I was reminded by a friend that news from Crete had been conspicuous by its absence in the last few weeks, with the exception of a comment on the referendum in Scotland by John. It was a nice feeling to know that you are remembered by someone, particularly when you haven’t given them anything to remind them of you! So it is with some pleasure that I take a break and reflect on the time since we came back to our house after a five week holiday.
In September here, there is a slight decrease in the temperature but only marginal. There is now the odd day of cloud but generally the temperature is nearly 30 degrees. The main change is that it feels cooler at night and so the early morning is really pleasant. The sea is as warm as it is going to be in the year.
The seasonal fruits are grapes, figs, pomegranates and huge melons. We have grapes on the terrace but some were affected by a kind of disease, also affecting neighbours’ plants but we have been able to eat some. However, even if we hadn’t, our neighbours have provided large quantities of them. They are completely delicious but there are only so many you can eat so attempts are being made to dry them and make raisins, specially for John’s Christmas cake. At this moment, Eftιxia, our elderly neighbour, is banging almonds with a hammer!
Whilst weather-wise it feels still like summer here, there are changes all around. Holidays are over, the Athenian relatives have gone back to Athens and the neighbours can once again sit in their favourite spot and ‘chew the fat’. For some reason they get displaced in the summer by the less friendly folk who appear for their month’s holiday in August. We like it now too because we were having real difficulty finding a place to park our car and now it is back to normal for us ‘locals’! The Greek classes have started, as has tennis coaching, although this year I’ve decided to forgo the coaching and try to play more games. There are very few tourists now in Paxia Ammos or Tholos, except a jeep company which still brings large numbers of French tourists to Tholos beach, much to our disgust! In more touristy areas the season does last longer.
There have been a couple of events too that were celebrated locally. One was a wedding which we found out about by chance. Our friends, Moira and Stewart, came to stay over the period of Moira’s birthday. The night before that celebration, we had eaten lamb and potatoes cooked in the oven by John when we heard the faint sounds of music. We decided to investigate and found that the music came from the local school, though no longer used as such, where a wedding reception was being held. We stood around looking and then were invited in by Demetri, the brother of the groom, whom I knew a little. We sat beside our neighbours and took in the atmosphere. There was a great band, Greek dancing, apparently 900 people there and huge amounts of food and drink. The bride and groom came round and toasted everybody. It was a lovely feeling. A few days later, I took an envelope with a contribution for the wedding to Demetri, and of course as is the custom, I came back home with two bottles of red wine from him!
The Greek Orthodox Church programme of days marking Saints continues and I found myself interested in St Fanourios as I was not familiar with the name. Clearly for Maria, our neighbour, he was pretty important given that there were church services, cake and family celebrations. This is his special delicious cake.
I looked him up on the internet. An icon was found which had his name on it and pictures which showed him being tortured. Nothing more was ever known about him but because the pictures showed him being strong in the face of this torture, he was made a saint. His name is invoked in services when prayers are asked for the recovery of things lost. I decided this did have some relevance to my life so have taken more notice of him than I might otherwise have done, invoking his name when I lose my glasses!
John and I have enjoyed the visits of Moira and Stewart
and then Jan and Barry.
We visited the market, introduced them to our neighbours and Moira and I did manage a walk to the old olive tree. They helped us eat offerings from our neighbours and were very supportive in their comments about our Greek.
We had a nostalgic trip with Jan and Barry, revisiting our old home in Ferma and a look at the villages in the hills, including the graveyard in Agios Ioannis.
and a nice meal at a taverna.
Moira’s birthday was celebrated rather dramatically by a huge downpour of rain when we were about to eat. The taverna staff put basins underneath the places that rain came through the roof! Fortunately none of it came near us.
but it just added to the celebrations.
While Moira and Stewart were here, the removal firm to Crete, Nomad, arrived with the rest of our possessions. We have nothing left in the store in Dumfries which is great. However, we do have a lot of stuff here that may be of dubious value! Nomad told us they would deliver our piano and so they did although the three people lifting it on a terrible surface outside our house looked a lot the worse of wear after it was put in our dining room.
They did deliver it at 12 noon which wasn’t the best of times! But Nomad are a very efficient company and I would recommend them if you ever want to move your possessions out to Crete!
We had an afternoon of moving all the boxes with files from my life to one shed, Rosie’s snowboards and other boxes to another shed and I did unpack some long lost friends like my toasted sandwich maker, the picture I received when I left Aberdeenshire Council, all the trophies we as a family won over the years are now displayed on the piano and John’s family’s rocking chair.
And with the piano, life is just perfect now!!!
John’s boat, Skillogalee, was finally sold a couple of weeks ago. We did say a sad farewell to her while we were in Scotland. Thanks to Ian who is now the proud owner of her. Life is going to be a bit different without Bonnie and Skilly!
In a couple of days time, we go for another holiday to Athens. We are meeting up with my second cousin, Norm and his wife, Loni from British Columbia. We are looking forward to that. My last visit was in 1973! So that is where we will find out the result of the referendum. My own vote (which I don’t have, quite rightly) would be for a proper federal set-up in the UK with England having its own parliament as well but unfortunately that is not an option, which I very much regret. I have dallied with the idea of a separate Scottish state but I can’t square it with my deep dislike of nationalism and patriotic fervour. Don’t think I will take my Scottish flag to Athens!
Now back to my Greek homework ………….