Planarchy Archive - May 2003



We're back in real time folks.  It's me live from DKNZ towers again rather than some'at written in an earlier age.  The holiday was absolutely loverly.  We did very little but sit around, read, eat and drink.  With the occasional dip into the pool. 

I think the greatest pleasure was the reading. 

Reading a whole book in a day, becoming totally immersed was a pleasure I haven't tasted for far too long.


I've written pages whilst I've been away but it appears to be mainly ponderances... we didn't really do anything.  It was that sort of holiday I suppose.  And marvelous for it! 

And thanks for the comments whilst I was away... my favourite readers all leaving one apiece!   Warms the cockles of me old heart.

What did I miss?


And in the End..

Planarchy has gone BackInTime()...



So, Friday has arrived.  The last day of our holiday.  Another good one ...... I'm pretty sure we'll be back hearabouts next year.

In the meantime, some pictures that I haven't manged to fit in before.  This first one is very rare, the cameras rarely leave my side so it's hardly surpising that I feature so rarely in our holiday shots....


Then this is a pillar, I like pillars.


And this is young Kay (and they were very big rubber rings!).



And that's it for another year.



Kassiopi & Kerasia

Planarchy has gone BackInTime()...

Zee wanted to do some shopping and Corfu town was too much of a trek, so we jumped into the car and shot off down the road to Kassiopi. I spent most of the time sitting over iced coffees looking at the comings and goings in the harbour whilst one daughter or another came to “keep me company.” Kay finally chose the most exhorbitant ice cream on the menu which she enjoyed greatly. Maybe it was some sort of tribute to the yachts in the harbour, but to me it looked like an ice cream cone that had been accidentally dropped into a bowl…

And then back to the pool…it’s a hard life.

For the evening meal me chose a little village down the road called Kerasia, and a café we had previously only patronised whilst using the beach, named Taberna Kerasia (or vice versa?). Zee decided to anoint my lap with both red wine and water. But a very pleasant and reasonable meal. And free brandy’s at the end of it!!!

But, hang on it's Thursday now isn't it?
I think I've missed some days out.

Clearly the BackInTime() function needs a bit more work.....




Planarchy has gone BackInTime()...

So, a day and a half lounging round the pool left us refreshed enough to venture out to find a beach. This also enabled a trip down through Agios Stephanos where I picked up a copy of Saturday’s European edition of the Grauni. It’s full of Seaman’s blunder and Ingerland's exit from the World Cup. Strange that it was only two days ago, seems an age. But once again I am glad that we are here whilst the doom and gloom rule back home (even reading the paper’s reports is enough to infect me some of the malaise that I am sure has befallen several of my friends back home.
The beaches in this part of Corfu tend to be pebble or shingle rather than sand but the sea is as wonderful as ever. Dee is a strong enough swimmer to join me for a bit of snorkeling though I suspect she misses much from her poor eye-sight. By next year we must have a prescription pair of goggles for her (done!). But even with her poor eyesight she can still see that a couple of times we get to swim a few metres amongst a shoal of fish. The underwater camera not quite capturing this in all its majesty, but you get the drift…



Snorkeling aside the girls are happy to share a rubber ring and float whilst chatting about everything and nothing. And why not?

Long before lunch we are driven back to the villa by the need for some shade, it is unusually hot (35ºC) for this time of year but even so I wonder how the ancients built a great civilisation in such temperatures. Although never managed to invent AC! By which I mean air conditioning, not alternating current…. though I guess that would have been handy too.

And cold lager. How come they never invented Stella, eh?

The return to the villa is not quite as relaxing as we had hoped. For today was the day for the maid to change the bed-linen.
Young Kay was nearly hysterical. “She’s stolen my stone collection!”
“Where were they?” we asked.
“In my bed!”
Hmmm, strange nesting habits this one.
Luckily there were some very similar stones to the ones that had been “stolen” just outside the front door.



Planarchy has gone BackInTime()...

