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, October 27, 2007

All fur coat and no knickers

As autumn draws on and the nights draw in the tourist traps close down one by one. Within a fortnight most of our area will be closed. For the past few days we have been finding out who is staying open during the winter.Every winter one or two cafes stay open and most years it is a different few. As if they take it in turns to be the social hub for us farmers and locals. We do not have an ex-pat community as such and so the financial benefits are few for those that do choose to remain open. Often the staff will outnumber the customers in winter - more often than not I suspect.

This winter the cafe options  will be limited to one old favourite - Classico - and two new establishments (plus the zakaroplasteio of course). Classico is  one of our original winter haunts and is wonderful on those days when the sun shines - we know it well but the other two are brand new this year and we haven't got around to visiting them since they opened at Easter so this last few days we've been checking them out.

There is clearly a lot of money washing about these days. Where it comes from I'm not sure. The amount of taste is another matter altogether. Some kind of inverse relationship going on here. Both of these places have clearly had a lot of money spent on them and it would appear that you are supposed to notice it. There is a clear attempt at some kind of Sunday supplement fashion - whatever that might be. Ikea chic. Or rather Almeco chic.

My father had this graphic expression - all fur coat and no knickers - that he used in a number of circumstances: to describe somebody who put all of their money into appearances rather than substance; to denigrate some nouveau riche or petit bourgeois; as a general put down for anyone pretentious. That's how so many of the newer businesses here come across nowadays. Maybe I know where it has come from.

The locals here have traditions and until recently while their taste was not ours it was most certainly theirs. What they have now, or what the entrepreneurs have, I suspect that they have picked up - some odd cultural contagion. A lot of the money has come from the influx of ex-pats immigrants. And I'm afraid that that is where the new ideas of taste in furnishing and aesthetics have come from too. It's a bit of a shame but there we are. The virus is loose and the results are all around us. Money and taste do not go hand in hand whereas money and vulgarity seem to attract.


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Friday, October 26, 2007

Summer is done

The rains began a few weeks back now. It's cool in the evenings. The fields have greened and the oxalis has everywhere started to sprout. We've taken delivery of our first batch of logs ready for winter. Here and there mud sticks to our boots. The birds are back on the soundtrack now that the cicadas have gone back to earth: the sparrows and the tits, the crows and the finches, sing and croak in the morning sunshine playing and swooping through the olive laden trees.

G is still harvesting regrowth every few days when the sun shines and once the dew has dispersed. She is all up to date with her rubbing and is thinking of the Xmas bazaar at Xania. Today she took cuttings to fill in where plants have died in the horrific summer and in anticipation of a new plot. She has lined the path to the girls' run with new french lavender to mix with the rosemary. 

The red suited boys have been clearing up and digging drains, cutting kindling and re-commissioning the stove. They have fixed some deflector boards above the kitchen windows and have, as far as is possible without buying any materials, been weatherproofing where they can. Eddie mad a ladder shel unit for the bathroom from cypress wood cadged from Babbis. He practiced his skills by making drawer dividers - one for the cutlery drawer and one for my top left drawer. The wood smells beautiful and more than compensates for his less than micron precise cutting.

We have waved goodbye to the last of our visitors. Perhaps this blog will appear more frequently now. We shall see - in due time.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Lavender oil - made in Crete or made on Crete

OK OK I know - it's been a very long time and no amount of rancid, pathetic, self serving explanations will ever add up to anything other than a poor excuse so why not just accept my apologies (I've been so lazy about it that even I am ashamed).

And just to try and make things up to you all we've made a special mixed media entry for you. This weekend was the culmination of the farming year for us here at the Lavender Way. This weekend we made oil for the third consecutive year but this time G took a photographic record of the process and the day and I have added a few bits of tetx that I hope will help you share the experience.

Click here to go to the mixed media blog entry -