Colenso Books

COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Friday, 5 June 2020

Corfu, 1958: Prickly Pears (Pavlosika)

A photograph posted on Facebook,
captioned as one of a series of slides "found in a secondhand shop".
Unknown photographer, Corfu, 1958

See article from

The photograph reminded me of these lines from my "Corfu Blues" and "Reading the signs":

(Open market, Corfu)

I love to stop
for a prickly pear
peeled by the man christened "Cactus".

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Holidays in Greece? The Greek Tourism Minister on the prospects for British Tourists, Summer 2020

Listen to Harry Theoharis, Minister of Tourism, Greece, on the BBC 4 Today programme, from the 1 hour and 10 minutes point:

Greece: Plane Trees at Risk. Η αρρώστια των πλατάνων - Concerns in Epirus

Plane Tree Wilt (

Alexis Papachristos writes (on FB, Βίτσα- Vitsa group)): " Imagine the squares of our villages without plane trees" - ttps://

Video posted by Costas Zissis: Με το σοβαρότατο αυτό πλήγμα για το δέντρο-σύμβολο, το περιβάλλον και το τοπίο της Πίνδου και της χώρας φτωχαίνουν ανεπανόρθωτα... Εκτός αν όλοι μας αναλάβουμε δράση!

Michael Vakaros posted on FB on 2 June about yet another plane tree affected by the disease:

Photo Michael Vakaros (FB) : Ένας ακόμη πλάτανος διαπιστώθηκε ότι είχε προσβληθεί από την ασθένεια κι αφού κόπηκε σήμερα στο μεγαλύτερο μέρος του μεταφέρθηκε για να θαφτεί.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

After the death of George Floyd - and long before

1963 (USA and UK). Penguin Books, 1964)

1965, UK; 1964, USA

1964 (UK)



1969 (UK)


This posting of old book covers was prompted after reading a poem, "it ends like this", by Louisa Adjoa Parker, about the deaths of Eric Garner (and George Floyd), which she tweeted on 2 June. Words may change, acts of cruelty don't.

An influential book:


Historical Recordings (audio cassettes), 2002

Walking the Undercliff: Seaton to Lyme Regis

This walk proved more tiring and challenging than we'd imagined. 
Walked it yesterday with Mark and Sue.
Seven and a half miles: it felt like twice that distance.

Photo of Sue above by Mark

From John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman:

Photo by Mark:

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Cecil Gant and Memphis Slim - Really Rocking!

Some seminal recordings often overlooked.
The lyrics may be basic,
but the boogie piano hits the mark!

Cecil Gant:

Memphis Slim:

Jules Holland, The Times, May 16, 2020

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Portland, Dorset: around the coastal path

Walking clockwise round the island from Portland Heights.
The day before yesterday.
 Photos by Mark Allen

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Thomas Hardy's Burial (The London Mercury, February, 1928)

From The London Mercury, Vol. XVII, No. 100, February, 1928


Greece: The Modern Gaze of Foreign Architects Travelling to Interwar Greece


"This paper reflects on the embrace of the Ancient world in modernity and the journey to Greece as a vehicle for their reciprocal reshaping. In the interwar period, new visual narratives emerged in Western accounts, proposing alternative contexts for Greek cultural heritage and associating regional culture with the emergence of modernism. The article investigates the mobility of modern travellers in Greece as an essential factor for the new contextualization of the country’s dominant cultural paradigm -Antiquity- as well as for the emergence of parallel narrations of the Mediterranean genius loci that examine the spatial imprint of heritage and tourism on the Greek urban, archaeological and natural environment. Western intellectuals, engineers, architects and urban planners, supported by a highly mobile network of editors, travel agencies, tourist cruises, architectural or archaeological conferences and congresses, contributed to the promotion of modern architecture and urban infrastructure in Greece. Their yet to become tourist gaze embraced the Aegean tradition, the Greek landscape and the ancient ruins as equal collocutors, initiating at the same time Greece itself into modernity. This paper traces the encounters between foreign travellers and the divergent manifestations of the country’s cultural identity in the pages of printed articles, books, travel accounts, photographic material and films. Following these documentations, the paper argues that tourism mobility gave rise to an alternative, southern modernism, whose emergence and development deviates significantly from mainstream narratives propounded by the continental historiography of modernity. Vice versa, the modern mobility networks of the South promoted the development of urban infrastructure and welfare facilities in Greece, as well as the establishment of early tourism policies, thus articulating the new national narrative of interwar Greece, based equally on classical heritage, regional culture and modern progress. The present paper is part of the research program Voyage to Greece: Mobility and modern architecture in the interwar period, where E. Athanassiou, V. Dima, V.; Karali, K. contribute as post-doctoral researchers, with P. Tournikiotis, Professor NTUA as scientific supervisor. The research is co-financed by the Greek State and the European Union"

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Fall of Constantinople, May 29th, 1453

No sooner do Ionian Islanders mark the anniversary of the (peaceful) Union of the Seven Islands with Greece (May 21st, 1864), than Greeks around the world remember the violent fall of Constantinople on May 29th, 1453.

“Πήραν την Πόλη, πήραν την, πήραν τη Σαλονίκη…”  (C. Fauriel, Chants populaires de la Grece moderne, Paris 1825, p. 340;

The following lines are from The Last Weekend in May, by Nicholas Samaras, a poem which, I assume, refers to the annual  patriotic parade which was, and perhaps still is, held by the Greeks of New York. It happens to be about a march to honour the dead, which the poet recalls from his school and scouting days in the 1950's.

I had another look at Sir Steven Runciman's book, The Fall of Constantinople:


I listened to the traditional Greek lamentation-

 -and I made note of the last three lines of Nicholas Samaras' poem:

"In silence, burn
 every flag that separates
one soul from one soul".

Nicholas Samaras was born in England in 1954. From there he went to Woburn, Massachusetts 
and to New York. His father was a Greek Orthodox priest. 

Some patriotic Greek websites/blogs on the Fall of Constantinople

Πήραν την Πόλη, πήρανε, μωρέ πήραν τη Σαλονίκη
πήραν κι την- πήραν κι την Αγια-Σοφιά.

Πήραν κι την Αγια-Σοφιά, το μέγα μαναστήρι,
μι τιτρακόσια σήμαντρα, μ’ ιξήντα δυο καμπάνις
πάσα καμπάνα κι παπάς, πάσα παπάς κι διάκος.
Να κι η κυρά η Παναγιά, στην πόρτα πάει και στάθη
και στους μαστόρους έλεγε και στους μαστόρους λέει.
Μαστόροι μη δουλεύετε, μη χάνετε τον κόπο
κι εδώ ’κκλησιά δε γίνεται κι μέγα μαναστήρι,
θα γίνει τούρκικο τζαμί να προσκυνούν οι κλέφτις
να προσκυνάει Αλή πασάς με τους σκλάβους δεμένους.


Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece, May 21 Anniversary, 1864-2020

A suitable poem for May 21

Kostis Palamas, translated by Ian Scott-Kilvert,
from Arthur Foss, The Ionian Islands, Zakynthos to Corfu (1969)

A book from my library