Tuesday, June 30, 2009

a poem by Cavafy


Just because we've torn their statues down,
and cast them from their temples,
doesn't for a moment mean the gods are dead.
Land of Ionia, they love you yet,

their spirits still remember you.
When an August morning breaks upon you
a vigour from their lives stabs through your air;
and sometimes an ethereal and youthful form
in swiftest passage, indistinct,

passes up above your hills.

Constantine P Cavafy (April 29, 1863–April 29,1933)

Greek poet, published only about 200 privately printed poems.
Cavafy has come in recent years to be regarded as a the greatest Mediterranean poet of modern times.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Slow day Monday

So all things considered it's a slow Monday today, after the party yesterday. We had a great time. Of course I only remembered to pick up the camera after we'd watched Alexander open his b'day prezzies, and well after we'd eaten all the food and made a mess of the whole terrace and kitchen.

Well, I have one picture that includes the results of Roy's infamous "catsup gun" on poor T. (with some input from his "mustard bullet" as well... deadly weapon that!) He was not the only victim...

There was much splashing and spraying and bumping of people into the pool (including Sammy who went in first, still dressed! - Darling grandson did it!)

The pool and jacuzzi were much appreciated!

Alexander had a marvelous b'day. Ten of us all together, and I didn't have to do anything at all but make some blue cheese salad dressing! (now that's the way i LIKE to entertain!)

Peter and Terri were fortunately visiting here from England, and Dino came, tho he was called away by his cellphone on two occasions to deal with boats damaging eachother (he does the official evaluation of damage on sea accidents- for some reason those idiot boats just keep crashing into eachother, no matter what the day!) He had to leave early, tho he did get to have a piece of cake.
Anyway, for some after the feast it was a fast game of b'ball (on our odd sort of court)

for others it was a nice quiet snooze on the sunbeds...

ah, but for the rest of us it was a nice cuppa on the terrace in the shade.

all in all a day well spent.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

This is an old story but I love it...

This is an old story I came across a couple of years ago. I have no idea how it turned out though I would guess that it's still in the courts. Anyway, this is the sort of strange yet normal way things work in Greece...

By Malcolm Brabant
BBC News, Patras

Coco and his parking spot

A legal battle is under way in the western Greek city of Patras over a parrot that is facing a $650320; 444 euros) parking ticket.

The local council says his perch is illegally parked and is obstructing drivers because it partially blocks a metered parking space.

Coco the parrot's owner, Lambros Michalopoulos, says the bird will die if it has to move back inside.

Neither side is backing down so now the dispute is going to the courts.

'Sociable creature'

With his multi-coloured Amazonian plumage and extrovert personality, Coco has, for 18 years, been something of a mascot in this busy port city, with narrow streets and precious few parking places.

Coco the parrot
Coco could be heading for court

His small perch occupies part of a metered zone and under the zero tolerance rules, the local police have ordered Mr Michalopoulos to pay a heavy fine.

The pet shop owner says he has ignored the authorities because if Coco goes back inside the store permanently the macaw will die because he is a sociable creature who enjoys being with people.

Patras's Deputy Mayor Spiros Demartinos is embarrassed that Coco's plight is attracting international attention.

He would prefer to talk about the city's ambitious plans to use parking revenue for funding bicycle lanes and pedestrian zones.

"Is it bureaucratic to be concerned about the parrot's safety?" he asks.

"The parrot's security is of paramount concern to the council."

Both sides are refusing to back down and so the dispute is heading to the palace of justice.

Coco's owner is hoping that the case will be laughed out of court.

Sunday, 9 December 2007, 15:48 GMT

Saturday, June 27, 2009

First week of blog winding down...

And I only missed Wednesday and Thursday of writing the blog!

Life on Corfu continues with today being hopefully the "last" day of rain (we think) . T. and grandson have decided to play golf anyway. We have a lovely golf course 5 minutes from the house. When we bought the house it was one of two golf courses in all of Greece! Now of course there are many more on both the mainland and on other islands.

The course itself, doubles as a bird sanctuary in the winter time! (well in the summer too, as the birds come no matter what) Actually, it's a marvelous lovely course that is really only busy (and officially open!) May through October. rAs members, you can play all year round without the club "facilities", except the bathrooms and lockers for your clubs are available. The birds, terrapins and snakes are free of charge! It's built in a rather swampy area, which means that in the winter time you have all sorts of water hazards you never imagine in the summertime!

