Ms Tagalong sits on her antipodean deck in the cool of the Autumn morning perusing the beautifully written guest post by her friend the blogger Maddie Grigg. She too is having a 'grown-up' gap year; in fact a Big Fat GapYear in Corfu and presently marvelling at the spring flowers as they tentatively emerge from a grasping European Winter.
Spring in Corfu is like nowhere on earth. There are endless magic carpets of flowers at your feet, on the roadsides and blooms in any nook or cranny open to the elements.
I have exchanged my life in the UK for a year in this Ionian island and I am homesick beyond measure. But the spring flowers, oh, you should see them.
I am a country child, whose soul comes alive at the sight of such beauty. I am too practical to be religious but when I see the wild flowers of Corfu, I can imagine them being painted by a team of gods and demi-gods.
‘Pass me the crimson,’ Gaea, the Mother Earth, says to a dryad with a box of watercolours as the god Pan leans back on the trunk of an olive tree, playing a merry tune on his pipes.
There are vast clumps of wild honesty so purple they could belong to royalty. There are grape hyacinths and delicate violets. In the olive groves, great drifts of daisies mingle with swathes of small and delicate pink geraniums and marigolds.
Here and there are solitary anemones, cerise and upright, their petals drawn around a dark centre by a child.
Jonquils march across swampy fields and great yellow flowers from the pea family lurk in clumps, waiting to pounce. Euphorbia is euphoric in sulphur yellow shouty-ness while variegated thistle stalks the ground, SAS-style, concealing the spikes beneath.
Greece has more species of flowering plants and ferns than any other country in Europe. There are some 6,000, six times more than France and making the British Isle’s 2,300 seem paltry in comparison.
This country is going through austerity measures, but you would never know that on a stroll through the olive groves. The wild flowers make me happy to be alive.