Wednesday, April 04, 2007


If there is one thing that reminds me of what an unhealthy sedentary life I lead, feeling constantly tired without any real physical exertion, it is the way my muscles hurt today after lifting and sawing firewood and a bout of heavy weeding of a pathetically small area of garden. Even the simple task of putting a new seat on the Parthenon (unbelievably it's a make of toilet) made the stiff back and arms creak this morning.

How the locals put me to shame. At the age of ninety-six, Eleni from the little cottage next door has now gone to live with her son, but remained independent until she was ninety-five (though she pretended she was only ninety-two). Iannis, a retired quarry worker who now keeps sheep, and his wife Chrysanthi, who gardens and tends goats, chickens and turkeys, never stop even though they are now well into their sixties. They take the fruit from the garden but, in return, there are small kindnesses. This time they had decided there was not enough shade and so I arrived to find that two new fig trees have been planted in just the right spot to cast a shadow on the patio.

Inactivity and privacy at home is not the same. Despite the pain, I feel so well. Sometimes early retirement tempts.

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