A fine wine

A fine wine

What a wonderful scene, a simple lunch washed down with a local wine the colour of molten amber, and intriguingly, ‘pumice-bedded’.  Savour another such moment, celebrated by Zorba the Joyous. Then we stepped out to a terrace hung out over the blue chasm,...
Sun-darkening arrows

Sun-darkening arrows

Describing the shower of arrows at Thermopylae falling so thick and fast that they blot out the sun’s light.  Leonidas, the Spartan king, fell with his men after a path around the pass they were defending was betrayed to the Persians.  But for that betrayal it...
Relief of the gods

Relief of the gods

A gratitude, therefore, that the whole race or culture has not been wiped out even if the city has been razed; gratitude that one strong torch-bearer has escaped the flames with one essential flame burning, to light another place. The reader feels the kind of...
Sunlight dripping

Sunlight dripping

Durrell’s various Greek island books and Miller’s Colossus of Maroussi enchanted me with their marvelous descriptions of people, places and the light of Greece.  I was disappointed to have finished the last of them, Durrell’s Reflections on a Marine...
Stars like apples

Stars like apples

Distant stars appearing so close you could reach up your hand and pick them, like apples in a tree.  One of many lyrical descriptions in Golding’s 1955 Good-bye to Ithaca, which traces an Odyssean journey he has dreamt of for decades. The Cyclades were well...
Sheer from the sea

Sheer from the sea

In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, Louis Golding sailed passed Ithaca.  Minds were on other things than Homer and Odysseus, but this evocative statement about the island, uttered by a sailor on the boat deck, must have contributed to his long-delayed but...
The poet as compass

The poet as compass

An enigmatic statement, perhaps born of the difficulty of pinning down Odysseus’ journey on a real map, although there is no shortage of claims that this bay, or that island, or those straits are unquestionably this, that or the other eventful point on his...
Bad news down the toilet

Bad news down the toilet

A kindly act by a local girl helping Lawrence Durrell with his housekeeping during his idyllic two year stay on the island of Rhodes immediately after the war.  I consider her treatment of potentially bad news to be laudable, if inconvenient. Also love her reaction...
Piff paff

Piff paff

A conversation between Lawrence Durrell and a philosopher-fisherman called Manoli, during Durrell’s two year stint working for the British administration in Rhodes after the war. Manoli gives his views on the English as compared to the Greeks.  I like his...
And this is my epic…

And this is my epic…

Listening time: under 4 minutes.A marvelous account of a butcher bursting in to Lawrence Durrell’s office during the short period after the war when the Brits managed Rhodes.  At one point the temporary administration decided to issue a new proclamation on...
A Greek showed up

A Greek showed up

Listening time: under 5 minutes.  From Steinbeck’s masterful and lively account of travelling in the Soviet Union with Robert Capa. Chmarsky is their hapless interpreter who is pursued by a Kremlin gremlin, messing up many of his carefully orchestrated...
As helpless as …

As helpless as …

The wonderful little girl Maggie, in a fit of pique and sorrow, hacks off her glorious dark curls and then succumbs to horror at the consequences, such as anger and mockery among the family.  She hides herself in the attic to avoid them, which leads to other equally...

Pin It on Pinterest