For Saturday’s evening meal we chose to drive back over to Kalami where we’d stayed in 2001. Once there we walked onto the beach and into our favourite restaurant, the imaginatively named “Kalami Beach Taberna”. Since the menu included “Chicken huggets (sic) and chips” Kay was determined it would be here that we would eat tonight.
It suited us all, it’s lovely to be sitting on the edge of the beach looking across the bay at the White House where Lawrence Durrel wrote “Prospero’s Cell”. It too is now a restaurant, although another full-of-Brits-pretentious-one in my opinion. It is not on our list of eateries to visit again. But the beach taberna does itself proud again. It is exactly as we had remembered it, a friendly atmosphere and excellent food. Oh, and then the entertainment for the evening….
Earlier in the day young Dee had felt the need to abate the heat with a nude session in the pool (Zee had warned her that such things were probably illegal here to no avail). She was vindicated somewhat as halfway into the meal there is a commotion in the bay as a sleek grey coastguard boat speeds into view with loudhailer spitting forth first Greek and then English. We hear either “Get out of the water immediately” or possibly “Leave Greek waters immediately”. Either way they’re in trouble. We learn from our host, with his excellent collection of English phrases) that they were “skinny dipping” and that someone has “ratted on them”. The coastguard obviously mean business, circling the offending yacht until they can see they are being obeyed. They then take a quick trip around the bay to check out the other two vessels at anchor before returning to escort the yacht from the area.

No, I didn’t take any pictures of the incident, being wary following the jailing of British plane-spotters! Here's a safer picture from the same vantage point.  Without any nudes, or patrol- boats.

The rest of the meal is uninterrupted but delightful Kay leaves the table for the beach with a cheeky “You can get the bill now, see ya!” as she finishes a large piece of chocolate cake which itself had followed a large ice cream (these after the previously mentioned huggets and chips).

If you didn’t see her constant state of animation you’d wonder where she put it all.


Byeee, more stuff tomorrow…..



Planarchy has gone BackInTime()...

It takes me a few days to unwind on holiday which means I invariably wake up early. Today is no different and I wake to a slight haze across the water covering the mysterious mountains of Albania. I often wonder about Albania. It’s still a pretty unknown land isn’t it?

When we were here in Corfu a couple of years ago for Zee’s family re-union holiday thang (another time maybe!), I remember Shh, my step-ma in law (and how many of you have got one of those, eh?), taking a day trip across to Albania. No one would go with her. As punishment she would tell us very little of what she saw. And every picture she took had a large stuffed Obelix toy in the foreground. It served us all right I suppose. The night before her visit we’d been discussing how they were still an unknown and how Albanians were still the Bogeymen for many Europeans. One day I must go. But in the meantime I sit and watch and imagine the little town opposite slowly waking up. Or have they been up for hours working? But at what? Farming? They would presumably have a similar climate to Corfu and thus be well suited to Olive trees. Or tourism presumably.
One day, I shall go.

Then the rest of the house woke and Kay and I went off to collect the bread. Fresh bread with unsalted butter, yoghurt and honey is a luxury that works so well when you can enjoy it by the side of the pool in the early morning sun.

The morning calm was interrupted by shrieks from an excited young Dee. “Dad! Dad! I’ve found a scorpion!”

scorpion or maybe not

Well, I suppose some ants carrying an olive stone is a close second! And it’s an easy mistake to make.

Now I know you can’t digest too much in one sitting, so we’ll leave it there for today.

Tomorrow …. Gun boat diplomacy!



Planarchy has gone BackInTime()...

We know the streets of Corfu Town pretty well, having been here before en famille twice in recent years. As an extra bonus Zee knows both the place and lingo a lot better than she lets on....she spent a year here as a part of her slightly mis-spent youth.
This in depth knowledge comes in handy today as there are major road-works going on. This means signposts taking you off into the hinterland and then leaving you to find your own way. Despite our intensive local knowledge it was still nearly an hour’s drive to our villa, the delightful Marieletta. We’d driven past this villa before but not really noticed it as it's set back from the road. It's nicely surrounded by trees and from the rear terrace there are wonderful views over the pool to Albania (more of which tomorrow).

The girls immediately sample the pool and after a quick coffee, Zee and I join them.

Well, it beats working.

Although the Villa is perfectly well equipped for home cooking we tend to pass, it’s a holiday after all. For our first night we choose the closest restaurant, the ”Eucalyptus Tree” down in Agios Stephanos. The name gives it away for me.
Why has it got an English name?

It’s a bit pretentious and Brit infested for my liking, though the food was perfectly acceptable, although Kay is somewhat disturbed by the presence of green bits in her burger. Well, they don't put fresh herbs in burgers in MacDee's do they? We shall not be visiting again.
When we return the girls go straight to bed and then straight to sleep, it's been a long day. Zee and I sit up reading whilst finishing off a nice bottle of red in the moonlight. Aaah.

Tomorrow, the excitement ups a gear as we meet a scorpion!



Planarchy has gone BackInTime()...

