Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today’s Blog is all about death; only because Maria, Eleftheria’s mother died early yesterday morning. No one seemed to know how old she was, the answers varied between 85 and 88. Anyway, last night she looked very peaceful lying in her coffin surrounded by flowers and people all chatting away. Eleftheria as usual was carrying on like a whirlwind. She had evidently already had a row with the priest because she wanted the service to take place in our little church of St. George just a few metres from the house whereas he was insisting it took place in the large church of St. Nicolas further away. We have a new priest, very young and very do it by the book evidently. I don’t know what the outcome was as we didn’t attend the funeral, my having a doctor’s appointment in Souda at the same time. By now Maria will be safely stowed away. They bury the dead very very fast here.
The first death we experienced in our little enclave in Vamos was a lady whose name I don’t remember, who lived just a couple of doors away. She was a Seventh Day Adventist which is somewhat unusual for Greece where 90 percent or more of the populace is Orthodox. She tried to interest us in “The Watchtower” but when we rejected it she didn’t bother us again.
The second death was Agathe’s husband Manolis who had just started to have the most enormous house built and it isn’t finished yet, ten years later, and the third was Manolis number 2, Eleftheria’s father. That was a few years back as well but time moves on and folk age and die. Manolis number 2 was followed by Agathe’s sister, Anna, a delightful old lady who I still occasionally miss. I really loved her. She spent most of her youth in America but couldn’t wait to get back to Crete though she was a bit upset about all the building of new houses that was going on. ‘Why is everyone coming to Crete? She wailed. ‘Soon there will be no more trees, only houses, houses, houses.’ We didn’t know anything about Anna’s death as we were away when it happened and only found out a few days later.
Number 4 was another delightful old lady, the granny from the big house up the road. Never did find out her name but she was always charm itself though sometimes a little forgetful. Meeting in the lane one day when her daughter Varna was walking her and I greeted them she said, ‘Who’s that? To which Varna replied ‘Our nice English neighbour.’ And Granny said, ‘No, our nice Greek neighbour.’ That was a terrific compliment from the old girl.
The next death more recently was Jannis across the road. He died one morning when we were going for a swim. We only knew about it when driving back up the lane a few hours later we passed the gate and saw the coffin lid standing there. Like I said, they move fast. I miss him too with his cheery ‘Glyn!’ whenever he saw me. Our conversation never got beyond health and the weather.
Finally yesterday Maria – and that is quite a lot for half a dozen or so houses. Now the two neighbourhood oldies are Agathe in her eighties and me coming up 79.

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