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

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Eve of St Agnes

Ninety palm thatched sum umbrellas in 5 rows arranged back from the shore to the bars and tavernas. All occupied. Three, at least, sun beds beneath each one. All occupied. Six and seven beneath some - whole families sheltering from the heat of the sun. Two bars. Two tavernas. Full to overflowing from noon onwards. All seats taken. Primarily Greeks.

In some modern emulation of biblical stories Greeks have returned to the villages of their birth. It happens at general election time. It happens in August. Every year. To be back home on the 15th is important. The mainland, what there is of it, empties and the islands fill in August.

The mood on the beach is hot and bubbling. Conversations, loud and passionate take place beneath each umbrella and at every table and bar. They talk of politics. Of football. Of fashion and music. They talk of family. Heated and meaningful, their conversations never descend to violence and anger. Alcohol is consumed. But only enough to lubricate the minds and tongues of this voluble people. Laughter is everywhere. Joy too. Amazing amounts of joy. Amazing at least to the outsider or the unpracticed in the ways of the Greeks.

They eat and they repair to the shade: or they wade into the sea to cool down and continue their conversations. Like Cubans, talking in the sea. Hats on heads very often but no cigars here. Affable and amicable. Ages from 6 weeks (newborns are not allowed out) to great grandfathers and grandmothers: generations of them all together.

How sensible to arrange your family oriented festival for when weather conditions coax you (or force you) out of your houses and away from the idiot box. Force you happily out into the joys of nature and the shoreline and into the company of like minded people looking to enjoy themselves and their lives.

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