Photograph by: Carla Coulson
A beautiful piece from Claire Lloyd about finding happiness in the changing seasons of village life. The piece is an extract from her book "My Greek Island Home"
The village has a rhythm that changes with the seasons. Spring brings new life. The residents emerge from behind closed gates and open the shutters. Leaves unfold on the trees and spring flowers cover the landscape. Lambs and goats are born. Delicious edible plants are picked wild and appear in the local tavernas. It is a lovely time of year, green and filled with hope.
Summer is very hot and busy. The population of the village doubles. Relatives from as close as Athens and as far away as Canada and Australia arrive to spend July and August here. I adore the evenings when the sun slips from view, leaving wide strokes of yellow, orange, amber and purple in the sky, the final traces of the day. The temperature drops ever so slightly, and the scent of flowers blends with the aroma of cooking in the night air.
We often wander down to the platia, where a delicious home-cooked meal is served under the plane tree. Young and old group together enjoying food, drink at each other's company . The energy is infectious, the buzz fantastic. The nights are long as people stay up very late. School is closed for three months and the children play into the early hours. Music drifts up to our house; I love going to sleep to the sound of people laughing and partying.
On nights when it's too hot to sleep, I drag my mattress out onto the terrace and gaze up at the sky. When I was a child, my parents would take us out in the backyard, to look at the stars. I loved the Milky Way, and Mum and Dad made a bedtime game out of identifying each cluster. Here in Greece, the night sky is filled with an abundance of stars, bright and sparkling, reminding me of fairy lights.
" ... the scent of flowers blends with the aroma of cooking in the night air.
Skalachori, Lesvos, Greece. Photographs by Claire Lloyd
In autumn, the sun shines and it's warm enough to sit outside; even swimming in the beautiful clear sea is not out of the question. The nut trees are full and ready to be harvested. Our resident squirrels kindly help us with the collection in our garden. Pomegranates explode from the trees and also down the front of my clothes, as this delicious fruit is one of my favourites. This season my friend Fotini has given me two boxes filled with the enormous fruit, which I will juice, use in salads and eat with yogurt. Fotini has acres of beautiful land in Sigri on the water's edge where she grows organic produce.
When winter arrives, we pile up firewood. Fruit and vegetables that have been preserved and dried throughout the year are stored. It is a time of semi-hibernation when the villagers retreat behind the thick walls of their houses and life becomes much slower and more reflective.
We have found happiness in our village. Being here has played a vital part in my self-discovery, and also determined the next chapter of our lives. We feel warm, welcome and secure. Our friends have shared their traditions and given us their love.
Our lovely village house will not be transitory like others I have had. It's too special and will remain with me forever.
This piece is an extract from the book "My Greek Island Home" by Claire Lloyd.
"My aim is to create beauty in everything I do, whether it’s cooking a meal for friends, filming, taking a photograph or creating an interior with the power to inspire tranquility and peace. Creating nurturing spaces is my passion."
Claire Lloyd is the the author of two books – Sensual Living explores the way the senses can come together to create beautiful interiors, and My Greek Island Home is a documentation of village life on the Greek Island of Lesvos where she now spends most of her time.
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