Saturday, 10 August 2013

Greek Binchey

The main church bell in Skyros town
which watches over us all night
I have decided that Skyros is a bit like a Maeve Binchey novel. Full of odd little characters who return each summer to laze in the sun and drink too much ouzo. OK maybe Maeve's characters function on pints of beer instead but the idea is same.  There is the Swedish Psychotherapist who wears only white; the Dutch party gal who has been coming here since she was a child; the Greek family with an endless supply of daughters ( another one has been added to the mix since I saw them last year); the old fisherman with diamond blue eyes whose face lights whenever I say 'kalimera'; the Athenian woman who sees angels everywhere; the staff at Ferogia of course and Alecko's mother-in-law who always compliments me on my dresses. In a way our relationships are all very superficial since we don't have anything to do with each other for the rest of the year. But in another way they are very honest too. We talk about our past year and how we are feeling now. We ask and give advice and we drink far too much wine and eat too much shrimp and dance to cheezy music until  well into the night. I find with each year that passes I am invited a little more deeply into this world as the people who have been coming longer than me start accepting me as part of their family. They can see I am not a one-off visitor. That I love their island as much as they do. I commented to one person how I felt like an outsider slowly inching my way in a little further each year. He seemed surprised. " But you are already iconic!" he said. " You are the stone painter." I almost felt obligated to start painting there and then but I resisted and ate a plate of seafood instead -  which I regretted most heartily a few hours later.

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