Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A Day of Going Nowhere

The end of a long day at the desk, punctuated by moments of going outside to look at the view, or feel the hot sun on my skin, and even at lunchtime to nap in the sun. I made snacks using the fresh cheese, mizithra, that the lady in the shop recommended I try when I was hesitating over something in the fridge. She showed me the good stuff, went to wash her hands and carefully cut me a piece and wrapped it in paper. They're exciting times in the supermarket these days, as the dusty aisles have been completely spruced up and rearranged for ease of browsing, though I feel a sort of sentimental pang for the old days. Still, I feel like I am going through initiation. This week, the proper cheese; who knows what next?

I'm editing a brilliant book (Are We Nearly There Yet? by Ben Hatch, about family and memories and growing up and a mad journey) so I don't mind that it was a long day. I came up for air this evening when Pavlos was watering his vegetables, and he shouted up to me that we'd be eating potatoes before long, and did I want some onions? I went down to see him, and he pulled up some beauties for me, instructing me to help myself whenever I'm making salad.

We talked for a bit - he never wants to interrupt me when I'm working but he also knows it's good for me to practice speaking Greek. He told me he never uses pesticides or fertilizers to make the vegetables big, like they do some places (which makes the size of those onions even more astonishing). They get a lot of love and watering. I notice something I've not noticed before in the vegetable patch, a big stone trough of some kind, and ask if it's for water. 'Stafilia,' he says. Grapes. And he mimes treading grapes with his feet, and shows me where the juice comes out at one end. 'In August, we make wine -- good wine!'

Perhaps better than the cheap retsina I'm drinking now, at dusk, but there's something about retsina that livens up the evening. A dog's barking, a car is driving away somewhere, as I sit at the table on the terrace. The lights just now have come on in the pretty village to the right of me that clings to the mountain, which is already in dark silhouette, a pale blue and lemon yellow sky above. The wind has dropped today and the sea below in the distance is still.

Pavlos left and then came back, walked up the path with some pale flattish shapes in his hands. What the bees make. Honeycombs - wax, keri.

The bee-eaters seem to have moved on, so they're free to keep making it. It was around seven thirty, and there's a lovely sound that seems to signal it's time to stop work and pour a glass of wine: from down at the little army base, the sound of a trumpet playing - what it it called? A reveille, I want to say, but that's in the morning I think.

Yesterday I went down to Livadia on the bike. It cut the journey time but was tougher! I had a long swim across the bay and then had my Greek dancing lesson with a handful of lively local women, Eleftheria gamely trying to translate some of the jokes for me. Then cycled back. Today, after all that, is a day for not moving very far at all.

And who needs to?

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