This morning at 10.30am I will entertain, Nick P, (lawyer, author and historian) Nick (author and historian) and Vasilis B. I have prepared Turkish pears poached in red wine with cloves, cinnamon and hazel nuts to be served with ricotta and yoghurt with nuts soaked in honey. In addition I have cooked my old favourite galetemboureko. The conversation twists and turns, island matters, international events, personal stories and anecdotes. We have a very delightful visit, just the four of us. A lot of laughter and joy.
We decamp to take a look at Nick and Helene Ps' recent house renovations. We make our way up the stone steps towards the church. A double doorway on a slope signals our arrival. The house is original and very beautiful, deep wooden window frames and panelled ceilings. Nick takes time to show me all the original features, pointing to clues as to each room's function-a store cupboard of large proportions to display a collection of fine plates. "Ah, must be a reception room", and so we make our way up the winding stairs. Both Nicks share a deep interest and knowledge of island architecture and island life. They show me how islanders used their spaces, bantering about this and that detail. Their enthusiasm makes looking at this house so much more meaningful.
We decide to extend our walk to include a tour of other island homes, some in shocking states of disrepair, others restored and loved. We find remnants of French and Italian occupation in architectural details, named buildings-faded, facades hinting of French style and grandness, a scrap of render, split to reveal past paint layers. A square, once thick with the noise of commerce and kafeneon, now a shady byway. It is as if the stones whisper to us of past lives. The Nicks' commentary renders the past concrete. All evocative and immediate. I am in another world. A wonderful couple of hours are passed in this way.
We are very much enjoying ourselves. 2.00pm has taken us by surprise. Nick P suggests he kerasi us for a light lunch at The Olive Garden. We order colokithakia diganites, aubergine from the forno, garlic dip, salad and sparkling water. It is very good. We peel off to go our separate ways.
Tonight Costa and Anna Pavlos are hosting a night with singer Evangelia Xenopoulou.
We plan a small dinner, Costa, Anna and I at Coumenos under the vines at 8.00pm before guests arrive at the house on the limani at 10.00. We make our way back to Costa's and sixty or so guests and passers-by clump in doorways, in the kitchen, sala, anywhere - we are packed in.
The singer makes a speech wishing Anna a speedy return to the beloved island and then begins her Kastellorizian songs of loss and joy. She is a delightful square of beauty, blond with a wide pink mouth. There is dancing and eating and greeting of old friends. I meet Nick and Pauline M from Sydney, relatives of Nick and Irene M, neighbours when I had a business in Surry Hills, Sydney. "Please pass on my good wishes to Nick and Irene. Many years have passed since I have had contact, yet my memories of them are strong and good". Close to midnight we say our goodbyes. It has been a blessed day.