And life goes on

Vai Beach

Sheila is about to order prints from our holiday to the Orient for the photograph album, which is a sure sign that the trip has been consigned to the memory! Greek lessons are well and truly back on track and our first visitors of the new season have been and gone, although as you shall learn that was not without its difficulties. So life in Kavousi resumes its usual pattern as we get on with our lives here in paradise.

Spring has arrived – it’s official! The buds on the σταφύλια (grape vines) are beginning to appear, sometime after our friend Thassos came, unbeknown to us, to prune back last year’s growth. I have been looking out for them ever since we arrived home and finally, at the beginning of the week, after a few days of sunshine, out they came – including new growth on the cutting that I grew and planted out last year.

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Flowers too are beginning to appear

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although they must have got a tremendous shock from the terrible winds which we have had here over the past few days (of which more later). Unfortunately, the blossom on the mandarin and orange and lemon trees have suffered badly and it remains to be seen how our crop will develop as the year progresses.

As mentioned, our first visitors arrived last week from Scotland. Crete was a new venue for both Maggie and Andrew so we could have hoped for better weather for their arrival, particularly after the sunshine of the previous week. Unfortunately, their first few days were not great but it did at least mean that a few walks were undertaken, to Tholos along the high road and back on the paved road (with me on my bike),

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the lower gorge, Azorias and the ancient olive tree and the highlight last Saturday in the sunshine, up the E4 to Thripti where I met them in the car. As an added bonus, the taverna in the village was open so we enjoyed a drink (well-earned on the part of the three of them) together with copious plates of μεζέδες (mese).

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Food-wise, we also had a memorable evening at Bobo’s taverna eating κατσικάκι στο φούρνο (goat in the oven)

We also took in a trip to Tertsa and Myrtos and back through the mountains

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and last Sunday, again in the sunshine, a visit to the east coast, including Vai beach, Itanos and Xerokambos.

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On their last day here, they walked to the waterfall in Koutsounari while we had our Greek lesson and then caught the afternoon bus to Heraklion where they intended to stay for two nights, taking in Knossos and the archaeological museum before returning to Scotland on Wedenesday.

As we all know however, the best laid plans do not always work out! We are used to very strong winds here in Crete but the last couple of days have been unusual even for here. The southerly winds have a profound effect in the north of the Island where the wind picks up speed as it comes over the mountains. Apparently it was Force 12 in the west and the Force 10 in Heraklion was enough to mean that no flights departed or arrived on Wednesday. In fact the airport was closed. This meant that Andrew and Maggie had to stay another night. No great hardship in itself of course, as long as you are retired with nothing important to get back to, although I seem to recall that Maggie was supposed to playing golf the following day!

One other aspect of the southerly wind which is worth mentioning is that occasionally it brings with it, clouds of dust from the Sahara. What this meant on Wednesday was that the sun was blotted out and the world was turned yellow. Our cameras are not sophisticated enough to record this phenomenon but our friend Rich took the following shot from their house on the south coast (thanks to Rich for use of the photo).

Saharan dust

There were three ‘casualties’ here, as a result of the wind. Firstly, the remaining ‘old’ plastic sun lounger smashed itself to bits against a wall, the cupboard outside the kitchen door blew over, smashing all the clay and china flower pots inside and the car was covered in brown dust. So, with great glee, Sheila dispatched the sun lounger to join its ‘friend’ at the rubbish tip (see last Post), we now have lots of broken pottery for the base of what will in future be plastic flower pots and this morning we had to wash the car! It could have been worse.

And finally, next week we go back to the UK for ten days or so. The main reason is to attend the UK memorial service for my sister Bridget, who died in Canada last year. The service will be held at Mells in Somerset where we grew up after WW2.

Village legend has it that Mells is the subject of the ‘Little Jack Horner’ nursery rhyme. John Horner was a King’s Messenger at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries in England and for his efforts, Henry VIII, allowed him to choose one of the deeds of various Manors, whIch he had brought from the Abbot of Glastonbury to London. He ‘put in his thumb and pulled out the plumb’ – being the deeds of Mells Manor, where the Horner family lived until recently. It’s a good story but I now read that there is some doubt as to its authenticity! All the same, I prefer to believe it.

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Mells is a beautiful village and I always love going back but this of course will be a bitter sweet visit. For the last day or so, I have been dusting off my tribute to my sister and re-writing it for the UK audience. Life goes on!

John

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2 thoughts on “And life goes on

  1. Pauline Williamson

    We so love reading your epistles. It all sounds very idyllic and relaxing. Pauline & Mike

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  2. Mairi Marlborough

    Hope all goes well at Bridget’s memorial John. Love your Jack Horner story – so many interesting bits of England we would love to visit.

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