Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wasps get a bad press

As I write, Annabel has just been stung by a wasp.

Wasps are quite the thing in this corner of Corfu and the creature whose existence I have previously questioned proved its worth as it cleared Annabel from the camera shot of a particularly attractive landscape.

Annabel was ok, but made quite a din as she interrupted Daddy's post prandial consumption of rose at a taverna in the next bay.

We are in Kalami, Corfu and I apologise for the quality of the photos, but there is no editing in the field, in reporting terms this is Kate Adie dodging missiles in Tripoli, David Attenborough being touched up by gorillas in the Congo or Brian O'Hanrhahanhan on the deck of the Hermes counting them all out and counting them all back.

Albeit with the sustained consumption of Mythos, a swimming pool and a surfeit of feta cheese.

Kalami is the place where Laurence Durrel wrote Prospero's Cell on the cusp of the second world war. The White House where he lived for fifteen months still remains, as do the rocks on which he and his wife lay peering down into a fathom of gin clear water and are relatively unaltered. The House is now a Taverna of not very much repute and the rocks play host to a boat hire company. It still attracts a crowd as this corner of Corfu is quite "chi chi" (until we turned up) and while chasing fish with a waggler and float one afternoon a few days back I was joined on the rocks by Imie and Millie, two young girls who I assumed had an interest in fishing. After talking them through my tactics and explaining that the weed that was putting a bend in my rod was not a fish, a fast boat entered my swim and radioed back to base that the girls had been found, siblings appeared and the girls were returned to their parents in the neighbouring White House Taverna where the parents were sited, punishing the Rose.

Which is great, they'd had an adventure and it all turned out ok, few kids now spend afternoons drinking water to see how far they can wee across the road, building dens or climbing a long way up trees, as they are protected more and more by well intentioned parents who end up doing the child's thinking for them. A few years ago while tending the pitch for the local football team a lad fell out of a tree and landed on his head, a crowd gathered and n ambulance was called and while treatment was underway a retired brigadier in pink trousers happened by with his small dog and made enquiries as to the nature of the incident, to which he replied "Well done! small boys should climb more trees" The lad was more than a little robust and today is one half of a duo who are the local town's finest deliverers of beds.

and with a nod to Annabel, a friend of mine who once ran a half mile home at an age in single figures pursued by a swarm of bees, because it was his turn to climb the tree and poke the nest with a stick ended up as a Major flying helicopters in the Balkans and Afghanistan,

He also played a good game of army, although he wasn't so great at reading maps, although that may have been me.

Returning to Corfu, I can't imagine that Madame evolution picked a beach in Kalami for the location for her fishes to emerge and populate the lands of the earth. On most beaches of this corner of Corfu, The lady on my left and myself exit Neptune's locker on all fours grasping for flip flops on smooth round stones that invoke Peter Crouch style robotics at the first attempt of two legged locomotion. My current pallor has led Italian Mammas to urge their bambinos to meet by the man with the big red face should they get lost, such is my status as a "Stand Out" landmark when laid prone on the beach.

Our apartment is tucked in an Olive grove and a hundred lemons hang from the tree that shades the door, in the apartment next door. An energetic couple in their early forties jog each morning and conduct an hour long exercise routine before reading self improvement books by the pool fro the remainder of the day, the ying to our yang, Mdme and myself feel duty bound to act as slovenly as we can to restore some form of balance to the day.

Which we are doing very well.

Yesterday we hired a boat, a small craft, but seaworthy nonetheless that almost carried us inadvertently to Albania, a map thing undoubtedly, but that's for another day.

Our passage carried without any real incident bar myself and a large pleasure craft carrying a hundred people or more who tried to park on top of our insignificant skiff in the town harbour, five minutes of floundering with painters, anchors, jibs and keel hauls set us right and waving my fist at the smiling skipper with "f*** O** you failed fisherman eased my agitated state.

We found some wonderful beaches, that even in this part of the world you can pitch up to in a boat and have to yourselves, although it pays to take some binos as one we pitched into was like the land that time forgot sans Raquel Welch and her fur bikini where clothes had yet to be invented and all stood loud and proud as God/Allah/Hal intended.

Each to their own.

We chucked no end of spinners at flashy fish in bays without any real success, had a fantastic picnic in a small bay surrounded by fish who ate our spare tomatoes and peppers but wouldn't touch a cucumber (note to self, stick to flies with a bit of red in when saltwater fly fishing in the Ionian) before returning to the jetty to bumble back to our digs, arm in arm singing "Shore leave shore leave"

We have a little bit of wifi. It's a valuable commodity that proves a bigger draw to a Taverna than "Happy Hour" or "Fresh Fish" emails are checked and sport followed but in such a contented state the news can be fairly grim. Reading choice for the break is Birds without Wings by Louis de B( I am not allowed to read Captain Correlli on holiday in Greece any more, it is stamped on my passport) the following quotes from a proper writer seem somehow pertinent

"history, which is finally nothing but a sorry edifice constructed from hacked flesh in the name of great ideas"

"the triple contagions of nationalism, utopianism, and religious effervesce together into an acid that corrodes the moral metal of a race and it shamelessly and even proudly performs deeds that it would deem vile if they were done by any other."

Madness and inhumanity currently prevail in several parts of the world, if you were an outsider looking in,

Mork perhaps (Robin Williams, what a man!)

Sparg from Kronk or those octopedial aliens on the Simpsons,

you could be forgiven for thinking, "what on earth is going on, will they ever learn?"

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