I did think that before I wrote this I would know whether Greece would still be in the eurozone or not and maybe make a comment or two about this. However, it appears that one of the rules governing the Euro Zone operation is that there are interminable meetings and if in doubt, have another one. In former years, I might have thought this was a pretty democratic way of operating. Now I know differently. It means that the most powerful countries have not got their way and in the end they will bully you into submission by endless meetings. I used to work in an environment like this. In the end I resigned. Life is far too short and fortunately, I had the choice to get on with things. So I think maybe I will just get on and write this!
Walking is a wonderful activity. Not only does it give you physical exercise, it is also good for the senses and the mind. At present, It is very hot here by 9am. So one day last week, I set off about 7.15 am to walk for a couple of hours up behind the house. And while I have done this walk a number of times, each time it produces different scents, different light, different experiences and different thoughts.
On the first part of the walk I admired a number of pretty, blue flowers with spiky leaves. There are not so many flowers now which can deal with the hot sun so this was a real treat. I wasn’t sure what they were but later, my neighbour, Nikos, told me they were a kind of thistle, in Greek it is called ενα γαϊδουράγκαθο. Not so easy to remember as thistle!
Then, Ι arrived at the ancient olive tree and found it shimmering in the early morning sunshine.
It was a delight to watch and my camera only gives a hint of what it looked liked. It is even more amazing to think that this tree has been there for over 3000 years and it still has the power to impress, to encourage you to think about the past and to feel very privileged to see such a wonderful sight.
Then, I walked up to a small church,
above the olive tree which has a wonderful view of the Mirabello Bay. I walked into the church, immediately felt peace and then I lit a candle
and wished good things for the Greek government and its people.
Then on past Azoria, where for a month, students from the University of North Carolina have been carrying more excavations at the archaelogical site.
It’s hot work so working in the early morning has to be better than later. I then met a number of goats and was reminded of our own goats at Sunnyside. Good memories!
I turned left down the Kavousi gorge but had a quick look upwards to the next gorge which is a very fine but longer walk. Not for this day though.
One of the most wonderful aspects of Greek holidays was the smell of herbs. At this time of year, thyme and sage are in abundance and the strength of the scent and the colour of the thyme is a huge joy.
Later in the week, our neighbour, Yianni, came over about 9pm carrying a bowl of wonderful potatoes, fried in oil and rosemary. It was a lovely surprise and it meant two meals that night as we had already eaten! We drank raki and learned more about his family and himself and he gave us a great Greek lesson as well! I now intend using my neighbour’s expertise as to maximising the use of own rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, basil and parsely plants.
I continued down the gorge and paused to admire Kavousi and it’s beautiful setting.
And then our house came into view.
It’s the yellow one, right in the middle at the front of the picture to the left of the tree. I could see our new pergola, the closed shutters of the spare room, keeping as much heat out of the house as possible and the small shed at the back! It is not the best view of the house but it provided me more happy thoughts.
But my last thought was of Bonnie. She died a year ago and has been missed greatly. She would have loved such a walk – so many smells and while she would have been hot because of her thick coat, she would not have wanted to miss it. Recently we visited her grave at Hans and Hanneke’s house
and thought again of what she contributed to our lives.
Whilst the walk was a delight for me, John and I have also enjoyed a number of social occasions with our Greek class. The first was at Helene and Bernard’s house
eating fine salads and strawberries.
Then we went to Shona and Rich’s house and enjoyed a great selection of mezes, washed down by white wine, with a wonderful view of the sea.
It was nice to get to know people a bit better away from the pressure of remembering whether the Greek verb is simple or continuous!
We also enjoyed a game of boule at Hans and Hanneke’s, together with Walter and Brigitte.
Walter was the winner but maybe next time………………..
We have enjoyed a quiet couple of weeks at the house. The bougainvilla is flourishing.
and the barbecues are wonderful.
We have been cycling to Tholos to swim, wonderful on the way down but a bit hot on the way back!
but there is always a beer to look forward to.
John has been doing a bit of DIY (note our wonderful vine in the background)
and he made and put up two fly screens on the window in the bathroom where you can see our mandarin tree
and in our bedroom. They fit beautifully and now it means we can have some air as well as no bugs!
We wait with some anxiety for the discussions going on today in Brussels, not for ourselves but for the Greek people. They, in my view, correctly supported their Government last Sunday and now all the parties, except two, have joined up with Syriza to provide a united front in terms of negotiations with the European Union this week. The government has accepted cuts that the European Union wanted but it wants a programme of debt relief as well, now accepted by the International Monetory Fund.
In the meantime the banks are shut and we know this is very difficult for people locally running businesses. It appears that the Greeks are being punished by the European Union both economically and psychologically for trying to put forward an alternative approach to dealing with their debt and for trying to have some kind of dialogue on the subject. At present my candle ‘wish’ in the small church near Kavousi remains a wish.