Saturday 31 July 2010


At Tilmanstone Village Fête last weekend (where David was performing magic) we watched a display of birds of prey and managed to capture a few not-too-bad photographs. Here are a few of the owls, hawks and kestrels that were on show...

Owl (1)

Kestrel (8)

Hawk (3)

Hawk (5)



Kestrel (7)

...and you can see the whole flock (together with some other avian portraits) in my flickr album, Birds of a Feather

Images: Brian Sibley and David Weeks, © 2010

Thursday 29 July 2010


Friends who have gone from being visitors to Kalymnos to being residents there are always desperate for those home comforts they miss from their days in Blighty (such as Galalaxy, Marmite and Cheddar cheese) and which aren't available in Greek stores - even, as Oscar Wilde would say, for ready money.

What I love about being a temporary resident in Greece (or, indeed, any country that is not home) is the range of items that are unique to that place - or, at least not to be found in my local Tesco. For example - and this may be a bit shocking to any Britishers of a nervous disposition - McVitie's Digestive biscuits with strawberry pieces!

Taking the Biscuit
Actually, surprisingly better than you might suppose, but obviously impossible to introduce into the British market-place without causing a national uprising!

Tuesday 27 July 2010


Well, I wouldn't mind (who would?), but while I'm waiting for that winning Lotto ticket to come up trumps, I'm content with the fact that - as of a couple of visitors ago - the Sibley blog had ratcheted up a quarter of a million hits....

So, here's to the next 749,998!


Contrary to what I said in my last post, I find I did take a couple of photos I hadn't taken before. Well, one at least!

You see, I'm not sure whether or not I can count the following picture because I have - on several occasions - photographed the bell-tower of Emporios church. But the thing is, I have never previously done so when the sun was just in the right position to create a silhouette...

However, this photo of a white-washed urn with grape vines is definitely new...

Grapes & Urn
In fact, the surprise of finding a subject not previously photographed was so great that, immediately afterwards, I had to go and have a long lie down under the tamarisk trees in order to recover! Oh, that I could do that now!

Incidentally, I'll leave you to make your own jokes about Greeks and urns...

Sunday 25 July 2010


When I arrived in Emporios at the beginning of our holiday, I took off my watch and pulled out the winder - leaving Snoopy having to hold out his arms at 2:46 pm for the next two weeks!

Snoopy on Greek Time
There were two reasons for doing this: firstly because I don't want to be constantly reminded that time is passing - especially in a place where time pretty much stands still - and because I actually enjoy telling the time (when I need to know) without mechanical aid. You'd be surprised how adept one can become at this: and when I am checked by others, I am invariable little more than 10 or 15 fast or slow and quite often spot on.

And, yes, so little do I do when on holiday, I actually took a photo of Snoopy not keeping time!

To be honest, I'm no longer sure sure why I take a camera when I go on holiday to Kalymnos since - over the course of the past nine years - I have photographed pretty much everything there is to photograph. But then that has, in itself, become one of my traditional holiday activities.

For example, this year, I, once again, photographed George playing his guitar...

...and, as before, I dutifully snapped my regular breakfast of fresh fruit, yoghurt and Kalymnian honey...

...managed, yet again, to catch David early morning skinny-dipping...

...and, for the umpteenth time, photographed the little red row boat at the end of the bay...

Little Red Boat 2010
...knowing, even as I did so, that I will never take one better than the first one I ever took!

Still, we all need the occasional challenge - even on holiday and however modest!

Friday 23 July 2010


Tonight at 10:30 pm on Radio 2's Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman, I will be reviewing the new exhibition, Toy Tales at The Cartoon Museum.

A feast of pure nostalgia, it features artwork, storyboards, puppets, sets and memorabilia from such classic and much-beloved series as Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, The Clangers, Pogles Wood, Bagpus, Roobarb and Custard, Dangermouse and more contemporary favourites Bob the Builder and Peppa Pig.

