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COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Monday, 29 October 2012

Sappho, the Opera, Peggy Glanville-Hicks

A new opera recording to explore, based on Lawrence Durrell's play, Sappho.

Hurricane Sandy, News Crews, Safety Advice

Anxious about members of the family who are almost certainly reporting on Hurricane Sandy, somewhere in Maryland. Here's the safety advice reporters, crews and journalists have received.

Bruce Springsteen, Atlantic City

Lexington, The Economist

On the Road, Showing in Bristol

Waiting for this film to hit some closer West Country screens. Is Bristol the nearest?

You mean, I have to get on the road in order to see it?

It seems to have been dubbed and released more widely elsewhere in Europe.

Old Corfu Newsreels

Some great old 'videos' here  from EU Screen

and some from 1962

Found on Green Corfu

Leonard Cohen and the Greek Influence

A good extract from Sylvie Simmons new biography of Leonard Cohen appeared in the Telegraph Magazine on 27 October 2012. Some great photos by James Burke. See the quotation from Steve Sanfield on how important "those Greek years and the Greek sensibility were to Cohen and his development and the things he carries with him. Cohen likes Greek music and Greek food, he speaks Greek pretty well for a foreigner."

Apparently Leonard still carries a komboloi.

Greece, News, Labour Reforms, other controversial issues

Kathimerini report on Troika and labour reforms

Leaflet from a past protest

Blood Bank, "Only for Greeks"

Much discussion on the radio this morning (Greek radio, via the internet) about topics such as "paranomos ploutismos".

Corfu's Peter Papageorgiou, on "Greece v. Europe"

Saturday, 27 October 2012

John Fowles in Dorset (and Greece)

BBC Radio 4 Extra, this morning, "Fowles in Dorset".

iPlayer, listen (John Fowles as Lyme Regis Museum Curator, and Oral Historian).

John Fowles on Lyme Regis Undercliff (film extract)

Fascinating taped interviews.

On John Fowles' poetry


The book

NB Many of the poems are set in Greece. Here's an extract from one of them:

what are we doing here
wasting time by the ochre road
under the pepper trees
swilling cheap wine...

waiting and boozing
at frantic noon
nobody knows when night will come
but thinkers think it could be soon...

barbarians Inglesoi men of the north
only half living in all this light:
watching the bus we should have caught
draw for eternity out of our sight

(from Aboulia)

Greek Landlords Desperate: No Tenants (plus Corfu Property, and A Tale of Two Islands Grapevine feedback)

Kathimerini article:
by Nikos Roussanoglou

"Hundreds of thousands of property owners are getting increasingly desperate as property market professionals estimate that the number of unlet homes is close to 300,000 and rising.
Given that there are some 1 million houses in the rental market around the country, that means that about one in every three houses and apartments for rent is standing empty.
Owners are unable to lease them even at considerably reduced rates, while it is virtually impossible to sell in the current economic climate as demand is nonexistent. Worse still, the taxes that owners have to pay are much higher today than in previous years, placing an extra burden on landlords with empty properties.
The only category of properties that manage to attract tenants relatively easily is one-bedroom apartments and small houses up to 65 square meters. Larger houses, which entail higher maintenance costs etc, remain empty, as is the case with tens of thousands of commercial spaces – offices and stores – owing to the closure of thousands of enterprises.
Furthermore, many tenants have fallen behind on their rent. According to recent data compiled by the Panhellenic Federation of Property Owners (POMIDA), almost 50 percent of tenants around the country are between two and six months behind on their payments, and in some cases even up to a year. The economic crisis and the high unemployment rate mean thousands of tenants are unable to pay their rent; in most cases in Athens, tenants have not paid their rent for two months, while in Thessaloniki, four out of five tenants have not paid for up to five months.
The phenomenon of unreliable tenants is of course nothing new, but before the crisis, they only comprised 15 to 20 percent of the total. In the last couple of years, however, their number has increased threefold. Many landlords with tenants are today opting to reduce their rates, based on the relationship they have built over time, as well as to avoid the risk of not being able to find a tenant at all.
All this creates huge problems for landlords, as besides the lack of tenants or major delays in rent payment, they also have to pay tax on rents they have not yet collected. The imposition of the special property tax levied via electricity bills has effectively deducted two to three monthly rents from every property on an annual basis, rendering properties a tax burden for owners rather than a form of income".

