Sunday, 21 September 2014

21st September 2014 - Day 4 of Crete - No guns so far

Thought for the day : "Don't you hate it when you think you are buying organic vegetables - but when you get home you find that they are just regular doughnuts??"

Sitting in a fine establishment called the "Galley" at Agios Nikolais. We tend to call it the "George" which is wrong as it is run by Georgio and his fiance Jackie, but somehow it ended up as the "George".
It is set up as a ship - with the bar following the port side with the front bending into the prow, and there are nets and shells and all the accouterments of the sea surrounding us... Oh ! and football! It is the national pastime here in Crete it seems and there are three large screens blaring out a Manchester City v Chelsea match ...

Georgio at the "George"  The Galley really !!

But is is local and they serve a fine Alpha beer which is going down nicely as Mike (Vlassis) sets up his darts teams for the ensuing quiet months..  It is a time of technical innovation - one of the big LCD screens is devoted to an automated Darts countdown system - so you don't even need to do the math as you play..... 

There are other high points however...  in this area of Creta Cuisine - it was quite a delight to see Jackie come to the bar with baked beans on toast with an egg on top !!!  "Breakfast and lunch in one " she said... I pointed to my large Alpha Beer and said "Same here!!"

LInk to Trip advisor should you ever be coming here

Seems the darts players are down to double one each again - always a good sign for the quality of player....  Though I have seen some fine darts as well as I sit here updating the Blog.... Had a closer look at the software and cannot believe that it does not give the options for a three dart finish - will check nearer the end ..  Yes - I am right - it gives the options for finish eg - 17 double top !!
There is obviously no need to have any maths or application these days !!!   Maybe I should go back to Clock Darts!!!!

Well the first beer has gone down, and there is time for another!!!.....
Mike is playing darts and the rest of the family was asleep as I left them...  Susie, following an interesting Creta wedding night ( which I am reliably informed by Mike was NOT  a  REAL  Creta wedding )  I am not sure if this was just because there was no sign of any guns and firing into the air!!!

But a Creta wedding for all that...   Nikos  ( I now understand the Greek thing - it is Nikos when talking about him and Niko when talking to him!!! ) Nikos is Mike's brother and is marrying Susanne who comes from Norway.. So the evening was bound to be mixed in any case!!!

Oops !! Sitting here with my glass empty and Gergio has just filled it - drink on the house ... You know I was coming back here anyway - but he reminds me of Me as a barkeep!!!

But - back to the wedding...  They tend to have the weddings in the evening here and what a good idea that is!!  It was warm to the point of discomfort (which means that the locals were putting on coats and jumpers!) but the skies were clear and the evening a delight for a wedding... Weddings here are held outside - and a good job as even with a small wedding of 40 people we would never have got into the chapel!!

But the Groom was dressed in Creta Style - we discovered later that the white lace shirt cover doubles as a headband later on in the night...
Nikos Vlassis
Meanwhile the bride arrives and makes her way up a set of steps that would make samurai training for "Kill Bill" seem like a walk in the park... I understand the Welsh habit of Chapels making their seats so uncomfortable that you cannot fall asleep in a two hour sermon, but the Creta habit of putting  their Church at the top of so many stairs that you are panting for breath does slightly confuse me....
But then I saw the Priest and the altar boy - who incidentally had an excellent voice ( the whole ceremony was not only sung throughout - but the Bride and Groom had NOTHING to say at all!!! )
Having recently presided at weddings where the Groom was reticent to say much in the ceremony - this option is one I will work on for the future!!!
Doing the Paperwork!!
The entire ceremony was sung however - and though I am assured that it was word for word - the general concensus was that it was done in "Fast "mode .. It appears that these weddings can go on for hours on occasion - certainly the congregation seemed quite happy to wander about taking photographs, chatting - answering phones (don't start me on it!!)  and generally ignoring the main proceedings - but I was impressed !

So, after the ceremony it was a drive up to the mountains to a lovely restaurant and bar for a lot of Greek dancing with a fine live group with Lyre - Greek style with a bow! Bazouki and keyboard... and drinks and food over the next few hours...

More interesting convention differences..   the Cake was cut at the beginning of the celebrations - with Bride and Groom feeding each other from the cut cake...   and a drink of Champagne (I hope it was better than the Champagne they buy for the dancers in the evening !!)...

No speeches - except here we had a Norwegian Bride so some Scandinavian influence meant that a few words were said... And the equivalent of the British Best Man's Speech with the Bride's daughter and sister producing all the embarrassing pictures from the past - in a very humorous set of advice for the Groom....

Beer and wine was consumed !!! I am sure this is traditional so we did our best to support!!!

So on a side note I saw this piece of research today ... Wine is better than going to the Gymn!

Whoever said no news is good news was wrong. Turns out drinking red wine is better for you than going to the gym! How’s that for good news? Jason Dyck and other science researchers in the University of Alberta in Canada found that red wine, nuts and grapes have a complex called resveratrol which improves heart, muscle and bone functions; the same way they’re improved when one goes to the gym. Resveratrol proved to be an effective antioxidant when tested on rodents which is why scientists are planning on testing it with diabetics. If results are positive for the benefits of the complex, patient’s heart health could be improved just as much as it does when they work out vigorously.
While scientists and wine lovers are rejoicing over this news, doctors are still unlikely to recommend their patients to start drinking any type of alcohol as it can have harmful effects on your body. People should keep in mind that these benefits can be enjoyed only when having one glass of wine with your evening meal, at the most. Resveratrol is specifically found in red wine as are some of the beneficial antioxidants referred to when talking about heart health. Red wine is also known to reduce ‘bad cholesterol’ and prevent blood clots.

Other benefits red wine is known for (when consumed in moderation, constantly) are: promoting longevity, cutting risk of cataracts and colon cancer, reducing risk of Type 2 Diabetes and slowing down brain decline (which beer is known for, too.) We think these are good excuses to kick back and relax with a glass of vino every single night. Bottoms up!

But back to the wedding...
More dancing - a plate smashed on the floor (traditional), Greek dancing - the simple type for us foreigners led by Mike who did a great job of bringing people up onto the floor (traditional), the various individual dances - around the candle and with everyone crouching around the dancer (traditional - and strange for me - not female ! )  , Throwing paper towels into the air at the dancer (traditional I understand!)

and no guns !!!  (Hmpphhh!!)

He said it was a quiet wedding by local standards... But we wish Nikos and Susanne every happiness for their future....
I raise my glass to them and say "Yamas!!"

And what can be better at the end of the day but to switch on the computer and find Radio West Wales playing Yanni on request and dedicating songs to those here in Crete - I lift my glass of Raki to you Alan Evans..  Yamas!!!


Place of the day

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