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Monday, 17 September 2007

Monday morning after ...

Monday at the Arco. So Karamanlis of ND has the needed 152 seats and will form a government I was told by Kostas this morning as we booked the car until Friday - when we may finally finish enough errands at the house to sail away for a few days. Aristotelis at CPA has arranged via his wife at Ethniki to renew the boat insurance and Lizzie says she knows nothing about politics which is wise and healthy in a mature democracy! Sunday 16 September. The expected crowding round the polling station hasn’t happened. The kafenion at 11.00pm is crowded. There’s a buzz in the village as the sacred task of casting votes proceeds in orderly fashion. In town this evening bells marked the end of voting. Our table was lowered from a third storey, opposite the town hall polling station, and tied to our little car. I whizzed on uncrowded roads to Democracy Street where Lin was waiting with Mrt and S and A who, with Kiria Katerina, helped unload and carry four sturdy chairs and the table to the house with minimum congestion. Earlier a stubborn old driver had sat in his car immoveable making no more than a disdainful hand gesture and forcing eight cars to back down so he – and they – could eventually proceed. Our neighbours, standing and sitting outdoors this warm evening, watched the altercation with amusement. A four legged English table and chairs grace our dining room. We think they’re elm but they might be some kind of pine. We sat round the table, ate cheese, drank wine, lager and ginger beer, and then embraced and said farewell to our good friends flying home tomorrow. Later Lin changed the curtains left in the dining room for lighter ones. With the table, the uncovered tiles, two oil paintings and a mirror the room is beginning to take shape. Saturday 15 September. A small promise of some order in the work on 208. I caught Ben dashing up the jetty in his Harley to help create a mooring space for a neighbouring yacht coming in with a strong wind blowing onto the inside of the mole. A stranger yacht had taken his space. All very efficient. I threw the bow warp, and helped hand her into the gap while Ben inserted fenders his side. “Who took our space? Oh yes, the ruddy Dutch’. They been anchored outside waiting for a spare berth since the evening before. Anyway once all was shipshape Ben said I’ll be up on Tuesday. All work hinges on him doing the electrics and then starting on the joinery – floor and balustrade. Meantime we’ve ordered the marble for the new upstairs hearth for the wood burner. We hope Ben will install the flue for that, mindful of the 135˚ angle needed to ensure a good draw. Eleni at the marble supplier on the Paleokastritsa road will also cut the doorstep we need from the discarded marble Lin found on the beach at Ipsos, so we can stop rainwater blowing in under the side door. Meantime we went to a house sale in the centre of Corfu and bought a fine dining table and four sturdy chairs from Drn., who’s selling a house beautifully restored with a rooftop view over most of the city. He’ll help us move these hefty items tomorrow if polling traffic isn’t too great after 6.00pm. Polls close at 7.00pm. Just before dusk two travellers – soft-sell, hard-sell - presented us with a nice crochet bedcover from Cyprus which started at €50. At €25 we gave in. As he left hard-sell asked for €2 for a taxi. I surrendered. As we worked under the veranda mending a cast iron marble top coffee table we’d salvaged from a small tip in Corfu town main car park, Mr.Leftheris greeted us from amid the greenery of the adjoining garden. He has a fig tree from which we could reach up to pick fresh fruit. “Yes yes, you have”. His copious vine is drooping with white wine grapes with which he’ll start making rosé and white wine in October. Ten heavy marrows hang from plants growing amid the vine. He said our veranda and garden were equally festooned but that the previous owners had cleared them. We have two little vines starting up - from the old roots I guess. These will do fine said Leftheris “in another year”. Meantime our remaining lemon and orange trees promise to be heavy with fruit. I’ve left the car on the lower road anticipating that Sunday General Election polling at the school a few metres up the road will see Democracy Street in a jam. Athens News – in English – gives a helpful overview of the Greek political landscape. ‘With a new electoral law in place, the post-election permutations appear endless’ says the front page, wondering if the ‘two-party system will falter’ as a result of a 2004 electoral law passed by PASOK, who’s import I don’t understand – a known unknown. AN think New Democracy under Karamanlis will get a majority – the issue is whether it will be big enough to form a government and if not with whom K will make alliances – hence much jostling among smaller parties. Friday 14 September. 10.30am. Veranda at 208 Democracy Street. I hosed the plaka to aid the coolness. Dark and shade are so clearly different I can sit outside and see the computer screen to write. I went down to the shop to get some bread. The church, a few yards down Democracy Street, of St.Michael the Archangel is overflowing. I was told in the shop ‘It’s a name day’ he paused for thought ‘Stavros’. Two days ago I saw women – all the Stavros mums, wives, sisters – tidying the church and asked to take a look and was beckoned in. I could take in only a carved triptych wooden reredos (is that the name?) at the eastern end with a painting of the saint in the centre and rows of pews.

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Simon Baddeley