Saturday, January 29, 2011

Filling up at a spring

The real stuff; sweet warm water from a hilltop spring that must issue from deep in the earth - delicious when it has cooled.  This spring is a good place to stop not only for water, good fresh watercress also grows here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

No fish today

After a night during which the east wind blew with such force that I had to close all shutters to stop windows blowing in and through most of which torrential rain fell, this was how the sea here and the road to it looked this morning.  A good day to spend here in my 'office' being plied with beer and sandwiches by a delightful romanian waitress.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Around five acres of Olive, Citrus and Prickly Pear.   A well from which to draw water and evidence of electricity close at hand.  All this and no neighbours for miles; paradise!

Monday, January 24, 2011


When, in Waterstones some years ago, I saw, for the first time, e-book reading gadgets I was too sceptical to take much interest in them; apart from which they were too expensive.  
More recently I have been seduced by Amazon publicity for their “Kindle” device (Why do exceptionally clever devices invariably have such inane names?).  Yet sceptical, I ordered one.  I gave the ‘buy’ button the lightest possible touch and began at once to be concerned.  For reasons quite beyond my understanding can not deliver “Kindle” products to Greece.  I had to order from in the United States.   Previously, goods ordered from beyond the E.U. have taken around three months to reach me; orders placed within are usually delivered within three weeks.  I had committed a budget-blowing $100 U.S. and more to buying something I neither needed nor of which I was at all  sure of how much use I would make.
My “Kindle”, ordered on 10th January, arrived on 20th.  Amazon have obviously made arrangements to short-circuit greek customs duty delays.  Within hours of unpacking this little wonder all my scepticism had evaporated; since then my “Kindle”  and I have been as one!
It is the size of a small paperback book  but only about as thick as a ball-point pen.  It’s weight is negligible.  Reading from its screen is exactly as is reading from a book, "Kindle" reading has nothing in common with reading from a computer screen.  It comes pre-loaded with two adequately comprehensive dictionaries, one English one U.S.American, and a User’s Guide.  Adding books from the “Kindle Store” is quick and easy and not only are they less expensive than physical books, they cost nothing to deliver.  Indeed, I have already bought books by the yard; collections of Hardy, Thackeray and Trollope (All their novels for just a few dollars per author!) as well as more recent titles, amongst which is the recently released autobiography of Mark Twain.  Last Saturday I bought that day’s edition of “The Times”, if I chose to I could subscribe to a newspaper and have it delivered daily to my “Kindle”.  In practically every respect the “Kindle”  suits me better than a book.  It is lighter.  It is always flat. I do not need a bookmark, the “Kindle” will aways switch on at the page I was last reading, although I can also bookmark other pages.  I can highlight passages.  My “Kindle” has a small, thumb operated qwerty keyboard with which annotations can be made.  Through a USB slot my “Kindle”  communicates with,and can exchange files with, my computer.  It battery, Amazon claim, requires recharging "about once a month".  Should I want it, I can download music and have it playing as I read.  My relationship with my “Kindle” is yet in its infancy, I have much yet to learn.  I am infatuated - no, besotted - with this gadget; the best return for $100 U.S. or so, or its equivalent in any currency, that I have had in a long while. 

Enigmatic emotions

When  I set out with a companion to stroll to Cape Akritas, the southernmost point of the Messinian peninsular the forecast  was for reasonable weather and we were both in need of some serious exercise.  Our stroll began with a stiff climb which served for us its intended purpose of taxing hearts and lungs that had been allowed through recent days to become far too sedentary.  Beyond the steep incline the track became gently undulating for a while before descending down a long, gradually sloping zig-zag to a pebbly beach from where there was clear sight of our objective.  The peninsular point is easily accessible from the beach but we had walked briskly and without a break for two hours or more; my thighs were talking to me as was my companion’s back talking to her so we saved the scramble over a few hundred metres of wet pebbles for another day and rested on a rock to enjoy our sandwich lunches.
Post sandwich, the soporific rhythm of waves breaking over a just-off-shore rock drained from my senses both the leaden feeling in my thighs and my mild concern that I might have brought my companion too far.   Watching low waves roll onto the rock, break and sluice down its sides I felt very much at one with the earth and at the same time with the sea.  IMy mind closed to all but a beautifully intoxicating sense of well being - a sense that I could I be no more content than I was there in that spot at that time.
The sound of a pick-up truck bumping down the track snapped me out of my reverie.  My companion said something about our private and secret place becoming too crowded.  Together we watched the truck driver park his machine at some distance from us and stride onto the beach where he appeared to be collecting something; seafood of some kind perhaps?  The disturbance was a cue to begin the stroll back.
The gradual rise up the zig-zag track allowed us to regain height with surprisingly ease.  On our way up we stopped several times to take photographs; of healthy pine trees, of conical hills with tracks spiralling around them which my companion called ‘Tolkein’ hills, and of a sick and dying yet beautifully resplendent pine tree.   We also crossed paths with an itinerant farm worker, here from Romania for the olive harvesting season.  Seemingly, if a little shabby of dress, this less than young man was well enough fed and although his pay would be little he smiled broadly to give us the most wonderful display of gold teeth.

I am aware of a strong connection between gentle strolling and the contentment that is happiness.  If, when I sense the onset of destructive emotions such as tedium, weariness, concern or irritability, I can muster the will to go out and stroll, the process of so doing is the equal of a curative drug.  I do not know why this is anymore than I understand why certain places or the company of certain people can similarly elate me while other places and other people can occasion the want of a long stroll.