Thursday, 2 January 2014

A Happy, Adventurous 2014!

Lisa was looking glum on the couch. I looked out at the weather. It's been mild as can be for the last few days, but after a flash rainstorm this morning, the power cable for my computer seemed to have burned out; thankfully I had a spare.

The clouds had cleared and it was brighter, so I picked up Lisa's lead, and Lisa jumped up and was at the gate in seconds. I didn't take my phone in case we got caught in a shower. We headed down into Potamia, then up the hill towards Skafi. Every day, more bright flowers - purple and yellow and white - are appearing.

Waving to Menelaus, who was herding his sheep, we made our way past his farm and then down the path, and had almost reached the beach when the rain started. I looked back and saw the sky was full of heavy clouds; we were going to get wet, one way or another.

I made a dash across the rocks, slowed down by Lisa as she stopped to shake the rain off her wet fur every few minutes, and made it into the shelter of the cave. Water dripped down relentlessly in front of us, and the bay grew pale. The rain got more intense and loud as heavy drops hit the sea, the horizon hidden in cloud. Lisa stopped looking for stuff to chew, and stared out with me. 

Then ten minutes later, it seemed to be clearing. Sure enough, within minutes the hillsides were bright with sunshine. The horizon was a distinct line, with a half-rainbow appearing above it, and the sea in front of me was clear and blue. I stripped off wellies, two pairs of socks, jumpers... and was at the edge of the water when a great rumble and crack of thunder came from the black clouds over to the south. But to the north was sun. I jumped in, dived into the blue. Lisa chewed a stick and rolled around on the pebbles. My second swim of the new year - or a very fast dip, anyway. It was a good adventure. As we walked back up the hill from Skafi this lunchtime, the wind dried my clothes out, more or less.

This has been my first Christmas and New Year spent in Tilos. Village kids came around to the house on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve to sing carols, asking 'Tha ta poumeh?' I've learned that Santa comes on New Year's Eve in Greece, not Christmas Eve (well of course, he can't be everywhere at once, can he?). And that while Greeks don't make a big fuss of Christmas, they write exquisitely lovely, thoughtful messages to friends at New Year. 

We spent New Year's Eve with three friends and eighteen cats by the sea at Ayios Andonis at the wild north end of Tilos, eating hearty grub around a kitchen table. Stelios kept looking at the clock, as anything after ten seems late to the fisherman, so there was no danger of missing midnight - though we might have otherwise, with no television, no mobile phone reception, no crowds of people round about. We took our champagne glasses out to the end of the harbour, and we looked out for fireworks in Nisyros or Kos or Turkey but didn't see any, and saw the new year in peacefully with thousands of bright stars above, and just the dark hills and water, and one other lone figure outside by the taverna. It was a special way to welcome a new year in.

I just went out now to take Lisa for her evening stroll, and all is so quiet out, I could hear the rough sea at Eristos, and the lightning is still flashing above the hills to the south... I wish you happiness, good friendship and health in 2014; spend time with your loved ones and have lots of adventures in the coming year, and plenty of time in a place you love. 








17 comments:

  1. I watched fireworks in Sydney harbour on a webcam as my elder son was watching from a party on a penthouse balcony in the very same city. Loud and colourful but I prefer the sound of your star-filled sky quite frankly!
    Happy New Year!
    Vicki

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    1. And may 2014 bring you what you wish for most, fingers crossed for you!
      Vicki

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  2. Love the sound of your New Year - bliss. Happy New Year from Sydney and have to add I loved your book. So evocative - I could hear, smell and taste your island. F xx

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    1. Makes me very happy to hear that - thank you! xx

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  3. What a beautiful post evocative of what must have been a magical new year. The floods are back in the UK and trains all out of kilter as I struggle to find my way to central London to work. Your writing cheared me up no end. I hope 2014 brings you and yours everything you could wish for. Richard Clark

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    1. Thank you so much, Richard - for the kind words, and the reminder of what I'm missing! Very best wishes to you too...

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  4. Happy New Year! May 2014 be filled with adventures...great and small!

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  5. After reading your most enjoyable book, I would love to plan a trip to Tilos. Where is the nearest/best airport to fly to from London, UK, please?
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog too.
    Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Christina!
      Great to hear that Falling in Honey has encouraged you to come to the island. If you're travelling in summer, there are direct flights to Rhodes and Kos with easyJet, and sometimes other airlines - out of the two, Rhodes is a slightly better connection as there are more boat options and the airport is closer to the port. Outside of the summer season, there are no direct flights from London to Rhodes but you can fly from London to Athens and then you can take the Diagoras ferry (twice a week), or connect to a quick flight to Rhodes and then a boat from there.
      Best wishes,
      Jennifer

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  6. Thank you for the info.

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  7. Hi Jennifer.
    Happy New Year! Excellent photo with Lisa!
    Andrey

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    1. Thank you - Happy New Year to you too...

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  9. I was so excited to find your blog! I have been reading "Falling honey", which I couldn't put down, and it was just great to see photographs of the places you write about. I have been searching your archive posts to see more pictures, so now have a pretty good idea of what Tilos looks like! You have done what I would have loved to do 30 years ago, but alas I was cumbered with family and couldn't escape! I have been to Rhodes and Kalymnos, so have a pretty good idea of the geology of Tilos. These islands are very different from the more northerly islands, which I perhaps prefer, but I reckon the Greek way of life is the
    same wherever you are. And Oh, I do envy you the big fat tomatoes, and the figs, and the pomegranites and ............ Tesco's is simply not the same.

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    1. Gilly, I thought I'd responded to your message but I think I just posted a new comment by mistake - so I'm writing again just in case you never got my reply. Needless to say, I was thrilled to read your comments about the blog and the book, and I really appreciate your getting in touch.
      I haven't been to any of the northerly Greek islands for years, but I am hoping to do more travelling in the next couple of years. It's hard to tear myself away from here sometimes.
      The fig trees are still in their bare winter state but I noticed today they are just beginning to get fresh new leaves... Made me think that delicious figs are only a few months away... All best,
      Jennifer

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  10. Hi Gilly,
    Thanks so much for your message! Pleasure to hear you've enjoyed the book and are now enjoying the blog... Mmm, figs - roll on August!
    Jennifer

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