Your hunting dog Vento and you have been stymied by the unexpected appearance of not one, but two fences.
There you are, on your Sunday afternoon walk to the sea rock in the sky, and vaboom. Halt.
OK, they’re not exactly the sturdiest fences on the planet, and we get through one, but the main one, the one on the way to our favourite gravel road, it is impassable, even as rusty and rickety as it is.
Sheep are the priority here, cleary. Because now we hear the bells and the ba-ba-baas all the time.
The grazing lands have changed, obviously, and the sheep are so close we can smell them.
Never mind, Eressos is full of surprises. Nice ones.
The other day, you’re walking with Vento and her bouncy friend Ermie — the handsome short little chap in white socks and a black collar with silver dog bones on it — when a very old woman crooks her finger at you.
Kafe, you eventually understand her to say.
She’s pointing at a double door in a wall. She’s smiling, so beautiful.
She hands over a fragrant flower, one of several in her hands. You nod your head as you lean your nose into the bloom.
Yes, please. Thank you, you say (in Greek).
Inside, there is another wizened woman, and two younger women, one of whom is Ermie’s mom.
They’re all sitting in an intimate grotto, an outdoor kitchen.
You get slices of a light white bread, a boiled egg and triangles of a delicious hardish white cheese, from Mytiline, you’re told.
One of the younger women, an Eressian who lives in Australia, she makes a cup of coffee for you, homemade Greek coffee. It’s delicious, and so is the food.
If you get food, stay. If you get unkindness, go, says the older of the two sister who lives there.
She’s 94 and not the oldest person in the village — her eyes are clear bright pools.
She slides her skirt up to her breasts. You see milk white skin, smooth. Flawless.
No sex, she says. And her sister laughts. She disagrees.
She’ll enjoys sex anytime, she says, and laughs so heartily her gums shine.
Her age, however, is her secret.
Her sister gets a look of admonishment on her face. She’s pointing at your tattoos on your legs.
No, the church doesn’t like that, she says. And leans back into her chair.
Your body must remain as it was when you were born. Oh yes.
She wags her index finger at you.
They are deaf, the sisters, so the translator is shouting, we’re all shouting.
The 94-year-old, tattoos nothwithstanding, sings love songs to you, the old folk songs of love, says the translator.
They’re about you and your beauty, the translator says. You and love.
The singer knows many many of the folk stories, the songs, the jokes.
She sit there reciting poems too. Her facial expressions tell the story.
There’s a round loaf of bread rising in an oven just big enough to hold it.
The single kitchen tap starts leaking. It needs a new washer.
Someone will come and fix it, later.
The younger sister puts a basin under the tap while the older one knocks the bread out onto the counter, and pops another loaf into the oven. Their backs are bent, and their steps are small.
Ermie’s mom and the translator leave, to cook lunch for their husbands, they say.
You indicate to the sisters that you’ll bring some seedlings you’ve got growing at Miss T’s place, and plant them in their vegetable and herb garden.