I am not tempted to go out today and so it is a good opportunity to write a small contribution for the blog. The reason for the lack of movement here, is that the weather is pretty dull, a bit cold with some rain in the air. This has been the case for a few days.
It is not like this in the south of the island. Yesterday, John and I went to Ierapetra, only 15 kms away and there was a line across the sky, grey on one side, blue on the other. And so we walked along the fairly empty front in Ιεράπετρα in bright sunshine,
I suspect there would a lot less chance of seeing such a person indulging in this activity on the north coast. The reason, I think, is do with the prevailing north wind. Cloud accumulates on the hills behind us while the south coast experiences more wind but bright sunshine. It appears rather unusually that this weather has got stuck! However, there is always a positive to be found and that came last night when the sun finally arrived here, still with a background of dark clouds but it did make for a dramatic picture!
made us think that we did need some coloured lights! Now we haven’t had them all the time we have lived in Crete, so it is possible to live without them but suddenly I felt my life would be enriched by some! So yesterday, John went to his favourite electrical shop in Ιεράπετρα where they have everything. And we are now the proud owners of 80 lights. John found the ideal, and possibly only location in the house, to put them – round the mirror.
Christmas here, as has been said before, has a quieter feel to it than in the UK. Many families are involved in November and December, in olive picking. The word ‘κουρασμένος’ meaning ‘tired’, is often heard at present when one asks how someone is. Our neighbours or their families have all been out in the fields and that is the priority for people’s livelihoods. But last week, our neighbour, Μαrία, had finished olive picking and brought over a colourful salt and pepper and a jolly, little tea pot as a gift
But I can’t stop myself getting excited a little by Christmas. So when our Greek teacher, Manolis, told us about a pantomime locally, that he was appearing in, John and I decided we had to go. The pantomime was ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and was organized by, as it says on its website, ‘The Cultural Organisation of the Foreign Residents of Άγιος Νικόλαος’ called in short ‘INCO’. It was held in α church hall in Neapoli and was a delight from beginning to end. It was a very British production and so funny from my perspective. All kinds of characters appeared, not just those related to Jack and the Beanstalk, such as Angela Merkel, dwarfs, fairies, Mr Bean, Rose and Jack from the Titanic, ‘Take That’ and dancers from ‘Grease’! Μanolis was the Giant (see cover picture) and he was very good. I particularly enjoyed the scene where he was eating an enormous souvlaki. Below is the cast and Μαnolis receiving the applause, he deserves.
There was a raffle at half time, a solo performance by Βαλάντω Περάκης who has a beautiful voice and then singing some carols with the choir of INCO, led by the producer of the show, Carolyn Watson, who became the conductor! It was hugely enjoyable and congratulations to all those involved.
I sent most of the Christmas cards and presents from Ierapetra Post Office. This took some time, not because anybody else was sending Christmas presents and cards but because many people have bills to pay at this time of year. Inevitably I did not buy enough stamps for the number of cards I wanted to send. I remembered later that someone had recommended giving letter and cards to our excellent postman, another Manolis, who comes to our door with our post and to pay him for the stamps, which he would send later. But I decided, instead, to go and buy a few stamps in the nearest Post Office at Pacchia Ammos.
It was closed to my surprise on a Tuesday at 10.30am. I was about to come back home and then decided to ask in the supermarket next door for times of opening. To my surprise, an old lady sitting near the till, got up very slowly and I was told that she would open the Post Office for me. We walked slowly to the Post office, she opened the door and I walked into what turned out to be her living room with a counter for the Post Office. I asked for 10 stamps at 90 cents. I ended up with 3 stamps because that was all she had, but we had a nice conversation about where I lived and I learned a little about her and her house. It was not such a good experience in terms of the service provided by the Post Office but I would love to go back and find out more about her life!
Our Greek classes continue and Manolis, not only delivers the lessons, but he sees his adult education remit as including letting us know about events in which he thinks we will be interested. We can’t go to everything but it is great to find out more about what is available. So one Friday in December, we went to a lecture in Agios Nikolaos with our friends Pauline and Chris, about the Minoan Civilisation, given by Αμαλία Γεναράκη (Amalia Generaki), lecturer in English language and Terminology from the University of Crete. The lecture was held in the Lyceum Club of Greek Women, which in itself, has an interesting history having been set up 100 years ago to promote and support traditional skills and crafts of women. You can see some of the exhibits in the pictures. The club is still very active today.
The bookings for friends and family coming to visit next year are coming in now but first, Annie and Gideon arrive on Tuesday night for a stay of over two weeks, followed next week by our mutual friends, Kate and Dod. The work in the spare room is finished and it looks very nice.
Now, I do need to go out and feed our neighbour Christopher’s, cat. I thought I would feed her in his garden but found that most of the other cats in the area seem to think I was feeding them too! So she is now fed inside
Merry Christmas, everybody