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Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Archive > September 2010

17987: Newsletter Archive

submitted by James Victor Prineas on 16.09.2010

September 2010

Dear Friends of Kythera,

if you long for the round brown bread from Yianni's bakery in Karavas, miss the lapping of the water on the shores of any beach between Pelagia and Barbarossa's Lagoon, or wish you could spend your Sunday mornings with friends sipping a frappé at the markets in Potamos, you, like me, could be suffering from PKS, or "Post-Kythera-Syndrome". Over the past two years my family and I have spent 10 months on the island and it gets harder and harder to return to Berlin each time, even on beautiful late-summer days like this, when Berlin is at its best. It's taken me two weeks since returning from Kythera to pull myself together and get this newsletter out. The dream of escaping the big-city-daily-routine and one day move to the island will just have to wait...

Stephen Trifyllis from Brisbane is/was on the island during the terrible fires which ravaged a large area in the east of the island between Agia Moni, Mitata and Viarathika. He uploaded a few of his pictures to the site and the one attached below is, I think, the best. It makes you realise how lucky it was that none of the fire-fighters and the locals who volunteered to help were injured. You can view more links to pictures and videos of the fire and the aftermath here.

Kythera-Friend and Hiking-Team member Nicholas Gianniotis of Tokyo sent this link of a Vanity Fair article on the Greek Financial Crisis. The writing is great - a cross between an ancient Greek tragedy and a Woody Allen script. Definitely worth the read. From my perspective here in Germany, the need to bail-out Greece has had it's up-side: the crisis has caused the Euro to drop like a brick making German exports more attractive - they are up by a record amount and the economy here grew by 2% in the last quarter, a twenty year high. Hopefully the German boom will trickle back down to Greece one day soon...

Work on Kythera Hiking Trails
Since my last newsletter we've completed the first draft of our "Trail Map" - you can see a miniature version of it below, and a full-sized PDF of it here. Each of the trails can be sponsored, and in reply to our call for donations, the Haros Family and St George's Foodservice have generously come forward and sponsored the beautiful Livadi – Strapodi – Kapsali – Chora – Livadi trail. Why don't you get together with a few siblings and cousins, take a look at the list of trails on the PDF and choose one to dedicate to your parents or grandparents! It's a wonderful way to support the island and honour your ancestors as well! If you've missed previous newsletters and want to know more about the entire trails project, you can view our detailed trails overview.

View a large version of the map:
www.kythera-family.net/download/KytheraTrails.pdf
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New Real Estate Portal for Kythera

It was difficult to display many pictures in the real-estate section of Kythera-Family.net, so we've created a whole new site for it! If you're looking for a property on Kythera, be it a house, land, or even holiday accommodation, www.KytheraHome.com will be the place to find it. And if you've got property on the island to sell, you can advertise it on the site. For the next year all ads are free, so this is your big chance. Check out the site to find out how to add your property. Each month we'll feature a new property in this newsletter, and hopefully the site will help stimulate the island's economy.

Best regards from about 3000 KM north of our island,

James Prineas,
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First Batch of Video Clips - Archaeological Dig - Paliokastro, July 2010

Hello,
Below are links to some video clips I have posted on YouTube from the archaeological excavation at Paliokastro in July.
There is lots more material, this is just a start.

This project was generously supported by the Nicholas Anthony Aroney Trust, Kytherian Association of Australia, the Greek Orthodox Church - particularly Bishop Seraphim, Father Yiorgi from Avlemonas & Agia Moni, Father Mariatos from Potamos, Dhimos Kytherion (particularly Mayor Koukoulis and Deputy Mayor Protopsaltis), archaeologist Aris Tsaravopoulos, the team of volunteer archaeologists and archaeology students, members of the public who volunteered, the two supermarkets of Potamos, the bakeries of Karavas, Potamos and Karvounathes, Matina Pavlakis, Anna Cominos, Pia Panaretos, Jimmy Galakatos, Kostas Moulos, Themi Fardoulis, Helen Fardoulis, Stavroula Papadopoulos, Aphrodite Samios, Daphne Petrochilos, George Poulos, Maria Sarli, Mr Alekos Castrissios, Manolis and Georgia Magonezos...
Many other people also need to be thanked for their support, a more detailed list expressing gratitude will be available shortly.

Cheers,
John Fardoulis

Archaeology Students Starting on the First Test Trench
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl5Sx-UWD50

Explaining the Top Trenches
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upVAyH85gHI

Footage: When an Ancient Nail Was Found
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egGp3Q9xor0

How a Christian Church (Agios Kosmas at Paliokastro) Was Constructed Using Ancient Materials from Perhaps 1000+ Years Prior
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SebS_mVH6Ls

Historic Agios Kosmas Church service, the first liturgy in probably 100+ years…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf10h0pvt6A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N2qKPnQyE8

Explaining the Significance of Finding a Sling Bullet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7KrBZvNpN4

The Significance of (the many) Roof Tiles Found
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kvptFwuY3o

Kytherian-Australian Volunteers Learning About Archaeology & the Island’s Ancient History
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAsFzmQyAQc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U7o257D4cU

2nd, "Rescue" Excavation in Paliopolis, July 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AM3PuqFGfY

Feedback from Volunteers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRsCWJRC5Lc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ajbz3QzxoI

Eye Witness Account from Paliokastro of the Sinking of the HMS Gloucester in 1944
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5z1QI4-xsI

Getting Up & Down the Mountain Every Day
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azbxxduv4Fo

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Seen the new museum on Kythera? Get a taste of it at their website:

www.favas-kythera.com
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LIFE IN KYTHERA - BACK IN THE DAY
by Maria of Lourandianika

Many people from the four corners of the world have contacted me during the time I have written of my memories as a Kytherian, following with me the journey which brings me to this point in time.

