30 April 2006

bugs bunny brek sign

1am Brek

Batten the hatches. Roll out the tea bags.

Grease the frying pans for a nosh up like down the corner shop:

  • Fish 'n' chips
  • Chip butties
  • Mushy peas
  • Spotted dick
  • Kippers and jam.

    Uh ohh ... them Brits are coming ...

  • Rooney looniness

    You have to giggle at wayward Mr Sod's lawerly timing where football crazies are concerned:

  • Teenaged soccer genius Wayne Rooney is signed for farcical mega-quid book deal of his dumbo-eared "career".
  • Instant volte face by the tabloids from slagging off Rooner's bit of gash to hailing her as fashion icon, blah blah.
  • FA unable to find home-grown managerial talent, look outside at some Italian.

    *He* gives them the old digito, telling them to hike a ride down the Via Appia.

  • Then Rooney crocks a limb, and it's touch and go if he'll even feature in the World Cup.
  • Saturday Supper

    Normally, Mum & I accept only *one* sumptuous meal invite a day: luncheon, followed by power siesta; or dinner, in which case we go into training and arrive with thirst and hunger unimpaired.

    In this case, we'd accepted lunch with M&T (whose hospitality we never turn down, besides which M is tech savvy and always has some latest toy, plus he smokes so the first drink comes with baccy of the finest.)

    Nor does one turn down lightly a chance to be seated at D&D's groaning table ....

    More text anon, highlights of which will include:

  • Insiders' inside gossip over D&T lunch.
  • International gathering at D&D's capped by late entrance just as we sat to dine of "the children" including knee-tremblingly beautiful daughter Alethia and her handsome Kiwi swain, Marcus.
  • Excellent apres-dinner game of "Cranium" which our team - my hostess, Marcus and myself - won hands down.
  • The marvelous view from D&D's eyrie paradise home

    Slightly varied snap from the D&D terrace, looking out over norther Corfu's Cassiopi environs.

    Out 'n' About

    Easier for me to simply Picasa my latest fotos onto the blog, give 'em some heading intro like this, and assemble them later into some fancy single page.

    Saturday April 29 we had lunch with M and T in their lovely house down in Benitses (photos below) and then supper up north in Cassiopi with D & D et famille (see above for view from terrace.

    I was too shy to be so vulgar as snap the interiors with all the famous and fashionable guests there.

    They'd have rightly assumed I was some sleaze ball gaining entry via maman, click away on the sly and then sell fotos to the tabloids for a sum fit to put both girls thru college).

    Most tempting.

    View from their garden of M&T's bijou spiti (house) off Benitses

    M&T's garden; some sort of local tree

    M & T's roses

    seaview from M's

    view from M's terrace

    28 April 2006


    As part of my drive for proficiency in Greek, I read the road signs and noticed how often 'kiosk' appears, even as the name of stores.

    Asked the brainies if it was derived from Greek and and no one knew:

  • A small open gazebo or pavilion.
  • A small structure, often open on one or more sides, used as a newsstand or booth.
  • A cylindrical structure on which advertisements are posted.

    [French kiosque, from Turkish köşk, from Middle Persian gōshak, corner, from Avestan *gaoshaka-, diminutive of gaosha-, ear.]

    WORD HISTORY : The lowly kiosk where newspapers are sold or advertisements are posted is like a child in a fairy tale raised by humble parents but descended from kings. The word kiosk was originally taken into English from Turkish, in which its source köşk meant “pavilion.”

  • Proof i grumble to excess: path to 'Christine's bench' that I cleared of own accord.


    My yesterday's pathetic scrabbling amid weeds starts me thinking.

    Beyond the pale: thinking to impress entrepreneur book baron Paul Hamlyn, I mentioned a business trip to Tokyo. Knowing me, I'd have been the token gaijin , under orders to hold my tongue and the handbag of my almond-eyed manager.

    We were on his company junk sailing out of Hong Kong harbour. Paul gave me a "look" before stating quietly that he found doing business in Japan "totally unacceptable."

    That ended *that* conversation, but his blanket dismissal stuck in my mind for its very forcefulness and quiet sincerity.

