28 July 2005

Verdi-Lucca - NOT

Sans Lucy

~Yet another name change ~

Sorry to dither.

A propos the revised revised name for this blog, altho' it was pointed out to me that my original name was a sitting duck for Googling tourists and other pests - and that both homes were too closely identified - my choice of change was too silly and ugly for words. So I'm RE-renaming it to simply Sans Lucy in honor of the gal who died poisoned my last morning.

Sorry for any confusion in the ranks.

23 June 2005


Onlie in Greece

greek mcdonaldWhere else but in the land of Democracy are you going to see an organic food store renting out prime rooftop billboard advertising space to ... McDonalds.

15 June 2005


In view of my good pals Yvonne and Gwyn Headley heading for Corfu, I feel this plug for the excellent fotoLIBRA is in order here.

By the by, Kerkyra-based readers - the reason why Corfu is being graced by the Headley presence is that the dynamic duo need to recreate some C19 pix uploaded to fotoLIBRA.

But they need broadband in Corfu, and they haven't yet found a rental apartment that provides it.

Nor have I been much help through my own extensive and powerful contacts. Thinking caps on, phili mou!

Anyone who knows of a rental with broadband to let for a week between now and end July, let me know via a comment, OK? Your reward will be great.

End of plug-'n'-plea.

Back to fotoLIBRA and two links contained in the latest newsletter from the energetic Jacqui Norman. Hmm, if I had GH's talent for hiring such hotshot help, I too could leave the store expertly attended and swan off to the Aegean:

  • Recent uploads
  • The recently-enabled Poster and Print service, which strikes me as tailor-made for Corfu camerati keen to make money out of their work.
    • Look above the thumbnails for the icon of a frame.
    • Click on the frame to see 22 top quality products you can buy from each image.

Check it out, register, add your own spectacular pics ... and do let's find them the perfect wired apartment.

Update, 8/8/05: Despite my fine words to Gwyn and so-called powerful contacts and intimate knowledge of Who's Who in Kerkira, and prompt replies by heroines like Saskia, I was not one jot of help to the Headleys and nor did any of the key folks over in Kerkira who are likely to have known the answer actually bother to respond.

So there's a moral for you, starting with don't place any store on what *I* pretend to think I achieve.

June 14 - RIP

I think today is the anniversary of my Dad's death. If so, it's sad that I can't remember for sure.

I can easily find out by scrolling back to my posting of the photos of his gravestone.

One year - maybe more - I came out to Corfu and, mid all the festivities and carousing, never even thought of visiting the cemetery ... and it was Dad's slogging toil over the years that *paid* for the house and all our good times.

I remembered on the flight back and it rather depressed me how thoughtless I can be.

Feckless, rather.

PS: I did have the date right ... still, no excuse for vagueness.

Broadband in Corfu

Email from longtime pal and fellow lumberjack Gwyn Headley, he of fotoLIBRA fame and the lovely Yvonne.

"We need to get away.

We have to go to Corfu to recreate some C19 pix uploaded to fotoLIBRA.

But we need broadband in Corfu, and we can’t find anywhere that has it!


As you know le tout Kerkyra, can you ask if anyone knows of an apartment with broadband to let for a week between now and end July?"

I reply, copying in Mum and Hilary Paipeti, the latter being the best bet, IMO.

Mum replies that:

"The admirable Mahmud is popping round Sunday afternoon to check my c'puter and I'm sure will give sound help/advice and so on and I'll also contact my Jon of Pelikas pal about your message.

Would love to meet them anyway.

The admirable Hilary ... may come out trumps if there is the least possibility of flogging a place ..."

Seems like Hilary is busy on property deals, so probably not worth counting on prompt or practical reply from *that* direction.

*Also*, now I think of it, I recall Mum extending a civil invitation via Hilary to her bloke, Harry, that he might like to come up to San Luca some time. HP's somewhat bizarre reply was that her bloke only accepted invitations delivered *personally*, i.e. we ask him *en personne*.

Well, phooey to *that* ....

I then email Saskia who responds by return, the darling:

"Would love to be able to help you keep your reputation as top notch 'negotiator' but I don't think I can.

What I have been able to find out if it's any help is that the Internet cafes in town will have broadband . If he
(your friend) has a Notebook with PCM PCI availability then he can buy a card here (costs about 250 euros I'm told) so that he can have access to Broadband and download and upload etc.

