Advent

November ended at the French Inn on Ippoton for ‘Beaujolais? Yes, finally!’ to mark St Andrew’s day: a chance show of Gaelic-Gallic solidarity. I didn’t hear any Scots accents, but did practice my French. A specialty of mine is an indignant tone hitherto reserved for Parisian prices; this was dusted off on Saturday night. Anyway, so few people were prepared to pay for the food that it was very soon brought round for free. It was good to see the building full of people of all ages and the atmosphere was lively. Sad, though, that so few people felt they could walk there from the perimeter of the Old Town. This meant Ippoton was packed with cars (very many of which were simply parked up on the pavement, completely blocking it) and had zero historical ambiance.

‘One of the most handsome thoroughfares in Rhodes is the Street of the Knights. It’s said to be the oldest street in Greece, following a line originally laid out in the fifth century BC. A collection of fine medieval stone fa├žades rises up the hill, testimony to the great wealth accrued by the mysterious order of the Knights of St John, despite being sworn to poverty and chastity.’ So wrote Michael Palin of day 48 on his ‘Pole to Pole’ journey. The morning after Francopop night, I walked up there to try to regain that sense of history and it was mercifully quieter. Today, I passed by and there had been a minor car collision at the bottom, where Ippoton meets Apelou and Museum Square. There was, of course, a traffic jam. The parking and traffic congestion are testimony to the great what, exactly? Just askin’.

The severe rainstorms have held off for a week now, though we have had very high winds and more (lighter) rain is forecast for the rest of this week. On a very parochial level indeed, this has meant that it’s been possible to sweep The Yard and put washing out to dry. December is only two days old and so far so mild; good walking weather during the day and in the evening, too. Many shops have Christmas decorations in their windows, some more elaborate than others. The white trumpeting angels of Kolonna and the red shiny baubles of the New Town have stayed firmly attached to their lampposts through the gales and storms. The local mini-market has, rather discomfortingly, started playing English Christmas muzak. This morning, I pushed open the shutters to see a rainbow starting out from the Acropolis and disappearing off into the westerly clouds. There was a south-easterly breeze blowing so I could smell the orange blossom from the neighbour’s trees (masking the, now sadly familiar, smell of The Yard’s vagrant moggy). A couple of butterflies passed by as I opened the window, while birds non-Twitter-tweeted. So far, so almost-Disney…

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