Sunday, 22 February 2015

Greetings from Paradise


HELLO from Paridiseo, my island in the Aegean. This is Roy's close collaborator on the website, Ed Black, posting to you from Greece.
Roy is busy working on a couple of books for summer.
This is the off-season here, when my cocktail bar and grille, called Black Velvet, is closed. I can enjoy the quiet of our Old Harbour location. However, the spring season approaches and we need to do some renovations to the bar and our own living quarters in the building.
My helper Yannis, though, is unpredictable - like most islanders. That's why they, and I, live here - the lazy, impulsive approach to life. Even in the season Yannis often leaves his horse-drawn buggy taxi at his small farm in the hills, then goes fishing on a pal's boat.
Today he's decided to ride one of his horses round to Paraskevi beach and visit Tasso, who keeps a taverna there. So, instead of joinery repairs and painting, I'm posting to you about life here.
The economic troubles of the mainland haven't bothered us greatly on the island. Out of season and among ourselves we tend to use a barter system rather than cash. Yannis, for example, would be paid for his practical skills and time in food and drink, while I'm also better at engines than him (though there are few vehicles on the island, other than mopeds).
There is also an understanding with the local mayor: we give generously to him and he turns a blind eye to us, keeping the Athens taxman away. Life has ever been thus.
On a more personal level, it may soon be time to make an honest woman of my Athens-born girlfriend, Diana. Perhaps it's the romantic in me, as you'll see from my novels on the Books page of this website. But I know it would delight her - a proposal and commitment beneath the stars, as we enjoy a quiet fish supper beside the languid sea.
Besides, we need each other - even here in 'Paradise'.
It seems to me the Gods have always favoured these islands. Even now, when it is the Orthodox Church we turn to, we're a happy throng about the small, harbourside temple shaded by pines.
Perhaps that's because we just concern ourselves with today, our immediate surroundings and friends - not the rest of the world that we cannot change. After all, we're all just blades of grass on those fields of Elysium, as the classic poets would say.
With romance and ageless adventure in mind, I've added a few favourite lines of Marlowe from 'Faustus' for our Poem page. They demonstrate the power of love through history, especially when you consider Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare's main theatrical rival in Tudor times, was a boisterous tearaway in the taverns (Roy and me, too, in our time).
Meanwhile, on the Story/Chapter page, there are more glimpses into other lives, loves and dramas. Amusing memories from distant travels through Vietnam continue on our Memoir page.
Soon, no doubt, there will also be details of more reading on the Books page. Any copies you decide to purchase of Kindle or paperback publications, sponsored by the British Arts Council, help support this non-profit making website.
To finish for now, I'm still happy here on the island I call Paradiseo, after previous more stressful - but less satisfying - lives in 'glamorous' cities around the world. Now it's just a matter of finding time (and Yannis) for those repairs.
May you find similar contentment and, we hope, enjoy our wonder at the world - through the shared 'window' of our regularly updated pages.
Yassas my friends!

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