|'Tourism serves everyone' by Aristedes Metallinos, village sculptor of Ano Korakiana 1981|
See the wanton tourist led towards the olive groves on a priapic donkey by a handsome ragged-trousered peasant; Aristedes Metallinos' take on the arrival, in Corfu, of mass tourism. He'll pocket a negotiated charge in more than coin, and she an adventure to treasure. If I wanted the quaint ways of another country I’d enjoy them in our part of Birmingham where polyglottic heterogeneity is the norm; where we've many faiths whose celebrations are held in foreign voices displaying every colour under the sun of an imploded empire; where, to cite a depressing example, there are still parents who will kill their daughters for eloping with someone made unsuitable by faith or family. Many books by foreigners about life in Greece aim to entertain by parsing the exotic, describing with amusement and affection the folkways of 'our' village, presenting local caricatures - endearing postcards from abroad. Thus the sublime inventions that, apart from enhancing their authors' repute, created Greece as a post-war tourist destination by inventing a kind of paradise.
|On our street in Birmingham|
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The workable space in this house is reduced by rain. Wet weather loses us our small garden for drying laundry, the balconies for reading and eating and the veranda and path beside the house for other things we'd do out of doors.
|Matt and Sophia|
Nonetheless it's a pleasure to inhabit - for a predicted while - a houseful of nappy talk, the collection and disposal of much extra rubbish, including feeding the cats food particles that fall from small hands and mouths untrained in table manners (note: Norbert Elias on the civilising process), wet-wipes, the discordant symphony of squeaks, wails and shouts of babes, and our shared and constant watch for risk. Oliver sleeps soundly in the room next to ours, though tiny sounds of slumber and waking penetrate the stud-wall separating our rooms. In the morning Lin and I hear clumping and knocks at the adjoining door; a sleepy child emerges to clamber into bed with nan and grandpa. Then in minutes it's 'pitch invasion' ....
|Liz reads to Oliver under a quilt on our bed|
Amid the grey wet weather - rare for this late in April - we've found intervals of sun and sea.
|Dassia before the clouds arrived|
Emeral for cakes and, especially, to choose ice cream cones, top them with sauces and sit eating them together as they dribble from tiny mouths...
|Oliver at Emeral on the Paleo Road just north of Tzavros|
|Sophia and 'Auntie Lin' (photo: Matt Basden)|
|Shopping in the rain|
|Oliver and grandpa at 208 Democracy Street|
|On Democracy Street ~ our neighbour Effie took an iPad snap and posted it to Facebook|