14/04/2013

The beginning of the Adventure…

On arrival at the island, we were faced with what seemed like an overwhelming amount of renovation and refurbishment. From the 70’s blue bathrooms, to crumbling and cracked walls, rotting wood and to the chickens, which had made their home on and in almost everything! Most importantly Claire and I were not quite sure how we were going to afford all this work, and labour, what with Claire being a nurse, Donna, soon-to-be Mother and me, an art teacher & festival worker!

First thing to do I thought, was to call on my incredible friends… a working holiday! Having worked in festivals for 8 years, I was very fortunate enough to have a hugely talented, strong and willing group of friends.

During April 2012, 24 of these friends came out to help renovate the island. It was one of the greatest months of my life. To see the island slowly transform day by day, hear laughter and to see life returning back into the island, was just wonderful. It was during this time that my love for simple & honest cooking for a multitude of mouths, was realised. It was also a chance for me to get to know the local community and the Greek way of life, even with being half Greek, there was a lot to learn!

The renovations were well underway and after 5 months of incredible support and dedications we had renovated 6 bathrooms, scraped, filled and painted 3 houses, replaced doors and windows and build a yoga platform! During the renovations we always tried to remain true to the island, bringing her back to her former glory. While doing so we met the new generation of Greeks whose grandparents and parents shared a long standing history with our family and the island. We bought all our linen and bedding from the granddaughter of the man who used to buy all the wool from our sheep and the person who helped us put our yoga platform cover in place used to visit the island as a child and has many stories to tell involving Silver Island. This place has been just as much a part of their lives over the years as it has ours. To celebrate and thank everyone for their support in the completion of the refurbishment we held a thank you lunch, a day beautifully summed up by Evi our friend and linen supplier...

I would really like to thank you for having us over yesterday! Everything was amazing! You all were so kind and hospitable and I think you are all the perfect people in the perfect place! But I guess the real thank you is because while we were there, I felt all those things we forget in our everyday lives. The calmness and the silence and the simplicity of the sea, of the nature and pure white everywhere...a small story behind everything old and the way you respected it making it new! Reminded me why we should be thankful and proud for our roots. These days Greece is falling apart economically, ethically, socially, politically and you gave me the chance to feel the authentic Greek spirit again! You've done a fantastic job in Argironisos! Simple and natural things are the most beautiful. I might sound exaggerating but leaving the island left me so peaceful inside after a very long time! You've done this place magical! Thank you again

The things we have learnt from months of renovating in Greece, is that there is no need to stress, all will get done in the end! It certainly does not always feel that way, but it does all get done! We are blessed to have such incredible friends and family, without whose help we’d not have been able to realize this dream. We have also got to know and become part of a wonderful new community. They have welcomed us with open arms and have treated us like an old friend, where nothing is a problem, and they go out of their way to help. And when you offer them thanks they reply ‘Tipota’, ‘Its nothing’.

With many thanks to: James, Laura, Pamela, Aisha, Jo, Harriet, Anna, Jules, Mish, Tom, Finn, Lennie, Gaz, Marianne, John, Bobby, Al, Nick, Caroline, Robert, Lucie, Suzanne, Charlie, Gemma, Tom, Lizzie, Gareth, Kat, Rebecca, Helen, Clare, Doogie, Leon and Carmille, Carmen, Maria, Niamh and to our new Greek friends and family.