Carnival week: we’ve had the parades, naturally some of them rained on; the floats, the costumes, the singing, the dancing, joyful exuberance and it’s all over for another year. Every evening Television stations have beamed out hours and hours of it all, some of it pretty impressive stuff from the larger centres though nothing of course quite as big as Rio. Our little one in Kalyves is fun and fortunately this year was not rained upon. The kite flying on clean Monday was a bit wet though. I wonder if the kites managed to get up and stay up or, sodden, remain firmly earthbound. Now the festivities are all over, it’s good-bye to meat and the beginning of Lent and forty days of fasting, fasting that is for those to whom it matters. This is the time of year when the manufacturers and purveyors of halva have a field day. I remember going to a supermarket in Stoke Newington many years ago and buying as a treat an ounce or two of very expensive halva whereas here it is purchased by the kilo, dates too that in England were a Christmas luxury that came in fancy boxes complete with toothpicks so you didn’t get sticky fingers.
With the almost continuous rain and grey skies we’ve had for the past week the lobby is flooded and the interior of the car is a swimming pool. Without some warm sunshine it ain’t going to dry out. Why the car is flooded I really don’t know except for the fact that she’s an old girl now and obviously leaking in places that should be watertight. (It comes to all of us in old age does it not?) There seems to be no logic in the Greek way of thinking. The government wants people to give up their old cars and buy new ones so what do they do? They bump up the tax on old cars as an incentive to get rid of them and so make it that little bit more difficult to afford a new one.
For the past weeks (how many weeks?) This house has been a hive of activity. Chris busy on his stained glass windows and he and Douglas both beavering away preparing for the launch in Wilton’s Music Hall, London, on the 22nd of this month of Chris’s biography of George Leybourne titled “The Heaviest of Swells” (available on Amazon). It’s going to be a sort of Leybourne few days as not only is there going to be the book launch but he will be performing a shortened version of the show I wrote for him “Champagne Charlie (playscript available on Amazon) so many years ago, and this will be followed up by a music hall bill the BBC are interviewing him for and filming. If it is anything like the preparations that have been going on they’re going to come back totally exhausted but I’m sure it will be worth it. Chris is as happy as a sandboy rehearsing. He was born to perform and will be a performer till his dying day whereas with me there came a time when it no longer had appeal. Locally he has twice given a talk with music and illustrations which seemed much appreciated. They leave for England on the sixteenth and the house is going to be very quiet for the following fortnight. Wilton’s is a wonderful venue for the launch, being the last surviving music hall in London and Leybourne performed there on that date 131 years ago.
Wilton’s website is www.wiltons.org.uk with all the details.