Saturday, 1 December 2012

Power cuts in Ano Korakiana


Kostas Apergis - Κώστας Απέργης - was grumbling on the Ano Korakiana website last Thursday about the power cuts that leave the village without lights or heat for cooking, and even without tap water, while his friend Thanassis has added a note - από μια άλλη άποψη - that these inconveniences direct neighbours back to earlier forms of light and heat and the inclination to help one another.
Εωσφόρος ονομάζεται αυτός που αναγγέλλει τον ερχομό της αυγής (έω-αυγή+φέρω), δηλαδή ο πλανήτης Αφροδίτη, ο Αυγερινός που λέμε. Κατά τη χριστιανική διδασκαλία ήταν επικεφαλής των αγγέλων, που όμως λόγω αλαζονείας και υπερηφανείας εξέπεσε στην τάξη των δαιμόνων και έγινε διάβολος, ο Βεεζελβούλ.
Η ΔΕΗ, όπως όλοι γνωρίζουμε, έχει καθήκον να μας τροφοδοτεί με ηλεκτρικό ρεύμα, γι΄ αυτό άλλωστε την πληρώνουμε και μάλιστα καλά.
Για να εξασφαλίζει την ομαλή τροφοδοσία ρεύματος στους καταναλωτές της, διαθέτει τεχνικά συνεργεία, τα οποία προβαίνουν σε όλες εκείνες τις απαιτούμενες ενέργειες προς τούτο.
Τα τελευταία χρόνια κατά τη διάρκεια καιρικών φαινομένων έντονων όπως βροχή, αέρας, αστραπόβροντα η Κορακιάνα μένει χωρίς ρεύμα για λίγο ή συνήθως περισσότερο χρόνο, με ότι συνέπειες έχει αυτό σε άλλους τομείς π.χ. στο υδραγωγείο, ενώ στη νότια μέση Κέρκυρα τα φώτα πάντα συνεχίζουν να λάμπουν! Να αποδώσουμε το φαινόμενο στο διάολο της Κορακιάνας ή σ΄αυτόν της ΔΕΗ;
Σημείωση ιστοσελίδας: από μια άλλη άποψη, η παρατεταμένη διακοπή ηλεκτρικού ρεύματος γύρισε για λίγο τη σελίδα της καθημερινότητάς μας. Η πρόβα της Χορωδίας έγινε υπό το φως των σύγχρονων "λαδοφωτιών" (τα κινητά τηλέφωνα φέρουν και φωτισμό), και το κέρασμα της Κατερίνας και της Σοφίας έγινε στο σκοτάδι. Η χαρτοπαιξία στο καφενείο έδωσε τη θέση της σε συζήτηση υπό το φως των κεριών, ενώ η τηλεόραση στο σπίτι αντικαταστάθηκε για λίγο από το παλιό τρανζιστοράκι. Τέλος, οι παλαιότεροι θυμήθηκαν ότι πρώτο τους μέλημα τα παλιά τα χρόνια, μόλις επέστρεφαν από το χωράφι το σούρουπο, ήταν να ζητήσουν από το γείτονα ένα απόδαυλο για να ανάψουν το τζάκι τους, εάν δεν είχαν προνοήσει για κανένα μισαναμένο κάρβουνο στις στάχτες. Και βέβαια, το αντιφέγγισμα του ουρανού, παρά τη βαρειά συννεφιά, απέτρεψε από την ανάγκη της χρήσης απόδαυλων για το περπάτημα στο δρόμο...
