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Kalo Taxithi Tony Barrell

‘Kalo Taxithi’  is a common Greek term used to wish a special person a good journey into their spiritual after life.

A great friend of Molyvos who will be much missed – Tony Barrell  7 May 1940 – 31 March 2011

Traveller, journalist and writer, Tony Barrell made his first visit to Molyvos in 1970 and quickly became part of the village – his second home.Tony Molyvos 1970s

We are all saddened by the news of his death from a heart attack on March 31st 2011. He died in his sleep after a wonderful evening of laughter and reminiscence with friends including my mother, Jennifer.

Last summer, Tony and his wife Jane had a great gathering here to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first visit. He always enjoyed staying here and hated leaving. At the time of his death he was still in the process of writing a book with Jane “Your island, My island”.

A very giving person, he was always so willing to help me with projects which needed writing or photographing. It has taken me a long time to write this tribute. A good friend, he will never now be able to keep his promise to come and stay in beautiful Mystegna in the Kyparissis Beach Houses on the east coast of the island.

During one of his many visits, he met a Dutch woman, Julie, who writes a blog about Lesvos and he helped to correct her English translations. She edited her writing into a book which has just been published. She had been so looking forward to reading his final review of it.

As touched as all of us, she has written the following tribute:

A farewell to Tony

Now that I finally changed as well in also
Now that you teached me fishes are fish
And after so many other English corrections
You left us.

After you did this huge job
In correcting and commenting on my columns
And finally the book
You left us

Without me having a chance to pay you back
In dinners and fish
Without me reading
The Final Review

Reading about you
You were more than great in Australia
Writing about so many topics
And finally again about Japan

Here on the other end of the world
Where the news of a shark kept papers alive
You left your traces in friendships
And dinners and party’s

I have been lucky
That one day you and Jane walked into my house
And so we met
And so we worked

Here in the country
Where old history
Of brave wars and great philosophers
Seem to live so close with modern live

You found an island of peace
Sunken into the blue Mediterranean
Where Greeks and foreigners
Mingled into a life of happiness

Here in the little town of Molyvos
For decennia you came back again and again
And now Molyvos lost another
Of its big writers.

Tony, thank you for everything!

Julie Smit

Tony Barrell (7 mei 1940 – 31 maart 2011)

http://smitaki.blogspot.com/

Addio TONY by Julie Copeland.

Our friendship with Tony Barrell & Jane Norris goes back a long way: Jane and I go back 50 years (!)  when we first worked together in a Melbourne theatre troupe, and later, living in London, where she met Tony.

In 1969, when John Slavin and I were first living in Molyvos, I sent Jane a postcard saying something like: `we’ve found the place we’ve been looking for – do come and see!’

And so they did, arriving from London in the village Spring of 1970 – and the rest is history.

Naturally Greece was then a very different place; Molivos was much poorer, much smaller –  but they `got it’, proving over the years to be more adventurous explorers than us, hiking around the coast (before there was a road) to Skala Skamia, while later Tony and his old friend, the English writer Roger Deakin looked like swashbuckling pirates, as they strode through the island in search of ancient trees, on many excursions accompanied by Heinz Horn, who still knows the island terrain better than anyone.

We shared  houses, good and bad times, often dramatic times; ferocious winter winds when I recall us all crawling  behind the parapet on our hands and knees into the agora, unable to stand, as the gale hurled roof tiles like missiles around us; we lived through the years of the military dictatorship; good friends have died and are buried there.

One was our very special friend, Nassos Theofilou, author of several untranslatable books, librettos, lyrics, etc.

Tony made a radio feature based on one of Nassos’ stories about his grandmother, complete with the sounds of Molyvos which  Tony continued to record over the years – many, many audio hours of sheep bells, doves, fishing boats – everything!

Tony was drawn to Nassos’ sense of the bizarre, his crazy humour, as despite language differences, they punned and joked together.. they were in many ways soul mates – but like Tony, a few years ago Nassos died suddenly of a heart attack, far too young.

