Monday, 8 June 2015

Clare's stay in Greece - part two

After the distress I encountered last week on my arrival in Greece, my feeling of sadness and paranoia lifted in the forthcoming days, helped greatly by the beautiful and peaceful surroundings of my new home.
Poppy and Dexter having a rest near a local church

My olive mill house is situated in a small hamlet in the north of the island, with the wonderful owners, Nikos and Claire on one side and the old farmhouse which is also rented out, on the other side.  My garden leads onto thick woods which run down to the sea and is a peaceful haven for my stay.  Nikos and Claire have a well-tended and productive organic fruit and vegetable garden which I have free access to whenever I wish. At the moment, there are courgettes, lettuces and cucumbers in abundance with tomatoes and strawberries on their way.  I love the natural simplicity of wandering over in the sunshine and picking something to cook for dinner.  It makes staying in a joy!

It only took a few days to meet some of the local characters; Greeks, holiday makers and ex-pats, so I already feel at home, especially when people wave as I drive past!  My worries about feeling isolated whilst here disappeared very quickly.  Days have formed a familiar pattern of taking the dogs for a morning walk along the many trails and paths, doing my work on my laptop, relaxing in the sunshine and eating Claire’s courgette pie!  Taking the dogs with me for dinner, however, is a stressful experience as Dexter clearly wants to have fun with the local cat population.  I made the mistake of tying him to my table on one early occasion to restrain him but to my horror, on seeing a cat, he took the table with him.  I now tie him to my chair leg to anchor him to avoid any more embarrassing episodes.

As I mentioned in my first blog, the horrific practice of putting down poison to ‘control’ the local dog population is all too prevalent and so I made an appointment with my nearest vet, to establish exactly their location in case I needed them at short notice, but also to find out what to do if either Poppy or Dexter were poisoned.  They explained what to do, and demonstrated how to administer the necessary drugs.  They spent at least half an hour with me and made no charge for this advice and help, as they said it was ‘in the interests of animal welfare’.  I went away with a supply of drugs and was reassured that I could help my dogs if I needed to.

Because of the situation with poisoning, although I have also been reassured by various people here that there have been no cases of dogs being poisoned in this part of the island, precautions become a necessary part of everyday life.  I know from work in animal welfare, that poison is mixed into food and often left near public waste bins, by the side of the road and in public places such as parks.  So I keep the dogs on a tight rein when out and about but have made a decision to let them roam free on the beaches and the rural walks as I feel that these are not areas of risk.
Clare and the dogs relaxing at home
As I’m now nearing the end of the day, and we still have some sunshine, I’m going to take the dogs for another walk.  No doubt there will be more news from this beautiful island next week!

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