The Corfiot Village That We Call Home
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March heralds a busy month for us. With any luck winter will be coming to an end. Having said that, we really can’t complain about winter this year as it has been exceptionally mild. March also heralds a number of celebrations starting with Τσικνοπέμπτη (Tsiknopemti) or Smokey Thursday which occurred on Thursday, 2nd March this year. It is an excuse for a ‘meatfest’ on the run up to Lent. We celebrated in style at Maistro Restaurant where we filled our faces and enjoyed the live music until the early ours of the Friday morning! It was a great night.

We learned that there was a small carnival procession and dancing to be held in Corfu Town on Saturday, 5th March and promised ourselves that we would visit if the weather was good. As luck would have it, the sun was shining even though it was a bit cool. We set off early so that we could take some pictures before the procession.

By the time we got to the Liston we found the perfect spot to sit at a pavement cafe which provided us with an excellent view. It also provided a perfect opportunity for an ouzo meze! 🙂

The parade consisted of three groups. One was local anther was from Zante and the third was from Italy. We were particularly interested to see the local group as an acquaintance was performing with them. The costumes were very colourful and the performances polished. The whole day was made perfect for us by the sunshine.

Following the procession and dancing was a ‘Treasure Hunt’ arranged for youngsters who all turned up in costume. Some were very imaginative and also very clever. We have absolutely no idea what some costumes were meant to be though! We have no idea what the rules were but everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We have included some photos of Corfu Town that we have not taken before as well as some of the processions, dancing and Treasure Hunt.

Our day finished with a late lunch at ‘Pane and Souvlaki’ in Guilford Street before ambling back to the car which we had left in the Old Port car park. It was a great day that left us suitably shattered!

I am aware that our posts often sound like a nature blog because we frequently include mention and photos of flora, fauna and wildlife in general. Over the past couple of years, I have been trying to photograph as many butterflies as possible. I often claim to be something of an eclectic photographer and will shoot anything. Butterflies and moths present their own difficulties but I must confess to being really pleased with some of our results. Yes, Tricia is not adverse to photographing butterflies either!

So where is this leading? I will explain. I belong to a Facebook group for Corfu Butterflies. Another member had seen some caterpillars which she could not identify. It turned out that they were the caterpillar of the Glanville Fritillary butterfly which are very rare in the UK. They are rarely found outside some coastal areas of the Isle of white. Consequently, this find generated some interest. As the original finder lives nowhere near the find but Tricia and I did, I was asked to check them out. Sure enough there were a large number of these caterpillars concentrated in a very small area. Despite some dire weather they seem to be surviving. Having explained this, you will understand why we have included some photos of them!

The main carnival was on Sunday, 13th March. Carnival parades were held all over Greece but as the weather looked very suspect, we stayed at home. Carnival was followed on he 14th March by ‘Clean Monday’ the beginning of the first week of the Holy Forty Day Fast in the Orthodox calendar. The main food consumed on this day is shell fish!

Tricia and I were fortunate enough to be invited to join Diana and Vicentio’s celebration at their home in Kassiopi. We had a great time with wonderful food in great company. I hope that the photos do the day justice. The other traditional thing to do on Clean Monday is to fly kites. I must confess that we didn’t get involved in that!

The weather has been quite peculiar. Although we have had a lot of rain as expected, we have also had a couple of spectacular days with temperatures as high as 21°C On one bright day, the 19th March, I was sent to do some shopping in Roda and Acharavi. As is often the case, I took my camera as I often try to find time to indulge myself! On this occasion, I decided to see what had been done to repair the ‘roadway’ that runs, or should I say ran, between Acharavi and Roda.

The Roda end looked very nice …. for a distance of about 300 metres and then fizzled out. About 500 metres from Roda, the road was closed off and blocked by a bulldozer. Needless to say, nothing was being done. The Acharavi end which is little more than a path was washed away. Alarm has been expressed at the thought of Syrian refugees being housed on the island as it might deter visitors. All I would say is that, in my opinion, this is more likely to deter repeat visitors. The first flights from the UK were due to arrive on 23rd March. That in itself is another story!

I must return to my continuing quest to photograph butterflies! On the 21st March, I took another detour when I should have been shopping! I went to a regular haunt – Almyros. I was surprised to see so many different butterflies. The 21°C temperature probably had something to do with it. I was very surprised to see a Common Swallowtail which is not so common in the same way that the Scarce Swallowtail is not so scarce! I was pleased with my photographs of it.

Now I have mentioned the first EasyJet flight from the UK on the 23rd March. Unfortunately this coincided with a dreadful ‘sandstorm’ which appears to have started in the Sahara. The winds reached 115 Kph and visibility over Corfu was extremely limited. Consequently the flight was diverted to Thesaloniki where the passengers spent the night. It took off again on 24th March and was due to arrive around midday. However, the visibility was again so bad that the plane did 3 circuits of the airport before heading off to Athens where the passengers were to spend a further night. All this time, there were passengers hoping to fly back to the UK for the UK Easter! Who was it said that they wanted winter flights? 🙂

Friday, 25th March was Independence Day here in Greece. Although we never attended any of the parades, we went to lunch at Maistro Taverna in Acharavi. It was a fabulous afternoon which was made better by a party of forty, one of whose members was celebrating their name day. Great food, great music and great dancing!

The weather for March has not been bad. The photo taken on the 31st March gives a taster!

That’s it for now. Next month, we hope to get some decorating done – both internal and external. We both have trips to the UK lined up in the not too distant future. The run- up to Easter promised to be quite busy!

The photos that accompany this post can be found  here. Just click on the images and follow the arrows!

Bob & Tricia

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