Many tell me how they associate with what I write, which causes me so much pleasure. Memories cannot be bought, as they stay with us throughout our life.
So many differences in today's society, compared to when I was a child.

I raised my children, all five, to show respect to their elders. I was raised to always address an adult as "Aunt" or "Uncle", but never considering using their first name. Having children from a marriage where my husband is Australian, did not change my mind, and I instilled in them to always show respect as I was raised to do.

Having children now married, and being addressed by my first name does not make me feel comfortable, as we change with time, I unfortunately cannot rid myself of my beliefs of what is considered proper.

My memories cannot be put into a neat category, as I write, I think of times, and within my heart, I simply write them. Understanding readers accept this, and the many replies simply say that they relate to so many of the times I speak of. The good and the bad, after all, we are normal people, and with all families, there are times which we do not speak of, but for me, honesty is paramount, as we are no different from all people.

Recalling my wedding day. No big fancy wedding, just a small private service with family present. I did not remember until recent years that I did not have a wedding cake. How I have craved a Greek Orthodox wedding, but I will need to pass on, and dream of what I wish for, understanding it is not meant to be.

Friends visited after my wedding, a small group of special girlfriends, but, I was taken aback one day when one said that she would prefer to never marry before considering marrying anyone but a Greek. My husband has been my rock for 42 years. The Greek I was to marry listened to his mother, marrying a girl who had recently arrived from Greece, and the marriage failed. How do we judge who our life partner will be?

Recently, I read an article in the newspaper, where the Queen of England spoke of the stories she had heard , that the streets were paved with gold. This is a matter I addressed previously myself as my father told me that the young Kytherians and other Greeks, believed that Australian streets were covered in jewels. How close, to hear the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth, speak of a subject that I had heard as a child, and now, hearing the monarchy of England speaking of the same subject.

The Kythera of today still holds its old beauty in so many ways yet progress is slowly coming. The wonderful walking trails, how I look forward to having one named after me if there is one leading to Louradianika. The new potions with the flowers of Aphrodite, such wonderful new ways for our beloved island to bring us recognition by many who have not heard of Kythera, but none of these, taking away from the simplicity and beauty which we associate with our island.

Reading of a large green lagoon and caves, causes me to remember when just a girl of 15, I visited these caves, but I for some reason, did not make an entry in my journal at the time. Seeing the many photos sent to me recently caused me to remember the beauty of the caves.

Our island is being recognised, but there is no commercialism, but such simplicity, so befitting of Kythera.

My memories of the cafe which was bought and started as a fish shop so long ago, with all the original young men now passed, being entrusted to their children, all adults now.

My wish which I expressed recently, saying how I wish to visit the place where I spent so much of my life, being told I would not recognise it, but it is for the better, did not surprise me, as I have followed the changes closely by computer, but I would not see the changes. The large horse which is actually a lamp I am told, even though it is a full size replica, will not phase me. I will see the wooden crate I would sit on for hours, watching an "Uncle" hand peel potatoes for the kitchen.
The gambling machines, and smoking area for me will not be visible, as I will see the booths and one in particular where I would sit with my father, discussing any matters which may be troubling me. Never did my father say he was too busy to stop and sit. He would always stop, make me my special strawberry soda with the extra ice cream, and listen to me as I expressed what troubled me, with him then giving me such wise advice. How often I try to share my life experience with one of my adult sons, but, if I were to say that black was black, I would be told it was white, as there is no recognition of life's experience.

Maria (Marcellos) Whyte
4 Trinity Crescent.,
Sippy Downs 4556
Queensland.

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"Expectations and Achievements" Part 4
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 here in our Newsletter Archive.

Just as we settled down in Piraeus another big event happened. My rich uncle from Russia came for a visit. We were all very excited. He did not stay with us but booked into one of Athens’s big hotels. We saw him every day and he brought us a lot of presents.

The Great War had just started and my uncle hurriedly finished his business to go back home. The Greek ships, because of the war, were not allowed to travel overseas. It was on an Egyptian liner calling into Piraeus on route to Russia, that my uncle secured a berth and left one Tuesday at noon. The trip usually took three days. On Thursday my father received a telegram from a town on the island of Andros, telling him his brother was found on the beach on a bad state. The same day my father left for Andros, about one hundred miles from Piraeus, with a coastal ship which was doing the route of the Cyclades islands. When he arrived at the village, he found his brother very sick and exhausted. The story fits one of those adventure novels. They were travelling at night with all the lights off. Suddenly they head a big bang. All the passengers were on the deck thrown all over the place. The panic was on. Screams from the terrified people pierced the darkness, a German U boat hit the ship with a torpedo. The ship was sinking fast and everyone was rushing to four life boats. The crew already occupied them and with the oars pushed the passengers back, most of them to the sea. My uncle realised the situation and being a good swimmer, stripped to his underpants, put his passport between his teeth and dived into the dark sea having no idea where he was heading. After a few hours of swimming he heard, not very far away, loud voices and moanings. He swam towards the voices and getting closer, realised there was a small island ahead. The life boats with the crew from the ship were already there. He knew there was no chance for him and in desperation he turned back and started swimming to the unknown. It was still dark and several hours seemed to him days, weeks, years. Exhausted, he opened his eyes as the day was breaking. He realised he was approaching a beach. His senses had gone and the next thing when he opened his eyes he saw the sun was high in the sky and two men were leaning over him. They were fishermen from a nearby village. They took him to their house and revived him. Later on they sent a telegram to my father, who when he arrived, took his brother back to Piraeus and put him in a recovery clinic where he stayed for four weeks. It actually took him a long time to recover and he never did fully. The strong, healthy person became a weak, thin, sickly one. He lasted a few more years, still contacted his business, but contracted pleurisy and died in August 1918, just before the Russian Revolution took everything he had.

