I am continuing to read Ethan Hubbard’s book “Trei Elies – A journey in Spring” and learning about the inhabitants’ daily lives. When walking around this quiet village with its ageing and fast disappearing occupants, it is easy to fall into a false sense of an idyllic life that one would lead if living here. How tranquil it seems, how wonderful to have such magnificent countryside on your doorstep with the ability to grow all your own food in this verdant and fertile garden. The reality for these villagers of course has been very different. It has been one of struggle and hardship inevitably. Day to day living took effort and stamina. There have been times of great deprivation in the earlier years of poverty. Roads were rough tracks from villages this remote, donkeys and your own two feet were the mode of transport. I can remember in the early 1970’s many of the side roads were still rough tracks very unlike today where all but a handful of very minor roads are beautifully surfaced in tarmac making driving a lot easier.
Food was grown or foraged from the countryside and houses were mainly just basic rustic dwellings no fancy kitchens and bathrooms. But the conditions produced a tough breed and even in their eighties the old women of the village go down to their gardens to weed and hoe and plant tomatoes. This of course at least keeps them active and in the fresh air rather than stuck in a stuffy room watching daytime telly!!!! The surrounding gardens provide cherries, almonds, walnuts, strawberries, there is certainly no shortage of these things.
The village today is well-connected with the good roads and four-wheel drive trucks have no trouble navigating side tracks even when heavy snow arrives. Now with modern technology nowhere is completely cut off and communication is possible from the remote corners of the world. All manner of new ways of living in these villages could be possible for a younger generation should they wish to explore an existence closer to nature. Nowhere stays the same forever and change is inevitable.
I am a great believer in remembering the past as it helps us navigate the future but we cannot keep the past preserved in aspic, life must evolve.
To buy a copy of Ethan Hubbard’s ‘A journey in Spring’ contact Androula Christou on (00)357 99527117.