Our news update is a bit like London Transport buses – You wait for ages and then two come along!
Today we are going to look at how January 2016 has treated us. We have been watching how the UK has been coping with some very serious weather conditions, particularly the flooding. It is impossible not to feel sympathy for those affected, particularly when our own winter has been spectacularly mild. We only hope that we don’t suffer later in the year with water shortages. Were that to happen, that would just add to Greece’s economic miseries which still continue. Our current government has been in power for 12 months and nothing has changed. If anything, things are deteriorating. We are amongst the lucky ones as our income is not really impacted but there are a lot of Greeks who are in dire straits.
The influx of refugees has done nothing to help but in true Greek style, the country does its best to provide what help it can despite its own economic woes. I won’t comment on how we view much of Europe’s response to this crisis. Thankfully, Corfu has not been called upon directly to deal with refugees but we are proud to say that much charitable work is being undertaken here on their behalf as well as many local people who are in serious difficulty.
I guess we shouldn’t dwell on politics and the economy although one is constantly exposed to it in Greece. We will get off our high horses for a while at least!
January started cold but dry although there were several cloudy starts with quite heavy frosts by our standards. Despite the cool weather, we have had a few surprises like the caterpillar I found climbing the garage wall! To say that thing were changeable was an understatement. If you check Tricia’s photo taken on the 6th from our veranda, you will see that it was torrential whereas on the 7th, there were blue skies, if not a little cloudy. Throughout our photos you will see just how changeable the weather has been. Included in our photos. are some showing heavy frosts on our land.
Spring flowers have appeared early along with several bugs as you will also see from the photos. We have a few birds included for good measure.
On the 13th January, Tricia and I had a short excursion to Almyros beach which has become quite a favourite since last year when I was there a lot whilst photographing butterflies, particularly Plain Tigers – which are anything but plain! It was a very pleasant interlude. I have been known to take my cameras with me when I go shopping in Acharavi and then take a short diversion to Almyros in the hope of spotting some wildlife! A photo of a woodlark, shot on one such visit is included.
Some may be wondering why we have included a photo of Jake gazing longingly at the cupboard where the dog treats are kept! I shall explain. It is nearly a year since we thought that we were going to lose our big dog, Jake. For those that don’t know he was diagnosed with a problem in his spine that meant that his back legs wouldn’t support him. Cutting a long story short, the vet suggested that we try cortesone injections followed by a course of cortesone tablets. This has proven to be something of a minor miracle. There are occasions when it is hard to realise that Jake still has a problem, particularly when he sees a cat and proceeds to drag me around the garden! It is not a cure but it has extended his time with us. This leads me back to the photo of Jake! One of the side effects of the cortesone tablets is that they seem to make Jake permanently hungry. This is one of his regular poses!
Tricia and I decided that we would take a trip up to the Monastery at Pantokrator on the 14th January as it was a beautiful day. Don’t let the blue skies and sunshine in the photographs fool you. It was about 8°C at the top of the mountain. We have included a number of photographs taken that day, both during the journey and from the top. We were surprised to find a large number of healthy looking cats at the top despite there being nobody about to feed them. On our way back, we stopped at Binelikia taverna in Petalia to see our old friend, Katina, who introduced us to a goatherd. He admitted that it was he that fed the cats on top of Pantokrator!
We took another trip out on the 20th January, albeit a little nearer to home. We took a visit to Old Peritheia, as always armed with our cameras. We have included several photos. Some will be of familiar sights to regular visitors but a few may not be. In particular, we took some photos of a derelict church. Sadly, the steel doors have been forced off and the roof as long since collapsed. For those interested, it is tucked away behind the old schoolhouse. Tricia took a photo of an outlying part of Loutses from the road down from Old Pertheia. Our house is hidden from view but is hidden in the foreground. I think the photo gives an impression of just how cold it was despite the blue skies and sunshine. The clue is in the vast amounts of snow to be seen in Albania!
We have been debating having our olive trees seriously pruned for a long time. Tricia has been reluctant as she has always liked them looking like conventional trees whereas I have argued that, like most of the olives on Corfu, they have become overgrown and unhealthy. Finally, we agreed that they should be cut and on the 27th January, Thomas and Stamatis turned up to start work. We should point out that Thomas is generally consider the absolute expert in our village when it comes to olives. Having seen him work, we are also of that view. Their workrate was phenomenal. Before long, the trees began to resemble ‘umbrellas’ rather than ‘lollipops’!
The change has taken a bit of getting used to but I think that even Tricia concedes that they look quite good. In two days, the work was completed and the cuttings were burnt. The wood was cut up ready for seasoning before being used on our log fire. The only subsequent work for me was to get the disparate piles collected and stacked. We estimate that we have in the region of 3.5 – 4 tons of wood for next year.
The month ended very cloudy. Those that know us well, know that there is nothing that we like better than to go out for a very nice meal. Some will also be aware that the number of places where one can go to eat out in the winter are very limited unless you are prepared to go into Corfu Town. We decided that on Sunday 31st January we would attempt to brighten up an overcast day by going to a fish taverna on Acharavi beach that has been advertising that they were open at the weekends. Argh! Needless to say, we got there and discovered that they were closed!
At least we could rely upon Maistro Taverna! They were open and it has to said that we had a very good meal there. It may be that there is so few places open or it may be that Maistro continues to be popular but whatever the reason, it was packed! Vaso, the owner couldn’t believe how busy they were. She suggested that it may have been because we were there! We didn’t think so but we have to confess that this was not the first place that has suggested that our presence has been the cause of unexpected business! If only that were true. We could dine out free!
The images accompanying this post can be viewed here.
That wasn’t a bad way to finish the month.
That’s it for now.
Bob & Tricia
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