Amy and her mum going through the wedding photos
and now Alan's made a more detailed drawing of how the porch beneath the external stairs could look. "This makes the steps that jut outward blend into the entrance, giving a continuous flowing line from horizontal to vertical".
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I cycled to Amy and Guy's house on the edge of Birmingham last night for a BBQ and to look through Richard's photos of their wedding.
Lin and Richard in their cars were there in 20 minutes. I took 40 minutes. Oscar came, first in the front basket along the Lozells Road, over the roundabout above Birchfield Road, down Victoria Road to the big roundabout over the Aston Expressway, down Waterlinks Road, over the Lichfield Road - another roundabout - down short Lynton Road - all dual carriageway - to another roundabout, then a few yards of Thimblemill Lane through a door-sized passage to the canal towpath after which we could cover the rest of the journey on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal- north a mile to Spaghetti Junction
and then east, 5 miles parallel with the Kingsbury Road, gradually leaving the concrete behind, to little Minworth Green Bridge where we divert a hundred yards to Amy and Guy on Summer Lane.
Honey sent more photos of the work Alan's doing plus the news with image of the fence put up by the various owners of the small triangle of waste ground just below us in Ano Korakiana, where one summer night two years ago there was a brush fire which, because there was no wind and swift action by neighbours, didn't spread. In these times there is concern about untended green spaces inside villages. What would once have been grazed by sheep, goats or smoothed by domestic fowl now harbours rich vegetation that dries to inflammable hay in high summer. Because someone somewhere owns such land, even though absent, no-one else feels entitled to volunteer to tend such spaces. That's an ancient feature of village diplomacy - alertness to boundaries. Now, possibly because of Lin's guerilla gardening - that narrow flowerbed back of our apothiki - the landowners, on the other side of the path, have fenced and tidied their space.
Having Alan design and build our replacement balcony and stairs is more than just our good fortune - though in our acquaintances and friends we've had more than our share of those. Having come from UK a talented designer who'd created racing car bodies for one of the famous companies, adding his design talent to building projects here, architect of his house on the island, Alan paints and draws. He illustrated Corfu - a look through time 1204-1864 by Ninetta Laskari - one of the foremost books in Greek about Corfu [Νινέττα Χ. Λάσκαρι, Κέρκυρα - Μία ματιά μέσα στο χρόνο 1204-1864]. He's a joiner in that class who make their craft look easy, making hardwood doors and window frames, able to apply his craft to wood, fibreglass, metal and concrete, accompanied in the early stages by exquisite cardboard maquettes. He helped steer Summer Song through a few tricky hours when a four-o-clock gale came whistling off Trompetta last September. Envy at this array of talents is entirely subsumed by the pleasure of watching Alan at work. This is presumptuous, but I venture that in so far as I'm capable of it, Alan engenders in me something of the immeasurables within Buddhism, an exemplar of the art of waging peace, of this blog's motto: 'Η κοινοτοπία του καλού'. We met Alan because we met Honey Fortney - her life a whole other story - one chill November morning in 2006 waiting to disembark at Igoumenitsa with a few other foot passengers from one of the great ferries that commute from Italy. We waited together beginning to chat in the gloomy bowels of the ship, vibrating amid our luggage while animated debate among the truck drivers mingled with the echoing rumble of the ship and small soundless lurches as furious northern gale gusted against the ships upper works preventing us docking. Loud scratching sounds over the ship's intercom saw the drivers heading upstairs. Reckoning on further delay we headed back up to one of the saloons for coffee and cakes and waited cosily by a rain dashed window a couple of hours amid contradictory rumours that included the prospect of sailing on to Patras; the while getting to know one another, starting to enjoy the delay for the company it afforded, until the weather improved and we shared a taxi for the kilometre journey to the Corfu ferries, chatting the while. A few days later, via Honey to whom we'd given a lift from Corfu Port to Agios Markos, we were to meet Alan for the first time.