The blogs seem to have become fewer and further between. Maybe the experience of Crete is losing its novelty. I see you are all nodding in agreement with a silent ‘I told you so! In a way, of course, it is, as life settles into a ‘new normal’ , but the place is no less enchanting for all that.
Just now we are in an ‘Indian Summer’ – whatever that means. The temperature this afternoon is around 28°C • Clouds this morning have given way to aclear blue sky and we will go swimming later this afternoon. The evenings are very noticeably long now, with sunset at 1847 and counting.
October 24th – clocks go back tonight, well technically tomorrow at 0300. Since I started this episode of bloggery, we have had storms and rain, today back to a clear blue sky so we made a day of it and drove to the South coast – Paleochora. Stunning mountains, deep valleys, caves, goats and very twisty roads.
Lunch outdoors followed by a doze in the sun and a long swim in shallow sea over sand. Something about the bay made me not want to swim out to the rocks. Southern Crete can have rips and I get nervous, so we just hung about in water only just out of our depth. As usual we had the masks and snorkels. Only s few small fish and they hung around us as we played around in the water. One small unfamiliar fish with an elegant forked tail. Just sort of fish coloured with a black body spot and I think small spots on that pretty tail. Even now the water is warm enough to stay in for almost an hour.
For the last week or so we have been launching our earthMusic library aimed to coincide with Bristol’s virtual Wildlife Festival. I produced a launch newsletter and Al has been on networking duty. Here it is FYI
But please don’t feel you have to read it. I won’t be testing you!
The Chania district is on level 1 (lowest) of the Greek 4 tier system. There is a comprehensive description of what this means on the Greek.gov website. It is in Greek, and seems to mean we are ‘Ready’. Mask wearing is encouraged if not actually compulsory except in shops. Not much enforced, so far as we can see. We made a rare foray into Chania city for part 2 of a root canal (I won’t speak about the first part), and I thought I would get an eye test for reading glasses, since I often have trouble distinguishing α from σ in Greek texts. Of course, less help from context than in English. Sounds simple? Not at all. After about 45 minutes of ‘which is better, one or two?’ The hipster optician thought that I may have a very early cataract. Am I reaching a high medical maintenance stage of life? Al was so traumatised, he had to buy a cheese pie at what I interpret as the Greek version of Gregs!
At suppertime we tend to watch rolling news from France 24, sometimes Al Jazeera and occasionally BBC. France 24 has a nightly debate on a current topic – usually shades of opinion but not the ‘in the red corner, in the blue corner’ style that the BBC tends to adopt.
We watched DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET. What to say? A good try David? Some emotional moments and a suggestion that the planet can’ t support so many carnivores. Maybe more than a suggestion that people should just stop eating meat. (And adopt an even less enthusiastic attitude to reproduction.) His conclusion? Re-wild the planet. OK. But it is a fight that has to be taken directly into politics and I don’t think he makes that leap. The politics of food, farming, fishing… Usual dodging around the world style, with all the super pix we havbeen used to, but this time an admission that what we see on the screen is a very small slice of the actual environment, whether it is Borneo, Madagasca or the Arctic. A hardly moving shot of an orangutang clinging improbably to what looks like a single tree, the remnant of what was once a rain forest. A polar bear swimming in an ocean devoid of ice floes. Heartbreaking.
THE BUILDING PLOT UP DATE
We heard that the Government has temporarily backed off sake of the plot restrictions, but without enough certainty to allow us to buy. Unless we choose a village plot. This throws up the question- how do we want to live? Splendid architectural isolation or an interestingly designed house actually the village? I think I favour a bit of both. We are broadening the search, if only to remind ourselves that we are probably in the right place.
Of course there is the slight worry that the UK economy will hit the wall, resulting in the GBP turning into a pile of newly minted 50 pence pieces bearing the legend ’Sucks to Europe’. In which case, we will be building a beach hut.
READING? Too many ‘one a year’ thrillers, despite some better suggestions. Sally Rooney’s NORMAL PEOPLE. I am also reading HENRY MILLER’s COLOSSUS OF MAROUSSI. Some highly opinionated (and colourful )characterisations of the Greeks, and some damning descriptions of the English abroad. I think it was Lawrence Durrell who dubbed Britain ‘PUDDING ISLAND’.
I am also dipping into my friend Stuart Harris’s unpublished Memoirs. A reminder that however well we know people, there’s always such interesting stuff that we didn’t know. Stuart’s remind me a bit of reading ‘Lucky Jim’. Oh, just finished HOUSE OF CORRECTION by Nicci French, Recommended.
We get actual paper copies of THE ECONOMIST and the NEW SCIENTIST, although they are a couple of weeks late, and often arrive in pairs like London Buses.
Did I already say that I love ‘THE DAILY’ from the N Y Times, ‘THIS JUNGIAN LIFE,’ THE NEW STATESMAN? There is so much great stuff out there. The Statesman podcast I particularly like because the contributors all sound so young and clearly inhabit a totally different world. And I think it is Stephen Bush who says ‘like’ so much that you really feel his mother should have a word with him.
As you probably know, I am sustained by ZO0M yoga. I am currently following a short series from STEPHANIE QUIRK in Sydney. I have to use recordings because of the time difference, but Stephanie is a model of clarity and has distilled her knowledge over 2 decades with the Iyengar family in Pune.
And then there’s my teachers, Lynda and Gerry. I feel as though I have never left when I do a class with them. There is often the added benefit of seeing friends and classmates in their bedrooms, living rooms or yoga studios. Even hearing the teacher naming them brings a sense of connection.
It’s olive harvest and here’s my very own crop from the trees around our house. Next I have to bash them with a rock to split them, then a daily change of water for a week, followed by packing them into a jar with salt and waiting for an unspecified length of time. I’ll get back to you on the success of the project.
And finally – here’s a moody sunset at the end of a stormy day.