we can raise for the trails. The Aroney Trust and the Kytherian Association of Australia have already generously put into the pot, and the local council has also committed itself financially. We only need about €10,000 more to reach our target - even a donation of €500 is enough for us to signpost one of the shorter trails! If you'd like a trail dedicated to you or your family, you can contribute and your name will appear on the signs! Remember every Euro you donate will be matched by the EU!

For more details see www.kythera-hiking.com or send me a mail.

James Prineas, 



Visit our partner websites:

www.savekythera.com (english)
www.save-kythira.com (greek)
www.kythera-hiking.com
www.kythera-island.com

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FUNNY GREEK EXPRESSIONS
I was sent some Greek expressions with their literal translations - which I thought were pretty funny. John Stathatos and Despina Christodoulou were kind enough to give me the English equivalents for some of them which I've reproduced below. The ones below them still require an English translation - send them to me if you know them! A great way to learn and enjoy Greek!

ΚΑΝΕΙ ΤΗΝ ΠΑΠΙΑ.
HE DOES THE DUCK.
He's playing dumb

ΜΕ ΔΟΥΛΕΥΕΙΣ?
ARE YOU WORKING ME?
Are you having me on?

ΜΠΡΙΚΙΑ ΚΟΛΛΑΜΕ?
ARE WE GLUING COFFEE POTS?
What kind of work do you think I do? (when someone is under the impression that your job isn't worth much)

ΖΗΤΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΑ ΡΕΣΤΑ ΑΠΟ ΠΑΝΩ?
ARE YOU ASKING AND THE CHANGE ON TOP?
Do you want more on top? (as in, you've done quite a bit for someone but they still want more, they want the change (ρέστα) as well)

ΚΑΛΛΙΟ ΠΕΝΤΕ ΚΑΙ ΣΤΟ ΧΕΡΙ ΠΑΡΑ ΔΕΚΑ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΡΤΕΡΕΙ.
BETTER FIVE AND IN HAND THAN TEN AND WAITING.
A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

ΚΑΛΛΙΟ ΓΑΙΔΟΥΡΟΔΕΝΕ ΠΑΡΑ ΓΑΙΔΟΥΡΟΓΥΡΕΥΕ.
BETTER DONKEY - BONDING THAN DONKEY - SEARCHING.
Better safe than sorry

ΠΙΑΣ'ΤΟ ΑΥΓΟ ΚΑΙ ΚΟΥΡΕΦ'ΤΟ.
CATCH THE EGG AND SHAVE IT.
When somebody asks you to do something that's not possible (like shaving an egg)

ΔΕΝ ΜΑΣΑΝΕ.
THEY DON'T CHEW.
They're not buying it (i.e they don't believe the story)

ΔΕΝ ΚΑΤΑΛΑΒΑΙΝΕΙ ΧΡΙΣΤΟ.
HE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND CHRIST.
There's no talking to him (he won't listen)

ΤΡΙΧΕΣ ΚΑΤΣΑΡΕΣ.
HAIRS CURLY.
Stuff and nonesense.. (or "poppycock")

ΠΩΣ ΑΠΟ ΕΔΩ ΠΡΩΙ ΠΡΩΙ?
HOW FROM HERE MORNING MORNING?

ΣΑΝ ΤΑ ΧΙΟΟΟΝΙΑ.
LIKE THE SNOOOWS!
Long time no see!

ΤΗΣ ΠΟΥΤΑΝΑΣ ΤΟ ΚΑΓΚΕΛΟ.
WHORE'S BANISTER.
A bloody mess

ΕΦΑΓΕ ΠΟΡΤΑ.
HE ATE DOOR.
He was turned down flat

ΚΟΙΜΑΤΑΙ ΜΕ ΤΙΣ ΚΟΤΕΣ.
HE SLEEPS WITH THE CHICKENS.
He goes to bed with the chickens (i.e. early)

ΚΑΤΙ ΤΡΕΧΕΙ ΣΤΑ ΓΥΦΤΙΚΑ.
SOMETHING'S RUNNING AT THE GYPSIES.
Big deal!