Finding an apartment with Broadband won't be easy, but 1st class hotels will probably (maybe?) have it. All this is gobbledegook to me, I phoned a knowledgeable friend!"

No response from mum so I email the stalwart Mahmood who replies with a prompt:

"Great to hear from you. Saw your mum last Monday and she looks well.

Re your request. we do have broadband in Corfu but it is limited to about 5 kms from Corfu town. I am trying to see who would be able to fit the bill and will let you know if I can be able to help you.

Would a hotel do?? Be in touch. Be good."

I reply thanking him and copy in Gwyn, and that's where we stand for now.


alhLooks like a reprieve for #2 daughter and best pal Y - they might be able to jet off to Hawaii for a bit of a summer break with one of Y's kin.

Pity about Greece - I'd rather liked the idea of folks calling out, "Yassou, Yasi!"

While on matters Greek, went with A to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Very much a teenage girl movie but what fascinated me was that I at long last know what and where Santorini is - santoriniit's that ridiculously picturesque white and blue tourist paradise overlooking a bay from the side of a mountain.

Fooled by the -ini suffix, I always thought it was some tourist-ridden **ITALian** resort.

Beautiful place. I always wondered where it was and what it was called.

Alex Bledel plays the girl who goes to stay with her grandma, so there's plenty of "Ya Ya" addressing and noble Greek papou profiles.

michael radyThe love interest in the book is "Kostos" (surely, it'd be Costas, or was that judged too effeminate-sounding for US ears?), played here by a bloke who looked Greeky enough in a buff biceped way, but who spoke with a lisping *Dutch* accent.

I kept nudging A and hissing, "That bloke is *Dutch*, but when we looked him up, turns out Michael Rady is as American as Pittsburgh steel.

On "Picking up the Greek Accent", Rady says somewhere:

"We had four days. They flew a dialect coach in from London and we just sat there morning, noon and night, all day long working the accent. We’d go out to lunch and I had to use the accent. It was very intense, very intensive."

In that case, there's a bit of an excuse but one has to wonder about the dialect coach.

01 April 2005

Italy Revisited

ch_sunsetHave decided that my Greece~Italy pages need keeping up to date, so am starting off with a look back at Tuscany in sun and snow.

  • One or two good snaps there
  • Oodles of boring views
  • Some vaguely amusing trick shots

    The Circle Game

    Interesting comparing the sunny photos taken in Tuscany over Christmas and then the snowy vistas that followed just weeks into the new year.

    The b&w pics rather lend to the wintry aspect.

    snow-bound vistaSnow-bound Vista

    Rather a bleak prospect that one would hardly think was identical to the balmy view below, actually snapped on Xmas Day

    balmy vistaBalmy Vista

    Except for the distinctive tree, one would hardly think it was the same angle.

    summery nookSummery nook

    Where one sits after dinner with cigar and digestif and contentedly rights the wrongs of the day and invents new mischief for the morrow.

    wintry nookWintry nook

    Not much but chilblains to contemplate once the snows moved in. Rather a Dickensian, Christmas card aspect.

    roadSummery Drive

    Lovely long rural drive up to the house.

    Visitors are audible as well as visible from miles off, giving lots of time to hide or roll out the welcome mat.

    During the hunting season, oafish hunters with unruly dogs come right up to the property to park. The fun is when the rains come, the track turns to wheel spin slush and they're stranded in the midst of nowhere.

    snow road

    Wintry Drive

    Once the bad weather comes, the road can be impassable except to those who know where the gravel lies 'neath the snow and slush.

  • 04 February 2005


    My "Capability Brown" brother rules supreme from his Tuscan Eden.

    My Christmas there was as in a world apart.

    He travels the world advising on horticultural matters, accepting few new clients and keeping those he has exceedingly well behaved lest they lose his custom.

    He's sought out by lesser gardenologists - albeit ones feted in the glossies - who mincingly ask how he describes himself.

    "A gardener," growls Pete.

    "Oh come now ... surely ...."

    "A gardener," he growls and stomps off to inspect some suspect growth.

    19 January 2005

    Lucy, R.I.P

    lucy waking me up in t'morning

    Sans Lucy

    On the very day I left Corfu, my mother returned from the airport to find Lucy had been poisoned.

    Hence name of this blog.

