ΦΕΒΡΟΥΑΡΙΟΣ - February - 2006

The first two days of February were dull and rainy. There was torrential rain with a storm and a strong, easterly wind. We had had more oil delivered for the central heating so we were warm and dry.

Friday, 3rd February - Blue sky and sunshine again - temperature up to 16C. We had meals outside. We walked along the beach at Kalives after shopping. In the afternoon we had a walk from the house to Provarma church (one of them!). It has great views over a valley to the mountains. We always stop to look at the goats with their kids on the way there and also check on the progress of a house being built about three hundred metres along the road up from our house. We counted nine workmen there one day so it has progressed quickly. 

Saturday, 4th February - because of the heavy rain we have not ventured far into the mountains as there have been rock falls and landslides making driving difficult. Today with blue sky and sunshine we did have a short drive up past Maheri - part of the road was like a river as the water poured down from the mountains. We parked the car further up along the road, where it was dry, and enjoyed a walk in warm sunshine. There are anemones, cyclamen and giant orchids in flower. The pink and white blossom of the almond trees is beautiful.

Sunday, 5th February -
another warm, sunny day - breakfast and lunch outside. We had a short local walk but many lanes are flooded and 'wellies' are needed to wade through the puddles.  Babbling brooks have become fast flowing streams.

The next couple of days the torrential rain returned. With the rain pouring down the road outside the house we had a 'riverside' property. The power flickered on and off several times and we lost TV and radio stations.

Thursday, 9th February -
blue sky and sunshine again - breakfast and lunch outside. A very good day for Roy birdwatching from the balcony. We walked down to the orange grove later in the afternoon for more supplies. We picked oranges and mandarins in warm sunshine as the chanting of the priest - in Provarma church - echoed across the valley.

Friday, 10th February -  a favourite walk in sunshine - 20C - by the church just outside Stilos and along by the river which is now a raging torrent. We also visited the Diktamos gorge which has always been dry, but we were unable to cross the ford as the water was too deep. After another couple of showery days we returned to the river walk wearing 'wellies'. We waded through several deep puddles in the lane and then along by the river we found that a large tree had been torn up by the roots from the opposite river bank. It had fallen across the river blocking the path.

We have been watching the transformation as a small metal building, along by the river path, is gradually being turned into a stone 'taverna' complete with decorative features.

The heavy rain has fallen as snow on the mountains and the views from the riverside walk were wonderful.

As I update this page on Valentine's Day we have another cold, showery day so we are keeping busy in the house, where we are warm and dry. Roy goes out onto the balcony between showers to birdwatch.. 

Church through bare trees

 Tree blocking path

River in full flow

Stone clad 'taverna'

Double Bermuda Buttercup

Water in Diktamos Gorge

Wednesday, 15th February -
another showery morning. I enjoyed a weekly art class, late afternoon, at Kalamitsi and Roy had a walk in the surrounding area.

Thursday, 16th February - Dry and sunny at first but cold. We managed a short walk before lunch and then the rain returned.

Friday, 17th February - a warmer day with blue sky and some sunshine. We did some shopping in Kalives and then had lunch outside on the balcony. Yiannis and Niki have been very busy tidying the garden. All the shrubs and roses have been cut back. The huge vine which was heavy with grapes and covered with shady leaves in September is now bare and has been pruned and tied back ready for the next grape harvest.

Lots of oranges have been picked although there are some later varieties still on the trees. Mandarins are plentiful.  It is also the avocado season. We have just finished the last avocado from the large bagful we were given by Niki. Over the past few weeks most of the olives have been harvested. There are a few areas were they are still being gathered.

The next five days were warmer with mainly blue skies and sunshine. We have not been on any excursions as Roy is suffering with a 'bad back'. Walks have been local. I have walked down to the mini-market in Stilos and picked more oranges and mandarins. I am doing all the driving now. It takes time to get used to driving mainly towards the middle of the road (the edges of the roads tend to disintegrate). You also have to attempt to avoid the many deep pot holes which have increased in size and number, due to the weather. Some roads also have deep puddles which are difficult to avoid. Anyone walking along tends to get drenched when the local pick-up trucks speed through the puddles.

Thursday, 23rd February - Warm and sunny with the wind coming from the south. About noon the wind became really strong for about four hours.  There was then  period of calm before it returned with a vengeance. Gale force winds lasted most of the night. Everything outside was banging, rattling and flapping. The wind even managed to move a stack of garden chairs on the balcony. We then brought everything that could be moved into the house.

Friday, 24th February -  we awoke to calmer weather.  It was warm but the sun and sky were obscured by pink dust which was brought in, by the gale force winds, from Africa.  When we looked out over the valley it appeared to be covered by 'fog'. We now need wind or rain to bring the dust out of the atmosphere. Everything outside will then be 'pink'.

The atmosphere cleared over the next couple of days. It was warm and sunny.

Sunday, 26th February - I enjoyed a day out with Alan and Margaret. We took a picnic and drove to the far west of Crete - to  Falasarna. It was very windy but bright and sunny - hot when sheltered from the wind. On the way we stopped at a roadside church, in a lovely setting, overlooking the sea, towards the Rodopos peninsula. The tiny church is situated to the left of a cave housing various tableaux of Christ.

Falasarna is the site of an ancient city.  We drove along a track towards the site. We enjoyed searching for the ruins and scrambling over the rocks by the sea, watching the huge waves breaking into white foam. It is a beautiful coastline, wild on a windy day. There were many wild flowers in the crevices between the rocks. One rock pool was full of hundreds of tadpoles.

We drove back along by the magnificent, crescent beach which sweeps along the coast and is lapped by azure waters. Three people were enjoying the windy day, being dragged along the sand and in the sea by huge kites.

Further along from the beach is a colourful harbour and a rocky coastline lined with tamarisk trees.

The flat plain, back from the beach, has many large, plastic greenhouses - some of which have not survived the high winds.

We returned to the National Road via a different route and had a great view of Kissamos as we approached the sea.

We enjoyed a meal at Provarma where Roy had spent the day birdwatching from the balcony.

The next day was Roy's birthday but celebrations were postponed until he is fit again. 

The last day of February brought more dust from the Sahara on a very warm, south westerly wind. I had to rescue the garden chairs, from the balcony, in the early hours of the morning. We now look forward to March, hoping that we can start exploring again.

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