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COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Zadie Smith, NW, Guardian Podcast

Listen to the podcast here

As Ian Whitwham (SecEd, 4 July, 2013) claims that NW is the best novel since Charles Dickens' Bleak House, I had better add it to my reading list.

Ian writes:

"Such musings were also prompted by Zadie Smith’s latest, NW, the best novel since Bleak House and, I’m afraid, your compulsory holiday reading. Its lyrical and dazzling insights quite annihilate the lumpen strictures of the Lords Gove and Very-Shaw, exploring the complexities of our pupils’ inner city lives with an unflinching empathy. The novel also prompts a tough optimism. As your pupils probably do. Mine certainly did".

Trouble is, I've still got lots of Thomas Hardy novels and stories to read or re-read on Kindle this holiday, as well as a well-thumbed paperback of Matthew Kneale's still amazing English Passengers (2000). The best novel since the date of its first publication.

Boomtime/Bloomtime for UK Jellyfish

BBC report

Marine Conservation Society

Jellyfish Guide (pdf)

Monday, 29 July 2013

Greece: EC Progress Report, July 2013

Kathimerini on the latest EC report

Full EC Report (pdf)

Summary for Non-Specialists

Implementation remains the watchword.

Little hope?

Assessment of Reform Programme

Rock until you blow your top!

If in Greece, please do not play at full blast between 3pm and 5pm (siesta time). You might wake the dead.

Rockin' Bones

Mama Rock

Leroy  (see also Jack Scott, 2010)

I Go Ape

Ain't I'm a Dog

The Train Kept A' Rollin'

Fujiyama Mama


Somethin' Else

Quite apart from the laws or customs concerning respect for the siesta hours, having an afternoon nap is apparently good for health and for the heart, according to a Greek study.

See also The Washington Post

The problem is that listening at full volume through headphones at siesta time (and when I fall asleep at night) is probably making me stone deaf.

Tell the Troika:

Η σιέστα μάς δίνει σωματική και ψυχική δύναμη, διεγείρει τη δημιουργικότητα και μας κάνει πιο παραγωγικούς.

Dorset: Burton Bradstock Under-Cliff Campers

Dorset Echo

More dangerous than a chance encounter with a bear.

BBC Video, Burton Bradstock and West Bay

'Rebetika' at Mon Repos (Corfu, 31 July 2013)

An unusual location for rebetika music!

«Όλοι οι ρεμπέτες του ντουνιά»

See past posting (2009) on Rebetiko and General Scobie

Greek Violin, Kostis Palamas, O Batarias

O Batarias (song, setting by M. Terzis)

Photo: Károly Escher (not of Batarias)

In Praise of Batarias, the Fiddler of Romiosyni
-freely adapted from a Greek poem by Kostis Palamas

Here's to you, Bataria, master of the bow and bossman of the violin!
Greetings to you, Bataria, my sense of yearning's plain to see
And a deeper pain, like pining, is what your playing gives.
You enliven with your violin all the valour in the world;
There within your violin the flame of Greekness lives. 

From my book, Corfu Blues, Ars Interpres, Stockholm, 2006

Kostis Palamas

Γεια σου καημενε Μπαταρια
της δοξαριας τεχνιτη
γεια σου καημενε Μπαταρια
και αφεντη του βολιου

Γεια σου καημενε Μπαταρια
με το βιολι σου ξυπνησες
την λεβεντια του κοσμου
η ρωμιοσυνη μια φωτια
μες το βιολι σου ζει

Γεια σου καημενε Μπαταρια
τρανος ειναι ο καημος μου
γεια σου καημενε μπαταρια
και ποιος τρανος εσυ

Γεια σου καημενε Μπαταρια
με το βιολι σου ξυπνησες
την λεβεντια του κοσμου
η ρωμιοσυνη μια φωτια
μες το βιολι σου ζει

Πουλια της λιμνοθαλασσας
μποριασματα μαιστραλια
τετοια φωνη δοξαστε την
και τετοια δοξαρια

