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Posted by Kritsa Yvonne, 03 October 2010 · 3,770 views

We love the opportunity to share “our” Crete with visitors and this year Alan’s brother and sister in law spent a week with us at the end of September. Their visit coincided with various Tourism Day activities; on Friday evening, we enjoyed seeing a busy Kritsa high street with local produce available for sampling but, despite the advertisements, there was no demonstration of Raki distillation. The following evening we sat in a lakeside bar in Agios Nikolaos relaxing over a drink watching Greek dancing on the stage across the water from where we sat. This gave us the advantage of seeing and hearing what was going on without being in the midst of the crowd. The lake always looks fabulous whether by day or night and we returned several times during the week for a coffee, stroll or meal.

During the week, our visitors were able to sample almost every kind of weather. We had clear blue skies with blazing sun, low clouds hugging Kritsa, strong hot winds that blasted us like a hair dryer, and rain showers leaving a liberal coating of orange dust from the Sahara – sometimes all in one day! Luckily, any rain showers came at “convenient” times and did not stop us from going out and all but one meal was enjoyed al fresco. On a visit to Irapetra, huge waves drenched the promenade and saturated the atmosphere so that it felt like we were walking in a sauna.

One afternoon we took the road up the mountain to the Kathero Plateau and the temperature recorded on the car thermometer dropped steadily as we climbed from 27c in Kritsa to 20c at the top; we sat in Katarina’s cantina feeling decidedly chilly. One of our neighbours, a colourful character called Manolis had been noticeable by his absence (lack of pickup trucks, assorted strange “bric-a-brac” and loud barking dogs) so it was good to see him sat with his mother, Katarina. He gave us a warm welcome, and explained how he had recently had a bad accident in his tractor whilst transporting a heavy load of water; he had ended up off road with a dislocated shoulder, several broken ribs and a punctured lung. Luckily, a passerby investigated why the back end of a trailer was in such a strange position and called the rescue services.

Throughout the week local cats brought interest and amusement to our visitors, all based soundly on “cupboard love”; I give the cats titbits to keep them interested but not enough that they will starve when we are back in the UK. One old fellow nick named “Scaredy cat” has been visiting us for 6 years; it is probably his timidness in the face of other cats that has helped him last so long. This cat used to sit on a rooftop level with our balcony but he moved across the alley to the roof of a neighbour’s house when “Bright eyes” decided to take up residence. Occasionally “Scaredy cat” moves down a level to the flat space between our house and our neighbours where they keep discarded pots of paint and old furniture; an eyesore to us but the cat likes the shade they provide. Down in the alley the tabby, “Mummy cat” has been bringing up her single black and white kitten that Alan’s brother named “Felix” after the star of a UK cat food advert. Occasionally the black and white “Big daddy” strolls arrogantly past; all the local kittens look like him regardless of their mother’s colouring.

On the Sunday after our visitors had returned to the UK we were enjoying a quiet Sunday morning on the balcony (well as quiet at the loudspeakers relaying the church service allows) when we heard a commotion out on the flat space, a screech of feline indignation, a strange bumping noise and urgent scrabbling. Investigation showed that Big daddy had caused Scaredy cat to jump down to the flat space landing on a paint pot. Years in full sun had obviously made the pot lid brittle and it disintegrated as the cat landed resulting in all four paws and the tail having a liberal coating of thick white emulsion. Scaredy cat ran from one side of the flat space to the other in panic before scrabbling up to the roof and escaping; based on a wonderful abstract pattern of cat footprints we are renaming him Purrcasso!