Archive for September, 2005

The revelations…

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

… of Fauxhunter simply serve to demonstrate that I am indeed in Greece and am indeed somewhat difficult to trace.

Meanwhile, I think I should take the time to mention something that should be of concern to all swimmers in the Mediterranean. While my tiny bay on the west coast is ideal, I see many bays that are not. The telltale ribbon of foam you may see floating past your beach is unlikely to be the result of the waves crashing against the rocks. It is more likely to be a wisp of detergent foam, harmless enough, this froth from someone’s dish washing activities. But where there is the visible slick of friendly Eureka (the local answer to Fairy Liquid) there is likely to be a less visible trace of raw sewage, because much of the island’s waste is just piped out to a point a little offshore. There used to be a joke about Edinburgh’s seaside resort, Portobello. “You can’t swim at Portobello – you just go through the motions”. Think about it.

Meanwhile, a piccy of the limpid waters of my rather inaccessible bay:
Limpid Waters

Speaking of Portobello, an incongruous name for a district of grey, austere, Edinburgh, I remember spending a happy afternoon there in the mid-1960s, visiting the “arcade”. There were, of course, no arches in this arcade. It was a high-ceilinged room opening straight off the icy promenade with a creaking wooden floor under worn linoleum, and filled with slot machines that were mostly pre 1950. I remember particularly the unhealthy warmth of the place, generated, no doubt, by the thousands of light bulbs. But what hit you as you walked in was a strong smell of disinfectant underlaid with the odour of horse manure. The origin of the latter is still a mystery to me. Perhaps they kept the beach donkeys in there overnight when it was cold.

The machines themselves were grotesque. There was one containing a plaster gypsy head. You had to place your hand on a worn perforated brass plate, and, as you dropped your penny in, a series of little probes gently rippled over your hand, to the accompaniment of a scratchy voice track so old it was incomprehensible, while the gypsy’s jaw wobbled up and down and electric light bulbs illuminated her eyes. When she had stopped, slack-jawed with exhaustion, and the lights in her eyes had gone out, there was a thump from the bowels of the machine and a pre-printed card dropped into a semi-circular cup. Your Fortune! Usually slightly less rewarding than a cracker motto. Also present was the classic mechanical claw machine which dropped a gleaming chrome-plated grab into a pile of prizes and managed to butter-finger them all, emerging to deliver triumphantly …. NOTHING to the prize slot. But the most horrendous of the exhibits was a glass case containing a model jail, in which the public execution by hanging of a six inch puppet was enacted in the company of judge, warden, executioner and clergyman puppets, to the sound of a clock tolling the hour. For some reason, this outrage was very popular and seemed in constant use. So different from the extra-judicial carnage delivered by today’s arcade machines!

Fauxhunter replied…

Monday, September 26th, 2005

… with his idea on my name and location. Despite my earlier resolve not to confirm or deny any of Alfredo’s guesses, he presents me with such an open and shut argument on the court case that I have to admit it. Alfredo, you got my name right. And Melancthe’s and Shimrod’s and The Bank’s, too. Well done. But I may not be where you think I am. Keep working on it, by all means. It is only fair, though, to tell you that some of the clues I drop are false clues.

Sunset 1
This is a photo I took a few evenings ago. I get one of these every few nights. They seem to be better at this time of year. The most spectacular ones are when a storm is on its way from the west. That is one of the better aspects of my life.

The roads round here are one of the worst aspects of my life. I was free-wheeling down to the town on my motor bike last evening when the front wheel went into a crack so deep, and so well-matched to my wheel, that I was nearly pitched over the handlebars before my momentum sprung us out of the trap with a lurch fit to pull the front forks off. At that point, the road is hanging on to the side of a cliff, so there is also a danger of toppling over the edge and dropping and sliding a few hundred feet through scree and thorn bushes. When I complained in Nikos’, I was told that this crack was well-known, and had been there for three or four years, the result of a landslip. There were no plans to fill it in, despite several accidents.

This morning, I made a trip to the crack, and, using rocks and gravel from the cliffside (where, no doubt, they have been regularly falling on passing vehicles), I filled in the crack as best I could. At least my front wheel no longer fits. It hardly matters, because there are so many such hazards on the roads. I shall be sparing the travelling public from from death at the tender mercies of this hole in the road in order for them to perish in another at the next opportunity.

The worst…

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

… that could happen is that Fauxhunter publishes his guesses on his blog, and they are right. He has already made a guess at my location in his blog. Well, Desmëi has already publicised every thing she knows without any sign of the sky falling on me. So, publish, and be damned, Fauxhunter!

Whatever he says, whether right or wrong, I shall neither confirm nor deny it publicly. I think that is my strongest position. But I shall tell him privately whether he is right, and ask him to keep his counsel, out of the goodness of his heart. I perceive Alfredo to be essentially a nice fellow who would not wish me harm, and, now I’ve read The Fauxhunter Files , I certainly admire his perseverance.

Just when I thought…

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

… all was peaceful, I get this email from some turkey who reckons he knows where I am.

It went like this:



Hi carfilhiot,
I hope this is'nt too much of a suprise 
for you and beleive me I mean you 
no harm.

I have been following you blog for 
awhile now and looking at the clues 
you leave very carefully. I have 
decided that I know where you are 
living, and I know your real name. 
Just look at my web site in the blog 
and you will undrestand.

Please reply.

Fauxhunter (Alfredo)

I just sat staring at this for a while. Then I read his blog. Thank heavens he hasn’t got EVERYTHING right, but I have to take my hat off to his dedication!

Alfredo, I know you are reading this. Tell me what you’ve got!

Unlike previous occasions…

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

… this long gap does not signal trouble.

I’ve been keeping the low profile I tend to seek. Had a couple of unremarkable emails from Lionel, and generally been living the life of a lotus eater.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time peering over Ginger’s shoulder. He gets all these detailed images off the net and from books and magazines, but when it comes to the creation process, he seems to prefer freehand drawing. I am amazed at the way he effortlessly draws these wide-angle images without apparent effort. He is very resistant to me having any of his work for you to see, though. So far, it’s look, but don’t touch.

I did take a photo of the last few precipitous yards to the little beach I visit in the morning. Here it is:

The Last Few Steps

I was reminded…

Wednesday, September 7th, 2005

… at lunchtime today of my mother. I had travelled some twelve kilometers, beyond my usual eating area, and stopped at a taverna. I ordered ham omelette and chips, with a Greek salad. Omelette and chips may not sound like a typically Greek dish, but, in my experience, it is the safest dish to try in a new taverna. They seldom make a mess of omelette and chips, and frequently do a jolly fine job of it.

It wasn’t this that reminded me of my mother, whose cooking was not her best quality, but the cat which sat patiently on the adjacent chair as I ate. She didn’t beg, but fixed me with a guilt-inducing stare. Nevertheless, I was strong, and offered her nothing, because it’s not fair to let a cat think it can panhandle from every diner. However, when I turned to look at the owner to order some more bread, the cat hooked a chip and ate it defiantly before my very eyes.

My mother, among her many cats, had a pair of kittens, sisters, of great ingenuity. On one occasion, she had a guest at table, and served fried fish. One kitten suddenly rushed up and bit the guest on the ankle, holding on with teeth and claws. The guest bent down to remove it, and the other kitten jumped on the table and stole the fish off his plate. They retired under the sideboard to eat it together.