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Wednesday, 1 December 2021

At 208 Democracy Street until winter

Looking over the Sea of Kerkyra towards Epirus in Mother Greece. The small island is Vido

Having been away – because of travel restrictions - since last December there have been more than a few gardening jobs to do. A spreading squash has climbed the fence into our garden from Vasilikki’s. Its broad palmate leaves and hairy stems, hanging by tendrils, spread to the ground. Most of its yellow flowers are male. 

On a whim I decide to have a go at doing work that’s better done by bees. I pull up a chair to get a closer view of the vine, looking to take the stamen of a male flower and touch it to the stigma of a female. I’d found find several squashes forming – kolokithakia Κολοκυθάκια – but could find no more female flowers on which to experiment. There’s a crack of thunder. The sky goes grey, rain descends, and the washing I’ve hung out gets a further rinse. As the days pass the lower squash has grown to a satisfied potentate, nestling among its decaying leaves, yellowing, a smaller satrap hanging six feet above. We on high ground only heard of the consequences of several days of rain in the south of the island.

Flooding in Moraitika

Our Bougainvillea, plant of a thousand hybrids even within a square mile, flourishes as it hasn’t for years, in some cases surging through the planks of the balcony. Work above and below with the loppers sorts that, with the help of a hammer and chisel where a stem has hardened, wedged itself between decking. 

The Wisteria, about 12 years old, had invaded our already enfeebled orange tree, the wooden balcony, the down pipe of the roof gutter, reaching into the upper branches of our neighbour's walnut tree. I tame it with an hour's discipline of shears, long reach loppers and secateurs, until it hangs meekly along the metal railings of our side balcony. One of Amy’s presents for her mum’s 70th birthday included a string of solar lights. Lin’s wound them along the railings amid the wisteria and with many hours of sunshine they shine out from dusk to dawn like a distant city street 

The trumpet vine leans nonchalantly over the front of the balcony, less invasive than last year but full of flowers. I’ve cut back the top growth of the lemon tree in front of the balcony. For its safety, I’ve applied more of the anti-scale insect spray used last October and earlier. These insects seem, at last, to have given up, after blighting our citrus trees. Can this infestation really be over? There are many lemons on the larger tree, but none on the smaller. Our blood orange tree, once so fecund, hasn’t fruited for five years. Though still leaved, its periphery branches end in dried and blackened twigs. In the lower garden Lin’s cut back ‘what needed it’, including Yucca tops. She’s combed out dead growth, potted up cuttings, moved many of our plant pots on the steps and swept up accumulations of fallen leaves and petals, and watered widely. Things are, and therefore life, is tidier. Dimitri, a neighbour, has strimmed the path that goes below our house from Democracy Street down to ‘our’ bus stop on National Opposition Street

Above us from before dawn well into the night the short holiday harvest planes grumble to and fro above the mountain ridge behind us, often half full, we’re told, of travellers in masks who, like us, have completed or booked Covid immunity tests, shown their vaccine certificate and other proofs of immunity, filed their PLFs and prepared for self-isolation on arrival. 

We are almost always without a car. Hirers may have none available, or they're too expensive. We rely on the daily bus at 7.45am and early afternoon back from the city. There’s my bicycles. But for the local bakery – OK for wine and bread – our grocery is 8 kilometres away.  A grocer in a truck visits us Tuesday and Saturday, crying his wares as he drives back and forth through ours and the lower roads.

I'm beginning to find the uphill pedal to the village, with kilos of shopping in the rear basket, and especially the ascent by the last four hairpin bends, more of an ordeal than an achievement, especially in the heat of August. On impulse I did what I had told myself I wouldn’t do.  I cycled on the bike I'd bought from them 10 years ago, to Rolando’s and Elena’s shop opposite the hospital in Kontokali, and bought an eBike with a Bosch crank-driven motor. 

Other electric bicycles have a battery drive on the hub of the wheel. My drive sits between the pedals - Active Line Plus offering increasing levels of power to support my pedalling with increments of back-up power that proceed from normal cycling without the battery rising to 40% (Eco) to 100% (Tour), to 180% (Sport) to 270% (Turbo) support - 

... all shown on a little screen beside an up-down button on the handlebars controlled by my left hand index finger. That's helped by seven derailleur gears on my rear chain drive controlled by a right hand twist grip - allowing me to decide how hard I want to work and how much I want to delegate to my battery, while still pedalling. Stop pedalling or reach a speed over 25kph and the edrive cuts out. Friends noting my occasional grumbles about the effort of cycling up the hills into Ano Korakiana had said “just get an e-bike, Simon”

“Spawn of the devil!” I retorted “They erode the moral compass of cycling – no pain no gain and vice versa.” 