Forget the 2am alarm call, the 2:45 departure from DKNZ towers and even the 3:40am arrival at Gatwick airport. The ray of pre-dawn light was the BCP meet and greet parking service. The rep was ready and waiting to take our car as we drove up to the Departure lounge. The only snag being that he was waiting at Arrivals, next time we'll read the instructions!! This confusion aside, a thoroughly recommended service.
And then onto the plane…

“There is quite an important football match being played while we’re in the air,”

....announced our pilot, but, he hoped we’d understand that it was more important that he:

“Paid more intention to the business of getting us all to Corfu safely.”

Nevertheless, he promised he’d pass on any information air traffic control happened to give him when we landed.  Clearly ATC were as bound up in the World Cup drama as the rest of us, for the update came just before we began the descent to Corfu airport.

“The score is one nil, and the temperature in Corfu is presently…”

The weather stats were drowned out by a roar from two thirds of the plane,
The captain returned to the intercom a few moments later.
“Apparently, Ladies and Gentlemen, I forgot to mention who had scored, well I can now tell you that Brazil are......”

....the pause was presumably to check the artificial horizon or that we still had two wings and not for dramatic effect,

“ …losing. A Michael Owen goal after twenty three minutes, apparently.”

The cheer was deafening. Eee, for once we could be proud of the England football team.

But, by the time the seatbelts light was extinguished he had an update.

“Welcome to Corfu, but I’m afraid Brazil have now equalised, enjoy your holiday.”

Within half an hour we were standing round the luggage belt, the sound of text messages ringing all around. The news was not good. Still no sign of our third and final suitcase!

Oh, and Brazil had won 2:1.

Engerland's World Cup dream was over once again. But better to be away from the depression this time, I had too many friends who took this all personally (and one who claimed it really was like losing a member of the family!).

The crowd of England shirts that had journeyed with us to Greece looked shell-shocked. One ceremoniously removed the St.George’s flag that he had been wearing as a cloak and placed it on the empty, but still revolving, travelator.
The flag did a lonely lap of honour.
Poignant for even an anti-flagist such as me.

In the meantime, Zee had been wandering back and forth through “customs” to sort out the pre-arranged hire car. I love the informality of customs here, even the passport control is a bit lapse - I accidentally gave the girls the wrong passports (and they do not look alike) but they were still waved right through.
The third suitcase finally arrives and we fight our way through to find our travel rep…

Anneke welcomes us with a smile and asks us which property we’re staying in.
“Oh, I envy you, that’s a lovely one!” she gushes.  I feel the need to hang around and find out which unlucky punter is going to get greeted with, “Bummer, mate, that’s a right shit-hole, feckahola!”
Then again, I feel I might have to wait a long time.

More tomorrow....



I have gorn to a better place. 

For a while anyway. 

And 'tis a place without Internet access.  Which I shall miss.  But fear not.  Thanks to the powers of PHP and the very useful new BackInTime() function there will be a new, previously unreleased and yet vaguely relevant, post every day I am away. 


Just because I'm having a holiday, doesn't mean you can too!

We'll start by going back to the early hours of last year's June 21st, to the days before I'd discovered the full joy of Blogging (yes there was a time).  But hang on, this is enough for today... the reminiscing can start tomorrow.


See you then.



My leetle Nikon 775 is back from it's three week holiday with the repairer.  But that does not mean all is well in the digital imaging world of DKNZ towers.  For Fiorella FujiCam did not know of my previous love for Nikita the Nikon.  And Nikita (perhaps not unsurpsisingly) is a little bit put out that she was so quickly replaced though in my defence I have to say that I thought she was dead and it was four days!

Digicams, eh!

Anyway, having the two cameras at the same time has confirmed my suspicions.  The Nikon definitely has a better macro.  But, the 6x optical zoom on the Fuji really puts the Nikon's meagre 3x one to shame.  I guess I love them both, it is possible to love two Digicams, you know.

But what about three?  How am I going to break the news to them that ultimately I want (as I think I may have mentioned before) a Pentax *ist D?  Perhaps trading them both in will be the easiest option....though the *ist D is hardly pocket sized.

Anyway, back to the macro.... a work friend has just bought the same model Fuji Digicam as I have.  I was telling him I considered it a good buy but that the maco wasn't as sharp as that of the Nikon.

"What do you mean, not as sharp?" he asked, clearly confused.  For, to the Gee, a macro is something you write in Excel or Access to automate routine tasks.  He'd assumed, logically, that the Macro function of his newly acquired Digicam was of a similar nature... something related to the programming of his new kit.

And I'm not poking fun at his misunderstanding here, it's just that I've never even considered that we use the same bit of Greek for two completely different purposes.  I understand why a camera's macro function is called so, but I have to say that I have no idea why a bit of code should claim the same moniker.



Some flowers have no shame.  Today it would be good to be a bee.