ΜΕ ΚΟΛΛΗΣΕ ΣΤΟΝ ΤΟΙΧΟ.
HE STUCK ME TO THE WALL.
He nailed me (his argument was irrefutable)

ΤΑ ΕΚΑΝΑ ΘΑΛΑΣΣΑ.
I MADE THEM OCEAN.
I made a mess of it

ΕΧΕΙ Ο ΚΑΙΡΟΣ ΓΥΡΙΣΜΑΤΑ.
HAS THE WEATHER TURNINGS.
what goes around, comes around

ΤΑ'ΧΩ ΠΑΙΞΕΙ!
I 'VE PLAYED THEM!
I've had enough!

ΕΙΣΑΙ ΨΩΝΙΟ.
YOU ΑRE THE SHOPPING.
You're a sap

ΠΟΙΟΣ ΠΛΗΡΩΝΕΙ ΤΗ ΝΥΦΗ?
WHO PAYS THE BRIDE?
Who's paying the piper?

We need your help with these ones:

ΜΕ ΕΚΛΑΣΕ.
HE FARTED ME.

ΣΤΟ ΤΕΛΟΣ ΞΥΡΙΖΟΥΝ ΤΟΝ ΓΑΜΠΡΟ.
AT THE END THEY SHAVE THE GROOM.

ΜΑΣ ΕΚΑΝΕ ΤΑ ΤΡΙΑ ΔΥΟ.
HE MADE US THE THREE TWO

ΤΗΝ ΕΚΑΝΑ ΛΑΧΕΙΟ.
I MADE HER LOTTERY.

ΕΜΕΙΝΑ ΚΟΚΑΛΟ.
I STAYED BONE.

ΕΙΔΑ ΤΟ ΧΡΙΣΤΟ ΦΑΝΤΑΡΟ.
I SAW THE CHRIST SOLDIER.

ΔΕΝ ΞΕΡΩ ΧΡΙΣΤΟ.
I DON'T KNOW CHRIST.

ΔΕΝ ΜΑΣ ΚΑΘΙΣΕ.
IT DIDN'T SIT ON US.

ΒΓΗΚΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΑ ΡΟΥΧΑ ΜΟΥ.
I CAME OUT OF MY CLOTHES.

ΕΒΡΕΞΕ ΚΑΡΕΚΛΟΠΟΔΑΡΑ.
IT RAINED CHAIR LEGS.

ΔΕΝ ΕΧΩ ΜΟΥΤΡΑ ΝΑ ΒΓΩ ΕΞΩ.
I DON'T HAVE FACES TO GO OUTSIDE.

ΔΕΝ ΞΕΡΩ ΤΗΝ ΤΥΦΛΑ ΜΟΥ.
I DON'T KNOW MY BLINDNESS.

ΤΑ'ΧΩ ΦΤΥΣΕΙ.
I HAVE SPIT THEM.

ΜΟΥ ΓΥΡΙΣΕ ΤΑ ΑΝΤΕΡΑ.
HE RETURNED ME THE ENTRAILS.

ΜΟΥ ΚΑΘΙΣΕ ΣΤΟ ΛΑΙΜΟ.
HE SAT ME ON THE NECK.

ΤΑ ΠΗΡΑ ΣΤΟ ΚΡΑΝΙΟ.
I TOOK THEM TO THE SKULL.

ΣΚΥΛΟΒΑΡΙΕΜΑΙ.
I AM DOG BORED.

ΕΚΑΝΑ ΜΑΥΡΑ ΜΑΤΙΑ ΝΑ ΣΕ ΔΩ.
I MADE BLACK EYES TO SEE YOU.

ΠΗΡΑ ΤΑ ΤΡΙΑ ΜΟΥ.
I TOOK MY THREE.