    I now know whereof he spoke, with vengeance.

    Yard-work, gardening, call it what you will: the whole temper-tattering package has to be some sort of all-time knackering nadir in time-squandering futility.

    I shouldn't go on about it except that I'm so appallingly inept at avoiding contact with the sodding sod. I should accept it as deserter's just desserts for fleeing daughters, debts and downpours for a land of sunshine and siestas.

    A little learning: Obvious question is to embrace the enemy and learn a little about this whole plant nonsense, but you know what? Hope springs eternal and I keep thinking that if I just stay my ignorant and venomous self towards this repellent treadmill, I'll one day, Samson-like, commit some vengeful terminal blunder allowing me to be hauled off the case forever and released for more pleasant duties in the field of latrine cleaning or scraping swallow guano off the patio.

    Till and Burn: So here am I, bending and stooping over these repetitive tasks.

    Didn't some wag once talk of Life as "One damn'd thing after another"? Gardening comes gruesomely close to that.

    You couldn't invent this sort of thing even if you wanted to, and if you could, you wouldn't want to.

    Here we are dancing attendance on these scabrous growths that seem to demand almost daily attention.

    No More Mister Nice Guy: Here's an idea, a sort of logical final solution.

  • Hire a stout yeoman with backhoe and bulldozer.
  • Equip him too with matches and gasoline.
  • It's a day's simplicity to turn and churn and ride roughshod over the wretched demanding 'plants'.
  • Having checked that no leaf or bud is visible, use the gasoline to blacken and char.

    Et voila - an end to all this dismal dancing attendance around these whoreson growers and climbers, clingers and entwiners.

    Diminishing Returns: It's all very well for me to make light-hearted jest of this verminous waste of time and temper, but it ruins the simple things in life such as walking from A to B.

    entrance driveExample: the house here has a rather nice drive which, without examining it too closely, has come to represent nice things like arriving for holidays, getting home etc. The path could be lined with rotting carcasses for all my plant-shunning eye is concerned and it would still have joyous connotations.

    But actually work on it, grubbing around on hands and knees with horrid 'tool' in hand, and of course it instantly becomes a reminder of Life's ugly inconveniences and unpleasantness.

    No Eye Contact: Even after only a few weeks, I find myself accelerating past scenes of labour, eyes averted.

    Knowing my spineless inability to avoid even this final indignity, I can see the place shrinking to fewer and fewer spots free of connection with the "G" word.

    Mega Bore.

  • Blogs 101

    Feast to famine: from totally bloggy Bainbridge and all my ex-Amazon buds, to balmy ol' Gouvia where I've not seen TV since April 12 nor read a hard-copy newspaper (hence spared the sight of fatty Prescott cavorting in newsprint, ugh) ... and I've given up using weird vocab like "blog".

    But we have just received broadband and the local Ote phone company is bombarding us with sales calls to upgrade from sleepy dial-up. Only problem is, I happen to know they've run out of some essential hardware so it ain't gonna happen for another 4 weeks anyway. Hey ho.

    Anyway, at least I can now refer inquiring Corfiot pals to this page and the online Teleg's useful intro to the black art - and  amuse my more skilled and long-term readers with the right-hand column Blogroll of what's cool over in Blighty.

    26 April 2006

    Blogaholics Anonymous

    Torygraph's clever and tasty Catherine Elsworth maps a witty (and astute) vision of our blogista future.

    A timer on the modem, eh? There's an idea whose time cometh.

    Also, ^5 to CE for plugging the brilliant, brilliant  Chaucer page.

    If I'd retained Sedition's email addie, I'd send this direct in case, busy with his non-nonsense wake-up abrasive posts, he doesn't clock in here as often as you other discerning readers.

    No matter: never a bad excuse to re-publish the link to my Lion of the Night Crew.

    Satirical London

    I'm telling all Corfu ex-pat pals scurrying back to Blighty to be sure to check out the excellent Satirical London exhibition at the Museum of London.

    I myself had a march on the πολλοι, thanks to friends in satirical high places.

