Oh Brother Where art thou?

These are lines from one of George Seferis poems about the Odyssey.

O Brother Where Art Thou is a Coen brothers movie that has taken Homer’s Odyssey and translated it into 1930’s America. Initially the idea that George Clooney escapes from a prison chain gang doesn’t sound too interesting but it’s much better than that. It’s an exploration of what life was like in those times.

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Friedrich Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology

Friedrich Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology

Friedrich Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology
— Read on minervawisdom.com/2019/06/03/friedrich-schellings-philosophy-of-mythology/

An excellent post that I came across today that needs more attention.

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Language variation

It’s a strange thing that I’m writing this post but the thoughts will not stop and refuse all efforts to wait until morning so here goes.

I’m now approaching the awkward teenage phase in my life according to my progress in Greek. It was bad enough doing this the first time around in English and now I have to do it again for Greek?!?!?

It’s excruciatingly painful trying to have meaningful conversation that lasts any longer than γιασυς hi, το κάνε η πος εις how are you, καλά I’m good. Tonight I couldn’t even understand τι νέο what’s new as although I’m used to hearing the person speak English and they are Greek, I’m not used to hearing them speak Greek to me even though they obviously have to for their job and I don’t pay any attention when that happens. “(In fact that’s what another friend says, this one said που πάμε where are you going/have you been?)”

As an aside I sadly can replicate there English voice in my head and have used it to have many conversations with them over the years. I know I’m weird.

I always wondered when I went back to my parents how they had to tune in to how I spoke each time like how could they forget? I wasn’t accounting for my own voice changing which it does frequently. I’ve also been told off for speaking incorrectly but in order to get a new language you have to speak incorrectly as new abilities just don’t turn up out of nowhere.

As a second aside I was never allowed to display any autistic tendencies growing up hence I can do accents better now but there still pretty inauthentic. It’s probably why my diagnosis was so late. I learned to fake it too well.

So now I can have to continue past shop keeper dialogue and basic questions into conversation land. This is a very scary place.

Hopefully this is right what my brain came up with. Ψεματα, πάντα γλυκά λίγο ψεματα “I forget this bit” στόμα σου. Lies, always sweet little lies that come out of your mouth. Σου έχει α γλυκά γλώσσα. You have a honeyed tongue. Actually it’s not but it’s also not nice to be so nasty even though I do get pissed off at the 2 of them; they mean well and there only trying to help.

Other phrases I have thought of later are θέλω ένα παπούτσια γιά μενα τριάντα έξι παρακαλώ after leaving the shoe shop “I want some shoes size thirty six please.” I don’t think that’s entirely correct either.

The ones which got aborted as they got busy were about my latest dinner with friends as I tried twice, once to invite another to that meal and second to say to someone what happened. There too lengthy to put here. At least this is calming and peaceful that someone now knows my latest language struggles.

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Meganisi – A Greek Ionian Island

Meganisi means big island in Greek and it is comparable to all the other Princess Islands as they are locally known. The Princess Islands are so called because of the involvement of Onassis. They comprise Meganisi, Skorpios, Skorpidi and Sparti. These are not to be confused with the Prince Islands which are a group of 9 small islands off the coast of Turkey. (Thankyou Google for this).

Ancient History

Meganisi was said to be Krocylea from the Odyssey by Wilhelm Dörpfeld who will be discussed in another article as he made many important evacuations in this area.

Recent history

Papanikolis Cave is famous in this area for its sheer size and breathtaking natural beauty. All of the boat trips from Nidri harbour take you past it as it’s such a unique feature. The legend talks about a World War 2 submarine the “Papanikolis” from which the cave takes its name hiding out here after engaging in battle with the Italians. If you wish to know more about incident read all about it on the Wikipedia page Papanikolis Submarine.

The Olive Oil museum above shows the process that they used to have to go through to extract the oil from the olives. It’s a big mill stone that has to grind the olives to a pulp. The olive harvest takes place every November so the production was always a winter activity when there was less to do elsewhere. The mill is now preserved as a tourist attraction.

Meganisi also hosts the tourists for a traditional dance evening. This is where the ladies are invited to try to repeat what “Mama” did when she was younger. This is to carry the water up from the harbour side to the village of Spartahori on the hill by way of balancing the container on your head and walking a few steps.

(C)Hori [χωρι] is the Greek word for village which you will come across in lots of names like Neohori on Lefkás is New village or Katohori also in Lefkás is Under village. The c sound doesn’t exist in Greek hence it is sometimes represented as above.

“Mama” had to do this a couple of times a day but I have no idea how she managed as nobody ever completes the challenge. Even with the incentive of a bottle for the winner. You are also taught some traditional dance steps. One is for the women which can be done regardless of age or ability and one for the men. It’s a very enjoyable evening with food laid on too. The performance of the dances is spectacular.

