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The skies darken over the Greek Hovel as lovely Eleni and the rest of Kambos prepares for winter

Tom Winnifrith
Friday 19 September 2014

My shorts are packed away, the (just 33 inch!) jeans and a fleece are now the daily norm. There is a chill in the air. The skies over the mountains behind the Greek Hovel are now dark with cloud pregnant with rain. There have been spits and spots periodically for two days but no downpour. It is only a matter of time.

The daily shower at the hovel is less of a laugh these days. You may remember that it is simply a hosepipe draped from the frame on which our vine trails. Just a few weeks ago the water arrived heated by the sun burning down on the metal pipes which connect my house to the village. The water is rather less hot these days and though I am drenched in sweat from labouring in the fields the temptation to skip the odd shower is very real. The Mrs is no longer here, no one is going to mind if I am a bit smelly are they?

In the village the preparations for winter are being made. Biking in to Kambos through the olive groves above snake hill the other day I was thinking about nothing in particular and so was  rather startled when a woman’s voice shouted out “Hello Tom”. Which nymph of the woods, was calling? 

It was lovely Eleni from the Kouronis taverna (pictured above), the only semi-fluent English speaker in Kambos. A few other folk speak enough for me to make a transaction. The chaps at both stores selling snake repellent and frigana poison know me well and we can talk about snakes. But Eleni is the only person with whom I could discuss, for instance, Scottish Independence.

I digress. Eleni was up in the patch of olive grove that she owns with her husband and two boys gathering wood, or as she says “woods.” Even I have started to make a little store of the stuff in the rat room. Part of me fears that this will provide an ideal winter home for a variety of snakes. But another part of me knows that when I come back for the Olive harvest I will need a fire to keep warm and I’d rather not be picking up sticks in November given what may be falling asleep underneath them. And so every day I add to my little store.

As I sit now in the Kouronis taverna, trucks pass by laden with water melons and other fruits of the field, Meanwhile I weigh up the odds of me getting a drenching when I bike home. It does not matter when I leave. The downpour will start just after I leave the main road at the petrol station/post office and start up the winding track to the hovel. Such is life.

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