It’s good to be back.

It’s quieter this year, Greece’s situation stretching to include the country’s tourism cash cows, the beautiful islands. It’s too early to tell for sure, but it looks like a slow season.

That’s fine. Fewer people means fewer loud, brash, Australian backpackers. It means the noisy quad bikes don’t crash through the peace as they zoom along the beach front, ferrying bronzed tourists. It’s just the locals riding at the moment, their little old motorbikes weighed down, as usual, with children and shopping and anything else you can fit on a little old motorbike.

There are fewer dogs this year, the dwindling number of island strays perhaps a result of the neutering program put into action by the rescue group. That’s what I like to think anyway. There are fewer cats as well, or not as many kittens. But the kittens always seem to find homes anyway.

The English tourists are here, sun pinkened and chatty. We befriended an older Mank couple on the beach and I realised, as we talked about nothing that I miss English small talk so very much. I miss making friends for 2 hours on a beach and maybe seeing them again, or maybe not, it doesn’t matter.

We’re staying just outside of Perissa in a little studio, in villa we have all to ourselves. It is quiet, the most removed from the village I have ever been and the only neighbours we have are horses and a particularly lusty rooster who crowed dutifully this morning as the sun came up behind the big rock. But it is perfect. I like being quiet and removed this time round. My previous times on the island have been anything but.

Our landlord thrust a bottle of his wine upon us, a dry rose he made himself and tucked lovingly into the fridge when he showed us our room. It put hairs on my chest before the sweet, Vinsanto-esque finish could roll onto my tongue and SG had to finish mine. Santorini wine can be an experience. I am not entirely sure where Freedy’s grape shrubs are or indeed what kind they are, but another glass of the potent pink drink would have had me on the floor.

The dirt and dust and unfinished buildings are all still here. The Meltemis whipped themselves into such a frenzy early this morning, it felt like our villa would blow away. Our towels and swimmers, drying on the line almost did.

So now it is time to gather those towels and swimmers, leave this big balcony with its view of sun-dried paddocks and that big rock, and head down to the beach front for a morning coffee and a swim.

Yes, it’s good to be back.

The sun rises behind the big rock.

Freedy’s wine.

One of our neighbours.

Another one.