Friday 8th

Yup, we got some heavy rain, the water butt is full again the garden is soaked and I’m now diverting the waste water down the drain rather than saving it to water plants. Being British I look at cloudy skies, rain, damp and dropping temperatures with a frown on my face, then reluctantly close windows and doors before returning to the bedroom to dust off my jeans and jumper. Not so with the Cretans. They love it when the rain comes because it’s good for the olives and other crops, the water table is filling again, and they gaze upon our glum British expressions with evident surprise. I try to explain that we get more rain in a British summer than they get in a Cretan winter, but that only evinces further puzzlement. Rain is good. I wonder how long that opinion would last if they experienced a few months of grey British winter with its endless days of drizzle, downpours and sitting inside with the lights on.

In the guide books we’re told that here in Crete there are 300 days of sunshine every year, and yes, that’s about right. And what sunshine it is. You simply do not get the same intensity of light in Britain. Our house here is dim inside, the windows small, and a trip outside on a sunny day renders me practically blind for a few minutes after I return inside. I would say that the light intensity on a cloudy but not rainy day here is about the same as full sunshine were we live in Essex, but then, that house is forty miles from London in a highly populated area and there’s plenty of crap in the atmosphere.

Traffic through our village in Essex is heavier than through the largest town here in Eastern Crete, and traffic in Chelmsford, the largest town close to us in Essex, is probably ten times that of the largest city on this entire island. Living here has brought home to me how big the difference in air quality is, and I suspect my lungs have enjoyed clean air for the longest period in my life. Bar the cigarettes, of course.

In an effort to beat the damp here in a house built before damp courses were thought of, I’ve acquired a dehumidifier which, when run for about eight hours, takes two litres of water out of the atmosphere inside the house. How much of that is actually coming out of the walls is a moot point, but it should certainly help and, next year, maybe I won’t have quite so much paint falling off of them. Installing damp courses would be preferable, but can you imagine how much fun that would be in stone walls that are two feet thick?

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