An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

BAT SHIT AND RAKI

Sitting around a bottle of wine the other night, smoking relentlessly and retelling old tales of early days here our good friend Ferdy, an appalling anti-semite and misanthrope, who had dropped by for a snifter or three, actually came up with a tale that none of us had heard before:

"Lilli and I were visiting a friend out on the Drapanos ... oh maybe 17 years ago ... a hot summer it was, one of the hottest ... dry and hot ... it was August - before the 15th I know ... Vangelis his name was ... he gave me his T-shirt that day ... we went down to the cove to meet him because he actually lived in a cave ... a cave that he had fitted out as a home ... but it was on the other side of the bay.

We'd figured Lilli and I that he'd have a row boat waiting but no ... no chance ... we were going up the scree and over the ridge ... lucky us ... going where the goats go ... and off we trekked, no suitable footwear ... picking our footholds like not so agile cloven hoofed things ourselves ...

Up the scree ... slipping and sliding under our ill-shod feet ... not even time for fag ... the bay deep blue and calm to our right, the scree rising to our left and the ridge looming in front ... it took perhaps 20 minutes to crest the ridge ... and looking over the top found a sheer drop of maybe two metres ... Vig takes one look, yes Vig was with us ... he was with us a lot in those early years ... he looks and says "No fucking way - not without a rope - and how do we get back?" ...

Vangelis hopped over and just dropped ... Vig's jaw went with him ... plop ... he landed it safely, more goat than human ... next, he was handing us down the drop to safety ... Vig pissed his pants but nobody mentioned it ... Lilli did it best ... hopped down like the sweet little bunny she was ... then a traverse across the top of a a steep slope and on down to the gravel path he'd just, he told us, finished ... how the hell did he get gravel over here?

There's a mock boat prow made of stones and driftwood ... all salvaged and collected here he says ... sticking out intothe cool clear water that we all jump into ... dusty and sweaty and frankly terrified ... stripping off filthy clothes we plunged on out into the bay ... buff.

A sun deck cut into the rock face served to dry us off ... twenty minutes before we we ushered into the front cave ... a meat safe ... a raki barrel ... a small wine rack ... candles everywhere unlit ... the afternoon passed in mockery and poetry, music and raki ... we all retired to beds let into cave walls save Vig ... Vig went back to the sun deck, burning his skin ...

An hour or so later we woke ... coffee brewing ... hot strong Greek coffee in delicate little porcelain cups ... dusk could not be far away ... clouds had begun to gather .. a short discussion: would we stay the night or clear out soon, before the bats from the cave behind us left and the light failed ... Vig was for staying .. not us but we did want to see the bat cave behind ... Vangelis, perfect host, handed Lilli the only torch and led the way.

The batteries were low and the light it gave very weak and weedy ... Van led the way and Vig brought up the rear ... at the back as usual ... VLFV, in single file ... Van has a candle and the draught makes the light it throws wobble and flicker on the walls ... bat shit coats every surface inside ... walls and roof and floor ... Van hops goatlike onto the opening he has just illumined - a small low arched opening ... Lilli follows ... hits her head and slips base over apex landing flat on her arse ... blood by candlelight.

The bats are disturbed and start to flutter up and round ... Van checks the contusion and we carry on quickly to see the rest of the cave ... deep depths of darkness and obscurity ... the acrid smell of bats and bat shit ... a quick reccy and we're ushered out into the front cave where Van checks the wound again ... he strides over to the raki barrel and draws a jam jar full ... Lilli closes her eyes as directed and Van upturns the jam jar over her head ... bat shit and raki shampoo ... rubbed in and massaged til the blood flow is staunched ... and then two each to drink.

The return was not without incident ... none stuck in the memory however ... safe home we came ... and shared another raki or three ... no infection ... no trauma ... just happy laughing memories."

Now you have to admit that Ferdy tells a good tale. Don't you?

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