I was in Corfu last week, enjoying the sunshine, researching a new book and chatting to bookshop owners in Corfu Town. I was over the moon to see so many of my books on the shelves, and I came away with an invitation to take part in a Corfiot book festival later on in the year. The Greeks are going through an extremely hard time at the moment and it’s so touching to see bookshops soldiering on despite the dwindling footfall.
Can’t say much about my new book at the moment, except that it will feature pirates, sunken treasure and honey cakes. Lots of honey cakes! I’m at that exciting point when the plot and characters aren’t yet fully formed and their world is still full of awesome possibilities. I mean to put in a lot of things I saw on my holiday. An old man crying and kissing St Spiridion’s silver coffin in Kerkyra Town; kids jumping over bonfires on Saint John’s feast day; an old granny singing while podding peas. And I’ve got to weave in butterflies. I reckon Corfu is one of the most dazzling places I have ever visited. It’s much greener than other Greek islands and the colours are so bright. Everything glows! The sea, the flowers, the buildings, even the ice cream.
I stayed in self-catering accommodation in Katomeri, a small village outside the resort of Ipsos. It was a fifteen minute walk to the local bus stop, through an ancient olive grove, an organic farm, past a hollow tree that is also going to feature in my book, and over a hill that seemed to be a haven for those butterflies. I know that the world’s butterfly population is in decline, so it was a joy to see so many of them at the same time. They all seemed to be ravenous, chasing each other off the flowers. They were fearless, too, refusing to budge from their perches even when I went right up close with my camera. They might be fragile creatures, but they don’t scare easy. Exotic and dangerous! That’s my kind of hero. Those frillitaries have to feature in my story somehow.
Back home I realised that the 25th June to the 1st of July is National Insect Week in the UK. So here’s my little tribute to our six legged friends: