Friday, 14 March 2014

Sticks and stones will break my bones

The old man sat on a chair outside the kafenion, his face covered in blood.

A small crowd gathered, one person stepping forward to give him some comfort. It was an Englishwoman, one of the most compassionate people in the village. Last year, she had even saved the bug-eyed cat from extinction.
She soothed the old man the best she could, said a few reassuring words in Greek as another English person put something warm around the old man's shoulders.

He was in shock, possibly suffering from concussion. He was gabbling away in Greek and then began to cry.

An ambulance was called and took an age to materialise. In between times, the police came to the plateia twice, once to talk to the old man and the next time to come back to say the alleged assailant, who was said to have hit the victim on the back of his head with a stone, told the police he did not know what they were talking about because he was asleep when it had happened.

But the old man's wound had come from somewhere. He had probably been lying on his patch of land, bleeding, before coming to and staggering up to the plateia for help. You could tell that, the Englishwoman said, by the way the blood had matted from the wound at the back of his head around to his face.

The word on the street was that it had been a dispute between neighbours, with a stone thrown by someone at least twenty years the old man's junior. It was lucky it hadn't killed him. He was well into his eighties.

It reminded me of when I was a child, growing up in the Westcountry in the sixties, when stone throwing among neighbouring farmers was not unheard of, especially when it came to jealousy over a piece of land the assailant thought should be his.

This kind of thing happened all over the world, I thought, between individuals, tribes and countries. It is happening in Crimea as I write this. But it jarred in this peaceful spot, this lovely village tucked away far from the madding crowd.
The ambulance arrived to take the old man to hospital where, as far as I can tell, he still is. The alleged assailant has locked his gates, refusing to come out. There may be more to it than I know, but it's clear the village has reached its own verdict.

Their thoughts and prayers are with the old man.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. It never ceases to amaze me the passion land brings out and the evil things that happen because of it. Sad though it is to think about that poor man and his sufferings, this is beautifully written with a starkness that shows the shock and dismay you felt, and the fact that land and the ownership of it is global - and so is the passion for it.

  2. How sobering! I often forget the REAL world we live in as I drift along in my own little world....
    saying a prayer for this man......


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