28 December 2004


4-day hiatus for travel from Corfu to Tuscany. See elsewhere for fotos.

Dec 23: Left Corfu 0730 on Minoan Lines' Pasiphae. Huge boat with bars and restaurants and shops galore and - everywhere - smokers galore - in the window seats, in the cafe and restaurants, everywhere. After breakfast next day, I'd noticed the ashtrays but hesitated to believe they'd be put to actual use. Not at all: no sooner had my breakfasting neighbours finished their croissants and started on their coffee than out came the cigs and the room was soon fuggy with baccy fumes. Lovely.

Arrived Venice 0730 and there was Pete on the quai.

Irrelevant 'thinks' ref Aphorisms and Don Paterson's "Book of Shadows"

  • "The present tense in English is too sibilant to be of much use to poets"
  • "If only poets and novelists could be translated into musicianhood ... we'd see the vast majority, after only a few notes, revealed as a bunch of desperate scrapers without a tune in their heads or the rudiments of technique. God, the time we'd save."
  • "Such is E's need to be loved, he experiences the casual indifference of stranger and a snub from his closest friend as the same torment."
1010hrs: Conscience urges me outside to find Pete and get in my quota of digging. I have some clay turning to do which I totally balls up.
  • Dug where I should not have done, and too deep, to boot
  • Having been shown where n how to dig, made a total mess of it
  • Given a patch where the lines were already dug, and all I had to do was trim and turn, still made grotesque mess of the whole thing.
  • Slight redemption towards end of day when I managed to be of some minute help over fixing a water connection and later with some shredding and cutting branches.

Flakey, definition of

Dinner conversation came round to the precise meaning of 'flakey', about which none of us was definite or willing to listen to anyone else's interpretation.

Opera Quiz

Calling all self-styled opera buffs ...

What follows "5 ... 10 ... 20 ... 30 ..."

(Answer ~ Think 'Marriage': 36, 43, as in "cinque, dieci venti trenta ... trentasei quarantatre. Got it?

Dec 28:The Andersons to lunch. Joshing and joking and photographs.

Dec 29: eggs n bacon for brek. Almost no sleep now that I'm into post-return nightmares of trawling the job ads.

More threshing and cutting in the garden followed by chatty lunch and siesta and Maugham's Razor's Edge which I'm finding enthralling.

22 December 2004

Some Foreign Field

Visited Dad's grave in the British Cemetery in Corfu.
Seen here, my mother and George Psaila, B.E.M., keeper over 50 years of the Cemetery garden.  Posted by Hello

My father's grave: David Ronald Holmes, Kt, CMG, CBE, MC.
26 Dec 1913-14 June 1981 Posted by Hello

Mum placing the lighted candle on Dad's grave Posted by Hello

Dad's gravestone.
The Greek legend, that you can't read, is a quote from Pindar Posted by Hello

Dec 22 snaps: dogs and views

The ever-suspicious and handsome Sambo. I don't think even a falling leaf escapes his scrutiny.  Posted by Hello

Lucy and Sam in vigilant watchdog mode Posted by Hello

Looking across the roof to our - ugh - neighbors Posted by Hello

Wild Corfiot country, looking towards Albania. Superb clouds. Posted by Hello

Strange skies: sun blazing but storm clouds looming ne'ertheless Posted by Hello

Dec 22 and gorgeous weather Posted by Hello

21 December 2004

L'homme de Loam

Homeward plods the weary worker after a muddy morn's mulching Posted by Hello

I'm wearing Costa's cap and a t-shirt bought direct from the hand of a Suquamish squaw (if paleface is allowed to call 'em that) in that exhibition center they have off the I305 just over Agate Bridge.Posted by Hello

That's *Lord* to you, Kemo Sabbagh

Maman returns from Corfu Town with assorted British newspapers.

I had heard of 'The Thunderer' going tabloid toilet-wards but this is the first time I've seen the desecrated Times.

