Whoever said cocks crow in the morning forgot to say 'and all through daylight hours'. The sound is much rarer in the UK and if someone does keep a family of poultry in their garden they are as likely to find themselves in receipt of a noise abatement injunction from neighbours as a request to photograph their beautiful hens. But for me the sound is redolent of holidays. when I hear a cock crow I know without opening my eyes and using my other senses that the sun will be shining hot and bright and probably somewhere the sea is a sparkling azure blue.
At this time of year the Greek islands fill up with tourists. Brightly painted villas that have sat empty since the end of last season are being aired out and their swimming pools filled, shops closed for the winter are getting a coat of paint and new stock. But the little house in the olive groves where I have been lucky enough to stay for most of May is in a little hamlet where the neighbours live there all year round and even though they do not have huge tracts of land they keep a variety of animals. Their gardens are like tiny smallholdings. On one side there are the hens, a large flock with several cockerels and goats
A little way down the lane there are more goats, free range, the ringing of the bells around their necks drifting up the hill mellow and melodious as they roam through the olive terraces. When the bells get louder it is a warning of an invasion as the goats saunter into our garden to try and nibble at the juicy shoots of the pelargoniums and the newly planted bougainvillea. These neighbours also keep sheep for milk and meat, this season's lambs will be just right for next year's Easter feast when each family will spit roast a whole lamb.
We too had our wildlife, although on a smaller scale. This beautiful lizard lived in the rafters of the sitting room.
Cats work hard too and have to be kept a little hungry for their task. Rats and mice will always be a problem where livestock and feed are kept but when there is also an ample supply of food scraps left over by tourists they can become a big problem. Keeping cats is the best way of making sure the rodents are less likely to get near the house.
Normally we do not feed the cats that wander around the terrace or doze away the afternoons on the huge rainwater tank (they receive just enough from the chicken keeping neighbours) but I did relent when kittens were born in the garden and fed the kittens' young mother, herself one of last year's kitten crop.
So much to see and photograph, so much time just to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the island. As well as the animal noises there are voices calling to each other from far away, church bells tolling on Sundays and saints days. And at night the little Scops owls hoot and the fireflies flash, no photographs here the owls definitely too shy and despite multiple attempts with short video and long exposure I could not capture the firefly brilliance I saw with my own eyes.
So the sock progress was very slow, here is the first one, halfway to the toe.
Back home the rain is keeping me indoors but it does mean I shall have more to blog about soon.