Wednesday, June 08, 2011

It's a jungle out there

At least that is what the garden looks like. A month away and the combination of rain and sun has led to an explosion of greenery. Time to find a man with a strimmer - Niko!

The rest is more or less unchanging, a new greengrocers has opened and Stavroula comes to my gate to complain about life, speaking in Greek that I can't follow, to ask the usual questions and to warn me about the dubious behaviour and bad character of another of my neighbours before waving a cheerful goodbye. And of course, the moment I opened the patio doors the cat arrived expressing his deep affection and demanding food in return for the benefit of his company when he is not visiting other houses.

We are on the cusp between spring and summer, some of the wild flowers remain and a group of the last of the wild poppies are wearily hanging on amongst the grass and weeds. The most dramatic colour is provided by the pomegranate. The bright red flowers are starting to turn into fruit and it looks like there will be a bumper crop this year, though the bush is still small. Not that I will get to eat them as I will have returned to England for work by the time they are ready.

At least by arriving early this summer I got to taste the cherries. The crop is finished by this time of year but various neighbours had not been as ruthless in stripping the trees as previously and there were a few left.

It is warm, but not hot. The cicadas haven't started making their usual row and have left the cool nights to the nightingales and squabbling dogs. There is a strong gusting breeze and butterflies are flitting through the garden. It is good to be here.

The other delight is to taste real food. Today's simple lunch of tomato and cucumber with feta cheese and fresh baked bread was a gourmet delight. And that was one of the topics of conversation I had on the flight over. You know the years are advancing when a young woman anxiously asks you if you need help putting your rucksack in the overhead locker. Your self image as a young buck dissolves as you realise that you are well into the transformation from sex object to pity object. And when I finally sat down, slightly crestfallen, she, a Greek living in England, confessed that what she was really looking forward to on her return to her homeland was eating a tomato that actually tasted of something.

Yet that was not all we talked about. Our conversation ranged through art and architecture, radical education as well as history and political philosophy as she turned out to be a young and talented freelance animator and designer. She is just starting out, though I think you need to watch out for her name (or names - she seems to have rather a lot of them), she has the ability to go far.

So, summer beckons and as I type this I look through my open window under the klimataria, shaded by the vine, I get that familiar, startled feeling of not quite believing my luck in ending up here, in my own house on an early summer's day.


Anonymous said...

Good on ya!
Beautiful piece. Not *remotely* jealous!

Will said...

the thing about the britishEr tomatoes is very much indeed correct. Well, supermarket ones anyway. what the fuck happened to the ones of my youth where you actually had a flavour of err tomato?

and don't get me started on modern day strawberries. strewth.