    No sooner off the sampan from Bathpont-on-Sound than my first pilgrimage was to the ancient Carlisle Street site of once-proud Snipcock & Tweed, publishers to the gentry and my genial paymasters during the height of my thrusting PR hackery.

    Lost in reverie of expense-account frolics of yore, I realised I was outside the hallowed offices of none other than must-read Private Eye.

    Inquiring within as to the health of one Tony Rushton Esq. (whom God preserve), I was waved towards the inner sanctum where Antonio R himself greeted me, straight-backed, clean-jawed, and in an impeccably white blouson.

    Fie to his deadline: Tony was courtesy incarnate, listening to my dreariness of Microsoft and Amazon vestings and tipping me off on the satire exhibit.

    Indeed, the Eye is well featured in the exhibition and fellow oldie fans of the Eye will enjoy the stroll down Memory Lane.

    I'm just sorry my London stay wasn't longer: I traced Gabriel Snipcock to his Leicester Square garret and had meant to buy Tony a lunch over which to blurt out latest gossip on the old TiGeR.

    No matter: I shall be PE's Corfu mole, feeding insider reports on everything from our dodgy property deals to the boudoir shenanigans oop t'north in Kensington-on-Kassiopi.

    A propos of nowt, I'm fascinated to see how expertly PE has been wikipeded.

    busking the cost


    Concerned messagios from fellow strummers ask if my lotus gobbling and tilling the fields have turned my voice croaky and delicate digits too calloused to caress the strings.

    Gouvia groovier: Fret not. The old mojo is alive and sounding better 'n ever.

    The twang's the thang: I'm reunited with the guitar I played throughout my actual streetsinging days of the late sixties.

    It's sounding gutsier and mellow than ever.

    25 April 2006


    How I wish I'd been here for Greek Easters in years gone by, when tourists were less wary and this riotous behavior was less policed.

    Unique to Corfu is the pot-chucking that everone indulges in after the Holy Saturday parade and in terms of risk to life n limb it sound up there with the running of those pamplona hot roasts.

    From "designated" balconies - but in earlier more frolicsome times from yours or mine - earthenware pots of all sizes are hurled down onto the streets below, symbolising the cleansing of the houses of evil spirits before the start of the new year.

    The pots are first filled with water to avoid flying shards, and the areas where this takes place is carefully cleared and cordoned off. Indeed, they even sell pots in the streets for this purpose, but the true purpose is to dump (literally) all those manky old pans that you've burnt the baked beans in or the old man used for gawd knows what.

    And of course the real fun has gone now that people know to stay well back.

    My mother alerted me to the event by describing how one day some years back, she was casually strolling down some Corfu street when she felt herself grabbed and hauled inside a shop.

    "Goodness!" she thought, "this is just like India with rapacious shopkeepers grabbing you to buy their wares."

    Next thing, the air outside was raining pots n pans and the pavement was carpeted in pottery.

    "You could have been killed!" I gasped, to which our Greek companion grinned and confirmed Yes indeed, many were the injuries and some quite serious.

    But no security? No law enforcement?

    Ah well, back in the good ol' days before The Man moved in to spoil the fun, it was assumed you knew the score and if you didn't you were probably some disposable tourist trash from outta town - with luck, one 'em steenking Athenians, bwah hah hah ....

    Even today, with parking being what it is, you get some dude turning up in his shiny BMW and thinking "Hot damn! This be my lucky day - look at that, parking space within strolling distance of my honey's love nest and I'm the first one to nab it."

    Off he struts, only to return post-canoodle to find his hood beat in, his belle voiture covered in earthenware, and as likely as not a grinning crowd who'v been handing around to enjoy his rage and discomfort.

    Doubtless the rage and discomfort scenario takes a further improv when ο κυριοσ comes to explain to wifey whence all the damage when he'd only been off visiting his uncle Priam in distant Pyrgi.


    Nasty fright early Sunday morning on returning from watching the Easter fireworks - our Sam dog was nowhere to be seen.

    On Holy Saturday around 11pm, all the bells toll and everyone gathers for the Resurrection.