About Thanasis Batarias

Biographical note

Μπαταριάς Θανάσης

Φημισμένος λαϊκός βιολιστής και τραγουδιστής της περιοχής Μεσολογγίου (19ος αι.)` επίσης, εξαίρετος εκτελεστής λαούτου και ταμπουρά. Γεννήθηκε περί το 1835 στο Ευηνοχώρι Αιτωλίας και πέθανε στο Μεσολόγγι το 1917. Διέθετε ονομαστή κομπανία «με βασικούς συνεργάτες τον βιολιστή Ρένο Κατσαρό και, μετά το 1892, τον θρυλικό κλαριντζή Νικολάκη Σουλεϊμάνη (1848-1921), χριστιανό Τουρκόγυφτο από την Βόρειο Ήπειρο» (Ηλίας Βολιότης-Καπετανάκης «Ελλήνων Μούσα Λαϊκή», «ΝΕΑ ΣΥΝΟΡΑ», 1997). Μνημονεύεται τόσο από τους Γ. Αθανασιάδη Νόβα, Σπύρο Μελά, Ανδρέα Καρκαβίτσα και Κωστή Παλαμά όσο και από τον Μ. Μαλακάση (ο οποίος μάλιστα ονόμασε ένα από τα αριστουργηματικότερα ποιήματά του "Ο Μπαταριάς"): "... Μα στο τραπέζι ως κάθονταν, κι άνοιγεν η φωνή σου, μεγάλε Μπαταριά! στο τρίτο κρασοπότηρο πουλιά του Παραδείσου ξυπνούσανε κι αηδόνια στα κλαδιά. Κ' εκείθε, 'που δεν έφτανε κανένας, κ' η ανάσα πιανόταν ως κι' αυτή, κ' εκείθε, αλέγρα παίζοντας, σκαλί-σκαλί, τα μπάσα, κατέβαινε η γαλιάντρα σου η φωνή...". Αλλά και ο Παλαμάς δεν υστερεί σε επαίνους για τον λαμπρό λαϊκό οργανοπαίκτη: «...Γεια σου, καημένε Μπαταριά, τρανός είν’ ο καημός μου, και πιο τρανός εσύ` με το βιολί σου ξύπνησες τη λεβεντιά του κόσμου κ’ η Ρωμιοσύνη, μια φωτιά, μέσ’ στο βιολί σου ζει».

Τάκης Καλογερόπουλος, Λεξικό της Ελληνικής μουσικής, εκδόσεις Γιαλλελή, 2001

Another poem about Batarias, by Miltiadis Malakasis

Sunday, 28 July 2013

UK House Price Index (July 2013 Edition)

Rightmove report (pdf)

Polly Toynbee comments on  cheap money and fool's gold (The Guardian):

For Ian (to show a sense of balance).

Savers Hammered (The Telegraph)

Growing British interest in Corfu and Cephalonia (Kekalonia), according to Corfu Press

Zagori Mountain Race, Kalo Dromo!

25 km race today, passing through Kato Vitsa (where it all happens!) -

Patrick Leigh Fermor (A Kardamyli Visit, Part 3)

Read here

Complaints of Corfu Hotel Employees

Corfu Press report (in Greek)

Serious complaints about working conditions in many hotels

No complaints at the wonderful family hotel, Dassia Beach Hotel!

Cheers! In anticipation of Amstel royalties...
(Photo by Jeremy Eccles)

Paxos and Antipaxos from Space (Paxoi Islands)

Great photo from space

"The northwestern part of Greece is pictured in this image acquired on 28 April by the Landsat-8 satellite.

The Ionian Sea dominates the left side of the image, with the Ambracian Gulf near the centre. Two rivers drain into the shallow gulf, making it less salty than the Ionian. The terrain surrounding the gulf is primarily mountainous and covered with forests. Areas of agricultural activity are also evident, showing up in brighter colours and patchy structures.

