Showing posts from January, 2017

Worlds Within Worlds

Do you want the good news or the bad news? The good news is that we’ve made it safely through the Milonas Gorge. The bad news is that we have a flipping great waterfall ahead of us which means we’ll have to find a way around and down and there are no paths to follow.
No matter, the sun is shining and there’s a flying circus in the sky. In case that seems a bit odd, forget the tents, clowns and performing seals and think of the origin of the word. Circus comes from the Greek kirkos meaning a circle or ring and was applied to a place of entertainment where the seats were arranged in a circle around the performing area. It is also the generic name of the birds that circle as they hunt which we know as Harriers. There have been four species recorded on Crete: the Marsh; Hen (or Northern); Pallid; and Montagu’s. The last three are rare and the Marsh, although a frequent passage migrant in the spring, only overwinters here in small numbers. It’s a bit too high to make out details but it’s st…

The Milonas Gorge

I think that I may have lulled you into a false sense of security last week with all that beauty in Where Three Valleys Meet. Not that this week’s stage of the journey is any less beautiful but it will require a head for heights and nerves of steel in places. You have been warned! Those three mountain streams that were gently carving out valleys have now got together and their combined force has carved through the limestone like a knife through butter and we’re going to try and get through there. If you’re up for it, follow me.

Not surprisingly, as we enter this damp, almost subterranean gloom, we have fungi. The creamy brown jobs running up the length of this fallen tree are of the Crepidotus genus which is based upon the Greek for cracked ear. Many different species have been described in the past but modern phylogenetic analysis has shown that the same species can show different growth forms depending upon where they are growing. Essentially, like us humans, they can look very diffe…

Where Three Valleys Meet

Let me take you by the hand To a far and distant land Where peace and tranquility reign Where bare winter branches Form cathedral like arches
And the earth smells of soft winter rain

Where an old olive tree Beckons quietly to me Indicating the route I should take And a bubbling rill Is beginning to fill With leaves floating down in her wake

Where silver branched thyme Beneath redolent pine Seductively draws me along As I potter and dawdle And the warblers warble

Inside The Rainbow

I see that you’ve got your wet weather gear on this morning which is just as well looking at those clouds covering the mountains. I’m not sure we’ll get down to where three valleys meet but never mind; seeing that beautiful rainbow pouring itself into the village of Agios Ioannis gives me an idea. We’ll see if we can find all the colours of the rainbow reflected in nature. I say ‘reflected’ advisedly for the colours that we see are mere reflections which we should be able to illustrate as we go along but first, have you ever stopped to consider how we perceive colour? It’s all down to cone cells in our eyes. Back in 1672 Sir Isaac Newton first discovered that light was made up of different colours when he recreated a rainbow with a prism. If you could slow light down you could see that it came in waves, like the sea crashing onto the shore, but whereas the distance between the crests of the waves in the sea may be several metres or more, waves of light are infinitely smaller (about 4-…

Water Divining