Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tuesday March 26th...

I had quite an unexpectedly interesting day today.  Having failed miserably to catch up with Orexi Elena for a cuppa and a slice of cake she had invited me round for coffee this morning on one of her 'foraging days' and to join the group as they walked around Droushia searching for their lunch.  Apparently, if you know what you are looking for, you can live off of the land up here.  Knowing what you are looking for is clearly the key!  I walked round to the Droushia 'Castle' for 9.00am.  

The weather was a bit indifferent really - overcast but with a relatively warm wind so layers were the order of the day and found Elena busy in the downstairs kitchen laying up the table with coffee, cake and a really scrumptious onion tart.  I was soon joined by a really interesting group of people which included two artists, a herbalist, a professional photographer and a soap maker.  There is something about the vibe up here in this part of the island that seems to attract artisan people.

After leisurely coffee and goodies we set off on our voyage of discovery.  The weather gradually cleared and warmed as we went out of the village and up to the rocks where armed with reference books and local knowledge we were encouraged to find, identify and taste edible plants.  The most prized find was the local wild asparagus - a plant which grows like a weed in our garden!

Artist Kate, who is working on a commission, had taken along a pad and was busy sketching the wild flowers - ably helped by Lola who we had to dissuade from picking the orchids that were in the field. anyone interested in finding out about Kate's art should check out her website - her pictures are spiritual and mystical and, in my opinion, would make fantastic illustrations for children's books.

Andrea the photographer was captured by my lens instead of being behind the camera as usual.  You can catch her website here  She asked me to send her some of my pictures and I would be really interested in talking to her about getting more out of my camera.

Our foraging went well and we were blessed with some very warm sunshine as the morning wore on and some absolutely stunning scenery as we move our way around the rocks on the edge of Droushia.  All sorts of goodies were being placed in Elena's carrier bags and excited cries could be heard when a prized asparagus tip was collected

Little Lola got into the swing learning what we were looking for and searching with enthusiasm.  At one point she found a buttercup-like flower and busied herself doing the 'do you like butter' test by holding the flower under your chin and looking for a golden reflection.

Elena's children will probably never appreciate what a fantastic childhood they are experiencing up here in the village but everything is so real and un-manufactured - there is plenty enough time for the niff, naff and trivia of 21st Century life!

Before it got too late we made our way back to the 'Castle'.  Elena and Bassam had driven out to the rocks so we didn't have to walk all the way - en route Bassam did a little detour to proudly show us his beehives.  Orexi home made honey will soon be on the menu!

I wasn't staying for lunch so left Jo, Kate, Amita and Caroline busy sorting the greens and deciding how they should be prepared.

Back at home I had bags of rose geranium for Caroline (for her happy tea), a bag of jam jars for Elena that Elaine had given me and a bag of lemon balm that I was giving Jo for her hand made soaps (on the subject of Jo I feel I should give her a plug as well so her website is here so I went back home to get the goodies and dropped them back off at Orexi where the kitchen was a hive of activity.

I am sure the food was fantastic but John and I were off out to Fitos this evening having a meal with Running Susan and John and Irene and Dennis and I always leave there feeling stuffed!

All the photographs from the foraging are available here:  Orexi Foraging Day

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