Wednesday, August 11, 2010


There will be a party at Akrotohori Village on Sunday 15th August.  Music, dancing, food - whole roast pigs - and drink.  Proceedings will begin at 9 p.m. and end towards dawn the following morning.
Everyone who can get there will be welcome!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Barefoot Architect

My copy of this book arrived here yesterday, as with all my post it arrived from the village on a donkey ridden (Post haste!) by Nicos.  There is an erratic delivery service to the village but no road on which the post delivery vehicle can drive from there.  Why, I am now wondering has it taken me two years to learn of the existence of this wonderful tome?  Seven hundred paperback pages of information about how to had build just about everything from just about anything.  Since the oil crisis of the seventies ignited a spark within me of interest in simple building methods I have been an avid collector and reader of any book concerning the architecture and building of shelters of every kind.  The author, perhaps 'maker' would be more appropriate here, of this book, Netherlands born Johan van Lengen is, according to the blurb on the book's flaps, as interesting as his book.  Giving up an architectural career in San Francisco he went first to Mexico and later to Brazil where he helped the disadvantaged of those countries to improve the standards of their housing.  Barefoot Architect, first published in Spanish in 1982, was the result of van Lengen's work in those countries.  It was first translated into english in 1982.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Fine New Building

On top of a small round hill not far from my home someone, reputedly a French person, is building a truly magnificent house.  The house, built on a huge stone clad plinth of what I imagine will be garages and utility rooms, is four storeys high.  It is vaguely octagonal with a shallow domed roof.  It is a big house, a very big house, but its Italianate, rather Palladian, design reflects considerable taste.  For me it is an excellent example of how something man produced can add to, rather than detract from a landscape; a building in a landscape of mountain, sea and wilderness adding up to much more than the sum of the parts of the scene.
The viewpoint from which I took the photograph is several kilomeres away from, and several hundred metres above, the building.  In due course I hope to get photographs from a closer viewpoint.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Evoking Fitzgerald

During the summer the old, thick walled, stone house gets rather warm and airless so I sleep on a folding bed outside the house under a mosquito net.  The net is protection against insects falling on me from the layers of canopy of Grape vine and Jasmine, Carob, Wild Olive, Bay, Plumbago and the ubiquitous Geranium  above and around me.  There are very few true Mosquitoes here - there is no standing water and it is generally too breezy for them - but there are around plenty of other, equally irritating flies, against the bites of which the net is also an insurance.
I normally wake at dawn when a rising orange glow begins to outline the mountains to the east dissipating the deep velvet blue of the night above them.  It is a spectacle that, each morning, evokes for me Edward Fitzgerald's lines from his first version of Omar Khayyham:
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
 Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
 And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
 The Sultán's Turret in a Noose of Light.

This morning when I woke though, the sun had already risen a little above the mountains and was shining more or less horizontally onto me, giving my leaf canopy something of a stained glass effect which I would have liked to have captured in a photograph but I did not have my camera by me and the rising sun waits for no one; in no more than a few seconds the moment had, like all others, passed.