There’s red everywhere. Through the back door I see a pool of it in the kitchen sink, blotches over the worktops. And a couple of confused footprints striking out in different directions.
Something boils furiously on the hob, rattling and spitting water everywhere. I don’t have to look to know that a dozen eggs will be dashed to the sides of the pan.
‘Its ok Mum, we’ ll clean it up’.
I close my eyes. And breathe. After the supermarket ordeal I’ve just had the only red I want to see is in a glass with a long stem.
Easter preparations have begun. My daughters have taken it upon themselves to dye the eggs. The same eggs I had put aside for making ‘Tsoureki’ (Easter Bread). Never mind, I can always go back to the supermarket (slugs wine). We dye eggs red on ‘Megali Pempti’ (Maundy Thursday) so that we can have an egg bash on Easter Sunday – sort of like a conker fight, but with boiled eggs instead. The winner is the one with the unbroken egg at the end of it. The red represents the blood of Jesus and the egg the sealed tomb he was buried in.
I start a new pan of eggs. I put a couple of sheets of kitchen roll in the bottom to cushion the eggs (tip from Google) and a splash of vinegar (tip from Mother In Law). I gently boil them (no cracks on my watch) and prepare the dye. Despite the wild variety of colours and gaudy stickers now available, I have decided that we will do simple, traditional, red this year.
We mix up the dye with the water and spoon our eggs in. As we carefully take them out 5 minutes later, blood red, a wave of emotion catches me by surprise. My children are growing up. In four short years they will both have left home (or so they promise). And as if reading my thoughts Poppy says ‘we’ll always come back for Easter’. With that, she digs out the stickers from the packet. ‘Mum, can we put the stickers on too?’ I guess we are going with gaudy then.
The shiny red eggs are drying nicely. The girls have cleared up the kitchen in their own teenage way so I will finish that off later. I grab my keys to head off to the supermarket for more eggs. Outside the door I almost step on a box filled with eggs, a cauliflower and two enormous cabbages. ‘Kalo Paska’ (happy Easter) shouts my neighbour as he zooms off on his battered old Vespa.
Filled with love and peace to all mankind I go back into the house to start on the Tsoureki.
If you are wondering why I am writing about Easter now, then let me remind you that Greek Orthodox Easter only falls on the same date as Catholic/Protestant/Church of England every 4 years. We are a week later this year. This has to do with different calendars and is quite complicated, but if you are interested in reading about why, then this is a good link that explains. The Gregorian calendar
But don’t say I didn’t warn you!