The Smell of Bonfires and Incense

The clocks have changed and the sun disappears behind the Vigla at about 3 p.m. The dew starts to fall almost immediately, carrying the smell of bonfires and incense with it. Surfaces that never receive the sun remain slick all day and the Kali Strata is sprouting a carpet of moss and ferns. Autumn crocuses, narcissi and sea squills are coming up in even the most barren looking areas and seeds are germinating in every pocket of soil.

The early rains have caused heavy mist and fog throughout Greece and there have been many flight disruptions caused by poor visibility. It is very grey and very still on Symi today. Rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow and clouds of all shapes and sizes are already rallying on the skyline. Everyone is suddenly looking a lot more muffled up as anoraks and sweaters that have been in mothballs since March have been rooted out of attics. The few harbourfront shops still open are selling raincoats, umbrellas, winter pyjamas and cheap Chinese knitwear.

The Greek version of the haywain has arrived in the form of Roma driving ten-ton trucks laden with hay and sacks of animal feed. The scampering of sheep bells and bleating of reluctant goats as flocks are moved to winter pastures is very much a feature of the night sounds as the shepherds prefer to do this either late in the evening or at first light.

Have a good week.


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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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