Friday, 14 February 2014

Flowers for Valentine's Day



With apologies to readers who are paddling their way through a biblical flood or deep in an ice age, but we've just had an extraordinary taste of summer here in Tilos. For days, lizards have been sunning themselves on rocks, and plants were wilting on the balcony and had to be watered. 

The early morning walk, while ostensibly for Lisa, is becoming an essential part of my day for feeling calm and energised. One morning it turned into an hour of watching the sun come up over the gap in the hills, 


stumbling upon caches of unusual flowers or the smell of a field full of sage; noticing how the sweet almond blossoms are on their way out, white margaritas spilling across the fields, and bright red poppies are on their way in. 













Yesterday was too cool for swimming, but still sunny, so I put on my hiking boots and walked up to the Italian House - top of the highest hill near Megalo Horio.
Again, I was astonished by how many different flowers I saw by the path - I wished I had a proper camera with me.


 


As you know, botanical knowledge is not my forte. 'Tiny purple flowers' is about as specific as I get; our good friend over at When the Wine is Bitter is your man when you need botanical information, but he is now in exile from our shores, in distant Australia. A source informs me, however, that he was seen stuffing a copy of The Wild Flowers of Greece into his backpack as he went. So perhaps he'll be tempted to provide botanical notes from... somewhere near Botany Bay?

Coming back from a morning walk, I happened on a group of men discussing work to be done to the pergola over the road, which has been deteriorating badly (see 'Tilos Life' page). It seemed the time had come for repairs and I was delighted to be there for this momentous occasion.
When I went back to check later, it was clear that only emergency measures were being taken, and I have to admit I still felt the need to run quite fast through it. While concrete is being poured liberally over the Skafi side of the village (which now seems like it will be able to cope when Tilos is a Grand Prix destination), 
the pergola continues to lean and rot. Those of us who contributed money to the Save the Pergola fund might need our cash back soon, anyway, given that we haven't had a functioning ATM on the island since before Christmas. If you're worried that Tilos might ever really change and become just like the rest of the mediocre world, then honestly - don't. Long live the People's Republic of Tilos.

And so I've had a week of sunny early morning walks, lunchtime swims on deserted beaches, evening dancing - thanks to the traditional dance classes - and even a dinner of souvlaki under the stars and moonlight. 


One last thing, because it's Valentine's Day.  My friend Gwyn, who plays her flute in Rhodes during the summer (we first met at Stathis Hotel) and spent a few days in Tilos last autumn, is now ready to play at weddings and is just about ready to launch her website, The Wedding Flautist in Rhodes. It's four years since she first performed in Athens on Valentine's Day 2010. Take a look and spread the word...

And in the meantime, love from Tilos x



16 comments:

  1. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!
    Thank you for sharing so many informations and photos about my favorite country Greece!

    Kalo savatokyriako!
    Greetings from Germany sends
    Susi

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    1. Thank you, Susi! Glad you enjoy them.
      Greetings from a very sunny Sunday morning in Tilos.
      Sto kalo!

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  2. What a fantastic report. Thanks Jen!

    One question though: are they building a road down to Skafi??

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    1. Thank you...
      I've been avoiding the concreted Skafi road because - well, I don't like walking on concrete and I'm afraid of what I'll find! I went down there today and they have only concreted as far as the turn-off dirt track up to the villas, so in other words you can still walk on dirt track from the village to Skafi, if you like to (which I do). I'm not sure if there are plans to extend the road, though. I'm just sentimental about that track as it was always one of my favourite places, but I suppose making a proper road will be more practical for some of the villagers.

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    2. Ok, thanks! That walk is on my to-do-list for my next visit, because I have never done it. And that's why I didn't like the idea of a concrete road... What I do like, though, is the idea of Skafi as one of the more remote beaches so I hope it will stay that way. But of course the needs of the villagers are more important.

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  3. Fabulous photos and accompanying 'jottings'....................I am THERE! (Not really, sadly)
    Vicki

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  4. Beautiful flowers! Wish I knew the names as well! Seems incredible that while we wade, slither and trudge through mud and water, you are enjoying a gorgeous Greek spring! But looking at you photos helps me dream of past wonderful holidays and forget Britain in February! Thank you so much.

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    1. Glad to be of service! I hoped that would be the case - I figured some people might need cheering up and reminding of sunshine and colour... Thanks, Gilly.

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  5. Thanks for this lovely posting. We will be coming to the Island for a year in 2015 and reading this just makes me wish this year away !!

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    1. Great to hear it - thanks! See you in 2015, if not before...

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    2. Thankyou Jennifer, this year is planning and wrapping up the loose ends like work and daughter heading off to university. We are hoping to land in April 15 and will be staying with Dennis and Carol Kelly. We will definitely say hi ! Keep posting in the meantime as they are a much needed boost for the spirits !

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  6. Hello Jennifer...I must say that I'm honoured to be mentioned in your post and on Valentine's day, too! And yes, I am in exile but in Sunshine, not Botany, Bay, which fortunately is an altogether more salubrious location (although no match for Agios Antonios which I'm missing dreadfully).

    And I did bring my book, which is just as well cause you have unearthed some rather obscure specimens during the course of your wanderings. Offhand I can see the common asphodel, a grape hyacinth (the little purple thing) and two types of orchid, the ubiquitous hill orchid and the somewhat more spectacular pink-and-white Anatolian orchid which loves the high places on Tilos. And the little yellow thing looks to me like Gagea peduncularis. It's a mouthful to say but a beautiful flower.

    Thanks for posting,

    Ian

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    1. Thank you so much for those flower names - I am learning, siga-siga... The common name of Gagea peduncularis is apparently 'yellow star of Bethlehem', which sounds appropriately beautiful. I just found this useful site: http://greekflora.blogspot.gr/2012/04/yellow-star-of-bethlehem-gagea.html
      I saw about a dozen different types of flower on my sunny walk today in the Eristos valley. Luckily for you, however, I didn't have a camera with me...

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    2. It's a shame about the camera. I rather enjoy identifying flowers for you.

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