Sun, olives, lamb and baklava

On a hot summer evening in the Aegean olives have a zingy, comforting flavour that’s missing at home. The same goes for watermelon. Served up free at many restaurants what is often a tasteless fruit in Scotland oozed honey sweet juice, and served chilled was wonderfully refreshing. Husband even made a drink with it and iced water.

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Pefkos – never heard of it!

Pefkos was something of a revelation, though I’m not sure exactly what I expected.

The Stella Hotel stay was a last-minute deal too good not to take advantage of. Self-catering, so that gave me a few qualms in case we were miles from a supermarket and restaurants. I needn’t have worried, but perhaps the fact I did suggests Pefkos doesn’t sell itself to its advantage.

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You too can have one

We’re all well aware of logos, trademarks, advertising gimmicks and slogans used to promote companies, organisations and goods. We’re bombarded with them wherever we look. Some are trusted household names, a few may carry disliked baggage, others may be brash new kids on the block. But life without them is difficult to imagine.

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Closing down (a bit like 2015)

It was a great deal – the reason we went to Rhodes for two weeks rather than one as the cost was little more. We didn’t question why, vaguely thinking it was due to the lateness of the season, a quieter interlude before ramping up again for Christmas.

During the first week we merely enjoyed being there. But then we began to hear stories from staff of the hotel closing down at the end of the month. End of the summer season they said. They talked of longed-for holidays after working hard all through the summer. After that they would work on the land, pick olives, see what else became available, spin their money out and hope they could find another job to see them through to May when the hotel opened again.

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When Knights strode the streets

I expected old buildings conserved as museums or belonging to government departments or architectural firms, quiet, rather staid, keep off the grass and don’t touch the furnishings. I should have known better for, athough that’s the ethos in buildings belonging to Historic Scotland, Edinburgh’s old town certainly isn’t like that.

Staid certainly isn’t what met us as we walked through d’Amboise Gate into the old city of Rhodes whose walls are a legacy to the Knights Hospitallers of St John who bought the island in 1306, replacing much of the Byzantine walls but keeping the foundations.

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Extra for life vests

One third of the 1000 Syrian refugees to be relocated in the UK before Christmas will be coming to Scotland, with the new arrivals shared across half the country’s local council areas. A Scottish government minister has said Scotland’s response to the humanitarian crisis has been phenomenal, with everyone working hard to ensure a warm welcome to those who come here seeking protection, safety and security.

Scotland’s first refugees will be settled on the Isle of Bute, a small island in the Firth of Clyde on Scotland’s west coast. Over the next five years the UK government has pledged to take in up to 20,000 refugees.

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A multi-faceted historical mosaic

It was dark when we arrived, and as our bus whisked us from airport to hotel all we saw were the lit windows of shops and their tarpaulin-covered extensions where racks and rails of colourful goods ranged across pavements like chess pieces on a board.

The first real taste of our holiday came when after our meal we wandered outside to explore the hotel grounds. As we stepped through the automatic doors, warmth hit us, as did the sounds from the outdoor entertainment area with its stage and bar, people wearing short-sleeved t-shirts or floaty dresses and flip-flops relaxing in chairs.

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