The first around-the-island walk of the season is always special and each one tops the last.
Yesterday we set off along the quay and were quickly greeted by a Serbian ‘Summer-live aboard’ couple and their large wet dog who enthusiastically wound himself around Kezzie, her lead, me, them and the lamppost! A great start.
There are a few changes amongst the boats which we have become accustomed to seeing, mostly the replacement of tired little cruisers by an assortment of unusual craft plus ex-charters bought from Athens, all about to start fresh chapters of adventure. Hopefully we’ll get to know some of the new owners.
Kezzie takes a short swim and is accompanied by shouted greetings and singing from an early morning jolly sailor whilst fishermen quietly mend their nets after last night’s trip, sometimes looking up but mostly hunched in concentration.
Some earphones pass, attached to various forms of stretchy running gear and at unenviable speed, their owners mostly too engrossed to speak or nod but wobbling cyclists, gentleman with caps and ambling others happily find ways to express a good and beautiful morning.
These bits and bobs along the way make every random stroll into a verse of our summer’s song.
Simon patiently listens to me as I discover afresh the buds, blossoms and emerging fruit and just have to stop, touch and smell as much as possible. Gradually I accumulate a ragged posy of eucalyptus, a yet to be identified yellow flowering sprig and some deliciously fragrant orange blossom ( which could also be lemon.)
The view is as staggeringly far reaching as ever, the wide Saronic Gulf, spread blue and unruffled before us like a table laid with tempting pleasures. We stop and gaze at tight white sails, crisp, like napkins, plus condiments of shapely rock which lead our eyes towards distant islands and future feasts. For now my feet are comfortably be-sandaled and enjoying this crunch and gravel stroll with the prospect of a taverna lunch propelling us on.
Returning to Rope Sole, by way of alleys, crooked paths and plenty of Kalimeras’, we discover the afternoon breeze is perky and perfect for drying some of the washing which has come back from the laundry a little damp.
It takes me about two weeks to clean the cabins, sort out the bedding, floor mats and rapidly fading clothing and to generally achieve some girly ship-shape, always amazing how much dust and yuck creeps inside the boat when overwintered in our Mediterranean yard, every surface has to be washed and every cupboard emptied and wiped. This is no angst inducing chore however as it becomes a ritual of reacquaintance and always yields forgotten treasures. Like the pink peppercorns in the galley and turquoise earrings in my drawer.
From the comfy writing corner of our cabin I have just been hailed by my friend from up the hill. She has brought a bag of mountain horta…wild and delicious greens from a secret location on the mainland. Better than that though is the news of her job…as she quickly explains I look into her eyes and lift my hand, ‘ thank you Lord, hey…we have been praying for this haven’t we!’ Laughing and agreeing and full of thank you she rushes to the bank!