Now my cavilling is dismissed. I love this machine. 

My e-bike on a hill looking south across the island of Corfu

Naturally disinclined to effort for its own sake, I rejoice in journeys back from Kaizani’s at Tzavros, with a good 10 kilos of shopping secured by bungies in a plastic crate cable-tied to my rear rack – a journey of over an hour now less than 40 minutes with a triumphant ascent into Democracy Street in lowest gear and ‘turbo’. There’s also a ‘walk’ function that, without having to be mounted and pedalling, helps me wheel the ebike up the 13 steps from home to the road. I’ve now cycled up the 29 hairpin ascent to Sokraki – the village on the watershed above us. I have done this twice on my ordinary bike but it’s a route that now tests my 79 years. I’ve been into the city – 22 miles return journey, made several journeys to Doukades using the main road, country roads and gravel tracks. I’ve cycled effortlessly home at night from eating with friends a mile below the village. For that I’ve strolled beside Lin on a gravel track, then, arriving at the metalled road, headed off by unlit hilly roads while Lin walks the stepped short-cut to Democracy Street. I’ve cycled from Sokraki to Trompeta in gentle drizzle then down through the woods to Doukades and home via Skripero – the dial shows I’ve already covered over 420 kilometres. In mid November I cycled to the top of Mount Pantokrator - a round journey of 54 kilometres nursing the battery by pedalling most of the ascent on 'eco'. 

Some years ago we had a family picnic close to the top of Mount Pantokrator

Route: Up the steep winding ascent to Sokraki; take the short bypass round the village centre down to meet the steep descent to the river valley, then up a hundred metres to Zygos, up up to Sgourades, on the Spartillas-Acharavi road, along a kilometer of level; then the turn up to Strinilas - the longest haul part of the ascent; from Strinilas, tavernas closed for winter and latest Covid restrictions, down briefly to the right turn up again to the gently rolling road to the foot of the steep mound that leads to the summit of the mountain, up which I walked, as, even on 'turbo', the kilometre of mostly concrete road is too steep for me and my ebike. I trudge - assisted by the bike's 'walk' function. Lingering on the roof of the island gazing round the compass - the peaks of Albania and Epirus across the Corfu Channel, the Adriatic stretching beyond the north coast settlements - Roda, Acharavi, and inland Old Perithia and south to two little peaks of the old fort and the city and much in between, I watch the cats and chat to Sotiris the gardener and a candle lit in the monastery church, much silence but for the wind in the aerials, then down down down down again to Sgourades and then return via a different road, to Spartilas with two clicks left on the five click battery. I stop at a taverna in Spartillas for a diplo skerto and cheese and ham toastie, my vaccination covid certificate sought. Can I make it home on what's left in the battery? I freewheel down the long descent, nearly to the sea at Pyrgi, then up again through Agios Markos and another mile into Democracy Street, Ano Korakiana. I did this journey first by traditional bicycle in 2012. 

I was back early afternoon, having the summit almost to myself via almost car less roads, proving to myself there are few places on the island I can't reach and return. Our friend Jenny, who has the same bike, says that relying on the lowest charge I should be able to cycle 60 kilometres. I've now satisfied myself of that, having power to spare on returning from Pantokrator. I’m almost back to the moral compass I’ve abandoned. 50 kilometres from Ano Korakiana can take me almost anywhere on this beautiful island. I could if concerned about remaining power ask a friendly taverna at the end of an outward journey to plug in my charger while I have a meal. 

A folding bicycle invented by Andrew Ritchie over 30 years ago called a Brompton is the best product in a niche market. It’s not just a bike that can be taken apart easily. It folds in less than 30 seconds into a 12 kilo portable machine that can be carried on cars and public transport.  I use the Brompton with public transport; best for negotiating traffic congested streets and the public spaces where I can mingle with walkers and other cyclists.

Awaiting the morning bus from the village into town at 07.45

I have owned several of these since the early 1990s. In February 2007 I was using a Brompton folding bike to travel by bike, rail and ferry with my friend John Richfield from the UK to Corfu via Paris and Venice to buy our home in Ano Korakiana. 

Just off the ferry from Venice in 2010

We returned the same route. 

On Via Garibaldi - the only filled-in canal in Venice, one of the few places anyone can cycle

A few years later I shipped the same bike – a deep green T6 – from Birmingham to Corfu with furniture. Bought in June 2001, it’s quite old. I rode it downhill to the sea at Ipsos this August. It scared me - clunking and clicking like a straining bulkhead. The original Sachs hub was telling me noisily that it was shot. I phoned Mike at Phoenix Cycles in Battersea. The cost of a replacement wheel with a Sturmey hub gear, new sprockets, chain and chain tensioner was over £400, before adding 50% post-Brexit customs charges . It says something for the resale value of used second hand Bromptons that I was prepared to even think of spending what would be needed – over half its cost in 2001. The carriage was made suddenly reasonable when a friend offered to put wheel and trappings in her hand baggage from London and drop them off to me in the village. I was anxious – cack-handed as I am – about the reassembling work. 
Guided by Youtube tutorials on several tasks I secured the new sprockets to the new hub with a holding circlip, threaded a new gear cable and handlebar controller, replaced the derailleur for the other two gears. Adjusting the chain guide that switches the chain from one sprocket to another was tricky - for me. A small washer on which the guide swivels kept slipping from my fingers and hiding on the veranda floor. With help from Lin and my cyclist friend Gerard (who’d never seen a Brompton), the work was done. 
I reduced the new chain to 95 links using a chain breaker to force out the link rivet. I threaded it round the rear wheel sprockets, the chain tensioner jockeys and front chain-wheel, joining with a ‘quick link’ - an innovation that allows the chain to be joined and unjoined without the removal of a rivet. New to me. Repairs completed my folding bike performs better than new. 

New hub gears, rear wheel, and chain tensioner - my old folding bicycle better than new

The three Sturmey hub gears are superior to the Sachs they’ve replaced. Testing the restored Brompton I cycled slowly but steadily up to the small chapel of Agios Isadoras – five hairpin bends above the village. 

Agios Isodoros on the winding road between Sokraki and Ano Korakiana

So satisfying that the bottom of my 6 gears made that possible. I’ve since taken the folder into town to cycle happily through its maze of streets amid the walkers. I returned our hired car. Lifting the folded Brompton from its boot, I headed into the city centre for various errands - paperwork, especially for our Biometric Residency Cards interview with the Immigration department in the police station off Solari. Being Monday morning the town was near gridlocked, which made pedalling smoothly past a kilometre of fuming semi-stationary traffic queues, on Heptanisou and Lefkimmi Streets into Mitropoliti Methodiou and San Rocco Square, especially satisfying. To go home I caught the bus to Sokraki, Brompton in its luggage hold, and for €3 was driven, via Tzavros, Dassia, Ipsos and up the winding road to Spartillas, along to Sgourades – a wonderful bus route for seeing Corfu’s changes of scenery from city, seashores to forested mountains – then down to Zigos and up to Sokraki, 29 hair pin bends above Ano Korakiana. 

The road from Sokraki to Ano Korakiana - 29 hairpin bends

I sat outside Emily’s Taverna for snacks and conversation with their Polish waitress, Milena, and various customers, German and English. One couple from Manchester, arriving quietly in an electric car. They were living in Corfu - a man and his sister living in Karousades. As we chatted convivially about the comparative merits of marriage for men and women, the man – middle aged - told us he’d lost his wife to Covid. In the last two years I’ve known very few who’ve caught this much talked about condition – Lin suffering it for an uncomfortable fortnight in January 2020 before lay-people even had a name for SARS-CoV-2.  
On November 10th Lin and I decided depart from beloved Greece. We flew back to England - Corfu Kapodistria, Athens Venizelos, London Heathrow and National Express coach back to Birmingham and Handsworth.  Goodbye for a while. PLF and tests and 10 days self-isolation back in the UK except to buy food.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Marshall Law

One of my regular conversations with Angel, a trim lady finely dressed, elegantly trailing a wheelie case, bringing from her church in Highgate food for the poor to the city markets below St Martin’s in the Bullring

“I see you wear no mask. Have you been vaccinated?” I know her well enough to risk curiosity. She, as versed as I, converses in words from King James Bible. 

