Here comes the summer!

Whilst I was lounging in the sun in the UK the weather back on Syros was just plain weird – the village experienced a deluge of a months’ worth of rain in a few hours which caused a mudslide down the main road onto the beach. Sounds worse than it turned out to be – but still the clean up took a while for the tavern and hotel owners, and there were a few grumbles about the drainage. Concrete roads and houses create run off problems in places like this when unseasonal rain falls, which is worsened by the heavy clay-like soil which isn’t be able to quickly absorb extra rainfall when it hits.

But luckily the house and garden was intact upon our return. Bar a massive sweeping of pollen and pine needles fallen from the big trees that shade the terrace.  In fact, the garden had had a major growth spurt from the milder and wetter weather. Our landlord also popped by to water the seedlings, which I am forever grateful for. So the tomatoes, courgette and cucumber have spurted along in our absence. On our return, I made a bamboo climber support for the cucumber (which was indeed a cucumber, not a courgette – an easy mistake!) Luckily we have a limitless supply of bamboo from the canes growing in the garden which means everything will be supported nicely.

We had a few ‘days of gloom’ as I describe it last week, where the sky stays a grey colour all day and the sea looks murky and un-enticing. I heard the announcers on the Radio describe the weather forecast as ‘winter’ – it’s not far wrong, most of the Cyclades have had much less rain and colder temperatures this Spring than usual. But the garden soil was wet and warm so I planted more calendula seeds, potted out some cosmos and marigolds.  Last Monday it was 20c and cloudy, yet now a week later it is 29c and wall to wall sunshine. The locals have assured me that summer has finally arrived!

I woke this morning with Namaste inspired intentions of a run and yoga session – but on wandering outside with my coffee I was immediately distracted by the garden. One of the most brilliant things about working UK time is that I start work at 11.30am Greek time, so I have these blissful long mornings to fill before work commences. Although usually filed with chores (Greek houses take a lot of sweeping and de-anting!) or exercise and writing, this time makes the day seem longer and quite frankly when I think of the daily 1 hour commute in London, these hours back are a gift to be used wisely.

So this morning I pottered and deadheaded some of the petunia and pansy flowers. Replanted radish seeds, as many either failed to germinate or washed away. I am persevering with lettuce and spinach although it is starting to get too warm for germination. I planted out the aubergine in the bed and another courgette. The first one bought as a plug plant is flowering, so I am hoping that I find some larger pots or oil cans for the remaining tomato and courgette seedlings, as it’s getting late now. I bought some unusual Trombocino seeds (trumpet shaped squash) at the RHS Chelsea Show so was really pleased that one germinated in a few days.

The broadbeans look full of promise but local horticulture knowledge says it might be too war for them to fruit. While I was pottering and weeding, our feline friend nicknamed Bowie skipped over to purr round my ankles, then our landlord popped over and gave us some bulbs of garlic from his garden, enticingly fresh and with the cucumbers he shared last week, and the dill from the market – we will be surviving off homemade tzatziki for weeks.

Graeme’s family have been visiting this past week, so it was the best excuse to be tourists for a few days, eating out and cooking BBQ’s, enjoying sunbathing and snorkelling, wandering round Ano Syros and walking to Galissas.  This coincided with a Greek bank holiday for Orthodox Pentecost (Whit Monday) which marks the end of the Easter cycle of celebrations and the day of the Holy Spirit. Kini was incredibly busy with Athenians here on holiday and the weather heated up accordingly. All the Taverna’s were full on Saturday and Sunday night as suddenly everywhere we went felt like summer had arrived. The near empty beach we had known and loved, was brimming with families and sun seekers, enjoying their first taste of a glorious Greek summer. But this only lasts three days – and walking past today on my lunch break it was back to its more expected scattering of tourists and locals.

While I’m glad the weather has turned in Syros, I’ll keep doing a sundance for my friends back in the UK who have been updating me with rain stories…

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