Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Young men may fancy something else, but grandmas have to diversify., from snogging to blogging...

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
  And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

You’ve got to hand it to Shakespeare – he always got it right. Here we are in Corfu, today, with rough winds shaking the petals off the wisteria and jasmine, rain battering the roses and the fruit trees, reminding us none too gently that it is not yet summer. It’s always the same – the weather seems to wait for us who live here to have that first tentative dip in the still cold sea – but – hey!The sun is shining and the air temperature is high – let ‘s go for it before we all have to start work again.

The first charter flights arrive and May stays its hand, hiding a grin behind its hands filled with lilac blooms. Then the second wave of flights arrives, and things look promising again for the tourist business. Everything is freshly painted, the taverna chairs and tables are out, new awnings and umbrellas up, and beaches cleared of winter debris. Tour operator's reps have done their Health and Safety checks and opened up accommodation to find the occasional (who am I kidding ?) nasty, mouldy surprise.

The only people who don’t seem to be ready for business at this stage seem to be the boat hire operators. Do they know something we don’t ? Oh yes, they certainly do.

The merry month of may chuckles and chucks a couple of storms and a downpour of Biblical proportions (as the Greek news says, time after time) – and the early bird visitors are asked to grit their teeth and find consolation in the bright colours of the flowers and the emptiness of beaches. How can they not be empty in this weather ?

But though capricious, May is on the whole such a lovely month – no matter whether you live in Corfu, as I do, or in Britain, as several of my followers do. I haven’t yet experienced May in Canada, where my sister lives, but I am reliably informed that it should be Spring there too, unless a late winter is still piling up snow banks and freezing the Greeks – I mean creeks.
(Goodness this economic crisis does get to you.)
In the Southern Hemisphere, I believe, May is the equivalent of our November, but I do think, that, thanks to the power of beautiful poetry and prose, everyone, no matter where they live, can experience, at first hand or vicariously, the sheer loveliness of a May day.

Years of experience of Corfu in May make me cautious about putting away duvets and leaving off socks. ‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’ goes the old saying, and whether that refers to the may flower being in bloom, or to the month of May being over, I do not know or care. In Greece, May 15th is the day when public transport services go on to summer timetables, and the police and Armed Forces change into their lightweight summer uniforms – regardless of the actual weather. The old boys of Corfu still cling to their winter suits though, with knitted waistcoats, until the end of May.

May perhaps holds the record for the least known and most unusual name day. May 15 – St Paxomios.
Have you ever met  a Greek called Paxomios ? I certainly haven’t. and I was curious about this name.
Better-known, that is if you know of him at all, as Saint Pachomios, one website freely admits that he is one of the most obscure of all saints. Born in Egypt in the third century AD, of pagan parents, he served as a soldier in the Byzantine army and was so impressed by the behaviour of Christian prisoners that he converted to Christianity himself and became a monastic, eventually being responsible for the founding of twelve monasteries in the deserts of Egypt.

Looking up quotations is always a fascinating task, and one that easily leads one to digress.
And that is what I am going to do now.
Checking for quotes and trivia about May, I found this ironic comment :

‘The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow.  Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase. ‘ ~E.B. White, "Hot Weather," One Man's Meat, 1944

Search engines working the way they do, searching for references to ‘May’ can bring up some unexpected offerings. I liked this one very much, eligible for inclusion in my search results only because it featured the word ‘may’ but impressive as a piece of advice to men on their relationship with a woman. It was written by Bob Marley – not perhaps the first person you think of in connection with marriage counselling but words of wisdom indeed.

“You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She's not perfect - you aren't either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break - her heart. So don't hurt her, don't change her, don't analyze and don't expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she's not there.”
― Bob Marley

This seems as good a place as any to cease my May musings for today.
I leave you with two quotes from former President George W Bush and yes – they turned up during my search too.

#6: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
Bush's remarks video clipped in Washington, D.C., as he signed the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005, on August 5, 2004.

#12: "The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for 'entrepreneur'"
comes from a remark made by Bush during a discussion of the French economy during the 2002 G8 summit in Kananaskis, Alberta, as reported in The Times (London), July 9, 2002

Makes you think, doesn’t it ?


  1. love your text!! enjoy beautiful spring...the heat will come so quickly!!!

  2. Very lyrical as usual, funny and informative. Looked forward to this next blog for ages it seems, did not disappoint!

  3. Very good!!
    The drummer in my previous band was called Pachoumios (as I think it should be, phonetically anyway)
    Great Bob Marley quote by the way, very sweet. In reality I think it could also apply the other way round, couldn't it? So wives could think the same of their husbands...

    (He did also say "get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!!")

  4. Of course it can apply the other way around, as you say - the important thing is both men and women should respect each other's needs and rights!
    (I bet it surprised you to see your mum quoting Bob Marley - you thought you knew me didn't you? Still a few surprises in store, my boy!


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