Saturday, July 10, 2010

Building busyness

I shall have Sam here with me for another week.  With his help I have moved forward by a long way the outside kitchen of which I have been dreaming and spasmodically building for the past few years.  By the time Sam leaves next Sunday I expect to have the structures of  both the 'work surface' and the 'sink unit'  ready for plastering and finishing, leaving only the 'cooking unit'; pizza oven, barbecue and 'rocket stove' hot plates', and the parasol roof to finish to realise my long term ambition of having here a permanent outdoor food preparation and cooking facility.
Unfortunately, I can not be attending to both my building concerns and my recently found blogging interest.  With all the weight of my concentration presently falling on the building side, my amusements are out of balance but this will not always be so.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sam's conundrum

Sam, nearing thirty, is the youngest of Elisabeth's three sons and a regular visitor.  He comes partly to relax and partly to help me prosecute some of the many projects on my growing, seemingly never ending, list here.  Last year we made a good start on building a permanent outside kitchen, rather than the present quirky  and charming but somewhat lashed-up eternally temporary affair.  This year we hope to progress as far as finishing the planned rendered brick sink unit and to having it running.
I picked Sam up at the local airport on Sunday, it is now Tuesday.  For one reason or another, Sam's jet lag (Greece is two hours ahead of BST!) being one, we have yet to get stuck in to the work.  Sam, a pub manager by trade, has also to adapt to my early-to-bed-early-to-rise way of living.  That Sam is very good at his job is evident; the hostelry he manages is presently far and away the busiest in town.  Sam is a very genial lad, made for his job and it is job he does well because he obviously enjoys it; there is more than a touch of the thespian about Sam, a useful trait to have behind a bar.  But Sam has been managing pubs for much of his working life and however successful he has been he recognises that his living is doing little to develop him as a person, he sees himself as the same Sam as he was ten years ago and is concerned that, if he does not get out of the catering trade, ten years from now he will still be much the same Sam, playing the same part.  I understand his fears and understand too that, with no other skills or qualifications, he will find it very difficult to make a change.  He has told me that he is adamant that he will be out before the end of this year.  I have been hearing similar self-promises for several years now, none of them have been kept.  I hope for his sake that this year he will manage to get himself out of his rut and into something he will find more personally fulfilling.

An interesting day

In another being I might have called it a bad day but my current being does not allow for bad days so I shall have to call it an interesting day.  (Has my life become no more than a series of euphemisms?)  After a rather silly night out with Sam in Finicounda I woke up very late.  For me, late waking is always good for an interesting start to a day, consequently I had to ease my rules of being and hurry, something I try to avoid, to the garage where Yanni was to fit a new drive shaft to my aging machine.  "How long", I asked, "Twenty minutes", he answered,  At once the vehicle was sent up on a jack and Yanni proceeded to fit the part, only to find that its bolt holes did not quite match those on my machine, they would have to be doctored, could I return tomorrow?  Back at home Sam helped me to re-establish my summer kitchen/dining room under the shade of the large and spreading crown of an old Carob tree; a natural parasol.  An important feature of the outdoor kitchen has, traditionally, been a supply of running water into a sink.   From a well about half a kilometre away I syphon my water into into a 1,000 litre reservoir tank in the shade of the wood, from where gravity feeds it to the sink.  But the tank had run dry.  Why?  At the well head it took little detective work to discover why; a second pipe, several times the diameter of my pipe had been introduced into the well.  The well end of the pipe was not, at the time, in the water, the other end snaked through the olive tress that surround the well.  It was all to easy for me to picture the monster pick-up truck bearing the monster petrol-driven pump that connected to this huge new pipe and furthermore to picture my syphon drawing its last drops as, in a very short time, the pump emptied the well.
This brutal raping of the well is symptomatic of a 'want it all, want it now' society.  Hereabouts, olive trees have flourished to produce adequate crops of olives for centuries, millennia even, but now the unsubstantiated word is out that
if the trees  bearing them are watered, their olives will produce more oil.  Even if this myth of greater produce were to be substantiated, draining a well at regular intervals by brute force is a wonderful example of the shortsighted folly of taking more for less.  Wells and springs are delicate and, in a way, alive.  The sources of their continual replenishment are something of a mystery.  Not far from here, directly behind and below the level of a beach, a spring issues sparkling-clear sweet cool water which, it is said, originates under the Taygetos mountains some thirty kilometres or more away.  If this is true, to reach the spring fresh water must travel through subterranean passages deep below the Messinian Gulf.  Draining a well or pumping from a spring to increase its flow can cause the arteries that feed it to dry up until the well becomes no more than a dry hole.  This, of course, does not concern the unthinking; they will simply dig another well or sink a borehole deep into the earth in search of more water to pointlessly squander.  Until, of course, until........!  It is a sobering thought that while we can imagine some  kind of a life without oil, one that for our descendants will be real  rather than imagined, a life without water is totally unthinkable, indeed, without water life would cease to exist.