ΚΑΘΟΜΑΙ ΣΕ ΑΝΑΜΜΕΝΑ ΚΑΡΒΟΥΝΑ.
I'M SITTING ON IGNITED COALS.

ΣΑΝ ΤΗΝ ΑΔΙΚΗ ΚΑΤΑΡΑ.
LIKE THE UNFAIR CURSE.

ΚΟΛΟΚΥΘΙΑ ΤΟΥΜΠΑΝΑ!
MARROWS DRUMS!

ΤΟΥ ΠΟΥΣΤΗ!
OF THE GAY!

ΧΛΩΜΟ ΤΟ ΚΟΒΩ.
PALE I CUT IT.

ΚΛΑΣΕ ΜΑΣ ΜΙΑ ΜΑΝΤΡΑ!
FART US A STONEWALL !

ΑΠΟ ΕΔΩ ΠΑΝ'ΚΙ ΟΙ ΑΛΛΟΙ.
FROM HERE GO AND THE OTHERS.

ΣΚΑΤΑ ΚΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΣΚΑΤΑ.
SHIT AND FROM SHIT.

ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ ΚΟΝΤΗ ΓΙΟΡΤΗ.
SUNDAY SHORT FEAST.

ΧΕΣΕ ΨΗΛΑ ΚΙ ΑΓΝΑΝΤΕΥΕ.
SHIT HIGH AND GAZE.

ΣΙΓΑ ΤΑ ΛΑΧΑΝΑ.
SLOW THE CABBAGES.

ΤΗΝ ΕΚΑΝΑΝ ΑΠΟ ΧΕΡΙ.
THEY MADE HER FROM HAND.

ΝΑ ΛΕΜΕ ΤΑ ΣΥΚΑ-ΣΥΚΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΗ ΣΚΑΦΗ-ΣΚΑΦΗ.
TO SAY THE FIGS - FIGS AND THE TUB - TUB.

ΤΟ ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΣΤΟΥ ΔΙΑΟΛΟΥ ΤΗ ΜΑΝΑ.
THE UNIVERSITY IS AT DEVIL'S MOTHER.

ΕΙΝΑΙ ΞΕΝΕΡΩΤΟ.
THIS IS DEWATERED.

ΕΓΙΝΑΝ ΡΟΜΠΕΣ-ΡΟΜΠΕΣ ΞΕΚΟΥΜΠΩΤΕΣ.
THEY BECAME ROBES - ROBES UNBUTTONED.

ΤΟΝ ΚΑΚΟ ΣΟΥ ΤΟΝ ΚΑΙΡΟ!
THE BAD YOUR WEATHER!

ΚΑΛΩΣ ΤΑ ΜΑΤΙΑ ΜΟΥ ΤΑ ΔΥΟ.
WELCOME MY EYES THE TWO.

ΟΤΙ ΘΥΜΑΣΑΙ ΧΑΙΡΕΣΑΙ.
WHATEVER YOU REMEMBER YOU ARE GLAD.

ΤOΝ ΗΠΙΑΜΕ.
WE DRANK HIM.

ΜΠΛΕΞΑΜΕ ΤΑ ΜΠΟΥΤΙΑ ΜΑΣ.
WE CONFUSED OUR THIGHS.

ΜΕ ΑΥΤΟ ΤΟ ΠΛΕΥΡΟ ΝΑ ΚΟΙΜΑΣΑΙ.
WITH THIS SIDE TO SLEEP.

ΕΓΩ ΘΑ ΒΓΑΛΩ ΤΟ ΦΙΔΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΤΡΥΠΑ?
WILL I TAKE OUT THE SNAKE FROM THE HOLE. ?

ΜΟΥ ΧΡΩΣΤΑΣ ΤΑ ΚΕΡΑΤΑ ΣΟΥ.
YOU OWE ME YOUR HORNS.