I loved seeing the original Bagpuss and the Clanger family (along wit the Froglets and the Music Tree), but I also greatly enjoyed listening to the reactions of pure delight from visiting grown-ups re-connecting with their childhood!

Thursday 22 July 2010


Ilene Woods

Ilene Woods - Cinderella (2)

With the death, on 1 July, of Ilene Woods, who spoke and sang for the eponymous heroine of Walt Disney's 1950 animated feature, Cinderella, we lost another of those distinctive Disney voice talents who, whilst unseen, helped create characters who have endured across the generations.

It was chance that brought Miss Woods the role when her songwriting friends Mack David and Jerry Livingstone asked her to make some demo recordings of songs they were writing for a new Disney film. David and Livingstone had known the singer for some time having been guests on her thrice-weekly radio show in New York.

Ilene recorded the Fairy Godmothers magic song, 'Bibbidi-bobbiddi-boo' and Cinderella's songs, 'A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes' and 'So This is Love' and thought nothing more of it than as doing a favour for friends. However, when Walt Disney - who had already rejected several hundred possible voices for his new screen princess - heard Woods' recordings he instinctively knew that he had found his Cinderella.

Working on and off at the studio for a couple of years from 1948, Woods contributed more than just the voice to the character since Marc Davis sketched her during recording sessions and incorporated many of her gestures and mannerisms in his animation. It was Disney's personal idea - brilliantly realised by Woods in performance - to have Cinderella's rendition of 'Sing, Sweet Nightingale' accompanied by a harmonising choir of Cinderellas reflected in the soap bubbles rising from the bucket of soapy water with which she is scrubbing the floor of her stepmother's house.

I had the privilege of spending time with Ilene Woods a few years ago when I was making my BBC Radio series, Disney's Women, and I was struck by her unassuming modesty and her obvious delight in having contributed to one of Disney's finest fairy tales for the cinema.

"I didn't realise what I had," she told me, "until, many years later, an agent said, 'Ilene, that's the longest engagement you will ever have, because as long as children are born and movies are shown, they'll be hearing your voice.'"

It seemed an appropriate quote with which to conclude the obituary that I recently contributed to the The Guardian, and which you can read here.

This item was originally posted on my blog decidedly disney.

Wednesday 21 July 2010


As I mentioned last Wednesday, I celebrated my first (well, my sixty-first) birthday in my Greek house (that is to say, the house that I stay in when I go to Greece!) in Emporios on the island of Kalymnos.

The party was held, naturally, at Artistico Restaurant, where Yorgos and Irini Glinatsi gave me this utterly scrumptious and uniquely personalised birthday cake...

My Big Fat Greek Birthday Cake!

Mercifully, the other sixty candles were omitted for reasons of health and safety: i.e. the risk of either setting fire to the entire village or me going into cardiac arrest whilst trying to blow them out!

As is traditional on such occasions, everyone else in the restaurant got a slice (which, obviously, I tried not to be too mean-spirited about) but, luckily, I got a corner-piece which I decided was the best option since it clearly fell within my healthy 'five-a-day' allocation!

Sunday 18 July 2010


I began these blog posts from the Greek island of Kalymnos with a sunrise. I close them with a sunset...

And now it is time to go home...

Image: Brian Sibley & David Weeks © 2009 and uploaded via my flickr Photostream.

Thursday 15 July 2010


The intensity of Greek sunlight in summer and the clearness of the air can create evocative silhouettes, particularly if you ignore one of the basic rules of photography and shoot into the sun...

Image: Brian Sibley © 2009 and uploaded via my flickr Photostream.

Wednesday 14 July 2010


Don't know what the heck you're grinning about, Sibley, you're sixty-one today!

Greek Tango!

This photo of me dancing an improvised Greek version of the Tango with our hostess, Irini Glinatsi of Artistico Taverna in Emporios on the Greek island of Kalymnos, was actually taken six years ago when I was rather more agile than I am today!

