Saturday, September 16, 2006
As if we'd never been gone
Back to Lower House at around 8.00pm last evening - via the corner of hell that is Corfu airport, thence packed like sardines to Liverpool and on to Manchester. Eventually and wearily, we put the key in our own door. Of course, after only a week, we find that while we have had a very Out-of-Powys experience and have returned relaxed, bronzed and a little better read, not much has changed here. Hooray!
However, we soon discover from our neighbours that both of our deep freezes had, due to some electrical blip, defrosted shortly after our departure. In their wisdom they had switched them on again later in the week and re-frozen the contents, so this morning has been spent piling bags of dodgy meat and seafood into bin liners and doing a thorough clean - amazing really just how far the juice from 3 bags of blackberries can spread.... I am saddened by the waste (all those prawns, all that scampi, the scallops...) but also quite glad to see the back of some of those mysterious, unlabelled packages that seem to lurk frostily at the back of one's freezer and which we can never quite get round to either disposing of or face eating.
Anyway, on to happier things....
We had an excellent week in Loggos - which is as lovely and welcoming as ever and still unspoiled although there is much evidence of more tourism. Paxos seems far more properous than on our previous visits; new boats in the harbours, new roads and buildings, everything has a slightly more polished look and some of the shabbiness has been brushed away. The islanders are, at last, being rewarded for the grueling 18-hour days during the tourist season and the drudgery of the winter's olive harvest.
And what a treat it was to have these three handsome young men in the apartment next to ours!:
In Loggos the day starts slowly, the sun rising over the Greek mainland. (On the morning of our departure it was a fiery red, reminding us: 'Red sky in the morning - shepherd's warning'. And indeed rain fell as we arrived in Corfu.) The small fishing boats return in ones and twos to unload their catch, the baker brings bread from the wood oven on the hill down to the shop and the community begins to stir. Visitors emerge into the sunshine and head for the white pebbled beaches, following the narrow stony paths through the olive trees. Others take small boats out to those coves only accessible from the sea. The island bus takes Paxiots and visitors alike to Gaios and Lakka, lumbering labouriously round the narrow bends outside Loggos. By early afternoon - siesta time - the village is still; one or two sit in the shade at the Taverna and sinuous cats stretch sleepily in the shadows. The sun is hot on the slim cypress trees and cicadas stridulate in the scrub.
Later, as the afternoon draws to a close Loggos comes to life again, the supermarkets reopen, beers and juices refresh returning swimmers and walkers. (Later still, showered and pressed they'll saunter back down to the square to eat at one of the restaurants, feasting on fishes and tangy feta salads strewn with the tiny black olives grown on the island.) The little boats return to moor in the harbour. The sea calms and becomes silvery and still. As the light falls on Greece across the water, the mountains become flat shapes of blue and violet. Land and sea bathe in a pearly, milky light. Utterly peaceful. It is a great pleasure to sit on the terrace with a glass of wine and simply drink in its beauty.
Here are a few holiday snaps - in no particular order: