From a stroll around the summit of Mount Pantocrator, a ascent via Sokraki, Zigos, Sgourades and Strinilas, we descended a kilometer to a place in sight of the mountain top and spread ourselves a picnic on a grazing just off the road in the company of all those things that keep people away from such lovely places – two varieties of ant, a dung beetle, wasps, a lone mantis, a bumble bee, butterflies and day moths.
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Yesterday we went as usual when we have a car to the Lighthouse - O Foros – table-top sale at Kontokali, then after the usual humming and haaing with arguments and indecision to a pebbled beach near the old Venetian Arsenal where the Corfu Rowing Club have made three wooden rafts into a jetty.
We’d bought souvlaki and giros from Spiridoula, working as ever over the turning spit at George’s.
“Did you get chips for Guy and Amy?” asked Lin
“No! I got what people ordered” (I made the list as I thought agreed)
Lin shrugged to Amy “You didn’t tell your father to get chips as well”
“Shall I go back?”
“No don’t bother”
We sat in the sun on two picnic rugs I’d remembered to bring this time. I sat on the jetty, jeans rolled up, and dangled my feet in the mild sea. A slight breeze blew from the north. A few locals shared the shore.
Planes came high overhead now and then. After a while Guy and Amy took Hannah and Oliver further along the shore for shade. Lin lay to read. Sophia slept. Liz and I leapt off the jetty; drying and warming and swimming again. As the sun lost some of its strength Amy and Guy came back with the grandchildren. Oliver dislikes water at the moment and clung to Guy up to his waist. Liz dipped Sophia.
“There’s a pervert over there.” said Liz “He's watching the women. I don’t think it’s at the kids”
“He had his hand in his underpants feeling himself…Doing it” said Amy
I saw this gaunt featured elderly man, lean and bronzed, in the distance. I strolled over crunching gravel and for an hour stood between him and his glassy stare, standing by him in the water when he rose unsteadily and swam a few listless strokes; resting my shadow across him, as muttering soundlessly he tried to stare at women on the beach with the rusty focus of a spent torpedo. Peering at his watch he picked himself up and doddered from the beach.
Amy joined me jumping in again ...
...and so we spent the rest of the afternoon, before going into town and watching the sun set from the Faliraki cornice before a long supper at Strapunto – delicious grilled meats (some boxed to take home for Sunday supper), breads, feta and salad, grilled mushrooms, chips and the children not embarrassing us too much with sudden complaints, as we sat across from a model family, father and uncle, mother, three small slim daughters and yiayia smiling benignly.
Home again in the cool of the evening
“Don’t bring the washing in now” said Lin “It’ll be fine in the morning”
The children disappeared into the soundest sleep.
“I’ll shower off this salt in the morning” I thought heading for slumber nearing the end of Geoffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex – wonderful book about Greeks in America starting - almost - with the destruction of Smyrna; the massacres of 1922.