Beyond Lagkada

On Good Friday (26th April) the villages come alive in the evening, everybody is in the street or eating on the terrace. In Lagkada opposite the cafe, young people light Chinese lanterns that wobble into the air and float dangerously over the stone houses. At Agios Nikolaos, after long months of winter sleep, the car park and restaurants are suddenly full; loud bangers are let off boys with cheeky smiles. The weeks before had seen busy preparations to paint chairs and tables and set out canopies and flower pots. The empty cafe at Pantazi beach is swept, rubbish collected and burnt and tables set out; a small bulldozer smooths the stones on the beach and new brightly coloured recliners are put out. It appears that the cities have emptied and many, mostly young, people have returned to their home villages to celebrate Easter or Pascha and enjoy a week’s holiday.

Turtle doves feed on the roads in the evenings. The warblers sing less in the day and there is a summer quiet descending on the maquis and olive groves. A pair woodchat shrikes sally for insects from the tops of bushes. Butterflies patrol and swarms of mason bees are busy on the muddy tracks. Rose chafers feast on the giant fennel. The first black-veined white emerges and April turns to May.

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