Monday, 1 July 2013

Paradise Lost


GREETINGS from the island of Paradiseo. This is Ed Black posting to you as Roy is occupied with his next and, he insists, last novel. I've been content with writing just two myself, while Roy is notching up a round dozen.

My first, Harry's Hand, may be a feisty thriller involving palmistry and set mainly in Manhattan, but it also reflects my love of all things Greek. (See our Books page.)
The second - Romp & Circumstance, a humorous boddice-ripper - was set in Hong Kong, where Roy and I first worked together. That was when I became intoxicated with the exotic and chased a lotus-eater life.
Now I've found my paradise with Athenian girlfriend Diana on this quiet island in the sparkling Aegean, where spring flowers still colour the pine-covered hilltops as a summer sun at last beats down.
I don't reveal the island's actual name, not wanting to attract more holidaymakers than we already enjoy.
Fortunately, my cocktail bar and grille, Black Velvet, is in the exclusive Old Harbour. There it is quiet in the musk-laden evenings, just the gentle lap of waves as we sip Metaxas after harbourside meals.
There's a magic to this island, as to life, when you accept your path and what may come your way. Things have a way of working out to delight you, if you let them.
They say here that if you touch the waterfront statue of Bouboulina (heroine of the Turkish Wars) before sailing then you will return to the island again. Similarly, it is only necessary to think of someone local I'd like to see and, sooner or later, they come along. Mind you, it is a small place and, like most here, our habits are well worn.
Others still foolishly try to create paradise, rather than accept it, and always fail. Take the Greek oil tycoon who owns our neighbouring island.
He built a palace there for himself and friends and has gunboats chasing off anyone who dares go near, even our fishermen who have worked those seas for generations.
But what spoiled his idyll was the view of our island, as our town council decided to site the waste tip on that relatively barren coast.
At great expense, the tycoon bought up much of the shoreline, then planted pines to hide our town tip from his guests' view.
But around this time of year forest fires always seem to rage there - sending over clouds of smoke as well as again exposing our flytips. Strange that it's only there the fires rage, and our fishermen are always so amused . . .
Unlike him, I know my place and delight in it - and in others who do.
I hope you find your paradise too.
Yassas, my friends!


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