Personal and undiluted views
Grapes

1856 days ago

Photo: Grapes I shall never eat as, sadly, I book a flight back to Britain

With some sadness I contacted British Airways today to move my flight forward and by Saturday evening I shall be back in the UK. I don't say back home because I feel more and more that my home will be out here at the Greek Hovel. I leave a lot of thoughts and ideas behind here in the mountains above Kambos. But I also leave something more tangible. It is with great regret that I shall not be here in mid August when the grapes below which trail from vines either side of the hovel, are large, ripe and tasting fantastic. Drat! 

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1872 days ago

A Grape Photo from the Greek Hovel

It is not just the olives that are getting bigger and bigger but also the grapes. A rather untrained vine winds its way across a random set of wires either side of the Greek Hovel. One day I shall have a trained vine and lots of grapes but, for the time being, I fertilise this feral creature in a way that only a man can do and watch with delight as the fruit grow and grow. I fear that when the grapes are ready in early August I shall not be there to enjoy them as they are large, sweet and incredibly "more-ish".

They will instead provide nourishment for large wasps

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2490 days ago

Thinking about grapes in Bristol and at the Greek Hovel

The Bristol vine harvest was completed last weekend. About enough liquid for ten to fifteen bottles now sits fermenting in a bucket. We have added sugar and yeast and must just wait for a week before straining and decanting into a demi-john. I may try to make grappa with what’s left as an experiment.

Our Bristol grapes were red but small and of varying degrees of sweetness. They were not the lush bunches of grapes you’d expect at a Roman orgy. Nor the lush bunches of sweet grapes that hang around the Greek Hovel.

My guest this summer gave me firm instructions as to how I must assist the vine for next year by pissing against it. As a woman she was not able to assist but urine is a great source of nitrogen and so I followed her instructions every day. I am not sure that I saw any immediate response from the gnarled trunk. But I guess we will find out next summer.

It is the end of my first working week back in the UK. Right now my friends in Kambos are gathering at lovely Eleni’s Kourounis taverna. It is starting to get dark. I would at this point be tapping away for another couple of hours before Vangelis – the man in the pink polo shirt – said in Greek, it is not if you are drinking but what are you drinking. And we’d be off. Back in Bristol I prepare to cook supper for the Mrs instead and to learn more about life in the Grim North by catching up on this week’s episodes of Coronation Street. It is a life of contrasts.

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2516 days ago

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

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. 

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