T. and I didn't play much the first few years we lived here, tho T. loves to play. We finally joined the Golf Club two years ago, and T. started partnering with different members. Now he has a pool of folks he can join with for a round should he wish.

This year we renewed our membership just before our trip to London, wherein I messed up my knee. Unlike Tiger Woods, I do NOT play through the pain. Fortunately the Manager of the course has allowed us to transfer my membership to my grandson, so he can play for the summer with T. I remain conspicuous in my absence.


Tomorrow we're having a birthday party for a friend, so I must clean up the house a bit. After a week of ignoring things I always am surprised at the vast amounts of dirt that somehow accumulates. How does this happen just by sitting in a chair???

I blame the dog.

AND the cats.

Friday, June 26, 2009

After the party

A few photos to give a general idea of village celebrations.

All was enjoyed, by T. and visiting grandson. Much eating and fire jumping ensued (grandson is 15 and eats selectively- he selects then eats) Everyone came home smelling much like a giant fire sale. Explained that clothes must be removed outside before entering and stinking up the house!

Fun celebration included v. short video of parade is below. click on square to make work (well ok, then you have to click on the little arrow)...


Yesterday was fraught with yet another interesting challenge of overseas living: visiting a doctor.

For our 40 Anniversary last March 1, T. and I went to London. On arrival I hefted my suitcase down the stairs of the underground and heard a disconcerting "pop". Holborn tube station will forever hold bad memories for me- and it was only a transfer!

Well the assumption on my part at the time was "%#!^", "there goes either the ACL or the meniscus!" And finally, this past week after an MRI, I was proven correct. Both went- but only slightly. (wonder somehow, if that's like "a little bit pregnant"?) The added joy is provided by a small cyst and a slightly dislocated kneecap. Isn't aging fun?

I kept hoping it would miraculously self cure, but of course it didn't meaning I had to find a doctor here who:
A) spoke English
B) knew what he was doing
(and of course)
C) could convince me, in English, that he knew what he was doing.

I found one and after a few bumpy starts wherein I explained that I was NOT going to have surgery just to have a "look see" we decided on a repair plan that includes physical therapy, ice, mild exercise and rest.

Sadly it also included weight loss. So as of today, I am starting on a 1200 calorie a day diet.

To support me, my new doctor unearthed a useful secondary specialty: accupuncture. So now I am wearing two small needled tabs in my ears that will curb my appetite and make this diet seem like childs play. (one hopes) I must admit tho I feel like a "tagged" heifer.

I will say that it is bad enough having to go to a doctor, but in a foreign country, it can be really frightening. Not so much because of mistakes (which happen anywhere), but because everything is happening around you in another language, that you mostly don't understand, by people who seem nice but could be axe murders. I have a great mistrust of the medical profession. And tho I marvel at all they accomplish- their magic somehow never extends to me.

There is also the small matter of ridiculous cost for value that I still can't get my head around. In my lifetime I have seen the cost of a doctor's visit escalate to ridiculous heights while the time with the doctor has dropped to a fraction of what you need to explain your problem. Compound that with the reply and treatment - which for the most part hasn't changed day to day from 50 years ago (aspirin, to antibiotics...) and somehow the cost of our medical insurance -monthly- is more than what we paid out monthly for our first mortgage payment! AND that doesn't include the cost you have to pay anyway! (ah but I digress... this is about Corfu, not the REAL world.)

Anyway, this topic of medical treatment in Corfu will no doubt continue to develop, as the doctor informed me it could be several months of rehabilitation on the knee.

hmph. Oh yeah, AND it raining again! (as it's 5:30 in the morning however it's allowed.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

After the storm

As for today's cleanup of last nights' damage... it wasn't so bad. Fingers crossed a quiet night tonight, as for sure tomorrow is a day filled with little grey clouds and zig-zag bolts on the weather pictures.

I suppose I should also mention that this is June. Corfu NEVER has thunderstorms in June. Very odd, this weather.

Today, Tuesday, June 23, is the village of Agios Ioannis "feast day". It's actually Wednesday the 24th but so many people come to enjoy the party, they just decided to add an extra day of party time.

