724 days ago
Every year with every new olive harvester there is, what appears, a ritual. I say “don’t eat any of the small olives we are harvesting for oil.” They then bite into one and say “yuk, that’s revolting.” At which point I remind them of what I said. Another ritual is that I go pick around 45 edible olives and warn them again not to bite into one until they have cured them back in Airstrip One. This time they listen.
745 days ago
For reasons nobody can establish, our electricity bill is quite enormous: easily larger than our gas and electricity bill back here in Wales, even though the Greek house is smaller than the Welsh hovel and only in use for less than three months a year. But dutifully I pay it off. I reckon Greece needs the cash more than me. Imagine my horror to discover that even though I was paying all bills on time some bastard had cut me off.
2105 days ago
Further evidence of my skills as a pyromaniac will come later but just a brief shot showing how I burned off more olive branches on the, by then, rain sodden, site of my first triumph at the Greek Hovel. Flames leapt into the sky, high enough for my neighbours to see, so further restoring my reputation as a real man.
2116 days ago
You know that I am a feminist. Child care, nappy changing, shopping, washing, cooking, I dxo more than my fair share. But there are some things that only women can do. Breast feeding for example. And there are some things we men do: snake killing, ouzo drinking and.. lighting fires. My repeated failure to burn off the olive branches and frigana I cut down last year at the Greek Hovel has thus been somewhat emasculating. And it got far worse yesterday before it got better.
2426 days ago
Arriving back at the Greek Hovel I am always terrified as to what forms of wildlife diversity have camped out there while I have been away. I turn up whatever crap music I can pick up on a car radio here in the lower levels of the mountains, open the car windows and try to warn all of God's creations that I am back and they should flee. Of course they know that I am not a hard Greek or Albanian who will kill them all but a total wuss so nothing flees.
2555 days ago
I imagine that you are all thinking of large black specimens. Think again, the olives here are mainly green with some turning a shade of purple while others are indeed black. But they are also very small, think of a small marble and then think a bit smaller. The photos below should give you some idea. The reference point is my hand.
2701 days ago
It is one of the charms of Greece that if one makes an appointment for 7.30 PM on Friday in really means any time between Wednesday and Sunday afternoon. It was in that spirit that I prepared for my date with the most amazing woman to be shown around the deserted monastery, actually a convent, which sits on the other side of the valley from the Greek Hovel. As the crow flies it is actually my nearest neighbour and, as you can see, it is a pretty impressive building.
2723 days ago
There was I having a late afternoon doze in the Greek Hovel when I awoke to a sound which seemed right outside my window, the sound of sheep. For those living the other side of Offa's Dyke this might sound like the climax of a wet dream but for me it was reality as I went onto my balcony on the Monastery facing side of the hovel and, you can see what I saw right beneath me.
2769 days ago
I end with a summary of the wildlife diversity encountered today at the Greek hovel as I start pruning the olive trees. I start with Iofina (IOF) where the numbers are ghastly, this is a ramp built on sand. I also cover China Africa (CAF), Opera (OPRA), Bango (BGO) and Optibiotix (OPTI). But my mind is really on the manual labour that lies ahead here in the mountains of Greece