Today was spent building shelves. I woke up in the big downstairs cave room with the patchy orange walls, the window to the sea and the strange nook behind a small red door. I sleep well there on my big old wooden sofa bed with Craig on his just beside the stands for sawing wood, reading until the small hours by the light of our electric heater and with the dog Athena, Tila, Bitch not yet definitively named but definitly now a member of the team somewhere around. We got a couple pieces of our furniture from this source. As I stumbled up the stairs outside and further on up to the castle I was struck again by the view. I stand and drink in clouds and the curve of island and the magnetic black mass of rock where the volcano rises above the sea. The sea is my favourite part. All movement and colour. I have been snorkelling in it and it is so clear that I see thousands of fish and the plunging rock face and slowly swirling ropes as thick as my arm extending into the deep blue all in dappled sunbeams.

Should I mention my aqua- dump? Probably not. Made coffee in a pan on a fire in the kitchen and there was a coconut for breakfast and then we started building shelves. I don’t quite know how to communicate this lifestyle. Lots of things happen but they seem trivial to tell. I will be breaking up pallets for shelving on the terrace and then look up and the horizon stretches as far as I can see. I will watch the tiny pontoon boat in the harbour bobbing with the swell and the blueness for a bit and then get back to bashing bent rusty nails out of bits of pine. Feels good. One day I will get some small boat from Boat Rentals in Fort Lauderdale and will watch the seashore from water.

Should I explain about the shop a bit? There are two levels. The top floor with balcony is going to be pristine so that it can house the bookshop. We have been gathering wood in our trusty van from all over. There seems to be a lot of it around together with chairs, tables, baskets, fishing nets plus couple of ReelChase reels, dogs. The things we can’t find mostly we seem to be able to borrow. Nikos who used to run a photoshop gallery in our building last year has been particularly kind, somewhat sorrowfully parting with twenty odd beams of wood (twobyfours) and an electric sander. We keep getting fed every time we go to church, delicious fish caught by Petros this morning, so much that we feel almost guilty. Food for the rest is on a budget but amazing what Maria can do with beans and pulses. Chris misses spare ribs and meat generally though a gyros (donner kebab) is cheap and so good. Craig is cooking zukini pasta at this moment. The other two are apparently stuck in a very tight parking space with no fuel on the other side of town. I’m rambling.

So we have been discussing and gesticulating and testing and figuring and cutting, drilling, bashing these bits of wood and some shelves have emerged upstairs. The balcony awaits a painted fishing boat, long past its sailing days, which, if by some Herculean effort we manage to lug it the last 500 meters of steps and passages from the road to the shop, will be filled with books and perhaps two facing lounge seats for reading and smiling at each other in. This boat was given to us incidentally by Manolis who makes shoes out of rope. He invited Maria for coffee but she hasn’t yet been as she was advised by the women of the village strongly against doing so. Down a cascade of steps from the balcony off the lower veranda as it were, the bits of the building that we (and you when you come to stay) live in are behind wooden doors with cracked red paint. The front dining room has no lights yet, a neither does the back bedroom. So you look out for a . The toilet shower place, which I am trying unsuccesfully to persuade everyone to turn into a bedroom (one can always wash in the sea afterall) is pretty smelly still but the kitchen however is spotlessly clean having been thoroughly scrubbed by Maria with a toothbrush yesterday. And then there is the big cave room opposite. Thats the whole place apart from a lower level vegeatable patch where I plan to keep chickens which Demitris the owner doesn’t really want us to use and the little upstairs loo with the sunset view where we punched the wall out with a sledgehammer. We live amongst piles of things. There are boxes upon boxes of books in the internet room (a tiny alcove up a tiny stairway off the main shop next to the other kitchen which I forgot to mention). There are tools, nails and screws strewn everywhere, bottles of water, wine, whiskey, bits of fruit, East of Eden, Brave New World, The AA guide to Cyprus 1994 edition, chess board, harmonica, biddies, leatherman, primus cooking stoves, candles, crockery and the suitcase with a professional butcher knife set that Lee, the chef at my last job gave me as a leaving present. We all float between them wondering whether this idea of a magic bookshop on the sunset cliff of Oia town is actually remotely practicable in practise. It’s daunting certainly but. We built some shelves.

Shelves that hold books +7
Shelves that keep bloody falling down +10
Cuts on hands too many to count. there’s blood on these shelves.
Hungry workers +4
Minutes until eating +2
Number of statistics after this one +0


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