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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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry, removed my previous comment due to unforseen typos. Here's what I meant to say...

    Another variant on the 'fur coat and no knickers' is the pithy 'All they have is money'. Says it all, really, but I must admit that I would not be averse to having a little more of it to alleviate my pecuniary burdens.