139 days ago
We can talk of awful fouls and the penalty curse but should not deny that Italy played better football and deserved to win the European Championship. No doubt many of us are still in denial on that matter today but the statistics do not lie. I say this as someone who came into the tournament not supporting England for a range of reasons but who was won over by the charm of the young squad and of the manager and by the way it seemed to unite and give joy to the whole country. All of those involved in England did their country proud. I shall now go back to supporting Northern Ireland, but in this tournament the match against the Hun was the key turning point for me.
144 days ago
In today’s bearcast with myself and Joshua recorded in Metsovo, I comment on MyHealthChecked (MHC), Boots & EasyJet, the blooming Poulden Lenigas bromance, on Zoetic (ZOE) and on Bidstack (BIDS). More ouzo tonight methinks.
146 days ago
My new Israeli friend from the Metsovo hotel pondered why Israelis are so frantic and busy while in Greece life is all about “avrio”. He speculated that it was because his country is a young one and has suffered so many wars. I pointed out that Greece is not that different. Below, you see Joshua at the war memorials in the small town of Metsovo and tiny village of Anelion. Anelion first with fewer names.
150 days ago
After a delayed start from the Greek Hovel, making sure we had all we needed and shuttering the place up, a bit of a schoolboy error saw me leave the Motorway on the way up to Corinth and thus I found myself on a “short cut” to Patras. That is to say a non-toll old road. What a disaster. 110 km an hour became 60 and I compounded that with a wrong turn. Having seen signs saying Patras 40 km, suddenly there were no signs at all to Patras.
150 days ago
The pool is getting closer to blue here at the Greek Hovel but needs a couple more chemical dumps before myself and Joshua can use it and so while we wait, it is time to introduce him to the Vlachs: road trip!
153 days ago
We now have water and that should speed up the cleaning of the pool. But pro tem, Joshua and I can watch but not use. At least the view is spectacular. But with the pool out of action for another few days, as more chemicals are added, I am seriously considering a road trip.
153 days ago
There is a Winnifrith family phrase coined by my late father, for reasons I cannot remember, “a beautiful Balkan spy”. In my own family, when the Mrs is giving me, almost certainly with some justification, a bit of grief, I say to Joshua “That’s is it, we are off to Mother Russia where the streets are paved with gold and where we will be served caviar on gold plates by a beautiful Balkan spy who will then let us win at chess.” Having watched a TV show on life in Russia, Joshua is now suggesting that the streets of Moscow may not be paved with gold but he knows all about the beautiful Balkan spies.
1467 days ago
Shortly after the Mrs agreed to buy the Greek Hovel we got an email from the most excellent estate agent Susan Shimmin of the Real Mani suggesting that there was a small lake at the bottom of the valley which one must cross before climbing snake hill. At once I had visions of stocking it with trout like the one from Metsovo I enjoyed with the amazing baker of Zitsa. Then reality kicked in.
1750 days ago
I gather from my father, Darren and the Mrs that it snowed a bit in Shipston, London and Bristol today. It was snowing in Metsovo this morning and the fields on the Anelion side of the vallet were all white. But in case you think that the snow falls only in the Northern Pindus mountains, have a butchers at this photo taken from the Northern side of the Gulf of Corinth at Patras. The bridge across the gulf is pretty spectacular but look on the other side. That is the Pelopponese.
1750 days ago
I am here in a warm hotel room in Metsovo in Northern Greece. I am pretty shattered after 22 hours of travel from Bristol to here. Tomorrow is the last leg, a walk to to the vlach village of Anelion. Pro tem a short offering as it will take ages to transmit anything back to England. I look at companies that change their name, ref Guscio (GUSC) and Wishbone Gold (WSBN) which really is a buy despite today's statement.
1751 days ago
My father's oldest Greek friend Mike the Vlach was due back at three. This being Greece he was bound to be late and so his wife Alega insisted I hang on as the day dragged on. Heck I had travelled by bus for nine hours to get to Metsovo and then walked for an hour and a half to get to Anelion to see Mike, I was not leaving. I could not explain this but I sat there drinking coffee and enjoying a lunch of lamb, rice and a lump of feta, I was going nowhere.
1751 days ago
The kind owners of the Azteri hotel here in Metsovo switched the TV onto the BBC World News channel to please me. Since neither speak English it must have been all Greek to them, to me it was just the usual Trump hatefest. I listened carefully as I was told repeatedly how much folks in Europe and in Britain all disliked poor Donald Trump. I am sure that among the liberal media elite, the overpaid privileged bien pensants who serve up garbage on the BBC that is correct. But what of the ordinary folks of Europe?
1752 days ago
With the snow still blowing, I set off on the walk from Metsovo to Anelion not really believing that it would take only half an hour as the chap I met last night had told me. Perhaps it was because I took the scenic route through the lower terraces of Metsovo, following the signs marked with a bear print. Evil Knievil has emailed to suggest that we bears stick together and do not eat each other but, more importantly, as I headed lower I remembered that bears, like snakes, hibernate. So the bears of the Pindus will be sleeping, dreaming of honey and Rob Terry. The wolves on the other hand...
1752 days ago
It felt decidedly nippy last night as i wandered out for a light meal of calf in tomato sauce.I was struck by how the only language I heard was Greek, not Vlach, But also how the waiter spoke English. Fourty years ago more or less no-one here in Metsovo did. The other big change was the women.
1753 days ago
For about forty years I have teased my sister T about how when travelling on the bus from Ioannina to Metsovo she was always sick numerous times. Poor girl she was just not a great traveller. But I think, having just done that journey it is time to say sorry.
1764 days ago
As you know, I head off soon for Greece and will be making a pilgrimage to the tiny village of Anelion in the snow covered Pindus mountains of Northern Greece. The aim is to see if my father's oldest Greek friend, Mike the Vlach, is still with us, as I explained here.
1770 days ago
In the high Pindus mountains of Northern Greece is a small village called Anelion, a place where we spent a number of childhood holidays. It was home to a man who was a friend of my father's, Mike the Vlach. It may still be, I have no idea if he is dead or alive. I was dreaming of Anelion last night and feel a very strong urge to go.
I am not sure how dad got to know Mike. I think that the first person to meet him was my father's mother Lesbia. This is a woman named after a Greek island and whose brother, David Cochrane, died falling down the mountain opposite Delphi. Greece is in the blood in our family. My grandmother had a real love of Greece and of languages and so it was she who introduced my father to the world of the vlachs.