(My rough translation) Lucifer - Εωσφόροςis - announces the coming of dawn, between the planet Venus and the Morning Star. In Christian teaching he was at the head of the angels, but because of his arrogance and pride was cast down and became Beelzebub -Βεεζελβούλ. The PPC (The Public Power Corporation of Greece) - ΔΕΗ - as we all know, has a duty to supply us with electricity. We pay good money for their service. They are there to give consumers a reliable supply of electricity. They have technical workshops to do all that's needed to ensure that. But in recent years during heavy rain, strong winds and lightning, Ano Korakiana has been left without power - sometimes briefly but often for long periods, causing us to lose power for the pumping stations so that the village is without clean water, while further south the lights remain on across Corfu! Is the PPC just telling Korakianas they can go to hell? (note: Kostas is actually ruder - Να αποδώσουμε το φαινόμενο στο διάολο της Κορακιάνας ή σ΄αυτόν της ΔΕΗ;
Note from Thanassis: From another viewpoint, prolonged blackout briefly turns the page on our daily lives. The choir rehearsed by the light of modern inventions - 'ladofotion' - ? cell phones and torches, and Catherine's and Sophia's hospitality (treat) was enjoyed in the dark. Gambling at the kafeneion gave way to discussion under candlelight while TV at home was briefly replaced by old transistor radios. Finally, the oldest of us recalled that their first concern in the past, as soon as they returned from the fields at nightfall, was to ask their neighbour for a glowing ember to light their stove, if they'd forgotten to leave enough coal to smoulder in the grate. And of course, the glow of the sky, despite pouring rain, prevented the need for torches when walking down the street ...
Να αποδώσουμε το φαινόμενο στο διάολο της Κορακιάνας ή σ΄αυτόν της ΔΕΗ;
In the village last Feb I was in Mark and Sally's house one evening: 
...Their house cosy with plentiful candles, Mark, gazing beyond the spacious porch said
“There are lights over to the west” proving the point.
The power came on again but we lost WiFi for a few minutes. As I said goodnight the house lights stayed on, but street lights were out – on a separate supply which also powers the pumps that bring water to the village. Back at 208 I nudged our largest bowls below the gutter pipes; rainwater for washing and flushing; prepared night lights, candles and matches and a small propane stove. I’ve got bottled water for tea – and wine to drink. Reminded by loss of water and power, something familiar at this time of year, Sally and I had been discussing how we’d all experience shortages in the ‘crisis’ – the winter weather’s not unfamiliar but now it's got the feel of a dirge, stirring apprehensions. 
...and here's mention on the village website on 3 Dec 2009 of the same recurring problem
Η προχθεσινή βροχόπτωση, που συνδυάστηκε με δυνατό αέρα, ανέδειξε για μια ακόμη φορά ένα πρόβλημα που ταλανίζει το χωριό μας, χρόνια τώρα. Κάθε φορά που οι καιρικές συνθήκες είναι έντονες, ο οικισμός ξεμένει από …ηλεκτρικό ρεύμα. 
The day before rainfall, combined with strong winds, highlighted once again a problem plaguing our village for years. Whenever the weather is severe, the settlement finds itaelf...running out of electricity.
Gale at Garitsa
*** *** ***
Yesterday the first big removal from Brin Croft, an oil painting that has hung behind my mother's chair all the five years she's been here, after her move from Mains of Faillie in 2006. It's lovely. A painting by Guthrie of Fiona, my step-sister's great grandmother.
In the quotidian language of probate, it's been valued for the estate and can now be moved out. I've put another picture in its place but the wall looks empty. Thus we will disassemble Mum's things, gradually changing everything. Thank goodness the house feels so entirely without her as though she's got better things to be doing than hanging around here. To while the time I wrote an obit in case a local paper wants one:
1917: Theodora Barbara with her mother and grandmother
Our mother died at Brin Croft, Inverarnie at teatime on 1 November aged 95. She was born Theodora Barbara Sumner Maine in London in 1917. Like her mum she was a debutante, but had little taste for 'the season'.
She became a photographer, journalist and publisher. In 1946 she reported from occupied Vienna as a war correspondent for Vogue. She continued a career in Fleet Street as editor of women’s magazines and the first women’s editor of Farmers Weekly. She had two children, Simon and Bay - "my pigeon pair" - by her first marriage to the diplomat John Baddeley CMG, followed by a long liaison with the country broadcaster Jack Hargreaves OBE. In 1965 she married Angus Burnett Stuart, head of Thompson Regional Newspapers, adding his two stepdaughters, Fiona and Jennifer to her family. In the 1950s and early ‘60s she published, edited, commissioned and part-authored a range of country-life books on smallholding, cookery, collecting and restoring old junk (long before these became widespread hobbies), pressure-cooking and deep-freezing (when these were still novel in the home). Moving to the Highlands on her husband’s retirement, she continued her publishing work as well as sharing Angus’ love of fishing. He was a founder of the Highland Field Sports Fair at Moy the last thirty years. Her sister Margot had long lived locally, at Cannich then Forres. Angus and Barbara settled in Strathnairn at Mains of Faillie near Daviot.