In early 1916 my father went to visit Russia. The emporium between Greece and Russia was still going on. My father stayed about two months and when he came back brought us lots of things I still remember, such as a kilo tins of black and red caviar and a stainless steel samovar. We used the samovar for years and it still exists.
My daughter Katherine exhibits it in her lounge room, as an ornament. My father also brought back a black cashmere overcoat with velvet trim and a bowler hat. He always had one for certain occasions. I remember when my father was going to important business meetings, he asked my mother to fetch the hard one which was kept in a hat case with white satin material inside.

King Constantine, who married the German king’s sister Sofia, did not want to go to war against Germany and declared neutrality for Greece. The Alliance blockaded Greece. At the beginning of 1917, food, medicines and other commodities were getting very scarce and people started starving. Eventually thousands of people died from starvation. Just before the blockade, white flour was scarce. The government took it over from the merchants and distributed it to the bakeries both large and small. A few doors from our house was a small bakery. The owner did not have enough cash to pay for his ration. He made an agreement with my father that the flour should go to my father’s shop, who paid for it. As the baker wanted the flour, he went to my father’s shop to get what he needed, paid for it and took it to his bakery to make bread.

When the blockade started the government did not have flour any more. Instead it was given to the baker’s ration of black bread. Every person was entitled to a ration of half a loaf of black bread per day. When white flour was no longer available the baker agreed for my father to keep any balance of flour at his shop, as he had already paid for it. Appreciative of the help my father gave him, he was willing to bake and bread my mother kneaded. She was handy with that. When we were in Kythera she always kneaded and baked the family’s bread. Every house in Mitata had its own built-in oven. My mother used to have it ready and at night we took it to the bakery to cook it for us.

When this arrangement started, ten large bags of white flour were left over at my father’s shop. There were several empty olive oil barrels in which my father stacked the bags, put the lids on and hid at the back of the stack of empty barrels. At night he filled small bags and took them home where my mother did the rest. Lots of friends and relatives were helped and saved from starvation. When, after school we were eating a slice of white bread, we were not allowed to go outside. There was a danger that if the authorities found out we could be in big trouble.

During the blockade an event made my family unsettled. Father could not expect any goods from Russia. He could only import olive oil and other goods from the islands, but was compelled by law to register every consignment that arrived for him in Piraeus. He had a special employee, an accountant, whose name was Tassos, to do that job.

One day Tassos did not come to work as he was sick. A consignment of olive oil was not registered by mistake. The government held my father responsible as he was the owner. The court punished him with a big fine and a week’s gaol. Since I was able to understand, I heard about people going to prison. In my mind I thought they were not human, but something like monsters. On my way to school I passed a police station. Attached to it was a large basement which was used as a lock-up for prisoners. There was a small window with bars on street level. We children curiously used to go close to have a peep in the room. It was always full of smoke and ten or twenty prisoners were there. They looked like normal people.

I was devastated thinking that my father, whom I cherished as the best and most respectable man I the world, was going to mix with all these underprivileged people. I couldn’t bear it. In my sleep I had nightmares about my father suddenly turning into a dragon, opening his big mouth to eat me up. I woke up crying, but I was not game to tell my mother and sisters about my dreams. I also thought of what my friends would say! My pride was shattered.

Downhearted and full of shame, I went with my mother to visit my father in prison. It was not far from the electric train station. There were several mothers with their children to see their husbands and fathers. I found my father normal. In his conscience he did not commit a crime. As a lawful citizen he thought if the law says he had to pay for someone’s oversight, so be it. He knew in his heart he was innocent. He also thought that he was lucky to do only seven days.

Coming home, I felt I had grown up a lot. My impression that if someone goes to prison he was a monster, was shattered. I realised they were normal people, fathers with wives and children like me went to prison for some reason, not necessarily a crime. I felt shame for the doubt I had about my father. Then I realised how lucky I was to have such a good father and I knew I loved him more than ever.

A few days later, father came home hoping that in future he would be more careful by checking everything himself. All of us celebrated his return as a united family. The blockade lasted seven months. During that period thousands died from hunger. E’Venifelos dictated a coup d’etat from Paris and the Alliance was with him. The troops revolted against the King who exiled with the royal family to Italy.

One morning we went to school and on the corner were barracks. We saw that they were full of soldiers – English and French – all in metal hats. They were friendly and some of them offered us pieces of chocolate which we kids appreciated. Because of the blockade all chocolates imported from Nestles in Switzerland were unprocurable in Greece. Greece declared war against the Germans and their allies – Turkey and Bulgaria. The Alliance troops, including the Greeks, went north to the Bulgarian border where the big SCRA Battle was fought. The Alliance troops won and it was the beginning of the end. The Great War was coming to an end.


