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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Still Walking The Line, Ethiopia and Kenya



N., walking the tracks, today, in Kenya:


Close to 40 years ago, in Ethiopia: 


In Nairobi:





N. also returned to our old house in Kabarnet Lane, off the Ngong Road, Nairobi, where she recalled her fourth birthday party in the garden. Memories came flooding back.


It was an emotional return. 






Return to the Rift Valley

"Athens Spring"



I find it somewhat inappropriate that Yanis Varoufakis keeps trying to promote the use of the term "Athens Spring", as if it can be equated to the Prague Spring. I doubt that this appropriated term will catch on.

"Athens Spring"...or "A Long, Hot Summer"?

A recent blog posting

"Since my resignation from the finance ministry, in protest at our government’s capitulation to the troika, I have been spending my time and energy to transfer the spirit of the Athens Spring to the heart of Europe – to promote the urgent need to shine the light of transparency on Europe’s decision making as a prerequisite to tackling Europe’s gargantuan democratic deficit".

Our Athens Spring

"Our Athens Spring was crushed, just like the Prague Spring before it. Of course it was not crushed using the tanks. It was crushed using the banks".

From New York Times: Yanis Varoufakis: How Europe Crushed Greece, Sept. 8, 2015:

'If the "Athens Spring" — when the Greek people courageously rejected the catastrophic austerity conditions of the previous bailouts — has one lesson to teach, it is that Greece will recover only when the European Union makes the transition from “We the states” to “We the European people.”'

From Sputnik News : 'Varoufakis, who went head-to-head with EU and Eurozone officials during his time with Greece's Syriza party, says his experiences throughout the course of the year left him in no doubt that the EU is undemocratic. "It began as an idea after the crushing of what I call the Athens spring, which happened in the summer. It became abundantly clear that at the level of the nation-state you can't even table proposals regarding your own country, let alone proposals for the Eurozone as a whole."






Friday, 30 October 2015

Greece in Statistics


From Hellenic Statistical Authority

ELSTAT reports

More information




Local Plan Adopted: West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland



"The West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Local Plan has been adopted. It was adopted by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on 15 October 2015 and by West Dorset District Council on 22 October 2015".



Thursday, 29 October 2015

Greece: Treasure Hoard Found



From eKathimerini/AFP

Ministry of Culture Press Release (Greek)

Shipwrecks, Fourni Islands (Pappas Post)





Colossus of Rhodes? La Tour de Naillac?



From Greek Reporter - ‘Colossus of Rhodes Project’ to Revive One of Ancient World’s 7 Wonders

What a ghastly statue design/artist's impression - M. commented: "The Kamaki of Rhodes".

Any better? "Mayor Pushes Forward to Rebuild Rhodes Colossus"

"At any rate the story that it stood straddling the harbour with its huge legs is a medieval confection". Lawrence Durrell, Reflections on a Marine Venus.

The current Mayor might be better advised to concentrate on the Tower of Naillac.

I helped my old friend Alexander Myriallis (and the Mayor of Rhodes) in the mid-1970s, to track down images of the tower, eg the work by J M W Turner.

William Finden engraving, after Turner


They had a realistic and well-researched archaeological and architectural project to reconstruct the tower.









Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Greece: Farmers "On Paper": The Crop - Olives or Subsidies?



New York Times article - "Hoping to Save a Way of Life by Rooting Out Greeks Who Farm on Paper" - Suzanne Daley and Dimitris Bounias

"Unlike other farm union leaders, Mr. Gontias wants to see an overhaul of the way things are done here. He is taking on what has long been an open secret: Hundreds of thousands of Greeks, who have other professions and may cultivate very little of their land, claim to be farmers in order to cash in on a variety of tax breaks and farming subsidies. Lawyers and doctors, for instance, plant olive groves in northern Greece, though the climate is inappropriate, and then collect government compensation for damaged crops. Mr. Gontias wants to “clean” them out of the system".

Thanks to June Samaras for the link.

Monday, 26 October 2015

France and Greece: Structural and Tax Reform Partnership



Thanks to Observing Greece for the link to the Protocol between the Hellenic Republic and the French Republic For a Partnership for reforms in the Hellenic Republic (Πηγή: reporter.gr)


Ellis Island: America's Immigrants - Photographs from 1907 by Augustus Sherman



Thanks to Chris King for the link to this Washington Post feature by Ana Swanson - "What America’s immigrants looked like when they arrived on Ellis Island"

Fascinating portraits first published in National Geographic in 1907

Also picked up by MailOnline




Australia - New Britannia? The British Diaspora




I was surprised to find myself cited in a book called "New Britannia". by Alan James - see pages 146-149


About the book:

"In 1788 Britain founded a tiny new colony half a world away. For the next two centuries millions of young men and women from all over the British Isles - but mostly from England - settled in Australia. They brought with them the best traditions of the "mother country", believing that their manifest destiny was to create a new and better Britannia. Yet for the last forty years the cultural fire that these young pioneers carried with them from the British Isles hearth has been assailed from all sides. Whether Anglo-Australia eventually survives or succumbs, its fate may well be a microcosm of what awaits the rest of the British diaspora".

