Ooh It’s SO good to be back on the island!
I was more than happy to leave the relentless rain and gloomy grey skies of London far behind when I took off from Heathrow in the very early hours of yesterday morning. Once clear of the initial turbulence (thank you dense black clouds!) flying eastwards across Europe the sky became bluer and bluer and by the time we crossed the majestic snow-capped Alps:
the Italian lakes, mere puddles below, were glistening in strong unobstructed sunlight:
We landed in Athens on a gloriously bright and breezy day and after a short stop-over, I made the final leg over to Skiathos on a full plane – the first tourists of the season have arrived.
A short taxi ride to the villa later, I unlocked the old wooden door on the street and breathed in deep at the sight that greeted me. There’s something magical about stepping into an overgrown garden for the first time of the year. I’m always amazed by how the creepers and ramblers, amply fed and watered by spring showers and sunshine, ascend the old stone walls in all directions if left unchecked:
How weeds, also left to their own devices, push up though the paving cracks with a vengeance:
and how, just like the geraniums tumbling from the olive jars:
the old rose bushes, having recently burst into bloom, sag without snapping under the weight of their spectacular show.
Everywhere is a sea of riotous colour and lush new green foliage:
In the stillness of a late afternoon interrupted only by bees, birdsong and the lightest of sea breezes, even the knee-high grassy meadows, gently swaying and still resplendent with wild flowers, fills the senses and leaves me in awe.
Like entering ‘The Secret Garden’ it is truly a sight to behold and never fails to take my breath away.
Drinking it all in, I slowly made my way up to the house. It was time to awaken it from its winter slumber. I turned the key and entered the dark, sterile interior with trepidation, fully prepared for signs of winter damage; another leak in the roof perhaps (heavens forbid!) or dust and cobwebs galore, at the very least. But as I peeled back the shutters slowly, room by room, letting the dazzling sunlight flood in and fill each corner with fresh air and new energy, all that was revealed was a much-loved, familiar space, simply frozen in time; everything was just as I left it months before! So thankfully this time, no nasty surprises lay in wait.
That said, there was one……
The best welcome of all came when my four-legged friends, Percy and Piccolina, who seemed beside themselves with joy (or perhaps just relief at not being completely abandoned) bounded in on my return. With full rounded bellies offered up for tickling, wagging tails, wet tongues and demented antics trying to out do each for attention, they were the picture of good health – thanks to my neighbour’s good care in my absence. But, alas, no sign of the fluffy kitten, Paws. Sadly I learned that barely a week ago he had gone to join his sister – and in exactly the same way too; out on the main road, under the wheels of a passing truck………….
R.I.P Little One
So, it was a bitter-sweet reunion…
and yet, despite of the sadness (sighs)…….. it is SO good to be home…….