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Today's walkitcornwall quote

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. - Goethe

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Of course Paul’s deep knowledge of the region, its flora and its beauties – and not to forget his patience and his humor – have made me feel like it all was too short.  As a result, my eyes and my brain are full of new images and new knowledge.

– Jean-Claude B, Switzerland.


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Walking blog: The philosophy of walking

Walking with the Durrells in Corfu

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If like me you have been entranced by the scenery and story of the Durrells in Corfu these past few weeks on UK television then your concentration on the stories behind the story might have been compromised away from the plot by the magnificent backdrop of the genuine Corfu.

Those who are much more au fait with the landscape of Corfu can pinpoint where each scene is set and the location manager is someone who I intend to follow literally in their footsteps to hunt down the majority of shots and sequences just like I have done for the recent and hopefully, ongoing Poldark series that was shot here in Cornwall.

While Gerald Durrell might have called Paleokastritsa the "Greek Margate" I can only concur that it is the commodification and commercialisation he was referring to rather than any actual physical resemblance in colour, architecture or effect on the human psyche. If not then I should visit Margate again with new eyes and look at it with a completely blank canvas before I paint any verbal picture of it.  However I would genuinly be surprised if there is any similarity, all the same.

Yet there is a dilemma in promoting and looking through historic eyes where the drama portrays places that have moved on since the historic literature was written or alluded to. Those seeking Poldarkian Cornwall will always be in for a disappointment however Durrell's Corfu, I would like to think, has not changed as much as it might have despite Gerald Durrell's reservations that his actions in highlighting the island in his writings would increase and promote tourism and not reduce it as he hoped.

What goes round comes round, so the saying goes and here I am having a similar moment of conscience-beating. By seemingly latching on to the Poldark and Durrell "moment" will I also be hindering or helping Gerald Durrell's nightmare of swarms of people invading and despoiling the sanctity of these places which would never be the same? Or, as E F Schumaker pleads, "small is beautiful" I would like to think that small groups, on foot, walking in the footsteps of the Durrells is a good way to invoke the spirit of Place, to immerse oneself in the reasons why the family were content and productive in Corfu especially at Kalami.

I will endeavour to bring people again and again to Corfu, walking with the music, literature and culture of the island, where the Durrells are but just one small but important part of the whole story. I look forward to learning more about Corfu and getting under the skin of it's stories both ancient and modern. Thereby I will hopefully sleep easier if it is done honestly, treading carefully metaphorically as well as physically in the steps of the Durrell's and all writers, composers, artists and poets.