I think everyone is agreed here that there has been a lot of rain in Eastern Crete this winter and it has been pretty grey. And we certainly had a lot last weekend with torrential rain falling for over 24 hours and much damage caused in the area. In Kavousi, a tree fell down below our house, making it a little tricky to reach our car and the ‘river’ nearby which rarely sees water, was definitely a river and continued to flow for three days!
On the positive side, there was a need for water and the shortage problem has been solved for the time being. And when I look at the photos, I see that whilst sunny days have been fewer, there have been some fine, really pleasant days, just not as many as would be expected! So there have been cycle rides,
and I have swum in the sea once,
and enjoyed some limited sunbathing.
Many times, I have walked from the house (the one that has a very tall tree beside it),
and I admire, not only the flowers at this time of year but the vibrant green foliage as well.
The insect life has also survived the rain,
are there are signs of new fig life
On the 11th March, the sun was shining for ‘Clean Monday’, a national holiday in Greece and we sat on Tholos beach enjoying the endeavours of adults to fly kites and entertain their children on a perfect day.
John has been nurturing his garden at the entrance to the house and it has coped extremely well with the very variable weather.
As you can see, I had my hair cut in a ‘pixie’ style, thanks to Gregory, which indicates that I was confident enough to think that hot weather will come eventually!
We had our house painted inside and outside in March in exactly the same colours as before, but it all looks nice and fresh. Alkis and Mario did a great job in a very short space of time! John and I moved a bit of furniture around, but nothing much more than that. Wonderful! And, they also improved the entrance to our house by putting a layer of concrete on it and laying some very much needed steps.
It looks good and it is better from a health and safety point of view!
Near the end of February, when I was beginning to feel a bit depressed about the weather, Rosie announced that she had some extra holiday. We met up for a short, three night break in Paris and it was such a lot of fun. Rosie had never been to Paris before and I was last there in 1974!!! We travelled on an open air bus, in the sunshine,
and stopped every so often to have a coffee or in my case a crepe,
or to visit Notre Dame or the Louvre or other magnificent buildings
In the evenings, we found a restaurant to eat and to chat. It was such a treat and very relaxing.
I was a bit sad to leave Rosie and Paris but the trip had been designed to fit in with a weekend trip to Athens with John. So Aegean Airways flew me back to Athens and John and I met at the airport. The first highlight was on the first evening, when we saw our friend , Nikos, play with his band at a venue very close to our hotel. it was a complete surprise for Nikos and his Dad (hopefully pleasant!) and we had a great time.
We did stay up quite late!!!! On Saturday, we bought tickets on the open air bus, similar to Paris but unfortunately the weather was sooooooooooooooooo cold. I have only this one picture of the sightseeing in Athens!
But we did enjoy a visit to the Benaki Museum and we took the bus on Sunday to Piraeus. On a nice day, we would have explored the city but instead we went straight to the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre, which was the main purpose of our visit to Athens. We had tickets to see the opera, Lucia Di Lamermoor, and were excited about this and to see this comparatively new opera house, library and park. We didn’t linger in the park because of the combined wind and cold but we did enjoy an exhibition in the library about George Zongolopoulos and his vision of public sculpture.
Then we had a wonderful, quick view of Athens from the top of the building (it was freezing!) and then enjoyed the very smart and stylish opera house and the opera.
We love going to the Cinema Rex in Agios Nikolaus to see the streamed opera from New York but it was different to see a live opera. Clearly, there is a lot of talent in the Greek opera world and it felt very special to be there.
I am pleased to say that I now possess a Greek driving licence. On the Greek language front, John and I now are attending a smaller class where, with Manolis, our teacher, we speak and listen and we don’t do any grammar! We need to speak more Greek!
On the Sunday of the weekend that Brexit should have happened, we invited our four Dutch friends for a British meal of roast beef, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, yorkshire pudding and gravy, followed by apple pie. John spent time on the internet and at the butchers deciding on the piece of meat and learning how to roll and tie it up. It was so tasty and tender and the left-overs lasted for the rest of the week!
It was a really good afternoon and evening.
I have felt anxious and angry about the Brexit ‘process’. But I have enjoyed three cheerful moments in relation to it. One was hearing Mr Varoufakis on Question Time call the process a Dog’s Brexit which sadly, made me laugh!. The second was that apparently no negotiation could take place with a ‘Marxist’ as described by various Conservatives and newspapers i.e. Jeremy Corbyn, the elected leader of the Labour Party. I was glad to see that he was actually being seen as a threat to the politics of the UK of the last twenty years. Finally, John and I watched the old film, ‘Carry on up the Khyber’, with Sid James and Kenneth Williams. The last scene of this film summed up for me the Brexit negotiating process. The English ruling class are being served with dinner in a big house on the Kyber Pass. An attack by the locals commences. The British rulers continue to drink their wine and eat their food, despite the bombardment and the general chaos all around them. One part of me laughed but the other part was desperately sad.
Back to the weather, the sun is out and I am off to the beach!