There is nothing that screams ‘GREEK’ than an image of a building whitewashed to perfection with the blazing helios (sun) spotlighting its surfaces and reflecting good housekeeping practices with not a speck of dirt to be found. AND across the eaves and tumbling down the walls is the Queen of Colour, the vibrant and saucy Bougainvillea.
A riot of colour against the walls of villas excites the senses and adds a special playfulness to the overall effect the Greek islands are unashamedly proud of.
But for me, and I’m not dissing the Bougainvillea, it’s about scents and aroma.
My first time in Greece, I landed in the old, gloomy airport in Athens. It was towards the end of summer and after midnight. Out into the night for my first breath of Greece and I could smell oil, leather and diesel. Oh, it was good.
As I was to spend a couple of years in Greece on and off, I can remember the scents that if I smell them now, take me to the heart of Greece, my spiritual home.
Recently in Sydney, my first whiff of jasmin hit me and transported me back to Ellas, where I would be smothered in the scent in the late spring when night fell. The days would be stifling and the only aromas wafting through my village was lamb on spits in the restaurants, coffee and diesel.
But when the sun went down and the flowers could again breathe in the cool air – jasmin was queen of the night.
I’m writing this innocuous blog with a nod to my past but thoughts of the future.
In the early 90s in Sydney I lived in a house where the side wall was a factory wall as high as my two-storey house. The great blank vertical wall was slowly being taken over by Virginia Creeper and jasmin. The creeper was a beautiful display of autumn shades before it became green in the summer and the ‘jasmin festival’ lasted almost two weeks with an abundant, aromatic riot from late September. I always held a ‘Great Wall of Jasmin’ party on the October long weekend and it was a blooming great event.
As I write today, 17 August, I have come back from a walk where I stole several sprigs of jasmin to put in my house to give me the bounty of the scent.
So, now, let’s think about it. Years ago, the jasmin bloomed in late September and now it is almost spent by mid August.
Climate change, changes everything. I’m not saying that it’s only jasmin. Read between the lines. Glaciers are melting in Switzerland, the seas are rising around the islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Nature is confused and she might just throw her hands up in the air and go on strike.
What have you noticed in the weather patterns around you? Talk about it, scream it out. You know, it won’t make any difference to me and people of my age, we’ll be dead, but there are hard times a-comin’ to do with lack of water and weather-affected agriculture. Human beings need water and food to survive.
If it starts with me, good, and will it continue on with you.
I love science, and if it makes a mistake, it goes back and revisits to make it right and give us the correct information.
I love science, Greece, diesel and jasmin.
Writer Bev Malzard will continue stealing jasmin (see picture below), beating the drum on climate change and telling stories about Greece.