Mum with her daughter, Bay, great granddaughter, Sydney and granddaughter Susie
She worked for various local causes including the Samaritans and created a home for more and more grandchildren and eventually great grandchildren. For most of them the Highlands became a refuge of constant pleasure and happy memories, of dreich winter snow, wind and rain, chilly summer swims, climbs and long walks with many dogs. When Angus died in 2005 in his own home, Barbara, at the age of 88, managed the move to her last home at Brin Croft. She continued to take part in community activity; was an ardent friend of Eden Court Theatre, a gardener and traveller - to many parts of Europe, to Russia, Palestine and Israel, Greece, Morocco and Egypt, the USA, India and the Far East. She was one of those fortunate people whose bodies gave out before their minds, lucid until three days before she passed away, her children at her bedside in her own home. She once said, as she found herself relying more and more on sticks and a wheelchair, “Growing old is not for the young. It’s ruddy hard work!” She was a prolific reader; loved music with no distinction between genres; nurtured long close friendships with relatives and non-relatives.
Mum with great grandson, Oliver, granddaughter, Amy and son, Simon 
She was a companion, listener and consoler. Her five years' carer, Sharon Brown, told of how early this year, she wheeled Barbara into the big supermarket outside town, where her first words in the electronics section were “I want the best iPad you’ve got!’ - a great span from touch-typing and shorthand in her twenties, to Skype, Google and Wikipedia in her nineties. She loved life; more especially she loved the rivers, tracks, woods and hills of Inverness-shire, especially the Findhorn about which she left files of notes. Four chickens were bought and housed just outside Brin Croft this August, providing entertainment for her great grandchildren and eggs for her omelets. Almost until her last days she was planning further projects; death no more than something in her way. 
Mum fishing for shark

*** *** ***
Saturday afternoon: Beth, Tracy's daughter, was waiting on us at the Dores Inn. She's a sweet girl. Liz and she hugged and chatted after she'd bought us a cider and, for me a half pint of Ossian, a pleasant flavoured real ale. The pub was warm, welcoming; busy with Saturday lunching into the late afternoon. Liz drove me down the rough lane from Brin Croft onto the road from Tombreck over the Nairn to the cross-roads, then left up the strath past Tordarroch farmstead, towards Dunlichity, over familiar rises and familiar turns close beside loch a'Chlachain - mum called it Clacken - round a long bend to the wooded banks of loch Duntelchaig. the gentle heights of Creag Bhuidhe luminous with light snow under winter sun, achingly beautiful. Then through the muir over two grids by high Loch Ashie reflecting the flawless blue. The menu was easy. i ordered an interesting vegetable soup and brown bread and a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich. We'd walked where I've walked for years and years the sun blazing on the glittering water of the Great Glen, the great rift of Loch Ness that divides the Highlands, dazzling even through the tall pines, spangling layers of pine needled earth beside our easy track beyond the pebble shore between Dores and Tor Point, the ageless outline of hills dipping into Loch Ness. There's Meall Fuar-mhonaidh. I saw its steep sugar-loaf summit thoroughly snow covered like a Christmas cake when I was 10; first time in the Highlands, for the world, which seemed to lie before me like a land of dreams, so various, so beautiful, so new.  
"This is a clearance for my sadness, Liz"
She talked blithely, like Amy, about all sorts of things, a palliation for the inescapable ache of this lovely landscape, trailing away headland by headland to drab Fort Augustus. Lulu yelled at me for a stick. I threw it out twenty feet into the chilly water of the loch and in she leapt, swimming as ever like a little champion, our otter, brought it back and brushed the wet stick against the back of our legs, asking us "throw again, and again!" I argued with Liz about democracy, about trusting it enough to vote as she made familiar generalisations about 'politicians' and 'the system'.
