Return of the Salt Man

At just after 04:00 this morning I was awoken to the sound of pattering paws on the floor. I persuaded the perpetrator that it was far too early and that it was time to go back to sleep. An hour later, I finally gave in and got out of bed. We were up and out on the Promontory, Boris with his flashing ball. The plastic ball, rescued from the sea yesterday, is wedged in the wire of the Boris Compound so that it is not forgotten in the morning. Not long into the walk I could make out tyre tracks in the sand leading towards the cave area. Soon after, the dogs started barking once they saw a vehicle with a mystery occupant. The mystery occupant was, of course, Salt Man himself, Kostas, who was sitting in the driving seat rolling a cigarette. Boris immediately dropped his flashing ball into the car at his feet. We chatted briefly as I appraised him of the current situation and the numbers of potential predators to his personal salt industry. Ursula and I continued with the dogs down to the end of the Promontory. Naturally, Princess was in her element with another new person to bark at. Added to that, a fisherman who arrived later to stand on the large rock which juts into the sea. A favourite fishing spot for the locals. I’d mentioned that I’d like a picture of me standing on top of a rock stack so decided to climb to the top whist Ursula readied her camera. This rock is too difficult for a dog to climb so even Obi had to stay at the bottom. Ursula clicked away, even making a video of me larking about on an overhang before coming back down.

The dogs and I moved on and Ursula went round the top of the rocky outcrop to sit down. I could see her peering over the top of the outcrop wondering where we had got to. The dogs seemed to be madder than usual as they raced around between the rocks, chasing after each other. Millie had the flashing ball, which I’d decided to throw from the top of the stack rather than have it in my pocket. She was determined that no one else would have it and barked loudly at any approaching dog I climbed up the rocks at the end of the basin area and all but Obi found their way round by other routes. We could hear the familiar sound of the pump motor as Kostas took seawater to fill up the rock hollows to create pools where the water will evaporate leaving the salt behind. Sea salt is a lucrative business as it is bought by the local restaurants and hotels as well as sold from stalls by the roadside. The telltale signs that someone has been collecting salt are drops of water leaving a trail as they carry the salt along the Promontory to the car park. The salt contains a lot of water which drips through the material of the sack.

It was past seven when we got back to Grammeno to release the dogs into their compounds and for us to enjoy a cup of tea. Gary, the English guy from Nottingham, came in to say goodbye. He was about to embark on his journey home from Paleochora by bus to Chania and then on to Iraklion. I suggested that he might be better off getting a flight to Souda to save travel at this end when he plans to come back next May. He enjoyed his trip to Crete and says he has some brilliant photos of the stars. He can only take photos when there is little or no moon otherwise the light interferes with his photography. He works in IT support at Nottingham University so can only usually get away during the holidays.

Ursula went off to the bakers and the supermarket as she is planning to make something for us all to eat later in the day. I went shopping too as I needed to get various things from the supermarket. No sooner had I returned and the power went off. It must have been at almost exactly 10:00, which leads me to believe it is planned maintenance. It could be off for several hours but I didn’t read the notices in the supermarket window so don’t know for sure. I could do with a cup of tea but can’t be bothered to get out the other kettle.

Power resumed at 13:30 which suggests planned maintenance. I can post this blog and be connected again. A flood of alerts and emails has arrived. It’s not the same when one is disconnected…

Ursula and Tony brought food around four and we had a very nice meal. The dogs were reasonably quiet, unlike those in the camping. They are not keen on keeping what was left over so, very sadly, I will have to finish it off! What a terrible shame!

The evening walk was a little interesting as there were customers at the bar with dogs. Fortunately I had my trusty electronic bark stopper with me so we were able to calm the dogs down and continue on our way. There was no one on the Promontory so we had a peaceful trot round and it was only on the return leg that we ran into the same dogs. The woman who works in the kitchen and has two dogs of her own, came to see them all.  She said that she would like to have lots of dogs and cats on her own piece of land. I explained the financial implications of multiple pet ownership so she may reconsider. The chef and I had a conversation about how tricky it is to walk them in the summer where there are so many people in the camping.

I’ve just been to my secret poo bucket emptying place at the other end of the camping. It is in a fairly inaccessible location which means passing by the tent where the two dogs, mentioned above are. I thought I’d got by until one started to squeak a little. I tend to carry out this activity at night so as not to be wandering around the camping with a bucket of poo during the day. I need to find a nearer and more accessible location, perhaps in the adjacent field.

It’s 22:00 but we ate earlier so I’m going to have a sit down to watch something before going to bed.