Saturday, 13 June 2009

Church Going in Rhodes

St Francisco Roman Catholic Church, Rhodes Town

One thing I like to do when I go away is to visit the local church. It isn't always easy to find a Roman Catholic Church in Greece but it is in Rhodes Town. There are two! I usually go to this one called the Church of San Francisco, (St Francis) mainly because it's on the bus route from where we stay and there's a bus stop right outside the church.

The other church is an older one in the centre of the town near the casino. I had a problem finding it the first time I visited Rhodes and I've never gone back to it. What a luxury finding two churches so close together!

It's quite a modern church and it has a huge, wonderful painting of St Francis on the altar. I wanted to take a picture after the service but unfortunately another service followed immediately afterwards so I could only take a picture from the back of the church very quickly. It's quite poor unfortunately, you get the scale of the painting but not the detail. I'll be back in Rhodes in September so maybe I can get a better one then.

What I found strange last year was they have started to do the Mass in Latin and with a lot of singing. I'm ashamed to admit I've forgotten most of the Latin I used to know and they didn't have a Mass card in Latin and English, or if they did I didn't get one.

There are greeters at the back of the church and they welcome you and give you a sheet with the readings in your language. Not sure they had them for all the nationalities there but the main ones are covered. I don't know why they have gone back to the Mass in Latin but it was quite nice and brought back some memories. The priest sounds like he's from Yorkshire, he's been there for quite a long time but he is quite a serious chap! He speaks a few languages and has a bit of a chat to people in French, Italian, Greek and English which is quite nice.

If you go there for Mass be prepared, it starts at 10 am on Sundays but it's quite a bit longer than ours. The last one I went to was nearly an hour and was followed by benediction. The week before it lasted over an hour as there was a local couple renewing their wedding vows after forty years which was quite nice.

It's interesting too that the church is also used for Anglican services.

Outside the church is a statue of St Francis with the prayer inscribed around it in numerous languages including Hebrew. I did take a photo of the prayer and checked that it was quite clear to read but I can't find it on the camera now. Weird!

St Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Computer Says No!

I've created a new blog to keep my computer witterings separate form my general blog ramblings. I know they can get a bit boring.

If anyone is interested the stuff is here on Computer Says No!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Life on Mars - The BBC Version

Life on Mars
I started a new blog on my telly addiction as I seemed to be posting so much on that topic.

Now I'm not really sure whether that's a good idea so I'd be pleased if you have any comments about this. Is it easier to just follow one blog or do people prefer to have the choice of optIng in or out of blogs geared to specific topics?

Well the first posting is here on my Telly Addict blog and it's on Life on Mars-the BBC version. So if you're interested please pay it a visit you'll be very welcome.

Picture above is a screen dump from Life on Mars website.

Monday, 8 June 2009


Well I’ve just got back from 2 weeks holiday in Rhodes and never mind trying to recover from an overnight flight and settling back into the old routine, I’m trying to adjust to a different climate altogether. Talk about global warming, well it’s not happening here in England, I’m freezing.

I haven’t touched a computer for over 2 weeks and I got back to find that my incoming emails have been rejected due to my email box being full. Guess what? Tiscali didn’t notify me about this until it was about to start rejecting my emails and that was after I had gone on holiday. So apologies to anyone who has contacted me and got their email sent back to them. Now I’m still trying to figure out why the email box was full when I’d deleted all my old emails from Outlook before I went away. I suspect that I also have to delete them again from my Tiscali email account. Well I’ve done that and the account is OK now. What a pain!

Well on with the show as they say. I’ve had a fantastic holiday and as usual done very little other than eat, drink, swim, play with my grandchildren and read. I’m not the greatest tourist in the world I’ve been to Rhodes five times now and I’ve seen very little of it. I do love Rhodes Town though, the old one and I always go there and have a wander around the back streets on Sundays after I’ve been to church. I’ll do a posting of that, maybe next week.

Old Rhodes Town

In the meantime I’ll describe one of the books I read. I’m not a prolific reader, I never seem to have time but when I’m on holiday I usually manage to read about five or six books.

The Island by Victoria Hislop was the one I enjoyed most, it’s one of the best books I’ve read in ages.The novel begins in present day London where Alexis is about to go on holiday and to decide on major changes to her life. She’s going to Plaka in Crete, the place where her mother, Sofia, grew up. Her mother refuses to speak about her past but she gives Alexis a letter to give to an old friend, Fortina who will tell her the story.

