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Monday, 8 August 2011

Farnack in spate

Amy and Oscar
It started to pour as we strolled beside Loch Ness last night and continued through the night and most of the day. It was still raining late on Sunday night. Below the house the waters of the Farnack go rushing by flattening the grassy banks. We strolled along the river this afternoon - Amy, Guy, me and the four dogs.
I phoned Lin around midnight to discuss the Care Project, the weather and the disorder in several London boroughs that began in Tottenham, and smoulders on, spreading north of the Thames, the social web dispensing highly local and individualised accounts on the violent confusion in Brixton, Chingford, Enfield, Waltham Forest, Walthamstow, Islington and in the West End at Oxford Circus. News spreads of despondency in financial markets across the world, especially the 'crisis in the Eurozone'. Accounts of rebellion in Syria, economic protests in Israel, deaths in Afghanistan, US credit down-rating and the aftermath of a fatal polar bear attack compete in the headline stakes with the London disorder, and news of the mass killings in Utøya are now in the hands of the the writers of features and - no-doubt - books, becoming a story about a story, even for some of those most directly involved struggling in grievous pain to make a sense of what happened. As for the riots in London, for me, it's the economy stupid. And by Monday evening we get news of troubles in Croydon, far outside London, and then central Birmingham, then at Perry Barr One Stop Shopping Centre and now Wolverhampton city centre.
The Farnack
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In Ano Korakiana, tonight, at 8.00pm - τη Δευτέρα 8 Αυγούστου και ώρα 8:00 μ.μ. - the local Council has convened an open meeting, to which all residents are invited. To be held in the main room of the Rural Co-Op. The purpose is to hear and discuss how things stand on the wind turbines due to be erected on Trompetta, the mountain range above the village that leads eastward to mount Pantokrator.
Το Τοπικό Συμβούλιο Άνω Κορακιάνας καλεί τους Φορείς του χωριού (Συνεταιρισμό, Συλλόγους, Συμβούλια, Επιτροπές) σε συνάντηση – συζήτηση με θέμα τις «Εξελίξεις στο θέμα του πάρκου ανεμογεννητριών Παντοκράτορα», που επηρεάζει και ενδιαφέρει άμεσα την περιοχή μας.  Η συνάντηση θα πραγματοποιηθεί στην αίθουσα του Αγροτικού Συνεταιρισμού ...
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Paul McGovern as well as sending news of our friend Lionel's illness, treatment and return home (see pp 6-7 in the August Agiot Newsletter), reminds me of this year's Agiotfest Music Festival at Agios Ioannis on 27 August 2011 at 1800.
In October we will see my friend, Anthony Scoville, met many years ago when I was briefly a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania - my first paying job. He asked about ferries and other things - planning with his wife to drive to Corfu from Athens stopping on the way to see places:
Dear Tony...I hope you like Durrell on Corfu as much as I... ‘Somewhere between Calabria and Corfu the blue really begins’. Wedded to Lawrence’s writing it was only much later I came to appreciate the work of his brother, Gerald, whose early life in Corfu fermented a life’s commitment to rescue vanishing species for return to such wilds as we feckless humans allowed. His widow – Lee Durrell – has been an influential continuer of Gerald Durrell’s pioneering environmentalism, not just rescuing animals but through education developing a grasp of the living webs we so carelessly destroy, as much (to my embarrassment and chagrin as a beneficiary of most of the luxuries available to citizens of the richer countries) in quotidian activity (flying, motoring, consuming, building) as in the more obvious depredations of illegal logging, industrial fishing, and the mining of fossil fuels.
It’s sweet of you to think of supplies sought on the way up from Delphi, but just bring yourselves and I hope fine experiences of the places you see on the way. Sa vyees ston beegamo ya tin Ithikee, na efkessai nana makreis o dromos, yematos peripeties, yematos gnosees. (first 3 lines of Ithaca) ‘When you set out on your journey to Ithaca, pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge....’
I visited Delphi on a mini-bus tour in 1957. My dad sent me off at 16 to be a tourist. “You can always return to these places but first of all see some.” After our enthusiastic and knowledgeable young guide had shown us the museum and its treasures, my travel companions dispersed to their own enjoyments and I stumbled my way down between olives in the quiet of the evening to the valley below surrounded by the tinkling of goat bells interrupting such silence as made my ears ring. I was dusty and scratched when I returned, happy at having so much space to myself.
Here’s an interesting piece by our friend Richard Pine. A clue. To a visitor, steeped in the Classics, enamoured of them even, more of ancient in Greece may come alive observing and experiencing its present, as much as its revered antiquities. The old heroes could be anything but heroic. Greek democracy was often a noisy farce; abusive and vindictive. I sympathise but persevere with the idea. Under Athenian democracy Socrates was condemned to death. Plato regarded democracy as impossible unless protected from popular government by guardian intellects.
Yet follow Thucydides to see the unfolding debacle of the Peloponnesian war under such leaders. Women played no part in public life. Only slavery gave free men time for democracy. It brings to mind the remark about the cuckoo clock by Orson Welles in The Third Man.
Don’t buy into the complaint of some modern Greeks that they are the feeble inheritors of an incomparably nobler past. It’s an imposition placed on all of us by sublime sculpture, architecture, drama, fiction historical analysis and philosophy. George Seferis who won the nobel for his poetry wrote of a travelling in time, unable to disentangle himself from the mythologies of the past, or from personal memory, which blends - one with the other.  ‘I woke with this marble head in my hands; it exhausts my elbow and I don’t know where to put it down.’ (from Mythistorema 1935). Love to you both. Simon (in Scotland)

Ξύπνησα με το μαρμάρινο τούτο κεφάλι στα χέρια
που μου εξαντλεί τους αγκώνες και δεν ξέρω πού να
τ’ ακουμπήσω.
Έπεφτε το όνειρο καθώς έβγαινα από το όνειρο
έτσι ενώθηκε η ζωή μας και θα είναι πολύ δύσκολο να
ξαναχωρίσει.

Κοιτάζω τα μάτια. Μήτε ανοιχτά μήτε κλειστά
μιλώ στο στόμα που όλο γυρεύει να μιλήσει
κρατώ τα μάγουλα που ξεπέρασαν το δέρμα.
Δεν έχω άλλη δύναμη

τα χέρια μου χάνουνται και με πλησιάζουν
ακρωτηριασμένα.

I woke with this marble head in my hands;
it exhausts my elbow and I don’t know where to put it down.
It was falling into the dream as I was coming out of the dream
so our life became one and it will be very difficult for it to separate again.

I look at the eyes: neither open nor closed
I speak to the mouth which keeps trying to speak
I hold the cheeks which have broken through the skin.
That’s all I’m able to do.

My hands disappear and come towards me
mutilated.

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