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And the Living is Easy …

Summer. Even the word has a softness about it – the sibilance of the ‘s’ then the two syllables of the word itself.

Spring sounds like it is – it’s almost onomatopoeic. The word for the season of spring in Greek is the same as the word for ‘open’ – how appropriate and logical is that!

And people constantly tell me that Greek, however difficult, is a logical language.

Which takes me both to my ongoing struggle to learn to speak it as well as this particular summer when I have already spent six weeks – and am still counting – in Crete.

The good news is that I do seem to know more Greek than I knew this time last year. Just a little.

The bad news is that I can still say a scant number of sentences and even if I do stammer something out, the rapid reply is usually bewildering.

And add to that, facemasks!

Trying to understand Greek being spoken behind a facemask is even more challenging. I hadn’t realised how much one needs to see the shape of the lips, the expression around the mouth, to aid understanding.

So summer. Cretan style.

We’ve had a heat wave.

We’ve had normal hot summer temperatures

. We’ve swum in a sea that is warmer than any I remember.

We’ve heard news reports of appalling fires that thankfully have not affected us.

The sunsets have been their usual glorious selves and the village streets have been populated with the normal adorable bundles of kittens.

And I have been able to find time to read numerous novels – and have plodded on with my own novel 4, feeling far more secure about its structure and shape.

I have loved Emma Donoghue’s most pertinent novel, The Pull of the Stars – set in late 1918 Dublin during the Spanish Flu epidemic. I have enjoyed an Esther Freud novel and a non-fiction book about Athenian society around 416 bc. And I hugely enjoyed a novel by Elisabeth de Waal that took 50 years to find a publisher.

Then I’ve met up with friends I’ve made here in Crete over the years – many of whom are now faithful buyers and readers of my novels.

So although the living is easy is an entirely inappropriate phrase for summer 2021, considering what is going on in other parts of the world as well as what we are still encountering in these virus days of ours, it is still summer.

The cotton may not be high, but the figs are delicious, the hibiscus is flowering and ….and I haven’t seen a grey sky in over 6 weeks.

What have you been reading? Which books have been part of your summer 2021?

I’d love to know.


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