Corfu Independence? You Cannot be Serious!

Well, I couldn't let this go by without writing a post about it. This is the kind of story that you expect to see in newspapers on April 1st. An April Fools Day joke!

But, no. The Guardian ('Neglect and disrepair' leads Corfu dissidents to seek split from Greece) and the BBC (Pressure for Corfu autonomy grows) put out stories about people in Corfu wanting independence from Greece for the island! This is so ridiculous - an April Fools Day type story, as I said - that it doesn't even merit any discussion. And yet, a serious newspaper and the, supposedly, most serious British television channel both put it out. It is akin to the New York Times publishing an article about Derbyshire (an English county) wanting independence from the rest of Britain!

The person from Corfu who told them that this was a serious issue here (I won't give his name, but you can see it in the reports anyway) is entitled to his own views, but surely reporters from the Guardian and the BBC should be able to recognise cranks, and if not, then they have no business being involved in the serious media.

Because it is this that is the problem. Not that some crank - and he is recognised as such by the majority of people living in Corfu - wants to create an independent Corfu for his own greater glory, but that the Guardian and BBC should swallow it and broadcast it as something newsworthy.

The story was covered in the News on all the Greek TV channels - but the story was about how such well-respected media as the BBC and the Guardian could take such drivel as being serious!

Along with a lot of other people here, my personal rating of these "bastions" of the British media has taken a considerable nosedive.

10 Well-Known Visitors to Corfu

Odysseus at the palace of Alkinoƶs. Painting by Francesco Hayez

I'm going to start posting regular "Lists of 10" with 10 things connected to Corfu. The first one is with 10 well-known historical or mythological people who have come to the island.

1. Ulysses - In the Odyssey, Ulysses (or Odysseus) is shipwrecked and washed up onthe island of Corfu, where he is met by Nausika. Nausika takes him to the palace of her father, King Alkinos (see picture above), where he recounts his adventures after the Trojan Wars. Alkinos then provides him with a ship to complete his journey to Ithaca.
2. Jason - After his Argonautic campaign in 390 BC, he married Medea in a cave in Corfu.
3. Nero - This Roman Emperor is said to have visited Kassiopi in the north east of Corfu.
4. Casanova - The famous "lover" spent a short time in Corfu while he was in the army.
5. Edward Lear - The famous British writer and artist spent some time on the island during his extensive travels in the middle of the 19th century.
6. Princess Sissy - The Empress Elizabeth of Austria (Princess Sissy) came to Corfu towards the end of the 19th century and fell in love with it. She built the Achillion Palace (1890-92) in honour of the Greek hero Achilles.
7. Lawrence and Gerald Durrell - These two well-known British writers moved to Corfu with their family in the 1930s. There is now a Durrell School of Corfu.
8. Henry Miller - The American writer was a visitor at the Durrells' home in Corfu, where he wrote the Colossus of Maroussi.
9. Duke of Edinburgh - Prince Philip, husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, was born on the island of Corfu, to a Greek mother.
10. Roger Moore - The British actor, when playing the role of James Bond. The car chase in the film For Your Eyes Only as well as other scenes, was filmed in Corfu.
So now you know!

Win $15 to your Paypal Account

Here's a chance to win $15 in a competition at the Youth Ministry Ideas blog.

All you have to do is blog about the competition post and then leave a comment. This is another of the Win it Wednesday competitions that are held at the Youth Ministry Ideas blog every ....Wednesday!

Good Luck!

Getting Rid of Air Pollution One Can at a Time!

I grew up as a child in Scotland, and I remember one summer, when I was very young, they sold cans of "Scottish Air" to the tourists. Obviously, if you close an empty tin in Scotland, then it contains Scottish air.

The amazing thing was that lots of tourists bought these empty cans - especially those from one particular country (which I won't name, as probably most of the visitors to this blog will be from there)!

I was thinking recently that this could be an ingenious solution to the air pollution in Athens! Seal lots of empty cans, each with their little bit of smog, and sell them to the thousands of tourists that come here every year! That way we could get the air pollution out of the country - can by can - and not only that, but make some money as well!

"Greek Air" doesn't really have much of a ring to it, so probably we'd have to think of something else to call it. What we need is the right packaging and marketing (as with everything else) and Bingo! we've solved the pollution problem! It's spread around all those other towns and countries that send us their tourists.

So, I just need a marketing genius someone to provide the capital to buy all the empty cans. Any offers?

The Origin of the Island's Name

The island of Corfu is called Kerkya in Greek. The most popular explanation for the origin of the name is based in Greek Mythology.

Poseidon (see photo below) is supposed to have fallen in love with the beautiful nymph Korkyra, who was the daughter of Asopus, an important mainland river, and Metope, who was a river nymph. He abducted her - which seemed to be quite common practice with the gods at the time - and took her to an unnamed island.

Being completely in love with her, Poseidon named the island after Korkyra, and this gradually evolved into Kerkyra. They had a child called Phaiax, and the inhabitants of the island were thereafter named after him - Phaikes, which later evolved into Phaeacians.

