Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

Alison Lorentzos ( wife of George ) came from London to Aegina  with their three children. On a monthly basis, an extract from Alison’s diary or other sources of her writing will inform you of how integration into Greek culture and adapting to a new way of life is a curious yet adventurous path which has enriched the family’s life in many ways.

Living

                                                                                          

                                                                                      NOVEMBER 2007

 BATS IN AEGINA

 

 

One cool October evening, whilst I was in the back garden sweeping leaves, I stooped to pick up what I believed to be a rotten horse chestnut. As my thumb and forefinger went to grasp the dark dome shaped structure, two huge black wings briskly fanned out and a head emerged bearing ugly, bulging eyes.

Not being someone with a natural affinity for animals and chiding myself for believing it to be a horse chestnut when no such tree exists in Aegina, I urgently called the children.

The trio, all amateur zoologists, enthusiastically swooped down on the creature but immediately retreated when it demonstrated the whoosh and size of its wingspan.

On ordering them to calm down so that the creature wouldn’t become agitated, we decided to consult the oracle.

My ninety one year old mother-in-law, a woman of infinite knowledge and wisdom is also adept at performing exmatia… By reciting a number of ancient prayers, pausing occasionally to spit out the evil spirit, she is well known for ridding many islanders of headaches, malaise, depression and any other ailment inflicted by the evil eye. She of all people would know about bats! According to her, a live bat brings good luck and such a creature deserves enormous respect.

So respectfully, the children enticed the bat into a large unwanted toy-box, inside which they placed a couple of old olive branches, numerous leaves and associated insects and anything else they believed might make a bat happy.

On top of this, they placed a discarded barbecue grill which they secured with an old crumbling stone.

Some time later, they decided to take it some tea and to examine its habits but to their disappointment it had gone. Being a nocturnal creature, it must have been keen to resume normal evening habits of searching for palatable food .It must also have been driven mad by the noise emanating from my family. These two factors were enough to motivate the bat’s escape.

My mother-in –law claims that the bats seen on Aegina Island inhabit the surrounding un-colonised, isolated rocky islands and visit Aegina to hunt tiny mammals and to eat fruit?

In my brief search, I couldn’t find any literature documenting the study of bats in the Saronic Gulf but a study conducted in the north of Greece by T Ivanona and A Gueorguieva demonstrated 21 species*, the most common of which were Rhinolophus ferrumequinum and Rhinolophus hipposideros which I assume means they are horse-like!!

Concerning folklore, Greek superstitions about bats and bat-bones vary from island to island** I assume that in Aegina and using my mother-in-law as a barometer, bats are considered a good omen. According to Susie Atsaides though, village superstitions are region dependent and whereas some islanders believe they are lucky, others believe the opposite, considering them unholy, evil creatures.

Aegina has a wealth of wildlife which my writing will reveal.

Meanwhile, there is an exciting biology thesis to be worked on here for any I.B or degree student. What are the bat species in Aegina? What is their ecological niche and are they endangered?

 

References

Ivanova, Teodora, Gueorguieva, Antaoneta

Bats ( Mammalia:Chiroptera) of the Eastern Rhodopes ( Bulgaria and Greece) – species diversity, zoogeography and faunal patterns

In: Beron P, Popov A (eds) Biodiversity of Bulgaria.2. biodiversity of Eastern Rhodopes ( Bulgaria and Greece). Pensoft and Nat.Mus. Natur. Hist.,Sofia, 907-927

 Susie Atsaides  Greek Superstitions

http://www.faliraki-info.com/susie/superstitions/greek-traditions.htm

  
 Alison Lorentzos          copyright  2007


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