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Flying The Nest

June has been punctuated by bird-watching as the swallows built their nest, hatched their eggs and fed their fledglings incessantly until they were ready to fly.

It is fitting that they did so at just about the same time as we are wrapping up and sending our own fledglings out into the Greek summer.

Today, we celebrate the arrival of summer with a splash.

We escape the relentless midday heat and venture up to the swimming pool to cool off and practice our strokes. Once out of the pool, a hose pipe is turned on and there is excitement as yet more water gets splashed about. However, preparations are underway for a wedding tonight and the hose is needed elsewhere. Rather than putting a damper on the whole thing, we move the fun over to where it’s needed. Everyone seems happy and peace is restored.

A surprise awaits the children in the shaded picnic area. The teachers have made chalkboards out of an old tree trunk for each child to take home, a memento of their time on the vineyard.

Back at the hut by the ponds, we are lulled by the familiar sounds of the children busy at their different stations. The craft table always has something new and intriguing to experiment with; under the eucalyptus, piles of materials await to be discovered: tree bark, cut grass and straw. Someone attempts to climb the rope ladder; a couple of nets are dragged through the water and come out empty; some younger children sit in the sandpit and dig for treasure. Another boy climbs onto a fallen tree trunk- part of the balance route - and confidently marches forward. The scales tip as they are filled with dirt.

We leave our outdoor classroom full and tired, and walk back through the vineyard. Nature has bounced back and tender new leaves have formed. Hidden under the new foliage, tentative bunches of grapes are growing.

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