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.