My SymiWillNot on Symi Today... 10/11/2007, 00:35

I've been on Symi for at least one day of every month since December 2005...I'm quite impressed by this record even though the greenhouse gas emissions from all the flights I've taken (over 20 of them...return trips too) have no doubt melted a few glaciers in Greenland. I know I should be mortified and not in the least bit in a jokey mood about this...but I find it difficult...cos, as I said...I'VE BEEN IN SYMI SOOOOOOO MUCH! Nerrrr nerrrr!!!!

Ahem. Naughty Will!

I have six different bins outside my kitchen here in the UK; for my recycling (paper, plastic, metal, card, glass) and for my rubbish. I also have a large compost bin. Recycling over 90% of my household waste doesn't earn me the right to pollute, I know. I regularly chastise myself about all these trips I make. Still...I don't feel THAT guilty...I've not allowed the ETP (Environment Thought Police) to bully me to that extent...yet. I will, I reason, make up for it. One day I shall live on Symi and be making no trips at all...and I won't own a car either, something that is virtually impossible here in the UK. For now, I can make loads of you jealous.

When not on Symi, I live in the greenbelt area north of London. I'm so placed, that I can reach any of the M25, M1 or A1 in less than 10's a good place to be. It's also, despite being near several towns, quite countrified...and not a bit like Symi.

As I am addicted to Greece, I changed by leylandii-infested garden into a Greek oasis a few years ago. There's an olive tree, a fig tree, and also a Symi-style annex/office/thingy. To make it perfdect, there's also a church dedicated to Agia Paraskevi (covered in elm leaves at the moment!). Both these buildings remind me of Greece when I'm not today.

It's been a very good start to the autumn weatherwise here. Most days have had blue skies, and there has been little rain. It's only been in the last week that I've been uncomfortable without a coat on outside. I live by a's about 15 metres in front of my house and is quite nice to live by. At weekends it's encircled by fishermen...not that different to Symi harbour after all. It is, though, a lot greener than in Symi and even with clear-ish skies like today, the light is never as good.

After about an hour-long chat with Jord on Skype this morning, I decided that a walk was in order. I decided to go visit Norman before he disappears for the winter (all will be explained soon). I put on my coat, stuck my camera in my pocket along with a bag of cough candy twist, stuck my headphones in my ears and turned on an audiobook of Christopher Hitchens's "God is Not Great" on my iPod, and left the house. Ten seconds later, I was by the lake.

I had two chunks of only-slightly mouldy bread with me, and broke one of these up and gave it to a woman and her toddler who were watching the ducks silently wishing they had something to feed them. A little way further along, I spied Clip Clop. He's a horse if you hadn't guessed.

Clip Clop was given his name by Claudia. If I'd named him, I'd have been more imaginative and called him Dobbin or Ned. He's a friendly fellow. He's not looked after too well though. In the summer, he seems fine...he has food and water and sleeps outside. In the winter, his food and water freeze and he still sleeps outside...without a blanket. He also gets very, very muddy. The RSPCA, bless them, aren't interested. This winter, if he's not treated better, I will have to try something else. I am sure Alan knows someone who'll be able to give me some pointers.

Today, Clip Clop ate two cough candy twist. He liked them a lot. He likes sherbert lemons even more.

The cross-county footpath passes alongside the lake, and I often enjoy following this for a few kilometres as it passes through the neighbouring farm. This farm is open all year round to visitors; the pumpkin patch was especially impressive this year, & the maize maze was great fun. There are quite a few dwarf cows at the farm that are no more than a metre and a half tall when fully grown. Claudia and I fed them an awful lot of the maize maze this year which was naughty, but irresistible.

Next to the cows live Norman and his family & friends.

He's an ugly ill-mannered pig.

You don't have to take my word for this can see for yourself in the photo.

I prefer cats to pigs.

Despite being ugly, Norman is fun to watch. He has the worst habits. He seems particularly enamoured of one of the lady pigs (I call her can see her butt & curly tail in the photo) and, when he's not eating leftover Hallowe'en pumpkins like he was today, he's often sniffing her...I'm sure you can guess where.

As I said, I prefer cats.

Norman & his ilk will, in the next week or so, be taken inside to the warm(ish) barns for the winter. So too will all the other animals...including the llamas. I admit to finding it rather strange that there's a herd...yes, a whole herd...of llamas living within 300 metres of my house. There are stranger things in this World, though. Norman, for instance.

I'll miss seeing all the animals during the winter, but I'm looking forward already to seeing all the wee Normans that'll be born in the Spring!

Leaving the farm, I took the footpath back to the lake. The ducks quacked excitedly and came to see if I had more mouldy bread (I didn't) and Clip Clop came to see if I had more cough candy twist (I did). Passing by the local churchyard, I came to the village Green. Crossing the river is a bridge (supposedly designed by Thomas Telford, though this claim seems to be dubious at best) and by the bridge is the village green.

There is definitely something soul-warming about living by water, be it the sea in Symi, or a river. maybe it's the movement of the water, or the animal life, or the smell, or all together, or something else entirely! I love it.

The poshest, and priciest, house by the Green is the home of the actor Philip Madoc. He was flooded out in the autumn of 2000, poor man, and has built numerous flood defences since.

My village north of London, and my village in Symi aren't really that different. Both are pleasant places to live in, with animals both wild and tame, with water and greenery, with sunshine and rain, with pleasant neighbours and horrible ones. In both places I am continually pestered by cats who demand food and poo copiously in my yard. In both places I can spend a peaceful afternoon, only to have it rudely interrupted by boy racers revving engines. I hope I continue to live between Symi and the UK for a while yet.

Symi will eventually win the tug-of-love though, of that I'm sure.


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