In the upper-left corner we can see the Paxi islands. According to mythology, the islands were created when Poseidon, the god of the sea, hit the nearby island of Corfu (not pictured) with his trident to break off the tip. It is believed that he did this to create a peaceful place for his wife, Amphitrite.

In fact, thousands of holidaymakers find the islands to be the perfect place for rest and recuperation during the summer months.

Paxos, to the north, boasts beautiful beaches mainly along its eastern coast, with dramatic cliffs and caves dominating the west side. The smaller island to the south, Antipaxos, is also known for its beaches as well as its traditional vineyards". Posted by Marc Boucher. Photo copyright European Space Agency.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Albanian Riviera

Julia Langdon on BCC Radio 4 (listen from the 17.52 mark)

or read here

Greek anxieties about "Greater Albania" maps (which include Corfu, Paxos, Parga, Prevesa, Ioannina etc;  ROMIANEWS, romiazirou blogspot).

Balkan Insight (in English)

Albanian Fugitives (Top Channel)

Kathimerini Update

Vitsa, Zagori: Cultural Programme, 27 July- 18 August

From Facebook:

Σάββατο 27 Ιουλίου: Pitta party στη Βίτσα και συναυλία με το Γιώργο Γάκη, 19:00 μ.μ. – 21:00 μ.μ. (Ο Πολιτιστικός Σύλλογος Βίτσας είναι αρωγός στο 3ο Zagori Mountain Running 2013)

Τετάρτη 7 Αυγούστου: Εθελοντική Αιμοδοσία, 10:30 π.μ.

Παρασκευή 9 και Σάββατο 10 Αυγούστου: Δημιουργικό Καλλιτεχνικό Σεμινάριο 10:30 π.μ. & Αθλητικές Δραστηριότητες το απόγευμα

Σάββατο 10 Αυγούστου: Συναυλία με τον Μπάμπη Τσέρτο. Ο Μπάμπης Τσέρτος πιστός πάντα στο καλό ελληνικό τραγούδι και στην αυθεντική διασκέδαση, μας υπόσχεται ένα μουσικό ταξίδι που θα μας παρασύρει... 21:00 μ.μ.

Τρίτη 13 Αυγούστου: Γενική Συνέλευση Πολιτιστικού Συλλόγου Νέων Βίτσας & Εκλογές για ΔΣ, στον προαύλιο χώρο του σχολείου στις 18:00 μ.μ.

Τρίτη 13 Αυγούστου: O βραβευμένος με Grammy παραγωγός, ηχολήπτης και μουσικός Christopher King θα δώσει μια ομιλία για την ηπειρώτικη μουσική στην αυλή του σχολείου, 21:30 μ.μ.

14-15-16 Αυγούστου: Παραδοσιακό Πανηγύρι

Κυριακή 18 Αυγούστου: Πεζοπορία-Εθελοντικός Καθαρισμός, 12:00 π.μ.

Είσοδος ελεύθερη για όλες τις εκδηλώσεις


27 July, Soundcheck in the Square:

Kavos, Corfu, Channel 4, Second Season?

According to Corfu Press, Channel 4 has decided to stop shooting a second What Happens in Kavos series. Too shocking? Or because it may have been targeting young people at risk? See Daily Mail: production team allegedly recalled. Investigation to follow. More allegations in The Sun.

A publicity stunt? That's the view of some Corfu Forum commentators.

Dorset, East Cliff, West Bay (Bridport), Landslip and Dangerous Overhang

BBC report

West Cliff Rock Fall

February 2013; and December (below)

Landscape Photography, Before the Invention of Photography?

See Plinius (Some Landscapes blog)

Zagori Highup (Lowdown) Backporch Blues


Rock music in the village square tonight. It will start and finish a lot earlier.

Backporch Blues: Louisiana Red, The Blues Meets Rebetika


One more time (powerful rebetiko-blues fusion about Nelson Mandela in prison, a plea for his release)

Louisiana Red died on 25 February 2012

I done woke up

One of his best singles, almost the first blues harp song intro and solo I ever learnt.
 Really made me wake up and sit up!