“None o’ that. Do you not know, now is the Latter Days when Christ will come in his great glory to redeem us - to judge the quick and the dead”  (“the” pronounced “thee”)

“I know that my redeemer liveth”

“Allelulia. Praise the Lord. Would you like a sandwich?”

“No thanks, Angel. I am a rich man. God bless you”

Sometime in early 2020 when governments were fumbling with policies about it, someone in the WHO pronounced that "this is perhaps the first pandemic that humans can manage”. Where humans, faced with previous epidemics, could only accept, adapt and react to such catastrophes, SARS-CoV-2 was going to be managed

By late 2021 governments across the world appear to have accorded sovereignty to managerialism – a 20th century invention, relentlessly optimistic in offering the prospect of salvation where there might otherwise be despair and chaos. Where mere politics and the expertise of professionals falter, here is a faith that claims nothing cannot ultimately be managed – money, time, personal relations, and this pandemic. Management theory excludes ‘fate’; views doubt as irregular; sees qualms and reservations as faint motivation. Management side-steps ‘fortuna’ – the element of luck on which Machiavelli placed much weight in human affairs. The manager estimates ‘probabilities’, relies on extrapolation, simulation, graphics and models. Those with faith in management claim to operate outside politics, asserting loyalty to no ‘ism’, yet are ever theorising about values, leadership, motives, organisational behaviour, personality and governance. As with all faiths, as with politics and professionalism, those who trust in managing the pandemic can deploy secure logic, evidence and language, to demonstrate achievements and justify failures - though under pressure their language can turn florid, theatrical and, in dealing with scepticism, abrasive. Though he’s modified his opinion, our son-in-law attributed incidences of the latter – the reported persistence of the virus in the population despite restrictions, distancing, ubiquitous signage, masking, tracking and tracing, mass vaccination, and fear focused advertising, to people’s stubborn and feckless failure to comply with sensible precautions and restrictions.

I see no light at the end of the lock-down tunnel. We are enmeshed in, indeed captured by, a system of thought, of common sense and science as widely trusted as was once the omnipresence of witches and devils, the ultimate success of the 'War on Drugs', the sky-high market value of tulip bulbs in 17th century Holland, Marxist-Leninism as a basis for fatal collectivised agriculture in the 1930s or the Tayloresque intensification of farming that made a ‘dust-bowl’ of the American southern plains those same years. 

Power, profit, censorship of debate, besmirching of dissent, pervasive advertising in every medium, signage on walls, windows pavements, platforms, shops, and banners, conscientious belief among political leaders, advised by their scientists, that suppression, even elimination, of the CD-19 virus is practical - can be managed - have locked national populations, willing and unwilling, into uneven and unpredictable degrees of lock down. 

Faith, ever couched in the language, but not the behaviour, of science, holds that this global catastrophe can and will  and must be managed. I say ‘language’, since unlike true science, the theories on which government’s rely in combating the pandemic is impervious to refutation - the opposite of theorising in science. Debate is censored, rebuttal - even scepticism - slandered. Possessed by this grand illusion, whose internal symmetry gives it, in some minds, the character of a conspiracy, political leaders – ever relying on the authority of science – have decreed - with rare exceptions such as Sweden and perhaps Denmark - via emergency powers, policies that become ever more difficult to enforce, the more they are characterised by capricious inconsistency; the more they breach the rule of law, due process and decency; the more they invoke covert evasion of laws no longer respected.

I was on a bus sometime in 2020 as lockdown eased. I’m wearing a face mask. I catch the eye of a man across the aisle without a mask and was perhaps perceived as slightly quizzical, even judgemental.

“It’s not worth it. Did you know this virus can penetrate 9 feet of reinforced concrete?”

“I didn’t. That’s interesting. Blimey! Nine feet!”

“5G. It comes from 5G”

“Oh! Right. So nothing can be done?” He nodded, resigned.

In recent months governments have employed door-to-door canvassers and phone pitchers. Unknown callers have drawn on medical records to ask personal questions about ‘immunity status'. Striving to suppress the elusive shape-shifting virus, they’ve mustered squads of police, masked-up but not socially distanced, lined public spaces in brigade force, deployed batons, pepper spray, rubber bullets, tear gas, and fire hoses to disperse public gatherings. Police and other services ‘with the best intentions’ have been filmed trying to separate parents from their children. Public servants have entered private houses to make arrests and impose fines after being alerted by neighbours observing alleged breaches of lock down, on the basis of anonymous denunciation encouraged by governments. One government in Australia has spoken of enforcing compliance with self-isolation using a citizen's geo-location and facial profiling, starting with aggregated measures of population movement, but refining the process to specific addresses. There’s domestic and civil strife, amplified by the social web, between the fearful and the furious; true believers and true unbelievers. I have noticed men wandering in central Birmingham with hi-vis tabards bearing the title ‘Covid Marshall’. Job descriptions during their recruitment focused on their role as ‘helpers’ and ‘guides’.  

One of the harms of ‘house arrest’ has been to miss out on the constant self-correction of any inclination to think that I understand the world.  Deprived of regular and frequent direct conversation with friends and strangers I find my objectivity compromised. Quarantines have perhaps promoted over-confident subjectivity. My ‘normal condition of open-minded curiosity, puzzlement, doubt and confusion, has been sustained by interaction - in the street, the markets of my city, other countries, between neighbours over garden fences, many pubs, on country lanes, river banks and beaches. Linda and I seem to have robust immunity to Covid-19. It’s called T-Cell immunity.  We know no-one - relatives, friends, neighbours - who’ve died or been more than mildly ill over the last 18 months. Anecdotes about others – second hand from the media - for whom this fortunate circumstance is not the case, are a reminder to welcome our particular fortune and to strive to make the best of these bizarre and dismal times. Regular phone calls, and on-line screen meetings with family - including grandchildren, our son in Istanbul, colleagues and friends in many other parts of the world and now an on-line teaching project with fast track civil servants, do not replace insights afforded by the intimacies and intimations of face-to-face conversation.

I remedy my vexation by revisiting the history of eras whose butchers’ bills by way of war, oppression and disease maintain my sense of proportion. 

At the entrance to shops at Newtown Shopping Centre I recognise Mo and asked him if he was well

“I had the covid, you know”

“What happened?”

“On the third day I was feeling so bad I called the ambulance. There’s two Asian blokes and a white lady. She come to the door and whispers 'We can take you to the hospital but I don’t think it’s a good idea.' She’s shaking her head, like very quiet, mouthing ‘not a good idea’. I stay in my house. After two more days I am still feeling bad I call the ambulance again. This time the driver waves to me. ‘We are here. We can take you. Do you really want to go?’ He’s shaking his head. Discouraging me. OK so I go back to bed, taking honey and ginger and feeling real bad. Two days later I’m not getting any better, I phone again for the ambulance. This time I’m lying behind my front door. They ring my bell. Behind the door I am on my knees. I get it open. The lady nurse cry out ‘Close your door! Now! We’ll come back in 10 minutes’ I wait. Then I hear them knock. I open the door. They all kitted up, like three spacemen I tell you, white boots, plastic trousers, jackets and faces all covered in plastic screens. ‘Now we take you to the hospital’ I said ‘F*ck off’’” 


“The next day I’m OK”

“That’s strange, Mo” 

Just before we left for Corfu I took our new puppy, Pip, in the pannier of my bicycle to visit a friend in quarantine. We spoke through the glass of her front window. 

“I’m getting phone calls every day. They deliver steroids. Test kits I have to push back through my letter box. I’ve tested positive three times. Feels like a bad flu. They say it’s Delta. I’ve got to quarantine for 90 days!”  

“But you’re allowed out to shop for food or harvest food from your allotment” I emailed her the legal clauses that would let her out of the house. 

“90 days?”

“Yeah really. Don’t you mean 19, I said? ‘No’ she said ‘it’s 90 days’. Anyway I’m bored of them. I don’t want steroids. I’m not answering the phone any more.” 

We’ve stayed in touch by the social web. 

