So our leader Renzi says no growth for Italy either this year nor next year which means his €80 a month tax break for lower paid workers is not going to do what he promised and start people spending. He did get in a dig at Frau Merkel however by calling for a much weaker Euro going forward. The way to achieve that is by introducing Quantitive Easing which the Merkel is very opposed to and indeed last week said that her poodle Draghi at the Central Bank had been “misunderstood” ( he speaks fluent English) when he also talked about introducing it. Bloomberg reckon Italy needs the Euro at 1.17 to the US$ to kick start industry and begin the recovery. It is 1.29 today so a long way to go. It would be great news for the British expats too except those Scots are revolting thus stopping us enjoying a jump in purchasing power.
Still we are now down in the South of the Peloponnese having left the lovely little town of Nefpaktos
Last night as I walked into town to post a letter I heard a few notes of a tune as a car drove by me with a CD on. As I caught those few notes I felt a little like Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited when he first hears the name of the large house where his army group has been sent
“an immense silence followed, empty at first, but gradually, as my outraged sense regained authority, full of a multitude of sweet and natural and long-forgotten sounds – for he had spoken a name that was so familiar to me, a conjuror’s name of such ancient power, that, at its mere sound, the phantoms of those haunted late years began to take flight”
For I had heard that song many years ago not on my first visit to Greece but on one to Corfu for the first time in 1964. Corfu then was almost as it was in the 1930s when the Durrel boys Lawrence and Gerald were living there. Just 3 hotels had been built and package holidays were still some way off. As the Economist said the other day ” it is hard to appreciate the freedom, sunlight and sense of space that Corfu provided 50 or more years ago. Intrepid travellers would come to explore ancient villages in solitary peace, and sleep under the stars on empty sandy beaches. The island was especially enticing, and no books contributed more to it’s image as a paradise than those by the Durrell brothers, Lawrence and Gerald. “Prospero’s Cell” (1945), Lawrence’s diary of life on Corfu, and “My Family and Other Animals” (1956), Gerald’s account of his experiences as a child there, are brilliant, contrasting views of life on this Greek island in the 1930s, and remain popular to this day.” Both are well worth a read.
We stayed at one of those which was managed by a very lively Greek from Crete. He loved Greek dancing and insisted on teaching the guests his favourite ones each evening after dinner. He had bought with him a selection of records to play and we were all eager learners as Zorba the Greek the movie was out as well. Over the two weeks we all became quite proficient at both a slow dance and a fast one .
The car that had gone past me had played one of those tunes and I felt a little like one of the contestants in that game show both in the States and in the UK called Name That Tune. The players had to decide how few notes it would take them to name a tune. “I can name that tune in three notes” etc and then a pianist would play the first three notes.
What was the name I thought and then I remembered that my mother had asked the Greek manager what it was called because she thought it would be great to take back to play at our yearly Christmas Day night time party. The manger became very embarrassed and mumbled that he would prefer not to say it to her. It was rude he said. Perhaps he could tell her husband instead . Intrigued she called my father over and he whispered the title in his ear.
We were all desperate to know the name. Who would have thought a rude Greek song and we had been dancing to it for two weeks.
My father, of course, held out for as long as he could but eventually told us the title. It is he said in Greek “Strose To Stroma Sou” Yes but what does it mean we shouted. Shocking he said it means …………….Make a Bed for Two . The Swinging Sixties had yet to arrive in Corfu and to a Greek this was a very naughty title.
This is it
I took the record to sea with me on P&O and many passengers on S.S. Orcades learnt their first Greek dance from a young Purser Cadet who the Entertainment Manager coerced into teaching Greek dancing on Thursday afternoons.
Think I can still do it too. What a teacher. What a song.