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Sounds Different!

Posted by Kritsa Yvonne, 29 March 2010 · 2,914 views

We had a couple of weeks of cooler weather but very little rain; this gave Alan just the excuse he needed to light the log burner. The sound of Alan sawing wood and scraping out the ashes was a novelty for a few days but when I had to sit on the front door step to cool down we realised perhaps a fire was not really necessary.

The cooler weather was ideal for walking and I have now photographed eight different orchids in a range of locations from open hilltops, field edges and rocky escarpments. During the walks I realised the accompanying sounds were very different to those we experience at other times of the year.

Every morning and evening, there are songbirds but no cicadas; a blue rock thrush likes the top of a telegraph pole near to our house and he trills away quite oblivious to us.

Sheep and goats are grazing in the olive groves below the village so our walks there have an accompaniment of goat bells. When the weather warms up these animals will move to higher ground on Kathero Plateau. Not surprisingly, our walks up on the plateau were very quiet; no sheep and goats mean no dogs barking. We thought we had missed almond blossom but up on the plateau where it is significantly cooler there was a lovely display. Then there was a very unexpected sound, lots of sneezing; apparently, I have an allergy to almond blossom!

On another walk where we had not seen anyone all day we heard a couple of farmers using small rotovators to prepare the soil for planting crops and up on the Lassithi Plateau, where there is more space, we heard a full size tractor being used. We “chatted” to an old man who was collecting “horta”, wild greens and I had a lesson on what to pick. After I had been “stung” a few times I realised I had not paid sufficient attention to my lesson so discarded my carefully collected thistles.

Many of the walking instructions we follow refer to the need to cross or clamber up empty riverbeds but of course, at this time of year many are flowing well. This gives another nice noise as the water trickles or rushes over rocks. We walked down to the Rickties waterfall, a fabulous path through woods, listening to proud froggie parents making very loud piping noises as they kept an eye on ponds full of tadpoles. Near the end of this walk, we found watercress growing in the stream and felt much more comfortable harvesting this English horta.

Walking along deserted beaches without a single sunbed in sight is so wonderful as the waves, pounding or gently lapping dependent of the days conditions, form a lovely background "music".

One day when it was warm enough for breakfast on the balcony, we heard a noise that sounded like a strimmer, and it was gradually getting nearer. It was a strimmer! The Kritsa side streets had many weeds growing from every possible crack and the street cleaners were clearing away the weeds – shame we had already done ours. When we had a donkey for a neighbour we did not need to do the weeding as she always obliged, nibbling on any green shoots.

It was a surprise that there was money to deal with the back streets as the main sound throughout our stay has been the heavy machinery in Kritsa high street where every road has been dug up to lay electricity cables and water pipes. The plan is to replace the surface with a form of cobbles so it will look very good when it is complete.

Easter visitors are just starting to arrive, Agios Nikolaos is noticeably busier with nearly all the cafes open so before long the sounds will be more of a bustle.