Home-owners with mortgages at risk? (Athens News)

***Other less recent property-related information( from that you might have missed:

Important Notice for Property Owners in Greece (registration extended until 30 June 2012)

The Greek Parliament passed a new law under number 4014/21-09-2011 which gives the opportunity of regularisation of unlawfully erected structures and installations or illegal building conversions, i.e. conversion of a dwelling into a shop.

As of to date the realisation of any legal transaction is not allowed for illegally erected buildings or buildings with illegal uses. Starting of 21-09-2011 every legal transaction should contain a declaration signed by a chartered engineer verifying building legality.

Building Energy Efficiency Certificate

As of January 10 all buildings of minimum plan area of 50 m. sq. (about 500 sq. ft) need to have an Energy Efficiency Certificate in order to be rented or sold.

These certificates rate buildings according to their energy efficiency and are similar to those issued for electrical appliances. An estimate of their energy consumption will be made in order to cover heating, cooling, lighting and aeration needs and a series of works will be suggested in order to reduce them.

Such certificates are issued by Energy Inspectors.

Legalisation of a conversion (registration date expired)
A new law is passed (Nr. 3843/2010) which gives the right to legalise the change of use of domestic areas from auxiliary to main for a length of time of forty (40) years. For example, one could convert a garage into bedroom or a covered veranda into lounge.

The fine to be paid to the state is rated according to the plan area of the structure to be converted as well as its tax value.

This law covers buildings with a planning permit issued before 2-7-2009, no matter whether they are completed or not. Registration date has been expired.

Looking for a nice house in the North of Corfu? Have a look here

Or around the island? Have a look here

More villas, here

There seems to be a lot on the market, not just at the high end.

Before deciding to settle, why not read some of the divided (divisive?) comments inspired by the series "A Tale of Two Islands"?

See Corfucius' thoughtful comments for 27 October. Luckily I am not on Facebook, so I've not been reading much of the feedback on The Corfu Grapevine. If you are on Facebook, try this link.

For some flavour of the 'class war' feedback on The Corfu Grapevine (names removed), see below:

*What is this Corfu they're showing on TV? Who are these people? It's like a different place to the one i lived in for 14 years. What was the point of the silly girls singing? They have nothing to do with Corfu. Where are the real people? Am I the only one that feels like this?
*well with corfu being the most expensive fuel in europe, least the posh boat owners are paying their bit in taxes running them around
*We sometimes eat at a taverna at Agni. One afternoon, when the restaurant was very busy, a large group of obviously wealthy (and very posh) Brits arrived and tables and chairs appeared from everywhere to accommodate the group! I remember thinking they wouldn't have done the same for us plebs, lol!
* Look all you people whinging ! some people are successful in life and others not so ! it`s the same anywhere in the world ! doh ! those that are successful have decided that our beautiful corfu is an ideal place for their home or 2nd home !
* My goodness, that was difficult to read! Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You've quite comprehensively given yours.Of course the rich are part of the island, but many, many thousands more visit that this elite group.
*of course everyone is entitled to their opinion but there's a lot of jealousy out there from what i have read ( at least it seems that way !) please correct me if i am wrong ! i don't feel entitled to make an opinion myself until i have seen the whole series ! that`s why i wasn`t going to make a comment ! but it`s getting a bit too much on here now ! lol and good morning
* i`m quite sure you will see the kavos end in the next few episodes that will show a different light ! ( maybe ) who knows ? after all it is titled the tale of 2 islands ! and not ex-pats as it was supposed to be ! as there was too much doom and gloom on the film footage ! that`s why it`s ended up like this ! but after all it`s tv isn`t it ! you never get the whole truth on tv ! or do you >? lol
* I've not commented on this yet wanted too see all 8 episodes first.. I just have to say tho that these "Rich People" with there big fancy villa's employ... maids, housekeepers, gardeners, cooks, pool man, rental cars, taxis, laundry companies, their guests use local taverna's, local supermarkets etc etc.. seems to me that without them on this Island a lot of people would be out of work!!! Just saying!!
*The odd few people who are bleating on about people commenting and how we should wait for the whole series to we should not comment and miss out on this healthy debate? Also if we adhere to your instructions to keep our gobs shut til the end ...most of us would have forgotten about what was in the first few episodes ( well I will have anyway )
*anyway money doesnt make u happy but its nice to be sad sailing round the greek Islands
* True, all people have their problems. I believe as long as people are honest, respectful, kind, thoughtful, true etc. I would have them as a friend irrespective of how much or little money they have. No one should be judged on their wealth.
*Tonight's tale of two islands.....what a load of bollocks....... We don't all need a million dollars to enjoy the island, much better to be the 80 year old couple enjoying the everyday corfiot hospitality....
*last night was 2 thirds the kensington-on-sea elite group and only a little bit on the rest............I am enjoying it don't get me wrong but i'd like to see more about the down to earth everyday stuff...there is SO much they could be covering...
*it's not a horrendous experience being married to my husband...thats cos he knows I'M the
*There is no shortage of strong independent women on this island thats for sure.
*That's true. I'am married to one of them If you don't believe me ask her, LOL
*I hope you weren't thinking i was saying its horrendous being married to a greek??!!! I wasn't saying that!!! I have been happily married to a greek for 20 years and he and his family are the best i could have wished for..i have been very fortunate. I was saying that that is how it was portrayed in the first episode...and not all situations are the same.

