sunshine and chat


Weather in February by Eleni Ikanou on Flickr

«Ο Φλεβάρης κι αν φλεβίσει, καλοκαίρι θα μυρίσει…»
Everybody says this now. It means «Inspite of the rain (or «because of the rain» or «the more it rains» or «even though it rains») in February, it’s bound to smell of summer».

This Greek saying is a game with two consonant words: Flevaris (the popular form for the month «Fevrouarios») and «fleva» (=bloodvein, as used to decribe torential rainfalls, e.g. «the sky opened its veins». ). If I transcribed it in English, it would be something like:
If February februaries (= bleeds), it will smell of summer.» 🙂

Sunshine in February by Eleni Ikanou on WordPress

It’s also wise advise: February is the month of rainfalls, but… do not sleep like you did in January and December. Be ready to get out of the house. As soon as it stops raining, it will be sunny and warm like summer.
So my neighbours went out with the first light. They are on the hillside opposite my house and I can see them through my window. The old man is ploughing (using a small machine they call here ‘little tractor’) and the old woman, my friend, is collecting her wild herbs.

I couldn’t go with her. I have to do my pages today and deliver. Between pages and waiting for Elsa to give me «the green light» that it’s ok and I can go on … well, I’m blogging as usual.


I like the last photo of the sky I uploaded in Flickr very much. I dig there’s something very strange going on between me and the birds.

Welcome to the Sky of Icarus, by Eleni Ikanou on WordPress

A strange idea associated with that photo: here in the island and elsewhere in the world they usually say: ‘the land of Icarus’, «the island of Icarus». It’s a commonplace expression and they have written it in big letters on the dock of the port of the capital town: «Welcome to the Island of Icarus».

But Icarus was a flyer, wasn’t he? He couldn’t have «had a land» (or island). Hey! wait! … don’t come on me and say that I’m attempting to deprive a poor island of a beautiful myth. Because I think that Icarus actually «had» something. He «had» the sky over the island and over the sea that surrounds it! It was this remarkable sky (and games of sunlight and clouds and reflections) which charmed the young man, and he had vertigo («the sun melted his wings») and he fell in the sea.
(Is it all right now? Can I have back my ikarian passport?)

So, the original title I wanted to put under my photo was «Welcome to the Sky of Icarus».

I didn’t. Instead I called it «Timeless Winds» to honour a new friend from Italy who sent me a warm e-mail letter right while I was looking at that photo on my comp screen. For a reason I did not understand (I like not to understand) he had put as subject in his e-mail exactly this : «timeless winds». Then he spoke about Ikaria etc. I answered back and promised him that I would dedicate that photo to him.

And anyway, if I had titled the photo «Welcome to the Sky of Icarus», how could I explain the raven in it? I am obliged to everyone who gives me tips and it was that raven who called me to look up in the sky and face that miracle.


You can’t have it all! Carnival has never been in the list of the reasons we like America. You still have Hollywood, though.
‘know-all’ Angelos has answers to every question, except this one: «what do you do exactly?». Well yes, he makes books and maps and things like that, but let me give a short clear answer: he is someone who took the mountains in order not to be a lawyer!
I don’t know Theodorakis «Carnaval». Did he compose this when he was in Ikaria? The man sat in the primitive cafes of Armenistis and wrote symphonies ! But they are no good, I’m told. He was 19 years old and very ambitious and  he was trying to immitate Gustav Mahler (!), so I am told. Like most Greek immigrant workers in Europe, my father liked Theodorakis very much. As kid I was brainwashed with «Sto perigiali to krifo» («in the hidden sandy cove», lyrics by G.Seferis) and surprisingly I still like this bitter melodramatic song very much. It’s got ‘beats’.
Oh! Doctor!…


(9 total)

Ciao Eleni, and ciao to everybody who follow the Eleni’s walking, flower spotting, rocky hopping adventures. I’m Peppe, the new italian friend, and I feel I must explain the meaning of «timeless wind», the subject that became the cluody sky picture name. But, dear Eleni, dear friends, I’m not living in Ikaria and my land is a timeful one (this is the first clue on the way to the riddle’s solution) so let me come back from work and I will give you a fully satisfyng answer.

Wednesday February 22, 2006 – 05:08pm (CET)

Hello greek friends! I’ve got a question, and this seemed like the place to get it answered.. so sorry this comment has nothing to do with Eleni’s post.

