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Tuesday, 18 September 2007


I woke early and worked on my Oct 5 session on ‘weighing evidence’ for scrutiny; useful quote from my policeman’s Phd on crime stats:
‘Comparing the public information system with the information systems used by the professionals is like comparing a kaleidoscope, or a camera obscura, to a microscope. The public system confuses with smoke and mirrors, the professional system’s clear, focussed, capacity to isolate and identify problems. The challenge of providing accountability via performance measurement remains to be realised…'
Monday was another busy day. I rehired the car from Kostas who charged me for a scratch and broken antenna – caused by putting the table on the roof. At Arco I got office work done over iced coffee, then arranged to re-insure the boat, buy electrical stuff, buy ciggies for Lin, ginger beer for me…and…and… I bet Lawrence Durrell didn’t have to do this so much menial stuff, but I don’t grudge him. Poetry requires sweat. I like the way our house stays cool in the heat. I found Lin scrubbing tiles. ‘We need access to the roof’ she said. She marked up the ceiling over the stairs standing on a ladder I held, and cut through lathe and plaster between beams, via a small hole made with a screwdriver, using a keyhole saw. Dust coated us. At 7.00pm we needed to collect marble. At ΜΠΑΡΜΠΑΡΗΣ Ε.Π.Ε on the Paleokastritsa Road Eleni took us into their workshop to collect rectangles of 3cm and 5cm grey striped Kavallah marble. An ageless man from 2000 years ago, in a long apron, met us. ‘He's from India’ said Eleni. The factory is sensuous, full of marble and other stone mined from land masses across the world, cut with geometric perfection, some polished, some rough. We wanted to stare, touch and stroke. Eleni had our doorstep off-cut shaped with a water splashed diamond cutter, so I could put it - cool, clean and wet - with the other marble in the back of the car. The Indian mason carried the slabs as though holding cardboard. We went back via Ipsos so I could check ‘Summer Song’ and put a cover on the main. A drink at CJs, a chat with Vky and Tr. Lin looked at the News of the World for all of 30 seconds – an aircrash on a drenched runway in Phuket involving ‘Brits’ among the dead, then pages of sport statistics. I viewed a pop video of Britney Spears. A dispiriting sync-edit of passionless undulation against a background of polished male clones preening to camera, and music, which to appreciate, you’d need the memory of a circling goldfish. This stuff is sprayed on an industry standard backcloth by accountants, and I'm spoiled by the ball of fire that rises over Epirus each morning pouring light into our house. Lin paused at 208 so I could unload and gingerly heave our marble down the steps to our side door, ready to go upstairs behind and below a wood stove. A cup of tea and coffee, and we were back to cutting the hole in the ceiling. I took a turn with a bigger saw and completed the job pulling away and bagging lathes and chunks of plaster. It was after 11.00pm before the dust and debris was swept and bagged and we could shower.

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Simon Baddeley