More recent history

This is not a war memorial which it appears to be at first but a dedication to a 25 year old coastguard Marinos Zampelios who lost his life battling at sea. There are the same memorials in Corfu (Thankyou internet) where this actually happened. If you believe the Golden Dawn website and I wouldn’t because there so heavily biased it’s unbelievable; “He died preventing Albanian scum from conducting drug wars here.” That language in itself tells you that is not what happened at all but due to lack of other sources I can’t tell you what did happen. It’s quite a shocking event though on an island that only has 3 villages, Spartochori, Vathy as will be mentioned later and Katomeri which has practically no facilities. The entire population of the island is roughly 1 thousand.

Here is a picture of a nice bell tower after that scandalous paragraph to lighten the mood once more.


Meganisi is also good for the sailors as they come into Vathy harbour and there are a couple of restaurants here.

(Βάθη) Vathy is another one of those brilliantly named places as it means depth and it most certainly has a deep harbour. It’s always filled to the brim with sailing boats.

Again the spelling is different because beta is a v sound in reality so vita.

I have been on a sailing boat many times to the harbour and have eaten there too. There is a nearby bay that is known as “No Name Bay” and this is where we would stop to swim. There are lots of little bays and inlets here that offer the opportunity to sample unparalleled views without the need to go ashore.

However, if you wish a sojourn on the island; the ferry comes across from Nidri on a regular basis. This allows you to visit without the need to have friends with a boat. Or to go on the Odyssey which is how I have visited in the past. Along with the Ionian Star. Many other commercial boats ply the waters here too so you have quite a pick of transportation.

Are there any relatively unknown corners that are near where you live?

Best wishes


Saints associated with Lefkás, their churches and shrines

Lefkáda – Panagia Fanoroemeni Monastery (the Virgin Mary) is revealed on August 15th. There are many churches with the same name with the most famous in Cyprus thanks again Google. There is a monastery for her on Lefkás about 3km from Lefkás town. It includes a religious history museum, maritime museum and a zoo. The Venetians had some input to the architectural structure too. This is why it’s the best looking, most well maintained and well known monastery on the island. I am yet to visit this place but you can see many pictures online and on the Wikipedia article there is some info Lefkás but best check elsewhere as it’s rather lacking.

Lefkás town – Santa Maura 3rd May. There is a fort dedicated to her at the top most point of the island. I haven’t visited her either as it was closed the day I wanted to go.

Nidri When they have weddings here it is traditional to honk your horn all the way through the village until they get home which can be quite some distance. It is a very noisy affair as the horn is sounded whenever they feel like it so about every couple of minutes. This is every vehicle in the procession so it can be a cacophony of noise. Just like the Easter celebrations except more vibrant as this is early evening instead of midnight.

White church – This is the church on the top of the island that everyone sees and sometimes they have weddings up here. The panoramic views across the entire area are phenomenal.

Sappho’s leap – St Nicholas the patron saint of Fishermen. St Nicolas 19th December.

Geni – Kiriaki 7th July Agia Kyriaki

This is the shrine below dedicated to her and the church that is nearby. I’ve been inside too for a lovely christening but I didn’t take any pictures as there were 2 professional photographers but I don’t know if I’ll ever see the photos of that event.

As you can see I have visited some areas and not others due to there location.

Do you have any special saints that you worship where you are?

Best wishes


Karia and it’s heritage museum

This is a small village well known for its embroidery. It has a style unique to Lefkás invented by a lady called Maria Standraka who was unable to stitch in the normal way due to an acquired disability. She came to be known as a Koutsochero because of that disability. Not to be defeated by this obstacle she came up with the Karsaniko style. There are samples of her work displayed inside for you to admire. Ladies here to this day practice it but it is a dying art I believe due to the age of the practitioners. However it’s being kept alive in the internet age by there being a video on YouTube and images on Pinterest. So all is not lost here just yet.

This is similar to the article that I wrote on Eva Palmer Sikelianos who practised weaving and the art of making all of your own clothes by loom.

I haven’t managed to view this yet but I’ve passed by it many times even eating in the village itself. It is well known for its rugs. The Wikipedia article isn’t very helpful here as it makes no mention of anything I have said in this post. Karia.

Do you have any unique artisanal workmen and women in your cultural history?

I like making series and connecting my posts together so that they make sense to you the viewer and reader. This is the first part of my rural Lefkás village series.


Other series include Greek poets, authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes


Some pictures of Lefkás

As the weather continues to be abysmal here I thought I would share with you some of my art. I know I said that I would cut down on the amount of time that I would spend on here but the weather hasn’t really assisted me here. I have been drawing from photographs in case your wondering why the images don’t match up to what I’m saying. Easter Fireworks charcoal

Easter fireworks charcoal

Nidri bay watercolour pencils

Nidri bay watercolour pencils

Kathesma beach watercolour

Kathesma beach watercolour

Princess Islands pastel

Princess Islands pastel

Nidri bay watercolour pencil

Nidri bay watercolour pencil

Nidri bay pastel

Nidri bay pastel

Nidri bay watercolour paint

Nidri bay watercolour paint

Agias Nikitas watercolour

Agias Nikitas watercolour

Yes I have painted the same image in watercolour paint, pastel and water colour pencil. Just in case you were curious about what you were viewing. I’m rather scientific in my approach to art as I like to see what works best. I also like to look at my progress in blogging and art.

