Monday, 25 February 2008

Andy Millar

Kali, Andy's longtime companion.

Andy Millar, long time resident of Azogires who died in August 2007, was remembered by his friends on 24 February, a sunny but very windy Sunday afternoon.

Several of those attending remarked that Andy would have enjoyed the ceremony, even though it did start over an hour late leading to comments along the lines of

“Typical of Andy, even late for his own memorial service!”

After the brief service by the graveside, kept short because of the risk of falling tree branches, those present adjourned to the Alpha where Andy was commemorated in a way so appropriate for him; with good food, good conversation and good fellowship.

Friday, 22 February 2008

First Winter International Backgammon Competition NOT canceled!

The first Azogires Winter International Backgammon contest was held in less than perfect weather conditions on Sunday 17 February 2008 in the Alpha Kafenion.

Even though the snow was the heaviest in living memory, a talented team of international players braved the elements to get there and were greeted by Mayor of Eastern Selino who stopped by to check on things.

Winner of the first prize, all the way from Germany, was Martin Strellow, well known local artist and former reporter. Second prize went to Kerstin from Sweden and third to Sakis from Libya.

Sakis is also 3 times first prize winner of the Azogires Summer International backgammon contest.

Also taking part were players from Canada, England and Crete.

It is not recorded what place Lucky came in at.

Snow Joke

It's always sunny in Crete!

That is unless you get the heaviest snow in living memory, as fell on Sunday 17 Feb. 2008

The village was cut off from civilisation (?) for a while but all is now back to what passes for normal!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

3 times 88?

According to local rumour, during the Second World War part of the German occupation force in Paleochora consisted of an anti aircraft detachment of 3 off 88 mm guns, or to give them their proper name, 8.8cm FLAK.* Following the liberation of Crete it is said that one of these guns ended up being used as a crane in Paleochora harbour and the other two were dumped in a gorge outside town. (We would point out again at this stage that this is all according to rumour!)

What then does this have to do with Azogires, some 8 Km up in the hills from Paleochora, we hear you ask?

It would appear that sometime in late the 1990’s, two young boys returned from a visit to the hills above Azogires and presented the Alpha Kafenion with their latest find. On closer inspection this turned out to be a corroded 88 mm anti aircraft shell, complete with fuse, which they had unearthed. ( It is said that at this point in time, there followed a somewhat rapid exodus from the kafenion as the older, and no doubt wiser, inhabitants recognised what the young boys did not, i.e. that this thing was possibly still live and thus potentially still lethal.) Wishing to save the village and the kafenion from utter destruction, one brave hero, who shall remain nameless but who, for the sake of convenience, we will refer to as Lucky, gingerly took the offending object some distance away from human habitation and hid it safely until it could be decided what to do with it.

Time went by and no obvious solution as to what to do with a live Second World War anti aircraft shell came to mind, ( Readers who straight away think “why not give it to the local authorities and let them get the army to dispose of it” have obviously never been to the hills of Crete!) Then one day, in conversation with a customer, the subject of the shell and its disposal arose. It then turned out that the person to whom Lucky was talking was, in fact, someone with extensive knowledge of explosives, both civil and military – he happened to be German as well but that’s coincidental.

The object was retrieved from its hiding place, various bits of technical magic performed upon it, the details of which remain unknown but are believed to involve the use of a screwdriver, a hammer and a bucket of water. Eventually the fuse mechanism was declared safe, the explosive having decayed long ago, and the shell emptied of its now inert filling.

The remainder of the shell is now sat on the bar in the Alpha Kafenion, as for the remains of the gun that fired it……….

*At the start of the war the 8.8cm FLAK (Flugzeug Abwehr Kannone)was the standard German anti aircraft gun and with a modified mounting and different ammunition, it went on to gain renown as an anti tank gun.
It would appear that for at kleast part of the German occupation, 3 anti aircraft guns of 1. Btr. Gemischte Flakabteilung 286, part of 17 Flak Division under Luftwaffenkommando Südost was stationed in Paleochora.
Below is a brief video of the largest remaining gun emplacement in Paleochora.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Where we are - take 2

Where we are

Suggestions that this is likely to be the only (possibly) accurate map of anything that you will find on the whole of the Island of Crete have been streneously denied .........but not, we note, by the Greek authorities!

Those visiting the Alpha will not only get the map but also the's printed on the back!