ΤΟ ΜΥΑΛΟ ΣΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΜΙΑ ΛΥΡΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥ ΜΠΟΓΙΑΤΖΗ Ο ΚΟΠΑΝΟΣ.
YOUR MIND AND A POUND AND THE PAINTER'S BRUSH.

ΕΧΕΙΣ ΠΟΛΥ ΩΡΑΙΟ ΔΕΡΜΑ.
YOU HAVE VERY NICE LEATHER.

ΕΙΣΑΙ ΓΙΑ ΤΑ ΠΑΝΗΓΥΡΙΑ.
YOU ARE FOR THE FESTIVALS.

ΤΟ ΜΑΤΙ ΣΟΥ Τ'ΑΛΛΗΘΩΡΟ.
YOUR EYE THE CROSSEYED

ΥΠΟΛΟΓΙΖΕΙΣ ΧΩΡΙΣ ΤΟΝ ΞΕΝΟΔΟΧΟ.
YOU RECKON WITHOUT THE HOTEL OWNER.

ΘΑ ΦΑΣ ΞΥΛΟ.
YOU WILL EAT WOOD.

ΜΟΥ ΕΦΑΓΕΣ ΤΑ ΑΥΤΙΑ.
YOU ATE MY EARS.

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Worshipping the Dust of Crazy Passion
by Anna Cominos

The early morning silver wave glints off the blue waters of Paliopoli (pre-Christian port of Skandeia) as I and others trek up to, the until now unattainable church of Agios Kosmas at Paliokastro, the original ancient capital of Kythera. Agios Kosmas sits on the magnificent peak of Paliokastro between Mitata, Fratsia and Paliopoli and was the site of a recent archaeological dig under the leadership of the island's archaeologist Aris Tsavaropoulos supported by Australian-Kytherian John Fardoulis and a merry band of volunteers.

Now overgrown with myrtle and thorns, the surrounding area of the ancient capital is used as rural farming land and today is guarded by jersey cows and a randy bull. Forgotten for close to 100 years, an early morning mass was held in the tiny but exquisite Agios Kosmas. Recently clearing a path to this wondrous church allowed access to Archbishop Seraphim along with Avlemonas' priest Father Georgios to re-animated this sacred space, which can easily be traced to pre-Christian times.

In the centre of the church are four Doric columns, from the remnants of an ancient sanctuary.  The floor is uneven and in parts rocks jut-out of the soil. If you look closely at the walls of the Christian church you will see ancient roof-tiles used to fill the gaps of the walls. The Gregorian chants of the priests resonate through the space and bounce off the Doric columns settling the soul, as the circles of history ancient, Byzantine and present melt into each other.

History was retraced as more than forty people made the climb up to the temple/church of Agios Kosmas. Some sat outside jabbering about irrelevant issues, inside the more religious listened attentively to every word of the mass, while others followed the flickering shadows of the bees-wax candles as their shadows danced off the Doric columns.

A mobile phone rung-out in one the most reverent points of the service, reminding us that we were now in the techno-age and each breathe was mixed with the earth of the church. All who were present were touched and enthralled by the historical moment we were witnessing and sharing. We could have been wearing togas; with our dreadlocked hair wound high. We were walking in the parallel dimension that was of a different vibration. Will any of us be the same again?

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"Expectations and Achievements"  Part 3
This is an excerpt of the autobiography of Peter Haniotis, who died in 2005. Many thanks to his daughters who have allowed us to reprint his life story here. You can read previous episodes in our last newsletter which is in our Newsletter Archive.

After eight years of happiness, disaster hit the Haniotis family. Panagiota, Brett’s wife, was struck by meningitis and within a week she passed away, leaving her husband and children stranded. Grandmother Sofia, who was living with them, did everything she could, but nothing could relieve the pain.

Brett concentrated on his business and his brother from Russia made him sole agent. He started travelling all over Greece to supply goods to Russia. He got representatives in Crete, Corfu, Zante, Mitilini, Samos, etc., and the business grew.

