Yesterday we received  two invitations one for a wedding and the other an invitation to a memorial service. The first invitation came in a glass cylinder decorated elaborately with silver flowers, silver  leaves and silver twists. It was delivered by a friend of the bride to be. The second which I found more aesthetically  pleasing was delivered by Christina. It was a simple plastic bag with a small round loaf of bread inside. The loaf was sweet and was decorated with 3 almonds which were pressed into it resembling a leaf or leaves. It has been 40 days since Christina’s fathers death, he was in his late 80’s. Christina and I chatted for a while and she told me that the church was to have the memorial the next day around 9 to 9.30. I made a mental note to attend.

This morning I got up early to walk the dogs before the service for Christina’s father. It was a trail to say the least the first incident occurred when I was feeding the kittens at my fathers house. It started with barking then followed by hysterical screaming. I hot footed it out the gate to find Mirsini a woman in her late 60’s backed up against a stone wall with Black hurling himself at her, the more she screamed the more he barked and jumped. I grabbed him and off we went down the hill, Nellie, Black, Bobbie and Hector, we all headed for the dirt road that leads to the sea. Our trip came to an abrupt halt when I saw Gregory just ahead of us with his golden retriever Pepe. Hector has an aversion to Pepe and immediately plans his attack. Hector is about a quarter of the size of Pepe, perhaps its small dog syndrome that makes Hector vicious. We turn off and head back in the opposite direction now followed by Bingo one of the kittens who thinks he is a dog, he spends as much time as possible with both Black and Bobbie. Bingo accepts the rough and tumble that they dish out and always comes back for more. At the end of the walk we turned the corner to find Gregory and Pepe in front of us. I quickly rounded up my crew and back tracked to avoid a full on attack by Hector. Before reaching the garden gates I heard the bells chiming and the priest warming up for the service. I quickly feed the dogs before changing into a dark coloured dress. I also put on put my best sandals then hot foot it to the church, Bobbie followed. On entering the church I focused on my best behaviour for the service. I  then dropped some money in the box bought a candle headed for the elaborate candle display lit it and then placed it in the sand along side of all the others that were burning brightly. I moved over to a pew, as yet no sign of any relatives from the dead mans family. There were many familiar faces all bidding me good morning and I kept my composure blessing myself at the appropriate moments, there were quite a few. Bobbie enters, I see him from the corner of my eye thankfully before I manage to focus completely he is chased out by Fangoulis. I am still puzzled as I can’t believe the number of people that I would expect to be there but are not. Maybe it’s some Greek tradition I think they may come in later. The priest and his helper continue making their way around the church there is bread and wine, I am still standing its now been an hour. I watch the candles in the sand being rearranged by four different people before they are disposed of. They are never allowed to burn until the end. I think to myself recycling! An hour and a half after arriving at the church the priest says kalimera and people begin to move to the front to kiss his ring before departing. I conclude the relatives are far to sad to attend and everyone disperses. I disappear up the hill confused but acutely aware that I have two dogs, Bobbie and Black to drop off  at a pet hotel outside Mytilene before 1. The drive will take approximately an hour.

Initially I was concerned about the behaviour of the dogs in the car, however they were not to bad. The only thing that let them down was wind. The smell coming from Black’s rear end was something that was so bad that it would out live religion, as Kenny would say. We had to be directed in but got there in the end and the people couldn’t have been nicer considering we had not got off to a great start as they would not accept check-ins on Sunday. This meant I had  to drive to Mytilene two days running in horrendous heat without air con. With both dogs settled I made my way to the front door and that smell from Blacks bottom is back again but this time only Bobbie is in the room, poor Black had been unfairly blamed for wind the whole trip.

I arrived back at the village and Ralitza’s daughter Mirsini asked me into her house. I spoke to her about the 40 day memorial and she said it was tomorrow. I had been a day early. So tomorrow morning I will rise again early walk 2 dogs and then put on that black dress and my good sandals and trot back down to the church.