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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Rate of Exchange? 88 Euro Cents for £1!

The Guardian (via MSN): "Britons travelling to Europe offered just 88 euro cents for £1"

Zagori Mountain Marathon: Runners and Watchers


Australia's Greek Migrants

From Greek Reporter - Australia: Where Greek Migrants Got a Second Chance at a New Life

Living Longer Lives: Blessing or Curse? BBC; "Granny-Dumping"

From BBC World Service (50 minutes)

"Half of all people born in industrialised countries today can expect to live to 100. What implications does that have for individuals and for societies around the world? Owen Bennett Jones and his guests discuss the many issues arising from an ageing society".

An interesting discussion - especially about the increasing challenges of providing adequate care, and the rapid ageing of some less wealthy societies; and the important role of immigrants.

Norway: The World of a Sami Reindeer Herder

The beautiful world of a Sami reindeer herder, BBC

Spirit of the Midnight Sun (Heart and Soul), BBC World Service

"The nomadic Sámi people of northern Europe believe that the animals, plants and rocks, they share their land with possess a soul.

The Sami’s wordless spiritual songs called a Yoik – but they are stillbanned in Norway’s Lutheran churches despite being a core part of the Sami worship for thousands of years.

Story-telling performed in sacred locations along the coastline, including the site where hundreds of Sami men and women were burned for witchcraft in the 1800’s.

As Norway basks in 22-hour daylight summer, Peter Curran meets the Sami people who are keeping these ancient traditions and a spirituality alive at the same time fearing that the creeping modernisation is threatening the delicate environmental balance."

Presenter and Producer: Peter Curran

More (related):

From Our Own Correspondent: Sing a Song of Sami Pride - BBC World Service

Friday, 21 July 2017

An Epirot Lament

An Epirot Lament  (YouTube)

Dorset: pylon removal plans under consultation

Dorset AONB pylon removal plans under consultation, BBC News

"Plans to remove a section of overhead pylons in Dorset's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) have opened to public consultation. National Grid wants to bury overhead power lines along a five-mile (8km) stretch of the county near the villages of Martinstown and Winterbourne Abbas".

Reginald's Peace Poem, by Saki (1904)

Edwardian wit

Reginald's Peace Poem by  Saki (H.H. Munro, Hector Hugh Munro, 18 December 1870 – 14 November 1916):

"I'm writing a poem on Peace," said Reginald, emerging from a sweeping operation through a tin of mixed biscuits, in whose depths a macaroon or two might yet be lurking.

   "Something of the kind seems to have been attempted already," said the Other.

    "Oh, I know; but I may never have the chance again. Besides, I've got a new fountain pen. I don't pretend to have gone on any very original lines; in writing about Peace the thing is to say what everybody else is saying, only to say it better. It begins with the usual ornithological emotion -

           'When the widgeon westward winging
            Heard the folk Vereeniginging,
            Heard the shouting and the singing'" -

    "Vereeniginging is good, but why widgeon?"

    "Why not? Anything that winged westward would naturally begin with a W."

     "Need it wing westward?"

     "The bird must go somewhere. You wouldn't have it hang around and look foolish. Then I've brought in something about the heedless hartebeest galloping over the deserted veldt."

     "Of course you know it's practically extinct in those regions?"

      "I can't help that, it gallops so nicely. I make it have all sorts of unexpected yearnings -

            'Mother, may I go and maffick, 
            Tear around and hinder traffic?'

Of course you'll say there would be no traffic worth bothering about on the bare and sun-scorched veldt, but there's no other word that rhymes with maffick."


        Reginald considered. "It might do, but I've got a lot about angels later on. You must have angels in a Peace poem; I know dreadfully little about their habits."

       "They can do unexpected things, like the hartebeest."

       "Of course. Then I turn on London, the City of Dreadful Nocturnes, resonant with hymns of joy and thanksgiving -

          'And the sleeper, eye unlidding,
           Heard a voice for ever bidding 
           Much farewell to Dolly Gray;
           Turning weary on his truckle- 
           Bed he heard the honey-suckle 
           Lauded in apiarian lay.'

Longfellow at his best wrote nothing like that."

     "I agree with you."

     "I wish you wouldn't. I've a sweet temper, but I can't stand being agreed with. And I'm so worried about the aasvogel."

