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Saturday, 14 May 2011

Πρέπει να πάω στην Αγγλία

“Seegnomi” I caught up with the lady who strolls down the path by us; called on her village wisdom to tell me the name of the flowers I’m misnaming 'harebells'.
“Ti einai afto:” 
She looked at me. I was clearly simple 
“Agriolouloutho” <αγριολούλουδο> 
I tried saying it and she repeated it slowly.
Pleased at being able to have gained local knowledge; even to pronounce the word - onomatopoeic for gargling - I checked my lexicon - I’d about guessed this already. She’d told me it was a ‘wild flower’. I’m wiser but none the wiser about this particular plant.
Why do names matter? I like making mellifluous lists, to sound informed if someone else asks, and to show respect and affection. The Latin names don’t concern me, but I like the sound of harebell κωδωνίσκος, daisy μαργαρίτα, dandelion αγριοραδίκι, dog-rose αγριοτριανταφυλλιά, or wild brier κυνόσβατος (the same), periwinkle αγριολίτσα , ragged robin λυχνίς η βισκαρία, vetch βικία, snow drop γάλανθος ο χιονώδης, pimpernel αναγαλλίς, cowslip πασχαλίτσα, forget-me-not μη με λησμόνει, and a hundred more, local and untranslateable and so in a way made by their name unique to a place even though usually spread far wider.
How blithely the landscape teases us with tomorrow's departure. Lizards dart about blending with their background. The cat's relax in the summery sun dispersing a colder than usual May. Butterflies roam and settle. Swallows will soon be hatching their eggs. Above the crags eagles wander in the spirals.
 "I don't want to go back" says Lin working in the garden, planting seeds for when we return.
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Down at the harbour Lin and I have put a new 'blanket' on dear old Summersong. Spiro on the mooring next door has promised to keep an eye on her as will Mark who's also looking out for a replacement engine locally while we seek one in the UK.

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Simon Baddeley