August in Greece, Doggie fashion and the mystery of the missing bicycle bag

August in Greece, Doggie fashion and the mystery of the missing bicycle bag

Is it wrong to be longing for rain? To be dreaming of thunderstorms, winter weather and not having to water the garden? That’s the point I’ve got to, because it’s so relentlessly hot. August is among us; the soil is as dry as toast; the surrounding vegetation has been scorched to the colour of caramel and drinking hot tea isn’t as enjoyable at the moment. This blog post is all about August in Greece, hot dogs (not the sausage kind) and missing bags.

The landscape is dry and dusty nowadays…

August in Greece…

The country lanes are adorned with ripe fruit, free for the taking. The other evening after gorging on sweet figs, I foraged almonds. Mr SN and I had watched this particular tree flower, set fruit, and now the crispy dry almonds are escaping from their furry outer shells. Friends have gifted us with humungous homegrown melons, and the vineyards are dripping with ruby red grapes.

Only the most hardy plants can survive this weather without water and the olive and carob trees stand smugly, unaffected, as if they have one up on everyone else. Gardening has more or less been abandoned because apart from the brief cool periods at the crack of dawn and late in the evening, the rest of the day is reserved for doing activities you can’t avoid doing. Besides all that, trying to dig the soil is like attempting to break through weetabix when you haven’t added enough milk.

Doggie fashion…

No matter how hot I’m feeling, the animals have it worse. Dora-dog, despite her trendy homemade haircut (inflicted by me and a pair of scissors) is struggling. To remedy this, my mum has made her a stylish, cooling ‘doggie cape’ if you will. It was ingeniously created from an old towel, and with the addition of crocheted ties to secure it in place and a feminine flower for good measure, Dora-dog is the epitome of haute couture.

Dora-dog getting her yearly haircut…

The cape is soaked in water and then secured in place around her neck and tummy. It’s working miracles and Dora has acquired a certain super hero vibe to her appearance. Nowadays she saunters around in her cape looking like an extra in Harry Potter. The only problem is that she looks absolutely mortified. The embarrassment is evident in her eyes and she castes resentful glares in our direction like a sullen teenager. It’s a shame because she could really pull the look off if she wore it with confidence gb[[=;;[‘…whoops a cat just jumped on the keyboard.

The advantages…

The upside to this weather is that the a) The bathroom drys quickly after having a shower, b) you can hardly finish pegging out the washing before it’s time to take it back in again, and c) afternoon naps that formerly made you look lazy, can now be excused as a siesta. Another consolation of the zapping heat are the sweet tomatoes. Whilst they grow, the sun whispers sweet nothings, until they’re scarlet, juicy and bursting with flavour.

So as you’ve probably ascertained, it’s very hot here. The days pass by in a blur, one after the next, serene and still, suffocatingly hot. It’s perfect weather for going to the beach or dining alfresco in the evening, but not so perfect for productivity, or cycling back from work for that matter.

Greek organisation…

Yes, I’m still cycling to work in the morning and unashamedly scrounging lifts home from anyone that offers. There’s still no completion date in sight for our Greek car licence plates, but this being Greece, it could happen any when, or never. I’m learning to love Greek time keeping and organisation, there is a pattern to it, which involves: no communication, lots of waiting around and then an urgent rush right at the last moment.

Bicycle power…

Whether meeting a friend, working, or sorting out paperwork, it’s sure to be full of spontaneity and spice. There’s confusion and misunderstanding, but the eventual success is much sweeter, partly because it feels like you’ve earned it, and partly because it’s a bloody relief.

Living without a phone…

I’ve settled into this rhythm very easily, and lately I’ve even upped the stakes and added my own confusion into the mix – because there’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition. You see, because Mr SN is in England with our one and only phone that we share, I’m living an existence comparable to 1970 when people didn’t have phones on their person and pop music was upbeat and happy. I’m supposed to be of the generation that can’t leave the house without it, relies on it for everything and knows about these things called aps…whatever they are…

My ancient phone that the police used to piece together the mystery…

Being uncontactable whilst out and about is strangely freeing, as is being unable to take a photo every five minutes, not being interrupted by pings and bleeps and being away from social media. Life is far more simple and I’m honestly loving it. We all know that since the advancement of technology we generally feel more depressed and stressed, so why not take a step backwards? Let’s recreate 1970…whilst we’re at it, can we crank up Stevie wonder and wear flares too?

