Even though Matt is on holiday he set his weekly challenge on The Book Blogger to see who could write a hundred words of fiction based on ‘Feeling Good‘. This classic song, written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, has been recorded by many artists and the youtube clip below, by Michael Buble helpfully has the lyrics too.
Crete is so full of the feel good factor, (OK, you will have to ignore current financial and political issues) that my head was brimming with ideas. Then I realised that the whole song reminds me of the wonderful Katharo Plateau. This fertile plain is 16k above the village of Kritsa at 1,200 m above sea level, where it nestles in the Dikti Mountains. When we first visited Kritsa and the Katharo Plateau in 2001, the road was still a rough track. Now there is tarmac all the way and crash barriers on the bends, so it is safe even for hire cars.
Six weeks ago when we left Crete, Katharo was a mass of colour with snow still visible in mountain crevasses. Herds of sheep and goats had arrived, driven up by shepherds using ancient tracks, or in the back of pick up trucks, to enjoy relatively cooler temperatures for their summer grazing. When we next visit Katharo, in mid August, plants will be scorched to a crisp and the snow-melt stream dried out.
Two children, Rodanthe and Manos feature in the first part of Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa. They are cousins and firm friends, but Rodanthe does tease and goad placid Manos. After tumultuous events in the village of Kritsa the two children spent a carefree summer up on Katharo with their grandpa and his flock. My piece for this week’s flash fiction foray is not in the book, but could have been:
‘Hey, Rodanthe, those birds flying high are griffon vultures. They’re descending, let’s try to find them.’ As if determined to annoy her playmate the girl remained crouched at the edge of the stream. Without even a glance she said, ‘Well if they do grandpa will be angry to have lost a lamb. This is more interesting, a dragonfly out in the sun. It just emerged, it’s a new life. You know what I mean, don’t you?’ Full of intrigue the boy squat. ‘That’s amazing! Grandpa says this plateau is ancient, but it’s like a new world. I’m feeling good.’
I am lucky enough to have two special friends, who have opened my eyes to some of the wonderful nature in Crete:
Steve Lenton is an amateur botanist who gives guided walks around the Katharo Plateau. Steve has catalogued the plants found on the plateau and knows a great deal of folklore, making his walk both entertaining and educational. However, if like me you have no knowledge of the latin names, Steve will use common names. For example, he showed me a lovely thistle known by locals as Donkey Fart! You can find more details by clicking here Exploring Katharo.
Steve Daniels is a naturalist who writes a fascinating blog that my Manos would have loved. Take a look at Crete Nature, but beware, you might get hooked!