Four years had passed by since the loss of his wife and he realised the children needed a mother. He had a good friend in the nearby town of Aroniathika. His name was Cosmas Aroney. He was a good family man and choirmaster in the church. He had a good voice and when he visited other towns he was always invited to take part in their choir. Cosmas had a daughter named Stavroula and Brett thought even though she was a bit young, she could be the next Mrs Haniotis. He met her a few times and one day asked her father for his daughter’s hand. Cosmas thought Brett was a good catch. He was good looking with fair skin and hair and blue eyes. He was well-known on the island and some people referred to him as the royal family. On top of that he was wealthy by their standards and knowing of his wealth from Russia, a lot of people were happy to associate with him. He was also the councillor representing Mitata at the island’s central council. As a peacemaker, if two people from the village had differences, they would go to Mr Aglacitis for advice.

Stavroula liked him, but she did not want to marry him because he was too old. He was thirty-nine years of age and she was only nineteen. Also he had three children and a clever mother-in-law who was living with them. Stavroula was not a striking beauty, but a very conscientious girl. For sure, in time she could marry someone of her own age. I don’t talk about love because at that time it was prohibited. If a girl liked a boy at the local dance, which was on every church holiday, and happened to dance twice or more with the same boy, she got a bad name as a ‘loose girl’, and the other boys refused to dance with her. Of course, funny things happened all the time behind the scene, and rumours were circulated, but everybody pretended they were only rumours. At that time Cosmas decided that his daughter would have to marry Brett whether she liked it or not. She could not do anything else and resigned herself to her fate with the idea that during the ceremony, when the priest asked if she was willing to marry Brett, she was going to say ‘no’ and the wedding would be stopped. Unfortunately for her, the priest did not ask her, and the wedding went on and Stavroula went to Mitata to Brett’s home and had to put up with her husband’s three children and a clever mother-in-law.

In time Stavroula realised what a good husband she had. He was very considerate, generous and just. She grew to like him and eventually to love him. Also, the children admired her kindness, her persistence not to retaliate when they tried to make things impossible for her. They started to like her like their real mother. One sure thing, she looked after them even more than her own children.

In 1908 Stavroula had her first child, a boy. As I heard, he was a beautiful chubby baby with fair skin and blue eyes. Everyone went mad about the baby and his parents were ecstatic. James, the step-brother, was saying he was a bit jealous of the new baby, but he was such a pretty baby that he liked him anyway. When he was eight months old they baptised him as is the custom. They called him Cosmas, the name of the second grandfather. Everyone in town was invited. During the celebrations, the lady who was supposed to look after the baby left it in the room in the care of his sisters and brother. She did not dry the baby properly and left it with wet clothes on. Hours later she realised this and rushed to the room. The baby was red in the face and was looking sick. My father, frantic with worry, rode to the big town to fetch the doctor. The baby was getting worse, developed pneumonia, and died three days later.

Just imagine what went on! Everyone was blaming the other for the loss, but alas, it was too late. This was another tragedy in the Haniotis family and made everyone wonder. Would the bad luck ever stop?

Two years later Stavroula had her second child, a girl.  She was fair and had her father’s blue eyes too.  Even though a girl, she received plenty of love and attention, and the pain of losing Cosmas started to get milder.

On the 21 November 1911, I arrived in the Haniotis household.  They had the same celebrations as they had for Cosmas and they chose as my godfather, M. Megaloconomos, the mayor of Kythera,.  He was a very rich man, with about ten children and about a hundred godchildren.  Politicians in every village had one or two godchildren.  The disadvantage of having him for a godfather was that I had no presents from him.  It was a custom that the godfather or godmother gave gifts for the anniversary of the baptism for the first five years, but the only thing I got was a twenty drachma gold coin which was in the family until my mother gave it away before she died.

