Travel

Springtime in Autumn

It’s confusing. The grass has started growing, the sheep are lambing, the sun is shining. It makes sense for lambs to be born in November when the grass is growing and will continue into the New Year. Easier for the Ewe to suckle her young when she can feed on fresh shoots. They tried to put me off – the winter is cold – everything is shut. But  it can’t be as cold as Ireland, I said ( or Hibernia, meaning Winter, as the Romans called it as they turned away and decided it was to much trouble to invade). I have been fooled before, I said. I have seen enough beauty and nature to persuade me to take a chance on a Corfiot winter. Now  the dogs and I venture out at 7 am . We go up to the top of the mountain where we can see the Ropa Valley filled with a mist and wait for the sun to hit the village on the far side. There is a heavy dew on the grass and on the spiders webs. Ripe olives are dropping to the ground to fill the nets.   As we go back down the mountain, the sun has already begun to warm the air. The path ahead is filled with slanting sunlight taking a shortcut into the neighbours orange grove. In the Ropa Valley, the goats bells sound.  Shots ring out from a hunter’s gun that reverberate around the mountains. Then silence again except maybe a cock crowing or  geese making a racket about something. The dogs chase a cat then settle down to a day of idleness, when they thank their lucky stars that they were rescued. I wonder if it could always be just like this.

Sentinels of the Past

It seems like there is nothing that would surprise these gnarled yet stately trees who have witnessed thousands of campers since the Dionysus campsite opened over thirty years ago.

At its peak, the campsite was regularly host to 800 occupants. Now the advent of the all inclusive cut price holiday has drawn people away from camping.

The plus side is more space for those of us who still camp. And the people you meet are true travellers. Like the French couple in their late seventies. Travelled with their tents on their backs. He had life theories that were a complete philosophy. He refused to be called a philosopher. When I asked him why he replied because he did not write a book.

When I asked him why he did not write he replied because he experiences things and that is enough. Put me in my place.

The trees also do not make any commentary. Yet they have seen aeons of change around them. In their younger years, conquest by Venetians, Turks, English. Planted by Corfiots in return for an ample purse so that the lamps of Venice could shine throughout the dark nights of winter, lit by olive oil. Now they stand immense and bear witness silently. Shading travellers from the intense summer heat of July and August.

My home for three months on and off. The only sound at night besides the owl hooting continuously was the sound of an olive dropping on the caravan roof.