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

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress

Okay boys and girls, the sharpest knife in the kitchen drawer in Felia is back. No arguments. Shaun may be more thorough but the incisive quality of this tool is without peer. This blade is like the finest Japanese steel - takes and holds an edge better than any other. Self promotion over.

The guv'nor told me not to do this. Shaun counseled against it. Both vehemently. Eddie and Frambot are in favour though I have to ask would I take their advice if they disagreed with me? Of course not.

I am going to show you a part of how my pieces are conceived, gestated, and finally born. There is nothing altruistic about it. It just appealed to me and since the piece in question is unlikely ever to see a live birth I am not really giving anything much away. This is a piece that has consistently failed to mature - it will not gestate to term. It is incomplete and fundamentally damaged. I cannot bear it to term.

This particular piece has suggested itself to me three, no four, times in as many weeks. And each time a little more substance accretes to it but as yet not enough. Every time it refuses to lend itself to a final and complete form. So let us begin our exagminations.

The germ or seed or kernel or spore is as follows: how does the almost universal adherence to the Greek Orthodox religion in Greece jibe with contemporary Greek lifestyle: with its anarchistic, relaxed, and almost animist beliefs?

Let me show you what I have so far, here is a roughly organised list of materials that has accreted on this topic:

Greeks: religion 98%,
no orthodox fundamentalism,
the great schism.
East vs West - politics and power,

Religious intolerance,
lived under the yoke of Islam,
Armenian genocide

the excessive interfering nature of Catholicism brought on reformation,
Orthodoxy therefore escaped Protestantism,
avoided industrialisation.

Separation of state and church?
democracy and the plebiscite,
if democracies express the wishes of the people then India?

papas as wise man
a married priesthood

shared past and values

OK, that's enough of the grist. You can see how the topics and points have clustered into usable groups (not necessarily in the correct or final order) that can lead each onto the other. There must be 2 or 3 thousand words in there. And a few very sharp insights and lateral thoughts but ...

The big but is that it doesn't actually go anywhere that makes any salient point. And it is that alone that dooms this thing over and again. It's annoying but that is how this calling sometimes treat with its practitioners.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Lima and Eddie

Hi kidz didger missme? Wherve you been you ask and well mightyou. Well thats what they call a shaggydog storey and I carnt tell you exactly where weve been coz its a state secret (no honest it is).

Look - it all started when the Boss was chatting with one of his pals on the interwebthingybob - you know the one the scotch bloke he calls McGudgeon. Anyways they were chewing the fat about guvermunt outsourcing and stuff and the scotch bloke (his name is Lima I found out) said he had answered a advert from a guvermnet department as a joke and had been awarded a contract to supply security services to a minister during the parlimentry break. They laughed themselves sick and then Lima said he was going to do it but he needed some muscle to back him up and then the Boss said I could help out if I was ameenable. And that's how it all began.

It turns out that Lima's a bit of an old geezer (understatement - he a real silver surfer it turns out) but he got the job because he does caravanning and that's what the minister does for holidays so he'd be a perfect undercover agent. Everyone knows that caravanners always go about in bunches. You know me I'm always up for a laugh and the idea of a jolly sounded good to me - it'd been too hot here for a while to do any proper work around the farm so I said yes and before we knew it it was time to beetle off to meet up with Lima and his delightful lady wife at Britelingsea that I got to on a boat or two. I was a bit worried about going back to the UK but Lima said the twats at GHQC would never pick me up if I was working for the guvermnet so I went with it and took my chances. Turns out he was right anyway.

I'd been told it was a woman called Margret and I'd thought it was that Chatter woman that used to run the show but no this turned out to be some old biddy with a face like a fiddle and teeth like a horse. First time I saw her I thought it was a joke. Still Lima and hi bride were smashing company (he's a lively old sod - bit like the Boss's grandad I guess) and I only got clostrophobia a bit at first - I got used to it in the end and Lima let me out pretty regular - we had to keep stopping because the Margret woman's hubby has to stop every so often, pretty often actually, to pee - seems he's older than Lima or looks it at least and he was doing all the driving.

Like I said I can't tell you where we went but some of it was familiar from my trip down to Crete the other year and they weren't speaking English. It sure was more comfortable in the Hairstream as Lima calls it than it had been kipping under bushes and hedges and nicking eggs for brekfats. Mrs Limas a neat cook and they had Marmite! And proper bacon! I reckon I'll be laying off the booze for a bit though - it got a bit heavy once or twice out there.

Suffys to say I had a bramah time and made two new friends. And I helped Lima stretch his pension a bit further. And I got a few bob too. As the Boss would say - result!

Good to be back though I'll miss the McGudgeons. And its still hot!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


What is the appropriate response to betrayal? Rage? Anger? Sorrow? At the traitor or to oneself?

Rage, that is inextricably blind, and similarly mute? No that is not the way.

Alphabetically rage and anger are close. But a letter away. And anger is alphabetically close to danger. Another letter further. Sorrow is a long way off comparatively and if rage transmutes to danger so easily then perhaps sorrow is the proper course.

Anger is more articulate but speaks itself in grunts and expletives. Anger that burns but cannot cauterize the wound? Anger that turns so quickly to danger? No, that is not the way.

But rage and anger come most readily and refuse to leave easily. And sorrow is too readily turned inward. How then to expiate?

I can feel the Gitane stained breath of Genet on my neck laughing gently to himself and whispering under his breath " ... but betrayal is all there is in this life. It is the only thing. Betray before you are betrayed". His words are wise, and knowing, but lacking in hope and a certain humanity.

The memory of Genet jogs my mind. Jogs me toward Iscariot. At bottom it has to be pity: pity for the traitor. Who could read of Genet's life, a life spent in betrayal, and not feel pity for him? Pity for the self hatred that every betrayal, petty or grand, stokes and that is the wellspring for all future betrayals past and future. The self hatred that stops their mouths and eats their souls. Who could not feel pity for someone who trades inestimable treasures as friendship and loyalty for such shoddy trinkets as an easy life or a metre or more of land? Who could not feel pity for that person knowing that the self hatred that they carry within them serves only to fatten them as final strange fruit for Judas Iscariot's lonely tree in Akeldama?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dead or corrupt?

A short one today.

Why is it that when one of my online friends goes missing for a week or so I start worrying that he might be dead? Is it my age? All I know for sure is that it isn't pleasant.

Google this: Cheney tamiflu or Rumsfeld tamiflu - fascinating results that a pal of mine whose brother's butchers shop has been hit hard by a slump in sales of free range chickens pointed me at.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Having almost dismissed the bruiser in last night's blog the big boy is back! In typical boisterous mood he has apparently been somewhat more forthright in private than he has had the nerve to be in public and has designated US government and Geo W Bush in particular as having been "crap on the middle east road map".

SHOCK HORROR - a politician speaks his mind.

DOUBLE SHOCK HORROR - a senior New Labour politician has a mind of his own.

And he isn't wrong either. Look at the facts and you'll come to the same conclusion. Bush allowed Israel, under the undead Ariel Sharon, to simply rip the roadmap up and write their own. Crap is mild! It's a bit like calling a vindaloo a masala. Olmert seems to believe that he has a "green light" to do just as he likes. And while the cowboy currently in charge sits on his hands in the White House he has.

It is worth reading Big John's supposed "denials" if you get a chance - the one thing he doesn't deny is the thing that he was actually reported as having said rather than those things the red tops suggested that he said. He' not entirely stupid.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Can someone explain to me why every time I turn on Radio 4 these days the only UK politician I hear, with the exception of the odd and minor political lickspittle, is that fascist bully John Reid? Looking like a grown old skinhead and sounding as though he could hardly care less about the civil liberties of the electorate, this man, who cannot distinguish between "regrettable" and "regretful", bombasts his way through every performance. He oozes the same kind of certitude as does his boss Tony - unthinking, beyond logic, beyond the wishes of the electorate.

Why do we get this Scot speaking for Britain? Rather than the other greasy Scot? The one at number 11? Supposedly the next prime minister? Why not the official deputy prime minister who is supposed to be running the country in the absence of the actual prime minister? Big John?

Is Tony setting him up to oppose Gordon Brown? And shifting one big John off to the side for another big John? Does the electorate get any say? I think not.

