Life has started to form a routine here, not just work, but also the domesticity of living in a little house and doing all the regular things in a highly modern way (read: back to basics) So we don’t have a washing machine, a microwave, a heater or TV. Life without TV is actually blissful given the current state of global news and politics– (don’t get me started on the election palaver). Although we obviously consume most of our news online, so we aren’t totally living in a bubble. But we agreed not to have Netflix or watch TV shows and stuff online. A good break from entertainment overload. Which is the best excuse to have a packed kindle reading list and various books to get through. (Please send recommendations!)
Our two ‘luxury’ purchases were a battery operated FM/AM radio to listen to local radio (6.99e– looks like it was made in the late 80s). I love Greek music, like Rembetiko and just having it in the background when cooking is my little piece of heaven. The second item was a cafetiere – such a common item back home actually took a while to track down here. Mainly because, the Greeks are fond of making their traditional ‘Ellinko Café’ in a briki (which is a small pan to boil the sandy fine coffee grounds in). But I was overjoyed when I finally found a ‘French Press’ in a cookshop as the lady described it. Here we are drinking fine coffee and scrubbing our clothes by hand.
Luckily Graeme loves washing so he has dutifully taken a lead on this. Hand washing takes exactly the same amount of time as using a washing machine, the only snag is that it is you that shoulders all the hard work. Equipment needed: 2 large buckets, a pair of washing up gloves, and hand detergent. We now have it down, which is exactly what happened to the washing line in the middle of hanging white sheets on…an almighty PING and the whole load went down. Everything had to be rinsed as they were covered in pine needles and dust! The rinsing and wringing is the real physical labour. Guns of steel in the making!
The other big differences here are felt in the buying food. Kini has a mini-market which gets bread delivered every morning and stocks the basics. In Ermoupoli, which is a short bus ride away, there are 3 big-ish supermarkets, one of them being a Lidl. None of them huge hypermarkets like Tesco. But they stock most things, but you do need to also go to the butcher shop (kreopoleio) and the greengrocer (manavis), as well as the bakery (forno). The real beauty is seeing how everyone shops around, and gets the best price, buying everything under one roof just isn’t possible here unless you ignore what everything costs! So when I get the bus in to do a ‘big shop’ it is at least 5 shops to get the basics and many ins and outs to get other stuff. Yesterday, after waving Graeme off on the Blue Star to Tinos, I hunted down blue tack (3 shops to find it) and a trip to the post office to get stamps, then butchers to get meat and then the greengrocer, with whom I had a hilarious Greek-lish conversation when he asked me whether I was here on holiday, he soon twigged he’s spoken to Graeme the week before. “Oh you must know the man with the moustache” i replied “Yep that’s Graeme, andros mou (my husband)”. “Ah send him my regards, he likes the football”. Then proceeded to ask if we had children and why not, “you make great babies”…yep, no subject out of bounds while buying red onions and a melon.
We also have a close-ish AB Supermarket in walking distance from the house, it’s a hilly 35 minute walk there as its half way between Galissas and Kini. I am sure we get a few looks of humour at us walking there (you see it is rather weird for us not to have a car or moped, but hey, we are walkers and like it that way!). But what a walk it is! Once out of Kini, the road ascends high up the hill to Danakos and through pastures of farmland, passing green fields of cows, sheep and my favourite, goats. On a walk there on Monday morning to get milk and bread, we passed by a lady Goat-Herder walking her flock of 10 or so goats from one field to another. She just sat there peacefully serene in the morning haze. She waved and we waved back, a cheerful “Kalimera”. After a quick whizz-round the supermarket, and loading up our rucksacks with goodies we set off again. As we neared the turn down into the village, the lady was crossing the road with her goats, two kids bouncing around and not following her orders! We waved again and I said “mou resi katsiki” (I like goats). She beckoned us over and picked up one of the little ones so I could say hello. There I was stroking a baby goat on a Monday morning, life dream achieved! He was so cute and happy to see us. We passed a few words in Greek and then went on our merry way home to log-on and start work.
I can honestly say the food shopping used to be such chore back home, but here you never know what you’ll run into and how it might just brighten up your day.
My love of goats. To be continued….