   Reginald stared dismally at the biscuit-tin, which now presented an unattractive array of rejected cracknels.

     "I believe," he murmured, "if I could find a woman with an unsatisfied craving for cracknels, I should marry her."

     "What is the tragedy of the aasvogel?" asked the Other sympathetically.

     "Oh, simply that there's no rhyme for it. I thought about it all the time I was dressing--it's dreadfully bad for one to think whilst one's dressing--and all lunch-time, and I'm still hung up over it. I feel like those unfortunate automobilists who achieve an unenviable motoriety by coming to a hopeless stop with their cars in the most crowded thoroughfares. I'm afraid I shall have to drop the aasvogel, and it did give such lovely local colour to the thing."

      "Still you've got the heedless hartebeest."

      "And quite a decorative bit of moral admonition--when you've worried the meaning out -

          'Cease, War, thy bubbling madness that the wine shares, 
           And bid thy legions turn their swords to mine shares.'

Mine shares seems to fit the case better than ploughshares. There's lots more about the blessings of Peace, shall I go on reading it?"

      "If I must make a choice, I think I would rather they went on with the war."

An Old Country Song: "If Looks Could Kill"

Heard on the radio in the mountains of Epirus, Greece: a great country song with a clever lyric and a talented country band:

Rodney Crowell, "If Looks Could Kill"

another video, same song

Rodney Crowell - Walk The Line Revisited

A Quilt for Ophelia

An abstract wall-hanging inspired by the Ionian Sea, made by Maria Strani-Potts.

Farewell, Ellada

One more week, only: then an empty table at the edge of the sea...

Kenny Mann, The White Africans; Kenya; Film

On The White Africans, by Kenny Mann

Kenny's films (watch extracts, buy films)

I studied film production with Kenny (Iki) Mann at the University of Bristol Drama Department - at the time I never expected to be sent to Kenya (seven years later) to help set up a film unit.

Kenny's films

Nationality and Dual Citizenship; Australian Dual Citizens

'What are you?' For Australian dual citizens, that question is a minefield, Louise Burke, The Telegraph

The Cultural and Creative Industries in Greece; Μελέτη για την χαρτογράφηση της Πολιτιστικής- Δημιουργικής Βιομηχανίας στην Ελλάδα

Mapping the Cultural and Creative Industries in Greece, Greek News Agenda

Executive summary in English (pdf)

Μελέτη για την χαρτογράφηση της Πολιτιστικής- Δημιουργικής Βιομηχανίας στην Ελλάδα (pdf)

Talking to Arnold Schwarzenegger

David Rennie, The Economist's 1843 Magazine

Dorset: Jo Draper Tributes

Tributes paid to writer and Lyme Regis Museum researcher Jo Draper, Bridport and Lyme Regis News

"Jo Draper died on Friday, June 23, at the age of 68 and was famous in Dorset for having written a number of books and articles on the county, a place she developed a lifelong passion for.

Perhaps her most lauded work was Dorset the Complete Guide, the first edition of which took her more than three years to write, with the author visiting every place she mentioned in the work".

Britons in Europe and the right to live in another EU country; Healthcare Insurance implications and other drawbacks

From The Guardian via MSN - Britons living in Europe could lose right to live in another EU country

"British people living in the European Union could lose the right to live in another EU member state after Brexit, it emerged at the end of talks in Brussels. British officials raised the issue with their European counterparts during three-and-a-half days of intense technical talks on Brexit. The EU made clear it would not move without a reciprocal offer for European nationals living in Britain that would allow them to move to another EU country and return to the UK".

EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier highlights split on expats' rights. Deutsche Welle

Britons face losing healthcare in Europe as EU toughens Brexit stance, Telegraph

"British tourists and business travellers will lose free healthcare in Europe, under hardline proposals put forward by the European Union during Brexit negotiations in Brussels. European Commission officials told their British counterparts that the UK will be thrown out of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) system after the 29 March 2019 withdrawal date".

Britain faces up to Brexit - As long as the government stays in denial about Brexit’s drawbacks, the country is on course for disaster, The Economist

See the cartoon...

"Britain is having a very public nervous breakdown".

