15 January 2015

Corfu versus the Rest of Greece

Listening to the news and weather reports these days the constant repetition of "The whole of Greece is suffering from snow or otherwise extreme weather conditions" is beginning to be slightly annoying as we look out on day after day of brilliant sunshine and enjoy stunning sunrises and sunsets. The only thing "wrong" with our January weather in Corfu is that it schizophrenically changes from really quite cold (6C) to really quite warm (15C today as I was driving home at lunchtime) from day to day without warning.

I keep wondering why no-one from the local radio stations here in Corfu makes some sort of correction - it's amazing looking at the pictures of snow right up to the sea in Crete, and hearing stories of snowbound traffic in the northern Athens suburbs, but it would be only fair for someone to point out that Corfu - and presumably the other Ionian islands - are basking in sunlit brilliance.

8 January 2015

Happy New Year

The last of the decorations came down in our house on 12th Night, following the British tradition. Last to go was the garland on the door, to be replaced with the "Big Onion" - Scilla Maritima or Urginea Maritima is the scientific name for what most Greeks know as the squill bulb hung on to the front door on New Year’s Eve. The plant looking like a huge onion is what ancient Greeks used to worship the god Pan. Even uprooted this plant it will continue to grow layers and leaves, and this made people throughout the ages believe that it had some strong magical powers of regeneration. Traditionally the bulb is taken indoors for the rest of the year to ensure good health and good luck.

Christmas in Corfu

One of the best parts of the Christmas holidays in Greece, for people like me who love the whole experience of decorating the house, cooking traditional specialities - both Greek and English - is that the atmosphere lasts right the way through to Epiphany on January 6th. Our village church was packed with people on that day, all of whom had brought jugs, bottles and jars to take away the holy water that had just been blessed by the priest.