Wednesday, 28 January 2015

April in January

Before I proceed with this post, I simply must share with you a little ditty that my Dad used to say when I was a young nipper. I still remember it word for word and as yet haven't ever met anyone else who remembers it, so I've no idea where my Dad got it from. Anyway, it goes like this:

In the middle of September
In April, last July
The sun lay thick upon the ground
The snow shone in the sky
The trees were singing gaily
The birds were in full bloom
When I went down to the cellar
To clean an upstairs room
I looked out of the window
And had a fearful fright
For there, 10,000 miles away
A house stood ...out of sight
Its doors and windows open
Its front was at the back
And believe me when I tell you
its walls were whitewashed

So, why did I think of this? Well, the answer has to do with the fact that here on Rhodes we so often get the kind of weather that the UK experiences in April, only in January. This current run of weather is a good example. It's a changeable week, with heavy showers and rain, then bright sunshine in equal measure. When the sun's out it's pushing 20ºC, when its cloudy it's the lower teens. 

My Greek friend Mihalis, who features regularly in the "Ramblings" books, and lives in Kalathos, has often told me that he wishes it would rain for the entire winter, November thru March. The fact is, we always need whatever rain we can get to avoid running out of the ever-dwindling water resources we have here during the summer months. As I've often said, and at the risk of boring you on this one, we've never in 9 and a half years of living here had more than 9 rain-days in any one calendar month during a Rhodean winter, but of course it comes in fits and starts, never all spaced out like it was scheduled for regularity. This week, then, it's like a British April, as stated above, with lots of cloudbursts and then bright sunshine. We had to go to Arhangelos today for a few odds and ends and so I decided to drop by Haraki on the way home to snap a few shots (especially for you, Porridge Oats!) so you can see Haraki on one January weekday. On weekends, of course, some of the bars are open, but during the week, it looks more like the photos below will show. 

All the way from home on the way to Arhangelos it was raining, occasionally heavily, but as we got out of the car it stopped and by the time we were taking some well-earned (well I think so anyway - and whose blog is this?!) refreshments, the sun was shining brightly. It shone, in fact, all the time until we got home, locked the gate, parked up the car and let ourselves in, wherupon the clouds gathered and the rains began again. Fab! Couldn't have timed it better.

Inside the nicest café in Arhangelos, the Greco

The view from the café's window while the 'fish-man" was out there doing a brisk trade, double parked as you'd expect!

It's amazing how the most unexpected occasions can make you feel like a "real Greek". For instance, just as we were opening the car doors to get back in for the drive back, a friend from another local village honked and drew up alongside, effectively blocking half the street in the process. She wound down her nearside window, oblivious to the chaos which was starting to ensue, so that she could have a nice little chin wag with us. It's an essential you see. Of course, my car was neatly parked up alongside the kerb in a completely legal manner (I couldn't be a real rebel if I tried), but there we were having a nice little chat as though we had all the time in the world, while the whole street was becoming a war-zone around us. 

Boy did I feel like a local then! Not that this didn't prevent me from getting rather anxious about the situation, but when she was good and ready - and not before - our friend bade us cheerio and proceeded another couple of hundred metres along the street to the bank to which she was intending to pay a visit, once again stopped right outside, alongside the cars that were legally parked, switched on her hazards (ah, so that's all right then) and shot into the bank leaving the rest of the road users on her side to tear their hair out yet again.

Ah, don't you just feel assimilated when that happens, eh?

So to the Haraki shots...

There you go folks. I'm off to learn a Gene Kelly routine...


  1. Set a nerd a challenge...
    Follow this link, and scroll down.
    Kep yew a'troshin'

    1. Amazing indeed Simon. After an interminably long scroll-down I found there the truncated version of my Dad's old poem. Well done that nerd, sorry, man!! I think my Dad's version is better though, but at least it's a first; the first time I've ever seen it anywhere else. Eee it's raht clever is this intery net thingie intit? (my mother's father was from Yorkshire tha naws)

  2. The link I gave was the result of a quick search and is by no means definitive. An old relative of mine used to recite something I thought was a little rhyme:

    When the west wind whistles through the whiskers of a shrimp,
    The poor old oyster feels a trifle limp.
    He'll murder mussels if the seaweed rustles,
    Or a cockle croaks a chorus on the shore;
    For a noise annoys an oyster,
    But a noisy noise annoys an oyster more.

    In the link I gave the last two lines are described as a “tongue twister”. The rest is forgotten; however it is even more than the rhyme I knew. It turns out that, with the addition of the last two lines to the front of the rhyme it is the chorus of a song “A noise annoys an oyster” by R.P. Weston and Bert Lee c1921.

    This is it being sung in a noisy fish market!

    It just shows how the oral tradition can evolve a song, to a rhyme to a tongue twister!

    There may, or may not, be a similar history of transformation of your ditty/rhyme. From my experience with “oysters” I suspect yours is the original, or near to it.


  3. Well!!! Fancy ya grandad cummin thra Yorkshire then!!!!! As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there, he wasn't there again today , how I wish he'd go away....... Lovely pictures of Haraki!!!! Will It be Agathi next week?
    Best regards from snow bound Yorkshire
    Porridge Oats