Here in the Northern Sporades in the last few days we have been having the first heavy rains of Autumn. People — Greek people anyway — have been throwing their hands up in shocked, horrified surprise; streets have turned into rivers, water has gushed over the thresholds of their houses and dripped in through gaps in the roof, and of course the electricity supply has failed. ‘Simon, Simon, what on earth is going on?’
The heavy rains have come, in my own personal experience, at about this time every year for the last thirty-five years, and I somehow think much the same has been happening for many thousands of years. Of course, no-one expects Greeks to be actually prepared for the event; to have taken precautions such as fixing holes in the roof beforehand, (I should admit to being sufficiently Greek by now to have failed to fix a couple of leaks in my own roof), nor do we expect the electricity company to even consider making the supply weather-proof. That would be quite contrary to all we know, or think we know, of Greece and Greeks. But the horrified surprise? Just how many thousands of years does it take for people to get used to a regular annual event?