Friday, 8 March 2013

Corfu: where the grass really is greener

Potholes, landslips, stray dogs. The grass is never greener, just a different shade.

Here I am on the beautiful island of Corfu and still desperate to be at home in cold old Britain with my family and friends. I am beginning to understand how Odysseus felt in Calypso's thrall. It is a wonderful place to be but not when your heart is somewhere else.

The mist sticks to your insides like barbecue sauce on spare ribs. The rain lashes down and down and down and down. It is cold and dreary and people huddle in warm coats and fleeces and shake their heads.

But then the rain stops, the wind dies down and the sun bounces off the mountain and breaks through onto a terrace now bathed in heat and light. And the grass is not only greener, it's a completely different colour.
Nature has not heard about the Greek austerity measures. Wild flowers pop up everywhere.
Bumble bees the size of thimbles flit from bloom to bloom.
Spring is here. You can tell by the carpet of flowers at your feet, on the roadsides and any nook or cranny open to the elements. Violets smile sweetly and astonishing heads of something-which-looks-like-comfrey-but-it-isn't nod in agreement.

In the olive groves, great drifts of daisies mingle with swathes of small and delicate pink geraniums and marigolds. Here and there are solitary anemones, cerise and upright, their petals drawn around a dark centre by a child. Jonquils march across a swampy field and miniature irises bloom like military wives waiting for their menfolk to return. Great yellow flowers from the pea family lurk in clumps, waiting to pounce. Euphorbia is euphoric in sulphur yellow shouty-ness while variegated thistle stalks the ground, SAS-style, concealing the spikes beneath.
To be in Greece this time of year is to be like nowhere else on Earth. It has more species of flowering plants and ferns than any other country in Europe. There are some 6,000, six times more than France and making the British Isle’s 2,300 seem paltry in comparison.

But little would the summer visitor to Greece, and indeed Corfu, know of such richness. By the time the Easy Jet flights touch down on to the airport’s hot tarmac, most of the flowers have gone, leaving the spotlight to those blousy exotics, the jacaranda, bougainvillea and oleander, together with assorted litter strewn along the verges.

It makes me feel happy to be alive, and happy to be here before anyone else has even thought about a summer holiday. 
I feel a song coming on.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. There is nothing on Earth like a Corfu Spring, and you capture it beautifully.

  2. I am bed bound and the view from my window in the UK is grey and wet - thank-you for bringing some sunshine into my world this morning through your blog. Have you pressed any of the flowers as a keep sake for the future to remind you of your Corfu Spring?

    1. I'm pleased you enjoyed it. Yes, I have indeed pressed a few where there has been an abundance of them and will keep them safe.

  3. Corfu in the spring is surely magical, especially as you present it. I am catching up today, I love the story of the olive oil pressing, beautiful pictures of the south too.

    1. Banker Chick, the longer I am here, the more I miss home but the more I realise how lucky I am. It's a lovely place.


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