However, one of our (several!) important summer rituals continued to be sharing his widow Lydia’s large, delicious dinners – and lots of ouzo! – under the stars and olive trees out at the Theofilou farm, accompanied by the owls and the cats.

Last summer, with our Molyvos friends, including Lydia, we shared another significant ritual, when Jane rounded us up to celebrate her and Tony”s 40th anniversary year in the village.  There we all were, people from many places, on the terrace of the old house they rented – a miracle of connections.

Tony really loved the island, where he became a different person.  (Their daughter Klio shares her name with the village up the coast! )   Jane maintained the best tonic for his health problems was his return visits to Molyvos

Most of all he loved the people, their company and their stories – the crazier the better!.  He loved swimming in the cold, clear sea, excursions exploring the island, he loved the landscape.

Some time back Jane got serious about making a film tracing the extraordinary pull that Molyvos has had, and continues to have, on people who visit, stay or live there.

Our Molyvos friends have been shocked at the news of Tony’s death; Lesbos summers will never be the same, and we shall surely miss him.

for tributes, listings and audio of Tony’s work, you can go to the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) site: abc.net.au/rn

& type in search `tony barrell’

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/360/features/tonybarrell/


A True, Love Story

Nineteen years ago my husband Andonis bought a magnificent horse,he was strong beyond belief,had a great character and was promptly named by myself, Rambo.We needed him to pull the carriage we then had and he did this tirelessly and gave us all he had to give,in return he was very well looked after loved by everyone who had the luck to meet him.

He made yearly appearances in the local festivals and I can still vividly remember young children following the horse procession and asking of each other “which one is Rambo?”Few people could ride him with ease  because of his strength and I have known experienced riders return to the farm with blistered and bruised hands,a result of having to hold the reins tight enough to check his pace.

In 1997 he miraculously survived our farm fire,thankfully he had had the strength to break free but not before he suffered severe face burns.My husband spent weeks taking care of the many goats that had suffered and of course our beloved Rambo.He did recover thankfully with little evidence left of what he had endured and over the following years he led a carriage free good life.Our gentle giant was in semi retirement and leading the good life.

In 2006 my husband was approached by a carriage owner in Mitilene who literally pleaded to buy Rambo,because of the horses capabilities and good name and the deal was done.The understanding was that whenever the new owner decided to sell,Rambo would return to our farm.

I now jump to October 2010,my son Theo had served his army time and had decided to fulfill his wish of finding Rambo and making sure that he was being cared for,he found out that Rambo had been sold to someone in Plomari and Theo then made yet another long trip to check up on him.My son returned heart broken,the new owner had decided Rambo was of no use anymore and had just set him loose in the hills ,an old man discarded and left to fend for himself,we were disgusted but determined to right the wrong that had been done!!!!!

A while later Theo returned to Plomari with a friend to try to find  Rambo and with the help of locals they searched all day in the hills but they had no luck and returned dejected and angry.Theo had let everyone know that we wanted him back and that should he be spotted he should be caught and we would collect him.By this time winter had set in and our minds were running riot with the cruel life Rambo would be enduring,we could not get him out of our minds and we could not settle.

After Xmas my son and husband decided to try again,they made the same long journey and once again enrolled the help of the locals to comb the hills of Plomari all to no avail.He was nowhere to be seen and yet people insisted Rambo had been spotted and was indeed alive.This time when Theo and his dad left Plomari they told everyone that 50euros would be paid to the person that found him,not a kings ransom I know but we could not afford more.

A date that will go down in the history of my family,27th March 2011,Theo received THE telephone message saying that Rambo had been caught and was awaiting collection.WE WERE ECSTATIC!!!!!!!!

Theo arranged for his friend who owned a truck to pick Rambo up and bring him home the next day,he was coming home at last to be where he belonged.

He arrived on the 28th March and I was kind of prepared by Theo of what I would see.Nothing in this world could have prepared me for what I saw!

