I’ve just come back from 18 wonderful days in my all time favourite place, Cephalonia (Kefalonia). I’m a frequent visitor but never tire of going there, I love the warmth as I step off the plane, the people, food, swimming, well … everything, it really is my second home. This time I was keen to swim a lot as I have a damaged ligament in my knee, and as the air temperature in the first week was above 35 degs.C. I had no choice but to plunge in the bath warm sea for the best part of the day. We chose to fly out at the start of August Bank Holiday, we went the same time last year and enjoyed being amongst the Greeks and Italians on holiday, they traditionally holiday in August and for once you can feel you are in a foreign country, the English voices fade in the background as all around large Greek and Italian families pitch their camps on the beach and settle in for the day. The roads can be a bit of a nightmare, the Greeks and Italians love to overtake as they approach a bend and the Cephalonian roads are difficult at the best of times, so you have to be prepared for some pretty crazy driving. Despite the large number of people there was still no trouble getting into tavernas, in fact it was lovely to see all the tavernas doing so well, and all the supermarkets were the same. There was a definite mark up on prices in both since last year reflecting the state of the economy and everyone keen to capitalise on the very short tourist season, about 6 weeks in all. Who can blame them though? Most of the taverna owners I know practically deconstruct their tavernas in preparation for the new season, all thoroughly washed, painted and/or varnished, electrics checked, all done before the Easter (Greek) deadline. The ones who don’t make the effort are the least popular, but even they get the coach parties so don’t miss out completely. One day of the holiday stands out though, and won’t be forgotten. Saturday August 31 was the day our favourite taverna, Paradise Beach Taverna, nearly burnt down. Behind a hotel on the edge of the village an electrical spark ignited some tinder dry scrub and fanned by a strong Ionian wind travelled rapidly away from the village, luckily. Worried house owners appeared at their doors as the fire gathered pace and headed towards Paradise Taverna on the edge of the village. The fire brigade arrived quickly but were unable to control the flames, so from the Fiskardo directions two Fire Planes appeared in the blue sky to save the day. Unfortunately they were too small, so they disappeared and three larger planes arrived, scooping up sea water and dropping it over the leaping flames. The action continued for about 45 minutes before the flames were doused and the excited crowd was dispersed by the police. Fortunately, no property or people were damaged or hurt, but viewing the burnt area from above the village the next day it covered a large area and everyone had a lucky escape. I’ve only been home a week and the suntan’s faded already!