Monday, 23 January 2012

Noise Pollution

Something else which we discussed with Evgenni'a and Theo'doro (see previous post) was noise pollution, Greek style.

We'd begun talking about the subject of dogs in villages and how much their barking narks the minority of non-dog-loving residents. Apparently Pilona is an example of this phenomenon. There seem to be more domestic dogs (in other words, not counting the strays that are hanging around the village at any one time) per head in that village than can be said of any of its close neighbours like Kalathos, or Lardos. Someone had told us not so long ago that they'd moved out of Pilona owing to the fact that, during the night, it was becoming all too frequent that a dog would start barking in the small hours, only to have it's bark answered by its neighbouring canines, which would add their "voices" to a rising crescendo, the result being that various Brits would be grabbing their pillows and placing them above their heads in an effort to get back to sleep.

Theo'doros had become quite grave and it became apparent that he had a tale to tell of the malevolent act of one of his neighbours from a village which they'd lived in further up the island a few years back.

"I'd kept geese, ducks and chickens," he said, "as do many villagers. After all, eggs cost money and we always had a ready supply. Saved us a pretty penny you know. Then of course there was the ready supply of white meat."

We nodded in that kind of way that says, "We know, oh yes, we know." plus: "and we're paying attention, do go on." So he did (even though we probably didn't really 'know' in the sense that he'd implied we ought to, since we've never kept birds):

"Well, one morning my neighbour had a go at me about the noise my birds were making. I mean, how much noise do ducks, geese and chickens make anyway?" before we could insert a meaningful response, he added: "Not as much as a dog or dogs, eh? Eh?"

"Well, no. Quite." I replied, in sympathy. To which I considered it a good idea to quip: "We used to live on a small housing estate in one house we'd owned in South Wales. Right behind our back garden the road through the estate snaked, just outside the six-foot wall which the previous owners had erected to add a little privacy to the lawn, barbecue area and flower beds. But now and then, on Saturday nights, we'd be awoken at some unearthly hour by people (usually men, but not always) staggering home from the pub along that road, not more than twenty metres from our bedroom window, shouting and "effing and blinding" as they went past about some disastrous football performance or wrecked love affair or something. If we ever had people staying over we'd be laying in our beds privately getting embarrassed about what our genteel guests were having to listen to, assuming that they'd been woken up too, which we could safely assume that they would have been, since we had.

"Then we'd also have the local bus service to contend with, which used to stop extremely close to our back gate, whilst passengers aboard on the nearside of the bus could sit and gaze out the window at me trimming me roses whilst they waited for new boarders to pay their fares before making their way to their seats. There were two factors at work here, one was the intruding gaze of the bored-looking passengers, the other was the noise. No, I lie, three. There was also the issue of the diesel fumes which would drift across my veggie sausages if I was barbecuing at the time
(Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. If you don't get that link, write in)."

Warming to my subject, I went on about people living in cities where they had to contend with  passing trains or factory hooters, I could have gone on, but Theo'doros interrupted to express his complete agreement. We all four of us agreed that the sound of dogs, chickens, geese, ducks and, yes, here in Greece, the ubiquitous Cockerel, were all to be preferred to the noises of industry and man-made pollution-producing concoctions.

Theo'doros now skillfully brought us around to why his neighbour had acted heinously. "We lost all our birds in one fell swoop." He told us, now wearing the kind of expression on his face that betrayed disgust at what he'd suffered. "After a few occasions when he'd commented on how the birds disturbed him, he crept round one night and let all my birds out! When we got up in the morning, the gate in the fence was open and all our ducks, geese and chickens had disappeared. Now I ask you! For a starter, we had to start buying eggs again!" Facial expression now extremely grave, inviting sympathetic gasps, which, of course, were given. We didn't ask how he knew it was this complaining neighbour who was to blame for the dastardly deed.

I couldn't help wondering though, whether that traitorous neighbour owned a pick-up truck piled up with wooden boxes with metal grills comprising one side, all of which were suitable for carrying domestic fowl on his rounds, selling good egg-layers to his customers in villages not a stone's throw away. You know, retail therapy, Rhodean style, as described in chapter 26 of "A Plethora of Posts."


  1. John. Dont a larger number of British live in Pilona & own dogs
    So they can hardly complain about the barking

    1. Ah, but I would venture the suggestion that it's those who don't own dogs (granted, they're a small minority!) who get a bit fed up.