I am mocked for my excessive high standards and knee-jerk hatred of the Prince of Darkness.

mbragg I flip thru the 'paper' until I come to Dan Sabbagh's piece on Secker scribe mucker Melvyn Bragg and how his In Our Time radio prog notched up 70,000 downloads.

In the Euro-edition I'm reading, the untutored Sabbagh refers to a "Mr" Bragg, apparently unaware that our MB has for some time enjoyed a Lordship, courtesy of this flakey government.

I hurl the rag into the compost patch and call Theodoros for another ouzo.

Thank *goodness* Melvyn's editor, the sainted David Farrer, isn't alive today to see such abysmal standards of reporting. On the other hand, how David would have chuckled with avuncular approval over our Melv's ennoblement.

Good lad, our Melvyn - excellent author to promote, knew how to follow orders. I have two main memories of my time as his book PR:

  • The two of us flying up to Aviemore for a book conference on an airline whose inflight mag included Melvyn's Georges Simenon interview - incl foto of our handsome Wigton whizz . Brushing knees opposite were two dour businessmen who, when they reached the Simenon piece, did a marvelous double-take as they connected the article with the famous nasal tones droning aface.
  • Walking in a threesome down Oxford Street, Melvyn one one side - already one of Britain's most famous faces, thanks to his TV show, 'Arena' - and on the other, fresh from the US, a newly arrived Arena interviewee here to plug the movie version of 'All the President's Men' (another Tom Rosenthal coup).

    Name of Robert Redford.

IT Haiku

Savvy sushi link. There are people I must send the link to individually, such as she of giftless Yules.

I submit one of my own:

Gouvia Christmas
Ouzo and IT Haiku
Sula's moussaka
PS: seems it was chosen

Rich and Useful Links

*My* pruned pick of the incredibly useful sites sent round by the ever-helpful Jacqui Norman of must-see site, Fotolibra:The full list in its fully glory is here.

Rainy walk through Gouvia

Slip-road leading to our local tourist 'inferno', Gouvia.gouvia

Not looking such an inferno, out of season and in the rainPosted by Hello

Bijou corner eaterie of taste and discretion.Posted by Hello

In summer, you can't even *see* the entrance to the Adonis Club, so packed is the patio with gorgeous people thronging to get in.adonis1

20 December 2004

With his strategically flapping beach towel, Adonis is over-dressed compared to some of the club's habitués in this hottest of Corfu nightspots. Posted by Hello

The local bakery was the only shop open during my soggy sojourn.Posted by Hello

Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus: you just *know* that Ulysses would've cut short his Odyssey if he'd known there was a welcoming Poco Loco tex-mex monstrosity at the other end.Posted by Hello

Me and the breadshop customer trudge our splashy route home.Posted by Hello


Had I better camera, you'd see the stunning clarity of the view thanks to last night's torrential rain. As it is, we're at Vivianne's Kommeno hideaway (as her palace is being built), indulging in torrential glugging.
Naturally, I left my cigs behind and had to beg off everyone *including* Saskia, for the umpteenth year running.  Posted by Hello

Viv's garden with knick-knacks. It's empty of people because they're all *behind* me inside knocking back the amazing array of decent booze V laid on, not to mention snacks galore.  Posted by Hello

Sunday all-dayish trough and sluice chez Vivianne at which le tout raffish Corfu seemed to turn up, including la bellissima Saskia. This is a decent view turned dull by my amateur lensmanship. Posted by Hello

View from Vivianne's. Actually, the even better view is inside, of the groaning table of drinks and snacks, the blazing fire, the grand piano ... and the ashtrays
... my dear, a hostess who lays out ashtrays and allows her riff-raff guests to puff to heart's content. *That's* entertaining.  Posted by Hello

Homage to a noble guitar

The guitar that saw it all - Ibanez #385, purchased Clifford Essex, London WC1 - veteran of London/Tours/Paris busking * Corfu courting (including the crucial chords of wooing Stephanie); the lot - still perfectly pitched in bucolic Corfiot.

Salut, vieux copain!  Posted by Hello