"Tales from Messinia"

Discuss here topics regarding the Messinian Peninsula: Messini, Velika, Petalidi, Chrani, Koroni, Finikounda, Methoni, Pylos, Gargaliani and all the other marvelous villages inbetween...
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john m
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"Tales from Messinia"

Post by john m » Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:24 pm

A new start.......... Geographically not far from the coast & holiday areas of Messinia, but in terms of life & ideology light years away, lies the hill village of Hatzi.
Hatzi is the centre of my universe & as a lot of you will know, has been for approaching four years now.
Away from the "rat race" that we all know in England, or elsewhere as the case may be, life here is simple although not as one would imagine, uncomplicated. The original "Tales from Messinia" thread was mainly to describe what was in the early days "Bloopers" concerning cultural differences that were amusing . Strange, but a lot of those early things seem fairly normal now & in fact on a recent flying visit to the U.K. I found life there strange..... odd
To set the stage - Hatzi is a community of around two hundred and fifty souls & is the regional centre of Voufrathes county (a sub district of Pylos) We can be found off the main Messini to Pylos road, by turning right just after the village of Kazarma, which itself is near to the stunning little area of the Polilimnio lakes & falls. This is a new road now, having been recently reconstructed from the original, the "Kamikaze" bends have now gone & the wide road climbs rather boringly through Petritsi (of wine festival fame) & to Hatzi, thereafter to the large hill town of Hora (of Nestors palace & museum) Keep with me now ! The village itself has two decent tavernas, three Kaffenions
and a sort of a bar which is brightly decorated & employs a couple of very friendly girls of eastern European origin. With me so far ?
Mainly all here are farmers, olive & grapes mainly, although several more "exotic" fruits are now being cultivated by the more forward looking - Kiwi & sharon fruit (persimon hybrid) but to name a couple. I suppose here is a village much like anywhere else really - close community, large extended families, some members even having six fingers & webbed feet ! (only joking!) But apart from the total
"noseyness" which you do get used to, a sense of belonging that is difficult to describe. This is my world & I hope to add from time to time some amusing facts, some sad ones & some of general area interest. Also, if anyone else can add to the "Tales" with any of their experiences, it would be good........... Let's watch this space then !
Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

nickandchris
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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by nickandchris » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:14 pm

Can't wait, John!!! Glad to hear your road is finished, as I expect you are......

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saunders
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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by saunders » Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:29 pm

Sounds great john m
looking foreward to "tales" from your world

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Lilian
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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by Lilian » Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:49 pm

Yes, John, a Messinian tale is well over due :)
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Dawnie
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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by Dawnie » Sun Jan 06, 2008 12:21 am

Oh John to live in your world,ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Well maybe one day :)

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john m
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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by john m » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:42 pm

THE STOVE

Call me Ishmael - Always wanted to do that ! For me, those first few words by Mellville have always been a favourite, much like the guitar rif to Layla by Eric Clapton/Derick & the Dominoes. Anyway I digress. Call me Naive more like it, when me moved to the house, one of the things that delighted us was the large open fire. Thoughts of long cosy winter nights in, all "shuttered" down & listening to the howling wind, glass in hand in front of a huge log fire, seemed to be the stuff of dreams. The reality of course is to fuel this dream, vast amounts of wood are required. For the past three years, we have on average, managed to burn around ten tonnes of wood each winter !
So far the wood has cost us nothing, but has involved a village friend, tractor & trailor, chain saws & a considerable amount of effort to locate suitable trees (oak mainly) & turn then into firewood. I would at this point add that the trees concerned are felled with regard to good forest management & with respect to the environment (honestly your honour - he said I could chop it down !) when in use, the firewood then had to be transported a boxfull at a time upstairs to the house (main living accomodation is on first floor) & on average around 50-60 kilos per night were consumed.
We had already decided that something had to be done regarding the situation & after the summer fires & terrible loss of trees to the Peloponnese, this clinched it.
Friends swear by their woodburning stove for heat ouput & economy, so we decided that would be the road to take, also several Greek friends enthused about the "soba" as well & showed us exactly where we should locate it..... Err slap bang in the middle of the room!
Now I know the Greeks are right in their logic - a stove in the middle of the room, with up to twenty or thirty feet of exposed chimney flue proudly presented all across the room IS the way to get max. efficiency, but for the sake of cosmetic appearence & safety, we decided to go the way of all non believers, by fitting the stove in the origional fire place, much to the dismay & po, po, po'ing of all our by now growing number of advisors!
We decided after extensive searching, on a stove from one of the first places we looked, so a point to remember guys, is don't take your wife with you on this kind of shop ! The stove shop in Messini is brilliant (I call it the stove shop cos that's all he sells) Loads of shapes & sizes, mainly produced locally in Tripolli he tells me & also has all manner of spares as well, should the need arise. The deal was struck & stove delivered the very next day, complete with gratis flue pipe. The guy from the shop has a bad back so he tells me, so in the delivery truck is your man & three relatives to assist with the lift. All are happy at the top of the drive & looking at the apartment door downstairs, which is only a few feet away. The look changes somewhat when they are advised that I want the stove upstairs - two steps up from the drive, then four steps up to the bottom of the front door stair way, then just thirteen steps to the front door ! What a sorry sight, all of us, yes me as well totally kna****ed by the time we reached the top. A thing I hadn't quite realized until that point ,just how heavy the damn things are ! Cheerfulness was restored, by the application of several glasses of ouzo & there I was, the proud owner of a brand new, very heavy cast iron stove.
Fitting was next - don't want to go on too much here, unless anyone else is thinking of doing a similar thing, in which case I will of course be glad to provide detailed instructions of every single painful process! In the main - rip out mantle shelf, take large hammer, very large hammer drill/chisel, bash out as much masonry as req. plaster up, fit closing plate in chimney (oh - sweep chimney first !) fit flue pipe up chimney & lift stove into place - for this you will require assistance of a large extremely strong person (my wife - the saintly Gerri is available for hire for such occasions !)
The stove is now in place & has been for a couple of months, a real success story, heat ouput is great, we use only half the amount of wood as before & the heat actually travells between rooms, with the open fire, you could leave bedroom doors open for ever & the heat would never travell across the hall way by even one degree, now heat is all through. Greek friends still say it's a cr*p place to put a stove however & we should never have got rid of the open fire - can't win em all I suppose ?
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Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

sax kitten
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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by sax kitten » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:38 am

I'm glad it's such a success, John. Hopefully we'll eventually need to ask your advice!

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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by nickandchris » Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:38 pm

We'll be thinking of you, John, as we scour our local beaches in the vain hope of finding some decent sized pieces of wood to burn in our grossly inefficient open fire.

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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by SusieH » Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:12 am

You and Geri are def in the right place John, bloody great snow storm here today plus floods and traffic chaos!!!!!!

We might invest in one of your burners, neighbour has one and his lounge is def warmer than ours with a log fire - and you can always open the front and see the fire if you get withdrawal symptoms!!

Have a feeling we might hit the same problem as you though, they have a choice of a 1 in 4 60 foot slope or 13 steps - and Brit white van men do not bring helpers with them!!!! That is if they bring a small van in the first place, if it comes on a lorry they will have to hike it half a mile up a one in 4 LOL

Susie

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john m
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Re: "Tales from Messinia"

Post by john m » Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:24 am

Good morning to you Susie - long time no speak ! It's not so good here either, pouring down yesterday & to make it worse, being dragged around the shops in Kalamata !
Nostalgia is not what it used to be.

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