For more than a week the weather has been strange and calm without wind. In the evening the sea is the colour of mercury. Two days ago I went fishing for palamida (small tuna). The system is to travel far out to deep water then slowly trawl a line with feathers and hidden hooks that resemble small squid. If you come across a shoal of palamida it is possible to catch several at a time. On a line with 13 hooks Georgos once caught 12 fish. Getting them into the boat without snaring yourself or making a birds nest of the line requires a lot of skill.
There were low lying clouds and alone in a small boat on a flat sea a long way from land I became paranoid. I kept looking around as if something was there and suddenly there was. A low, dark line in the water stretched out like an oily rope around 20 meters long. It could have been a huge sea snake, a sea monster, basking shark or whale. I was uneasy, but fortunately I have seen such a thing before and knew it to be a pod of lazy dolphins resting their nose on the tail of the one in front. The first one steers while the one at the back swims. The others sleep, or read a paperback, or whatever dolphins do when they are taking it easy. But it was a strange feeling and I did not go too close. Just in case. With dolphins around there would be no palamida so I made the long journey home. That night I ate pasta.
The next night I tried again, this time trawling a lure close to the coast, fishing for barracuda. I was lucky and caught a fair sized fish. Enough for two or three of us. As the light faded, clouds gathered and reflected pink on the silver sea and we sat quietly in the Rahati while Elias grilled the fish. A parea developed. Four or five of us with beers and retsina and meze and then the fish. By the time it was dark we were joined by Iannis, a coastguard with an earring (!) New to the village he fits in well. Serious about his work and serious about his fun he is an accomplished musician, playing the bouzouki and singing Rembetika songs. One of the parea was Memo, a fine name for a nostalgic old man. Soon there was talk of the masters of this music, sometimes called the Greek blues, then there were songs of hashish and poverty, exile and loss written or recorded by Vamvakari and Tsitsanis, Papayoannou and Dalaras. Both Iannis and Memo have good voices and the songs rang out as the bottles clinked and the tears flowed. Any Greek glendi has a gamut of feelings and we were taken on a roller coaster of tears and laughter, love and hate, peace and revenge.
By midnight I had drunk enough and I found my way home to the sound of 1920's Smyrna. Storm clouds had gathered and there was spectacular thunder and lightening, though very little rain. Of course the electricity shut down, but at Rahati, lit by candles and imagination the party continued until dawn. All this was unplanned and spontaneous. Strangely as I picked my way through the wreckage of the morning I discovered there had been a party at the other end of the village. Gabriella, Andoni and Michaeli combining to host another glendi until dawn. Perhaps it was the weather.
And now it is raining and I learn, once again, that a litre of retsina for a man of my age is far too much.