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Sunday, 4 July 2010

On the allotments

Now and then in Ano Korakiana we've seen Mr or Mrs Leftheris carrying tools, heading up the village to their allotment - τους λαχανόκηπος - where they have oranges, lemons, olives and even more vegetables than they grow in the garden next to their house.
Now we have an allotment - plot 14 on the Victoria Jubilee. Rachel and John signed up for Plot 13 and we've agreed to share the work on both.
This afternoon we met on site to do some planning and digging. By happy coincidence Paul Peacock has podcast a brief sketch of himself starting to cut back much longer grass at the back of his new home in Waterfoot in Lancashire - getting ready to make it into an allotment. A west wind gusted among the trees around the park. Despite a hint of rain from the clouds scurrying over us the dry spell continues. The earth was dry, wormless; easy to fork and clear of parched weeds and larger stones. Our intention is to prepare a manageable patch at the top of one plot; divide it into five smaller beds separated by flattened earth we can walk on to to do our gardening. We strolled around the rest of the site. Almost to my relief we are not alone in making slow progress, although on some plots there are signs of strong growth, burgeoning variety. So far there's only one shed. There's a beehive. A waterbutt. Several compost heaps and a large pile of horse manure covered with a canvas.
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Saw a reference on the Ano Korakiana website to a squall that yesterday overturned some boats in the harbour at Ipsos ... Σάββατο απόγευμα, μετά το απρόσμενο μεσημεριανό μπουρίνι (που στον Ύψο αναποδογύρισε βάρκες). Hope Summer Song's OK.
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Patrick Cornerford - whose blog I follow - writes of 'a glimmer of hope during this long hot summer in Greece.'
But there has been one sign of hope already this summer. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and ten of his cabinet ministers paid a two-day visit to Athens. A joint cabinet meeting was a clear sign that the cold war between these Aegean neighbours is ending. Greece is the fourth largest importer of weapons, with most of them aimed at Turkey. Arms spending accounts for up to 5% of the budget, and the arms race has played a substantial role in Greece’s €310 billion debt. The past can be laid aside, and peace can pay dividends.

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Simon Baddeley