Of wild flowers and ancient mythology
The island is wearing a wonderful garland of flowers this spring. The grass verges look like they've been decorated for a rural wedding, with purple honesty and yellow mustard flowers complimenting each other obligingly, while white daisies act as ethereal highlighters, softly pointing the way.
It's the most beautiful time of year in Greece and in Corfu in particular.
Greece 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.
According to Hellmut Baumann in his book Greek Wild Flowers and plant lore in ancient Greece, ‘nowhere in Europe have conditions been more favourable for the development of such rich flora. This is due to diverse combinations of geological, topographical and climatological conditions’.
One of my favourite sights is of the olive groves full of the giant spikes of common asphodel. These are the flowers that carpet the Elysian Fields.
But I've yet to see the village cow in all her glory, the one who, apart from her colour, reminds me of Io, the nymph seduced by Zeus who then turned her into a white heifer to hide her from his wife (and sister) Hera.
But Hera wasn't fooled. She tethered Io to an olive tree and got the many-eyed Argus Panoptes to watch over her husband's latest conquest. Zeus, in turn, sent Hermes to kill Argus but then Hera sent a gadfly to torment poor Io and she jumped into the sea - which ever after was called the Ionian.
But Io lived happily ever after. She found her way, eventually, to Egypt where she begat a whole horde of descendants including the fifty Danaids and, the greatest hero of them all, Hercules.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x