An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Saturday, November 05, 2005


The guv'nor left a few hanging threads last night and I'd like to clear them up before we get to the meat of this post.

First off, his titles for the piece all referenced a certain Mr. Napier and, judging by the size of our postbag this morning, none of you could see the link. OK, suffice to say that the man's brain is almost completely full of almost completely useless information and given his advanced years then there is an electro-chemical tendency for bizarre and rococo misfires to occur in his cerebral cortex. Synapses fire as they will, and, because they are all packed so tightly they set off strange (in the quantum sense) chains of association. To be Frank (and who really wants to be a cheap, second hand car dealer in a third rate soap opera?) I'm surprised that more people haven't complained before! I suspect that it's because most of his more abstruse title are based in esoteric literary land and fly straight over the heads of all our readers - for which they will be grateful: it will, however, keep the scholars in work for the next century.

To get to the point (yes, we all wish that you would) the reference was to one John Napier who invented logarithms! Get it? The schoolboy's abbreviation of logarithms is logs therefore a piece about a log delivery can quite clearly be titled Napier. And everyone will understand! It can for the guv'nor anyway.

The other point that he left unexplained, or more precisely under-explained, was the reference to raki as a local alcoholic drink -a delectable home brew, in fact. Those of you who have holidayed in that den of human rights abuses - Turkey - will have misunderstood what we were drinking last night. The accurate name for the tipple that we were all tippling last night is Tsikourdia (a transliteration I'm afraid and all the worse for that - don't you hate it when alternative alphabets make you do that?). It is distilled from the left overs from the winemaking process - stalks, skins, pips - you know the stuff - and if you're lucky it's double distilled. it's ready for drinking 21 days after distilling and it is an amazing drink in winter. Hell - it's an amazing drink in summer. Not so good first thing in the morning but outside of that it's a very acceptable drop. Discursions aside, the important thing, for the purposes of this explanation at least, is that it does not taste of aniseed as does its Turkish cousin. It tastes of ... Well, I guess it tastes of alcohol! A fine tsikourdia tastes of raisins, whereas a rough tsikourdia tastes of nothing so much as paraffin. And Esso Blue at that. Anywhere in between is perfectly palatable. Even though it might occasionally take your breath away (quite literally) a glass of tsikourdia/raki is almost always welcome.

Quite why it is known locally and colloquially as raki is lost in the mists of time and we suspect it has more than a little to do with the heel of the Ottoman but we cannot substantiate that. One small addittional piece of information free and gratis: raki is seldom drunk as a singleton here, there is a local saying that is used when one offers a second glass of raki (the first is usually swallowed in one gulp) that translates very approximately to "I came with two legs - so yes, I'll have the other raki.

I am amazed. We never did get to the meat of this post and to be perfectly Peggy I can no longer remember what it was going to be anyway. Never mind. Tomorrow, if the whispers in my ear are true, we shall be hearing from Shaun regarding Florence Nightingale (don't ask). Until then fili mas we will bid you kalo vradi.

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