As she questions her mother’s friend, Alexis uncovers the family secrets and her mother's, her grandmother's, and her great-grandmother's past and their connection with Spinaloga.
This island of Spinalonga was Greece's main leper colony from 1903 to 1957 and the book paints an intimate picture of what life was like for the lepers living on the island. It’s a compelling and moving story with vividly drawn characters and the wonderful setting of Crete which she describes in beautiful detail.

The book portrays people’s fears and prejudices about leprosy and the hardships of life for those who were stigmatised and banished to Spinalonga. It’s an eye opener and raises awareness about the disease. Although today the disease is totally curable, over 600,000 people are diagnosed with leprosy every year. So if you’re like me and don’t know much about leprosy or how you can help, you can visit the LEPRA website
to find out more.

I had a couple of reservations about some aspects of the story but on the whole I found it a fascinating book, interesting and well researched and although leprosy is at the centre of the story it’s not all gloom! It’s a heart warming and charming read which I really enjoyed. Even better was the fact it was a bargain, I found it in the Poundland shop!

The book made me want to go back to Crete one day and visit Spinalonga to see for myself the setting for the book.

In the meantime here’s an interesting video clip of the haunting setting for the book.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Airports - Don't you just love them!

We got back from two weeks holiday in Rhodes a few days ago and I'm still feeling totally disoriented and wondering why.

We've been there a few times before, have had night flights a couple of times too and on the plus side we weren't delayed this year, I don't have to go to work now but I'm still absolutely shattered and can't get back into any sort of routine. Maybe it seems worse because of how much longer you have to spend in the airport due to security measures, however I'm sure it's partly due to the poor state of Rhodes airport, even though it's a new extension.

We were taken to Rhodes airport three hours before the flight was due to be called. Now that's not a problem here, our local airport is OK. It's not exactly Heathrow but it's easy to while away the time in the various cafes, pubs and range of shops before you are called to the embarkation gate. When you are called, you are only in the gate area for a short time, the seats are not that bad and the loos are good. However in Rhodes it's a different story altogether.

This year we stood for well over an hour and a half in the check in line. What a shambles! Not an easy thing standing for that long at 1.30 in the morning for anyone, never mind the elderly, disabled and children. There were only four metal seats in the whole of that check in area.

One thing that kept us occupied whilst we awaited was wondering whether the woman who literally rolled onto the airport transfer bus would be allowed to board. She was more than half cut and her husband looked a bit the worse for wear too! She wandered around the airport with a large bottle of water looking for goodness knows what and couldn't walk in a straight line. The tour company staff were trying to keep an eye on her but were convinced she wouldn't be allowed to board. People in the queue were all saying they would refuse to sit beside them on the plane, have to say I was a bit worried about that.

Due to how long the Rhodes airport staff took to check us in, she managed to look sober and they did let her through. Well they wouldn't want her left in the airport would they! When we got to the gate we then observed a tug o' war between the pair of them over her handbag, not sure why but eventually he left her and she sat down with her water bottle. Luckily they were very quiet and caused no more trouble. She probably went to sleep, I never saw either of them again even at the other end. Maybe she's still sitting there.

After you check in you have to go straight to the departure gate, well there's is nothing else to do. Also despite the airport being greatly enlarged, they still only have two small duty free shops, one pathetic cafe and half a dozen appalling loos that I've never seen clean or all working so imagine the queues! The worst thing however is the seating, there isn't enough and people have to sit on the floor. However the seats themselves are disgusting, uncomfortable metal ones that after five minutes you need to get up and walk about to keep your circulation going.

Nice way to spend a night!

Now I'm sure this airport is bigger than ours in Newcastle, so why can't they provide similar facilities? You feel like they are treating you like goods on a factory line, just processing you through dumping you at the departure gate with no consideration for your level of comfort. It also seems like they're missing a trick on the income side too with having few opportunities to while away the time with retail therapy.

I've made my mind up that I'm still going to go to Rhodes, let's face it most airports in the Greek Islands are worse than here. But this is the last time I'll take an overnight flight, no matter how reasonably priced the holiday is!

Never mind it was a lovely holiday and I'll post some photos later.
Now I must try to catch up on looking at people's blogs, I'm way behind and wondering how everyone is.

My Singer 338!

Well here it is my very first sewing machine, the one I got for my 21st birthday in 1966! I know it cost my Mam  a lot to buy it for me...