His first album, Lowdown Backporch Blues, ideal for the back porch in the evening.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Reduced VAT in Greece, Restaurants and Cafes

From 1st August, make sure that restaurants and cafes display the "sign of conformity" and pass on the reduced VAT rate to customers. Check menus carefully! Ask to see

το ειδικό σήμα συμμόρφωσης, που θα πιστοποιεί στους καταναλωτές ότι η μείωση του ΦΠΑ «πέρασε» στις τιμές.

Article in Greek 

Restaurants and cafes that reduce their prices by at least 5% for three quarters of the products included in their price lists and menus can obtain the special mark of conformity, which will certify to consumers that a VAT reduction has been "passed" on in terms of genuine lower prices for customers.

The label will indicate in Greek and English that prices have been reduced because of the VAT reduction.

Mind you, the VAT reduction is 10%, from 23% to 13%!

To Vima International

Update and partial explanation

A more cynical view from Keep Talking Greece (update)

VAT Cut Confusion (Kathimerini)

Setting a good example (Global Greek World)

Greece, Opening Up of Services and Professions

A condition of the new tranche and memorandum

Ioannina, Dodoni Dairy Factory, Clashes with dairy farmers


Keep Talking Greece

"Dairy factory Dodoni was one of the first enterprises that had been privatized. The majority stake belonged to former state bank “Agrotiki”. In October 2012, Dodoni was sold to Russian fund Strategic Initiatives UK LLP and SIMOS FOOD GROUP for 20 million euro.The new owners claimed that payment delays are due to ‘liquidity shortage due to the economic crisis”.

Camping in the orchard, waiting for the bear...

Camping out, hoping (not) to meet the bear tonight!

Photo of Bear: Arcturos

Photo of Krania Berries (Cornel Fruit): Jeremy Eccles

Brown bear with cub in Zagori

The political bear

Camping on Corfu and Mallorca

Buddha and the Swallows

Buddha, not so serene in the snow

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Greek Parliament, Amendment Approved; New Demands

Kathimerini update

Unemployed Youth (Business Week)

'Emergency' Property Tax to stay?

Chris King, Talk on Epirotic Music, Vitsa, Zagori, 13 August 2013

Press Release -
August 13th, Vitsa,

Christopher King, a Grammy-winning producer, sound-engineer, and musician from the United States, will be visiting Corfu and Vitsa for the first two weeks of August.  Mr. King will be giving a talk on the 13th of August after the Annual General Meeting of the Vitsa Cultural Committee on his fascination with Epirotic music, especially the music contained on old 78 RPM discs recorded and issued in Greece.  Mr. King has produced two collections recently of Epirotic music.  One is a four-CD set containing 92 different performances, most of which were recorded before World War Two.  It is called Beyond Rembetika: The Music and Dance Of The Region of Epirus, 1919-1958.  The other set is a single CD containing 18 performances entitled Five Days Married and Other Laments: Song and Dance From Northern Greece, 1928-1958Both CD sets were composed of old 78 RPM discs from Mr. King's personal collection and both CDs will be available for sale after his talk.

Mr. King will be discussing his discovery of Epirotic music and his obsessive search for the old records and the biographical details of the artists that recorded them.  He will explain why this music is among the most sublime, powerful, and important expressions ever to be recorded and what the music means to him.

Mr. King is also researching the Epirotic violinist, Alexis Zoumbas, who was born between 1880-1885 in Grammeno, Ioannina and moved to the United States between 1910-1914.  He is planning a CD release of Zoumbas' most stunning performances.  Anyone who is related to Mr. Zoumbas or has any biographical details or old 78s recorded by Alexis Zoumbas is encouraged to attend so that they might help Mr. King in his research and writing. 

This visit and talk is facilitated by Thanasis Tsakalidis. 

Greece, Open on Sundays, But...

New law, with exceptions and conditions

Little change?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

On Ed Snowden and the US Reaction

Nina-Maria on China Central TV

BBC on the narrow vote

Still Stuck In Moscow Airport

Better to be stuck in Mobile?

