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, May 19, 2007


I mentioned en passant the other day the charity shop in Xania where I sourced our sixties pulp fiction. Another charity shop has recently opened in nearby Rethymnon. Now second hand shops seem strangely alien in Greece where the new found consumer obsession emphasises the new and shiny. It is likewise true that charitable enterprises have a much lower public profile here than they do in the UK where most high streets sport several varieties of charity shop - Oxfam (upmarket now), Romanian Orphans, Battered Wives, Cancer Research, Mencap (or whatever else it is these days). In fact the charity shop may be more of a hallmark of the high street now than even the buildng society and the optician.

My own remembrance of charity shops is coloured and textured by the wonderful example discovered in Royston Vasey which boasted Reenie Calver and Vinnie Wythenshaw, two garrulous bigoted ladies as regular staffers along with the roundly denigrated and never seen Merrill who does Thursdays. The book, the bags, the crack spined paperbacks and the sweet slightly acrid smell of used clothing - every charity shop, everywhere. Walk blindfolded into one and you will know without doubt what sort of establishment you have entered.

How these oddly English shops have made their way to Crete is a mystery - how they will fare more so. Unless Greek consumer preferences change rapidly they are likely to remain dependent upon ex-pat Brits and indigent east europeans for their customers. I applaud difference and I will continue to frequent these little eccentricities while they last. I just hope that neither of these outposts is gullible enough to employ Keith Drop if he dares show his heavily made-up face there looking to help out.

1 comment:

  1. And my remembrances of charity shops is that they are filled with pensioners eking out a living on benefits in New Labour's New Britain whilst El Presidente Tony Blair spends all our wealth propping up Afghanistan and Iraq.