A PLANTING HAS BEEN ARRANGED
You can take a tractor with a cunning mechanical device on the back which makes holes, and plants vine cuttings in them and tidies up after itself, in which case you can plant a large vineyard in an hour or two; or you can do it by hand (and foot) with a two pronged piece of a tree with a sharpened end (we Brits called it a “Dibber” but the Greek for it is “Scala”). The second was the way it used to be done in Cyprus – the whole family and probably most of the village turned out for what amounted to a ceremony.
The black and white picture was probably taken early in the 20th century. The colossal implement would have had to be positioned solely by arm-power, a very tiring process, whereas in the other, later, photo it is a foot job.
The guy with the big dibber makes the hole in the tilled soil and shouts “NERO!” (“WATER”), whereupon someone else (whenever we saw a planting this was always a job for women) comes and pours water in the hole. This person then shouts “AMBELI” (“VINE”), when a third then pops a rooted cutting into the hole and covers it with earth.
We’d only been living in Cyprus for about a week, when, in February 1991, Nicolas, the village Mukhtar’s brother and estimable stone-mason, popped in one morning and asked us if we would like to help him, his family and friends plant a new vineyard.