Zagori Mountain Running Races, 27 July 2013 (27-29 July)

A tough route even for the fittest athlete.

I wonder-  how many broken ankles?

This is the third year of the Zagori races.

Home Page

Information here (Race Rules)


YouTube video teaser

A Common Greek Proverb

Δώσε θάρρος στο χωριάτη, ν'ανεβεί και στο κρεβάτι!

Dhose tharros sto horiati, n'anevei kai sto krevati!

See one explanation here (in Greek)

A rather more graphic version of "Familiarity breeds contempt"; literally,

"Give encouragement to (or, Be overfamiliar with) a villager, and he'll climb into your bed"

Australian Aboriginal Literature, New Book

Information about the book here

A Companion to Australian Aboriginal Literature

Edited by Belinda Wheeler

Petro-Loukas Halkias (Clarinet)

Petro-Loukas Halkias, the great Epirot klarino player, performed at Asfaka (village 18 kms from Ioannina), 26 July 2013. Excellent venue (covered, open-air, well organised), but the over-amplified music didn't begin until 11pm. The band apparently played all night, until 9am the next morning. Too long a wait (arrived far too early, at 9pm). Enjoyed the souvlakis and meeting Petro-Loukas and Antonis Kyritzis. I love the CDs. I went for an authentic musical experience, not for the parea or the dancing. Crazy to expect a recital or concert.

A Male Medea: George Kimoulis, Open Air Theatre, Ioannina, 25 July, 2013

Greek Reporter article on Medea

On George Kimoulis

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Corfu Online Museum

Thanks to Bob at Corfu Forum for the link ("Whilst checking though some old photographs on the 'Corfu Old Photos - 1' Facebook group, I stumbled across several posts referring to the 'Corfu Museum' Website at  It contains a wonderful collection of documents and images relating to Corfu. Although in Greek, Google translate makes a pretty good stab at it").

Corfu Museum

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Stockholm, Sweden- Sophisticated City (with Miles and Charlie)

BBC Travel, Stockholm video

"Once a Viking heartland, today the Swedish capital is one of Europe’s most sophisticated cities".

Once my city, too:

Corfu Town: "The Most Beautiful Old Town"

According to and

Ακόμη κι αν η τουριστική ανάπτυξη είναι σε ...καραντίνα σε κάποιες παράκτιες περιοχές, η ενδοχώρα μαρτυρά ένα νησί σε μια άλλη εποχή. Οι παλιές συνοικίες της ανατολικής ακτής στην πόλη της Κέρκυρας, πρόσφατα χαρακτηρίστηκαν πολιτιστική κληρονομιά της UNESCO. Δικαίως. Δεν υπάρχει κάτι τόσο όμορφο όσο η πόλη της Κέρκυρας και το Ντουμπρόβνικ.

But I haven't yet found the original article in The Telegraph...

Greece: Summer Music Festivals

Useful article

Taki on Paddy (and Greece)

Read it here "Every Invented Paradise Soon Turns Into Hell"

Greece: Property Tax, 2014 (2007 Valuations); The Omnibus Bill and Another Haircut?


2007 Property Values

'Multi Reforms' Bill Approved by Greek Parliament

The vote

Lay-Offs, EnetEnglish

Keep Talking Greece, comment

No more haircuts! (Reuters)

Maybe... (Bloomberg)

Too risky, Merkel (EnetEnglish)

Ruled out (Kathimerini)

Audits of luxury villas on Paxos and elsewhere

Corfu Press

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Hamenos stous Paxous (Lost on Paxos)

A Greek friend recently referred to someone who had "disappeared from view" and was believed to be living in seclusion and largely incommunicado somewhere on the island of Paxos.

I've known a number of people who've done just that.

"Hamenos stous Paxous" - Lost on Paxos.

A good title for a short story or a novel. Give me time.

Not a bad place to get lost or to drop out.

