Total Pageviews

Monday, 11 October 2010

'Της γλυκύτατης μητέρας του'

Via Mare in London are best on Adriatic ferries. They know their way around the timetables that interest us - boats from Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi to Igoumenitsa or direct to Corfu. So early next year we've booked our return here via Venice Treviso, using Ryanair, doing our best to evade their sly extras, but how do you avoid the charge for 'booking on line' or paying with a credit card? It's a game with the small print which we almost enjoy, while fuming at the latest little trick, like defaults on the Ryanair website to payments we don't want, like not wanting to bring hold baggage or pay insurance.
** ** **
Boarding for wheelchair passengers
Phoning her this morning my mother's relaxing in bed in the Highlands where she arrived late last night. In Corfu we visited places, saw things from the top of mount Pantokrator to the harbour at Ipsos and the back streets of Corfu Town, but most memorable was the company of friends and neighbours for long meals and conversation - Sally, Mark, Paul, Cinty, Paul, Lula and Lionel, Katya and Thannasis, Dave and John at CJs, Katherina and her children next door, and of course Lefteris and Vasiliki and their grandchildren, Dimitra and Lefteris. If we'd had longer we'd have have met more. "I was so impressed with the help for me on my wheelchair at the airports...the way the staff got me through the system and looked after me while I was waiting for flights. They were absolutely marvellous."
Τοκαθιερωμένο πλέον ετήσιο ραντεβού για τσάι στο σπίτι του Σάϊνον και της Λυν στην Γραμματινή πραγματοποιήθηκε χθες βράδυ με την παρουσία της γλυκύτατης μητέρας του*
Mum's nothing if not forthright in expressing her opinion and would have told me if she'd not enjoyed herself here. We know her week has been a sweet success. "The people I met gallant and fine" she said "so kind and loving. What a wonderful place you've found. I do love you."
*Photo: Thanassis Spingos
 Η Βασιλική και η Βαρβάρα - ισχυρές γυναίκες
"I know the views were wonderful but what I'll remember are the the closer details, the cyclamen on the verges, the smell of the billy when we passed that herd of goats coming down the mountain, olives like trees like I've never seen before..." As we'd being driving along winding roads Mum had often asked us to slow or stop to look at small things beside the car.
** ** **
As we came back from the airport we saw lots of police - security for a visit to Corfu by the Prime Minister, here to support PASOK candidates in the November local elections:
(ANA-MPA 11/10/10) :-- Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking on the Ionian island of Corfu on Sunday evening, stressed that the "dilemma in the (upcoming) November elections is whether we lead the country forward or backwards". The Greek prime minister said that he is aware that many are suffering, as well as the criticism against his government, stressing however, that "I prefer this criticism rather than letting Greece go bankrupt. The difficulties are nothing before the consequences of a bankruptcy, particularly for the weaker strata and the middle class ... I shall not let Greece collapse; it is my patriotic duty." Papandreou also sharply criticised the opposition, saying that many from the right or left speak out against the memorandum, while merely counter-proposing a vote of exit from supervision, "because Greece is changing".
Dave in CJs said "people are tightening their belts now...switching from cars to scooters, taking to fishing, growing their own." A teacher told us she'd taken a cut of €350 a month in her salary, a sum that had covered her daughter's accommodation at university.
*  *  *
A significant report for the BBC from Malcolm Brabant:
The decision to convict Special Guard Epaminondas Korkoneas of murder closes one of the darkest chapters of recent Greek history and is a source of considerable relief for the country's socialist government. Anything other than a guilty verdict could have triggered a violent response from the country's youth, many of whom regard the police with suspicion, mistrust and outright hatred. The outcome is a source of grim satisfaction for the family of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, who had fully expected the "Rambo of Exarchia" to be convicted of murder. Alexandros' mother, Gina Tsakilian, who runs a jewellery store in Athens, was highly distressed by attempts by Korkoneas' defence team to paint her son as a trouble maker and the verdict helps to restore his memory. "Justice has been done," a spokesman for Ms Tsakilian told the BBC "Of course, Alexandros is not coming back, but at least what is important for the family is that his good name has been restored." (See also Athens News)
** **

Last night I at last watched Pantelis Voulgaris' - Παντελής Βούλγαρης -  film Deep Soul - Ψυχή Βαθιά (2009). Richard Pine wrote about the film last year in the Irish Times, comparing it to Ken Loach's film The Wind that Shakes the Barleyalso about brothers on different sides. He says it's about not forgetting, but it's also about remembering. This is the first big screen film - or indeed any film I know- that has attempted to make a public story of the Greek Civil War, an event that left, according to Mark Mazower, worse scars than the Nazi Occupation about which he has written so brilliantly.  This piece of history lies in a shallow grave - some of them in rows on Lazaretto Island, hardly a kilometre off the east coast of Corfu.
I cannot write about these events without sounding a little ridiculous (I tried a while ago), but I was affected by the moment in the film when a grandfather arrives at a government camp on Grammos with a donkey cart to collect the body of his grandson so he can bury him at home. The young soldier is bound for a formal military funeral. The Brigadier is reluctant to release the boy's body saying he fought with honour and will be buried with dignity with twenty others. "What honour? What dignity?" says the old man "This is not a war, Brigadier. This is a disgrace." The Brigadier calls the Captain to hand over the body, the actor- powerfully restrained - showing the old man that while he cannot concur, he understands and acknowledges.
No-one should try to study let alone hope to understand the Greek Civil War without learning about the high politics that surrounded these terrible events in the history of Modern Greece.
** **
Simon Baddeley helped his mother to choose her personal Desert Island Discs with the aid of his laptop (SB)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back numbers