    Very sad: lovely dog, she was, honey-toned with a touch of Alsatian. That's her playing with the red-collared Sam, another shot of her waking me in the morning, and a final shot of Luce and Sam standing guard on the house from the patio ramparts.lucy n sam playing

    The vet said it was rat poison and that she'd obviously had a massive dose">

    The locals use it prodigally, but whether it had been deliberately mixed with her food or just scattered around and she got out, who knows?lucy n sam en garde

    18 January 2005

    Lost Pal

    This shot of Sam was taken when he and Lucy were both alive, but it *looks* as if he's calling plaintively for his lost pal

    The Trip Home to Seattle

    When I reached the platform for the Heathrow Express, it was announcing an 11:50am train for Terminal 4. With each tick of the clock, the bloody schedule got later and later.
    They now have officious Roza Kleb-style kommandantes patrolling the platform to see we don't misbehave. I had an urge to boot them *into* the gap.

    For all my baffled Seattle pals - yes, the London Underground *does* caution "customers" about the gap.

    But customers? What nonsense is this? Whatever happened to good old-fashioned "passengers"? Bah humbug.

    Taken from my flight from Athens to London: at the time of snapping, they looked like clouds but now I think they have to be mountains.

    Parting's sweet sorrow

    Mum's and my last lunch at the Windmill restaurant had a splendid view of the snow on the mountains, even tho' the photo did scant justice to the view.

    View across the lawn to the hillside which, when my parents bought and built on the land, was virgin, spared those vulgar overlooking mansions.

    Sam rolling with joy in the January Corfu sunshine

    16 January 2005

    Snail Mail Supreme

    I'm sorting through old postcards sent to my mother and come across one from the Koeiau Quartet of the 'Inside of the Emerald Buddha Temple, Bangkok'.

    It is postmarked Chiangmai Airport with a date of 31.10.45 (Ocober 31st, 1945).

    Mum and I work out the Quartet gave a private concert in San Luca in 2002, so it is a misprint, some dozy clerk at the airport post office accidentally knocking the 'year' out of synch.

    One has no idea how much mail went out under this wrong year, but isn't this the sort of thing that serious philatelists pay large sums for?

    I have told Mum to file this away, in case.

    15 January 2005

    Vive Articulacy

    Vive la langue! Vive vocabulaire!

    Some of the words I've been able to employ on my Euro-jaunt, or heard used correctly sans trace of self-consciousness or pretension:

    • perfervid
    • disingenuous
    • plangent
    • epistemological
    • intractable
    • schism
    • detritus
    • evanescent
    • subfusc (OK, *not* yer average everyday bon mot)
    • apotheosis
    • zenith
    • expropriation
    • curtailing
    • trenchant
    • saurian
    • apophthegm
    • seemly
    • inured
    • torpor
    • antithesis
    • captious
    • tranche
    • Rosicrucian (ditto 'subfusc')
    • Catachresis
    • Osmotic
    • Antediluvian


    Blimey, I can't turn my eye on the Royals for a minute but they land themselves in another mess.

    Talk about idiocy: surely someone - butler, bodyguard, chauffeur, brother (of course), fellow guest, even a passing tramp - couldn't somebody have hinted that, just possibly, the frivolous display of the heavily symbolic swastika might cause offence to one or two folks out there ... ?

    James HewittOn the other hand, what can you expect from the high-sprited love-child of famed "love rat" James Hewitt (see pic), who busted the sainted Diana's heart way back. I mean, just take a gander: that red hair, those Windsor-free devil-may-care good looks.

    Tous les Garcons

    Sigh ... Francoise Hardy ... any redblooded man of the Sixties will tell you that *this* was the chanteuse. This the Woman.

    14 January 2005

    Autumn Haiku

    Never was 100% sure how western syllables fitted (or did not) into the 5 - 7 - 5 haiku ruling.

    David Blaber's prize-winning entry in The Spectator provides a good aide-memoire :

    Why rehash the mists,
    The mellow fruitfulness, all
    That melancholy?

    Why waste sound metre
    On what's moribund, and rhyme
    On mouldering leaves?

    No elegy can
    Evoke the season, only
    The sigh of haiku.

    Let autumn, once named,
    Fade, in rationed syllables,
    Silently, with grace.

    12 January 2005

    Jan 15: Must-monitor link

    Two days from catching that SeaTac-bound jetliner, I'll be feeling jittery as hell.

    I must cheer myself up with the distraction of checking out this whole Pro-Write blog brouhaha.

    As people keep telling/reminding/asking me - it's time I got my own darned writing act together.