Philip Larkin in Greek

Some of Philip Larkin's poems in Greek translation 

"This be the verse" sounds strange in Greek!
An excellent translation by Thodoris Rakopoulos:

Ας είναι αυτός ο στίχος

Σου γαμάνε τη ζωή ο μπαμπάς κι η μαμά
(το κάνουν, κι ας μην το θέλουνε, κανονικά).
Σε γεμίζουνε με λάθη και μετά
προσθέτουνε κι άλλα, για σένα ειδικά.

Αλλά τους γάμησαν κι αυτούς στην εποχή τους
ανόητοι με παλιομοδίτικα καπέλα και παλτά-
που τον μισό καιρό με ενοχή στρίβαν αυτιά,
και τον υπόλοιπο σφάζονταν αναμεταξύ τους.

Ο άνθρωπος στον άνθρωπο αφήνει δυστυχία.
Βαθαίνει αργά, σαν υφαλοκρηπίδα. Νωρίς,
πολύ νωρίς, βγες έξω από τη διαδικασία:
παιδιά δικά σου να μην κάνεις - κι ας μπορείς.

Από τη συλλογή High windows | Ψηλά παράθυρα (1974)

Pity he didn't translate Annus Mirabilis

Philip Larkin Society

Friday, 26 October 2012

Timon of Athens

Greatly looking forward to seeing Simon Russell Beale in the live satellite transmission of the National Theatre's Timon of Athens on 1st November.

Timon of Athens trailer (YouTube)

"Wealthy friend to the rich and powerful, patron of the arts, ostentatious host, Timon of Athens showers gifts and hospitality on the city’s elite. He vastly outspends his resources but, finding his coffers empty, reassures his loyal steward that all will be well.

When he calls upon his erstwhile associates, instead of offering help, they hang him out to dry. After a final, vengeful banquet, Timon withdraws to a literal and emotional wasteland, living off roots and pouring ever more surreal curses on a morally bankrupt Athens".

Telegraph Review

Daily Mail

Poor people, in your hands I grew up

A great Xarhakos song, lyrics by Papadopoulos, interpreted by Bithikotsis.

I always associate it with a Porta Remunda taverna (Giogias Kastanias) that no longer exists.


Φτωχολογιά για σένα κάθε μου τραγούδι,
για τους καημούς σου που σεργιανούν στη γειτονιά,
φτωχολογιά, που απ' τον πηλό βγάζεις λουλούδι
και τους καημούς σου τους πλέκεις ψιλοβελονιά

Στα χέρια σου μεγάλωσαν και πόνεσαν και μάλωσαν
άντρες μ' ολοκάθαρη ματιά
Ψηλά κυπαρισσόπουλα χαρά στα κοριτσόπουλα
που 'χουν κι αγκαλιάζουν τη φωτιά

Another song of poverty and xenitia, the song of a gastarbeiter:

Ach, Maria , sung by Mitsias.

Who remembers this 1968 version of "Those were the days" by Corfu-born singer Vicky Leandros?

Dorset, Ageing Population

"The latest census figures show that approximately a quarter of Dorset’s population is aged 65 or over. The corresponding national figure is about one in six. Compared to 2001, the number of people aged over 90 nationally has increased by 28%, but in Dorset the number of people in that age group has increased by 40%" (Dorset County Council/NHS).

From Her Corfu Window

Maddie Grigg's arrived in Corfu. Here's her blog posting

I hope the Griggs have a wonderful year. I'll be following their progress.

