Soaking up some rays on the paralia this Sunday lunchtime – yes, sunbathing on the 12th of January – while watching the Proteus arrive and depart and marvelling at the fact that the molos paint-job from early August is still white(ish) and graffiti-free, we encountered Vassilis Spirou, readying his Barramares bar to re-open in a week or so. (Sit on the paralia for long enough and the whole of Skopelos will pass by eventually.) Vassilis explained that our current run of toasty daytimes is the near-annual alkyonides meres, halcyon days, the curious climatic phenomenon of fine weather that often follows New Year and can persist into February. The name refers both to the myth of Alcyoneus, whose seven daughters threw themselves into the sea when he was slain by Heracles, only for Amphitrite to transform them into halcyons, kingfishers, which breed at this time of year, but also to the group of tiny islands of the same name in the Gulf of Corinth. Wikipedia has a slew of other alkyonides facts as well. Alas, Vassilis gives us until around the 15th before a change in the weather, and there’s still plenty of time for blizzards before Easter.