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destroyed, and now it is a church. She tells us how she swims out to the church to clean it. We imagine the sight of her swimming, pushing her bobbing bucket with cleaning things in front of her.
    Sophia’s godfather (her father’s cousin) takes us out in his boat, to a beach that makes me feel as though I’m in a Peter Stuyvesant ad.
    Native Ithacans, her godfather and his wife have spent most of their adult lives in London. They return to Ithaca customarily for the summer months. Their daughter Lena, her husband and young son are with them.
    Talk turns to Lena’s move from London to Northumberland in the north of England. It seems cold in many respects. So unlike Ithaca, where—like the Gods and Goddesses of old—it seems everyone is related. It has been hard to find work and become part of the community there. Just recently she found work as an art therapist, and is happy to no longer be a "nikokira" (more than a housewife, but still confined to the home). Her mother doesn’t seem able to understand her frustration. "But you're so good at keeping yourself busy!" she scolds.
    We talk of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, who waited twenty years for his return. She is characterised by Homer as an example of female virtue, prudence, morality and conjugal faith and devotion.
    On her mother’s side, as economic migrants, Sophia’s grandmother Nitsa was born and grew up in Turkey where her father sold fish. At the age of fifteen her father died, and her mother was told that she couldn’t stay there as "a woman on her own", so she moved back to Ithaca with her children. A short while later Nitsa met a young man and he asked her to marry him. She accepted, and he brought her to South Africa.
    "How did they meet?" I ask Sophia.
    "At a well!" she laughs.
    It seems that truth really is stranger than fiction.
    "The 24th of June, St John’s day," says a little Ithacan guide book, "was the day the unmarried girls would find out their matrimonial future. At noon every unmarried girl would go down to the main well. Counting out forty buckets, she would throw the water of each bucket over her shoulder, while at the same time her eyes were fixed on a mirror, that was placed on the well, where she would see her husband."
    Of course the fairy tale told only half the story. On arrival in South Africa (in 1919 at the age of just seventeen), she wasn’t happy. She had loved Turkey. In Bethlehem in the Free State she worked in her husband’s café. She became a bitter woman, and eventually died in Orange Grove in Johannesburg. (Curiously her most redeeming feature was a love of wildlife.) "Perhaps," someone suggests, "apart from her love of the place, she was forced to leave behind someone that she loved in Turkey, too."
    Turkey is thought to be Odysseus’ Troy.
    It is our last day. We awake as usual to the sound of cocks crowing (the cock is a symbol of Odysseus) and mopeds whizzing past the shutters that open out onto the water. Apart from the boat, we have only been within walking
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