Tuesday 20 September 2016

What noise annoys an oyster

What noise annoys an oyster
What noise annoys it most
A noisy noise annoys an oys..
Annoys an oyster most

I do love little ditties.
The other day I wrote about some annoying morning sounds and it brought to mind other noises. Poros noises.
We lived for twenty years in sight and sound of the Naval training school. The bugle call at 8am was followed by the national anthem as the flag was raised. The notes of the bugle reminded you that day was beginning and to get a move on. I enjoyed the sound of the reveille and again at sunset as the flag was taken down. It was  familiar background noise which made me feel at home.

Sorry, here I go again, as I am reminded of another verse. Google has opened up my life. I learn new facts and recharge my memory looking up the origins of the little tidbits which flash through my  brain.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them"

Robert Laurence Binyon

The island clock was another familiar sound chiming on the hour and the half hour. It was just far enough away to inform but not intrude.  We could also hear the clock at the Naval base. Inevitably one was always a few minutes behind the other.

                                     Poros clocktower    

Church bells were much closer and pealed loud and long.   7.30 on a Sunday morning they pulled us out of a deep sleep, crashing in our ears.  As the years went by though the sound got so familiar I hardly heard them.

They chimed the death knell as well to announce the passing of a parishioner and again on the day of the funeral.  The slow toll of the bell was a signal to go out in the road and ask around the neighbourhood

"For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls"

Church bells trilling joyfully signaled a fiesta, New Year's eve or the arrival of the bishop.

What was extremely annoying and got me plotting to throw tacks on the road was the noise of motor bikes thundering up the hill below our bedroom window at 4am.   Bars closed at 3am and  everyone roared off to bed.  There were always a few bikes with faulty exhausts which made a terrific racket but just the sound of clashing gears on that steep hill was enough to wake the dead.

  A noise you don't hear there anymore was 'twit-twoo' of an owl. My sister-in-law would go out and throw stones at them if one landed on our roof and started twit-twooing.  It is very bad luck, usually foretelling a death in the family. I think the owls have disappeared along with bats that lived in the eaves of the old house opposite and twirled (silently) around the street light at dusk.

Then there were the sounds of the harbour.  The clanging sound of the anchor being pulled up at 6am as the big car ferry got ready to sail for Piraeus .  The chug chug of the small car ferry going across to the mainland.  

Mothers calling their brood in for dinner. I could yell with best of them...Elliiiiiiiiii, Dan..a.eeeeeeeee,  just the right number of syllables for an elongated scream which penetrated the whole neighbourhood

Now all we hear are the neighbourhood dogs, a rooster at 4am and the shrill screech of cicadas in summer.  


  1. About 40 years ago, during a terrible storm, I heard the church bells being rung up at the village, 2 Km's away. I feared that there had been some disaster so I threw on some clothes, jumped into my car, and drove through the appalling weather to see if my assistance was wanted. The man ringing the bell explained that 'the sound of bells disperses hail. I wasn't happy.

  2. Some weird beliefs. I suppose the villagers understood. Church bells ringing at a time like that are known all over the world to be a call for help. Once I've heard ours ring out in the case of a forest fire.

  3. That was a lovely auditory tour of your part of the world. My brain provided the soundtrack as I read, luckily it also conjured up the illusion of warmth and sunshine. Most enjoyable, thank you.

    (I must tell you about our owls sometime.)

  4. Thanks for your warm comment. I was going to write more about owls. A parliament of owls..so descriptive of these 'wise' birds. Owls are associated with goddess Athena. Would love to hear about your owls.

  5. I remember Elliiii Danaeeee!!!Hahahaha...A little more mommy...Plesase...5 more minutes!!!

    1. Come home right now.....or else!! Youuuu....just wait till your father gets home. Classic!