I was coming on nicely with my sister Froso who was two years older.  We were always together.  She was taller than me, slim and very agile.  On the other hand, I was a chubby, overweight boy.  I remember, like a dream at the age of four, we were playing in the large paddock in front of our house.  Down close to the fence we suddenly saw a snake which was actually moving away from us.  We were frightened and ran towards the house about fifty metres away.  Froso climbed the fence first and tried to pull me up, but I was too heavy.  I started to cry and scream until my grandmother heard us and came to help me up.  For a long time after this event we did not go close to this part of the paddock because we thought the snake was there ready to bite us.  Naturally we did not know there were no dangerous snakes in Kythera.  According to an old saying, Saint Theodore, the patron saint of Kythera, put a protective mask on their mouths and they could not harm anyone ever since.  A very logical solution, isn’t it?

We had a cat and as I tried to pat it, he scratched me hard and hurt me.  From that day the cat became my enemy.  I was trying to think what I could do to pay it back.  One day while the oldies were away, I said to my sister Froso, let us torture the cat and then throw it over the cliff.  My sister said to me, “Don’t be silly.  It is a good cat. It keeps the mice out of the house”.  I thought I didn’t like the mice either so I had better be more friendly with the cat by giving it food, but from a distance.  No way was I going to pat it again.

At that time my father was at Piraeus and opened a shop in the centre of the town.  He also bought a house as we were getting ready to go there to live soon.  

The third child of our family was a girl name Despoina.  She was a very small baby and was crying a lot, but we did not mind as we still loved her.

In the year 1914, just before the Great War, Froso and I were playing in the paddock as usual and when we went to the house to eat, Froso did not want to eat.  She complained that she had a headache and a high fever.  My anxious mother sent a friend to Potamos to bring the doctor.  When he came he diagnosed polio.  He could do nothing there and Froso had to go to Athens for treatment.

Very worried, my mother took Froso and the baby Despoina to Piraeus.  My father took Froso to the best doctors in Athens.  They treated her with physiotherapy, but she came out with a damaged right leg.

I was left behind in the care of my grandmother and my two teenage sisters, Sofia nineteen and Helene seventeen.  I was attached to Sofia and considered her my mother even when my mother was there.  Sofia always fed me, bathed me and gave me the affection mothers should.  I always followed her like a little dog and called her my little Sofia.  I said that when I grew up I was going to buy a big house for her and live with her forever.  She still fed me when I was four years old.

In Pireaus things did not improve much.  Froso’s right leg was paralysed and she was getting physiotherapy.  She had to walk with the help of a stick and then with great difficulty.

Mother, Father, little Despoina and Froso moved to the new house in Piraeus and settled alright.  They asked my grandmother to send me over at the first opportunity.  However I wouldn’t move without my little Sofia.  Eventually they decided that Sofia would come with me.  Their objection was not that they didn’t want Sofia in Piraeus, but they did not want to separate her from her sister Helene.

James had been in Piraeus for a while.  Father had booked him into the only private school in Piraeus.  The name of the school was Zissis and it was very exclusive.

When we left Mitata to go to the seaside to catch the coastal ship which was doing the route once a week, we had to travel on the mules for three hours.  The grown ups were sitting on the saddle and the children were riding on the back holding the saddle.  The seaside where the ship was calling did not have a harbour.  It was an open beach called Agía Pelagia.  There were boats managed by the locals which took passengers to the ship which was anchored waiting about quarter of a mile away.  If the weather was good the boatmen used wooden boards for people to walk on from the sand to the boat.   When everyone was aboard, four boatmen operating large oars sat and the boat started going towards the ship.   In about twenty minutes we reached the ship’s steps.

The voyage was uneventful.  We left Kythera about noon and arrived in Piraeus at six o’clock the next morning.  My father was there waiting.  He took our bags from the ship and on the shore several one horse coach cabs were waiting.  We got one and went home where my mother and sisters welcomed us.  My impression of the horse cab ride was terrific and I thought it was much better than a mule ride.

