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, November 22, 2005

Reckless child abandonment

Remember a few week back we went to Rethymnon and it was closed? Well hold on to your hats because yesterday we went to Xania - and it was closed! We went by bus as we habitually do and when we got there the church bells were ringing and almost all of the shops were shut tight. It was, we later ascertained, a festival day - not a public holiday (the post office was open - and mercifully empty for once) just a local closing down for religious observances. November 21st is celebrated as the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. It commemorates the day on which her parents gave her to the temple (she was apparently about 3 years old). Now call me a lilly livered liberal but that just seems like a very strange thing to do. Sure, I've known people who would gladly give their kids away but this one was supposed to be really well behaved! Perfect even. That's more than selfless - that's downright stupid. Didn't they have one with ADHD where they could have got the temple to pick up the tab for the huge doses of Ritalin?

Once we had discovered that Xania was closed "(it's okay the", woman in the post office told us, "it's only Xania, and it's only for today" - well lady, we've only come to Xania and we've only come for today so that's fine) an odd incident that happened on the bus going in started to make sense; an oldish man started trying to get the conductor to refund his money as he had decided not to go to Xania. He had no success needless to say and when he got off at Vamos muttering and cursing he gave his tickets to a woman who was just then boarding. We guess he suddenly remembered about the festival and decided going to Xania was pointless.

It wasn't pointless for us - we got a few things done, took in an exhibition of frescoes from Mount Athos (the centre piece was a triptych depicting the life of the Virgin Mary and had a nice panel depicting The Presentation - no coincidence I suspect), and had a good wander round the harbour where they have started to restore the lighthouse.

My word it was chilly though. We are currently in the grip of a cold snap and a severe cold snap at that. Temperatures at night are dropping to around 3 to 5º C and the wind has such a bite on it that we've dug out thermal underwear. Yesterday, waiting for the bus we noticed the first snow on the mountains and that is early. Average temperatures have dropped 10 to 12º in a matter of days! It might well be that we are in for a hard winter.

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