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

Friday, April 27, 2007

Pulling Teeth

Apologies to addicts. I'm blocked right now. Seems like I have been since January. It's driving me nuts too if that is any consolation. Everything that gets started - and that's precious little - seems to spontaneously abort before it gets anywhere near term. I suspect it has something to do with some issues we have with a particular knobhead here in paradise. We shall fix his wagon at some stage but for now he's draining my creative juices and Gill's too. And he used to be a friend - isn't that just fucking typical?

I just want to share a couple of things with you that have been still born of late - you'll have to provide the expatiation for yourselves and if you know me well enough then you'll get the drift (the great and most recent album from Scott Walker BTW).

John Tierney's first exhibition of 2007 opens tonight and we sneak-peeked it this morning. He's sharing the old mosque in Xania harbour with a Greek abstract artist (Anna) who uses canvases even bigger than his. It's a great show and John is on great form - especially the earth tone works. Painting number 1 - "Cretan" is the painting we'd buy if money were not an object - but it is. Well worth a visit if you get a chance and if you'd like to buy us the painting: we aren't proud.

Farmboy serviced the Husq yesterday and G cleaned around and amongst the rows in Lav2. The earth is much drier than we could have imagined and G was Husqing in a cloud of dust for a couple of hours. Add in that the olives are now in blossom and you'll understand why we are all a bit throaty today.

Met up in the flesh with an online acquaintance yesterday and I think that we may be on the way to turning her into a real life friend. What a pleasant surprise - one meets so many total dickheads online. She isn't one of them.

Friends and relatives begin turning up in the next week. Deep joy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New tricks - old dogs

I have ever made it a habit not to teach any of my dogs tricks - there is something undignified about a dog doing tricks don't you think -  and thus would not be in position to judge the veracity of the old adage referred to by the title of this piece. As an old dog myself I have certainly not been taught any new tricks for a very long while and although I have learnt some new tricks since we moved here to Crete that is not the same thing at all.

Anyway, onto the meat of this post: Molly and Bridey will be 4 this summer and are thus at least approaching some canine middle age. Notwithstanding this Molly has recently taught herself a new "trick". She has obviously been observing our habits closely and has now found one that appeals to her. No, don't fret, she hasn't taken up smoking! Earlier this winter we experienced a blockage of the kitchen sink that I finally traced back to a build-up of coffe grounds in the waste trap. Since then we have taken to tipping the used grounds into a champagne bucket that we keep under the sink. We empty the contents from the bucket every few days around the roots of trees in and around the kitchen garden. Molly has taken, we discovered a few weeks ago, to checking the contents whenever she comes into the house and if there is enough then later on, when she has finished her dinner, she will wander over to the bucket and take a post prandial cup of coffee.

There's nowt so queer as dogs!

Monday, April 16, 2007

I see

We went to the optometrist today - or the ophthalmologist. Now that we are getting on we have regular MOT (KTEO) tests done on ourselves to ward off the medical bogeyman and to work out what servicing needs doing. Today it was time for the eye doctor. G had sought out this eye doctor in Rethymnon a couple of years back but this was my first visit. I was initialy prescribed specs before we decamped to this blessed isle - one set for reading and another set for driving - so, mister six eyes or would that be eight?. Anyways we took the bus into Reth and got along to the eye doctor after a quick pitstop at the vets' for worming tablets. No appointments are possible - you simply turn up and wait. Surgery closes at 2 and if you have been seen fine - if not, come back tomorrow. The waiting room was full of old scrotes, male and female - and I do mean full. Bloodshot eyes, rheumy eyes, old eyes, eyes behind spectacles so thick that their eyes double in size. The receptionist is heavily pregnant and seems to spend all day watching daytime Greek TV. Hell, everybody is watching this thing! Loud, bright, and pointless - like most TV.

Over time the number of people before us in the queue diminishes but the queue itself does not. I pop out now and then to top up on nicotine. By the time there are only three people in front of us caffeine levels in my bloodstream are getting perilously low too. I go out for another fag. Soon it is our turn. In order to set expectations I have to explain that this office is on the first floor of a shabby looking block behind the clinic/hospital. The next office is that of an oil importer and it looks as though somebody dropped off some product samples recently - onto the floor. But when we are ushered into the surgery I am amazed - this man has more kit than the hopital ophthalmology department at St George's Tooting - no kidding, and I speak from experience! If he switched everything on at once I swear the lights would dim as far away as Atsipopolou.

Now it transpires that we have been waiting just over an hour and a half, which is less time than I waited for eye tests last time I was examined in London, and we are seeing a man who has all of the latest kit. And he speaks perfect English. He is a polite, softly spoken man with a small beard and wonderfully soft hands. G is first up and it's good news: her prescription (reading glasses only) does not need changing; and slightly bad news, she must come back for a field of vision check because although her optic nerve looks fine her pressures are slightly outside of the statistical norm and so he will need to check the optic nerve from a functional perspective (same as last time in fact - seems her whole family have higher than normal pressures. We are not worried.

Next up it's my turn and I get a whirl on 3 of the sexy machines. No mixed messages here - good news - my reading glasses are fine - more good news, better than good actually - the slight myopia that has necessitated the driving glasses has reduced by 50%. In fact, says the eye doctor, in 4 or 5 years age may have sorted the problem completely and I will no longer need driving glasses at all. Result!

Now it seems to me that this guy, who does not, remember, sell glasses or lenses, has done a wonderul job for us and all for 30 euros a piece. As I pocket the prescription for new driving lenses I wonder whether a high street optician in London would have or could have given us such obviously unbiased satisfaction?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

We have:

blossom on the coramilo,

wall to wall oxalis spotted now here and therewith orange and pink vetches,

nasturtiums climbing up the ramblingrose's plegma,

early lavender,

olive blossom and budding mulberrycuttings alongisde the fruiting koukia that still has flowers -

nothistles this year but the bitumen peas make up for them

 the borage and asphodel,

the chaffinches and the greattits,

the crows and the gerakia.

We saw a swallow today as we sat drinking coffee and watching the locals prepare for an Easter opening - does that make itsummer?

First flavours

The novella is suspended for now. Having put all 3 of the protagonists together I have decided to leave them to rest for a while just as our olive oil has been standing and resting since January.

Today we broached the 2006 harvest. If only we could have shared the experience with you. The oil came out of the barrel a clear golden colour with a darkish green tinge like some rare and precious gem.

A strong aroma of olives fresh and crisp and that first drop on the tip of the finger and into the mouth. On the front of the tongue the taste of olives and nuts, almost fruity. On the back of the tongue a peppery sensation and an almost cough inducing bitterish overtaste. Complex and robust. A thing of wonder and a taste of summer's pleasures to come.

Thank you Demeter. Thank you Olea Europaea.