Friday, 8 October 2010

Hark, Odysseus is calling

There is a place in the Mediterranean that I love. It’s called Ithaca, and I’m not the first person to have fallen under its spell.

‘If this island belonged to me,’ said the romantic poet Lord Byron, ‘I would bury all my books here and never go away.’

I get the same feeling every time I come back. Why would I ever want to leave?

In the October sun, Vathi, the island’s capital, sprawls out to catch the autumn rays. A dog barks continually, a scooter skims by, and in a little house with a ‘ban the bomb’ sign painted on the wall, a middle-aged man and a middle aged woman unpack a supermarket bag full of fruit on to the patio table.

There is the smell of woodsmoke, the aromatic scent of moussaka gently bubbling and the sound of builders lazily drilling in a house way up on the hillside.

I am waiting inside the boat, lying inside the aft cabin like Penelope longing for her Odysseus.

But he is up in the cockpit, glass of wine in hand and snoring sweetly.

He wakes as another boat pulls in alongside, the skipper yelling: 'Wolfgang, put more anchor chain out.'

My Odysseus bids good day to our new neighbours. I can hear cordiality in the air. Mr Grigg being nice to a German. This magical island has that kind of effect.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

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