37 days ago
In Greece, this time of year is known as the “burning season”. We start fires in the olive groves, thus averting their spread over the summer. Therefore, as you drive up from Kalamata to Kambos, everywhere you see small plumes of smoke rising from the fields, as folks rush to finish their burning – before it becomes illegal.
1267 days ago
I rather regretted that third jug of local rose the night before, when my alarm started ringing at 5.20 AM. For Thrasher Bell had to get back to London and that meant getting him to the bust station in Kalamata before 6.30. Feeling a bit groggy I drove him into town and dropped him off. Stopping off at an ATM on the way back to load up with cash to pay my Albanian troops I arrived back in Kambos in time for an early morning coffee at the Kourounis taverna owned by lovely Eleni. The news was bad...
1406 days ago
Today was the day that my books, a few pieces of furniture and wall hangings as well as four Belfast sinks were meant to arrive at the Greek Hovel after a van journey from Bristol, via Bulgaria. Much to my surprise the Bulgarian chap in London called yesterday and said to expect delivery this afternoon.
1554 days ago
I headed back to the Greek Hovel expecting to find an empty building site and no signs of progress. I take it all back. It may be Sunday but three hard working Greeks were on site with a mini bulldozer, hard at work. How could I have ever doubted the work ethic of the citizens of the mighty Hellenic Republic?
1827 days ago
I was trying to find an article I had written on how Greek kids torture cats but instead came upon a piece about Western study of the Vlachs, the Nomads of the Pindus Mountains. I have written (in Greeks Lesbians & Vlachs, HERE) about how this is one of my father's specialist subjects and who the vlachs are. Anyhow, I stumbled upon this lengthy article "Aromanian Vlachs - The Vanishing Tribes" which included a section on my father which he will enjoy as it is very supportive of his work. This is the sort of thing to make a son very proud. It also, rightly, makes him seem a touch eccentric:
2189 days ago
There is a reason that the Greeks, or rather the Albanians the Greeks hire to do manual labour, start at 8 AM and finish at 3 PM. The reason, I think, is snakes. That is to say the snakes are at their least active in the morning. During the day they sunbathe and so by dusk they are really quite frisky. I have hitherto been working to a different schedule. Silly me.
You see when I awake I start writing articles for you my dear readers. By the time you open up your PC at seven I have already been generating golden prose for at least ninety minutes. As such by the time I had finished generating golden prose and had my lunch (Greek salad) in Kambos today and got back for olive pruning it was 4.40 PM.
And so I headed straight for that part of the property which, when I first arrived, was a thick frigana jungle. I was convinced then that it was the sort of place that snakes really would want to hang out in but
2507 days ago
Last Sunday 61% of Greeks voted Oxi! In a referendum on the bailout proposals being offered to the Greeks by the banksters. They said no to a scorched earth policy of austerity without debt relief that will see more people leave, the population age, basic services crumble further and many facing no escape from abject poverty. Today, just five days later, PM Alex Tsipras, hero of the Oxi campaign, has proposed that Greece accept terms that are – if anything – worse. And there is still no debt relief on the table.
2533 days ago
What would the good Lord Byron - a man who died in Greece during the war of Independence - say of Greece today, a country once again not its own master? To walk away from the Euro and to simply default on its debts, to stand on its own two feet and build again with pride? Or to accept further shame and humiliation and the impoverishment of its people in return for taking on yet more debts to enslave the children and grandchildren of todays Greeks?
Greece should default and walk away from the banksters of the EU and IMF with pride leaving its unpaid debts as their problem not ours.
2730 days ago
You think Greeks are lazy. That is because all you see is folks in Athens sipping coffees all day. Out here in the Mani life is hard and folks do both a main job but also work the land. So my pal Vangelis is a delivery driver for Dixons but has – I think – 600 olive trees. Nikko and Eleni at the Kourounis taverna also own trees up near the Greek Hovel – they start their harvest tomorrow. And so do I!
The lovely Eleni has put me in touch with a new group of workers. Another chap called Foti, George and his son. I met up again with George today and we start on the olive harvest at 8 AM. So no ouzo for me tonight. To give you an idea of what lies in store for me here are some photos I took last week of a man harvesting trees on the road/track up to the Greek Hovel, just above snake hill. It seems to me that it looks like rather hard work.