Summer is well underway on our little island. Temperatures are in the low 30s but don’t stop me from working. I’m used to the temperature outside being up to 45 degrees in the middle of summer, and I spend a lot of time avoiding the great outdoors. When I do, I stay in the shade. While inside, I work at my desk with my shirt off, a towel between my arm and my mouse, and a large, noisy fan blasting at me from the side. I also do most of my work in the morning, getting up at 4.00 and working through until 11.00, then taking a break, and returning around 13.30 for another couple of hours before taking a siesta.
While all that’s going on inside, there’s a lot going on outside. As you might know, I live on Symi, an island in the Aegean not far from the larger island of Rhodes. We have day-trip boats coming in every day during the summer, sometimes up to five of them. They come from Rhodes bringing interested visitors on a day out who meander around the harbour or are herded in groups by tour guides with little flags. The backstreets can become busy down there between certain hours, and I don’t very often get down unless it’s for bank, post office or ferry business. We have a bus and taxis, but as I don’t own a car, I prefer to walk even though it’s about 400 steps down and 400 back up again. Needless to say, I don’t do that when it’s 45 degrees.
Living on a Greek island isn’t always as idyllic as you might think. Recently, our water pump was playing up, and we had to get another one installed. I should explain that we are not on a constant mains water supply. We can fill up our tank three times a week, and if it runs dry, then that’s it until the next filling-up day. Because the main water cistern beneath the house was invaded by tree roots and is unusable, we have a large plastic one on our flat roof. This holds 500 litres, and that’s usually enough for two of us, but without a pump to pump the water from the tank to where it’s needed, we’re ‘dry.’ Anyway, we had to replace the water pump this week because the old one sounded like it was about to blow, and I’d rather pre-empt a ‘dry’ spell, particularly as we had Neil’s brother visiting.
Another thing about living here is that it’s not always convenient to travel. We were aware of this when we decided to settle here, so I’m not complaining, just pointing out what it takes to get from A to B. We and Neil’s brother have been invited to a wedding in Inverness later this year. James (the bother-in-law) lives in Vienna, so for him, it’s a train to the airport, a flight, a wedding, a couple of nights in a hotel and a flight home. For us… Well, that’s a different matter. I’ve done my research and made a spreadsheet, and the cheapest way for us to do this trip in November involves this: An overnight boat from Symi to Athens. Night at the airport hotel (very costly but the flight is an early one). Flight to Edinburgh, couple of nights there, train to Inverness, hotel, wedding, hotel, train to Edinburgh, hotel, flight to Amsterdam, flight to Athens, hotel for two nights, overnight boat home. James will be away from his home for three days, but we will be away for 12, and that’s without taking a holiday (although we are seeing grandchildren and visiting family).
But enough rambling from me. I must get back to my fine editing of ‘Speaking in Silence’ and racking my brains for a cover idea. You can discover how the next Larkspur Novel is coming along by looking at my regular Wednesday WIP blogs.