Some arrive, some leave. Swings and roundabouts.

From Dorset to Corfu. From Corfu to Dorset.

Greece, Debt

Reuters report

A Tale of Two Islands (3)

This episode left me feeling profoundly dissatisfied. Watch again

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Nina's First Report to Camera in DC

I'm looking forward to spending Christmas in Washington, 
after the Presidential elections.

Thessaloniki, 1912-2012, Conference

Really sorry that I was unable to participate in this international conference to mark the Centenary of Liberation of Thessaloniki.

«Διεθνές Επιστημονικό Συνέδριο : Θεσσαλονίκη: μια πόλη σε μετάβαση, 1912-2012»

18-21 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Με την ευκαιρία της συμπλήρωσης εκατό χρόνων από την απελευθέρωση της Θεσσαλονίκης το 1912, στην κορύφωση των εορταστικών εκδηλώσεων, ο Δήμος Θεσσαλονίκης διοργάνωσε διεθνές επιστημονικό συνέδριο με θέμα «Θεσσαλονίκη: μια πόλη σε μετάβαση, 1912-2012».

Το συνέδριο πραγματοποιήθηκε από τις 18 μέχρι τις 21 Οκτωβρίου 2012 στο Συνεδριακό και Επιστημονικό Κέντρο του Μεγάρου Μουσικής Θεσσαλονίκης. Στόχος του συνεδρίου ήταν να αποτελέσει σημείο συνάντησης των σύγχρονων ιστοριογραφικών ρευμάτων αλλά και όλων των συναφών κοινωνικών επιστημών, όπως της ιστορίας, της κοινωνικής ανθρωπολογίας, της οικονομίας, του δικαίου, των διεθνών σχέσεων και των τεχνών.

Μεταξύ των συμμετεχόντων ήταν οι: Edhem Eldem (Bogazici University), Eyal Ginio (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Charles King (Georgetown University), Πασχάλης Κιτρομηλίδης (Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών), Yura Konstantinova (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), Nora Lafi (Zentrum Moderner Orient).

Την έναρξη του συνεδρίου κήρυξε ο Δήμαρχος Γιάννης Μπουτάρης, ενώ τις εναρκτήριες ομιλίες έδωσαν οι Mark Mazower (Πανεπιστήμιο Κολούμπια) και Κωνσταντίνος Σβολόπουλος (Ακαδημία Αθηνών).

Περισσότερες πληροφορίες σχετικά με τον φορέα και τις εκδηλώσεις που εντάσσονται στο πλαίσιο εορτασμού των 100 χρόνων από την απελευθέρωση της πόλης μπορείτε να βρείτε στην ιστοσελίδα

The International Job Market: What Top Company Recruiters Want

The International Herald Tribune carried a convincing ranking of world universities today (25 October), based on the employability of their graduates.

Here's a summary

The complete Global Employability table published in the paper ranks 150 institutions in the US and Canada, Europe and the rest of the world.

More on this

Here's the results table for last year, for 2011, for comparison

Oxford now stands in fourth place (2012).

Graduate Barometers:

Which employers (companies or organisations) do UK graduates favour or rank highest?

And in Greece?

Europe's Top 500 Employers

Dorchester, The Odeon, Brewery Square (and Charles Street)

Whenever I drive past the Brewery Square development, it seems as if there have been around 100 "Bob the Builders" at work at all hours of the day and night, frantically trying to meet contractual deadlines.

On The Odeon opening (Dorset Echo).

BBC news item

Maybe the cinema is not such a high priority as the apartments bought by elderly people off-plan as long as five years ago, and still unfinished?

It will be worth the wait. The show flat I visited was of a very high standard indeed. Great location.

On another Dorchester issue, the full West Dorset District Council vote on the Charles Street Development (Phase 2) is anxiously awaited.

Update: BBC News informs us that the decision has been made. The Council will go ahead with the Phase 2 project, committing two million pounds of public money in the first instance.

Wessex FM item.

Dorset Echo on the Council decision

Greece, What the Lenders Want

Kathimerini article

No deal yet

More background

The Occupation of Corfu, October 1943

A short video from October 1943

See also my posting about the incendiary bombings of September 1943, and allied bombings

and the link to a Greek documentary on the topic

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Leaving of Corfu (folksong, objective correlative)

In fact it's The Dubliners, singing "The Leaving of Liverpool", but you get the idea.

A suitable song of xenitia.