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Mikis Theodorakis

Since he is such an influential figure in Greek musical history I decided he needed his own post. Here is the link to the Rebetika post that I did earlier which inspired this.

Mikis Theodorakis wrote the musical score for the most famous Greek movie Zorba the Greek and as soon as you hear it you know what it is. For those that don’t know it’s called Syrtaki and it’s based on old Cretan dances. It’s that kind of recognition that Mikros Theodorakis has that makes him such a legend.

He has the most extraordinary collection of music, theatre productions, books, ballets, film scores and operas that he was coordinated on with such famous names as Angelos Sikelianos and Nikos Kazantzakis leading there expertise to assist him. I could go on but then this article would never end.

His personal details are here Mikis Theodorakis.

It seems to me that these series of posts are documenting the history of British involvement in Greece during the 1930’s and afterwards. I am featuring all the major players and since this is a critical part of Greece’s history just after the war of independence in 1922; it’s rather fitting as all of my interests are coming together. Literature, language, history, culture, the arts.

Yes you could say I have slight bourgeois tastes in things. Except my interest in Russian things but Greece and Russia are more connected than most people realise due to shared religious history, language and culture.

As a result of that idea I have decided to allow my hyper connected brain to link everything together to its heart’s content. Yes its a bit of a mixed metaphor but it brings colour into my writing I believe.

Mikros Theodorakis is part of the Music and Musicians series.

The music of Ancient Greece


Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes


6th Baron, Lord (George Gordon) Byron 1788-1824 English poet

By T Philips in English National Gallery
By T Philips, English National Gallery

No article on Brits that had an interest in Greek matters would be complete without a reference to Lord Byron. He assisted greatly with the Greek war of independence by financing a lot of it and is buried at Missolonghi, Greece after he became ill while living there.

He was another flamboyant, eccentric English gentleman who travelled widely, wrote romantic poetry and was a bit of a dandy. He also indulged in all manner of sexual pursuits. This was pretty standard behaviour for an aristocrat in the 19th century. He lived fast and died young at only 36. There are many busts and statues across Greece dedicated to him and there are also many streets bearing his name like here in Lefkás.

Now that the introduction is over, time for the real information.

Byron first visited Greece in his Balkan tour for his coming of age tour starting in 1809. He met the most important man in the area at the time, Ali Pascha first in Albania. He had journeyed from Ioannina or Janinina as he writes via Missolonghi, Delphi, Parnassus and Patras finally to Athens. He left in March to visit Smyrna for a month and then continued on to Constantinople. He next sojourn was to Troy. By this time it was May and warm enough for him to swim the Hellespont.

Byron had by this point fallen in love with Greece as he abandoned his well made and intentioned plans to visit Persia and India to return to Athens. He even left his traveling companion who wished to return home to England. Byron was to spend the next year touring the country, staying in a monastery at the foot of the Acropolis or studying Italian and Greek. By November he had arrived in Preveza.

When in the Spring of 1811 he left to visit Malta he was filled with a great sadness and a great many STD’s as he had rather overindulged in all manner of sexual escapades. Within 3 months he had returned to the UK.

Here is the Wikipedia article on his personal life Lord Byron.

He is the fourth part of my series of articles on writers that are connected in some way to Greece.

  1. Lawrence Durrell
  1. Virginia Woolf
  1. Henry Miller

Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes


Henry Miller

He was friends with Lawrence Durrell and an inspiration to him. They had a life long friendship upon meeting and he was also another prolific writer. He wrote novels, poetry and plays of the slightly scandalous variety. At least by 1930’s standards anyway.

His most famous works are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and The Colossus of Maroussi which was written about the couple of years he spent in Greece with Lawrence Durrell in the 1930’s.

I haven’t actually read any of his work nor do I have any copies of it. However for a man who had to publish in France because his work was banned in the USA and England until at least the 1960’s due to the provocative content. With some not even being published until after his death in 1980; this isn’t surprising. His work isn’t in circulation as much due to its risqué content and his first novel has never been published.

For details by someone who is more familiar with his work read Cristian Milai’s article here Henry Miller.

Here are the details of Miller’s personal life.Henry Miller.

He is part of my series of articles on writers that are connected in some way to Greece.

Lawrence Durrell

Virginia Woolf

Lord Byron

Eva Palmer-Sikelianos

Other series include Greek Poets, Authors, Musicians, Famous Greeks, Rural Villages in Lefkás and Foreigners who have become interested and or benefited Greece in some ways. All the links can be found here Series links.

Best wishes