Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The birds and the bees, all over again. And the crocodiles.

Got chatting to Pavlos today, as I was getting out of the car - he happened to notice that I was getting out of the passenger door even though I'd been driving. The driver door doesn't open any more, see. Well, I reckon that car has done pretty well, considering the rally driving it's subjected to, bumping along that dirt track through dust-clouds and over rocks and ruts... not to mention all the rabbit-killing. Anyway.
We discussed his passion fruit trees for a while, and when he cut one of the fruit open to show me, we got on to the subject of pomegranates. The mice ate all his pomegranates this year, he said. They run up the trees. He said he pulled down a branch to pick some fruit and a mouse ran out. Don't the eagles eat the mice, I asked? But no, said Pavlos, he'd never seen a bird go for a mouse.
Then I asked him where the bees were. Turns out they are all on holiday in Rhodes. This time of year, there's not much for them to eat here in Tilos so they go to Rhodes, for what sounds like an extended gourmet break.
The bees don't worry about mice, but apparently the 'little crocodiles' - a local name for the big lizards or savres - get them. The lizards sit outside the hive and close their eyes - they have a thick skin that's impervious to stinging, so it's only their eyes that are sensitive - and eat the bees as they come out of the hive.
Sometimes I'm so pleased that I'm understanding all this in Greek that I miss the obvious. Was Pavlos having a laugh - was he winding me up? You never can tell with Pavlos.




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