Sunday, 27 April 2008

Early Easter!

Easter Sunday came two hours early to Azogires when the Easter midnight celebrations being held at 9.30 pm on Easter Saturday!

The reason for the early arrival was that the priest, Papa Eftixis, had to do another 10 or so services in the surrounding villages that evening and had to start early and finish late to fit them all in.

The church of the Holy Fathers was full with about 50 people as the bell was rung to start the 30 minute service. The service came to an end with the announcement “Christos Anasti” (Christ is risen), the lighting of the Easter candles and a procession three times round the church.

After the procession, and as the service was continuing, an effigy of Judas was burnt in the courtyard outside the Monastery to the accompaniment of some very loud fireworks.

At the end of the service the Lenten fast was broken in the Alpha Kafenion with a traditional meal of sweet cake, hard boiled eggs dyed red, kalitsunia and Mageiritsa – a delicious soup made from the intestines of sheep or goats!

First of the summer wine?

The first of the summer’s backgammon (Tabli* in Greek) competitions took place at the Alpha Kafenion on Sunday 13 April.

In spite of disruptions from bus loads of Paleochorian school children and a passing Cretan shoe salesman who was seeking compensation for damage done to his Aunt’s crops by New Zealand troops hiding amongst them in 1941, (another story for another day) a full complement of 8 or so players spent a pleasant summer afternoon.

One of the highlights of this particular tournament was the participation of young blood in the shape of 11 year old James Webster (shown above). In spite of, or because of, his youth, he didn’t manage to make it to the final rounds but even so did perform very well, beating 2 much more experienced players before being eliminated himself.

The overall winner was David from Anidri, with Suzanne from Germany second and Canadian Pete third.

It’s not recorded where Lucky finished.

* Tabli…a fascinating game to play but one which as a spectator sport is up there with watching paint dry.

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Priest's Vinyard

If you take the road over the mountain from Azogires to Asphendiles, about 3 Km after the turn outside Azogires, and shortly after you’ve gone around to the Asphendiles side of the mountain, down in the bottom of the valley on your right hand side you will see what appears to be the remains of a large building.

In fact these are the remains of a vineyard constructed by Pater Papagregorakis, the miracle working priest of Azogires.

The long wall facing you was the mountain perimeter wall and the thicker wall at right angles to it on the right hand side of the ruins marks the end of the priest’s land in the valley. The square ruins on the left hand side are the remains of the watch keeper’s building – apparently it was not unknown for people to try and steal the grapes!

The vineyard was apparently in use up to the 1950s but now is just used for goats and sheep.