CARNAVALIA
On my initiation into life in Piraeus, the thing that made life safe there was a lot more exciting than when Kythera had its carnival. Before the long fast of forty eight days, we celebrated Carnival for two weeks, starting three Sundays before the beginning of the fast. During those two weeks, people young and old went mad with excitement, especially on Sundays when all day the dressed in fancy dresses, parading in all the streets in the vicinity. There were clowns, piezettes and columbines, dresses in old men’s clothes. Boys dressed in women’s clothes and as they paraded they sang and laughed while everyone watched from their windows, balconies and along the streets. Everyone seemed to have a terrific time. At night they had dances in the halls and in a lot of the houses. I used to wear my grandmother’s skirts, tops and scarves and I felt funny.

During the week a lot of men showed puppets at every intersection. They had a square canvas stand with no top and they had about five or six puppets. One puppet held a stick and all the time was hitting the other puppet, the devil. The people were screaming for the other puppet to hit ‘the devil’ more.

A man had built around himself a horse covered in colourful streamers and balloons. A mate of his had a small drum in his hand with several bells and was hitting it with his hand, making a kind of monotonous noise as the children followed him from street to street. I remember once getting lost and a policeman taking me home when he found me crying in despair. After the last Sunday we fasted and prayed to God to forgive us for the crimes we had committed during Carnival until next year came.


BLACK CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON
My father’s business was going better than ever. After the blockade he continued to send merchandise to his brother in Sevastopol. He sent large consignments at least every three months. At home James got his school leaving certificate and father wanted him to go to university. James wanted time to decide. Meantime he spent lots of time in my father’s business. The accountant named Gioni, offered to teach him the trade. It was a most unfortunate decision. My father realised that Gioni was a hardcore communist. He taught James everything he knew about Lenin, the rights of the worker to hate the bosses of business, and that the world would turn to communism in the near future.

As soon as my father found out what was going on he put his foot down and sacked Gioni. That was the end of peace in the Haniotis family. The arguments between father and James became regular. On top of that, James fell in love with Joana, the younger of the two sisters who were living in our house, but she rejected him. He was hurt as he could not understand the reason. He was good looking, tall, athletic, educated. “What else did she want?” he thought. Having tickets on himself made things harder.

The real reason was that she had fallen in love with a cousin of ours – John, who visited us quite often. When he heard about it, James was furious. He could not understand what John had that he did not. He made a big scene and demanded my father evict the two sisters from our house, but father would not listen. The rows and yelling in our family became permanent and we were devastated. Soon after James decided to enrol in commerce at Athens University. He started lectures and concentrating on his studies made him calm. The family started enjoying life again.

In 1918 a flu epidemic hit Greece at the same time it was sweeping the world. I don’t remember how the rest of our family went. Some escaped it and some got it mildly. It was different for me. I got the flu plus double pneumonia at the same time. The doctor did not expect me to get better. He was amazed I didn’t die. My mother was in her last month of pregnancy. She also got very sick with the flu, but on 1st November gave birth to a baby girl. As soon as the baby was born my mother was better, but the baby was not expected to live. According to religious belief, if someone dies before baptism he or she could not be admitted to Heaven with the angels. My parents made arrangements in a hurry for a priest to come home to do the baptism and asked Mina, one of the two sisters living in our house to be the godmother. They named the baby Mina after her. Soon after the baptism the baby showed signs of improvement. We all thought it was a miracle and called little Mina the miracle baby.

Little Mina was growing to be a lovely baby with light brown hair and blue eyes. She eventually became the joy of our family. Father was mad about her and she responded by hugging him and sitting on his knee all the time he was home. Mother dressed her in nice white dresses. She was a beautiful toddler. Mina senior was still living in our house when she got engaged to marry a merchant navy captain named Adrian. During their courting period when he was visiting her, he occasionally brought with him his cousin Anthony. He was a merchant navy captain too. He was good looking but very short – only five feet – but what he was lacking in height he made up for in charm and personality. Sofia, my sister grew up to be a very beautiful girl. She fell for Anthony and when he asked her to be his wife she accepted. My father had no objection and after a short courtship they married in 1919.

In the autumn of 1918 the communist forces won the war in Russia. They arrested and eventually executed the Czar and his family. This also meant a catastrophe for the Haniotis family. My uncle in Sevastopol died two weeks before the takeover. He left a will leaving his wife Despoina their mansion with all the contents plus one million roubles in cash. The balance of the estate was left to his brother Brett – consisting of half of his warehouse with stock and all the money he possessed, estimated at nine million roubles (two roubles were worth one gold sovereign). Unfortunately with the change in Russia everything was lost. The government seized all property and money.

My father also lost a lot of money – four hundred thousand roubles in fact. Just about the time of the changeover, a large consignment of merchandise, which my father was sending to his brother’s firm, arrived at Sevastopol. As soon as it arrived it was confiscated by the government. That was a terrible shock to my father and the situation then became unbearable. We were hard hit and there was a lot of heartache and commotion in our family. Father’s capital was all but gone. Luckily the bank was doing business and backed him up. In an effort to recover the business, my father exported goods to new markets in Italy, Spain and the U.S.A. He was also sending almond kernels to Japan. In time business picked up and was even better than his business with Russia.

You probably wonder why Italy and Spain imported olive oil and wines when they produced these goods themselves. The plain explanation is that these countries could not produce enough olive oil and wine to supply world demand. They had to supplement their supply with Greek imports. One example is the production of Lucas olive oil is the small Italian town of the same name. To meet world demand for the oil, they bought oil from Greece and other Mediterranean countries, processed it in Lucas and sold it as their own at a higher price.