The village has the celebration in the main square. A few hundred chairs and long tressle tables are set up - under the trees and all around the square. Everyone sits wherever they can find a spot and saves a place for the brave soul who goes in search of some refreshments. That way the victor can sit down too when he returns from his queue battles with libations and feast. (hint: Greeks don't queue.)

There's an interesting custom that is only done in this village (or was... it's caught on as a tourist attraction which means other villages want to draw bigger crowds so they're giving a whirl too!)

The village elders wait until it gets dark, then they light a fire in the center of the square (piles of loose straw) and the young people jump over the fire. Well at first, but then everyone gets into the act, and even little children and old grandmas jump the fire.

There are lambs roasted on spits, and the scent of the grilling meat and rosemary is an overwhelming memory tag. There's plenty of other food to eat, grilled chickens, as well as spinach and cheese pies. Lots of wine is poured as well. You can't help feeling like you're in a movie sometimes!

There's always music, usually a band with brass and drums and then the bouzouki player starts and the village girls and boys (teenagers- really!) dance the traditional dances and eventually all the older folks join in. It's really lovely. (but can be terribly confusing and create much banging into strangers when attempted by the inexperienced!)

Anyway, it looks like rain tomorrow evening. Boo. Hiss. Perhaps St John will hold off the weather for his feast day...

Monday, June 22, 2009

The storm arrives

1:52 and the storm arrives. Much sturm and drang- wind, flashes of lightening, rolling thunder, very small amount of rain.

Have closed all windows and doors, lowered shutters, and brought in beach towels.

Dog, however, is a basket case. Wish the poor thing could just knock back a shot of tequila and go to sleep, but it was not meant to be. This poor 120 lb Bernese is reduced to a quivering wreck; much heavy breathing and trembles.

Of course I can't go to sleep. Someone needs to keep her company. We inherited her from a really nice man whose wife died, and he decided to move but didn't know how to manage the dog as well. He looked around for a good home. Guess what he found?

I tried to elucidate to my dear T. that it was like adding another person to the mix, emotionally. It was also a lot of work taking care of them, which explained why I didn't want to get any more dogs. (For some reason they always ALL hate thunderstorms and find it impossible to make it through one without a paw held. I am always at the other end of the paw.) We have had dogs for all the 40 years of marriage. (AND cats) And of course they die and I am distraught and inconsolable for months. Our last dog was a Turkish Kangal. He was amazing. I still miss him and it's been five years.

There was much pooh-poohing all around and the same old arguments of "protection and safety" thrown lavishly about. Basically, T. wanted another dog. So ended the saga of our inheriting a Swiss dog bred for mountain terrains, to ironically live out her life in basically a semi tropical sea level climate.


Perhaps one day in the nursing home that cruelly bans pets, I'll finally sleep through a storm. Though by then, I will no doubt have too many aches and pains to sleep and will spend the night counting seconds from the lightening til the BOOM, to guess how many miles away the storm is from me, sighing and missing a dog to hold paws with.



New wave of wind gusts have blown awning out! Just returned inside after battening down hatches, chasing chair cushions across yard and battling sun umbrellas. Invigorating, but sadly a bit late. Hair reflects useless attempt of man against nature. T. awakened and growled and went out into the rain to rescue the injured awning.

In the light of morning, I feel, there will be damage.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pre-Thunderstorm weather has affected my brain

And caused me to start this blog. What am I thinking? Good question.

So. Today is Father's Day. We had friends stop by for a swim and a lovely lunch. [marinated shrimp grilled with garlic cream linguine. Not too shabby. The margarita's MADE the afternoon though.]

I suppose I will be mostly blogging about where I am- Villa Methavrio (which means day AFTER tomorrow, in Greek).

I am located on the island of Corfu, just outside of the village of Agios Ioannis in the pseudo-village of Vassilika. I have no fears anyone will find it, to harass me, as, on occasion, I still miss the turn 15 years on. And besides, there are no delivery people on earth who can find us.

Life here is wonderful for the most part. My blog title is a rip-off of one of the islands more famous/infamous inhabitants: Lawrence Durrell and his wonderful book about Corfu, titled Prospero's Cell.

I love Corfu, I love the people, the climate, the sea... every morning after 10 continuous years of living here, I still wake up in the morning and say "I love this place!"

As I have never maintained a "public" blog before, whoever finds this blog and reads it will be enjoying my experimentations as well as my blog posts.

Welcome to my world.


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