The missing bag…

Today, after a series of events, I pondered the hypothesis: Does technology make life devoid of confusion, and therefore boring? I wondered about this as I stood in the police station waiting to retrieve my lost bag. You see this morning, as I peddled down towards the fishing village of Panormos, the bag on the back of my bike fell off somewhere on route. On arrival at work I suddenly discovered that my bag had disappeared, and whilst I was changing bedsheets and mopping floors, I politely asked the universe if it would mind returning my bicycle bag back to me. I believe in karma and I felt confident that years of saving insects in need of help, smiling at people and giving money to buskers must have accumulated to some extent, or so I hoped.

My desire for a happy ending was granted and my bike bag was handed into the police station. I’m very grateful to the person that took the time out of their day to do that; thank you kind stranger. From there, the police searched my bag for identification, but seeing as I’d forgotten my purse (see I’m not as organised as you may think) the only clues they could find were a notebook filled with pages and pages of scrawled English writing and an ancient phone that I use in lieu of a watch to reference the time.

Piecing together the mystery…

Without the fancy security settings of a modern phone, they entered my call log and found a number that I’d phoned 18 months ago and dialled it. With no idea who I was, the policeman explained that the only thing they could be certain of, was that the bag belonged to an English person and appeared to clip onto a bicycle. Putting two and two together, my friend guessed it was me. She then rang another friend who called my mum and eventually the message got back to me. I retrieved my bike bag safe and sound, minus my sunglasses case which got lost somewhere along the way.

These string of events lead me to: initiate a conversation with a Greek man that I see everyday but had never talked to, try out my Greek at the police station, laugh a lot with the people involved in this escapade and write this blog post. Who knows where these knock-on events stopped…maybe I caused a chain reaction and altered the course of history. 

Are we creating a world that’s too perfect?…

What I’m basically trying to say, is that technology solves problems quickly and eliminates errors, but consequently, it diminishes the reliance of people on themselves and each other. Less mistakes means less spontaneity, all in the name of creating a quick efficient, perfect world. I think there’s a real risk of spoiling that imperfect, beautiful humanness that exists in all of us.

Summary…

So the moral of the story is that August is terrifically hot, there are kind people in the world, and before long, the rain will arrive, so it’s best to enjoy the heat whilst it’s here. If you’ve got a dog that needs a cooling cape then get in touch with my mum, and if anyone finds my sunglasses case, then although you can’t call me, I’m sure the universe will find a tenuous way of guiding us together.

Let me know your thoughts about August in Greece and your relationship with technology. Do you love August or loathe it? Do you hanker after 1970 too?

Walnut Cottage…

P.s – I’d like to say that I’m very sorry, but I can’t update you on the progress of Walnut cottage. Even though it’s looking truly wonderful, Mr SN doesn’t want all of you to see it before he’s had a chance to see it for himself. I promise that in two months time, when he returns, there will be a blog post updating you on what’s been going on. I hope that’s okay with you? You’re in for a surprise, it’s even prettier than I’d hoped.

I can reveal the colour of the windows and doors. We’ve ordered the second colour down on the chart 😊

Choosing the colour of the windows and doors for Walnut Cottage…

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38 thoughts on “August in Greece, Doggie fashion and the mystery of the missing bicycle bag

  1. I love your posts…they brighten up a dreary day working from home! I would love to stay at Walnut Cottage…who knows,, maybe next year… keep going and all the best, Jennie

    1. I’m so glad to spread a little happiness. Oh yes, you’re very welcome to book Walnut Cottage next year, It’s looking more and more like a house everyday.

  2. I really enjoyed that 🙂
    I too feel like I need to get away from technology. I only have a phone, not a computer, but it has become increasingly more demanding. I’m 52, I hang around with a bloke of 58, he’s always on his phone and has a huge family who are always in touch. I secretly long for the days when he would have visited me, leaving his landline at home, then the only medium for contact. Maybe I’m just jealous. Anyway. Today is the day. I’ll leave it at home. I do do that quite often and I always feel free 🙂

    1. I know exactly how you feel. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Enjoy your day without your phone.

  3. Oh Steph, you make me laugh what a wonderful writer you have become, so,pleased your Mum is with you for the duration, but surprised you didn’t say you were missing Matt, ha ha, just hope he can return to you after his stint in Uk, we are ok still running Around after our elderly neighbours and family , have decided that a trip back to Sussex is not on the cards yet awhile sadly , sending love J and F

