Once again the Christmas lights illuminate Skiathos harbour:
The outdoor Christmas tree at the Evangelistria Monastery has gone up:
and the first snowflakes have fallen on our little island! They haven’t settled (yet!) but much more, if we’re to believe the forecasts, is on its way. A bonus is the fabulous sunsets we’ve been having lately:
They’re my cue (with Christmas barely two weeks away) to close up ‘Painting Skiathos’ for another year and head for home – well my ‘other’ home, that is. I say that at the risk of sounding a bit pretentious because this year in particular, Skiathos has felt like home and not just a place to see out the summer months.
So what’s changed? Well, perhaps it’s a result of spending much longer here than usual or perhaps it’s because, for the first time, I’ve become completely enmeshed in island life; its people, its ways etc. By becoming involved with local committees for eco issues, preservation, culture, animal welfare etc and to some degree, the islands plans for its future, my presence here seems no longer to be viewed with obvious (albeit polite) disdain or suspicion (well, among the Skiathites, anyway – a few fellow expats are, quite bewilderingly, another matter altogether!). Now that my motives for being here are finally, fully understood, I’ve been welcomed with open arms.
Working closely with many islanders throughout the preparations for our daughter’s wedding helped me to feel, for the first time really, totally accepted into Skiathos society, as one of their own. I get the sense I’m finally accepted as someone who genuinely cares for the island, its people and their well-being – which of course I am and I do!
It’s only taken 36 years but, I guess, like so many aspects of Greek island life, some things just can’t be rushed!
Another reason is that for the past couple of months I’ve had a very persistent stalker too. Seriously!
I was of course very wary at first, but I don’t mind his attention at all now as he’s a particularly magnificent specimen of manhood; standing tall, beautiful and proud. His preening and quite obvious awareness of his attraction and effect on females, I find incredibly attractive and endearing. He’s constantly at my side or just one step behind. He literally follows me everywhere! That he demands nothing more than regular meals in return for this undeserved adulation, is a price well worth paying and I’ve abandoned the need for an alarm clock altogether now that he wakes me up himself, every morning, regular as clockwork.
So allow me to introduce him: his name is Callisto (derived from Greek καλλιστος (kallistos) meaning “most beautiful” )………and he most certainly lives up to his name. Callisto the Cockerel has quite a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
“He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen just to hear him crow” – George Eliot’s words describe him perfectly:
The fact that he’s been totally accepted by the rest of the family gives me the feeling he’s definitely here to stay!
He’s already settled himself in, claiming the top of the stacked outdoor furniture, under the covered terrace, for his cosy bed:
So my menagerie, quite unplanned, is growing by the minute! There’s nothing like having animals about the house to make one feel truly settled. Not that Callisto is permitted IN the house, though he watches us enjoying the warmth of the open fire, so longingly through the window, for hours on end, that it may be only a matter of time……
So, although I’ll soon be taking to the skies, full of excited anticipation at the thought of spending quality time with my family, I’ve no doubt I’ll be back before you can say “Dont’ count your chickens …..”
‘Chickens! Now there’s a thought………AND there’s a pregnant goat for sale in the classifieds of our local rag….and a donkey…..’
‘NO! Stop! Don’t even go there, Yvonne! Just sign off and wish everyone a Happy Christmas”
(Big sigh) “Oh, Ok then….” (she says, imagination still running wild)
Have a Wonderful Christmas Everyone!
Very Best Wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all!
Yvonne, Percy, Piccolina and now …..Callisto too
See you in 2011!
(Till then, I hope you’ll continue to follow my adventures on my, now all but abandoned (sorry!), other blog: Yvonne Ayoub Art)