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Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Plot 14 on the Victoria Jubilee Allotments
I'm making a more robust surround for the beehive on the allotment, before Jill finds a new swarm to replace the hive lost in the wet; four 75mm x 75mm steel stake holders sledge hammered in a rectangle and four seven foot lengths of tantalised deal.  I'll add cross pieces for strength, a gate and staple on netting. At the same time I'm planting more potatoes, both for the crop and for improving the soil. It is time for spring cleaning...
Spring by Abel Grimmer 1607 - a picture from Antwerp drawn to my attention my Maria Strani-Potts

...but how the wind blows cold from the the east, often from the north east, with rain.
Wet cold weather in Birmingham

We're working through a list of errands. It seems that what we've doing every day for weeks. Vague things go wrong and have to be diagnosed, tools assembled for repair by us, or someone employed. Yesterday Alan came to install a replacement door in LIn's flat on the Hamstead Road...
...and as he worked Winnie and I emptied rubbish that had accumulated in the basement for a donation to Handsworth Helping Hands...

The previous tenant had for some reason removed the kitchen sink u-bend.

"Why?" asks Lin "Why would someone do that?"
They'd also managed to remove one and displace another aluminium edging strip, and somehow separated the same sink from its counter in a complicated way that cracked the formica. With a metal strap and a new leg to support the arrangement the worktop is useable again.

As we attend to these jobs and more, we've also been taking rubbish to Holford Drive scavenging rubbish from a front gardens at the request of the householder...
Handsworth Helping Hands

...taking scrap metal to a recycling company instead of leaving it for the profit of the local scrap collectors...
Tariq Ali at One Stop Recycling weighs our scrap metal delivery

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Jim Potts recommended a book which has just arrived
Greece and Britain since 1945, second edition, editor: David Wills
25η Μαρτίου... (from the Ano Korakiana website)
Παρά τις προβλέψεις και τη χθεσινο-βραδινή βροχή, το πρωϊνό της 25ης Μαρτίου ήταν γενικά ηλιόλουστο,γεγονός που επέτρεψε την πραγματοποίησης της μικρής παρέλασης που πραγματοποιείται τα τελευταία χρόνια στο χωριό. Μετά τη Δοξολογία στον Άη-Γιώργη και τον συναισθηματικά φορτισμένο επετειακό λόγο του Διευθυντή του Ειδικού Γυμνασίου Κέρκυρας, η τελετή συνεχίστηκε στην πλατεία του χωριού. Εκεί, υπό τους ήχους της Μπάντας, οι εκπρόσωποι των τοπικών αρχών και φορέων κατέθεσαν δάφνινα σταφάνια στο Μνημείο του Άγνωστου Στρατιώτη. Η κατάθεση στεφάνου από τους μικρούς μαθητές του Νηπιαγωγείου ξεχώρισε…

25thmarch2014b.jpg25thmarch2014c.jpgΑκολούθως η μικρή πομπή βάδισε τον κεντρικό δρόμο του χωριού, με τη Φιλαρμονική να συνεχίζει για την Κάτω Κορακιάνα και αργότερα για την πόλη και τους υπόλοιπους να κάνουν στάση στο Κοινοτικό Κατάστημα για ένα κέρασμα. Εκεί, ο ιερέας(παπα-Κώστας), η Πρόεδρος της Φιλαρμονικής Δώρα Μεταλληνού, ο Πρόεδρος του Τοπικού Συμβουλίου Φωκίων Μάνδυλας, ο Πρόεδρος του Συλλόγου Ανω-Κορακιανιτών Αθηνών Σπύρος Κένταρχος και η τελετάρχης και μέλος του Τοπικού Συμβουλίου Ειρήνη Βιτουλαδίτη, είχαν την ευκαιρία για μία γενικού περιεχομένου, συζήτηση…

Υ.Γ.1.Η δυτική πλευρά από τα κελιά του Άη-Γιώργη χρήζει όπως φαίνεται, άμεσης επισκευής, όπως παρατήρησαν διερχόμενοι κάτοικοι, που παρακολούθησαν τη σημερινή παρέλαση.
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This is one of the best briefings on the Greek War of Independence that I have come across, recognising the myths and respecting them but also showing the role of chance and the machinations of the great European and Ottoman powers, ones in which the wondrous land is embroiled to this day...