What Germans think about the Brexit negotiations, DW

UK Newspaper headlines, BBC

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Το Πέτρινο Δάσος στην θέση Οξυά; The Stone Forest at Risk of Destruction; Oxias, above Monodendri, Zagori

From zagoristas, Facebook,

Παρατηρητήριο Ζαγορίου

"Το Πέτρινο Δάσος στην θέση Οξυά, κοντά στο Μονοδένδρι Ζαγορίου. Ασβεστολιθικοί σχηματισμοί, σπάνιο θέαμα και σημαντικός πόλος έλξης επισκεπτών. Χρειάστηκαν εκατομμύρια χρόνια για να σχηματιστούν και μερικές μέρες για να καταστραφούν από παράνομες εξορύξεις! Πρόσκαιρο οικονομικό κέρδος για ολίγους έναντι διατήρησης της φυσικής κληρονομιάς του τόπου μας, για όλους και για πάντα. Αξίζει?"

About The Stone Forest, from GeoZagori

Two Great Cooks; with Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver and Maria: comparing recipes!

Vitsa in the Early 1980's; Vitsa, Zagori

The old kalderimi; Maria and Kiria Anna Vasdeki

Maria and Fantina with Kiria Anna Vasdeki

Traces of Kiria Anna's blue paint

BBC Press Office Bar Chart/Graph on Stars' Pay; Salary Revelations

From Guido Fawkes

"There is no scale on the axis, accentuating the difference between the years. It makes it look like the Beeb has halved stars’ pay in two years…Worse than that, the graph leaves off 2013/14 when the total talent bill was £194 million".

Backstabbing, jealousy and rage - how pay revelations sent BBC into a tailspin, The Telegraph

BBC pay report: Chris Evans and Gary Lineker top list amid glaring gender gap, The Telegraph


Government attacks BBC for star salaries and says sums should be 'halved'

BBC pay list: the hidden names the corporation does not want you to see

BBC stars are STILL dodging their income tax: High-profile presenters routing salaries through personal companies despite corporation banning the deals five years ago, MailOnline

"The BBC pay row deepened last night after it admitted some of its richest stars use a potential tax dodge. The high-profile presenters have their salaries routed through personal service companies so they can avoid income tax. The corporation refused to say which individuals benefit from the cosy deals, which it supposedly banned five years ago".

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Lefkada, with Rory and Ophelia Allardice; Lefkas, Greece

The view from their Lefkada house (between Lygia and Nikiana):

"Rory Allardice has lived and worked in France, Italy, then in Georgia, Armenia and Russia (at the time of the Soviet Union), The People's Republic of China, Czechoslovakia (as was), Poland, the U.A.E. and Greece. He has a passion for learning languages and speaks several foreign languages.

He has travelled mostly in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa and has written a series of highly personal travelogues, which are illustrated by his photographs. The books are of places which are less frequented but which have a deep fascination for the author".

We first met in Prague, Czechoslovakia (as was), in 1986.

A postcard to Prague, 1989.

Down the road at Nikiana:

Two Years Ago, in Zagori

Prague Farewells, 1989

Greece: Limited Appeal for Property Investors

Greece still unattractive for property sector investors, eKathimerini

"The Global Property Guide report stresses that the high taxation of rental incomes and the high cost of transactions (transfer tax, various stamps etc) are strong counter-incentives for investors".

Greece’s house prices on cusp of rising, as its economy begins to recover, Global Property Guide, May, 2017


Dramatic surge in UK's housing market caused by stamp duty increase - but central London may be at tipping point, Global Property Guide, June 2016

Already well out-of-date

Other Views on Greece: Greek Debt Issues

The EU: Negotiating Positions on Brexit


Monday, 17 July 2017

The Mediterranean Sea: Plastic Pollution

From Greek Reporter - Greenpeace: Mediterranean in Grave Danger From Plastic Pollution

"Greece produces between 180,000-300,000 tonnes of plastic packaging a year, while the total annual demand for plastic is estimated to be around 500,000 tonnes. Only a very small percentage of this amount is recycled, while the Institute for Retail Consumer Goods Research (IELKA) estimates that Greeks use 363 plastic bags per person each year".

We tried to do something ten years ago:

The Guardian, February 2015: Coastal communities dumping 8m tonnes of plastic in oceans every year

Out of the Nest, Day Three: Waiting for Lunch, and an Accompanied Trial Flight (?)

And then there was one...

And there there were two....

Let's hope all four made it back to what remains of their nest: