Last week we had my son James come to stay. In many ways, he is the ideal guest. He made his agenda clear from the outset – sun, sea, a modicum of exercise and plenty of beer! He read, sunbathed, swam, slept and was generally very self-contained. We enjoyed his company, conversation and good humour. It was a great week and we miss him now he has returned to London.
He and Sheila did the two gorges walk to the top of Kastro
and returned via the ancient olive tree where the small taverna has now opened, so I joined them for a celebratory beer.
We had already cycled to the ‘secret’ beach earlier in the week which was fabulous.
Later he borrowed my electric bike to put it through its paces with a trip to Mochlos and then back to Tholos. He covered nearly 30k which is not bad considering there are two major climbs,. He was impressed with the bike and I was pleased that he enjoyed it too!
A further highlight of his stay was a battle which we had with a flock of determined pigeons who suddenly showed a perverse interest in our grapes! It has to be said that said grapes are still far from being ripe but that did not seem to be the issue. The grapes were there and the Greek pigeon clearly has no respect for the property of foreigners!
We tried just about everything – water pistols, hand clapping, shouting, even the use of a high powered water jet but to no avail. As soon as our backs were turned, they would fly in from their vantage points on nearby telegraph wires and posts, land on the pergola and attack the fruit!
Finally, I had the idea of buying some green netting so James and I turned to, spread this over the vines and ‘wrapped’ the grapes so that the pigeons would be thwarted.
Then we sat back and waited. Sure enough, back they came, landed as before but clearly found the netting uncomfortable and retired to re-think their tactics. They still occasionally engineer a fly past just to check whether things have not changed but for the time being at least, they appear to have turned their attention to easier pickings elsewhere!
In a week when the European Football Championship was at its height, I felt that we had managed a narrow victory, perhaps 2-1 but on the other hand, the reality is that it is still only half-time!
Ripening grapes illustrates what a marvellous time it is here in Crete at present as fruits and flowers burst forth to brighten our lives.
My banana plants are looking splendid but as yet have not produced any bananas! Imagine my dismay then, when our neighbour Christopher announced last week that his one plant now had bananas! So we walked round later to have a look and sure enough, there they are!
My ‘plantation’ is now looking quite good, so I live in hope.
The ‘mother’ plant is splendid in appearance but a disappointment, so far …..
Christopher gave us a gift of one of his aubergines
and on the walk to his house we saw some pomegranates ripening up nicely.
Our neighbour’s fig tree is loaded with fruit so August should see us well provided because we can reach over and pick them from our terrace! That said, I am not that keen on figs.
Sheila’s hibiscus has produced some beautiful flowers of late (see cover photo) and the new bougainvillea is looking beautiful.
The ‘old’ one, we discovered, was actually a bush variety and therefore it was not surprising that it refused to climb and additionally, it hated the windy corner where we had put it. Now it has been moved, it has perked up no end and we now look forward to it flowering later in the year.
And the red chilli plant which Pauline and Chris gave us last year is producing extremely hot fruit, to the extent that we need rubber gloves to pick them!
Last but not least, is my latest avocado pear plant. They always seem to look OK at this stage of their development but at the end of the summer, they lose their leaves and never seem to recover. However, my cousin Liz tells me to be patient and they will come again next year. We shall see….
And finally, it is almost two years to the day that our beloved collie, Bonnie had to be put down. I still miss her and here is one of my favourite photos of her, taken at Sunnyside when she was still little more than a puppy.
But to end on a lighter note, Andy won again at Wimbledon which is about the only good ‘Summer’ news to come out of Britain for the past few weeks. Now, is he Scottish or British???