There is a solitary upside to this substitution: For a week or two I do not have to swallow my bile as the hideous image of Tony Blair's shit eating grin is flashed onto my internal projector, as happens whenever I hear his sincere and self certain religio-political prognostications.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Eve of St Agnes

Ninety palm thatched sum umbrellas in 5 rows arranged back from the shore to the bars and tavernas. All occupied. Three, at least, sun beds beneath each one. All occupied. Six and seven beneath some - whole families sheltering from the heat of the sun. Two bars. Two tavernas. Full to overflowing from noon onwards. All seats taken. Primarily Greeks.

In some modern emulation of biblical stories Greeks have returned to the villages of their birth. It happens at general election time. It happens in August. Every year. To be back home on the 15th is important. The mainland, what there is of it, empties and the islands fill in August.

The mood on the beach is hot and bubbling. Conversations, loud and passionate take place beneath each umbrella and at every table and bar. They talk of politics. Of football. Of fashion and music. They talk of family. Heated and meaningful, their conversations never descend to violence and anger. Alcohol is consumed. But only enough to lubricate the minds and tongues of this voluble people. Laughter is everywhere. Joy too. Amazing amounts of joy. Amazing at least to the outsider or the unpracticed in the ways of the Greeks.

They eat and they repair to the shade: or they wade into the sea to cool down and continue their conversations. Like Cubans, talking in the sea. Hats on heads very often but no cigars here. Affable and amicable. Ages from 6 weeks (newborns are not allowed out) to great grandfathers and grandmothers: generations of them all together.

How sensible to arrange your family oriented festival for when weather conditions coax you (or force you) out of your houses and away from the idiot box. Force you happily out into the joys of nature and the shoreline and into the company of like minded people looking to enjoy themselves and their lives.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Sitting around a bottle of wine the other night, smoking relentlessly and retelling old tales of early days here our good friend Ferdy, an appalling anti-semite and misanthrope, who had dropped by for a snifter or three, actually came up with a tale that none of us had heard before:

"Lilli and I were visiting a friend out on the Drapanos ... oh maybe 17 years ago ... a hot summer it was, one of the hottest ... dry and hot ... it was August - before the 15th I know ... Vangelis his name was ... he gave me his T-shirt that day ... we went down to the cove to meet him because he actually lived in a cave ... a cave that he had fitted out as a home ... but it was on the other side of the bay.

We'd figured Lilli and I that he'd have a row boat waiting but no ... no chance ... we were going up the scree and over the ridge ... lucky us ... going where the goats go ... and off we trekked, no suitable footwear ... picking our footholds like not so agile cloven hoofed things ourselves ...

Up the scree ... slipping and sliding under our ill-shod feet ... not even time for fag ... the bay deep blue and calm to our right, the scree rising to our left and the ridge looming in front ... it took perhaps 20 minutes to crest the ridge ... and looking over the top found a sheer drop of maybe two metres ... Vig takes one look, yes Vig was with us ... he was with us a lot in those early years ... he looks and says "No fucking way - not without a rope - and how do we get back?" ...

Vangelis hopped over and just dropped ... Vig's jaw went with him ... plop ... he landed it safely, more goat than human ... next, he was handing us down the drop to safety ... Vig pissed his pants but nobody mentioned it ... Lilli did it best ... hopped down like the sweet little bunny she was ... then a traverse across the top of a a steep slope and on down to the gravel path he'd just, he told us, finished ... how the hell did he get gravel over here?

There's a mock boat prow made of stones and driftwood ... all salvaged and collected here he says ... sticking out intothe cool clear water that we all jump into ... dusty and sweaty and frankly terrified ... stripping off filthy clothes we plunged on out into the bay ... buff.

A sun deck cut into the rock face served to dry us off ... twenty minutes before we we ushered into the front cave ... a meat safe ... a raki barrel ... a small wine rack ... candles everywhere unlit ... the afternoon passed in mockery and poetry, music and raki ... we all retired to beds let into cave walls save Vig ... Vig went back to the sun deck, burning his skin ...

An hour or so later we woke ... coffee brewing ... hot strong Greek coffee in delicate little porcelain cups ... dusk could not be far away ... clouds had begun to gather .. a short discussion: would we stay the night or clear out soon, before the bats from the cave behind us left and the light failed ... Vig was for staying .. not us but we did want to see the bat cave behind ... Vangelis, perfect host, handed Lilli the only torch and led the way.