    1. Thanks Jan 😀

      I didn’t mention missing Matt, but I really do. Life here without him doesn’t feel right. I’m lucky to have mum here, but I can’t wait for him to return. He assures me he’ll return, even if he has to swim across the channel and walk across Europe…maybe I should offer to meet him half way 😂

  4. I,love reading your newsletters, they take me right back to Crete.
    I remember one holiday in August, it was our last as it really was too hot.
    We now visit in May/ June/ early July.
    Enjoy your siestas, you deserve them x

    1. The beginning and end of summer are beautiful, I’m really looking forward to September when the intensity has died down a little and the sea is like a bath. When I see the workmen working in this heat, with big work boots and trousers on I feel very grateful not to have that kind of job.

  5. A wonderful blog as usual with Dora Dog as the star of the show yet again (thanks to your Mum!).
    The heat can certainly be overwhelming in Crete even when on holiday doing very little, actually having to work and live with it constantly must take some getting used to – though I would be happy to give it a go, ha-ha!
    Phones are not a pain to us, we have very few friends or family, (not a problem just a fact) so if either of ours rings it’s like ‘what’s that funny noise???’. Have to be honest and say I couldn’t live without mine purely for taking photos and making notes, both make me happy.
    And as for going backwards into the 70’s and the music, nope, best way to stay young is to stay in the moment, we’re all different but that’s why we’re all interesting!
    As for the finding of your bag, that is wonderful however it came about and I think it’s the honesty of people in Crete that is one of the most attractive reasons we go so often.
    Stay cool, stay safe, stay happy. And thank you for the smiles you give.

    1. Thanks for always reading and commenting, it’s always lovely to hear from you. As I sit here writing this (just before 11pm) It’s finally starting to cool down a bit – Dora-dog has been relieved from wearing ‘the cape’ until tomorrow! Speak soon

  6. Hope you’re OK im still trying to convince my wife if we can go and live in Greece…but she now is saying maybe we will get a holiday home instead 🤔 😕 🙄…

    1. I hope you can find a balance that works for you both…perhaps a holiday home will eventually become a more permanent base in the long run. Sometimes it’s hard to see where the road will lead eventually.

  7. Love the blog and so enjoy your writing. I have a phone but it is rarely switched on and if it were i probably wouldn’t answer it, my kids keep reminding me that it is called a mobile phone for a reason, all the best to you both.

    1. My dad is exactly the same as you – his phone is always turned off so that it doesn’t run the battery low! It drives my mum mad!😂

  8. You’ve done an excellent job with Dora’s cut and blow wave Steph. Not sure about the cape though – she looks well and truly unimpressed!

    I love reading your blogs. I am heading off to Skiathos on 14 August for two whole weeks, provided the UK doesn’t go into lockdown in the next 7 days. Wish me luck!

    All the foraged fruit looks delicious.

    1. Ooooh have a fantastic time in Skiathos, we went there as a family about 16 years ago and there was a lovely dog shelter on the top of a mountain. It was my favourite part of the holiday, cuddling puppies!

  9. Hi Steph,yet again you have brought a smile to my face, and my partner’s too as she has read your blog for the first time, and really enjoyed it! Well we have finally made it to Crete in August for the first time,but it seems as Hot in UK at the moment, but much rather be here!! We have visited a couple of estate agents in Kalyves and Souda, so our journey of searching for a property begins and we are hoping to return to our rental house very soon in Mid September for a few months, so you may be getting emails for advise of help then, if that’s ok with you!! Keep writing, you really should produce a book!!

    1. Welcome back to Crete 😀 Yes, I hear the Uk is hotting up at the moment, but you’re right, it’s not the same as being in Greece. Enjoy the search for your property, I’m so excited for you. Speak soon.

  10. I love reading your posts, I can really imagine the fab lifestyle you are creating and I also love all the tips to be more sustainable. Keep sharing all the wonderful tales, I keep recommending the blog for pure escapism, one day we will visit Walnut cottage! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  11. Great read this, longing to be in Greece this summer – your post captures the simplicity of life that has sadly disappeared in the UK.
    All urgency and money here – a stress-driven existence. I admire you both for your decision to leave it all behind and live the life you want to on Crete.
    A dream I’m sure many people have but, for whatever reasons, never follow through.
    Picking figs and almonds on an evening walk in early August sounds idyllic – something I’ve never quite managed to do in Newcastle! 🙂
    Loving your stories and look forward to the next chapter.