At that time the sisters, Mina and Joana, moved out of our house and rented a flat not far from us. At the same time my grandmother and sister Helene, who were living up to this time in Kythera, came to live in Piraeus. They had not come to Piraeus before because during the war the cities were short of food and the country was producing enough to get them by. When Sofia married Anthony it was the custom to give the groom a dowry. Usually, if the father could afford it, he gave them a house or a flat or some cash. In our case my father decided to give Sofia and Anthony a house. Opposite us there was a nice house for sale. My father inspected it, liked what he saw and decided to buy it for them. However Sofia and Anthony had different ideas.

During the war most of the merchant navy ships were sunk by the German U – Boats. Captains could not find work until new ships were built, and this would take time. Sofia and Anthony wanted father to buy a merchant cargo boat on which Anthony could work and they were sure, make a lot of money. My father, against his better judgement, agreed and started to look around to find a suitable boat. Eventually he found one, owned by an Italian. The boat was travelling between Italy and Greece carrying a mixed cargo of one hundred and fifty tonnes. It was a handsome boat with a powerful motor which could build up a speed of eight miles per hour. Her name was Palmira.

They agreed on the price and made arrangements for three trials. The following Sunday morning my father took me with him. He always took me out on Sunday afternoons, usually to open air cafes at the seaside where he had a glass of beer or ouzo and I had a lemonade or pasta (a very sweet cake). That Sunday we met my brother in law, Anthony, and a friend of his, who also was a captain. We all went aboard the boat. They started the motor and after travelling for two hours we returned to the jetty. The following two Sundays we repeated the procedure and everything seemed to be satisfactory. They finalised the deal. Anthony’s first journey was to Crete. A friend of my father from Heraklion had a lot of cargo to send to Egypt. It took about four months to complete this job and Anthony made several trips between Crete and Egypt. When they finished he paid his three sailors and the mechanic engineer and had a reasonable profit left for himself.

On their way back to Piraeus they met very rough weather which damaged the boat. The front mast with the large sail broke, fell to sea and was lost. The captain and the crew fought to their limit to bring the dilapidated boat to Piraeus harbour. Those days it was very expensive to insure boats and we did not have any. Father had to pay for the repairs which were to take six months to complete. Anthony could not wait and got a job as a second captain on a large eight thousand tonne ship. They were taking cargo from Greece to Russia. When our boat was ready, Anthony was not. He was happy with his job as a second captain and his earnings, and refused to come back to work on our boat. Father decided to wait for a while. He tied the boat up and engaged an old sailor for reasonable wages to live on it and to look after it. Father was also paying harbour charges.

I was about twelve. In my father’s shop worked a young boy, about fifteen years old, from Kythera. His name was Nick Condoleon. We became friends and on his Sundays off we used to play soccer. One day he had an idea to go to our boat and ask the man to let us have the small rowing boat for a short ride. I thought it was a good idea and the following Sunday we went to the harbour where the boat was and we asked the man to let us have the little boat for a short ride. He was a bit hesitant but after some persuasion, knowing I was the owner’s son, he let us have it. The oars were quite big and we had no idea how to use them. It took us two hours to go about a hundred metres and back to the boat. The following Sunday we did it again and we went about two hundred metres and back without trouble. We felt confident and kept going every Sunday. We were going out further and further and imagined we were real sailors.

One Sunday at about 11 a.m. we saw a big liner coming into the harbour. We decided to go close and watch it. Suddenly a harbour police speed boat came next to our boat. “What are you doing here?” they asked. We told them we were just watching the big ship and they said, “You are coming with us”. They tied our boat to theirs and drove to headquarters. “You silly boys!” they said, “don’t you realise you can get killed?” I told them my name and that my father had a shop not far from there. They told us they should put us in gaol but instead we had to wash all the floors. They gave us a bucket with hot, soapy water and a mop each. I did not know how to use it but Nick was a bit better at it. I watched him and copied. It was after two in the afternoon when they let us go. At the gate they said if they caught us again they would put us in gaol. Confused and very tired we went home and kept the ordeal to ourselves. That was the last of our Robinson Crusoe expeditions. The boat was tied up for several months longer until my father lost the passion and sold the boat, losing half his money.

Sofia, Anthony’s wife, had a baby girl named Kelly. We were all very excited and loved her. Unfortunately she developed gastroenteritis and died when she was six months old. Imagine Sofia having to tell Anthony the bad news when he came to port. He was very upset and blamed everyone, and mostly his wife. A captain’s family life stinks. Their wives and children only see them when they are in port and if they work on a large ship they could wait for months. Sofia knew about this, but decided to marry him and was willing to put up with it. James, our brother, never liked Anthony. He thought Sofia was too good for him.

Soon after Mina and Joana moved from our house to a small flat nearby, James became absorbed in his studies and calmed down a lot. The rows with our father became rare. Perhaps Joana’s absence, the catastrophe communism inflicted on our family and Gioni’s departure, helped James look at things differently. He was attending university regularly and was making good progress. I always looked up to him and anytime the boys in the neighbourhood disagreed with me, I was going to bring my big brother to bash them up. Some of the boys were frightened and I got my way. Of course James knew nothing about this.

Helene grew to be a beautiful girl. She was tall and slim with blue eyes and long brown hair. She was very smart too. When she came to Piraeus she was a shy, romantic, country girl. She read lots of novels, mostly love stories which she would read to my mother who could not read or write. Between those two there developed a special tender tie, like real mother and daughter. Usually they sat in front of the fireplace on cold winter’s nights, mother listening, absorbed in the story, tears coming occasionally to their eyes. These reading sessions often went on until midnight.

