Plan to raise WWII aircraft off Crete

The Hellenic Air Force is going to undertake to retrieve a WWII-era German fighter discovered at the bottom of the sea, off Hania on Crete.

An underwater salvage unit has arrived in the city of Hania to examine the plane’s wreckage, amongst the many WWII remnants discovered in the wider Maleme district, which hosted an important airstrip during the Nazi airborne invasion of Crete in May 1941.

The submerged aircraft, identified as a Messerschmitt Bf 109, is one of the 1,280 warplanes dispatched by the Luftwaffe to fight in the “Battle of Crete”, and one of the 210 shot down by the Allies or disabled during the operation. A total of 4,465 German paratroopers were also killed during the invasion.

bf109

The specific aircraft was found lying upside down at the bottom of the sea, with a large part of it covered by sand. Its propeller blade and wings are intact and despite the passing of 68 years, its fuselage is in good condition. The plane’s wheels are folded under its wings with its manufacturer’s insignia still clearly visible. Most impressive is the fact that the engine’s rubber collars remain unaffected, while certain aluminium parts of the fuselage are still shiny.

The goal is to have the plane exhibited with other WWII artifacts at an Air Force Museum in Maleme.

Advertisements

The New Windmills of Crete

Skywatch

Round, like a circle in a spiral,
Like a wheel within a wheel.
Never ending or beginning,
On an ever spinning wheel.
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon,
Like a carousel that’s turning
Running rings around the moon.

Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on it’s face,
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space.
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind.

The New Crete Windmills

The New Crete Windmills

Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of it’s own,
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone.
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half forgotten dream,
Or the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream.

Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on it’s face,
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space.
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind.

High on the Mountains

High on the Mountains

Keys that jingle in your pocket
Words that jangle your head.
Why did summer go so quickly
Was it something that I said?
Lovers walk along the shore,
Leave their footprints in the sand,
Was the sound of distant drumming
Just the fingers of your hand.

Pictures hanging in a hallway
And a fragment of this song,
Half remembered names and faces
But to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over
Were you suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning
To the colour of her hair?

Crete Wind Turbine Close Up

Crete Wind Turbine Close Up

Like a circle in a spiral,
Like a wheel within a wheel,
Never ending or beginning,
On an ever spinning wheel.
As the images unwind,
Like the circles that you find,
In the windmills of your mind.

The Lyric ‘Windmills of your mind’ was written by Sting and featured as theme to the film, The Thomas Crown Affair.

The Fig Tree

Ah the wonderful fig tree. It grows everywhere and the figs appear mostly in October and November, although there are, of course, winter figs, even spring figs and summer figs I have heard. But there is something special about the fig tree. Forget the milky sap that some are allergic to, forget even the lack of rain we have and the prospect of cold this year, just remember the fig.

I can recall over forty five years ago in the rains and sleet of autumn in my school in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Our English Literature teacher trying to warm our lives by talking of a splendid and magnificent Mediterranean sea, warm places and sun kissed beaches. All of it was a mystery to young boys dreaming of finding a girlfriend, a good job, a life.

Instead, he taught us a poem, a very special poem, simply called ‘Figs”.

It was by the splendid English poet and author D H Lawrence, and it carried me away to my island in the sun.

Figs
by D.H. Lawrence

The proper way to eat a fig, in society,
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower.

Then you throw away the skin
Which is just like a four-sepalled calyx,
After you have taken off the blossom, with your lips.

But the vulgar way
Is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.

Every fruit has its secret.

The fig is a very secretive fruit.
As you see it standing growing, you feel at once it is symbolic :
And it seems male.
But when you come to know it better, you agree with the Romans, it is female.

The Italians vulgarly say, it stands for the female part ; the fig-fruit :
The fissure, the yoni,
The wonderful moist conductivity towards the centre.

Involved,
Inturned,
The flowering all inward and womb-fibrilled ;
And but one orifice.

The fig, the horse-shoe, the squash-blossom.
Symbols.

There was a flower that flowered inward, womb-ward ;
Now there is a fruit like a ripe womb.

It was always a secret.
That’s how it should be, the female should always be secret.

There never was any standing aloft and unfolded on a bough
Like other flowers, in a revelation of petals ;
Silver-pink peach, venetian green glass of medlars and sorb-apples,
Shallow wine-cups on short, bulging stems
Openly pledging heaven :
Here’s to the thorn in flower ! Here is to Utterance !
The brave, adventurous rosaceæ.

Folded upon itself, and secret unutterable,
And milky-sapped, sap that curdles milk and makes ricotta,
Sap that smells strange on your fingers, that even goats won’t taste it ;
Folded upon itself, enclosed like any Mohammedan woman,
Its nakedness all within-walls, its flowering forever unseen,
One small way of access only, and this close-curtained from the light ;
Fig, fruit of the female mystery, covert and inward,
Mediterranean fruit, with your covert nakedness,
Where everything happens invisible, flowering and fertilization, and fruiting
In the inwardness of your you, that eye will never see
Till it’s finished, and you’re over-ripe, and you burst to give up your ghost.

Till the drop of ripeness exudes,
And the year is over.

And then the fig has kept her secret long enough.
So it explodes, and you see through the fissure the scarlet.
And the fig is finished, the year is over.

That’s how the fig dies, showing her crimson through the purple slit
Like a wound, the exposure of her secret, on the open day.
Like a prostitute, the bursten fig, making a show of her secret.

That’s how women die too.

The year is fallen over-ripe,
The year of our women.
The year of our women is fallen over-ripe.
The secret is laid bare.
And rottenness soon sets in.
The year of our women is fallen over-ripe.

When Eve once knew in her mind that she was naked
She quickly sewed fig-leaves, and sewed the same for the man.
She’d been naked all her days before,
But till then, till that apple of knowledge, she hadn’t had the fact on her mind.

She got the fact on her mind, and quickly sewed fig-leaves.
And women have been sewing ever since.
But now they stitch to adorn the bursten fig, not to cover it.
They have their nakedness more than ever on their mind,
And they won’t let us forget it.

Now, the secret
Becomes an affirmation through moist, scarlet lips
That laugh at the Lord’s indignation.

What then, good Lord ! cry the women.
We have kept our secret long enough.
We are a ripe fig.
Let us burst into affirmation.

They forget, ripe figs won’t keep.
Ripe figs won’t keep.

Honey-white figs of the north, black figs with scarlet inside, of the south.
Ripe figs won’t keep, won’t keep in any clime.
What then, when women the world over have all bursten into affirmation ?
And bursten figs won’t keep ?

Days That Flow By

Skywatch

Sometimes here on the island of Crete, there are skies that have clouds. But most days, for more than six months of the year, the skies are blue. Just blue. Pale blue on the horizon to a lovely warm deep blue above. It is on days like these that it is good to just sip your frappe (iced coffee) and philosophise as the sea gently rolls by you.

A restful day on the south coast

A restful day on the south coast

The Cretan Poppies

ABC Wednesday

One of the finest flowers seen in Crete is the wild Cretan poppy. So many people see so many flowers that the poppy is often ignored in favour of the wonderful orchids and the myriads of stunning flowers that are seen here. But I love the poppy. It is straight, wild and serene. It is absolutely beautiful.

The Magnificent Cretan Poppy

The Magnificent Cretan Poppy