Sunday afternoon, and I join the general exit from Pyrgos for Athens.

Back on the blog…  Our summer was shared with family and with house painters. Meals were outside, with scaffolding handy to hang things on like extra lights, or beach towels and swimming costumes.

Morning coffee was under the walnut tree, meals were outside on the long wooden table because the kitchen table is covered with computers and dictionaries. Continue reading “Sunday afternoon, and I join the general exit from Pyrgos for Athens.”

The family near our gate

A single mother with two children – twins remaining from triplets, but their sister had a congenital birth defect. She was born with a hernia and her belly was hanging, kept in place by her stretched soft skin.

In the beginning, nobody was aware of it because the mother never took them out. But when the weather became warmer and the little ones started to appear in public, then it became obvious. The smallest one seemed comfortable with it, could eat normally, and could even run and jump and play with her siblings.

But it was noted by others, was talked about, discreet photographs were taken, consultations were conducted concerning surgery. Then she was taken away for more specialised attention, never to return.

The twins didn’t seem to mind her absence and the mother seemed to grieve for a very short time, showing less concern than I did.

Continue reading “The family near our gate”

Detective work down on the farm…

A police patrol car followed by six sleek black limousines… and then coming up behind, two common-looking cars. The brain goes into overdrive trying to work out what’s going on. After all, this is a quiet farming area in rural Greece, with a low crime rate…

It can’t be happy people going to a wedding because there are no horns blaring, or white ribbons fluttering, and no flower arrangement on the front bonnet of the first car. Nor is it a scene from a film because there are no cameras set up in the long grass nor near the fig trees beside the road. No cameras, no tripods, and no film crew to be seen standing around. But why the police car?

Our humble asphalt road is quite wide enough for two tractors to pass, but narrows suddenly not far from our front gate. That’s where it rises and squeezes between two concrete shafts full of swirling dark green water, crossing over an irrigation channel.

It’s all part of the system constructed in the 1960s when a dam was built across the Alfios River not far from Ancient Olympia, to supply the area with an abundance of water for crop cultivation. Continue reading “Detective work down on the farm…”

On the buses…

Up and down from Pyrgos to Athens, from Athens to Pyrgos, on the KTEL long distance buses, four hours of rest, with unmistakable bus driver music that makes the kilometers pass so quickly. The impressively rugged Greek landscape is familiar, but always revea

There’s a sight that never fails to thrill just before the bus arrives at the Kifissos bus terminal – the marvellous view  of Athens from the vantage point of the elegant arcing overpass as the bus rises up to cross the Kifissos River, now well and truly hidden under busy Kifissos Avenue.

I can’t stop myself smiling at that moment – the profound pleasure of seeing again the Acropolis on its sturdy flat rock, the long pine-clad hill of Lykavitos which rises steeply to its peak where the chapel of St George is perched, the highest point in Athens, fulfilling its assigned task of overlooking the whole of the city. Then beyond as a backdrop, the long bulk of Mount Hymettos, bristling with aerials, antennas, relay stations, transmitters and receivers.

That view, whether arriving by night or day, never fails to reawaken the deep emotion of Athens.

aerial photography of brown concrete castle
Photo by Dimitris Symeonidis on

Taking a connecting bus to the airport is easy as they depart frequently just opposite where the Pyrgos bus pulls in. However it’s a daunting task to take public transport from the bus terminal to Zografou, the suburb where I stay, at the foothills of Mount Hymettos.

Continue reading “On the buses…”

Back again in Pyrgos, in time for a performance at the Apollo Theatre

p80208-102932-02Pyrgos again, but first, let’s see if anything has changed recently.  The capital of the county of Ilias, four kilometres from the sea and three metres above sea level, in the Western Peloponnese, it was embroiled in issues involving the town water supply and garbage collection when mentioned this time last year.

Now elections are on the horizon this Sunday 26th May, not only for the Town Hall but also the Region of Western Greece, as well as for the European Parliament. It sounds complicated.

Voting for the regional and European elections should be straightforward, but not so for  the local council. For a start there seems to be twelve factions to choose among, each with a list as long as your arm of candidate town councillors. One headline – NEARLY AS MANY CANDIDATES AS VOTERS.

Continue reading “Back again in Pyrgos, in time for a performance at the Apollo Theatre”

Prophet Elijah’s day, so a weather change is on the way…

p80720-095616The grass is so long this summer! Up to our chests thanks to summer rain and wonderful soil preparation by the wild boars that ploughed up the field all winter.

An enterprising young man from the village with his father’s brown Fiat tractor has come and cut the long grass on the flat around the house and under the walnut trees. Then with a strimmer he undertakes the apple orchard perched on the slope – only two hours and he has turned it back into paradise.

Are you going to the Prophet tomorrow? 

Continue reading “Prophet Elijah’s day, so a weather change is on the way…”

Visiting Athens, walking the dog and discovering the Ilissos River…

My contribution to this busy household in Athens is taking Dog for her morning walk in paradise.

It is just across the road – two hundred and forty seven acres of university campus, the National Technological University of Athens, with pine forest and glades, hiking paths and cycle paths, landscaped with lookouts and vantage points and Mediterranean vegetation.  Continue reading “Visiting Athens, walking the dog and discovering the Ilissos River…”

Tomorrow is Thursday. Don’t forget there won’t be any water…

The town water supply for Pyrgos comes from the mountains of the northwest Peloponnese, from the Erymanthos River. And it is going to be cut off once again tomorrow morning. There’ll be enough time to get children off to school, to cook lunch if you’re fast enough but you won’t have time for any major chores like washing down the balconies after today’s muddy rain.

The water supply has been cut off every Thursday since before Easter, though there was a break during Holy Week out of respect to visitors and Easter preparations. So now, nearly two months later, everyone seems to be used to the interruptions. We  work around them by scheduling activities involving copious amounts of water on other days of the week.

 I won’t be washing any winter carpets tomorrow, but there’ll be enough time to clean some fresh spinach from the vegetable patch and prepare a pie with phyllo pastry. That means my rising really early though. Continue reading “Tomorrow is Thursday. Don’t forget there won’t be any water…”

Concerning trees in Pyrgos…

We are passionate about Pyrgos square and claim it is the best in Greece. How spacious and endless it seems to be!

Most visitors approach from the busy paved pedestrian shopping precinct on the north side. You move on from the bustle of the shops opposite on 28th October Street with their elegant shoes and clothes, fashionable sportswear and beauty products to find yourself in the vast square lined with young plane trees. Others in the centre leading to the circular tinkling fountain are a cloud of pink.

You pause and gaze up the length, you wonder where it ends as a huge pine tree beckons from far away. If you don’t want to stroll up the square straight away, why not sit and relax at one of the coffee shops and take it all in. Enjoy the locally produced boutique beer, Magnus, with some nibbles. Or choose one of the delicious pastries from the curved window at the fastfood shop.

There is a constant stream of passersby to observe. Some cross the square clutching files and folders and you know they are busy dealing with public offices and banks and payments. Then they return to the square at a slower place seeking refreshment in the shade as a reward for their efforts. Continue reading “Concerning trees in Pyrgos…”

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