    11 January 2005


    sympathique albumReturning to Seattle will not be the *total* sulky blubfest anticipated.

    She with whom I share "Differing Social Expectations" (DiSE) has invited me to Pink Martini's Jan 20 Seattle appearance at Benaroya Hall.

    Must be the promo tour for their Tomato album. Very nice.

    Lunacy to accept, I know, and it will all end in tears and pinch-faced averting of gazes, but I need something to look forward to on my return.

    Dinner after on me, when I can practice expressions of interest in her current and labyrinthine affaires du coeur.

    Bullet Penséés

    Some random thoughts as I cruise into my last week in blissful Corfu:
    • The sheer linguistic fluency of everyone in at least 2 other languages than their native Greek
    • The beauty of the Greeks - male as well as female.
    • Pedestrians and vehicles pierce and part where they can and with no obvious harm or lack of temper. When I mentioned the Jay Walking laws of Seattle I was ogled disbelievingly and photographic proof demanded of lights-obedient pedestrians.
    • CNN in this part of the world is hosted by delicious black ladies with names like Tumi and Fumi and impeccable cut-glass accents.
    • MTV is in German with hilarious wacky kraut DJs introducing the US hit parade. I've finally caught up with Eminem's Michael Jackson video, as well as that extroadinary Jessica Simpson show where she daily astounds her new husband with demonstrations of her exasperating daffyness and general all-round stupidity.
    • The news of interest to the locals is Anna Nicole-Smith losing all those millions. Rumours of Brad and Jenn breaking up is greeted with bored shrugs: no one thinks she has looks worth a dime, certainly not worthy of the pretty boy Brad.
    • I try to buy something Greeky and Euro-Cool as 14th birthday present for Anna. Nothing. All is pseudo American rubbish. The Great Satan's influence infects everywhere.
    • What's this I read about a *California* tsunami? Honestly, you'd think things would settle down a bit so we can focus on where our rescue dollars are actually going. Settling down last night with my whiskey and early evening CN News, I felt a distinct twinge of tsunami fatigue and made a mental note to speed any donations on their way before I think better and invest in a better bottle of bourbon
    • Top 20 Catchphrases as per The Guardian: never heard of the winner, 'Little Britain's Dafydd's "I'm the only gay in the village". Heard of #2 and 3, Tommy Cooper and Homer Simpson, but few of the rest. But I'm glad they fitted in Ali G's "Is it coz I is black?". Always liked that one and look for opportunities to use it m'self.
    • Un-blissful thought: working on the land has to be one of *the* tedious toils de politesse de nos jours. Pitiless, pointless and no escape.

    09 January 2005

    Random snaps from bedroom

    The dogs playing

    Sam *demanding* I get out there and join in a romp.

    Over his manly shoulder - sunshine and ... garden.

    Dread hoeing and heaving, lifting and sifting. Raking and shoving and gloving ....

    Lucy wondering how come I'm still in my pyjamas
    Lucy and Sam suggesting I rise and shine
    8:30am view if I bother to rise from bed and open the shutters


    What a great mousepad this would make ...
    Mum reading Athens News - of which front page concerns Greece's contrib to the tsunami funds
    Fellow lunchers at Nautilus - note the un-persecuted dragging on cigs
    Another view of the old fort
    The stunning Mt Pantacrator
    Nautilus, or The Windmill
    Idyllic view of boats, also from T' Windmill
    The old Fort, snapped from a favourite lunching place, The Windmill


    Yet another shot of the breathtaking view.
    Proof that I cleaned up mum's wood pile

    08 January 2005


    Epiphany Blessing: Everything signed and blessed, the Pappas sits down to a drink and victuals Posted by Hello

    Pappas signing guest book with Theodoros, Yorgos, and Soula looking on.  Posted by Hello

    Feast of Epiphany, Jan 6, when the local priest blesses all the houses in his "parish".

    Here, the local Pappas signs the guest book.  Posted by Hello


    Brother Pete, Sophie A and my mother around the unique and magnficent dining table3.table

    I asked Sophie to don reflective pose as she showed off some of her jewelry sophie anderson
    Pete has known Sophie from before she was born.

    Hence his easy-going double-entendres and generally lewdish louche chatter.

    Here he is making some point over lunch.

    Not just a pretty face, Sophie is the talented designer behind Gingerbread-Lady PLUS having the distinction of turning me on to French band Air.