International Lawrence Durrell Society Publication

The ILDS Herald (pdf), May 2013

Ioannina 1913-2013, Photographic Exhibition at Monodendri, Zagori, Rizareios Centre

Wonderful exhibition of the work of some outstanding photographers. A very successful opening and invaluable catalogue.

Dorset: Condor Ferry Returns to Weymouth

Dorset Echo

Back in Weymouth (Condor Ferries website)

Dorset: Beaminster Landslip Tunnel, Now Open

Reopening soon (BBC)

Dorset Echo

Update BBC, 29 July 2013 Finally reopened

Dorset Echo, 29 July

On Kosovo

BBC report

Greece Needs More Money

Suddeutsche report

Gap is up to 10 million Euros?

Update, Eurointelligence:

"Responding to Süddeutsche report that Greece would need €10bn to fill its financing shortfall next year, a European Commission spokesman said that the gap is significantly smaller, and that it could be filled with money left over from Greece’s €50bn bank-recapitalization fund. There will be €7bn left over from the recapitalisation, Reuters quotes Simon O'Connor, while the shortfall in Greece would be around €4.6bn".
Concessions to Mayors

TV gaffe

Costas Zissis, Photographer; Pierre Authier, Botanist

Last night to Aristi (Zagori) to see Costas Zissis' fascinating photographic exhibition Wild Flowers of Mt. Tymphe at the impressive Aristi Mountain Resort (and YouTube Resort presentation)

See Costas' time-lapse video, Mt. Tymphe (Zagori Villages, Vikos-Aoos National Park)

Costas' website

Afterwards to the Zissis Hotel in Aristi. A great evening! Thank you, Costa. Hotel information

Costas's exhibition opened at the Ioannina Archaeological Museum. It will be shown in Truro Cathedral in Cornwall.

Visited Costas' exhibition in the company of two very hardy and distinguished French botanists, Pierre Authier and his colleague Daniel Gasnier, who've been studying the flora of the Vikos Gorge and Zagori and Timfi mountains since 1979 (truly hardy annuals). Some information about Pierre from the web:

Authier, Pierre (62 rue de Paris, F-93800 Epinay/Seine, France) is currently preparing an orchid flora of Mt. Timfi in Epirus, northwest Greece

Pierre Authier – Catalogue commenté des plantes vasculaires de la région des monts Timfi (Epire, nord-ouest Grèce) (Parc National du Vikos-Aoos et environs). I. – Privately published (P. Authier, rue de Paris 62, F-93800 Epinay), 1995. [7] + xvii + 143 pages, drawings, colour photographs, paper.

The Timfi mountain group is a limestone massif situated in the Epirus (Ipiros) province of N.W. Greece, skirting 2500 metres of altitude and split by deep gorges and ravines. It has been visited repeatedly by botanists during the last 100 years, and several plant species have been described from there, although virtually none is strictly limited to the area. Mount Timfi’s flora has conquered the heart and mind of Pierre Authier, who has for many years been devoting all his time and energy to its study. The present, privately published account deals with perhaps one tenth of its vascular plants, being limited to the families treated in the first half of volume 1 of Flora europaea. Authier reveals himself as a very thorough and critical observer, but also as a cautious judge of his findings, reluctant to draw hasty conclusions. What he calls a "commented catalogue" comes very close to a full local flora, except for the fact that keys and descriptive matter are not provided methodically under each item but, when present, form part of often extensive and most informative corollary discussions and notes. The fair and thorough way in which past questionable (obviously mostly erroneous) records are dealt with is a model of its kind. The work is embellished by 11 colour plates with 27 of the author’s photographs illustrating about one tenth of the 203 native or naturalized accepted species.

Authier, Pierre, 1993: Contributions to Flora Hellenica: Flora of the Mounts Timfi area Epirus, N.W. Greece I. Acta Botanica Gallica 140(5): 525-533

Corfu: An Expensive Palace and an Expensive Meal

An expensive palace (on the Achilleion)

A complaint about a poor value meal

On the Achilleion (Corfu Forum)