Noel and FatBoy

So, the bass tolls for another of the great backbones of rock.  Noel Redding, Hendrix's bass player has, as I'm sure you're aware, died aged 57

It doesn't seem old enough somehow.  And I don't mean that just from the point of view that 57 isn't very old.  It's just that he's an icon from the sixties which, even to one like me, who remembers much of it (yeah, I know that means I wasn't really there), seems a life-time ago.

Even in the mid-seventies, when I was first picking up geetar, Hendrix's legacy seemed an age ago.  I suppose that's because it's music that I came to second hand, that is, I didn't hear it when it was first recorded in the sixties, unlike for example the Beatles who therefore somehow seem more contemporary.  Bizarre, I'll admit.

Anyway, I remember a friend trying to teach me the bass line to "Hey Joe".  He was trying hard to sell me the bass at the time, so it was important that I knew at least one toon.  And it's an excellent bass line, wandering up and down the neck whilst still offering a solid foundation for Jimmi to play against (not that the same could have been said of my initial efforts).

I bought the bass though, a Jedson Telecaster Bass copy in case you're interested...sorry, no pictures survive.  This bass did the rounds of nearly every bass player at school.  I sold it on to EmGee (who's band, "The Elevators"? later supported The Clash!) and I believe it also found it's way into the hands of a young Quentin (now Norman) Cook, bass player to-be of the Housemartins and now more famous as FatBoy Slim, or maybe as Mr Zoe Ball.  There is one early performance from young FatBoy that sticks in my mind.  His band of the time was called "Discattack" and I recall a very clever segue from the Beatles "Day Tripper" into another song.   A pretty advanced trick for a schoolboy band in those days and perhaps giving us a preview of his mixing ability.


*ist D (again)


You'll remember my Nikon 775 died a while back.  It is, allegedly, being repaired, but I couldn't wait and acquired a Fuji Finepix 2800 at a bargain price.  The 6x zoom is a real boon, the shutter delay is less than the Nikon's but the Macro isn't quite as good.  But all in all I love it as much as I did the Nikon.  I was using it to try and capture the beauty of my current favourite Aquilegia.  But despite clicking and clicking I couldn't quite get what I wanted.  (But do look anyway!) In the end I went and got my old Pentax SLR.  It's barely been used since I've had the Digicams but just looking through the viewfinder was a delight.  And manual focus!  What a treat!  I could focus on what I wanted without having to point hither and thither for half an hour.  What a joy.

But what do the 35mm pictures look like?  Well you and I will have to wait until they're developed!! 


The only downsides of my trusty old SLR.  I can't afford to click hundreds of frames to get the right shot and I have to wait a few days for developing!

The Pentax *ist D can't come soon enough.  My lenses are ready and waiting!


Gonna be a country girl again

You'll know by now that I live my life through popular song lyrics.  Because a life lived through lyrics is a life lived lyrically.

Or something.

So, when I saw the rain drops falling across the car park today I immediately thought:

The rain is falling gently,
On the buildings and the cars,
Etcetera, etcetera.

And normally, at this point, I would offer  the relevant MP3, but it has been made clear to me that C&W is unwelcome in blogsville.  Fair enough, no more country.  For now anyway.

Incidentally (Cindy) had I been walking outside (without a hat) I would instead have had visions of Paul Newman on a bicyle.  But there you go. 

From all this un-necessary detail you may have guessed that it was raining en Londres today.  Which, in my opinion, is a good thing. 
The garden needs it, for a start. 
Also it brings out the slugs, snails and puppy dogs tails making them a much easier target for my scissors.  And it was with my constant war against the slugs in mind that I read this article in Saturday's Grauni with much antici-------pation.  But it held little that was new to us.  In fact, as Zee mentioned, I could have written a much better article.  And mine would have had jokes in it too....

Two slugs are walking down the road, one turns to the other and says, "Is that the sun or the moon?".
"No idea, I'm a stranger here myself, " replies his slimy friend.

OK, not the best slug joke ever, but I'm saving the best ones for the day that the Grauni asks me to write an article.  Any article.  Whatever the subject it will contain all my best slug jokes.

I have to admit I was slightly interested by the talk of the SlugBot.  A mechanical beast that wanders the earth collecting slugs and then fermenting them to provide power for further molluscular murder and mayhem.  The article's writer suggested this machine, when commercially available, will be too pricey for amateur gardeners.  Pah!  He's overlooking the facts that a) I love gadgets, no matter how overpriced and b) I hate slugs. 

Anyway, a quick google suggested the prototype cost £1,500 with production models expected to be even cheaper.  I shall have one!

But until it arrives it's back to the scissors.


