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The Hills are alive with the sound of....gunfire

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 28 February 2015

From morning through to night you can hear gunfire everywhere in the Mani right now. Yes it is the Albanian hunting season. Only kidding. What the folks shoot are little birds – anything with wings. In the old days Thrush was considered a delicacy and at least some of the carnage was eaten. These days the dead birds are just left to rot. This is all done in the name of “fun”

The area around the Greek Hovel is deemed a good killing field and so twice now I have been forced to reverse either up or down a steep hill as a convoy of pick-up trucks travels the other way. Normally quiet tracks are now humming.

Up on the mountain roads one comes across stretches where every 200 yards for a mile there is a parked truck on one side of the road and a – usually old – man on the other with his heavy gun.

 I know the Mani has a gun culture. I am considered a total weirdo for not having one. In the old days of blood feuds (19th century and before) when a boy was born he was known as “a gun” and by twelve was expected to be fighting.

I am a tremendous supporter of the right to carry firearms. Houses in Kambos do not suffer burglaries because a) there is not a lot to steal and b) the robber would get his head blown off. So the burglars focus on foreign owned houses by the Coast as the foreigners are richer and being woolly minded liberals would not dream of getting a gun.

I shall be getting a gun this summer for rabbits and to let it be known that I am no woolly minded liberal should any burglars find their way up to Kambos. But I shall not take part on the bird shoot. It is senseless and pointless. Besides which, unlike the old men, I have work to do.



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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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