I went to «Greek Town» this weekend and ordered a cup of coffee. I knew vaugely what I was in for (small cup of very potent stuff), but I was a bit surprised by what I found at the bottom: sludge. My question is what does one do with the sludge at the bottom? I just left it.. but was that bad manners?

By the way, Hello Peppe! Nice to meet again over here!
Are these «timeless winds» the same ones that blew Odysseus so far off course?

Wednesday February 22, 2006 – 12:52pm (EST)

«… he is someone who took the mountains in order not to be a lawyer! » Do you do gravestones too?
φτου, φτου, φτου, μακριά από μας…

Wednesday February 22, 2006 – 10:17pm (EET)

Better I suppose than taking to the mountains to avoid the law! Anyway, Angelos, if you find refuge in the mountains, we have a lot in common. More too if you collect words on pages.

Wednesday February 22, 2006 – 01:33pm (PST)

First of all I want to thank my good friend Eleni for her present. I’m really glad to be in your thoughts. And now listen, I am going to explain you “Timeless Wind” the two words that rapresent that godblessed island in my mind. So, 2001 spring, I was looking for a windy island where to surf in peace, far from the howling crowds of Paros, Mykonos or Naxos (too crowded now, but it was beautiful…). I asked just for strong wind and I read about Ikaria “anemodarmeni”, “a fin of rock and wood beaten by the meltemi lost in the Egean Sea”. I began to dream and kept on dreaming since I saw the shape of the Fin emerge from the sea in a windy august sunrise. …Is it too “epic”, isn’t it? Who cares? Let me be epic tonight! Anyway, I found my island, my wind and much more: my windy beach, a wonderful girl who took away from my foot at least 20 urchins’ thorns, an 80 years old dancer who told me about his masturbation sessions, the young actress Caterina, an old motorcycle boy who lost himself in the dusty goat paths (may be he’s still there), Spiro, the Pireus taxi driver looking for peace and rest from the running time he drove everyday. He said me that there, in Ikaria time flows differently and he was right, everybody begin to work later then other people in the continent, children go to school two hours later, offices open later, time seems to be officially shifted. I found it beautiful and I finally expired “fiuuuuh”. No time, just the shadow of a mulberry tree and the breath of the wind flowing timeless as the water of the holy spring.
The perfect place for a Marquez novel.
Timeless wind: that’s it.

Eleni your’re great when you try to translate words games. My next goal is to learn greek language, may be with your stories about rains and veins I will catch a glimpe of it. Ciao
now is for real

Ciao a tutti,
sorry if I’ve been too long but… let me be epic tonight.

Thursday February 23, 2006 – 12:02am (CET)

Good Greek coffee (hellenized version of the Turkish coffee, in its turn a version of the Arab coffee) must leave a thick sludgy substance in the bottom of the cup. The more sludge there is, the better the coffee, but you are not supposed to ‘eat’ this sludge because it is bad for your stomach. All this, of course, is bastardized today and you can have Greek coffee w/o sludge -this is just brown paint.
According to retired USDA professors Blacksmith and Ironsmith, an authentic Greek coffee when served and before the sludge sinks, should be as thick as to hold a nickel on its surface. They are old school.

Too Late For Coffee by alex@faraway
Many European travelers who wrote about Greece, were shocked at the fact that such a beautiful country offered cups of brown mud as a replacement for coffee. Their mistake was that they drank their coffee immediately w/o waiting first for the sludge to settle down.
Greece is a country of llloooonnngggg waitings…

Prof Nana la Fauve (Unιversity of the Streets of Downtown Athens)

EPic suRFer who write so well, your face looks familiar…
Do you know this blog? 🙂

Thursday February 23, 2006 – 11:25am (EET)

To Jimmy P: ‘una faccia, una razza’ -you will learn Greek so fast that you wouldn’t know how it happened. I’m an epicolyrico «timeless winds» bum myself, so you win more dedications (not a presto but soon…)

Thursday February 23, 2006 – 03:10am (PST)

Thanks Proff Nana! I must have had some genetic memory informing me of the correct thing to do with the cup of mud in front of me 🙂

It sounds like these winds were not the ones that blew Odysseus off course,

but maybe the ones which brought him home.

Thursday February 23, 2006 – 10:08am (EST)

Odysseus?! so you are a patriotaki !?!? from «the Diaspora»
-always good winds for you:))x x x

Saturday February 25, 2006 – 09:13pm (EET)



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