One week in and one thing I’d forgotten is that, in Greece, you swap one kind of noise pollution for another, more organic kind.
No more low roar of the distant Shoreham High St or of boy racers using our little road as a cut through with the opportunity to accelerate from 0 – 60 (just to test their Ford Fiesta is still up to the job). We have also left behind the early morning screaming seagulls, cooing turtle doves, not to mention the late night carousing down side streets by inebriated patrons of the Crown & Anchor, Shoreham, open till 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.
No, there is hardly any traffic noise in the Mani, the odd car or tractor perhaps, but there is a more organic soundscape. You can usually detect the odd rooster crowing, a dog barking, distant chain saws buzzing (it’s nearly olive season here) but one thing there’s a lot of, in the audio phonic department is insect noise!
The rasping sound of the Med is usually cicadas rubbing their hind legs together seductively to attract a mate, but the cooling temperatures mean that, while there are outbreaks occasionally, this sound is fading fast.
I’m sitting working on the balcony right now, which is beautiful as views go, but there’s a big, beautiful Bougainvillea right next to it which attracts big fat furry bumblebees. Bees are great, don’t get me wrong, they’re cute and essential for the ecosystem, but they do make a very loud continuous buzz when they fly.
My ears pick up on ominous buzzes quite quickly and, as I’m not a big fan of insects generally, my brain interprets a loud continuous buzz as a threat, so my body must be constantly in a low level of cortisol production at the moment! It doesn’t help that my dressing gown is, in stark contrast to my usual relentless black attire, a rather glorious Bougainvillea inspired hot pink.
At night, there’s the odd whine of opportunistic mosquitos although the cooler weather at the moment seems to have dampened their ardour for fresh British meat. They, like Arnie, will be back for the weekend I’m sure, along with the much anticipated 27 degree temperatures.
Then there’s the house flies. We have fly screens but the odd one still gets through as we roll them up and down to get in and out ourselves.
My bedroom seems to be the mecca for the one housefly per day who makes it past the mesh defences, and, as we go to bed, has just woken up and decided to find a nice cosy lamp to snuggle into for the night. Except flies don’t know about nights so after a warm little restorative snooze, said fly decides to go loudly buzzing about my bedroom. Usually dive-bombing me for extra effect.
While we have a few different foam based crawling bug sprays, we don’t seem to have a generic flying creature spray, a quick spray of which would at least act as encouragement for the intruder to move along into the downstairs hallway so I can firmly shut the door on it.
Last night, on looking for the latest back leg rubbing, multi-faceted eyed intruder, I discovered a small spider in my bedside lamp which necessitated a “seek & destroy” mission all of it own. You might suggest leaving the latter to deal with the former in the more natural way of things, but I prefer to be a little less organic in my bedroom insect hygiene.
Eventually both were despatched and my bedroom returned to a silent haven of sorts.
I say of sorts, because I’m still working on the ideal pillow height and number combination and I’m still sleeping with a night light as it’s very, very dark here and I’m not used to that yet. I actually woke myself up the other night shouting “Help!” out loud during a particularly nasty and claustrophobic dream.
Pretty much everything else is perfect though, apart from a brief period without hot water yesterday. The lack of sun over the last few days causing the usual solar powered heating to fail us rather. A couple of texts and Facebook Message convos with our British landlady and our friend down the road later, we have now identified the Hot Water Immersion switch on the Fuse Box downstairs and normal hygiene levels have been resumed.
The smart TV has YouTube and Netflix so we are starting to catch up with the excellent drama series The Fall (although tense serial killer action is not very conducive to a good night’s sleep either!). Suits and House Of Lies to follow, both on strong recommendation. We can also watch British TV on various apps on our laptops, albeit the next evening, or it means watching our favourite hospital orientated soaps at 10pm rather than 8pm and that’s just wrong.
We are alternating between my two favourite restaurants and cooking at home. We’ve managed to keep our visits to the “5 Brothers” taverna for “chicken on the grill” to a minimum this week although we are dreading the impending event of their closing for the winter.
I’m not kidding, this taverna deserves to go onto the “Top 10 Restaurants In The World” list purely for their “chicken on the grill”.
Nowhere else have I tasted simple food cooked so damned good. This signature dish, which I’ve been enjoying as much for the last 20 years, is served with fresh cooked hand cut skinny chips and a big wedge of lime to squeeze over the free-range, succulent, caramelised, marinated lovingly with citrus and rosemary breast of heaven that this dish embodies.
On the bone or “fillet”, this is mercifully silent manna from the gods, deserving of it’s own enormous set of Michelin Stars.
Add the view of the sunset over Stoupa bay, if it weren’t for the occasional pleading miaow of the local cats begging for scraps, you’d be looking at a 100% perfect – and almost silent – situation.