We returned in the dusk, a few coming cars shining up the roadside birch, footlights on a winter's tale. Brin Croft was in darkness; our tyres crunching on gravel sparkling with hoarfrost crystals.
"Doing this is good" I said "I get to cover the old ground. But I don't see how I'll be coming back to the Highlands"
"I love it here. I want to live here" said Liz "so does Amy"
"So you might apply for a job?"
"Oh yeah. It's agreed."
The dogs leap from the opened boot. Heeling us as we shuffle into the warmth of the house.
"Cup of tea, One sugar?"
"Yeah. Cup of tea."
** ** ** ** **
Jim Potts has dug out a newspaper cutting for Corfu Blues in which Gerald Durrell returned to Corfu in 1987 half a century after his and his family's legendary childhood there in the 1930s. I've visited and revisited this dismal falling off; nothing is novel. But like Maria Strani-Potts' recent Pimping of Panorea, Durrell's words resonate now as they did 25 years ago:
I have had a most extraordinary affair of the heart. It started when I was eight years old and I fell deeply and irrevocably in love with a ravishing creature who was mature and beautiful. She gave me joy, brightness, freedom of spirit and opened my eyes to beauty, scents, colours, knowledge, love and laughter.
Her name was Kerkyra, the island of Corfu, and she is probably several million years old.
Going back to her recently was like paying a visit to the most beautiful woman in the world suffering from an acute and probably terminal case of leprosy – commonly called tourism.
It is, of course, ridiculous to expect the places of your youth to remain unchanged while you yourself get older and more withered but somehow, with land and seascapes, if they are untarnished by man you expect them to be immutable, like a beautiful painting.
“Never go back to a place where you were happy,” my brother Larry once said to me, and it is an offered fruit of wisdom with a kernel of bitterness enshrined in it, for have been back to many places where I have been happy and been happy again.
But the place that gave me the greatest joy and enchantment was Corfu and so I have been back many ties and suffered as I watched her demise.
Tourism is a curious modern disease. It attacks the shoeless man, the man of meagre wealth and the bloated man of affluence, whereupon it becomes an epidemic like the Black Death that stalked through Europe in the Middle Ages. It now ranges all over the world.
The people of Corfu were blessed with a magnificent, magical inheritance, an island of staggering beauty, probably one of the most beautiful islands in the whole of the Mediterranean. What they have done with it is vandalism beyond belief.
Barbati in north west Corfu before  the arrival of Lopákhin

All this is true. All this has happened. I've been over it again and again - chatted happily about it with Jim and Maria last February at Rouvas. The world is full of Lopákhins who want to buy and Ranevskayas who, through their own incompetence, have to sell.
LOPAKHIN: I bought it. Wait a bit; don't hurry me; my head's in a whirl; I can't speak. . [Laughing] When we got to the sale, Derigánof was there already. Leoníd Andréyitch had only fifteen hundred pounds, and Derigánof bid three thousand more than the mortgage right away. When I saw how things stood, I went for him and bid four thousand. He said four thousand five hundred. I said five thousand five hundred. He went up by five hundreds, you see, and I went up by thousands...Well, it was soon over. I bid nine thousand more than the mortgage, and got it; and now the cherry orchard is mine! Mine! [Laughing] Heavens alive! Just think of it! The cherry orchard is mine! Tell me that I'm drunk; tell me that I'm off my head; tell me that it's all a dream!...[Stamping his feet] Don't laugh at me! If only my father and my grandfather could rise from their graves and see the whole affair, how their Yermolái, their flogged and ignorant Yermolái, who used to run about barefooted in the winter, how this same Yermolái had bought a property that hasn't its equal for beauty anywhere in the whole world! I have bought the property where my father and grandfather were slaves, where they weren't even allowed into the kitchen. I'm asleep, it's only a vision, it isn't real...'Tis the fruit of imagination, wrapped in the mists of ignorance. [Picking up a set of keys] She's thrown down her keys; she wants to show that she's no longer mistress here. [Jingling them together] Well, what's the odds? [Musicians can be heard tuning up] Hey, musicians play! I want to hear you. Come everyone and see Yermolái Lopákhin lay his axe to the cherry orchard, come and see the trees fall down! We'll fill the place with villas; our grandsons and great-grandsons shall see a new life here....Strike up, music!
