So the country has chosen and Pasok (the Pan Hellenic Socialist Party) after five years in opposition are once more in power and good old George Papandreou is the new Prime Minster. Karamanlis, who called the snap election, has resigned as leader of New Democracy. The result was really a forgone conclusion. The question most Greeks will be asking now is will things be very different or will it still be broken promises, corruption, nepotism and scandal and carry on as before? Do politicians ever change? Does the leopard lose her spots? At dinner last night we were told (I don’t know how true it is but I can believe it) that of the working population of Greece, half are employed in some government agency. Dinner, very English, roast beef and Yorkshire pud, the beef the tenderest I have ever tasted, was at Callum and Fran’s house (don’t worry that you don’t know who Callum and Fran are) in a village beneath the mountains called Embrosneros which means “Come forth water”. Some villages do have strange names when you translate them. Kalyves for example merely means “Shacks”. Come to think of it some personal names are a little strange, for example Zakarania which means sweetness. The house is a converted olive mill, very spacious, very modern and with a beautiful view of the mountains. When they bought the property it consisted of one enormous room evidently and is now a many roomed mansion almost. Apart from the roast beef and ice cream to follow, Fran served up what she called her favourite salad and I, not being a salad man usually, agree with her that it is a delicious mix – lettuce, spinach, chopped walnut, blue cheese and apple drizzled with honey. Talking of food, unfortunately, unable to take the simplest of physical exercise without still getting breathless, despite the pace maker making life and breathing that much easier, no palpitations, no irregular beat, I have put on an enormous amount of weight that I will really have to do something about. I have at last raked up enough energy to at least start in the garden again but am hoping after the next heart procedure in eleven days time I will be back to my old self. How time flies. After the first bout in hospital, the second seemed such a long long way away and now it is nearly on us.
One thing about having time on my hands, i.e. not spending days in the garden, I can select books from the home library that have been sitting on shelves for years and finally get around to reading them. One of them is “Old Wilds” re-published by the Society for Theatre Research and originally published in 1888. Old Wilds was a travelling booth theatre in the middle of the century and the book gives a wonderful insight into provincial theatre of that kind. More anon but, in the meantime, I found in it the perfect epitaph for an ex-theatrical – “Tired, he sleeps. The play is over.”