    1. Hello! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Why aye man!!! I can’t imagine there are many fig and almond trees in Newcastle!

  12. Love reading your post and would love to have your lifestyle and outlook on life , but hey ho bills to be paid and the lawns need cutting .. xxxx

    1. I hope you get a fix of this lifestyle vicariously. Paying the bills and cutting the lawn are very important too 😊 You’ve just reminded me how much I miss having a lawn, and the smell after it’s been cut. I suppose to some degree we all want what we haven’t got.

  13. Enjoyed your blog, as always, smiling at the bits of Crete I recognise so well! Although spring and late summer are my favourite times of year I do enjoy August too and will be coming out before the month ends. Picking up on another of your observations, August always seems to be the month when the Greek time zone is most readily observed – GMT…..Greek Maybe Time!

    1. Haha, love that…Greek maybe time 😂 I think your right, the heat in August exacerbates the timekeeping!

  14. Thank you for your inspiring and wonderful blog. Having just got back from 2 weeks near Athens first week and on Kephalonia the second, I am longing for more and the opportunity to find/build a house on the island – one day! As someone who is half Greek I spent my childhood summers in pre-air-con, pre-mobile phone 1970s Athens and surrounding areas so your comments about the heat bring back memories of burning legs on vinyl car seats and suffocating heat promoting siestas but preventing sleep – but fond ones all the same. Looking forward to seeing your progress on Walnut Cottage (with envy) – all the best!

    1. You’re memories of Greece in the 1970’s sound idyllic – even burning legs on vinyl car seats! I’d love to have experienced life back then. Good luck with your plans and dreams to build/buy a house, anything can happen if you start the wheels in motion 😊

  15. I lived in the Cyclades in the 1990s without a mobile and it took us years to get a landline (we were given the number but had to wait to be connected). We would queue in the local telephone exchange so we could contact our families from time to time. It was actually really nice to live such a simple, technology-free life and your blog has reminded me how stress-free life seemed to be.
    August was often windy there which made the heat a bit more bearable, but I remember how sapping it was and very hard to work in. I painted signs so would have to start really early in the morning so the paint didn’t dry too quickly.
    Good luck with Walnut Cottage- I love the colour choice!

    1. I loved reading your comment about your time in the Cyclades, the 1990’s doesn’t sound that long ago, but things have changed so much. Nowadays people think it’s absurd not to be contactable every minute of the day! All the best.

  16. Steph, I just love how you write with such honesty, authenticity and humour!
    The stories you tell of daily life in rural Crete make me smile without fail.
    I’m counting the days until I’m back in Panormo (9 sleeps!) and look forward to seeing you then x

  17. Absolutely fantastic blog post!! Utterly entertaining, made me laugh several times! Will be sending the hyperlink to all my friends for them to enjoy! x

    1. Awwww thanks! Glad you liked it, it makes it all worthwhile when I hear that people are laughing and smiling from something I’ve written. 😀

  18. Hi Steph,
    We were planning Greece (we have a small condo coastal Athens) last May but then covid travel lockdowns where in full effect. So we pushed it to September, but travel from US is still not open due to Covid, so we wait & see!

    Curious how life in a village of Crete is affected by the government restrictions! It seems that being away from major cities, life goes on less interrupted.
    Since we couldn’t make it to Greece we ended up on a road trip to state of Idaho for 3 weeks & had a great time cuz it doesn’t have much if any in terms of covid restrictions compared to Los Angeles where we live! Weather was warm but not the excessive heat, or the riots & now fires that have affected the West Coast!

    Still hoping to visit Greece maybe next year as October is near & weather turns! We remember fondly our 10 days in Crete late 90’s (it was start of October, & weather was still warm) had a blast, looking forward to coming again soon!
    Stay Healthy & Safe

    1. Hiya,

      I’m sorry that you couldn’t make it to Athens. Yes I think the more rural you are, the less impact the restrictions have on your life. We spend lots of our time in the garden and countryside, and that can’t be taken away from us, so life feels normal a lot of the time. We don’t watch the news and rarely use social media, so it’s not constantly bombarding our consciousness. Thankfully we can forget it exists for a large proportion of the time.

      Your road trip sounds amazing. We’d really love to visit America and see the wild landscapes, that really appeals to both of us.

      All the best 😀

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