"...come and see the trees fall down! We'll fill the place with villas" What remains of the island's cherry orchards is yet amazing. What's happened isn't as black and white as Durrell writes it - the old man remembering and lamenting a childhood idyll; what happened isn't bad or good in that easy sense. It's both tragedy and comedy as Chekov intended his wonderful play to be, and about which audience, directors and critics have debated since.
Sunrise after rain in Corfu

"If you want to find a place" said my stepfather 'be sure to choose somewhere already ruined".
Well yes indeed. That's Corfu. I embrace with such gratitude the happiness that yet remains here; that we have found in this place. Its beauty, joy, love, light, come only in part from the precious remains of its ravished landscape – worst of all the littered shores – but from the people we know here. Without them, like Scotland, as anywhere, there would be no happiness.
At Brin Croft
New York Times Editorial 30/11/12:
What’s Missing in the Latest Greek Bailout...The new Greek bailout deal agreed to Tuesday by eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund is a clear improvement over earlier deals. It recognizes that Greece’s current and projected ratios of debt to output are unsustainable. It prescribes useful steps to lower that ratio, including lower interest rates on loans from Greece’s European partners, longer bond maturities and a plan for Athens to buy back and retire some of its heavily discounted bonds. Regrettably, it excludes more effective tools, like actual debt write-downs, which Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, finds politically unpalatable. And in deference to Ms. Merkel, the deal postpones some of the promised relief until after German elections next September. But its biggest mistake is conditioning relief on maintaining fiscal austerity.....
I dreamed that austerity would go on for ever. That Athens would shrink to the size it was in the 19th century, and the sprawling suburbs of all the Republic's cities would shrink to their core, their deadly suburbs and strip malls falling into decay, becoming the fields and woods they destroyed; that Greece with all Europe and the world would utterly rebalance urban-rural relationships; reducing the human population to ancient proportions over the next century. My stepfather wished it. I wish it.
Did they think about the skylarks when they built Mayfair
on the grazings that ran down to the Shepherd’s Market? 
Did they worry about the snipe when they drained the marshes
behind St.James’s Palace to build Belgravia?
Where did the kite go when they dug the London sewers?
Do the piles they drove down through the beaver’s dam hold
firm the supermarket in Newbury High Street?
Who cooked the big trout that lay under the village bridge
at Wandsworth?  Who feasted on the last salmon that was
netted at Tower Hamlets?
Now they come to put central heating in the ploughman’s hovel.
They claim the sun that used to bake the hay.  And breathe
the breeze in which the pointing dog caught a hundred scents.
They walk out in trainers and T-shirts that say “Save the
Rain Forest”.
“Stand back!” they say.  “We have a right to walk where we please!”
But we look where they trod before and shudder for what
follows in their footsteps.
I said I must write a warning.  But I was angry and - as the
Japanese say - to be angry is only to make yourself ridiculous.
So we will live out our days in the cracks between the
concrete.  And then they will pour cement on top of us.*
*'Love of the country ~ ode to a book I never wrote' written in 1993 by my stepfather Jack Hargreaves (1911-1994) and probably - forgive me - not intended to be public.
