Saturday, July 3, 2010


Linda, a neighbour for the past five years, left this morning; when she returns it will be as a visitor.  I first met Linda several years before she became my close neighbour.  She and her then partner, Ian, were launching a business to run and sell interest-associated holidays and had built a house here in Greece with that end in mind.  My attention was drawn to an advertisement in a magazine inviting people to telephone for a brochure about the holidays.  I had no interest in the holidays but, as in those days there were very few fellow Brits around, I was interested enough in the people who were behind the enterprise and interested to know from where they would be operating.  A phone call later I had learnt that the house they had built was only about a half-hour drive from my home.  The business seemed to flourish and we met moderately frequently.  Linda is a good administrator and an excellent vegetarian chef; an ex-safari chef.  Ian among many other things was an adroit installer and manager of their building's advanced and complex wind and solar power and solar heating systems .  Everything seemed to be going along quite nicely but subsequent events were to prove that they were not.  Ian became unsettled and returned to the U.K.  Linda carried on alone running the business for another season, while she advertised for new business partners but she, happier establishing enterprises than running them, was finding the going tedious and less than fulfilling.  Eventually her personal relationship with Ian ended,  the business ceased to be and the property was sold.  During the period that the business was operating, guests were accommodated in the main building while Linda, Ian and their staff slept in the grounds in three modern yurts that had been bought for that purpose.  The yurts were not included in the house sale. 
Around my house I have a large area of ground; largely unused, untamed rocky hillside.  Linda had nowhere to live but had three yurts and nowhere to put them.  It seemed obvious that she should live in her yurts on my spare land, and that is how Linda came to be my neighbour.  Initially she erected her yurts in the valley, sheltered from winter winds, but it was somewhat gloomy down there so she braved the winds and moved her yurts to a commanding position with spectacular views on top of a little knoll on the edge of the wood.  One yurt has served her as a living area, another as a bedroom, the third yurt she made a gift of to Velanidia, 'in lieu of rent' she said.  For five years this has been her home but she has taken many breaks of varying length, some to boost her economy, some to travel but always to do interesting things and visit interesting, unusual places; Petra, Mongolia, Easter Island, New Zealand, an Ashram in Kentucky, are some of the places that come to mind.
From what little I know of her life, Linda seems to be passing through it as a series of chapters.  Perhaps, in a way, we are all doing that, but Linda's chapters seem to be more clear cut than most; her african chapters, her south american chapters, her greek chapters, her english chapters and who knows what other chapters and what of the chapters yet to be written?  I know they will not fail to be interesting because Linda. a very interesting person is a rare bird in our increasingly uniform mid-grey times.
I shall miss Linda and I shall miss her yarns but there is a final chink in the curtains that will not be closed until October when Linda will be back to dismantle and hand over her yurts to their new owners and for her to lead the three-week, trans-Peloponnese stroll that she has spent hours of this year planning on behalf of a half-dozen or so of her regular tramping chums.  I hope I shall be fit enough to be up for it!.

No comments: