Sunday, May 9, 2010

Guest Post Series: Mutton on the Move by Roberta Beach Jacobson

There are more sheep than people on the Greek isle of Karpathos. My husband Alf and I have learned much about the rhythm of our island from observing the sheep who decorate the hillsides. Sheep seem to be everywhere.

I fondly remember a lazy island day when the sun was relentless. Tourists with towels on their heads huddled under umbrellas at outdoor cafes, nursing frappes (iced coffees) or attacking chunks of watermelon with forks. It was impossible to sit at the beach, where pebbles sizzled like sausage patties on the grill.

Nobody yelled, “Action!” so it wasn't a well rehearsed movie stunt. A lone sheep appeared from around the corner of the pharmacy, staying on the brick sidewalk, darting past the fishing tackle store, picking up speed near the jewellery shop.

We heard the cloven-hoofed clatter before we saw anything woolly. By the time the sheep reached cafe alley, tourists and locals alike had jolted from near-heatstroke back to life, cameras at the ready.

No matter that Karpathos lies some three-hundred-and-ten miles distant from Marathon, where the first race was held, there was no holding back such a determined creature on the loose. None of us stayed in the chair. We clapped and cheered for the sheep as it sped past in a blur.

Alas, no Olympic medals were handed out that day, but there's no doubt who holds the distinction of being the most photographed sheep on the island.

Roberta Beach Jacobson is an expat living in Greece. For more from Roberta, visit

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