And now, the weather…

Beach at Stoupa covered in seaweed
Seaweed lies strewn across the beach at Stoupa after strong winds batter the Peloponnese

Being an Englishman through and through, one of my favourite past-times is to discuss at length, the current state of the weather, be it rain, shine, snow, clouds, or as is generally the case in my homeland, various shades of grey.

I can just about remember, about 100 years when I was running around in short trousers, how the years passed by, following a quaint and antiquated concept called ‘the seasons’. The idea was, the year was split into 4 parts, cold = winter, hot = summer, with some colourful bits in between. It was great fun. At Christmas time you could build snowmen, and school was often cancelled because somebody forgot to service the gas boiler. Likewise, in summer, I used to cycle to the beach every day, fish in rock pools and try to pluck up the courage to jump off the high rocks with the big boys.

I’m not sure what happened between then and now, but these days UK weather patterns seem to be a bit more like pressing ‘Shuffle’ on your iTunes. Let’s have a heatwave in October, or maybe a snow drift in the middle of March. So imagine my surprise when I find myself in a part of the world that still follows the old fashioned idea of a gradual change in seasons. That is exactly what’s going on in the bay of Messina right now.

I’d quite happily carry on with my daily beach dip year round, but in the last week I’ve had to twice cancel my Mediterranean bathing appointment due to an unfamiliar phenomena round here known as ‘clouds’. The temperature has dropped a degree or two as well, but although I keep hearing the mantra “krio, krio,” (cold) from the family, it’s clearly still shorts, T-shirt and flip-flop territory for a northern European like me.

Apart from the seasons however, there’s one striking qualitative difference about the weather in  Mani compared to what I’m used to. It’s called ‘drama’. And I’m not talking some gentle rom-com. This is real seat of the pants, hi-octane Hollywood action movie stuff.

The last couple of days have witnessed strong winds, whipping up the usual mirror-like seas into fields of froth. Yesterday at Kardamyli, we sat for lunch, yards from the sea. But instead of a gentle lapping against the shore, 6-foot breakers were crashing against the rocks. Later three surfers, excited by the waves, jumped on their boards and paddled out, egged on from cheers from the diners.

But the real showstopper came today.  Earlier in the afternoon, on our daily stroll, we stopped at 100 metre intervals (9-month pregant ladies aren’t the fastest movers) to gaze out to sea. In the distance thick, black clouds carpeted the sky whilst every 30 seconds, spikes of lightning prodded that ocean. But that was just the opening act. As I write, the aftermath of a storm in the Ionian Sea is literally shaking the house.  The night sky is lit up like a US bombing mission, shades of pink and blue as Zeus flexes his might. The electricity flickers on and off and I can feel the tempest heading towards us as. Please, T, don’t have a baby tonight…..

Words of the day

  • σύννεφα – clouds – (sin-eff-ah)
  • ρούχα – clothes – (roo-ha)
  • μαλλιά – hair – (pal-ee-ah)
  • περίπου- approximately/ more or less – (peh-rip-oo)
  • ενδιαφέρων – interesting – (edi-a-feh-ron)
  • αριθμός – number – (ah-rith-moss)
  • μήνας – month – (mee-nass)
  • λεπτό – minute – (lep-toe)
  • και άλλος – another – (keh-ah-loss)
  • βροχή – rain – (vro-hee)
  • ξεχνάω – I forget – (kse-h-now)
  • επόμενο – next – (e-pom-eh-no)