All the chores and preparations must be finished today. The offal soup to break the fast at midnight must be cooked. The lamb must be trussed, the spit of offal rolled in the long string of intestines. The wood and coal bricks for the fire must be in place. The tzatziki should be maturing in the fridge, the Easter loaf with its red egg (baked this morning) should be on show in the middle of the table, a table laid with best cloth and service ready for the family repast just after midnight.
19.30pm and the lamb still has not arrived. It is the first time we have waited so long for it to be delivered. Usually the lamb (or goat) is already hanging in the shed by Good Friday. The boys have gone to collect it from the water taxi. The shephard across on Galatas has been busy and hasn't had time to send it down to the waterfront.
Elli and I are waiting with sharpened knives to cut up the innards to start the mayeritsa which is the soup we eat at midnight to break the fast.
The lamb has to be prepared and wired on to the spit so it can go over the coals early tomorrow morning.
The mayeritsa is made of the lungs, heart, kidney, liver and other bits and pieces from inside the lamb. We cut it all into small chunks and saute these with a big pile of spring onions. I pour in a glass of wine and then a little water and it is stewed slowly for about an hour. Then we add two big lettuces sliced quite finely, a big bunch of dill and some salt and pepper. All this is stewed slowly for another hour and then I add a wine glass of rice. At the very end the soup is thickened with beaten egg and lemon juice.
It might sound alarming to some but the flavours blend in so well and that last addition of egg and lemon just makes it rich and savoury and fit for a king.
This is what we eat after the midnight church service when 'Christ has Risen'. There will also be fresh bread on the table, feta cheese, salted sardines and lots of red eggs.
Just before midnight at the church all the lights are turned off and the priest lights a candle with the Holy Light brought all the way from Jerusalem in the PM's airplane. From the airport in Athens it is flown (free by Aegean Airways) all over Greece. Our light goes by speed boat to the Bishop's Monastery on Hydra and then on to Poros where it is greeted by the Mayor and taken to all the big churches on the island.
When our priest emerges from the sanctuary holding his candle with the Holy Light the light is shared from candle to candle . This is carried carefully home to make a cross three times over the front door of each house.
19.48 The lamb has arrived. Action stations!
10.45 everyone has gone off to church and I'm left to lay the table and heat up the soup.
A sharp, tasty english cheddar given us by our English neighbours. We also have feta on the table of course
Happy Easter everyone. Kalo Pasca kai Kronia Polla