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Friday, August 14, 2009

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY TO EUBOEIA: Part 1


STIRA, Euboea
JUNE 20, 2009
On Saturday I went with my friends Andreas and Dinaz on the ferry to Stira, one of the towns on the west coast of Euboeia, the large island right off the coast of Attica. A few years ago our very good friend Graham Peacock had bought himself a retirement home there. Graham had lived right across from the new acropolis and the city had expropriated all the apartment buildings on the block (across the street from To Kati Allo). So he was very much looking forward to moving over to the island.

Unfortunately, Graham didn't make it. He had barely begun to move in and settle when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He died very shortly afterwards. His properly was willed to his cousin and that weekend, since the cousin was visiting from England, we went over for the morning to see the apartment and so I could be introduced to the cousin.


A PAINTING OF GRAHAM by our friend Mike Cornford.

Graham was a music aficionado -- mainly jazz -- and had a huge collection of CD's as well as a meticulously kept ledger of all the jazz musicians and every piece of music they'd recorded or written. Graham was a retired accountant and very good at keeping track of things. He also had a large collection of books and I was allowed to choose one. I took the one about Lord Byron as I've always intended to write a story about Byron in Greece.

I was so amazed to see Graham's house and it made it even more tragic that he had died so soon. It's a lovely, huge apartment overlooking the fields and sea. I know he'd have lived a very happy life there. Unfortunately the relatives won't be spending much time there, which is a shame. I know if Graham had lived he would have invited his close friends to come and share his place with him. It's such a big apartment -- more like a complete house -- with several bedrooms and a huge salon with fireplace as well as a very big deck with this magnificent view.

MANGAS, a painting by our friend Robert Hallberg
We had a very close group in Athens. Dinaz and I were very good friends of Graham and she was with him right up til he died. We had thought perhaps some of his possessions such as some CDs and paintings by our friend Roberto would be passed on to his close friends, but they weren't. However the day we visited a couple of paintings by our friend Roberto (who died several years earlier) were offered to Dinaz and I. She took this Mangas painting. (The Mangas was one of Roberto's favorite subjects) but the other one was not one that I wanted so I only took a photo of it.

In all, this was a very sentimental journey day. Because after we left Graham's house in Stira, we drove down the island on the winding, cliff-hanging roads, to my little village of Lala.



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