Friday, July 22, 2016

Bohemian rhapsody in the Aegean

Regular followers will remember I've been regularly visiting Skyros and returning all aglow since this blog arrived blinking into cyberspace in 2006. Recently I decided to step back from leading courses, much as I've always loved my groups, to focus on new directions but the magic island called me back in the most exciting way ~ with camera in hand, to proxy-enjoy all the creative, spiritual, and physical activities of Atistsa bay. Here the friendliest group imaginable included me in their daily life from Qi Gong on the pale beach in early morning to singing at dusk, with dancing at night under the full moon. (Thanks Mark Gunston, film-maker & windsurfer extraordinaire, for the image)
Atsitsa is on the remote, neo-hippy, West coast where pine forests creep down to the pale pebbled bays and the sun sets vermillion on the wine-dark sea: for a more essentially Greek vibe you need to cross the island to the Skyros town where life on the cobbled streets seems hardly to have changed since Achilles' days, though down on the sandy shore nymph-wear is scanty and beachbar music is ambient chill-out. I came back with a full memory, both personal & technical, of dazzlingly beautiful moments ~ over 100 posted on my facbook page ~ feeling rich in connections and reconnections.

Amazingly, Frome was also enjoying 30+° heatwave when I got back, which must have been tough for the Frome Half Marathon. Mayor Toby Eliot and Deputy Al O'Kane participated and happily our 2016 Festival Poet Laureate, John Christopher Wood has decided to take his role seriously and to honour the occasion. Here's The Uses of Mayor Ware, which features not only audacious rhyme but a really neat final couplet. Enjoy!
The Mayor is doing a 10K run. He’s doing it for charity. 
It’s to try to raise some money, And to make it feel more funny 
He’s doing the whole thing In full mayoral bling, 
Which for charity hilarity has no parity. 
A chain of office weighs a ton; Running in it’s not much fun. 
So to schlep around a whole 10K Is a feat extremely schleppity. 
But he’s not doing it all alone - He’s running it with his deputy. 
 Councillors like these are good for Frome; It’s party politics that wrecks it. 
These feisty Independents are A much more positive Frexit. 
And it’s a turnaround beyond compare, Politically it’s rather stunning 
 First to be running for Mayor, And now to be Mayor for running.

Next week Annabelle and I are heading for Shropshire with our Time Walk, to 'walk through nearly five billion years tracking the story of our home planet, marvelling at the way everything on earth has evolved from stardust' in the lovely location of Carding Mill Valley.  I've been reading David Eagleman's fascinating insights into the intricacies of the human mind Incognito, finding even more to marvel at, and still more summer ahead!

I'll end with a look back at the magic island from two of my favourite places: the headland of Atsitsa bay, and Plateia Rupert Brooke at the top of Skyros town, perfect to watch the southern rocks turn slowly from grey to lilac as the sun sets...

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