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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

"Let's make a cup of tea"

I took my mother down to the new wheelchair route from the playground at Farr that Farquar Forbes told me he'd made to add to his landscaping routes along the Farnack. It's just completed but the path needs hardening up else wheelchair wheels, built for malls and sidewalks, tend to dig in.
A swathe of rain works its way across the Highlands, filling the river again, so high above the boulders the Farnack ceases its chattering ripple, just a constant 'haa', running fast and smooth. The light's flat. Everything drips. In the wood black slugs gouge holes in sodden ceps.
"I'll stay in the car" said Mum "you walk the dogs"
I take in a circuit of School Wood past the wooden bench she gave to commemorate Angus, her husband for forty years who died six years ago, an infantry officer at Dunkirk, a rescue boat sunk under him, in the water for "quite a few hours." Shot in the leg before being rescued again. "The salt kept it from getting gangrene".
In memory of Angus who loved this wood
 Lin's terse on the phone still angry with me for suggesting causes for the events of recent days, thinking I'm inventing excuses; my attempts at explanations, she holds, are attempts to justify the unjustifiable. "No excuses" she says. Meanwhile I'm vexed by friends on the left who sometimes seem to celebrate raggedy rioting and by my son-in-law, in the motor trade, who seems untroubled by the reverse rumble of local vengeance. He's seen a lot of cars in flames. Amy keeps her counsel. Mum - who knew war - says, when asked, "Who am I to say? I think this was always going to happen."
I look for signs of my England - decency, civility, generosity of the kind I've long known in my street and on the allotments and across Handsworth and Birmingham. I was moved by this fearless angry Hackney dame, Pauline Pearce, calling on the raggedy to 'get real', cursing not rebels but failed shoppers, crying out not to people dispossessed of rights, but to grown-up children of capitalism excluded from the market. She swears in the urban wilderness at raggedy proles seduced by consumerism "Get a library card"

To my delight I come across Birmingham recycled - Local Councillors and MPs joined over a hundred people gathered in Birmingham City Centre to aid the city council in the clean up of the city centre following riots and unrest by youths and more clean-ups across the country, and I like Stay in and drink tea humour in words and images

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Chris with the plot next to ours emailed thanking me for the letter to Waseem about the playing fields:
Well done Simon. It is amazing to me how few staff keep the park together so proudly for the community. I am sure very little money could also find staff salary and capital outlay for schools and improved sports facilities. I was away till yesterday but cycling down Grove Lane was surprised at what evidence of cars smashed up and two places in tarmac where cars had been burnt. Local residents must have cleaned up quickly in solidarity no one has yet parked cars down all of Grove Lane at present (small businesses down that road still boarded up but trading today.  The riots must have been horrific but all quiet know and police from Staffordshire controlling Soho Road tonight. Speak soon. Chris. PS Picked some of your broccoli before it goes to seed 
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The survey of Saint Athanasios Church - Ο Ιερός Ναός Αγίου Αθανασίου - at the foot of the village reports €40,000 before VAT and tax - χωρίς ΦΠΑ και φόρο - needed to carry out the restoration and preservation of a hundred square metres of murals on its southern and northern interiors. The church council - Εκκλησιαστικό Συμβούλιο - which includes our neighbour Eleftherios Jonas, Ελευθέριος Ιωνάς, are appealing to all Korakianas, Κορακιανίτες, for donations - 'the times are difficult but the objective is not unachievable'. Work should start as soon as possible. This is important work in itself, as also for Ano Korakiana.

Με την παραπάνω επιστολή συνοδευόμενη από φωτογραφικό υλικό και περιγραφή των απαιτούμενων εργασιών συντήρησης, που καλύπτουν επιφάνεια 100 μ2, το Εκκλησιαστικό Συμβούλιο απευθύνεται σε Κορακιανίτες και μη, αναζητώντας δωρητές, προκειμένου να καλυφθεί το κόστος συντήρησης που υπολογίζεται σε €40.000 (χωρίς ΦΠΑ και φόρο). Στόχος είναι να συγκεντρωθεί σε σύντομο διάστημα ένα ικανό ποσό ώστε να ξεκινήσουν το συντομότερο δυνατόν οι εργασίες. Παρότι οι καιροί είναι δύσκολοι, ο στόχος δεν είναι ακατόρθωτος, με την προϋπόθεση της μαζικής ευαισθητοποίησης, η οποία περιορίζει την κατά «οικογένεια» επιβάρυνση. Εξάλλου πρόκειται για ένα σημαντικής αξίας έργο για το χωριό μας και όχι μόνο.
An opportunity to make a donation in support of the village band of Ano Korakiana:


  1. Simon,

    I know you only from your writing and based on that I have always considered you the consumate Englishman exemplifying decency, civility and generosity. Perhaps we have to lose those things in order to truly begin to appreciate them again. I pray those qualities will rise again from the ashes.

  2. Right now I miss Greece and όπου καὶ νὰ ταξιδέψω ἡ Αγγλία μὲ πληγώνει.

  3. Αυτό που αγαπάμε πάντοτε θα μας πληγώσει

  4. Φυσικά αλλά ευχαριστίες, Σταύρος.


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