So now you know!

National Geographic Online Store

I've just been looking through National Geographic's Online Store. Boy, has NG come a long way since the time when they just had the classic yellow magazines!

The first thing that struck me was how well-designed the site is. Everything is very clearly set out on the home page, so that you can easily see what is available and comfortably navigate wherever you want.

You can choose to search by Theme (Animals & Nature, Culture & History etc) or by Product Type. It's in the latter that I hadn't realised just how much quality variety is available in their store. Books, magazines and DVDs I had expected - highest quality, of course - but I honestly hadn't expected so much else. As well as calendars and posters, there are cameras, clothing, software, home goods, travel & outdoor gear and so much else!

There is a separate National Geographic Channel shop within the store, and there is also a Kids' Shop. This latter has a range of items including back-to-school essentials.

I'm still having a look through it all, but I've already earmarked the 10 Best of Everything book, the Scotland Wall Calendar and possibly one of the Animal Mouse Pads.

By the way, there's 20% off all the books at the moment.

Anyway, I'm much of an online store fan myself, but this site is a great exception.

National Geographic's Store has great gift ideas.

House on the Hill

I've posted a couple of photos taken from our house in Corfu. There was a bit of a heat haze, so they aren't as clear as I would have liked.

The valley in the photo below can be seen from the front. We built the house ourselves - well, not literally ourselves, we employed builders - and we eventually moved in, it has just been raining and there was a double rainbow in the valley, so we immediately christened it Rainbow Valley. It really is amazingly calming to sit and gaze over it, especially in the early evening. There is still an awful lot of work to be done on the land around the house, as you can probably see, but we are working on it gradually.

The hill in the photo above is called Swallow Hill. Some say that's because it has the shape of a swallow when seen from above, others that it is because there are so many swallows here in the summer. I tend to believe the latter. It really is wonderful in the summer to see all the swallows - they are not afraid to fly close to you - they dive and swoop in such a magnificent way. I was thinking that they must be the dolphins of the sky. And when there are a few of them sitting together, you can here them just chattering away to each other! Wonderful!

It is one of the undoubted benefits of technology that it is possible for people to live wherever they choose and still be able to pursue a career or earn money. I, for one, would find it extremely hard - if not impossible - to go back to living in a large city.

Who did you go to Primary (Elementary) School with?

A couple of years ago I started typing some names from my old school days into Google, to see if any of them came up. I was astonished to see one of them - that I had gone right through primary and secondary school with plus a bit after - came up right at the top the list. He was apparently now living in San Francisco and was considered a real expert in the world of Photoshop, had written several books on it and travelled around doing workshops and seminars.

I went to school in Scotland, and I hadn't seen him since just after that time - I went off to Greece, and he did whatever he did and eventually ended up in California. So, I made a mental note to contact him. As usual, I put it off and off, and when I did eventually get round to it, I went back on to the web to find him and found that he had recently passed away.

I was shocked and stunned, even though I hadn't been in touch for so many years.

His name was Bruce Fraser and a site has been set up, dedicated to him - Bruce Fraser Legacy.

This was the saddest of my discoveries of old schoolmates.

Two others that I also went to primary school with that I already knew as being well-known, but whose websites I found, were Ken Stott the actor, perhaps better known in the UK, and Donald Runnicles, who was Musical Director at the San Francisco Opera for years and next year will become General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin as well as Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

I was looking at an old school photo where we were all together - at about 7 or 8 years old, and went into a good old introspective mood thinking about that time, and what lay ahead of each one of us in our lives.

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I'm a Gryffindor!

Want to Get Sorted?

For those of you that don't know what Gryffindor is (and I suppose there must be some of you out there!), it's one of the four Houses at Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter books. Harry Potter, himself, and his two sidekicks, Hermione and Ron, were all in Gryffindor.

Anyway, I've just found this great, fun site - - where you find out which House you belong to. You just answer a few multiple choice questions and then they tell you what House you belong to and give you a badge to put on your site. I must admit I could kind of guess which answers would make you a Gryffindor, but they were the answers I would have chosen anyway (honest!).

You can also take a Final Exam, which has questions about all the books, but I haven't done that yet.

Anyway, I must go now - I've got Quidditch practice this afternoon!

Oh, and just to remind you (see my previous post), J. K. Rowling's latest book The Tales of Beedle the Bard is available from Amazon on Pre-Order - before its official release.

Help your Favourite Cause whilst Searching on the Web

I had heard about GoodSearch for quite a while from various sources and I finally decided to check it out. Basically, it's a way of searching on the web as you normally would, and having money donated to the cause you choose for each search you make.

GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50% of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. As I said, you just use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. It's powered by Yahoo!, so you don't need to worry about the search results. The money GoodSearch donates to your chosen cause comes from its advertisers — the users and the organizations do not spend anything.

They have recently also added GoodShop, where you can shop online and a percentage of the revenue again goes to the cause of your choice.

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

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