Yesterday morning at 7.00am it was 32 degrees on my balcony. For most of my life I’ve done the quick-step through life; I always walked quickly and tended to rush through things but now I’m learning how to go slowly. It’s either that or collapsing into a pool of perspiration with heat exhaustion by noon. I have discovered the perfect way of being cool enough to sleep at night by wrapping a freezer pack into a towel – rather like a hot-water bottle in reverse. We do get a breeze here in the early evening but it tends to die down by 8.00pm and the warm air becomes still. It’s perfect for sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine but it becomes oppressive by bedtime especially when it’s still registering 30 degrees in the bedroom.
You may remember the devastating forest fires raging in Greece last August. We live close to Penteli/Pendeli mountain which was comprehensively scorched last year. Looking from our balcony you can see the line where it stopped – half the mountain is still covered with pine trees and is green and the other half is grey rock. At 7.00pm yesterday evening there was a thin line of smoke from coming off the mountain and ten minutes later it was a thick fog. We could hear the sirens and wondered if this was perhaps a house fire but then the helicopters started arriving to spray water and these were followed by planes flying low over our building and then disappearing into the smoke to drop more water than the helicopters can carry. Fortunately they seem to have put this fire out.
On a side note, I’m unsure if it’s pronounced Penteli or Pendeli because there is no D in the Greek alphabet. The letter Δ, delta, is pronounced Thelta so in order to get a D sound you have to put N and T together. But it can still be NT or it can be D or it can be ND. This is why Clint Eastwood was always known as Clind Eastwood.
Apart from heat and fires it is still beautiful here with hibiscus and oleander flowers taking over from the citrus trees. There are pomegranetes ripening in the garden. Market stalls are piled high with various types of aubergines; the conventional bulbous, egg-shaped aubergines along with white aubergines and paler, striped, slender fruits. The courgettes are now a very pale green but the flowers are still bright yellow. Peaches, nectarines, apricots, melons and cherries give the scent of summer through the warm air.