It's often surprising what one finds when surfing the web. I'm also cited in the bibliography of a book by Claudia Gunz, called "Attitudes to War: Literatur Und Film Von Shakespeare Bis Afghanistan" - see page 237, note 643.


How quickly one forgets ephemeral articles...yet references seem to crop up in the most unlikely places.





reveal:conceal - A Dorchester exhibition of work by Dorset based artists Amanda Wallwork and Robert Woolner -The Gallery at Duke’s 28 October – 20 November


Exhibition details here - Dorchester Arts  -28 Oct – 20 Nov • reveal : conceal • The Gallery at Duke’s

"The exhibition features the work of two Dorset artists whose abstract paintings, skillfully constructed and deconstructed from layers of plaster, oil paint and other mixed media, are created as much by removing layers as by adding them. Both artists are influenced by the landscapes of Dorset and the processes of archaeology, and the resulting works are not only beautiful but intriguing, with surface layers that have been left untouched, underlying strata that have been revealed, and hidden depths that remain out of reach…"




Blackmore Vale Magazine item - Duke's creates gallery space for contemporary art in Dorchester




Prague's Hip Neighbourhoods




"Prague: finding a new edge - With Old Prague now tourist central, David Farley follows local artists and hipsters to the Czech capital’s newly transformed outer neighbourhoods" The Observer.

The EU: Refugees



From The Guardian - "EU and Balkans agree plan for 100,000 places in reception centres for migrants"

From EU Observer - "Balkan leaders to stop pushing migrants to neighbours"

Greece will accommodate 50,000 refugees (Kathimerini, in Greek)

Another article, in English

More EU aid for Greece

Euronews report on MEPs' reactions

Huffington Post - Liliana Bird blog: Life in Lesbos: "The Children's Feet Are Rotting - You Guys Have One Month and Then All These People Will Be Dead"

DW: Lesbos braces for winter as refugees keep coming

EU Observer - UN human rights chief slams 'swarm' rhetoric

Tsipras: Europe’s “Crocodile Tears” and “Hypocrisy” (The Pappas Post)

Take Down That Wall, Mr. Tsipras and Before We Talk About European Hypocrisy, let’s Look at Our Own (The Pappas Post)
Cyprus Mail article - "Nations needed to stop avoiding responsibility in the crisis, said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 'I am convinced that we won’t get anywhere if we just point the finger at each other, if one considers that the responsibility lies with the other,' Steinmeier said during a meeting in Athens with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos".

The Guardian - Tony Abbott urges Europe to adopt Australian policies in refugee crisis

The City of Stockholm is losing track of how many EU migrants are in the city. Svenksa Dagbladet

Past posting: Relocating Refugees (May 2015)






Sunday, 25 October 2015

Tony Blair on the Iraq War



From Mail Online

CNN TV Interview (excerpts) - "Tony Blair says he's sorry for Iraq War 'mistakes,' but not for ousting Saddam" - 'I can say that I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong because, even though he had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the program in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought,' Blair said in an exclusive interview on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS that airs Sunday".

The Guardian (with CNN video excerpt)

“I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” he told CNN. “I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.”


Richard Pine on Greece: New Book, "Greece Through Irish Eyes"



From Kathimerini - "The Irishman who loves and mourns Greece", Nick Malkoutzis

Richard Pine: "I object to the way the EU has developed from the vision of its founders, into a centrist, determinist, German-dominated financial center, not least because the crisis in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal demonstrated so clearly that the eurozone was ill-conceived and makes the whole EU vulnerable to supranational and supracontinental forces which are joyriding the universe".

"Greece Through Irish Eyes" (Amazon). I am reading it now!

Greek News Agenda

RTE 10 Review

The Irish Times, on book launch - "EU is detrimental to Ireland and Greece, says writer Richard Pine"

Athens Books Launch - 'Loving, mourning of modern Greece goes together' (Athens News Agency)

Peter Hegarty review in The Irish Catholic - "When an authoritative writer such as he calls for Greece – and Ireland – to leave the EU, and abandon the euro, one listens with respect."

Read also, Simon Baddeley's customer review on Amazon.co.uk





Greece: Mortgages and Foreclosures


From Cyprus Mail  - Renee Maltezou and Jean-Baptiste Vey

"Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday said his country would fully meet its obligations under a multi-billion euro bailout but would not tolerate mass foreclosures on problem mortgage loans for thousands of indebted people.
Setting a red line in talks with the country’s lenders now in Athens for consultations, Tsipras said turning the country into an “arena of confiscations” of homes was out of the question".