Try The Pogues' version

Dorchester, Charles Street, Dispute about Democracy

View Online article

Made in Greece

A useful website for potential importers of Greek products:

The Greek website highlights this CNBC article about the UK economy.

The latest comments from the Governor of the Bank of England tend to confirm the Morgan Stanley assessment.

More on Sir Mervyn King's views about British banks, from The Telegraph.

Let's hope that both the Greek and UK recoveries go well, so that British importers can start using the website to import some welcome ouzo, tsipouro and other hard-to-find products.

Greece Gets Two More Years...

Article in German


Greece should not be treated as "a protectorate", warns Venizelos.

And the coalition fails to agree on some key measures (Kathimerini)

Greek Reporter, on budgetary control

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Two Islands?



Reminders of some of the reasons it was time to leave!

Just two islands?

Commons Culture Select Committee, George Entwistle

Did my ears deceive me?

I could swear I heard one of the MPs (Paul Farrelly, MP, Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme) from the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee say to the BBC's DG that something related to the Jimmy Savile case should have been obvious even to a "one-eyed Albanian".

I suggest that the House of Commons Select Committee itself needs to be cross-examined on a matter of its own corporate culture and attitudes.

I'm sure I was not the only one 'taking evidence'. I wonder if Hansard will transcribe and publish the comment verbatim.

Members of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee:

Clerks: Elizabeth Flood & Sarah Heath
Members: 11
Chair elected: 10 June 2010
Committee nominated: 12 July 2010
Committee contact: 020 7219 6120/4311

Mr John Whittingdale MP (Chair)
Mr Ben Bradshaw MP
Dr Thérèse Coffey MP
Damian Collins MP
Philip Davies MP
Paul Farrelly MP
Steve Rotheram MP
Mr Adrian Sanders MP
Jim Sheridan MP
Mr Gerry Sutcliffe MP(Con)

Panorama programme on "What the BBC Knew" (BBC I Player)

"Slow Dorset"

Sounds like a good guide book for those who are not in a hurry.

Another local interest  book that caught my eye, an English Heritage book on "Bridport and West Bay".

UK: Useful West Country Literary Links

Anthony Gibson's "With Magic in My Eyes" website has a useful list of links to relevant literary societies etc.

You can also download some literary walks, in pdf format. 

Camus Car Crash, Conspiracy Theory

Just came across this article (The Observer, August 2011) about the death of Albert Camus in the 4 January 1960 car crash.

If one wished to invent a conspiracy theory about the causes of the fatal accident, would it not seem slightly more plausible to link it to the Algerian war of independence?

See also the article by Fiachra Gibbons, The Guardian, 20 October 2012, about the events in Paris in October 1961. Something that the 'pied-noir' Camus did not live to witness.

On the Camus Centenary, November 2013.

British Attitudes towards the EU

According to The Telegraph

More from The Telegraph


Charles Moore in The Telegraph

NB I quote from The Telegraph because it is an easily accessible website and source of digital news, not because I necessarily agree with the opinions expressed, or believe that they are representative of the population as a whole.

Greece, Reluctant Job-Seekers

Kathimerini again. Young people do not seem to be chasing up opportunities for work.

An older posting, on unemployment statistics in Greece

Update, on new regulations for seasonal workers (Keep Talking Greece)

Ioannina, University Problems

From Kathimerini

"In Ioannina, authorities said that the institution is unable to cover operational costs including paying for heating oil, cleaning staff and lab maintenance".

Polish Theatre Company in Greece and Albania

An Australian friend sent me this link, knowing of my interest in traditional Epirot and Albanian music, and vocal laments. Do listen to the programme about the Song of the Goat Theatre Company production. Here's a list of the music included in the programme:

Cast recording of Chronicles: a lamentation, a production of Teatr Piesn Kozla (Song of the Goat Theatre)

Munir Bashir
P and C Ocora Radio France
C 580068
Munir Bashir: Irak L'art du ud

Vajtim (Death Lament)
Sung by Tereze Dede Gjoni
Recorded in Baldre-Lezhe Albania
P and C Rounder Records
Rounder CD 5151
Music from Albania

Unidentified vocal group recorded in Vlora Albania in 1979
P and C Arc Music
EUCD 1762
Marcel Cellier presents Mysterious Albania

Vajtim (lament, shepherd tune)
Played by Sadik Diko (flute)
Recorded in Permet Albania in 1965
P and C Topic Records
Folk Music of Albania collected and edited by A L Lloyd

Bedouin melody played on a shabbaba flute by unknown musician
Recorded in 1955 at the village of Neshabieh
P and C Arc Music Productions
EUCD 1910
Bedouins of the Middle East

Coffee grinding rhythm (wooden mortar and pestle)
Recorded by Deben Bhattacharya in 1995 at Camp Faida
P and C Arc Music Productions
EUCD 1910
Bedouins of the Middle East

Kenge Djepi (lullaby)
Sung by Mri Jaku
Recorded in Gjader Lezhe Albania in 1965
P and C Topic Records
Folk Music of Albania collected and edited by A L Lloyd

Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, biography, reviews

A review from The Scotsman

A review from The Daily Mail

The Observer, review

Financial Times

Sunday Times

Jan Morris in The Telegraph

A hostile review, John Helmer

TES, Peter Green

Peter Lewis (Mail Online)

Justin Marozzi

Lawrence Osborne, Wall Street Journal

Monday, 22 October 2012

Surgeries, Old Magazines, Risk of Infection

An item about a dental surgery in Lyme Regis (BBC).

Are old magazines in waiting rooms a health risk?

Halkidiki, Gold Mining, the Environment

From Keep Talking Greece

On the environment more generally (Kathimerini).

Dorchester Sports Centre Opens

I went and had a look this morning. I plan to become a member soon. Great facility!

BBC News item 

Financial Experts Needed- with a good knowledge of Greek

Predictably, the EU and Troika have finally realised that they need more technical assistance and economic experts with a really good knowledge of the Greek Language.

Report, Der Spiegel (in German)

"Die Troika ist überzeugt, dass Griechenland viel mehr ausländische Fachleute braucht, die vor Ort beim Aufbau moderner Strukturen helfen - etwa in der Finanzverwaltung oder bei der Wirtschaftsförderung. "Es gibt einfach nicht genügend Experten, die vernünftig Griechisch können", heißt es aus dem Troika-Umfeld".

The King of Rock 'n' Roll

Great cover art: 
the essence of rebellious 1950's rock 'n' roll

Friday, 19 October 2012


If you fancy a little light entertainment and comic silliness, try this episode of Gloomsbury, which had me laughing all the way to Weymouth to return my hire car. I Player.

Away with the clouds

Taking Off

One Last Swim?


Lost My Mooring

Strike (2): "If you can't beat them, join them!"


Plane delayed by three hours, 
thanks to air traffic control strike measures.

"On the road to Greece"

Governor Romney, on the US National Debt (as televised, the second US Presidential Debate).

"It puts us on the road to Greece".

On the Road Again

On Statistics and the Powers of Eurostat

From Reuters

Mood music, the Corfu Blues Again?

Light at the end of the tunnel (Kathimerini)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

We're all doomed

You've probably already heard it, but if not, here's a new Rolling Stones song, Doom and Gloom. Official YouTube.

Friday, 12 October 2012

FAGE and Coca-Cola Hellenic to move HQs overseas

Report from Kathimerini

More economic news, concerning the Eurogroup and Troika (Athens News)

Image change? Samaras


Full page Andrew Davidson interview with Dimitris Lois, Chief Executive of Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, in the Sunday Times Business Section, 21.10.2012.

Headline: "I will save my liquid assets from the ruins of Greece".

The company will be domiciled in Switzerland, and listed on the London Stock Exchange.

"Our commitment to Greece is unaffected. Our value to Greece is from manufacturing, and we cover 98% of our needs there...and second, our corporate office there will evolve to be the service centre for all 28 countries we do business in, with 150 colleagues based in Greece".

A fascinating full-page interview. Not such bad news for Greece, after all.

Update, Kathimerini, November 2012

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Feature Service News

A great service: "The world's leading independent broadcast news agency".

Identity, Acceptance and Belonging

I may have been coming to Corfu for 45 years, but I've never considered myself (or been considered) a  Kerkyraios or Mandoukiotis.

But I'm not exactly a xenos either.

Up in the Zagori, where there are very few Englishmen, I was probably identified as o Anglos.

I've been coming to this mountain village regularly for thirty years. Finally people are starting to call me a Vitsinos.

When I was much younger, and living in a Somerset village, it took about thirty years for someone to be accepted or considered as belonging to the village (rather longer if they came from London).

So thirty years is about par for the course.

Not that it matters. People have always been incredibly hospitable, welcoming and friendly.

Putting things into perspective: the plane tree in the village square has stood here for around 600 years. As long as it lives, there is no danger that it will be turned into firewood. Everyone venerates and cherishes its noble ancient roots.

Corfu: A Tale of Two Islands, TV tonight (Episode 1)

Thanks to a tip from Corfucius, about this new documentary series on Corfu, I can inform you that the first epidode is showing on UK TV tonight (ITV 1).

See Radio Times 

Find Episode 1 here, on ITV Player (if in the right part of the world)

Washington Ballet, The Nutcracker

I'm certainly going to see The Nutcracker in Washington DC in December.


Because my eight-year-old grand-daughter (only recently arrived in the USA) has just heard that she has passed the tough auditions and has been cast as one of the 'adorable mice'.

"A holiday must-see full of magic and marvels. Septime Webre’s critically acclaimed The Nutcracker transports us back in time to historic Washington, DC and stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker. Full of swirling snowflakes, magnificent sets and costumes and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, the curtain rises and the stage bursts with waltzing cherry blossoms, dancing sugar plums and other enchanting adaptations that have made Webre’s Nutcracker a Washington tradition with raves from critics and sold-out crowds." Choreography – Septime Webre, Music - Tchaikovsky.

After this period of total isichia and erimia in an almost deserted mountain village in Epirus, I am looking forward to flying to the States. Back in the USA! (YouTube).

Two Chinese Poets

A good piece by Carrie Gracie, BBC, on the continuing popularity of  Li Bai and Du Fu in China.

From Hermann Hesse, Der Dichter:

"Er lernte langsam jene heimliche Kunst, scheinbar nur das Einfache und Schlichte zu sagen, damit aber in des Zuhörers Seele zu wühlen wie der Wind in einem Wasserspeigel".

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Dorchester Town Centre Redevelopment Issues (Charles Street)

BBC report 1 on Charles Street

BBC Report 2

Sadly, these problems were entirely predictable.

Dorset Echo report

View Online commentary

An email message just received from Andy Canning:

“A Nightmare on Charles Street” is what the Dorset Echo has called West Dorset District Council’s failure to develop this town centre site in Dorchester and the new proposal to use £2 million of public money to subsidise a revised project.

Already £16 million of taxpayers money has been used to build new Council Offices and a library on this site but they have failed to build any shops.

In the first phase of this project the Council was criticised by the independent auditor for not engaging with the public. This is the first major decision to be taken since this report and yet again the Council is refusing to consult the public.

I have therefore launched a petition calling on WDDC to think again, postpone its decision (currently due on the 25th October) and instead engage in a full and real consultation with the public.

This is important as it is yet another big spending of public money on what should really be a private sector development. It will also effect the centre of Dorchester for decades.

It is vital that you are allowed to have your say.

If you agree please sign the petition and please forward this e-mail to anyone you know who lives or works in West Dorset.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Andy Canning
Chair, West Dorset Liberal Democrats

Immigration, Greece, Europe

An article by Helena Drysdale (aeon digital magazine), at the border in Thrace.

James Bond in Dorchester

Dorset Echo report on 007 in Brewery Square

A Corfu Comment on the Merkel Visit

Financial Times quote (9 October):

“If I were Merkel, I wouldn’t have come to Greece,” said Nikos Georgiadis, a former lawmaker from Corfu.

Some German foreign policy reasons for the visit explained?

Lexington's Notebook, The Economist

Having followed the blog postings and columns of The Economist's Charlemagne and Bagehot, I alert my readers to the new Lexington (a past Charlemagne and previous Bagehot), who has been active for the last few weeks. For those interested in American politics and the US scene, this will be essential reading. 

Kalo Himona!

I find myself saying “Have a good winter” more and more often these days, as I prepare to head back to England.

Kalo Himona!”

It’s only Autumn, a beautiful Indian Summer in reality. Autumn is more advanced in the Pindus mountains. The leaves of the trees are turning colour, but it's not yet chilly at night.

Kalo Himona! Tou Chronou! Kali adamosi!

A Greek song to listen to during the English winter

I won't be here for the winter. Let's hope it's a good one.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Gone (not quite)

This is a great song.

In Epirus.

We'll be back in Corfu for a few more days.

Then real gone.

The original version

"On the Road" (the movie) opens in Britain on October 12th.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Mandouki Farewell (Eche geia, Mandouki!)