My life in Piraeus started to interest me.  My parents enrolled me in a kindergarten when I was five.  Also my sister Froso was recovering from polio and was enrolled at the same school, one class above me.  The school had only two classes and was close to our house.  I helped my sister go to and from school by leaning on my shoulder.  I did not mind.  Actually I felt privileged to be able to help my sister and especially in later years when I escaped punishment several times because of it.  I did not have to stay in after school because I had to help my sister home.  I felt justified.

Our house in Piraeus was a large five bedroom house.  One of the rooms was rented by two young sisters from the island Spetses.  They both were dressmakers and asked my parents if it was possible to stay in their room for a while. Those days you could not buy women’s clothes ready made.  My mother thought it would be handy  to have them around, so they stayed.  Mina was twenty years old, tall and a little plump, blonde with blue eyes.  Joana was eighteen, brunette, thin and always well dressed.  

Two years were going by and the sisters were still living in our house.  Actually we treated them as members of our family.

One day Mina sent me to the shop to get a reel of cotton and said I could have some lollies with the change.  She told me to repeat the message aloud on my way.  I started, “Reel of cotton and lollies”, and again and again.  When I arrived at the shop I was only saying “lollies” and forgot the first part.  To make sure I bought my share of lollies and went back without the reel of cotton.  She sent me back and this time was okay.

On another occasion mother prepared a big dish of stuffed tomatoes.  I took it to the bakery nearby to have it baked.  Around twelve noon I went back to pick it up.  Mother was setting the table.  The dinner was ready.  I paid the baker his fee and started to go home.  The cloth I was protecting my hands with slipped a bit and my hand touched the hot metal.  I tried to get a better grip and the dish went upside down and the dinner landed on the dirt road.  It was not even asphalt.  I left it there and crying I went home.  Sofia came back with me to clean up the mess and pick up the dish.  I was frightened that I was to get a big hiding from my mother.  It seems everyone thought it was not my fault and I was inclined to believe it myself.  I escaped punishment and mother made some omelettes and chips for luncheon.

Peter Haniotis
(Read the following episode of Peter's family history in the next newsletter)

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LIFE IN KYTHERA - BACK IN THE DAY
by Maria of Lourandianika

Many fellow Kytherians have followed my journey through life as a Kytherian; the journey with my family, the times of joy and sorrow.

I grew up in a Kytherian home of Kytherian parents. My father was a man who believed in values and wished only the best for his family. He was well known amongst the Kytherian society for the active part he played in the lives of many. We went from a life of exquisite items displayed in our home in Australia. Every winter, we would purchase new quality coats. I remember one day, when my mother was buying me my yearly coat, I saw a beautiful bonnet with flowers and a wide yellow satin ribbon for tying under the chin. My mother bought it for me as she would always buy me whatever would make me happy.

From this life, we went to a simpler one in Kythera, where we would walk the paths and roads from the family home in Kato Livadi to Upper Livadi, braving the cold winds and trying to avoid stepping on large stones so that we could visit my grandparents. Going to Kythera as a teenager, I witnessed my father once again, being generous and wishing to impress his sisters with wonderful gifts. He bought them beautiful blue and white sapphire rings, wanting to see their pleasure as he knew that these would be gifts that they would not expect. It would also show that he had become a successful businessman. Sadly, he was greeted with ‘what good are these’ as they were not suitable for wearing when his sisters worked the fields daily. His hurt has remained with me to this day. The radio he gave them, which was run with batteries was accepted with pleasure, but the demands to buy an even bigger one left him feeling unappreciated. This brought us to the point where we considered leaving the family home and renting one which had been left vacant by a family living in America.

There are many stories told, all speaking only of how much happiness and pleasure filled every day, but in actual fact, family life in Kythera was no different from any other. Disagreements were intermingled with everyday living but hushed as the importance of showing a happy front was all important.                 

