Out of the Rat Race into the Fire
Life on a Remote Greek Island
“We arrived in Katapola, the main port of Amorgos, nearly an hour late at 4am, and had to drive to the other end of the island where our operation is based. It was 45 minutes of hairpin bends with a top-heavy, overloaded Land Rover in the pitch black. When we arrived in the other port of Aegiali, Henri had to spend a fun 10 minutes hunting for our house key in the predetermined plant pot outside a friend’s taverna. ‘Hunt the key’ was however not half as much fun as ‘hunt the house’. We had been there once before but in daylight. We knew to drive to the small quay at Aghios Pavlos, a very small old fishing community five kilometres outside Aegiali. We then knew to take down a fence over a gap in the wall and drive across two fields. Climb over a wall, negotiate a dried riverbed and, hey presto, there would be the gate to our patio. We found the fence, we found the field, and as is normal in this area the field was terraced. We found a terrace, we found a house; but it wasn’t ours. It was too near to the track and not on the beach, where ours was located last time we saw it. We didn’t fancy going over a terrace in the Land Rover in the dark so we backed up and decided to try it on foot. Thirty minutes, four terraces, one vineyard and three walls later, we found the dried riverbed. Two hundred metres of scrub negotiated and we were home.”
So begins the story of Paul’s change of life, from airline pilot and management consultant, downsizing to live like a peasant on the remote Greek Island of Amorgos.
From mains water and electricity to collecting rain water and lighting the house with oil lamps and candles. From the comforts of a ‘flight deck’ and a Jaguar XJS to an inhospitable ‘ship deck’ and a donkey. From the stresses of civilisation to a simple island existence.
This book describes the beauty of Amorgos, the clear blue sea and sky, golden sandy beaches and the spectacular craggy mountains. It introduces the generous and friendly islanders and their traditional culture. The author perfectly captures the unique philosophy of the island. The donkey identity parade, the toddler left on the ferry, the naked postman, the aged aunt who was mistakenly purchased with the house, an alternative use for prayer books and how to make raki. It is all here, along with many insights into the life of the islanders whose families have lived on Amorgos for centuries.