Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A Moment in Time

Last week we traveled north for the funeral of my husband's uncle, the last male relative of that generation. After the 2nd World War he had lived for about ten years with his elder sister, my mother-in-law, and family, so he seemed as much an elder brother as he did an uncle. He'd been a rear gunner in Lancaster bombers during the war, a 'tail-end Charlie'. Although the war years were only a few in a long life it is significant that the photo used for his memorial service was of Ron in his airforce uniform.

He was certainly more fortunate than many of his wartime companions. Thoughts of Uncle Ron's experiences prompted me to read H.E. Bates, 'A Moment in Time' which is set in Southern England in 1940. It describes the lives of a group of young fighter pilots and is a love story. H E Bates was a knowledgable gardener and countryman and his knowledge is very evident in this book, which makes it a bonus for me.  It's a period piece and rather sentimental but I enjoyed it.

Corfu's deserted village

We have visited Old Peritheia a number times over the years. On the first occasion the village was utterly silent with a mass of wild flowers underfoot and yellow butterflies in the air. It was quite magical.

So I was irritated at first to find a car park and a restaurant with it's extractor fan making a great din in this formerly peaceful place.
But the sight of a veg garden always cheers me up, especially one with a chair and a table with checked tablecloth!

A beekeeper was at work
and once away from the restaurant all was quiet.

The houses are slowly disintegrating.
It's possible to peer inside
but no longer safe enough to enter.
Ceilings and floors have collapsed since our last visit.

This is my favourite house.

Take a closer look.
When you stand on the veranda there is a cooling breeze that wafts from up the valley.
It must have been a beautiful home.
It saddens me to see it disintegrating.

But perhaps there's hope. Other houses are in the process of being restored. Perhaps 'my' house will get the same treatment before it's too late.

Back to the coast for a swim. We used to holiday for many years in a little place just above this beach and were last here about fifteen years ago. The taverna is now twice the size but otherwise little has changed.
Then along the road to the supermarket to be hugged and kissed by the owners. "Why so long?" they wanted to know. We bought some of their delicious honey.
I stopped to photograph from the road that winds up out of town.
It was a very nostalgic trip!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Agios Marcos

I love this small village and at one time thought about buying a house here. When I talked about it with an English woman who was married to a Corfiot she said, 'don't, it's slipping down the hill.' Many of the houses are deserted. I last looked around in the spring of 2003 when I took this photo.
It prompted the following poem.


Two kilometres lie between the village on the hill
and the coastal strip where they strip
and turn and burn acres of flesh a worrying pink
colour-matched to the inflatables on display
outside the tourist shops.
In the village soft pink flowers against pink walls.
Over-ripe lemons lie rotting on the ground.
An insect hums.
Only a current of air moves through these empty homes
and an orange butterfly.
Shutters collapse,
paint peels.
The bare bones of old stonework glimpsed
through fig and walnut, peach and almond trees.
Silence has fallen like enchantment
on this village on the hill
and it is still
only two kilometres from the coastal strip.

On this trip nothing much had changed, this doorway had been  repainted, a few more houses are occupied, but the gates to the church yard were locked, presumably because the bell tower is no longer safe, and the houses that remain unoccupied are in an ever more fragile state.

I think it's a beautiful place.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Danilia Village

Before our Corfu holiday I watched the television series, 'The Durrells'. The storyline was hopeless but the scenery and costumes were delightful. So it was a nice surprise to learn that Danilia Village, used as a filmset for the programme, is owned by the Grecotel Group, of which the Imperial is a member and that the hotel would arrange a coach to take a group to look around. Prior to the new ownership the village had been built  in the '70's, a little inland from the coast, in typical Corfiot style as a museum of folklore.
The hotel magazine had some photos of the filming.
We were given a warm welcome at this lovely entrance
before being free to wander around.

We were offered a welcome drink,
a Corfu speciality of chilled water with a spoonful of molten sugar and glucose syrup. A bit too sweet for my taste!

It was lovely to wander up and down the street
looking in the church

and the various little dwellings with their props from the programme.

It was delightful.