21 May 2018

View

Housemartins wheel about in the stillness, performing their aeronatutical acrobatics with consummate ease. Diving, pirouetting and swooping, they head for their dun-coloured nests, expertly constructed in April under concrete eaves. Babies wait there with voracious appetites.They too will be masters of the air.

Calm is the sea. She laps about the crescent of the sandy bay, just whispering like a secret voice you remember from long ago. There across the glassy aqua plane rise the milky mountains of Albania. Twenty miles away, their outline resembles the body of a giant who has lain down to slumber upon the far horizon.

Closer and better defined are the inhabited offshore islands of Mathraki, Erikousa and Othonoi, They are separate worlds with their own histories, their own memories, their own serpentine paths weaving quietly to evocative ruins and to bays where fisherfolk once mended their nets. 

I am sitting on the balcony of Room 4 at the Nafsika Hotel in Agios Stefanos. Ahead, I can see the little white Greek Orthodox church on a bluff that overlooks the old fishing harbour - its defences now eroding with each cruel battering received when the waves are up and angry. 

To the north, dark green hills resplendent with ancient olive groves and Mediterranean pines give way to a small, jumbled Legoland of squat apartment blocks and holiday villas. They tumble towards the beach where two fat people are marching, overtaken by a runner with a dog.

My black swimming shorts and a blue, red and white striped towel are drying on the railing of our balcony and sitting on the circular  plastic table a recently emptied coffee cup. My walking boots rest beneath, reminding me of yesterday's hike over the headland to Arillas.

This morning's placid Ionian Sea is not one uniform colour or texture. There are shades and swirls and corrugation. It has its patterns and its colours that belie hidden depths where octopuses dwell about the wreck of some ancient trireme that had been heading home from the heel of Italy long ago. Today, there's a lone fishing boat out there, catching the light and so faraway it is little more than  a speck of whiteness.

It is May 21st 2018. Our last Corfu morning. Our first was twenty six years ago when the kids were little and played upon the beach at Kavos that Eastertime. Ian found an old fisherman's hat and Frances plastered her cheeks with vanilla ice cream. How many tides have ebbed and flowed since then? You remember it all like a dream, uncertain that it really happened at all. Meantime the housemartins continue their amazing aerial display as  ribbon waves surge and suck upon the shore  forever and ever.

Amen.

23 comments:

  1. Nothing quite beats a beach and ocean view...it is so good for one's soul...for one's spirit...and mood.

    Savour the moment...and let it linger long.

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    1. Sheffield id seventy miles from the sea, that's partly why we paid extra for a sea view in Corfu. I agree with you that seeing the sea is good for one's soul.

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  2. Lovely post. It's definitely not the same place we stayed though!
    Enjoy the last little bit and you will be welcomed home with lots of Sun! Miracle! 😀

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    1. We are back and I have woken to a grey Blackburnish morning!

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    2. Cheeky bugger!😀

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  3. A great piece of writing. But then we already know you can really write, especially those of us who have read The Headland. Any chance of you writing another book?

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    1. I know I should Meike. I really should.

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  4. The colour of the sea ( and sky!) is so beautiful!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Italy was just over the horizon so you did not see me waving Maria.

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  5. Almost felt like I was there with you!

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    1. Thank you Sue. I tried to paint a picture.

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  6. So envious. I can almost smell the air and see that little church.

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    1. You must treat yourself ADDY. You deserve a break in the sun.

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  7. I have to think that you, although always a wonderful writer, see and experience things more completely, as I do, since you have begun painting.

    Your words are wonderful, Mr. Pudding, and they fill the reader with sounds and sights and smells and beautiful feelings. Please, if you think about it, please write another book. Safe journey home.

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    1. You are so kind as big sisters should be to their needy and sometimes cantankerous little brothers.

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  8. Beautiful and peaceful. View and words.

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    1. Thank you for reading this post Bonnie.

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  9. You are definitely a poet, even when you're writing prose. Beautiful.

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    1. Such a compliment - from someone who loves poetry - is precious to me.

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  10. With that vivid description, you really take us there! I know I keep saying this, but I really AM going to visit Corfu one of these days. Your words make me want to redouble my efforts, though of course it's so meaningful to you partly because you have that long personal history.

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    1. If you do go Steve - do some research and pick your time wisely. There are places on Corfu that are vile - like Kavos for example in the high season - loud and hedonistic.

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  11. Great view and you didn't need photos to show it.It sounds like an awesome place to get away from it all for a while.

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    1. I am glad I took you there Red... but please be assured you have not heard the last of Corfu in this blog.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.