Friday, 22 April 2016
Pope Francis, oxalis and greek superfood.
Pope Francis came, conquered us with his humility and reason and departed with three Syrian families.The Orthdox Bishop and Patriarch together with the Pope greeted a mass of refugees, listening to their stories and pleas for help. The three religious leaders then shared a humble meal of mushroom soup, halvas and olives with a group of migrants at one of the reception centres. At the end of the short visit the Pope left the island of Lesvos with 12 Syrians, 3 families with health problems who will be looked after in the Vatican City.
I discovered the yellow sorrel which I love so much in the winter is also known as oxalis and is a pest. It spreads all over the garden here and the greenery it presents is so soothing to my eye after months of a brown and mostly arid land. It pulls out so easily when I have to weed, just before it completely smothers the lettuces . In the spring it dries up and disappears all by itself.
What is healthy just now. Greek superfood. This is how the greeks on the islands and in the remote villages live such long lives. Their fresh diet of whatever is in season, looking after the land, tending their flocks and lots of human interaction. A little gossip, concern for their neighbours, wine, song, energetic dancing with their friends and community and laughter.
Our little local hilltop community has grown by one for the summer. Our English neighbor arrived last week and is going to spend the whole summer here instead of her usual one week. Fani, who owns the house closest to her is our watch dog. She will come and tell us when a tile falls off a roof, or a tap is left running or as last week when a herd of goats somehow made it up and on to the terrace of the English house. She spends half the week with her sister in Poros town and will come back with all the news. Births, deaths, broken legs and everyone's personal goings-on. We also have Lefteris who plays greek music loud enough to rouse us and his chickens and Vasso who is the oldest and canniest of all our little locale. She will bring a dozen fresh eggs, a barrowful of lemons or a few tomato plants but beware - in the next few days she will come to ask for her 'return'. K will be given something of hers to fix or we will have to bring her up some medicine or tool from the town. No hassle. Then there is Yiannis, who records all the local history and comes for a brief summer holiday from the bustle of Athens before going off down to the deep Mani to his wife's village and Mitsos and Voula who bring us huge bags of quinces and pomegranites, figs and greens straight from their fields.
Broccoli from a local garden ready to be lightly boiled on the outside gas stove and served with lemon juice and our olive oil.
Freshly caught fish straight on to the BBQ. Also served with lemon juice and olive oil.
And bread and wine.