"The issue of foreclosures is thought to have topped the agenda during
Moscovici’s talks with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ahead of his meeting with Tsakalotos. According to sources close to the Greek leader, he stressed the need to ensure that the country’s social cohesion would not be disrupted by relaxing the rules on home repossessions. Currently, primary residences with a taxable value of 300,000 euros are protected from bank repossession but the institutions want this to drop to a market value of 120,000 euros and only for owners living below the poverty threshold to be protected from losing their homes".

Gov’t to seek political solution to dispute over mortgage-holders at Eurogroup








Friday, 23 October 2015

A Place for Halloween? The Ruins of St. Andrew's Church and Bell Tower, Portland, Dorset







John le Carré - a biography and a memoir



William Boyd: Why John le Carré is more than a spy novelist (New Statesman)

"David went to Sherborne – a place he loathed – and he left, of his own accord, early, in 1948, at 16, preferring to move to Bern, Switzerland, where he learned fluent German. It was at this stage of his education that he was first recruited by consular officials at the British embassy to report on local left-wingers and fellow-travellers and another duality entered his life, that of the spy".

In his review of Adam Sisman's biography (The Times, October 24, 2015), John Sutherland writes of David Cornwell (the author;s real name):

"Why, for example, did David suddenly leave Sherborne? He has given irreconcilable accounts. A master tried to kiss him. He was unfairly flogged. He couldn't ("always an outsider in his own country") stand the 'neo-fascist' Englishness of the place. His father's cheque bounced once too often, We'll never know".

Official website

"John le Carré: The Biography" by Adam Sisman is published by Bloomsbury (672pp, £25).

From cold war spy to angry old man: the politics of John le Carré, The Guardian
John le Carré's own memoir will be published in September 2016

"The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life" – John le Carré




Thursday, 22 October 2015

"A Nasty Niff" - or "The Poundbury Pong"



From "View from Weymouth/Dorchester", October 21st, 2015 - see page 7 of the Weymouth and Dorchester editions - "What's causing the Poundbury pong?" (South West quadrant and south of Bridport Road).


A blockage in the public sewer?

Other local news:

"Future of Dorset’s fire service HQ in Poundbury uncertain after plans unveiled for combined Salisbury hub" - Dorset Echo

"11-hectare solar farm approved in Dorset AONB"  Planning Resource

On the bright side - beautiful daffodils!












Edward Fox: Shakespeare and T.S.Eliot



A celebration of Britishness:
John Betjeman, Rudyard Kipling, P.G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh, Noel Coward and much more (ot forgetting Shakespeare and Eliot).

Bright lights, hard pews.


A poster in the rain

Be wise as thou art cruel (Shakespeare Sonnet; YouTube)

Selections from T.S.Eliot's "The Waste Land"

Edward Fox:  Listen to the Wind (Purbeck Journal)

Edward Fox: how I helped save Wareham from the supermarkets (Telegraph, 10 October, 2010)




From Baltimore Marathon to Dorset Cream Tea


After finishing the Baltimore Marathon, a flight the same day to Heathrow, then back to Dorset for a relaxing week in Dorchester, Sherborne, Cerne Abbas, Weymouth, Portland, Moreton, Burton Bradstock - and more running to come.






From Dorset to South Africa: from jogging Weymouth, overnight flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, to visit SABC:



Then on to Nairobi, Kenya, and back to DC...

Watercolour Paintings of Greece: Dodwell and Pomardi Exhibition




Greece’s Enchanting Landscape: Watercolours by Edward Dodwell and Simone Pomardi - October 21, 2015–February 15, 2016, GETTY VILLA


View of the Parthenon from the Propylaea, Athens, 1805, Simone Pomardi; sepia. The Packard Humanities Institute

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Tutankhamun's Beard



From The Guardian - Fixing Tutankhamun's beard (with video): 'unfortunately they used epoxy' - "Restorers give progress report as they attempt to rectify damage done when beard was broken by worker, then bodged back together with everyday glue".


T.E. Lawrence, Moreton, Dorset: The Graveyard and The Quarry



From Dorset Magazine - "Bid to block proposed Dorset quarry that would encroach on Lawrence of Arabia’s final resting place".




"The Lord is my light" 
Read down left column first, then right column
Dominus illuminatio mea - the motto of Oxford University; 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Weymouth - Popular Art - Beach Huts and Mermaids




Greenhill Gardens Beach huts, above; Esplanade Seafront Chalets, below

These three art works should make this Greenhill Beach Esplanade seafront chalet, at least, a Grade 1 listed building:




Changes afoot for chalets - View from Weymouth, Trevor Bevins



"In 2006 the rows of huts at Greenhill Beach were recommended for closure by the council by March 2008 and faced the prospect of demolition. However the two storey Esplanade chalets were given 'listed' status by English Heritage in 2008 - which means they have to be retained".

Hands off!













The brightly-painted Greenhill Gardens beach huts: