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Picture article: The summer draws to a close, grapes give way to prickly pears at the Greek Hovel

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 7 September 2014

The summer is drawing to a close at the Greek Hovel. My summer lasts for just another three weeks and then I must return to Britain. I shall miss this place badly.  But the physical summer is also drawing to its close. Nature is changing.

The grapes that used to sit in great bunches hanging from the vines that surround this house are all gone. I had my fair share but so too did some incredibly large wasps who after a day’s gorging would buzz around inebriated and stuffed. The wasps have gone and are now preparing, unknowingly, for death. 

Meanwhile I start to gather firewood whenever I find it. Not in an organised fashion but on an ad hoc basis. There is plenty kicking around and it is now being stored in the rat room. I will need it for the fire when I come back in November and December for the olive harvest and frigana burning. By then it will be only 22 degrees during the day and at night it will be a tad chilly.

In the evenings as I head down to Eleni’s most excellent Kourounis taverna in Kambos for a Greek salad I now wear jeans and a shirt. By the time I head back there is a chill in the air. The weather is slowly turning. Do not get me wrong, it is 3 PM now and I sit in shorts only - the afternoon heat is still intense, just not quite what it was.

And so with no grapes to snack on I am now onto prickly pears which grow on two giant cactus like plants just behind the hovel. 

 

 

Prickly is the word. Not only are here the very obvious spins but the whole pear is covered in tiny needles. In picking the bunch below I now have spindles that look like tiny hairs on most of my fingertips. I am slowly brushing them away and removing them but they sting. Nature has a clever way of protecting herself.

 

To eat. You cut both ends off and then peel away the remainder of the barrel with a knife. I have not quite got the hang of it yet but I am getting there. The pips are digestible and the taste great. Other than the almonds – of which I am no great fan – and the figs, they are all that is left of the summer harvest 2014 here at the hovel

xxxx

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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