Next to my father’s shop was a smalljewellery shop. The owner was a very good friend of my father. His name was Sotos. He met Helene a few times, fell for her and eventually asked my father for her hand. Sotos was a tall, average looking man in his late thirties. Helene told father she did not want to marry him. She did not love him and thought he was too old for her. They left it at that and Sotos was heartbroken. A letter from Australia changed the situation. A distant relative named James wrote to my father asking him for permission to write to my sister Helene. He knew Helene from school when he was in Mitata. They were friends, though he was a bit older than her. He had been in Australia for a few years and already had his own business. My father wrote back saying he had no objection, and Helene and James started exchanging letters.

One day my father received a letter from James Prineas, asking for Helene’s hand. Father accepted. The only hesitation Helene had was the distance – living thousands of miles away from her family and friends. James sent her an engagement ring and her ticket to Australia. She started getting ready and in about three months, October 1924, she left for Australia. She stayed in Sydney with relatives Samios and Cassimatis until she married James Prineas at Sydney Orthodox Greek Church in January 1925.

In the early days of moving to Piraeus everything was strange to me. In Mitata I did not have friends to play with. I played only with my sister Froso and I missed her when she got sick. Our house was built on a big lot surrounded by road and there were not any neighbourhood houses close by. In Piraeus the houses were close and all the children in the neighbourhood played together. There was Andreas, Nick, Nassos and Lefteris. Also girls, Maria, Eleni, Violetta, Vaso and several more. We all were between six and eight. Only Lefteris we thought was old: he was ten.

I was about seven when Lefteris taught me things only grown-ups should know. Among other things I learned about the birds and bees. I also learned my way around and always helped my sister Froso to and from school. As soon as I came home from school my mother always wanted something and sent me to our shop to get it. Her idea was that children should not play, but always be available to be useful. If I disregarded her beliefs and played with the other children, I used to cop it. She was always waiting at the door with her slipper on hand. As I was rushing to get inside, I always got a couple of hits on my head to teach me a lesson, which I never learned. Of course the slipper was a soft one and did not hurt. But my friends watching hurt my pride.

At least I did not have to study in primary school. I developed a system to do my homework at school by helping the teacher write the lesson he delivered on the blackboard and then copying it in my exercise book. As I knew the lesson I did not have to do any homework. I was always ready for the next day.

Then I got the idea that my mother did not love me. She never hugged me or kissed me. I thought she only wanted me for her messages and I was getting discontented. And then one day when I was ten I realised my mother loved me very much. It was Christmas Eve and the boys were going around the houses singing Christmas carols. My mother asked me to go to our shop to get some things she needed. She was cooking sweet cakes for the occasion and needed some ingredients. I went outside at about 9 am and Lefteris was waiting for me. He had already asked me a couple of days before to go with him to sing carols, assuring me we would get plenty of pennies. I told him I was going for a message for my mother but he said I could do that after we finished. I said all right and we went for the rounds. We went from door to door, neighbourhood to neighbourhood and then realised the day had gone. It started to get dark. I started to panic and blamed Lefteris for my trouble. He gave me a few pennies for my share and when I looked around I didn’t know where I was. I ran down one street and, to my relief, I came to a main road. From there I knew my way home. When I arrived it was about 8 pm.

As I was taking the shortcut through the paddock I heard a girl’s voice calling. “Here’s Peter!” I rushed to my house and there was the whole neighbourhood. My mother was crying and tearing out her hair. I can’t remember seeing her so distressed before. “What is going on?” I asked, and they told me they thought I was dead. When I disappeared they heard that a boy my age had been hit by a tram not far from my father’s shop, and they thought it was me. As soon as my mother saw me she rushed and took me in her arms, sobbing. “You naughty boy,” she said. “This has cost me half my life!” From that day I knew my mother really loved me very much.

One day when I was about ten, mother sent me to our shop for a message. My father was not there. I was told that he had gone to a meeting place called Chaganas, where all the travellers met to take samples of goods before going around the shops to take orders. When father got a new consignment he used to go there with several samples. I thought I could remember where the place was. I had been there with my father, but not by myself. From our shop, about fifty metres along the quay to the central markets, was the wide Miaouli Street. One side of Miaouli Street was a very wide quay where large ships were anchored while they discharged their passengers and cargo. At that time only this side of the harbour was deep enough for big ships and a lot of ships were waiting in the middle of the harbour for their turn. Just about that time big excavation works were going on and Piraeus harbour would be ready in a few years to accept the biggest liners and no ship would have to wait its turn for service. It thus became one of the busiest harbours in the Mediterranean.

I was walking slowly, admiring the liners and suddenly with my foot I kicked something – it was a wallet. When I picked it up I saw it was tied to a light string. Excited about my find, I just snapped the string, put it in my pocket and started running. I heard screams behind me. I turned my head and saw two big boys running after me. I stopped and asked them what the matter was. “Give us the wallet,” they said, but I answered that I found it. I took the wallet out of my pocket, opened it and found it was stuffed with newspaper cuttings. The boys told me it was their trick to pass the time. They had the wallet lying on the footpath and if someone was going to pick it up they would pull the string and make fun of the person they tricked. In my case their attention had turned momentarily to the water where a ship was coming in. I was quick, but not quick enough and they caught up with me. I reluctantly gave back the wallet and thanked my lucky stars that the boys were in good moods and saved my face from a couple of smacks.