    Down in the town's Esplanade Square, everyone crowds round the Bandstand where the Bishop leads the chant.

    Bang on midnight, the mood changes


    followed by massive fireworks display visible from miles around.

    Yours truly had forgotten the effect of all this on sensitive *and* forgotten to close the gates behind us as we drove off, so the natural conclusion was that a panicked Sam had run out and vanished into the surrounding countryside, almost certainly to be crushed 'neath lorry wheels or stolen by canine connoisseurs on the morrow.

    You can imagine our sinking hearts as we cruised the area, calling his name to no avail.

    We spent a forlorn Sunday/Monday/Tuesday contemplating the store of dog food and all the doggy paraphernalia one collects: sleeping rug, favourite toy, brushes, etc.

    Most poignant for me was that I had no companion for my midnight rambles to walk off the digestive metaxas just before turning in.

    Worse, the company of that young fellah provided a scintilla of meaning, a pin-prick of hope as he shambled up to say hi as i bent low over whatever "garden" chore I'd fallen prey to.

    Now it looked like unadulterated solo tedium in that black fog of pointlessness.

    But lo! Wednesday morning as we were laying out the breakfast yoghurt and honey and toast, up the patio plodded our chappie ... a little damp on the underside but unharmed.

    You can imagine the rejoicing and petting and tummy rubbing and ear wrinkling and summonsing of the servants to make ready the fatted calf ....

    So, lesson learnt and I am now firmly closing the gate on every journey and will ensure pets padlocked within the castle reach for every future fireworks event.

    Christos Anesti.

    Samuelis Returni.

    23 April 2006

    gladwell site

    Curious as to the whereabouts of my peerage - and thinking seriously of canceling my postal order - I was noodling around the Telegraph weblog site and spotted its RSS tips on how not to to go mad, including a link to Malcolm Gladwell's page, of which I was shamefully unaware.

    I must brush up on the latest of Master G's thinking: at a party last night to admire the fireworks over Corfu town, I joined a gathering where a brainy young chap was enlivening his conversation with liberal spicings from the thoughts of chairman Malc.

    In preparation for BYC's inevitable inclusion on a buskerian guest list - if not swanning up as uninvited companion swain on the arm of some *legitimate* dinner invitee - I must casually lay out my signed editions (courtesy of that Eagle Harbour books signing) and practise looking surprised that *he's* surprised.

    Better still, I'll have them nestling amid my CDs including the signed copy of Bill Frisell's Nashville.

    22 April 2006

    Life Expectancy Gauge

    Like the Peru plateau magnum picture story, this also comes from hypnotic LinkFilter whose footling listings I spend far  too much time delving into, instead of getting out there and meeting nice Japanese girls.

    Speaking of which, I'd better get my skates on if I want to meet my Madam Butterfly: according this test (and I even slightly cheated on the exercise/smokes/healthy diet side), I kicked the bucket 10 years ago.

    DestinaJapan advert in Spectator

    That Special Woman

    Like I say, being back in Greece is all traipsing into town for a decent cuppa like Auntie Maureen used to make, and civilised reading material in a prawper language one can understand, not all this Koini/Katharevoussa hieroglyphics palaver and everyone rabbiting on about alfa vita ghama dhelta like 'Magpie' Mason did in his classics course for the Upper Fifth.

    And that means the good old Speccie (*after* The Review, of course) and its curious adverts from Destina Japan ("Journey to find your soul mate", offices in Tokyo, London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco) with its clean-cut founder, Hiroko Ozawa, beaming out at us gentrified readers.

    "Single? Selective? Too busy?" inquires the beguiling mama-san: "Tailored Introduction Service to meet elegant and feminine Japanese Women."

    Call for more information 020 7887 1310 or visit www.DestinaJapan.co.uk

    Quite a site it is, too:

  • Almond-eyed beauties beckoning from every page
  • Success stories
  • Q&A
  • Even a cheat sheet on what Japanese women are like and - wait for it, chaps - what they think of us British gents (sorry, Seattle buds, American dudes clearly too scrutable to warrant an explanation).

    It all sounds too too fun for words and I'm happy to give it a plug here.

