Monday, July 29, 2013


Cars, cars, cars, cars! Friday evening we went into Xania to meet our friend, the actress Katia Sperelaki for drinks and a meal. It was my first visit in goodness knows how long. Parking has always been a problem in Xania, but seeing it for the first time in well over a year at least, the number of cars seems to have multiplied out of all proportion; parked nose to tail and sometimes double parked up and down every street. Fortunately there were spaces in a municipal car park just a very short walk to the old harbour where we had drinks watching the sun go down, and then moved on to the nearest Taverna for a very pleasant meal. Midnight saw Cinderella making for the coach but for Katia, being Greek, the night was still early and we left her as she headed back to the bar for a nightcap. I had never been to this particular bar before. It has been established in one of those enormous Venetian warehouses, or maybe it was an arsenal. Being summer though we took our drinks outside of course.
It was the last night of Diane’s holiday. Impossible to believe she was here for three weeks. It was like only yesterday that she arrived but Saturday morning saw her on the plane heading back to the UK. Gone are the halcyon days of childhood when summers went on and on and never seemed to end. Now, as one grows ever older and feebler, time passes at ever increasing speed. Maybe it’s to get one used to the fact that we are heading for that big blackout. I’ve spent most of the past week putting my stamp collection in order. Even I didn’t know how extensive it is and I have a feeling (if ever I get the job finished) I will need a couple more albums at least. There are boxes of stamps still to go through. When I talk about growing feebler, my hands are so trembly now; doing the stamps is a performance in itself as, apart from the trembling, I find it more and more difficult to hold onto anything so imagine trying to hold a pair of tweezers in one hand and a delicate stamp in the other when your hands are wobbling all over the place. Pouring liquids or holding a cup or glass and it’s possible a certain amount will spill over the edge and don’t even mention trying to fasten buttons.
 It would make a great comedy if it weren’t such a pain in the arse. Needing to take a pee when at the restaurant, Douglas assisted me to the front door and asked for the toilets. The toilets for patrons are upstairs on the first floor but in order to save me having to struggle up them the waiters suggested the papoose (grandfather) would prefer to use the staff toilet on the ground floor. Wasn’t that considerate of them?
Before humans die they write their last will and testament, give their home and all they have to those they leave behind. If, with my paws I could do the same, this is what I’d ask…
To a poor and lonely stray I’d give my happy home, my bowl, and cosy bed, soft pillow, and all my toys; the lap which I loved so much; the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name.
I’d will to the sad scared shelter dog the place I had in my human’s loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.
So when I die please do not say “I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand.”
Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him.
This is the only thing I can give…

Author Unknown.

I read this on Facebook and was truly moved by it. We said when Merrill died last year that that was it; no more dogs. But I am so glad we got Wagner. In the short few months we have had her she has given us so much joy. The house just wasn’t the same without a dog and she has added an extra dimension to our lives.
It would seem every large city now as a problem with stray dogs and this was brought to mind seeing a half dozen loping around the old harbour. None of them looked as if they were starving so obviously someone is feeding them but they are street dogs nevertheless. The Athens ones too, of which there are many, all seem well fed. In some countries though their treatment is terrible and doesn’t bear thinking about.
Something else on Facebook that caught my eye: a seal pup with red fur, enormous pink flippers, strange pale blue eyes and almost blind. A Russian photographer took pictures of the poor outcast. It was sitting all alone miles away from its peers who obviously wanted nothing to do with it and was waiting for its mother to come and feed it, but she would never come. The photographer rescued him and he is now safe in a dolphinarium. Happy ending. Somehow I can’t help but feel there is a moral to this story but for the life of me I can’t actually think what it could be.
As usual in Xania, the restaurants, cafes and bars were seething. You wouldn’t believe there is a financial crisis until you learn that since the beginning of the year more than 200 families are receiving aid from Helping Hand and there have been 71 suicides on Crete. How many in all of Greece I wonder and I bet not a single politician among them.

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