A comment in Facebook during a discussion of Greek Independence Day on 25th March 2014: Corfu was never but for a matter of weeks occupied by the a British citizen I have been brought up knowing 'we' have not been occupied by an invader since 1066; that we have been a haven for so many who have lost their country. England, Britain, has been threatened with invasion but we have never had to fight off a foreign yoke in our midst - one that in the case of Greece has dominated us for centuries, taken away our capital city, one which the rest of the world rightly calls Istanbul but which Greeks still call Κωνσταντινούπολις. The passion, glory, violence and cruelty of the Greek War of Independence are difficult for 'us' to understand. Even as I perpetuate my own, it can be difficult for me to see myths regarded as more important than history. It was only after I had learned a little more about the events of those decades at the start of the 19th century that I appreciated the words of Solomos' National Anthem "I recognise you by the fearsome sharpness, of your sword"; that I understood why Greeks are more protective of and sensitive about the honour of their flag, which signifies in its blue and white stripes, the colour of the Greek sky, nine syllables of the phrase 'Freedom or Death' Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος. When I hear the Greek National Anthem - Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν - I get a lump in my throat; my eyes burn with tears, recalling that when Britain stood alone shortly before I was born, Greece of all the Balkan nations stood against the invader winning, before she was overwhelmed by the might of Hitler's arms, one of the first victories for the Allies. I detest flag-waving nationalism but I have to admit that other than my own I know no flag other than the blue and white - Γαλανόλευκη - that fills me with greater love and respect for another country.
Ὕμνος εἰς τὴν Ἐλευθερίαν
Greece one morning long ago
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On Monday morning an email from Christina in the Highlands; Christina who with her husband James so kindly took on the care of mum's terriers, Lulu and Bibi:
Lulu runs with Oscar, Malo and Cookie on the shore at Fort George, Moray Firth

Dear Bay Simon and Sharon. I am heartbroken to tell you the saddest news about Lulu and I am so sorry. Darling girl managed to get under the gate in the field at the end of a long walk with James on Friday afternoon and was run over on the road by a van. We rushed her to the vet but she died in the car on the way.
 We are so desolate as we had got to love Lulu so much and she had become a wonderful part of our family including the grandchildren's who adored her.   James and I have been in tears most of the time since  - singing hymns in church yesterday was not good!  
Anyway James dug a grave for her in our now rather large doggy cemetery in the lovely bit in our garden - so she is there with our little Bumble and all the dogs we have loved so much since James' grandparents time.
We have such lovely memories of Lulu including her running along with those ridiculously big sticks about 10 times her size! - James says she was such a fun little dog.   Mattie is rather lost too at the moment because they played together in the garden most of the day but darling Bibi just skips around as usual - thinking about food, whether it be her own or the llamas!
I am so sorry to make your Monday morning a rather sad one but we thought we should tell you asap however difficult.
We do hope all's well with you all.  We haven't met the new people in Brin Croft yet but see their motor home from the road as we pass. You may well be back in NYC Bay by now and you Simon in Corfu - must say the morning here could be in Corfu if it wasn't for the frost - the bluest of skies and the birds are singing madly! Sharon do hope I have your right email - I emailed at the end of last year and so hope it caught up with you - I think you may be having big worries with your parents.   Would you be able to check the email address I have used Bay and forward this to Sharon if needs be.
Anyway this brings our love - keep safe. Christina xx
Oscar and Lulu in the meadow below Brin Croft
Dear dear Christina. Thanks so much for taking the trouble to write to us. Writing must have been difficult and it's miserable for you. That’s what Mondays are for! I bind up little Lulu with missing mum and tho’ I’m sad such a lively little dog is no longer here I’m not not feeling as directly sad as you must be, or as devastated as we would be if our Oscar died. All of us know you and James did the best you possibly could for Lulu and more. It was such a consolation that you and James, even before mum left us, had assured us mum’s terriers would become yours, and they have and did - in the same country under the same sky. Lulu had, as you say, a streak of crazy mischief which would have had her leap into the Farnack in spate to capture a passing balk of timber ten times her size - the kind of unthinking pluck that wins medals. I shall think of the small spot in your lovely garden, under snow and frost and in the lovely Highland summer with the sound of the birds. I will tell Amy and Richard and Liz and Lin who also knew Lulu. We will all, especially Sharon, miss the biscuit coloured dynamo. Lulu had a good life. Let her run with mum. Dear old Bibi later. Lots of love to you and James and the family. We are all well. Amy expecting a daughter in July. X Simon
Sandra, Anthony, Simon and Lulu, Barbara, Bay, Raef, Susie at Coignafearn (photo: Dave Roskelly) 

With Lulu in Glen Orrin

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Simon Baddeley