You have to learn to trust me

Last Saturday’s weather forecast (6/12) was awful, and I guess it put many of you off joining us at Strinilas. Yes, we walked, and it didn’t rain (well, just a couple of minutes of spitting). The it chucked it down as we ate lunch. This is known as ‘Hilary Weather’ – a brief spell of not-rain which coincides with the Saturday walk. It’s happened time and time again, and you really should trust it better.
We didn’t do the advertised walk on the Karst Plateau, but followed a lower level route, an out and back one so that in then event of rain we could turn around. I usually have contingency plans in place. The whole mountain was dressed in streaks of cloud, some of them below us.
Spaces between the streaks focussed spots of sunlight on the landscape like illuminated jigsaw pieces. Reflections of the clouds on the sea turned the water to a myriad of blues and silvers and pewters. The air was so clear we could see trees on distant Othoni island. Then there was the egg-and-chip meal… Yes, those of you who didn’t trust ‘Hilary Weather’ missed out.

Nature Notes

Our part of the Med is certainly living up to its geography-lesson ‘mild, wet winters’! Even in my low-lying space there’s only been one early morning light frost. Not enough to suppress the growth of all green things. The verges are as lush as in mid-February, with the already-germinated spring plants looking ready to bolt far too early.
I worry that more weeks of warmth will bring out the flowers, and that a freezing spell will kill them before they can seed, thus denying us next spring’s blaze of colour. Several cranesbill species, some alyssum and many marigolds are already in bloom, three months before their time.
Earlier, fig trees sprouted new leaves (a friend of mine described the just-opened leaves as looking as if a hundred green butterflies had perched on the tree – isn’t that lovely?), as had the bare vines, but they suddenly cottoned on that spring hadn’t actually arrived and gave up.
Appearing in its right season in November was the snowdrop, taller and more gangly than the Northern European one. Indeed, this is Corfu’s own snowdrop, the species Galanthus corcyrensis. Galanthus is the generic name for snowdrops and derives I think from ‘gala’, the Greek for milk (denoting the white colour) and ‘anthus’ from the old Greek word for flower.

In which I nearly catch a snake

The pup Bramble has a very long lead. It was long to start with but his lunges and tugs have stretched it more, so I often double it to hold him short. This was what I was doing when we were crossing a shallow ditch the other day, and just as I went to step over I saw something green and wriggly in the water. Emitting a loud squeak, I stepped back hurriedly, pulling Bramble out of danger. The snaky thing wriggled some more and moved in our direction! Then I realised that it was the loose end of Bramble’s lead, dangling in the ditchwater… Funnily enough, the next day I saw a real water snake, a beautiful elegant creature striped in golden-brown and black, which slowly swam away to safety in the reeds. Not nearly as scary as Bramble’s lead!

Walkers’ Christmas Lunch

This notice is exclusively for our Saturday walkers: Due to popular demand, Navigators in Kontokali will host our Christmas Lunch again this year. Included in the very reasonable price will be a generous traditional turkey meal with all the trimmings, followed by a fruit crumble. Drinks are extra. The lunch will take place after the walk on Saturday, 20 December (meet at the Kokkini Roundabout at 11), and YOU MUST BOOK by next Monday, 15 December. Places are limited, and at the time of writing – on Monday, 8 December – 13 spots remain. Please request a place by email to . SATURDAY WALKERS ONLY please, and first come first booked.

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