    Plateau Pic: Speaking of matters japonais, Nippon researchers found another of those huge pictures that our alien pals leave behind whenever they pop over for a cup of sake.


    I hesitate to file this because my blogs aren't actually vehicles for this sort of stuff, but I've always thought Denise Richards one of *the* most gorgeous ladies, so it just goes to show how odd we menfolk are ....

    Mr Sheen sounds to be one mixed-up lad and my title doesn't actually sound all that off the mark.

    3000 feet: Whoa, there we go ... Beeb reports that Charlie must keep his distance.

    fort parking at the port


    Coffee in town.

    Park car in the port.

    The impenetrable fort that has seen off invaders of every hue has underground passages right into the centre of town.

    Cigs and Reads: Catch up on papers and mags "from home" at the one shop in town that has *everything*

    "Yassou, Costa! Got the latest Review in yet?"

    "A little late this week, sir."

    "'Pon my soul! What can  be going on over there?

    I say, have the porter's boy deliver it to the chateau without delay ... and there's a drachma for his trouble."


    Thence to my pale-shadow substitute for Starbucks.

    serveuseThe most popular cafe in town, dammit, and the tourist season not yet started.

    All their fault, hiring the hottest efficientest serveuses.



    I am back in Greece, this time "for the duration". Summer holiday guide-book lingo no longer suffices.

    What better inspiration to delve deeper into the language than Mr Karagiorgos' brilliant idiom dictionary?

    Better still, Professor K lives here on the island, is a favoured guest at my mother's table, and is looking forward to meeting me to discuss matters litteraire.

    Nay - there is even talk of my lending my slight expertise and PR hackery to this year's Durrell convention."

    Devoted readers will know I'm all into lingo and lite on the serioso stuff.

    Panos' handbook is a God-send, and I intend to be fluent in no time at all in all and any flash-bastard short-hand necessary to show off and attract women of a certain age.

    Say what? (soon to be delivered in fluent Greek), can't you just see me oiling around with tan and guitar, family sportscar and Seattle dentistry, gibbering away with the likes of:

    • And how!
    • To make an ass of oneself
    • At a loose end
    • Attaboy!
    • Buzz off!
    • No comment
    • Cool it!
    • To have a crush on someone (Essential for when/if la Gazelle comes out and I need to introduce her)
    • Hands off
    • Damn it!
    • Easy does it
    • Fat chance!
    • To lose one's way (v useful)
    • Out of pocket (also useful)
    • Pearls before swine
    • No wonder!
    • Rain check
    • Run up a bill
    • Hit the sack
    • Shove off
    • Within a stone's throw ("Can I drive you home? I live but a stone's throw from your hotel.")

    And so on and so forth.

    21 April 2006



    Ugh how I loathe gardening. For me, the nadir knackering bottom-line treadmill of futility.

    I've whinged along those lines before but it can't be emphasised too often.

    Was set weeding but had to take many breaks lest I lose all control of my threadbare temper.

    I trust these fotos show the bitterness in my heart and the utter despair in my soul.

    It should be enough for a bloke to be reduced to fleeing a country a mere one month's rent from penury, not a single creditor repaid by even one cent. Daughters left behind sans child support, sans school fees. Sneaking down to Seatac like a thief in the night ... arriving in London with $20 that I changed at the airport and never saw another sou for the next month except for what I begged off old pals of yore.

    weeding by the poolIt *should* be enough, but me voici reduced to even the even direr straits of wielding a garden implement.

    Ominous note struck later that soir as we sat on the patio: Mum made some reference to dispensing with the services of jobbing gardener, Costa.

    Double if not quintuple ugh.

    Were that day to come, swinging from the nearest friendly cypress could hardly count as sign of an unbalanced mind.

    Favour: Anyone who finds me swaying in the breeze, liberated at last from the Hoe and Trowel (sounds like some genial country pub) - please - fasten one of the tools about me and arrange a mortised middle finger into an unambiguous sign of enmity and relief at having escaped to that all-paved celestial haven where not a blade of greenery threatens one's peace of mind.

