The island remains the same. One small fishing village which is over run with tourists in the summer. Numerous chapels dotting the countryside. Goats, chickens, vineyards, olive groves. Tavernas selling ouzo. Dear dear friends. I made notes whilst I was there which I share with you here.
Most days the sound of goat bells drifts across the hills, a gentle, slow tinkle. This morning the goats were being herded to another field and for many minutes there was a loud, melodic din as the bells around their necks clanked and clonked. I stood still and listened.
The Greeks use their hands alot as they converse. But they use their faces more. A long wink, a slow incline of the head. A lift of the chin. A quizzical turning aside of the face. Their faces are mobile and easy to read. You can still hear the hissing "Psst Psst" as they attempt to gain the attention of a friend or neighbour walking past.
An old lady blows kisses to me every afternoon as I sit and read outside my friend Anna's shop. "Kalispera" she calls out.
One night the wind is blowing so hard that the waves splash onto the path by the port. The scene is lit by the full moon.
I am befriended by Christos who used to be in the army. I am sitting having an ouzo one evening when I hear him call "Maria?" I look up and he is lowering a tiny bottle on a long string from the balcony above. Inside is blue water and a dozen miniscule shells - a gift from him to me.
All day I hear cicadas, goat bells, seagulls, wood pigeons, dogs barking. A ferry's horn. The chug of small fishing boats coming back to port.
The air is rich with the scent of herbs and in the late afternoon the smell of grilled octopus as the tavernas open for business. There is another magical aroma from a plant which even after all these years I am yet to identify - it is the first thing I smell as I get off the tiny airplane which brings me to the nearby island of Leros and it accompanies me on all my long walks.
I am startled by the glow of torchlight in my eyes as I walk home through the village one night. Two young boy's are playing on their grandmother's balcony. " I am Manolis," says one with gorgeous curly dark hair. "He is Michalis," he says, pointing at the other boy. "And you are?" he asks.
"Mary," I respond.
"Ahh Merry. Merry Christmas!" he exclaims delightedly. And we all laugh together.
I am woken early one morning by ancient chants as two Greek Orthodox priests sing for the Mid Pentecost feast day. They chant for two hours as I read and eat my breakfast.
Every afternoon I hear the shouts of the young Greek boys as they play at the nearby beach. I drift off to sleep to the sound of Greek music every night.
Every song sounds like a love song to me.