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

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FUNNY GREEK EXPRESSIONS
In the last couple of newsletters I've sent you lists of Greek expressions which are tantalising when translated literally into English. Many of you have supplied us with the proper translations, and below are the last versions translated by Mary Conomos, Angelica Vergardos and Eleni Comino (thanks to all!). The interesting thing is: for the same expression different translations have been given. Which makes me wonder how many of you think that "tha fas ksilo" ("you'll eat wood") might really mean you'll be getting a chewy dinner tonight...

By Mary Conomos:

TI EKANA LAHEIO
I MADE HER LOTTERY.
I hit the jackpot. or I came out of it spendidly.

EMEINA KOKKALO
I STAYED BONE.
I was shocked or scared out of my wits.

DEN EHO MOUTRA NA VYO EXO.
I DON'T HAVE FACES TO GO OUTSIDE.
I am hugely embarrassed. or I'm mortified.

DEN XERO TI TIFLA MOU.
I DON'T KNOW MY BLINDNESS.
I have been stupid.

MOU YIRISE TA ENTERA
HE RETURNED ME THE ENTRAILS.
I was sickened.

MOU KATHISE STO LEMO
HE SAT ME ON THE NECK.
I couldn't get over it or I was most indignant.

EKANA MAVRA MATIA NA SE DO.
I MADE BLACK EYES TO SEE YOU.
It's been ages since I've seen you.

KATHOMASTE SE ANAMENA KARVOURNA
I'M SITTING ON IGNITED COALS.
We were so anxious.

............STOU DIALOU TI MANA.
........... AT DEVIL'S MOTHER.
This part of the saying usually means,-------------far far away.

KALOS TA MATIA MOU TA DIO
WELCOME MY EYES THE TWO.
Your a sight for sore eyes.

TO MIALO SOU KE MIA LIRA
YOUR MIND AND A POUND
That wasn't very smart.

THA FAS XILO (I've sure heard this as a kid..)
YOU WILL EAT WOOD.
I will smack you or you will get a hiding.

MOU EFAYES TA AFTIA.
YOU ATE MY EARS.
You've nagged me silly.


By Angelica Vergardos:

ΜΕ ΕΚΛΑΣΕ.
HE FARTED ME.
He screwed me;

ΜΑΣ ΕΚΑΝΕ ΤΑ ΤΡΙΑ ΔΥΟ.
HE MADE US THE THREE TWO
He fooled me/us

ΕΜΕΙΝΑ ΚΟΚΑΛΟ.
I STAYED BONE.
I was surprised; dumfounded

ΔΕΝ ΜΑΣ ΚΑΘΙΣΕ.
IT DIDN'T SIT ON US.
It didn't stick; It doesn't compute; It doesn't make sense

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

ΕΒΡΕΞΕ ΚΑΡΕΚΛΟΠΟΔΑΡΑ.
IT RAINED CHAIR LEGS.
It rained cats and dogs

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

ΔΕΝ ΞΕΡΩ ΤΗΝ ΤΥΦΛΑ ΜΟΥ.
I DON'T KNOW MY BLINDNESS.
I don't know my own weakness

ΜΟΥ ΓΥΡΙΣΕ ΤΑ ΑΝΤΕΡΑ.
HE RETURNED ME THE ENTRAILS.
He un-nerved me; frustrated me; disgusted me

ΜΟΥ ΚΑΘΙΣΕ ΣΤΟ ΛΑΙΜΟ.
HE SAT ME ON THE NECK.
He strangled me; Pressured me

ΤΑ ΠΗΡΑ ΣΤΟ ΚΡΑΝΙΟ.
I TOOK THEM TO THE SKULL.
I'm taking it/them into consideration

ΕΚΑΝΑ ΜΑΥΡΑ ΜΑΤΙΑ ΝΑ ΣΕ ΔΩ.
I MADE BLACK EYES TO SEE YOU.
I'm doing everything possible to see you

ΚΑΘΟΜΑΙ ΣΕ ΑΝΑΜΜΕΝΑ ΚΑΡΒΟΥΝΑ.
I'M SITTING ON IGNITED COALS.
I can't wait; I'm anxious to hear

ΣΑΝ ΤΗΝ ΑΔΙΚΗ ΚΑΤΑΡΑ.
LIKE THE UNFAIR CURSE.
Bad hour; timing

ΚΛΑΣΕ ΜΑΣ ΜΙΑ ΜΑΝΤΡΑ!
FART US A STONEWALL !
Do us the impossible

ΣΚΑΤΑ ΚΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΣΚΑΤΑ.
SHIT AND FROM SHIT.
Shit comes from shit; no good from bad

ΤΗΝ ΕΚΑΝΑΝ ΑΠΟ ΧΕΡΙ.
THEY MADE HER FROM HAND.
I hand trained her

ΤΟΝ ΚΑΚΟ ΣΟΥ ΤΟΝ ΚΑΙΡΟ!
THE BAD YOUR WEATHER!
Go to hell

ΚΑΛΩΣ ΤΑ ΜΑΤΙΑ ΜΟΥ ΤΑ ΔΥΟ.
WELCOME MY EYES THE TWO
Welcome to my darlings

ΤOΝ ΗΠΙΑΜΕ.
WE DRANK HIM.
We got him! or We enjoyed him

ΜΠΛΕΞΑΜΕ ΤΑ ΜΠΟΥΤΙΑ ΜΑΣ.
WE CONFUSED OUR THIGHS.
We're thigh deep; We up to our thighs in a mess