    Measure of a true loser: One who not only fails to achieve a single desired milestone or possession, but also flubs fending off the life he desires least.

    booze and cigOh, but when I was *finally* rid of the wretched 'gardening' - do you see that true relief and satisfaction over the Punt e Mes? The bliss to have traded secateur for cig?

    From where I sit and booze and puff, the view is across Gouvia Bay to Albania.view from patio

    20 April 2006

    (if not accomplished)

    In I flounce to our local supermarket for veggies and healthy fruit stuff and what do I espy than topical displays of something called "Brot Back Mischung"

    Is this some subtle product placement ploy for the Oscar-eluding movie?

    Honda Honda, go faster, faster ...

    I miss my Binary buddy, last met in the Silverscreen emporium as he collected a French tutorial DVD to make himself even more cosmopolitan and suave.

    One can never see this Honda commercial too often, and now I have a macho Greek readership, I need to show off how versatile is my blog.

    In return, I'll hunt down some Greek adverts, tho' the ones I've seen to date seem rather steamy, all granite-jawed adonises with appallingly buff bods and burning-eyed ladies barely able to keep their hands to themselves.

    Just when I think I'm watching a trailer for some X-rated movie, or rather daring adverts for posing briefs or latest brand of ribbed contraceptives, the model turns to camera and, with the lady barely containing herself from wrenching the clothes from his broad back, murmurs,

    "When hygiene matters (and I know it does for me), I use Thracian Gust for those difficult kitchen surfaces."

    His Gorgon-tressed lady friend holds up a can of the aforesaid cleaner, fondling it with suspiciously Lovelacey skill, and gasps what *sounds* like "Me too, oh my god, yes yes - me too ...."

    Enough to banish all thoughts of housekeeping, I'd've thought, but I've never been terribly domesticated.

    banners aloft


    One of the fallings out between the Anglican church and our Greek Orthodox hosts (under whose sufferance we are even present in Greece) was over the actual date of Easter.

    palm sunday bandLast Sunday was *their* Palm Sunday, so as we C of E types tumbled out of our house of worship, there came hearty sounds of brass bands and general assemblydom from the rival bunch.

    Splendid sight and I took masses of pics but they're on my mum's laptop that has caught a nasty case of e-chicken pox so I'm left with these.

    As soon as the maternal lap is cured, I shall post 'em all ...

    star pupilsOne of the highlights of the parade was the trooping by of star pupils of each local school, including of course the flower of young Corfu womanhood, of whom I snapped many *many* shots, so perhaps it's not e-pox but Our Lord striking the camera dead in disapproval of my lecherous ogling of His handmaidens.

    brusque band masterAbsolutely splendid bandmaster who clearly had it in for one incompetent who appeared incapable of walking in time and/or whistling Dixie at the same time.

    19 April 2006

    corfu moon from the kitchen


    From the kitchen window.

    Not much more to add ...

    08 April 2006


    view from patio

    In a lunatic sober moment had decided to re-name this blog "BAsker" and, for the subtitle, run some silly puns on Kerkira.

    Honestly, the contortions one goes thru for the right name: it needs to be simple and ... well, simple.

    Let me try "Corfiesta", enough of a variation on Corcyra's current name for it not to come up on the radar of every Tom, Dick and Heracles.

    No doubt it'll change yet again with my dithering, but 'Fiesta will do for now.

    Now I'm here, pray Zeus I can box clever and find some adult role (and cash) in this new life here.

    Maman Busker not feeling too bright,hence the Greek isle for moi, to cosset and cheer and generally be useful.

    Essential I find decent employment before I find myself hitting absoLUTE rock bottom and ending up with gardening tool in hand and seppuku in addled brain.

    sam in gardenGod, what an insufferable way to go: the definitive final nadir nightmare plummet into futile oblivion.

    Better to strap to one the accursed tools of the jardinier trade, slot loser neck into freedom-proffering noose - and swing out for freedom from some friendly cypress.

    By Hermes, the more I think on't, the more intolerable this whole planting/hoeing/raking/weeding drudgery treadmill is revealed to be.