Denis Taylor Artist and writer

Denis Taylor Artist Writer and Curator of TUBES art Gallery

Aegina island

Aegina Island in the Saronic Gulf Greece
Palia Hora Old Town in Greece

My Life as an English Artist on a Greek island Part 9 of 23

continued from part eight, please click here to catch up with the story

discovering the island

“…it was a wonderful island experience as Agatha gracefully free wheeled down the Greek mountain road, the aroma’s from the herbs and flowering plants was intoxicating. On the way down I spotted a sort of specially made sculptured stone fountain which had an arched top. In the middle of the fountain was a tap and the floor around this stone was wet. I stopped and turned on the tap. Fresh cold water came flooding out immediately. I closed the tap and prepared to drink directly from the tap by sticking my head underneath it. It was really good – I’d never tasted water like it. Around the fountain was a pine forest which contributed to the magic of the place.”

Road from Palia Hora
half way down the mountain I stopped to look at the view of a Village in a bay

the local Cicades loved my t-shirt and hair

I continued on my exploratory drive down the steep road which was slowly levelling off. A little further along the road it split into two with a right turn that seemed to go into the forest. So I decided to follow it, after all I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t get lost, I mean I was on an island, so all I had to do is let Agatha carry on gently to carring me around the stunning scenery. I turned onto the small road in the forest, went over a very small bridge with a brook underneath it. I pulled up in a clearing to stop and give Agatha a rest and allow her to cool down a little. I went a little deeper into the forest and the sound from, what I believed to be Cicada, in Greece they are called Tztzikas, are amazing. The volume reaches a crescendo and then it stops suddenly for no apparent reason. Then it kicks off again. The smell of the trees, the song of the insects and the heat all combined into a a visual adjective that described this Greek Island without words.

I walked a little further among the trees and became aware that the Tztzikas were just like my friend ‘Roy the Fly.’ They seemed very happy to fly onto my t-shirt and in my hair, then fly off again. After a short while I returned to Agatha, kicked over the engine and carried on my way. As I rode I spotted rusty old cars and parts of what looked like farm ploughs scattered about the forest.

I wondered why they had been left to there to rot?

They spoilt the nature I thought, but I guess no more than the people who live in a City and throw their rubbish everywhere without a thought for how the street looks. At least the Greeks hide their old vehicles in a forest. Sort of putting something ugly and almost hidden and then consumed by nature. In my country dumping garbage and cars is a problem and is growing more of a problem as the economy grows. It seems the richer people become the more they and their children, seem to care less about the environment and more about themselves. I shook those sort of thoughts from my mind as I didn’t want any form of negative thinking to taint the sheer pleasure I was enjoying of this wonderful island.

Lemon, pink and white…

Riding up the road out of the forest I turned arbitrary left and right and finally found myself in a very narrow road which seemed as if it was dead end. I turned Agatha’s engine off and decided to push her down the narrow passage, it was framed with lemon trees and bushes that had amazing pink, yellow and white flowers. The bushes were huge and climbed up the outside of a large villa. The garden of the villa was enormous with olive, lemon and other trees covering the land. At the bottom of the road was another villa and the road turned again which eventually led to a normal road. As I reached the top I kickstarted Agatha’s engine and followed my nose. I came to another larger road and turned left. This led down to a steep road that ended inn a sharp turn. This must be the Village, that the young men from Palia Hora used to push out their boats to ‘pirate’ the trade ships, I thought to myself.

Souvala Village
Souvala Village. I parked Agatha under the pine tree

Sun, Rain and Beer

At the bottom of the hill there was natural space where I saw other had parked their vehicles so I carefully placed Agatha in the shade of a pine tree and looked around the village which seemed devoid of people. It was quite late afternoon so I guessed most people were having their afternoon nap. There was one cafe open with bright yellow chairs, it looked welcoming, so I wandered in.

