Our first article for July is written by Fiona Weir, an excellent and enjoyable piece of writing. Bravo Fiona!
“For twenty-five years or more, I woke every morning when my alarm went off, after not enough sleep. Not any more! My move to Aegina has freed me from offices, the daily commute and alarm clocks; for the first time in my life, I am sleeping well and I often get up with the sun.
Dawn from the veranda of my little house is wonderful. In winter, the sun rises across the vineyard, and in summer it rises over the sea, always with a peachy-pink splash of light that (unlike the grey Yorkshire dawns I have left behind) encourages you to get up. I sit and drink a cup of tea, listening to the birds. Sometimes I drink a whole pot of tea, now that all my Yorkshire Teabags have now run out!
Meanwhile, my dog Ruby potters about in the garden. At the moment, I am also fostering another little dog, who lived outside with an elderly neighbour who has sadly died. The lovely people from Vrouva Farm will find him a permanent home when he has become a bit more settled. I feed the dogs when I have finished my tea and – at least in Summer – I head down to the beach for a morning swim.
Swimming is one of my real pleasures. The beach nearest my house has a choice of sand or rocks, and some steps and handrails so it’s easy to get in and out whatever the mood of the sea. This morning, the waves were high and rolling, and I jumped and played in them for about 20 minutes. On calmer days, I might swim back and forth across the bay or do some DIY Aquafit just out of my depth.
After my swim, I head home for breakfast – usually a bowl of fresh fruit and yoghurt – and set up my work for the day. I have what I believe is called a ‘portfolio career’, which basically means I do a lot of different things! I came to Aegina with some plans that the COVID-19 crisis has made impossible – but luckily, this is a place where it feels easy to go with the flow. So now I have a few other projects on the go, including a collection of poetry, some development work with a London-based charity, and an international conference which I’m helping to run online this autumn. For most of the year, my ‘office’ is my veranda, and after half-a-lifetime spent indoors, I absolutely love that I now spend about 15 hours of every day outside.
On an average day, I’ll stay at my desk until 6 or 7, then I will usually go for an early evening dog-walk or swim. One of my favourite evening walks is at Paliachora, where you can watch the sun setting from one of the many amazing ancient Byzantine churches. I have just bought myself a kayak, too – so if you see a woman paddling along the coast with a trusting dog balanced on the back, it’s probably me and Ruby!
For me as for everyone else, lockdown has meant a quietish life – and that suits me fine. Once or twice a week I’ll go into Souvala, for groceries or to visit the friendly bakery. Once or twice a week I’ll take the dogs for a longer walk, exploring the many beautiful lanes and tracks in Aegina’s interior. Once or twice a week I’ll meet a friend for a walk or a swim. Now that lockdown is lifting, I am visiting Aegina Town, cafes and tavernas again from time to time too. I am learning Greek – siga siga! – which of course was more difficult while everything was closed. And I am planning a trip to Athens soon – after all, it’s as easy to get to as my daily commute to work used to be – but somehow that hasn’t happened yet…
Finally, when it starts to get dark, I cook or eat something I have already prepared for supper. I often chat to my grown-up sons in England in the evening too (hooray for video calls!) I water my garden – there are fruit trees there already and I have planted some vegetables – and then I settle the dogs. I used to be a night-owl, but these days, it is not unusual for me to be ready for bed an hour or so after dark – it must be all the fresh air and sunshine! Thank you, Aegina, for making me so welcome here – and I look forward to getting to know you much better as the years go by”.
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