At Solva with Jack
To a rural townie like me this 'ode' of Jack's is contradictory, as I suspect he was well aware. He denigrates people who demonstrate on behalf of rain forests. Yet who, other than illegal loggers and land hungry peasants, does not care about their degradation? He's vexed at people who buy rural labourers' cottages to convert into comfortable second homes - yet all my life with him we switched to and fro between the city where Jack, when he was not filming, did much of his work and earned his living, and the country where we had beautifully converted homes - in Berkshire, Hampshire and then Dorset. I have no doubt that Jack knew our way of living - as is often the case with all but the most dedicated of self-sufficient farmers - contributed to the passing of the way of life he spent thirty years recording on television. That he was entertaining rather than bleak was his gift as an entertainer. All his life JH respected people who lived off the land though they lived by modern agricultural methods, as few cannot. He knew a tiny percentage of those who reside in the countryside actually live off the land; that his stewardship of fowl, cattle, ponies and his kitchen smallholding, was a drop in an ocean; satisfying, even beloved props, for Out of Town. He once observed - earning a kick below the table from my mother - that my grandmother's post-war dairy farm (where I was born) was a 'hobby farm', surviving on subsidy - "a milk lorry winding slowly along country lanes collecting one or two churns from small farms on its daily round, adding a good three pennies to every urban housewife's pint." His position was contradictory. I am unsure what else it could have been.
*** ***
Hurrah for hybridity! Intriguing reading from June Samaras' ever valued Google Group hellas-greece on Greek ethnicity in America, especially when I ponder the diversity of my wider family - Jewish, Greek - Athenian and Cypriot - South African, Turkish, working class, middle and upper middle class, English, Scots, Welsh - an academic paper by Yiorgos Anagnostou, Ohio State University...When “Second Generation” Narratives and Hollywood Meet: Making Ethnicity in My Big Fat Greek Wedding , MELUS, Volume 37, Number 4 (Winter 2012) pp.139-163
....Thus the film reminds audiences that the pursuit of freedom is far more complicated than simply a matter of choice. Obligations lurk in social relations, becom-ing particularly visible in the interface between the dominant society and American ethnics with histories of collectivism such as Greek Americans. They also operate when families and communities invest in the social reproduction of ethnicity. The film values the striving for autonomy while at the same time pointing to the limitations surrounding this ideal. It is compelling to watch because it narrates social life as a drama of longing for autonomy and acknowledging the existence of forces that curtail it. The American ideal of autonomy is not achieved, and it may even be impossible to achieve in a culturally diverse society.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding envisions ethnicity in the multicultural polity by promoting the value of ethnicity while also acknowledging its constraining function. p.157
My take on the polyglot - Internal Polity and Governmentality:
Thirty years ago Michel Foucault (1965) described the spontaneous appearance in the middle ages of the ship of fools. This image reflected alarm among the burghers of well-ordered medieval towns at the movement within their streets and outside their walls of leprous, itinerant and destitute people. From the findings that such people had been the subjects of increasingly attentive monitoring, regulation, sometimes incarceration and later institutionalisation, Foucault showed how disorder engenders order and elaborated an evolving reciprocity between forms of madness and forms of civilisation. This exegesis led me thereafter to suspect concerns I found myself harbouring about disorder in the world. Irritation at litter insinuated a gap in my reasoning. Exasperation at noise implied a failure of logic. Fear of crime might include flawed ratiocination. All anxiety evoked by external events has had to be checked for its possible source in too complacent a need for order. Thus Foucault’s archaeology engendered a reflexive distrust of any impulse in myself to define a polity - local or global - that excluded the aberrant. I do not mean differences absorbed by a liberal civility educated to abhor inhibition of the cosmopolitan. Foucault’s lesson applies where those fine feelings no longer rule and anxiety about otherness and what cannot be understood edges into fear or worse. “Madness and Civilisation” served as constitutional therapy, partially immunising me against projecting fears in myself on to strangers and the strange, and creating a setting for an internal politics that would entertain no appreciative judgement about what was outside without a comparable appreciation of what was inside. Foucault (1978) wrote of government as an art that can be discerned in the way people learned to govern themselves, accept government and govern others. His concept of "governmentality” elides “government” and “mentality”, providing a term that embraces psychology and politics and assumes a continuity between the rule of self, household and state that may be interrupted and require reinvention in crises. It embraces the historical process of government in external polities and the biographical process of self-government in internal polities (Baddeley 1995)....from Governmentality in Brian Loader (ed.) (1997) The Governance of Cyberspace (London:Routledge) (5) 64-96

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