Like the Souliot refugees who settled in Mandouki, I feel like singing this song:

Eche geia kaimene kosme 
Eche geia glykia zoi 

Echete geia vrisoules,
Loggoi, vouna, rachoules, 
Echete geia vrisoules 
Kai eseis Souliotopoules 

Sti steria den zei to psari 
Oute antho stin amoudhia 

Echete geia vrisoules, 
Loggoi, vouna, rachoules ,
Echete geia vrisoules 
Kai eseis Souliotopoules 

Kai oi Souliotisses dhen zoune 
Dhichos tin eleftheria  

Echete geia vrisoules, 
Loggoi, vouna, rachoules, 
Ehete geia vrisoules 
Kai eseis Souliotopoules

Eche geia, Mandouki!

Mani and Patrick Leigh Fermor

For those who are planning to visit Mani

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Projects in Progress

Maria is putting the finishing touches to a new book, a really wonderful collection of short stories (in Greek), all of them set on different islands and based on her island experiences. It is planned that an English edition will follow in due course.

About six months ago I was approached by a London publisher (who greatly liked my “The Ionian Islands and Epirus, A Cultural History”) to write a new book, a more comprehensive cultural history of Greece, i.e. Ancient, Byzantine and Modern Greece. At first I was excited and tempted by the challenge and the idea, and we came up with a novel approach, a detailed list of contents and topics to be covered- Maria was willing to collaborate on it too. But then we thought: do we really want to spend the next two years of our lives researching and writing such a time-consuming work?

We reluctantly decided not to pursue it further. I’m still interested in exploring some of the ideas and topics in a shorter, illustrated volume, but it’s not an immediate priority.

I already had two or three other works in progress, two about Dorset, one about Czechoslovakia. Maria had her collection of short stories to finish, in Greek and English.

It’s 45 years since I first came to Corfu and met Maria. There’s no shortage of material to write about. 45 inspiring years! Neither of us could have achieved any of this without the support of the other.

Book Launch at Waterstones

Some Corfu Coastline For Sale

CNBC report.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Ships Come and Go (Russian Naval Warship in Corfu)

The band was playing as the warship drew close to Corfu harbour. 
At first I thought it was a British ensign, but the music sounded unfamiliar.
The destroyer's flag proved to be the Russian Naval Jack.
The ship was here for the annual Russian Festival
(see Voice of Russia re the Festival in 2011)

Our last few days in the Kefalomandouko flat.
 I shall miss the view of the harbour, of the sea, of Vido island and of Pantokrator,
and all the lively activity in Mandouki and the New Port.

Time to move on, like a ship leaving port.
But it's not the end of the Corfu blues.

To adapt that famous, over-quoted line of George Seferis-
Ὅπου καὶ νὰ ταξιδέψω ἡ Ἑλλάδα μὲ πληγώνει:
 “Wherever I travel, Corfu wounds me”

Before I leave, I must drink some more water from the Kardaki Spring.
 I hope it is now safe to drink again: 

Reassuring words from Greece

Δεν θα αφήσω τη χώρα να γίνει ξέφραγο αμπέλι…δεν αποπροσανατολιζόμαστε -
Αντώνης Σαμαράς

The Prime Minister insists that he is not going to let Greece become "an unfenced, untended vineyard". The country is focused, he says, not disorientated.

Full article and quotation, Kathimerini (Greek)

On another occasion, the Prime Minister said that "in a nutshell, we are changing Greece at home and we are rebranding it abroad".

Euronews Interview  with George Papandreou: "The Future of Greece" (in English).

Worth watching the video interview. George Papandreou is always highly articulate in English and skilled at "rebranding". The interview covers issues like stereotyping, transparency, trust, tax evasion, tax havens, governance, recession, reform and change. "We are not THE problem", argues the former PM.

Corfu resident Richard Pine, writing in the Irish Times, says "the gap is closing".

Reuters on the visit of Chancellor Merkel to Athens

Bermuda News; Books about Bermuda

Always pleased to read such news items from Bermuda

Books about Bermuda

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Looking for Book Covers

A potential book cover? 
Problem is: no title, no book.


Packing and moving are some of the most stressful of experiences:

I've moved 32 times in my peripatetic life.

It gets harder each time.

Now living without a fridge.

A salutary reminder of bygone days.

Bridport Arts Centre, Dorset Voices, 10 October

A reminder of this Roving Press Dorset Voices event, to be held at Waterstones Bookshop, Bridport, on 10 October, 6pm.