The owner came over and said hello…

…I asked for a beer and sat at a table towards the front of the cafe to watch and listen to the sea. He brought the beer to me along with a small plate full of nuts, they were green were still in their shell – The owner said “Pistachio..very Good” in English. I sat sipping the cold beer and eating the nuts one by one. They were great. I wondered why the owner had not asked for payment. He sat at the back of the cafe occasionally getting up from his table and began wiping tables, or stacking the fridge with beer or watering the various tubs of plants with a hose. He’d look at me sometimes and smile. I felt embarrassed and wondered if I should buy something else, if only to give him something more to do.

Grey Sky in Souvala Aegina
the sky turned a grey and deep blue

The sky had turned grey and I thought it was about to rain. Which was something I had not seen since arriving on the island a few months ago. I decided to sit at the cafe for a while to wait to see if the rain blew over. After another beer and another plate of nuts over half an hour had past. I decided to order something else. I walked into the back of the cafe and spotted a glass fronted presentation counter, it had various cakes on trays. The owner came and stood next to me…”Orista.” He said, which I presumed that he was asking me what I wanted. I pointed to one of the trays and asked if I could have a coffee to go with it. He nodded and pointed to my table. I walked back to the table and took a last mouth full of my beer. Within a few minutes he brought over a plate with the cake, a small cup of dark coffee, a bottle of water and several serviettes.

the most delicious thing that I had ever tasted

The cake looked for the world like shredded wheat. Which was OK as I loved shredded wheat for breakfast as a child. I stuck my fork into the cake and took a piece. It was soft, but crunchy and moist with some sort of syrup and honey and had the pistachio nuts all around and in it. As I placed the cake into my mouth I couldn’t believe the fantastic flavours and texture. The owner came over to collect my beer bottles and empty glass. “Endaxi?” He said. Putting my hand and rubbed my stomach, I said fantastic. “Kataife..Very Good” He said and smiled. I took my time eating the cake, it was so nice that I wanted to savour every mouthful, it was without any doubt, the most delicious thing that I ever tasted in my life (up to that point). The coffee was new to me too, but the strong almost smokey flavour was perfect balance to that to the very sweet cake. I loved it. I’m defo coming back to this village, I thought.

Kataifi...My first Sweet cake on Aegina island

the heavens had opened

And then the heavens opened. The rain bounced on the sea and the road, so I moved back from the front to the back of the cafe. I sat near the owner on a back table. “Orea.” he said and then he pointed to the rain bouncing down onto the sea. I smiled back not knowing if ‘orea’ was good or bad? I thought I should say something, I pointed to the Sky and said “England.” The owner laughed and nodded his agreement. We both sat there for quite a while watching the rain, it was strangely enjoyable and somehow I felt that I had made a friend for life.

Creative FORCE of Aegina island

The Creative Force shown itself

Without much warning the rain stopped. The sun was low in the sky and the grey clouds changed to pink. Then the tone deepened to red. I wanted to find where the Sun went down, so pulled some money from my pocket and offered it to the owner of the cafe. It took it all from my hand, then picked out two of the notes and gave me most of them back to me. I said thank you, to which he replied, “Parakalo.” and smiled. I pointed to my self and said ” Denis, English”. He looked at me held out his hand and with the other hand he pointed to himself and said “Nektarios, Hellas. We shook hands and I said goodbye. Agatha was little wet after the rain, but protected by the tree, so a quick wipe with my cap soon sorted her out. Nektarios came running from the cafe he waving the bottle of water and shouted “Nero.” I’d left it on the table, I thnked him again and then kicked started the engine and off we went down the road. The road led out of the village up a steep hill, but I rode at a determined speed. I knew I should get a move on if I was to discover exactly where the Sun set on this island. So I carried on at a fair pace, constantly looking up at the incredible red sky. I Believed I had found the creative force for my Art, or rather it had finally shown itself to me. I was totally now inspired to create an Art with the Creative Force as the main subject.

Aleandra Magarita
photgraphs by my [adopted] Greek Niece – Alexandra Margariti
Thank you xxxDenis

next story line….the thespian, the film star and playtime

painters TUBES catalogues
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