I was often exposed to arguing, as relatives would tell us exactly what they would like to be given. However, we had to be mindful of their innocence, not greed and explain that we would happily leave certain items when the time came to leave.  The shoes which were necessary to walk the roads with the stones, the clothes which were required for the elements of the island, all needed while we lived there. I myself had gone from a slim 15 year old girl to a plump 16 year old. I blamed the water that I would bring up from the well near our home, as the task caused me to have such a ravenous appetite when I got back.            
         
My greatest wish had always been to return to Kythera but seeing photos and hearing news that an expensive road had been built in Lourandianika made me realise that the Kythera I loved was no longer the island I that remembered. Progress has indeed come to the island.

I recall family and friends who are now all gone. When I returned to the island, I found myself going to the cemeteries, looking for the resting place of loved ones but finding only a few.  Life generally had not changed greatly though. I realised that the clothes I wore were admired by one of the local young women. I gave her an expensive pair of colourful pants, expecting her to wear them on special occasions. Much to my surprise, I saw her wearing them as she worked in the fields. It did not matter as it made her happy. Such simplicity was a breath of fresh air.  
Memories cannot be put into a category. They come when I least expect it. My mind goes from being a teenager here in Australia to a teenager in Kythera. Then just as suddenly, my thoughts go to times many years on.  

As I look back, I find myself thinking of my grandfather and Uncle Nick. What would they think if they saw the sealed road at Lourandianika? Progress has come to our beautiful island. The sadness I feel as I think of the blue doors near where I learnt so much about life from my wise grandfather, now displaying a satellite dish. The home where there was no facility but a stone hut where we would visit with a small shovel when nature called, has changed indeed.

As I look at the memorial wall next to my bed, a wall where my loved ones’ photographs watch over me, I often feel that when a thought comes to me, solving a difficult problem, that they are giving me the guidance that seems to solve my dilemma. My mother’s photo, now next to my father on my wall brings with it the fragrance of her favourite perfume ‘Evening in Paris’. I found myself looking for this fragrance and finding it and so it will always remind me of her.

The loss of one’s parents, no matter what age we may be, is difficult. Does the pain ever subside? I still look at my telephone, feeling the need to pick it up to ring my father, even though he passed away 28 years ago. The yearning remains. Looking at the screen when the phone rings, wishing it to show a private number and thinking that it may be my mother calling to ask about my health, my husband and her grandchildren. Always finishing with a message to tell them she sends her love.

Kythera has progressed but for me it will always be the island of simplicity and beauty and it has my heart now and always.
 
Maria (Marcellos) Whyte

4 Trinity Crescent.,
Sippy Downs 4556
Queensland.
 
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Help prevent Kythera being peppered with over 200 wind-towers. The SaveKythera.com site is a mine of information regarding the number and source of applications from big-business to construct hundreds of MW of Wind-Towers on the island. Those businesses - they are profit motivated and not ecological foundations - are looking to cash in on the lucrative subsidies on offer in Greece. Subsidies which have been phased out in most other European countries because there are more efficient ways to reduce CO2 with the billions they have already spent on subsidising on-shore wind-farms. Kythera, though windy, is far from any power substation which could handle the amount of power generated, requiring enormous infrastructural changes which would make the venture environmentally counter-productive. So before you make the assumption that any wind-generator is a good wind-generator, take a look at the site and find out more. The Greek version of the site is now online at www.save-kythira.com. And our new online petition is gathering signatures and comments. You can view and/or sign it at http://savekythera.com/the-resistance-petition/.
 
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Only 30 more pictures needed for the Great Walls of Kythera Book!

If you received previous newsletters you'll know that we've announced a new book/exhibition project entitled "The Great Walls of Kythera". Dozens of pictures have already been uploaded to the Great Walls category of the site, and with another 30 or so to choose from we'll have enough to consider the layout for the book. It's not too late to send in your pictures - in fact, you have until the end of the year. So if you'll be on the island this year you still have time to shoot new ones if you don't have any in your current collection. In February next year we'll chose the best of the pictures and in addition to publishing a book of them, we will also try to organise a travelling exhibition of them.

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