Deserted Room by Theresa Nicholas

Feb 21 1991
We drove to Kaloura and walked the beach along the cliff to Kerasia then up into the olive groves for a long way until we came out onto the road at Sinion. We crossed the road and started up to Porta. I was astonished when Ann said ‘ We usually have our lunch at Tritzi’ which even higher up on the hillside. But we got up there in an hour and half. It was raining most of the way, but I had my new raingear which makes you as wet inside as outside when walking, but is a psychological protection…
I had never been to Tritzi – a little enclave of old houses which has been taken over by foreigners. We had our picnic in the garden of a lovely old house falling into ruin – a pity – but I prefer them as romantic ruins than ‘restored’ and turned into modern plutocratic villas. It stands in a sloping meadow of oak trees with a cistern where we ate our picnic while some handsome sheep stared at us with rotating jaws. We munched in unison. Then we descended from the heights to Vigla. Magnificent view over to Albania.
We poked around another old house in a wonderful position and untouched. Old beds in the rooms, the kitchen in an outhouse with a lovely bake-oven that looked more like a shrine. Small hooded fireplaces in several rooms. What one discovers in these old houses is the atmosphere – the grey-white walls, the rooms partitioned off, have a simplicity that seems to be the poetry of existence. There is a sort of elegance that never, in fact, existed perhaps. It’s in the proportion of the utilities of their needs. It’s ‘rightness’ is no longer practical but it exerts a powerful charm like an old film, or photograph. The remnants of furniture – tables, benches fallen over rotting – floors rotting away, ceilings caving in. Yet, you are still convinced that what existed here was a certain state of perfection which has passed away – more perfect in retrospect because it can never be reinstated. It exists like the smell of wood smoke – all suggestion. Murders and rapes may have been committed in these rooms we gaze into so fondly. It is the glimpse of another time – as if Time has become ART – the equation posed by these derelict rooms with utensils required only by ghosts now.
Is what we have gained from electricity commensurate with what we have lost from candle-light? The answer has to be ’yes’, because now we have computers – but spirit – that illogical part of us vibrates and whispers in our inner ear ’No
I admit I am ridiculously romantic. ~~~~~~~~~~

deserted room

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