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Thursday, 19 January 2012

In Ano Korakiana

These days on my own will become more like a dream - experiences unverified by the presence of another. I know this. It’s why ascetics go to the desert, not to commune with themselves but with someone not there. To whom does our grandson speak inside his mum? He'll never say but he'll recall in some part of his being the timeless swim before his clock begins - probably late in life, unless he's inclined to hermitry or becomes an artist and needs to go to places such people need to go - what Proust said of writing - to be conscious of dreaming without waking yourself up. I’ve known this condition only by mistake, when at sea alone for a few days. It happens in recollection; unexercised awareness; wakeful reflection as on a sunny day below a hedge somewhere. Mark described last night at supper under this sun we are having in Corfu, sat between working, half-asleep, nodding. Did I dream this particular stream of ordinary things; sleeping, eating, cleaning, tidying, going to and fro like a dog left in the house on its own, without the presence in easy reach of anyone with whom one is accustomed to share the greater part of daily life? That errandless ship - a tramp - floating anchored, calm as the blue brush-strokes on a Delft tile. My mother has a special liking for St Jerome, an etching - a very good copy of Dürer's picture - on her bedroom wall with family photos.
"Why does he have the lion lying there?" she asked me
"It's about taming the flesh isn't it, mum. You remember him in the wilderness too."
"So what about the dog?"
"I think that's just a nice animal to have around when you're working on your own"
"The skull? I know"
Mark and I were discussing last night the way we chat with our dogs... and they with us. I'd been telling him of my lovely long walks with Oscar and Lulu in the Highlands just the other day. I'm sure that's right. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels...the animals could as well be angels, see...
Bartolomeo Cavarozzi's version of St Jerome's companions

*** ***
East Midlands Airport
Getting here Lin drove me to New Street station to catch a train to Derby just before 6.00am; a cold bus to the airport. I flew away on a crisp frosty morning; Ryanair - efficient cheap - to Venice Treviso, then bus to Venice...

...from where, after 36 hours...
Venice from the railway station - a protest about night rail cutbacks is on
...I boarded a train - of a proper kind compared to the unclassy world of UK rail (getting better as our affair with the automobile and its so-called freeways turns into a loveless marriage of convenience) - sped me, with a change at Bologna, 820 kilometres down the Italian peninsular to Bari (pastrami picnic with fresh bread and chianti), where I took the superfast ferry to Igoumenitsa; was woken from a snooze in the noisy bar - newsak game show static - at 6.00am to take one of the small ferries to Corfu - Theodora....
The blue
...From the bus station a few hundred yards from the port I took a green line bus the 12 kilometres to Ano Korakiana, to arrive in the village like a character in a Michael Cacoyannis movie (such pleasing self dramatisation - the ascetic, the traveller, the lone stranger), calling to the driver to stop at the path below the house, trudging up past familiar barking dogs, through the long grass and weeds to 208 Democracy Street, letting myself into the quiet sunlit house, making a cup of tea (having bought milk on the way).
While waiting for the Corfu ferry I escaped the chill - as cold here as in Venice, even colder than a few days ago in the Highlands - in a taverna where, alone but for its owner, I sipped a coffee and read an engaging police procedural, The Return, by Håkan Nesser. On the wall was a picture of two dark figures hacking at a weeping tree, observed by a weeping chaffinch, a schooner, sea and islands.

*** ***
Global Voices reports the closing stages of the prolonged trial of those accused of the murder of Hrant Dink:
Five years and 25 hearings later, the trial to convict those responsible for the murder of Hrant Dink...
Good man down
...a Turkish-Armenian journalist, has come to a close. The gunman, 17-year-old Ogün Samast, as well as over a dozen others accused of involvement in the gunning down of Dink in Istanbul in January 2007, were caught almost immediately afterwards. However, according to Dink's family, friends and lawyers, the case is linked to Turkey's so-called deep state structures and the real perpetrators, meaning those who masterminded the crime, have not been brought to justice. While Samast was sentenced to 22 years in prison last year, yesterday's verdict, which ruled that three other defendants acted as individuals rather than as part of a criminal organization, was a disappointment many had seen coming. From the pre-hearing statement of the group 'Hrant's Friends' to the lawyer's statement after the verdict, and throughout a procession from the Beşiktaş Court House to Agos, the newspaper Dink edited, one sentiment stood out...Journalist Yavuz Baydar summed up that feeling. "Dink davasına doğru, yolda. Karar çıkacak herhalde, ama bu dava bitmeyecek...On my way to the court. Seems like a verdict will be issued today, but this trial will not end here."

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