It is now only 3 weeks before I fly to Greece. Preparations have to be made for leaving behind house and garden, friends and family.
With a sudden outbreak of dry if not reliably sunny weather I have been concentrating my attention on the garden: completing the autumn-clearing previously interrupted by week after week of rain; sorting out the devastation from the wettest winter in England and Wales since records began in 1766 (before the USA was even a twinkle in revolutionaries’ eyes); preparing to sow and plant the vegetable garden for the growing season with crops which can be harvested when I come home. Sorting out the garden may not sound like a big deal but it’s a quarter of an acre which quickly becomes overgrown if neglected.
In 2010, the first time I went to Greece for a prolonged period, I came home after 2 months for a few days and found 6 foot thistles choking the paths, vegetables lost among luxuriant weeds. Since then I have been laying a network of paths which will remain weed-free, now nearing completion.
Preparations also have to be made for ‘going to’ as well as ‘leaving behind’. Practicalities such as flights to book, ferries schedules to suss out, en route accommodation to find. Decisions to make on what to pack and locating things not unearthed since last summer.
I will not be in Greece for the whole summer, returning home for grandchildren’s birthdays and the suchlike but nevertheless a stay of months at a time is very different from a two week holiday. It’s a whole different mind-set, not becoming a resident but not being a typical tourist either.
It may sound obvious but even the smaller islands, and Symi where I’ll be based is one of the smallest, have facilities and services. No need to take basics such as batteries, sunscreen, toiletries and coffee. They are readily available in supermarkets. No need for American Express intervention, the islands even have medical services.
Which reminds me. One of the things I hope to do this summer is spend more time writing about previous travels and one thing I wrote about recently is an incident which happened to me a few years ago when I was ill on the island of Tilos in the Dodecanese: ‘Being ill in a Foreign Language’. Take a look.
Be prepared. Stay cool.