Theo had been predicting rain on Sunday for a few days. I don't know if this is his sailor's weather lore or if he simply watches the forecast on TV. Either way it appeared a storm was on the way.
Up until now the only rain we'd experienced was a noisy ten minute downpour at 6am which cleared the air and left a hot, sweet-scented day to follow it. But this was different. It was heralded by "Mackerel Scales" cloud formations on Saturday morning which every sailor soon learns predict a weather front - the bigger the scales, the bigger the winds. These were big scales.
Saturday afternoon became hot and heavy and nobody minded the build up of cloud occasionally obscuring the sun. Many left the beach and sun-beds prematurely, preferring an early shower and a cold drink in shaded rooms. As the sky darkened many must also have preferred to stay in on Saturday night too rather than risk a drenching. The bars and restaurants were unusually quiet as we walked down to the harbour. Needless to say it didn't put us off our constitutional Mythos!
Things got exciting when the wind finally showed up - at least an easterly force 6 suddenly blowing directly into the harbour entrance causing havoc. Some boats just rocked alarmingly but lines held and fenders did their jobs. Other, more casually secured, small boats were flung against each other and the harbour wall. The tourist excursion boat dragged its anchor and hurled its bathing platform against the quay.
The harbour was abruptly filled with frantic phone calls and nimble footed mariners leaping onto boats, hauling on anchors and catching broken ropes. A motor boat attempted to moor but gave up preferring the more open and possibly more sheltered adjacent bays. An obviously experienced sailing crew chose to risk it, rapidly reversing into a berth. They made a second attempt, setting the anchor more into the wind to hold the bow steadier and secured her firmly as lightening forked behind them. There's a lot of debate about lightening and sailing boats. Personally, if I'd been in their position, I'd have legged it to the nearest bar. Metal masts and lightening don't seem the best combination to me!
Now I know where the expression "storm in a teacup" must have come from - an hour's frantic activity with a lot of noise and drama. The rain came as we left the bar to have dinner - Neil asked if I'd felt a spot. Then it was all over.
Vivi commented recently that we seemed very Greek sitting in the shade rather than the sun. She said that Greeks tended to spend an hour or so in the sun but would then spend most of the day in the shade. This got me thinking about other nationalities.
The Italians love the sun. They expose as much flesh as is decent (just about!) then spend as long as possible in the sun. I don't think I've ever seen them in the shade. Even the smallest of children toddle around going a delicious shade of brown. They never seem to burn though and they "Siesta" in the hottest part of the day (as we do).
When the Irish arrive they have the whitest skin imaginable. Inevitably this stands out making them very self conscious. They want to be brown but they're not stupid about it. They spend a couple of days sweating in the sun turning pink then decide maybe a tan is not for them.
The British are completely schizophrenic about the sun. They've heard the health messages. They've brought their sunscreen with them. They don't even really like the heat much. But they want a tan. No health warnings can change this. They see the Italians enviably bronzed and undeniably beautiful in Speedos and G Strings. But they stick to their long swim shorts (exposing more buttock than the Italians) and maybe start with factor 15 but quickly reduce this as much as they dare. They'll then sweat it out in the heat, compromising by putting head and shoulders in the shade but not bothering with legs "because the skin is tougher".
I generalise, of course.
Oh yes - they're here as well!
Sailed past the Rothschild estate on an evening excursion to Corfu town last night - big place with turrets and waterfalls in the grounds. Not a soul around though!
PS Vivi wants me to point out that Jennifer Aniston is here too. She knows because she saw her!
Neil went into the town today to buy water and a newspaper. There he picked up the latest gossip as well.
So here it is - guess who is holidaying in Corfu at the moment? No not Dave (Cameron) and Mandy (Mandleson) - that's soooo last week! Well, we're told that Charles and Camilla are here. No really! Staying on the Rothschild estate same as Dave. Excited? If that's not enough to get the paparazzi out how about this? Not just real royalty but also Hollywood royalty is said to be here - none other than Tom Cruise! (Funny it always seems to be Tom Cruise in these sorts of rumours).
Still not excited? Now, we have this on the very best authority (the lady in the newsagents) that none other than a well known presenter of a popular TV motoring program was here on Friday night. I don't mean here as in "here in Corfu" but HERE as in "here in Kassiopi"!!!! Oh my God! And not just that - he was in the bar where we do the quiz!
Of course, we weren't actually in there at the time - we were round the corner. But we could have been!
Thought I'd share this picture with you too. It seems to capture the atmosphere really well.
Vivi had been telling us about the traditional celebrations for the assumption of the Virgin Mary in Kassiopi that falls on the 15th August. It is especially important in Kassiopi as the church is named after Her, starting with a service in the church at 9am and followed by a procession of the Icon through the town at 11am.
Although we would have been welcome in the church we thought it would have been a bit beyond us not knowing the language or the Greek Orthodox rituals. However, we did want to see the procession to bless the town. We waited in the shade outside the church and saw each element of the procession form. Young boys carrying banners led the way followed by a band dressed in black trousers with a red vertical stripe - very smart. The choir followed the band and then about a dozen young girls in pink with baskets of what looked like bay or eucalyptus leaves that they scattered before Icon as they walked.
As they left the church a bell tolled rung by no other than Theo, we later learned. He rang the bell as his father before him had done. The Priests and congregation joined the procession with the Icon carried in a frame decorated with flowers and basilica - a sweet scented herb that looks like thyme. We'd left our position outside the church to get a raised view to take photographs as the procession came up the main street. The congregation were all talking to each other and calling to people in the watching crowd. Neil spotted Vivi and her mother as we were taking photographs. She waved and beckoned, inviting us to join the procession.
As we walked through the town Vivi introduced us to her friends and explained who was who - the visiting Priest, the Mayor. Later she brought us some of the sweet bread and basilica blessed in the church.
That evening the celebrations continued with traditional music and dancing in the square by the harbour. Tables and chairs had been laid out while whole sheep were spit roasted over charcoal. This wasn't just a tourist event although inevitably the sellers of helium balloons and plastic tat were out in force. Following the initial display it was the local people who were dancing to the violin and balalaika, although lots of visitors joined in too.
We perched ourselves on seats at the end of a table of other tourists to watch. The bottle of Spumanti which we'd brought with us and drank out of plastic cocktail glasses wasn't the best, so the cans of Mythos soon came out. We relaxed, soaking up the atmosphere and promised ourselves we'd be back in a couple of years with the boat.