ΕΓΩ ΘΑ ΒΓΑΛΩ ΤΟ ΦΙΔΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ ΤΡΥΠΑ?
WILL I TAKE OUT THE SNAKE FROM THE HOLE. ?
We will get the truth out; We will get to the bottom of it

ΕΧΕΙΣ ΠΟΛΥ ΩΡΑΙΟ ΔΕΡΜΑ.
YOU HAVE VERY NICE LEATHER.
Nice skin

ΘΑ ΦΑΣ ΞΥΛΟ.
YOU WILL EAT WOOD.
Forget about it

ΜΟΥ ΕΦΑΓΕΣ ΤΑ ΑΥΤΙΑ.
YOU ATE MY EARS.
I'm tired of hearing you; I'm bored listening


By Eleni Comino:

ΜΑΣ ΕΚΑΝΕ ΤΑ ΤΡΙΑ ΔΥΟ.
HE MADE US THE THREE TWO
He shortchanged me - ripped me off!

ΕΜΕΙΝΑ ΚΟΚΑΛΟ.
I STAYED BONE.
I stayed strong - didn't give in... resolute

ΔΕΝ ΜΑΣ ΚΑΘΙΣΕ.
IT DIDN'T SIT ON US.
It didn't 'gell' make /sense

ΒΓΗΚΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΑ ΡΟΥΧΑ ΜΟΥ.
I CAME OUT OF MY CLOTHES.
I jumped out of skin as in fright

ΕΒΡΕΞΕ ΚΑΡΕΚΛΟΠΟΔΑΡΑ.
IT RAINED CHAIR LEGS.

ΔΕΝ ΕΧΩ ΜΟΥΤΡΑ ΝΑ ΒΓΩ ΕΞΩ.
I DON'T HAVE FACES TO GO OUTSIDE.
I am embarrassed? I can't face anyone

ΔΕΝ ΞΕΡΩ ΤΗΝ ΤΥΦΛΑ ΜΟΥ.
I DON'T KNOW MY BLINDNESS.
I can't believe I was so blind as to not see it coming.

ΜΟΥ ΓΥΡΙΣΕ ΤΑ ΑΝΤΕΡΑ.
HE RETURNED ME THE ENTRAILS.
My stomach turned..as in scared sh!!!!!!

ΚΑΘΟΜΑΙ ΣΕ ΑΝΑΜΜΕΝΑ ΚΑΡΒΟΥΝΑ.
I'M SITTING ON IGNITED COALS.
I can't sit still like a cat on a hot tin roof?

ΚΛΑΣΕ ΜΑΣ ΜΙΑ ΜΑΝΤΡΑ!
FART US A STONEWALL !
Tell us a story

ΣΚΑΤΑ ΚΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΣΚΑΤΑ.
SHIT AND FROM SHIT.
The dregs of the barrel as in humans, worst of the worst

ΤΟΝ ΚΑΚΟ ΣΟΥ ΤΟΝ ΚΑΙΡΟ!
THE BAD YOUR WEATHER!
go to buggery in Aussie terms. Bugger you!

ΤOΝ ΗΠΙΑΜΕ.
WE DRANK HIM.
We drank to his memory

ΕΧΕΙΣ ΠΟΛΥ ΩΡΑΙΟ ΔΕΡΜΑ.
YOU HAVE VERY NICE LEATHER.
you have beautiful skin

ΕΙΣΑΙ ΓΙΑ ΤΑ ΠΑΝΗΓΥΡΙΑ.
YOU ARE FOR THE FESTIVALS.
You are a scream? as hilarious and should be an entertainer

ΘΑ ΦΑΣ ΞΥΛΟ.
YOU WILL EAT WOOD.
you are going to cop a spanking...remember this one from my childhood...

ΜΟΥ ΕΦΑΓΕΣ ΤΑ ΑΥΤΙΑ.
YOU ATE MY EARS.
You have nagged me...stop talking....talked my ears off

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SAVE KYTHERA FROM MASSIVE WIND-STATIONS

We still get a lot of flack for attempting to block the construction of industrial wind-stations on Kythera, and we can understand the criticism. Many assume we are against any changes on Kythera. But in fact we are all for the promotion of regenerative energy on the island. But not if such projects are only in the interest of the "subsidy mafia" (see the article below, kindly referred to me by Sven from Trifylianika/London). The companies building wind-stations in Greece are usually conglomerates highly skilled in exploiting EU subsidies, either in the areas of waste disposal or general public works. They are not the pets of Greenpeace and are often in the spotlight for suspect dealings in which millions of euros are at stake. It makes sense to invest in green energy but it would be ecological madness to erect huge wind-stations on our island because the massive infrastructural projects needed to make their construction possible would cancel out any CO2 reduction created by the wind-towers. And it would blight the skyline of one of the few jewels of Greece which haven't been ruined by over-development. Many of us are working on alternative energy projects for Kythera and will make our proposals public as soon as Greek government policy is modified to allow non-big-businesses to sell wind and solar power to the local grid as well.

Read an article about how the mafia has taken over the wind-station subsidy system in Italy:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/7981737/Mafia-cash-in-on-lucrative-EU-wind-farm-handouts-especially-in-Sicily.html

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Sorted out your Kythera Summer pictures yet? It's time to upload your "Great Wall" pictures!

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. If you can't find the time to put them on the site, just send them to this email address and we'll upload them for you in your name. 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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