Tuesday, October 9, 2012



‘’This year’s incredibly hot, dry summer had the doom-merchants out in force.
Quote: ‘So this is global warming – Europe is going to turn into a desert!’
Quote: ‘All the fish are dying in the Med, Spain and southern France are burning, people are dying in thousands of heat – this is a Biblical catastrophe!’
Between them, the Greek TV channels and the Daily Mail had us all in a panic, gasping for breath.’’

I wrote the above paragraph in an article for The Corfiot in September 2003!
Nine years ago.
So there really is nothing new about this wonderful extension of summer  that we have been experiencing in October 2012.

The article went on: ‘The heat is going to continue at least to Christmas!’ said the Corfiot soothsayers – and within days the weather had changed and our first September storm took its toll.
But then October came on stage, dressed in gold, with azure skies, new grass sprouting emerald beneath the olive trees, swathes of autumn crocus and cyclamen, trees, refreshed, lifting their heads again to the sun that was still surprisingly warm. ‘’

’For anyone who has not yet experienced just how quickly the seasons can change in Corfu, the middle of October must have been a revelation. ‘’

 Barbati two days ago

Barbati yesterday
  But back in 2003,  a very special storm was looming, one that pitted the might of the north against the spite of the south, and..

‘’ One evening, after a wet and blustery day, the wind swung round abruptly to the north, gathered strength and reached Force 10 to 11, and swept into the bays of Coyevinas and Avlaki at about midnight, screaming like a banshee, behaving like a tornado. The sea was whipped into three-metre high waves of astonishing power, and tons of stones were scooped up from the seabed and the beaches and dumped several metres inland. The Avlaki road disappeared beneath the pebbles, its wooden decking was ripped up and hurled away, with whatever was left in place looking like a railroad along which a tornado funnel has traveled – wood splintered and ripped into freakish shapes. The road along the beach at Coyevinas sank and buckled as the stones on which it was laid were scooped out by the waves. Tourists staying in a beachside villa found the sea lapping at their front door.

By the next morning, the beaches were completely re-shaped, and the sea was calm, with the still menace of a raider waiting to make another surprise attack.  On the Albanian mountains opposite, a thin layer of the first snow greeted early risers, to vanish quietly as the sun came out to illuminate the destruction.
A week later, a night of continuous hard rain, and a sullen southerly wind has laid its own gifts at Corfu’s door. South-facing beaches, such as Ipsos and Barbati have been  desecrated by a thick tidemark of seaweed, which has brought with it the most amazing amount of rubbish. Not just natural debris, such as tree branches, weed, planks torn from distant jetties, but also tons of the ugly plastic rubbish we so thoughtlessly throw away, to find its way into the sea. Plastic of every kind – disposable cups, empty containers that once held everything from water to bleach, punctured lilos and beach toys, broken chairs.
A natural justice – all that we so carelessly throw away to pollute the sea and the environment, returned to us again by the sea, ultimately ours to dispose of  again, but responsibly this time.
In the end, it seems, Nature gets its revenge and flaunts our predictions in our faces.
Just to underline its point, the dragging clouds over Albania lifted briefly to reveal the highest peaks draped in the first real snow, glinting in the sun, here to stay this time.
So much for the hottest summer ever. ‘’

2003. Nine years ago.

Today, as so often happens, we had rain and thunder near Corfu Town but not a drop in the north of the island. The unpredictability of Corfu – one of its greatest frustrations, one of its greatest attraction.

Not a drop fell in the north of the island.

It is impossible to be bored in Corfu, with weather like this. It is also impossible to be completely accurate in our predictions.

Bittersweet October.  The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause
between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.
-   Carol Bishop Hipps

Another autumnal day, today. That old autumn feeling creeps in. A touch of melancholy, a tinge of nostalgia. Katie Melua’s sweet, sad ballads on iTunes. Thinking about making apple pie or walnut cake. Thinking, too, about putting on some socks and maybe throwing a fleece around my shoulders.
Is this goodbye summer? Feels about right, feels about time. Funny thing is, all the blogs I read are about autumn, too.

Photos are my own and also by Frosso, Chris, Bob in Michigan and my sister.

1 comment:

  1. Mother Nature will always retain her power to surprise us. But there's little doubt that there is a warming trend and significant climate change going on. . .


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