The batteries were low and the light it gave very weak and weedy ... Van led the way and Vig brought up the rear ... at the back as usual ... VLFV, in single file ... Van has a candle and the draught makes the light it throws wobble and flicker on the walls ... bat shit coats every surface inside ... walls and roof and floor ... Van hops goatlike onto the opening he has just illumined - a small low arched opening ... Lilli follows ... hits her head and slips base over apex landing flat on her arse ... blood by candlelight.

The bats are disturbed and start to flutter up and round ... Van checks the contusion and we carry on quickly to see the rest of the cave ... deep depths of darkness and obscurity ... the acrid smell of bats and bat shit ... a quick reccy and we're ushered out into the front cave where Van checks the wound again ... he strides over to the raki barrel and draws a jam jar full ... Lilli closes her eyes as directed and Van upturns the jam jar over her head ... bat shit and raki shampoo ... rubbed in and massaged til the blood flow is staunched ... and then two each to drink.

The return was not without incident ... none stuck in the memory however ... safe home we came ... and shared another raki or three ... no infection ... no trauma ... just happy laughing memories."

Now you have to admit that Ferdy tells a good tale. Don't you?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Slick Tony

There is an oil slick in the Mediterranean right now. No, not Tony Blair - that little grease spot has disappeared to the Caribbean for his holiday this year. It's OK though. It's only 75 miles long. It's probably smaller (just) than the Exxon Valdez spill. It's alright though - it'll only affect fishing and tourism in the area for a few years. Maybe 3 or 4. And it's possible that it'll cause cancer as well as affecting the breeding grounds of the green turtle. Oh yes, it might spread out to Turkey and Cyprus soon.

If you live in the UK you have probably seen more column inches on Margaret Beckett's caravan than you have on this oil slick. Why would that be? Could it be that the press are demonizing MB for her lower middle class habit of caravanning? Because she disagrees with slick Tony's mealy mouthed support for Israel's continuing prosecution of its actions in Lebanon (and Gaza in case you and the rest of the world had forgotten)? Surely not.

By the way, the oil spill I mention in the opening paragraph was occasioned by Israeli bombing of the Jiyyeh power station in Lebanon and so it isn't getting urgent attention since the area is quite dangerous at present and will probably remain so until Israel has been allowed to complete its premeditated invasion of Lebanon. "Premeditated?" I hear you cry. "Yes", I rejoin, "looks like it might have been!" George Monbiot thinks so too.

Raking through non-obvious sources today I came up with an interesting piece that details all of the incursions Israel has made into Lebanon's sovereign state in the months before its carefully planned invasion began and in that piece there was a link to Monbiot's piece in the Guardian today . If you read this piece it would appear that the US knew what was going to happen and so did the UK. Powerpoint presentations, for Turing's sake, of the Jewish State's "Final Solution" to Hizbullah. Dark shadows overhang this action.

I wonder, will we ever know the truth? I doubt it very much.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I live in a democracy

I live in a democracy where
the majority of people did not support
a war in Iraq and
went on the streets to show so

I live in a democracy

I live in a democracy where
the majority of people want
the prime minister to call for an
immediate cessation of Israel's cruel and disproportionate attack on Lebanon

I live in a democracy

I live in a democracy where
the majority of people want
the prime minister to call for a
condemnation of Israel's attacks on Gaza

I live in a democracy

I live in a democracy where
the parliamentary party of the prime minister
want him to convince his friend George W Bush to
call for an immediate cessation of Israel's attack on Lebanon

I live in a democracy

I live in a democracy where
the prime minister
instead of listening to his party or his electorate
listens to some strange voice in the sky
ignores everyone else

I live in a democracy

I keep telling myself that
I live in a democracy but
I am not so sure I believe it anymore

Do I live in a democracy?

How do we get rid of this arrogant ignorant knee bending "leader"?

If I live in a democracy?

Is this the democracy that our soldiers are fighting to bring to the middle east?
Or is it George W Bush's version of democracy that doesn't include the UN?

Do I live in a democracy?
Do you?