Recent Post -  Patmos Garden From the Archives Desert Island Discs

Saturday, 30 June 2012

DESIGN: A Green Place Setting

Giant pumpkin from Este Ceramica in the Veneto;
 Portuguese ceramic plates with raised vine leaf plates;
Spiral glasses by Venini, Venice; 

a horn headed cheese grater designed by Phillipe Starck 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

FABRICS: John Stefanidis Fabrics - Mahal

A traditional mughal motif printed on white linen or cotton creates a stylish contemporary fabric.

Clockwise from Twelve O'Clock:
Charcoal, Candy Pink, Lime Green, White on White, Sapphire, White on Cocoa, Cream on Cocoa and Brown on Cream.

Monday, 25 June 2012

POETRY: George Seferis

During World War II, a poet in exile, George Seferis wrote this poem in Cairo at the Casino des Pigeons restaurant on the shore of the Nile to which I was often taken as a small boy - no pigeon since has been as delicious!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Thursday, 21 June 2012

BOOKS: Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The most attractive 'astronaut' to date.  First published in 1940 by Gallimard in Paris, its charm has never diminished.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

COMMENT: The Winds of Change, Bibliophilia and the Internet

High winds in the Eastern Mediterranean - the Gods trying to sweep through political changes after another Greek election? ... so no boat to sail or swimming today, or yesterday--this has meant time for reading and reflection.

I respect my Kindle - it is marvellous.  It stores all the works of Shakespeare, Balzac and Proust - a reading revolution which, nevertheless, cannot match: books left open at a page to be read later; piles of books to be picked up, opened and shut, titillating promises of further interest; books that divulge information, the page turned down -- only in paperbacks mind you!  Post-it notes-a great invention- so one can easily return to any page or poem, leafing through pages, different fonts, assorted covers, varied paper - all pleasure!  The mind reacts quite differently to a well produced book.

A day spent in a house and garden encourages laptop adventures! TRY and how about - wondrous!

COMMENT: Greece as Victim

A very interesting article from the New York Times...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

ART: Yto Barrada at The Pace Gallery, London

A talented Moroccan artist and satirist who protests the status quo with wit and verve - do not miss!
Mobilier Urbain Exhibition at The Pace Gallery, Lexington Street, Lodon, W1 [until July 24]

Monday, 18 June 2012

DESIGN: Painted Rooms by John Stefanidis

A painted ante room in an historic yali in Istanbul
A faux onyx effect for a bar area
Stencilled walls in a drawing room in London's Belgravia
Walls painted to resemble lace in a Florida bedroom
A harlequin design for a dining room [from Rooms by John Stefanidis]

Trompe l'oeil in a Greek bedroom
A lobby in my Patmos House by Teddy Millington-Drake  

A detail of specialist paint work and mirrored panelling for a dining room in the American Mid-West
A painted floor for a New York apartment   
Thanks to Tony Alcock and his team of specialist painters:
APA Decoration: email:

Friday, 15 June 2012

TRAVEL: Patmos

On Patmos, I have many local friends to whom I say hello, including SPIRO.  After swimming in deep water and into caves--also frequented by Caliban..............., on returning to port, SPIRO the seagull waits patiently - and has done so for many years.  He waddles up the gangplank onto the deck of the boat to gobble up delectable small fish.   

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


A PRESENT FROM A LOVING FRIEND, these stunning batiks were given to me, one a year for three years. They are very large scarves or shawls made by the finest Indonesian craftsmen.  Instead of batik on cotton, they are on crepe silk--around the neck, across the shoulders, slung to the right or left, they are luxurious and keep you warm! [see my Batik entry of March 20, 2012] 

Monday, 11 June 2012

BOOKS: Impressions of Ottoman Culture in Europe: 1453 - 1699

A TURKISH FRIEND came to Patmos on his boat and brought me a present of a wonderful book: Impressions of Ottoman Culture in Europe: 1453-1699 [ARMAGGAN Publications]

The book is beautifully produced. fills a lot of gaps and has many excellent illustrations that I have never come across.

Friday, 8 June 2012


POETRY: You Hated Spain by Ted Hughes

Spain frightened you.
Where I felt at home.
The blood-raw light,
The oiled anchovy faces, the African                
Black edges to everything, frightened you.
Your schooling had somehow neglected Spain.
The wrought-iron grille, death and the Arab drum.
You did not know the language, your soul was empty
Of the signs, and the welding light                
Made your blood shrivel.
Bosch Held out a spidery hand and you took it
Timidly, a bobby-sox American.
You saw right down to the Goya funeral grin
And recognized it, and recoiled                    
As your poems winced into chill, as your panic
Clutched back towards college America.
So we sat as tourists at the bullfight
Watching bewildered bulls awkwardly butchered,
Seeing the grey-faced matador, at the barrier            
Just below us, straightening his bent sword
And vomiting with fear. And the horn
That hid itself inside the blowfly belly
Of the toppled picador punctured
What was waiting for you. Spain                
Was the land of your dreams: the dust-red cadaver
You dared not wake with, the puckering amputations
No literature course had glamorized.
The juju land behind your African lips.
Spain was what you tried to wake up from            
And could not. I see you, in moonlight,
Walking the empty wharf at Alicante
Like a soul waiting for the ferry,
A new soul, still not understanding,
Thinking it is still your honeymoon                
In the happy world, with your whole life waiting,
Happy, and all your poems still to be found.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

EVENTS: The Diamond Jubilee

This is not the place for full coverage of the remarkable Diamond Jubilee celebrations but the weekend was joyous and glorious.

The River Pageant was disappointing [oh for Her Majesty’s yacht Britannia!].  The concert outside Buckingham Palace was stunning.  The Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral dignified and moving, the pageantry unequalled and splendid. 

Every celebration clearly showed in what respect this remarkable woman is held by her subjects in the UK and the world over.  An unforgettable show of patriotism.

Right: The Union Flag - on hats, bonnets, smart umbrellas, waistcoats, bow ties, miles of bunting.....! 

Above: My favourite souvenir!  The Queen's handbag has a solar panel that activates her characteristic wave of the hand 

Friday, 1 June 2012

DESIGN: TERRACE ROOMS by John Stefanidis

Time to think of SUMMER... 

Time to think of TERRACE ROOMS in the Mediterranean...
My Oddessa Chair around a simple wooden table.  
The lanterns were made in India.  Similar lanterns can be bought at IKEA that are sturdy and affordable

Above and Right:  from my first book Rooms

Above two images from An Island Sanctuary by John Stefanidis

LEFT: IN ITALY - Another Terrace.. Betty Stokes has a magic touch - and moreover she is the mother of the three talented Robillant brothers; Andrea the writer/Filippo the philanthropist/Tristano - painter, sculptor and potter.........Google or search the web you will not be disappointed !