589 days ago
The sea might look tempting as the sun beats down, but I can assure you that, here in the Mani, it is still mighty “refreshing”. That is to say, cold. It will not heat up to a point where I would dip my toes in the water. However…
593 days ago
I lay in bed this morning with the cocks having crowed and with the birds tweeting away, but with my family all snoring happily, thinking of how I would tell you about the warming sun of a Greek Spring. Opening the doors to head upstairs for that first pot of coffee and some writing while the family snoozes on,my feet found the tiles outside the door still wet from overnight rain. And above the mountains looming above us, dark clouds assembled. But they will go and by the time we hit a stone covered beach at Kitries later this morning, the sun will be blazing down upon us.
724 days ago
I reported yesterday that my first guests, R &S, were due to arrive that evening. I hoped that neither were vegetarian or non drinkers as many folks in sophisticated London are these days for that is not what we do here in Kambos. It is like not owning a gun, it is unnatural, freakish. As I feared R is a non drinking vegetarian.
863 days ago
The Mrs arrives tonight. So last night was the last one of the boys’ holiday with Joshua, the longest time he has ever been parted from his mum, three and a half weeks. There have, surprisingly, been no tears although it is clear that he cannot wait to see her again. And we have had a good time on our road trip and here at the hovel. To celebrate the end of part one of our break, I took him to Kitries for supper.
1198 days ago
As we neared the end of our first week, we thought we’d take our guest, Uncle Johnny who is in fact nobody’s Uncle, to Kitries as a treat. This tiny harbour is the closest to Kambos, about half an hour’s drive down a winding road, and has two restaurants at either end of the cove. A week later would have been the busiest weekend of a Greek August but this Friday would, in a normal year, have seen the seafront packed with well-oiled and, usually, overweight bodies. It was shocking.
1437 days ago
Day 6, of the harvest was to be our last day as a full team, volunteer T1 was heading off at midday Tuesday. So we tried to make the most of it, finishing off the trees on the top plateau and starting to head back along the terraces on the side of the hovel facing the Mountains rather than the abandoned convent.
1922 days ago
This church is in the middle of nowhere on the long climb up from the sea at Kitries towards Stavropigio, the next village to my home one of Kambos. We drove up that road today after a day by the shore. I remember driving past this church with my father and late step mother on her last holiday before she passed away. She was clearly very ill at that point. We stopped the car and myself and Helen went inside. There was barely enough room for the two of us and the small lizard we found there.
2383 days ago
If you have not spent time in Greece you may not be familiar with the restaurant cats. Every place, bar the smartest establishments in Athens and Salonika has them. In the winter, at the tourist resorts, although not at places such as Miranda's in Kambos, the poor creatures starve as custom disappears.
2413 days ago
Back in early December when I arrived at the Greek Hovel for the olive harvest, the Taygettos mountains behind me were already covered with thick snow which you might think a bit odd. After all we are at the Southernmost edge of Europe and Al Gore and the global warming loons were telling us twenty years ago that this area would be almost a desert by now. Well guess what?
2705 days ago
Sorry it is a poor quality video and yes that is Abba in the background. I shot it on the penepenultimate evening at the Greek Hovel. I was travelling down from Kambos to the sea at Kitries for a last meal of octopus. About two miles from where, just outside my home village, one leaves the main Kambos to Kalamata road, there is a small hamlet.
I stood above this hamlet looking down on its church in the sunset. Then I panned the camera around. I hope you can make out the 180 degree view starting at the Frankish castle above Kambos, moving down to the bay at Kitries and onwards to the church. And so why would one live anywhere else?
2722 days ago
It was eight days ago that my father and I popped over to Kambos to visit the Greek Hovel and to meet a friend of mine from the neighbouring village. We will come to him and his village, the Feta village, in due course. He did not show up. Perhaps, as we had both had vast amounts of ouzo when we made this plan, he had forghotten. Worse was to come, we arrived to see that the Kourounis taverna was shut. Eleni's husband Nicho said "ten days, no coffee, no Greek Salad, no ouzo" And with that Dad & I sloped off to the ouzerie opposite, a place frequented only by very old men.
It was my first visit there and we had a couple of ouzos. The owner - with whom I crossed swords regarding parking a couple of years ago - brought
3112 days ago
A morning at the Greek Hovel working on frigana poisoning, lunch by the sea at Kitries and then a leisurely drive over the mountain roads back to Kardamili. That was the order of the day for the Mrs and myself. I write from the bar of the wonderful Meletsina Village hotel - my top tip for staying in Karadmili - with a Gin & Tonic looking out over the sea in the late afternoon sun. But I am frustrated.
As we drove over the mountains, the Mrs cried "there's a snake". Sure enough there was indeed a snake slithering towards safety on the other side of the road. These days I think Greek so without hesitating I swerved sharply, not thinking of what might be heading the other way around the next bend, and drove over the middle of the snake. Kill! Thought I.
But much to my dismay
3354 days ago
I saved the last of the frigana for after lunch. Two sessions in the morning left me with one last patch to clear. But first a major problem: My bike was leaking oil. The man at the garage said “go to Kalamata tomorrow” as I bought my second bottle of the day. But I am a changed man.
Three months ago I would have phoned John the bike man in a panic. Today once back at the hovel I got underneath the bike and diagnosed the problem. Tubing had come loose. And I fixed it. Triumph one.
Triumph two came just before dusk as I finally removed the last frigana bush on the property. 2000
3425 days ago
I have yet to fix up my hosepipe based shower – that is a job for this evening. And as such after three days in the hovel I arrived at the conclusion that I must be rather dirty, not to say smelly. As such, noting that a sign just outside Kambos says beach 5.5 kilometres I ventured off for an early morning swim.
A Greek kilometre is rather different to a standard kilometre, that is to say 1000 metres. When the sign says 5.5 kilometres that means anything between 3 kilometres and nine kilometres. Just treat what the sign says as a very rough guide. And thus after about nine kilometres I hit the sea and removed my West Ham 2005-2006 “We are Premiership” T-shirt, celebrating Bobby Zamora’s magnificent 57th minute winner against Preston in the play-off final. I then dipped my toes in.