Still, you never know because - now, as then - it's truly amazing what a few-too-many-ouzos can do!

Monday 12 July 2010


As I have previously remarked before on this blog, the Greeks have a very pragmatic and unsentimental view of animal-kind: it is, quite simply, food on the hoof...

...or claw...

Alternatively, you could just settle for a Greek salad and fresh-baked bread...


Image: Brian Sibley & David Weeks © 2009 and uploaded via my flickr Photostream.

Friday 9 July 2010


The landscape on Kalymnos can often look bleached and barren, but there is still color: the blue of the sky and the white of the whitewashed churches...

...and the passionate blush of the hibiscus...


Images: Brian Sibley © 2009 and uploaded via my flickr Photostream.

Tuesday 6 July 2010


Here are just a couple of the many cat photos I seem to take ever year. Emporios is perhaps unique among Greek villages (and certainly villages on Kalymnos) in not being overrun by felines, so these 2009 cat-shots were photographed elsewhere on the island.

The first, a beggar at a waterside taverna, had a seriously ravaged tail and this cultivated expression of pathos that probably keeps him supplied with scraps from sentimental tourists...

This cat, O Best Beloved...
...reminds me of 'The Cat That Walked by Himself' from Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories...

Photo images: Brian Sibley © 2009 and uploaded via my flickr Photostream.

Sunday 4 July 2010


To mark the fact that today is the 148th anniversary of that "golden afternoon" in July 1862 on which Charles Dodgson - better known as Lewis Carroll - told three little girls a story that would become Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, here's just one of the many musical, literary, theatrical and cinematic spin-offs inspired by Carroll's wild imagination - Jefferson Airplane and 'White Rabbit'...

a very happy

to all my American friends

Saturday 3 July 2010


So as not to have to actually blog while away on holiday for a couple of weeks on the Greek island of Kalymnos (every hour on the beach or in the sea is part of a treasure not to be squandered), I've chosen a series of pictures - from last year's holiday - to keep you checking up on me until I get back and find some new nonsense to blog about! Well, that's the plan, anyway!

To start with here is a dramatic sunrise over the village of Emporios...


I won't say it's always that dramatic because, most of the time, there isn't a cloud in the sky -- at least, there better not be!

And in case you are expressing some surprise that I would be up to see - let alone photograph the sunrise - well, I can tell you that I invariable am and, what is more, quite often watch the sun rise while taking an early morning dip! So there!

Anyway, wherever you're reading this, I hope the day dawns - and stays - bright for you!

Image: Brian Sibley © 2009 and uploaded via my flickr Photostream.

Friday 2 July 2010


We are busily packing for our imminent departure for the Greek island of Kalymnos. Thanks to the good offices of our friend Sheila we have a handy Pack List --- well, to be precise, an entire pad of Pack Lists (probably enough to see out the remaining peregrinations of our lifetime!) which I thought I'd share with you...
UPDATE: April 2013 – The image  that was shown here was uploaded onto my Flickr Photostream but has been remove following a complaint from the manufacturer. You can see – and order the item – along with a lot of other cool stuff from the website of KNOCK KNOCK, who claim (with justification) that they 'put the FUN into functional'! I'm particularly inclined toward this item and, indeed, can think of many good uses for this!

Anyway, getting back to Pack List...
It includes tuxedo and dress shoes (obviously our usual attire for evenings in the taverna) but I won't be bothering with the 'Umbrella' (call me impetuous!) or - at least, not this year - with 'Nail polisher remover', 'Exercise clothing' or 'Birth control'. Nor, come to that, will I be taking anything remotely resembling an 'Itinerary': since I plan on doing as little as is physically and mentally possible!

Most usefully, however, it has reminded me that I need 'Hospitality Gifts'.

Well, that necessity has been conveniently solved with the arrival of a copy of my children's book, The Frightful Food Feud translated into Greek!

The Great Food Feud

Won't they be impressed at how my language skills have advanced?!