Well, it is finally here. In Sifnos. At To Bibliopoleio, the Book Shop in Apollonia. My new book, Sifnos Chronicles 2: more greek island tales, has arrived.
How exciting it is for me to have my book arrive in what I consider its proper home. I look forward to having an opportunity to read it aloud sometime to a willing audience in Sifnos, almost within in view of where some of its episodes occurred. I did the same thing with my first book, The Sifnos Chronicles: tales from a greek isle, several years ago and it was one of the most special nights of my life.
I love Sifnos, come here with my husband for a month now every year, and in some ways feel more at home on this island than I do even in Canada where I have lived my whole life. The new book tells the story of one of those returns, a time we’d decided to immerse ourselves in the life of a traditional small fishing village. The following excerpt, however, takes place in Kamares on the way to the ferry dock.
… the shops in Kamares have some of the most heavenly gelato on earth. We’ve earned it, we decided, and we’re strolling along the main street and savouring our treats when a man asks, “Is that homemade?”
“It is,” Jim replies.
We’ve both been watching this man for a bit. He’s hard to miss. Not because he’s lumbering along under a huge backpack, clearly a departing passenger. Nor because he’s hindered further by what seems a gimpy knee. It’s because he’s been walking in the middle of the road, all over it actually, and has no idea that there’s a growing stream of cars, people and trucks backed up behind him on this narrow thoroughfare and that he’s forced them to stop now while he ogles our ice creams.
“Are you sure?” he asks.
Yes, this gelato is definitely homemade. We show him the café where we bought it. They have plenty more, we tell him. Tiramisu, one of Jim’s favourites and his choice today. Black chocolate. Something called banoffee. Mango sorbet. Many more.
“They just say that, you know,” the man says. “They take powder and mix it up.”
They? Who is it he thinks would cut corners like that? No Sifnian of my acquaintance. Not the man who sold us these, who once insisted on calling the friend who makes his apple sorbetto to be 100% certain it was dairy-free. “Nope,” I say, adding as punctuation a vigorous lick of my strawberry sorbet, “this one is homemade.”
“They have Ben and Jerry’s in Apollonia, you know.”
Oh, good grief. I don’t come to Greece to eat American ice cream, I’m about to say but Jim jumps in first. “That’s why I bought this,” he says. Lick.
“… Okay, then,” the man says and he shuffles off boatward.
How long he’s been here, I have no idea, but certainly not long enough if he’s leaving still fearing that Sifnians are out to rip him off.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Sifnos and Apollonia, its main town, do drop by To Bibliopoleio on the main square. There you’ll find many books about Sifnos. I’m far from the only writer who finds it a fascinating place.
And if you can’t get to Sifnos, you can always find both my books on Amazon.
And on my blog, you can read about that night in Apollonia when in the moonlight, I read aloud from The Sifnos Chronicles.
Sharon Blomfield is the author of The Sifnos Chronicles: tales from a greek isle and, new this spring, Sifnos Chronicles 2: more greek island tales. These books are available at To Bibliopoleio, The Book Shop in Apollonia, Sifnos, at Tithorea, a Greek food shop in Rockwood, Ontario, Canada and on Amazon.