A friend in academia emails: … you appear to have been listening to the bbc too much.  I "risk curiosity" on just about everyone (except those sad souls one instantly perceives the need to keep clear of). I've already explained in previous emails how the level of distrust has never been higher.  Many of even those wearing masks in the open are just doing so to avoid being accused of being "selfish" "granny-killers".  Most sci/medical people don't believe the lies but they are scared to speak out as they will lose their jobs.  HUGE marches in London and around the world. The Chris Whitty regime are pushing their luck on how much they can take the pisc.  Even Neil Fergustwat is now "predicting" things will have ended by Sept.  People should just display my cut-open masks saying "PSEUDO - SCIENCE" to provoke responses.  One Korean guy in Nyu St even embraced me haha. Very simple.  If there were loads of deaths, urban house prices would have collapsed with capital C.  Instead they have Soared with capital S

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Home to Greece at last

Down the steps from Democracy Street

The procedures for travel to Ano Korakiana from Handsworth included a Passenger Location Form (PLF), a certificate of immunity in the form of a negative Rapid Lateral Flow Test for Lin at a shop in the Bullring, paid for, sent by email and printed out a day before departure, and, for me, an NHS certificate of AstraZeneca vaccinations, sent by post after an on-line application, on top of our Boarding Cards for Ryanair.  

Linda goes to take a Lateral Flow Test in the Birmingham Bullring Shopping Centre

To these we added documents relevant to the ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ – beige residency cards obtained two years ago from the police station at Paleokastritsa, a letter, copied from a facebook page of advice to ‘British in Greece’, explaining that our passports should not be stamped with a date of arrival lest we be fined on departure for overstaying a time allowance for non-EU citizens visiting Corfu. These small hurdles nibbled at my enjoyment of the approach to a familiar journey – not a ‘holiday’, as some called it, kindly wishing us on our way, but a return to another much-missed home; our custom of going to and fro, since I was a child, between city and country and between countries.

A pre-dawn taxi. in charge of a distracted young conversationalist, took us, circuitously but chattily, to Birmingham Airport, where sparser numbers eased our check-in. An efficient Ryanair official with a Prussian shock of blond hair stapled and stamped papers we thought might be minutely checked. Only where we had to pass – randomly - through the body scanner was I politely asked, despite my sunflower lanyard with its exemption card, to don a proffered face-covering for a few seconds. There were just 31 passengers, so much choice of seating once in the air. A drink and snack to hand excused us niqabs for the three hour journey. I’d begun reading Nadezhda Mandlestam’s ‘Hope Against Hope’ - alternative title ‘Isolate but Preserve’? – a salutary entertainment, lucid, funny, bitter and noble, on the fate of Osip Mandelstam after he’d written 16 excoriating lines about Stalin in 1933. ‘Salutary’ because her pleasing writing is a reminder of how much further states and their hapless populations can collude in accepting and fatally enforcing delusion and fantasy. 

On alighting from our plane around noon Eastern European, I knelt and placed my hand on the baking concrete and kissed my palm. In an instant a member of cabin crew, solicitous, asked if I was alright.

“Yes yes. I am just so happy to be back in Greece”

“It is very hot!” she said 

“Yes yes. It doesn’t matter. I am happy!” 

On the way up the gentle ramp into the terminal another person in livery, leaning over me from further up, asked if I was OK. 

“Yes yes yes! But thank you so much” 

I smiled rejoicingly like the ‘vulnerable’ slightly dotty old bloke they took me for. At the glass doors into the cool and familiar interior of Arrivals, Lin and I were promptly ushered to the head of the zig-zagging queue, our documents, so conscientiously and apprehensively assembled, were processed unheeded in seconds, our passports unstamped courtesy of the request, printed in Greek, attesting residency, though Lin simply asking seemed all that was needed to jump that anticipated hurdle. Later our friend Paul, in Agios Ioannis, said, when I remarked on our unexpected ease of entry, “I think the officials are getting bored with all this ‘stuff’”.

A hire car, available for only a day, was quoted at €82. Impossible to accept. Our friend K, phoned from England, met us in her air-conditioned car, took us to Kaizanis at Tzavros to shop for basics, and so up the winding road between swaying olives, cypresses, and tinder dry verges, towards the familiar frieze of rising mountains above Ano Korakiana, to drop us at the top of the thirteen broad whitewashed steps down to 208 Democracy Street - our common path shaded by Efi’s ivy covered wall, her spreading walnut tree, Vassiliki’s oleander and our wisteria, strewn with drifts of fading Bougainvillea petals. In a minute I’d turned on the water and the electricity; our bags and shopping brought indoors. 


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Simon Baddeley