Thursday, 5 December 2013

Rain, Sun and Stitches

Yesterday morning, Wednesday December 4th, it was time to drive back to the hospital to have my stitches out. Forty years ago, when I'd had the other side "done" they'd used those new fangled metal "clips", and I know that in the UK quite often these days patients don't need to have their stitches removed because they dissolve.  Well, OK, so probably the dissolving types are more expensive, I'm only a layman. But I felt anyway that it wouldn't do any harm for the experts to see how the thing was healing up. Plus I had a box of choccies and a card for the whole team on "B Surgical" ward to deliver.

The capriciousness of a Rhodean winter was brought home to us as we drove north. Starting around the Lardos area and continuing all the way as far as Afandou we were struck by how much mud and how many rocks had been washed on to the roads during the previous night. We had expected to wake up to continuing rain, when in fact it was mainly sunny. Here in Kiotari we'd heard the rain in the darkness outside in the early evening of Tuesday, probably about 7.00pm. It then rained on and off, occasionally heavily until well into the small hours, but nothing to write home about (so I won't!).

But as we drove north we were a bit non-plussed to see so much muck on the roads, occasionally so thick that it necessitated slowing down to a crawl to get through it safely. We both agreed that we'd never seen so much mud on the roads in the more than eight years that we've lived here. 

It was a cold day yesterday. The cloud increased as the day wore on and the temperature never surpassed 15ºC all day, that's cold for Rhodes. Arriving up on the 4th floor of the hospital I went to the Sister's Station in the ward and was told that I'd just need to pop around the corner and tap on the door of the surgeon's office and he'd sort out the removal of the stitches. I don't know what I expected really, but in all probability it was that a male nurse or junior doctor would do the deed. I obeyed and duly 'popped' around to the other corridor where the surgeon's office is situated and tapped on his door, to the sound of voices within. A second later the door was opened and the surgeon, seeing me, said "Ah, John. Just pop round to the examination room and I'll be there directly."

As he was closing the door I just caught sight of an elderly woman sitting across from him at his desk, her body framed by a background of the cornucopia of potted plants that adorn the surgeon's private sanctum. So, once again I 'popped' back around to the ward and waited outside the examination room. I know where everything is in that ward now! Minutes later I was alerted as to the surgeon's approach by his voice as he was carrying on an animated conversation on his mobile phone as he strode around to see me. Pointing first at me, then at the door, he suggested I enter and he'd be there in a jiff. So, enter I did and he soon followed me in, all the while still conversing on the phone. Using hand signals he bade me prepare myself on the black vinyl bench, covered as it always was with a fresh strip of white absorbent paper from end to end. 

Having concluded his phone conversation he told me that it was a close friend of his from Athens who'd had a liver transplant and a few other serious surgical procedures besides. It helped me to place my own experience in perspective! Job done and I was soon joining my wife, after presenting our little gift of appreciation to the duty nurse at the desk in the ward.

We had a list of errands to perform in the town and were soon parked up and walking about from store to store trying to cross things off our list. We were also going to visit an old friend who lives in the Old Town, somewhere not a stone's throw from the Palace of the Grand Master. Thus it was that I whipped out the iPad and snapped three shots...

Seems that even in the middle of town there are cat lovers who leave out a bit of food for the feral moggies

Just as you enter the Old Town from the Mandraki end (over and under the bridges). If you're here in summer you don't see the vehicles all over the place like you do in winter time. Locals and residents are allowed to use much more of the Old Town for driving around and parking during the winter months. The souvenir shops open if there's a cruise ship in, which there was yesterday.

Look left or right as you climb the Street of the Knights and you'll often see a scene like this.
It's quite strange to be seeing a bunch of tourists from Germany being led round by a guide and they're all dressed in long trousers, quilted jackets, hats and scarves. Frankly, we two had underestimated (clothes-wise) how cool it was going to feel and that's probably why we felt chilled. Plus the "igrasia" [humidity] means that the damp gets into your bones too.

Feeling pretty worn out we arrived back home at something like 3.40pm and both needed warming up. I powered up the Mac to take a look at "The View From Kleoboulos'" Facebook page and was gobsmacked to see that several of our friends in the village of Pilona had been flooded out during the previous night. Muddy water had invaded their homes to a depth of several inches. They'd apparently had a much worse rainstorm than we'd had, situated as we are just a few kilometres south of them. This often happens and we can only put it down to the fact the villages of Lardos and Pilona have much higher hills around them, which trap the cloud and even make it thicken, hence heavier rainfall results.

Y-Maria's probably going to spend Monday helping one of our friends with the clear-up, although they all have by now at least banished the water from within their houses. I can't do an awful lot myself, for obvious reasons (that's my excuse anyway). What's a huge plus point about the winters here, though, is that once the sun comes out everything dries out. This was made evident as we'd driven home, since the further south we came the more sunshine there was and the thick mud that had lain across the road in parts was already turned to dust and quite frequently worn completely away in two lines, where vehicle tyres had been traversing these patches all day. Back in the UK we remembered that, during the deepest winter months from December through February, the best you can expect from the very low sun is light, but no heat. The result being that muddy roads and lanes would remain so for weeks sometimes.

As I sit here in bed typing this on Thursday morning, it's bright sunshine outside and 19ºC. A glorious day by any standards. We're both in bed because we both came down with "something" after yesterday. That's our excuse and we're sticking to it. 

Last night too was the first time since last March that we lit the log-burner. December 4th. Can't be bad, can it?

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