Friday, 1 August 2014

Postcard from Paradise


HELLO to you from Paradiseo! This is Ed Black posting from my island home here in the beautiful Aegean.
Roy is basking in the warm reception to his first Victorian novel, set around their home in Great Marton and cheekily entitled '50 Shades of Bass' (see our Books, right, or scan down Story/Chapter page).
It has just been favourably reviewed as "an engaging tale" in the August edition of Lancashire Life, now out on newstands.
As his close collaborator on this feel-good, easy-reading website, it falls for me to write an August update on our home page.
Roy is now working on another locally based novel, entitled "Coming Up Roses", this time set in luxurious Lytham on Lancashire's Fylde coast. He is also nursing a temporary tennis injury from overdoing things during an unusually sunny English summer to date.
Now is the peak season for tourism in the Aegean, even our comparatively select island. Its real name isn't Paradiseo. But, now that I have relocated to its quainter Old Harbour area, I think of it as Paradise. Also, I don't wish to attract more tourists than the island presently copes with while, just about, maintaining its authentic character.
Earlier in my time here I was guilty of encouraging commercialism, running a noisy bar just along the waterfront from the island's main harbour. This was a self-styled "English pub" called Black & Tan. It offered all-day breakfasts, steak and kidney pies and British-style curries - with lashings of lager while watching comedy videos and soccer links.
All this stemmed from my earlier careers: first as a public relations man in Hong Kong - where I met Roy who was a journalist there; then as a partner in a Greek-style taverna in Manhattan. These diverse island experiences led me to write a comic, sexy novel called "Romp & Circumstance", then a quirky thriller entitled "Harry's Hand". They are both available on Kindle (look down our Books and  Story/Chapter pages).
Writing them was fun and led to this collaboration with Roy, who has authored many more. It also kept me sane when soaring temperatures and partying raged all around me. However, there were still times I felt like jumping out of Black & Tan's shuttered windows into the nearby sea, or walking off into the wild, pine-clad hills above us.
Thankfully, I now have enough to get by on while doing what satisfies me most. That's simply living in peaceful surroundings, then doing only as much as Athenian girlfriend-come-partner Diane and I wish to do. This amounts to running a laid-back and more upmarket cocktail bar/grille here called Black Velvet. We only open evenings and then not all evenings at that.
Most of my patrons are yachters or families who have holiday homes amongst the traditional Venetian villas here. They understand our laid-back stlyle. The saying to friends here is, 'Drop round and see us'. But you never say exactly when. It's just when the mood takes you.
There is a serenity to this island, especially in early evening as I write this: the scent of wild-growing herbs and lemon trees; a chorus of cicadas behind the Puccini aria playing in my bar, the lap of languid waves upon a dark sea merging into the star-lit sultry air.
What I most wish to tell you, though, is that we all can savour such paradise. Just relax, create calm about you, and escape through reading.
Thankfully, this website already shares a wide following, from troubled Eastern Europe and beyond, to turbulent South America.
Our Memoir and Poetry pages can transport you still further: back in time, or into others' hearts.
So, read on - and enjoy your own taste of paradise.

Yassas, my friends!
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