The day after, I arrived at the farm full of hope,excitement and longing,what I met was devastating and heart rending,here were the standing remains of some animal that I was supposed to believe was Rambo .On the ride up to the farm I had clutched my son and admitted that I didn’t think I was ready to face up to what I would see but was told to be brave,another friend had advised that I expect the worst and anything else I would cope with.These were total understatements,I got off my son’s bike and collapsed onto a nearby gate,I am not afraid to admit that I shed tears of guilt,shame ,anger and utter disbelief,who in this world could do this to an animal that had deserved so much more??????

Rambo has twisted front legs,his bones are ready to burst through his skin in places,his fur is dull and lifeless but worst of all his eyes have no life,those eyes tell a story that he can never tell.But the spirit has not deserted him,he remembers our farm and he gladly led himself into his old stall and is acting as if he never left.Words fail me at this point because he should hate us for letting him go,letting him endure so much in his old age but all he is showing us is love.When I plucked up courage to get close to him that first day his head was held so low but when I whispered his name he gently rubbed his head against my chest and my son said”he certainley remembers you Mum”.My heart almost exploded at that moment,this gentle old man was showing some kind of forgiveness that a human could never show,he was just glad to be home and I have no way of knowing if he understands that this is where he will live out his days.

One week later I plucked up the courage to revisit,I had carrots in hand and I wondered if the same love would be there,I need not have worried,I called his name and he staggered over to the fence to greet me.His head was held a little higher and joy of joys,I saw his eyes and they were alive,there was a glimmer of that spark that used to be .He and I stood there for almost an hour,he nuzzled me from time to time and I whispered promises that I dearly wish he understood because they came from my heart.This old man is almost 40 years old,we know that his days are numbered,but at least he is among people who really love him and hopefully he will live out his days with dignity,peace and love.

Before I finish This Love Story,I must add that on the day that I revisited we collected a yearling from Mitilene harbour,a gift from Theo’s uncle and an absolutely beautiful young thing.She has never been tied in her life and is obviously timid of her new surroundings but guess who she has bonded with from the first moment ,yes,Rambo.Apparently she never leaves his side and I find this wonderful,she could never have a better guide and mentor and I hope they both gain something from their relationship.

I am realistic about Rambo,he is in a bad state and I do know that he is in pain and I do admit to myself that the day may come when we have to make the decision to end it all but I find comfort in the fact that he is finally amongst those that love him and he will not end his days in those lonely hills

Rambo,our gentle old man,welcome home!

Alaine

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 10 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 16 posts. There were 3 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 328kb.

The busiest day of the year was April 20th with 50 views. The most popular post that day was The party .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were lesvosaccommodation.com, en.wordpress.com, mail.live.com, twitter.com, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for molyvos, molly’s bar molyvos, molyvos blog, molyvos life, and bazaar molyvos.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The party March 2010
1 comment

2

Melinda October 2009

3

Karen November 2009

4

Liz December 2009

5

A Seasonal Job or A Year-Round Job? November 2009
4 comments

The end of the season.

This is a difficult period of time for most of us. The end of the summer season means a totally different way of life here. Now we have time to focus on our own domestic lives again with family and friends. From working all hours we are now suddenly free and don’t seem to know what to do with our time. There are autumn jobs to do but nothing is urgent – so I usually end up doing nothing. All summer, life has been ruled by the opening hours of the restaurant and now we need a lot of self discipline to plan our days.

I still wake up in the morning with that feeling of dread – 10 hours non-stop in the restaurant – and then suddenly realise that I can actually go back to sleep if I want to. No restaurant for another 5 months!

In one way, it’s as if a weight has lifted from my shoulders –  but another in now placed there. All the things that we promised to do during winter are now waiting for us to start, cleaning  the house, exercise classes, helping out in the village community, etc.

It usually takes about a month before I can comfortably adjust to this new pace of life.

Then Christmas is upon us and we have to start organising the festivities – open-air fetes, carol-singing, lighting the village christmas tree, etc. I like taking part in village life. I don’t feel comfortable being a full time mother or even a full time wife at first. I miss meeting all the people we get to know in the summer and enjoying the out-of-doors lifestyle during the season. Yet, when the time comes when I have to give it all up again at the beginning of the new season, it is equally as difficult.

Melinda

http://www.lesvosaccommodation.com