I’m afraid I’ve had to suspend this week’s regular posts due to holiday bustle and the nineteen tiny puncture wounds in my hand. Since I still don’t have a manservant/butler to make me soothing cups of tea and type for me when I’m wounded, things got a little backed up. But I’m back now, and I really, really could use a getaway. You?
I always say when things get rough, go to the Greek Isles. I quite fancy the look of this beautiful stone cottage set on a wooded hillside on the quiet north of Kefalonia, overlooking wild fields, forests and the brilliant blue Ionian sea below. The perfect spot for a couple of divinely peaceful weeks (or months). I love the wildness and seclusion of the setting, but there’s nothing rustic about the beautifully whitewashed interiors and sun-soaked terraces. The kitchen is particularly luxurious, though since I plan on living entirely on grapes, cheese and wine, I probably won’t be using it much.
A long walk through the surrounding forest takes you to pristine beaches or to the tiny hamlet of Markandonata, which has a small taverna and market for stocking up on cheeses and such. I’m getting giddy just thinking about the incredible flora and fauna I’d encounter on these walks through the fragrant forest - and the tepid turquoise water which I'd bob lazily in all day. There is a lovely pool on the terrace should you tire of bathing in the sea, but that’s unlikely, especially if there’s any phosphorescent dolphins.
Never had we seen so many fireflies congregated in one spot; they flicked through the trees in swarms, they crawled on the grass, the bushes and the olive trunks, they drifted in swarms over our heads and landed on the rugs, like green embers. Glittering streams of them flew out over the bay, swirling over the water, and then, right on cue, the porpoises appeared, swimming in line into the bay, rocking rhythmically through the water, their backs as if painted with phosphorous. In the centre of the bay they swam around, diving and rolling occasionally leaping high in the air and falling back into a conflagration of light. With the fireflies above and the illuminated porpoises below it was a fantastic sight. We could even see the luminous trails beneath the surface where the porpoises swam in fiery patterns across the sandy bottom, and when they leapt high in the air the drops of emerald glowing water flicked from them, and you could not tell if it was phosphorescence or fireflies you were looking at.
Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals