Carona virus has certainly put the cat among the pigeons. ( Excuse the pun )
Before the lock down our foreign vet volunteer due to Greek politics was not permitted to work on the island, plus the poor trappers could not board their planes due to new rules and regulations put into place because of the pandemic, hence the cancellation of our March TNR program.
New rules stipulated appointments had to be made with vets, no more than one person in the clinic at a time. After discussions with the vets a decision was taken to pre book 2 days a week hoping to at least keep the stray population down, however cats are notorious for not turning up when they should but thankfully local volunteers banded together making sure appointments were met managing 6-8 per week, obviously far from the amount sterilised if a team were here… Total in 2mths = 66 sterilised
Many cats were heavily pregnant plus some trapped had nasty wounds & injuries, all medically treated and returned wherever possible, in extreme cases they crossed the rainbow bridge.
As there is very little to report regarding the TNR program or fund raising Table Tops / Bazaars, cancelled until further notice perhaps our supporters would like to read about everyday life on the island during winter, when very few people are around and rather as it is at present with no tourists.
November starts with 12 x volunteers assisting in the winter feeding program which normally continues through to May although being extended with kind donations received, it is also a time when strays are checked for wounds or injuries either treated on site or worse case scenario taken to the vet. One of our oldest iconic cats Kitler approx 14 years of age who roams Pefkos, is taken in for his bi annual check up but most importantly kept an eye on during the cold wet months for any respiratory problems or injuries.
After the tourist season ends 80% of the work force depart the island and all businesses are completely sealed up including signs, lamps, doors, in some cases wire fences around perimeters, resembling ghost towns. Owners leave for deserved holidays or return to other countries to see the winter out, remaining locals start spending time in orchards or gardens (allotments ) picking & pressing olives utilising any bottles available, planting vegetables, flowers, tending vines & fruit trees, relaxing in village squares most evenings with family and friends enjoying a drop of homemade wine, ouzo or tsipouro … Stin iyia mas ( Cheers )
December comes around, just like most friends & families throughout the Christian world everyone gets together for Christmas celebrations although Greek families are very religious, church ceremonies are far more important than frivolous decorations, certainly less emphasis on over indulgence of gift giving.
Restaurants many in the hills and out of the way villages are full of merriment with open wood fires, fabulous local food, Greek music & dancing, however new years day is a quieter affair and spent mainly with close family having BBQs or playing cards..
Once holidays are over everyone knuckles down to cleaning, tidying, basic home improvements and renovating before the usual tourist season starts.
Generally during these months its normally a pleasure driving around the island in warm winter weather, ( 12 – 19 degrees ) however since the main bridge came down between Kalathos & Haraki an extra 20 mins is added to the Rhodes town journey… Unfortunately newspaper reports say it is not expected to be repaired until 2022 making travelling & driving around the island extremely slow, also putting Malona bridge plus Haraki causeway under huge stress with local & any tourism traffic.
We can only hope it is re constructed and finished much earlier..
February & March is nature at its best, wonderful sights seeing herds of sheep with their cute lambs, goats with new born kids, donkeys & young foals, simply lovely. We have the beautiful protected Rhodian deer even wild pigs / boars snuffling in fields & on grass verges both quite rare sights, most people only get to see them after a car accident when unfortunately knocked down on the roads.
March – April morphing of businesses occur, painting, decorating and making ready for the many tourists expected to visit our beautiful island, sadly not to be in 2020 !! NO tourist hotels opening and flights initially unavailable until July, although this could change by the time this newsletter is received.
We hope you have enjoyed a little insight into our quiet winter lives, hopefully once this tragic outbreak of Coronavirus is eradicated or at least under strict control, locals will be wishing and praying everyone will again return to enjoy their holidays here on Rhodes…
Thank you once again for your continued support.
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