Serial Number

Now I know it's a bit desperate when you're using your site stat search strings for a post but this one threw me....

"Code for getting the serial number of a nic"

And two poor folk have ended up here using that string.

And I don't even have a serial number!


Answer Me

Mushrooms were, I happened to notice, £1.09 a lb in Sainsbury's this morning.  Now this struck me as strange as this was their price back in 1984/5 when I used to shop in the little St.Reatham branch of Safeways.  The same store where I would occasionally see 70's Scottish MOR songstress Barbara Dickson (she wasn't as tall as I had expected).  Now I'd hate for you to think that I have an encyclopedic memory when it comes to fungal fiscal fluctuations.  No, it's just that I remember things that are 109, as a result of the Messerschmitt 109 (my second favourite plane).  Anyway, enough digression, how come mushrooms cost the same as they did eighteen years ago?  Not much room (tee hee) for profit in the world of mushroom farming I suspect.  Similar topics covered (by coincidence unless I can prove they read my mind) in todays Grauni in part 1 of an investigation into what we eat.

And I didn't see any wee Scottish singers in Sainsbury's either.



So, after winning the best prize in Su(zi)e's competition  (Hurrah!!) 'twas soon time for supper.  And if it's Friday that means pizza.  And then Top of the Pops for the me and the girls whilst Zee goes and visits her mum. 

Routines are important aren't they?  Did I ever tell you the story of the Box in the Square?  I'll have to dig it out for you and update.




Dee's English homework tonight revealed the good and bad side of Prospero. 

"He's like you in some ways, Dad," she said.

"Wise and wonderful?  A masterful magician?  Surely not Sadistic saddo?" my mind raced through the possibilities.

"You're a bit over-protective of your daughter, too," she said, bringing me back down to earth.


I don't know "The Tempest" very well.  Though we did do it at school, it was with our shite-est English teacher, so I paid little attention. 

But I do know "Forbidden Planet" and that's based on the Tempest, isn't it?  Dee's eyes glazed over as I began to describe (in glorious '50's Technicolor) the terrifying "monster from the Id" and the hilarious Robbie the robot (which was surely the same one later used in the TV series "Lost in Space").  Talking of hilarious, amongst Forbidden Planet's stars was a young Leslie Nielsen, hamming it up years before "Police Squad" et al.

Over protective indeed!  Wait 'til they start bringing boys home, then they'll see over-protective.


PS: And on a completely different wavelength, I've just been called pedantic on Zoe Ball's Xfm drivetime show.  Hurrah!



Today I spent my working hours auditing one of my employer's sites outside of London.  Following the audit we walked to a hole in the hedge, though a leetle graveyard and into the ancient local pub for our lunch, I mean, closing meeting.  Very pleasant indeed.

Now, whilst normally I'm a "Tired of London, tired of life" type (EnZee emigration not included) I have to say I could today see the appeal of living in a quaint little Suffolk village.



I have mentioned before (and here and then here) that I don't care for "Best of" Polls, or indeed polls themselves.  Once again the great British un-washed have failed to manage to look back further back in time than last year in their list of the 100 greatest Film Stars.  I am, nevertheless, grateful to Channel 4 for airing the programme as it was easy and occasionally insightful watching for a couple of evenings.  I could shout disdainfully when I learnt that the likes of Julia Roberts were included at all, and then yelp with delight when Nicole Kidman beat her ex-hubby by eleven places.  But whilst I have nothing against Al Pacino, indeed I rather like much of his work, I really can't see how anyone can seriously claim he is the greatest film star ever.


My only real shock was that Robbie Williams didn't win this one as well.



The most disturbing aspect of Thursday's May Day demonstrations for me came some 48 hours earlier when Zee asked me if there was going to be a major riot as she and her mum were planning a shopping trip into the West End. 


Despite living with me for nearly 14 years she is clearly still of the opinion that I am some sort of International Anarchist Riot Coordinator rather than simply a middle-class-cuddly-stay-at-home-armchair-type-anarchist.  Easy mistake I suppose.

Nevertheless I told her that I'd heard nothing and that she could safely go to M&S.

So she did.  And I was right, wasn't I?


The Real Downunder

Scouring through some old emails t'other day I came across the long missives I sent back from our last trip to Noo Zealandia.  So, with nout else that I want to write about at the moment, and by way of a sort of a tribute to Gavin at Nivag Blog (shortly heading off for a 3 month world trip, the lucky blighter) I've started converting them into an extremely long Travelblog.... you'd never read it at one sitting so it's better this way.  The first two parts can be found here....  the rest of the EnZee pictures will follow shortly.  He says....





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