Today we had the first…

… of the autumn thunderstorms, accompanied by rain in stair-rod proportions. The storm was extremely welcome, coming, as it did, after a spring and summer of unrelenting hot, dry weather. People who have lived here all their lives are hard put to remember a year as taxing as this. On an island where rain is relatively rare and usually short-lived, it has not been felt necessary to instal storm drains in the streets or on the roads. The result of this is that when a lot of rain falls at once, it starts to flow towards the sea, and it is common, on rounding a bend, to encounter a minor tributary of the Mediterrean dashing across the road. After this morning’s brief deluge had stopped, I got on the bike and went into town, fording the occasional brook and temporary pond.

Next door to Nikos’, over the summer, the fruit-stall has come up-market, and the owner has put a concrete base over the packed mud on which his stall used to stand, and built half a shop, from which he is now trading. It is important to realise that the law in Greece favours those who do not complete a building, as incomplete buildings are exempt from some tax or other. Unfortunately, this concrete base has formed an effective dam between Nikos’ and the sea, and Nikos’ taverna was flooded to a depth of about an inch. The most terrible row was going on when I arrived, and I joined the idlers and coffee drinkers seated outside the taverna to watch the fun, which consisted of Nikos and Spiros yelling at each other, accompanied by threatening arm gestures. As the crowd of spectators increased, so did trade in the two establishments, so both were forced to take time off from hostilities to service customers, by which time Nikos’ flood had ebbed and his wife had mopped out. I suppose this is the last we’ll hear of it until the next downpour.

And here, a remarkable picture I took early this morning as very damp air rushing in from the sea met the mountain and was forced up, creating visible wind over the shoulder of the slope.

Visible wind

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