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

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Pissing absent-mindedly, D peers past the tenaciously ugly pergola that the people next door erected on the front of their house almost as soon as they moved in and have never used. He is looking over toward the Drapanos whence all their weather arrives. The flies of yesterday are still in evidence and he swats pointlessly at one, micturating freehand - "Look Ma, no hands".

The pressure easing on his bladder he recalls several occasions in the recently passed night when he has lain awake listening to the rain beating at the shutters and lashing the balconies and he prepares himself to deal with water ingress when he goes down to the cellar to make the early morning coffee. The sun reveals itself to his intent gaze but the concrete of the garage roof glistens from recently fallen rain. It is too early for this much rain. It has to be an aberration.

Pausing only for a "Good morning" he stumbles into the clothes that he wore yesterday and, still drunk or hungover from yesterdays exertions he hobbles downstairs. His corn is playing up and his arthritis twinges in his back to remind him, lest he should forget, of the ineluctable mortality that he shares with the rest of the world. Mortality yes, but I could really do without being a cripple first.

He recalls smiling how they had trudged mudshod from the fields yesterday, covered in burrs and spattered with the pale clay coloured, almost white, nearly chalky, earth of Felia. Which is it, clay or chalk? I don't know. Exhausted and battered, the sensitive skin on the inner surfaces of his forearms reddened and scratched, he rubbed them gently now in memory and found that they were still irritated, they had sat outside and congratulated themselves on their travails before the rains had come back and driven them, all four, into the house for the evening. A cozy evening in with the dogs and a wholesome meal of ham and potatoes with G's special tomato and onion side dish. The body heat of the dogs warming the air and imparting that strangely homely, farm-like scent of animals to the cooling space.

D checks the balcony and the threshold by the front door; the usual suspects for leakage in such conditions and heaved a relieved sigh as he finds everything dry. Just the north facing window in the cellar to check - and the rain had sounded as though it were coming in from the sout-east. We might have got away with it!

This morning no personalised, individual rain cloud waits for him and he nods gratefully to the skies as he picks his way over snails and past puddles down the cellar stairs. No sign of the girls yet. The must be still in their kennel. Sensible girls. No watering required this morning. He looks up and grey clouds have gathered over the valley while he has been pursuing his reveries. He puts the key in the lock and turns it clockwise pushing open the stable door and then he sees it!

An abstract, patternless as far as he can tell, menagerie of earthworms has arranged itself across the pale grey tiles that cover the floor down here. Obscene in their sheer numbers, some wriggle yet: toward what? Still others, dried and crusting already, lie in self made tombs of mud that they have excreted. How many? Forty or fifty? he stops counting after 20. He has to clear them before G gets down here for she would surely freak at idea let alone the sight of this tableau. He finds them under the bookshelves. Under the desk. Beneath the rug in front of the sofa. Nestling dead and dried under the wine rack. Whenever he thinks he has scraped up the last worm there is another to be found.

A somtimes writhing, Medusa like, pile of worms builds up by the back door where he has cast them. Some incapable and some unwilling to move on they huddle together: the quick and the dead together in a mass that brings to mind the photos of human corpses he saw of Belsen at the liberation. Or was it Dachau? Cambodia certainly. The final insult to his senses comes when he has swept this hideous pile off into the undergrowth and checked the cellar is clear. He lifts the outside doormat and there, under the damp rubber, fleshy, wet and writhing are another 40 or so.

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