Monday, 26 September 2011

Learning Life's lessons on Kastellorizo

Monday 26th September, 2011.
This morning at 9.30am Berdt will come to install a curtain rail on the first floor. We discussed it last night and in true German style has it worked out to the last millimeter. My job last night was to paint the rod and fittings.

I take a peek outside my front door. Bernt is sitting on the chair outside. "I am early he observes." Precision is Bernt, in a polite and considerate form. Ah...come in, only by a few minutes, I note. We set about getting the rods spaced and drilled. We enjoy chatting about Munich, the lakes, sailing and house renovation on the island. We have a bit of adjustment to do, so Bernt returns to his house for extra tools while I prepare our lunch and set the table.

We have a delightful lunch of baked onion, eggplant and peppers, poached zucchini and tinned tuna, poli-sporo bread and olives accompanied by iced water, fresh apple and halva follow. We are always in conversation about something, this meal it is the EU. I'm reading 'Why Europe will run the 21st century' by Mark Leonard and I have a bundle of questions for Berdt who has a financial and legal background and is well qualified to help me understand. I find him very interesting on the subject. We part for siesta time.

Around 4.00 I head off for my swim at the point. On the way back I pass the fisherman who lives next to Helene's new house, Michealis Nittes. He is attending to his fishing lines. He squats on his step between two large plastic bowls, each filled neatly with spiralled line. Ti kanis? I venture. "Valo kenurio. Ti tha Kano, ine to thoulia mou." I'm putting new hooks, what can I do it's my lot. This is the same fisherman who was surrounded by twenty cats the last time I passed. I smiled in wonderment at the brood. He responded "Obos ine Psaria, gates ine conda, brepoun na fagoun ke aftes". Where there are fish, there are cats. They need to eat as well....Yes, I thought. So it is.. Afto ine. So it is... A favourite island saying.

Underpinning these stock phrases are the remnants of the very ancient concept of Fate, stretching all the way back to Homer. Fate in the sense of 'meant to be'. In our frailty we can invoke the wrath of more powerful beings, nature and nature's wild forces - a life order and acceptance of it are an inevitable aspect of being. Nuances of language colour the effectiveness of these exchanges between us. It is the way we, Michealis and I recognize and accept the 'state of being' as lived on this rocky island. We will have more of these conversations. They will serve as a kind of neighbourly accommodation.

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