Thursday, 26 January 2023

A Day in Winter

 Wordle . Online word game. Sometimes I've been known to get it in 2. Today the first three lines got me 1 letter. There weren't many left for the 4th attempt so I got it. Beefy. Words like that annoy me. The other day is was 'matey'. I mean, is that legit? Ahoy there matey, find a better word for goodness sake. 

Thunder is rumbling around this morning. It's blowing an icy gale and heavy rain is forecast.

A day for K to ....


Make a few loaves of bread
Under my orders 😂

One loaf has already been sent off to elderly neighbour Vaso and her son.
Son is making fassolatha (traditional bean soup) so she can dunk the bread and soften it. Don't think Vaso has too many teeth left


K prepared a pot of fish soup with a whole red hot pepper


He lit the fire
At 10am
Having brought inside a load of wood 


Enjoying a second morning coffee along with a medicinal stiff raki to warm him body and soul

What a pity I couldn't help him. I'm not allowed to lift weights (firewood for a start), put any pressure on my eye (kneading bread), bend down or skip, jump or hop. As if...
I'm not allowed to go outside when it's blowing Saharan dust (most days, though the rain today must have cleared all that) or wash my hair in case I get water in my eye.

I washed my hair after 9 days with the help of my long suffering husband.
9 bloody days!  Boy was I relieved to have a clean, non itchy scalp. 


Saturday, 21 January 2023

European Aristocracy

 The line up of Royality at the funeral of the late ex-king Konstantine of Greece was fascinating. The families of the Greek, Spanish, British and Danish thrones are all closely related and there are a few other connections too.

Greek news told us there were representatives from five reigning monarchies, but my count was nine. 

Great Britain. Princess Anne, second cousin of Konstantine, with her husband. Lady Gabrielle Windsor who had the late king as one of her Godfathers.

Denmark. Queen Margrethe, sister of the widow, ex greek Queen Anna-Maria. 

Spain. Every royal that ever there was attended. Konstantine was sister to Queen Sofia.

The old king Juan Carlos went into  voluntary exile in Abu Dhabi in 2020 after various scandals, economic and otherwise. Living it up in luxury with one of his mistresses I'm sure. They all put on a united face for the funeral. He was accompanied by his wife during the ceremonies and was photoed hugging his eldest son, now King Felipe. Family sticks together at these times, especially in public. 

Sweden. King Gustav and Queen Silvia .

Norway. Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marie. He is a 3rd cousin once removed of Konstantine and second cousin of Queen Anne-Marie.

Netherlands. Princess Beatrix, 4th cousin and King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima

Monaco. Prince Albert 

Belgium. King Phillipe and Queen Mathilde

Luxembourg. Grande Duke Henri. 3rd cousin once removed

Liechtenstein. Princess Margaretha, 3rd cousin once removed

And other royalty......

Queen Noor of Jordan 

From Abolished Monarchies.....

Prince Alexander and Princess Katherine of Serbia 

Roumania. Prince Radu

Bulgaria . Tsar Simeon 11 

Russia. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimiriovna, 3rd cousin from the house of Romanov. 

Hanover . Various Princesses and Princes

Baden-Baden. The Margrave Bernard, second cousin and Margravine Stephanie (don't ask, just Google) 

Ex Empress Farah Phalavi of Iran 

They all came with family and entourage naturally. 

What a line-up. Some of those names are from dynasty's long gone. It was a whole different world back then. The Shah of Iran threw a lavish party in 1971, the most extravagant the world has ever seen to celebrate 2, 500 years of the Persian empire.

He flew in 18 tons of food. All the food except for Russian caviar came from France. He flew in 50,000 songbirds. 250 red Mercedes chauffeured guests from the airport. 125 women spent 6 months embroidering the tablecloth, over 70 metres long, for the  guests of honour. 

You get the idea. So did the Iranian people. He was forced to flee during a revolution in 1979.


Back to Greece. 

The ex king finally got a lying-in-state for a few hours before the service at the Orthodox cathedral in Athens. Thousands gathered to file by the coffin, arriving from all over the country. He was particularly popular in the southern Peloponnese, the long peninsular west of us. Bus loads arrived to say a last goodbye. They gave the Greek family in mourning a very warm welcome. 


I had my cataract operation the day of the funeral so missed most of the live coverage. I caught some of it on the car radio. K would have liked Greek music. He prefers modern day politics. 

The funeral service was conducted by Archbishop Hieronimos. Son Pavlos, so called Crown Prince,  gave a long eulogy, first in Greek and then in English. He was wearing a 5,000 euro suit made by a Greek tailor, so gossip TV said. 

The coffin was then taken to Tatoi, the summer Palace and the family cemetary, followed by a 6 km line of limousines. 

The evening before the funeral aristocratic visitors were welcomed at a banquet at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, where most of them were staying. After the funeral remaining guests attended a memorial dinner, dining on on fine China, crystal glassware with 19carot gold silverware. So said the gossips. 

The Grande Bretagne is in Syntagma Square, central Athens opposite Parliament. Being so close to Parliament its also the best place to watch riots, marches, the throwing of molotov cocktails and clouds of teargas. It was the headquarters of the Nazi High command during WW2 occupation and later the British forces. 

Thursday was the first memorial at the grave site. A private blessing attended by close family. There will be many more memorial services.

I would have been glued to the TV if I could have. It was so interesting seeing all these blue bloods and  glimpses into their lives. The King's life and death was big news until he was buried. Now I'd say the Greek monarchy has also been buried. The ex-Queens death is going to be a quiet occasion. It is rumoured the ex-Crown Prince may move to Athens. If he does he'll be in the social columns but I doubt we will hear much else about the family. 

Elections are coming up in a few months and everyone is focusing on economics, whether they will survive the winter and the latest wife killing. 





















Monday, 16 January 2023

Farewell 2022

 

2022....

A milestone year. I turned 70.  Oldest grandson 21 and two grandkids turned 16. The 16s are excited about now being able to get a license for a motorbike/scooter.  They both already ride their parents’  bikes. It's just the paper work they need.

  Just about everyone here has some sort of 'motor' bike.  Electric ones are very popular because you don’t need a license or insurance.  The damn things are silent and can be dangerous.  You really need to look both ways before crossing the street.

It has been a quiet year for us, except for September and October when we had loads of visitors from Downunder.  They can finally travel freely.  

 The summer season, from May to the end of October, was a busy one.    Roads were clogged with cars, our local beach full of annoying ‘foreign’ bods.  There were times, mid August, that we preferred to stay at home to keep away from the crowds.

September and October, when the hordes had left, nephews and nieces appeared, some for only a few days, others for weeks.  We had a fabulous time with them all meeting up for coffee down on the harbour or an evening meal in one of Kosta’s favourite tavernas.  Oh those wonderful accents.

  My younger brother and wife stayed for 3 weeks.  We gathered for g& t’s and a couple of BBQs. They hired a quad bike and tootled up to our place to drink coffee and catch up on those 3 lost years.  A perfect chance for K to feed them more octopus and greek delicacies.  They never left with empty stomachs.  That would have been a crime in his books.  He extended them 'greek hospitality' as only he can.

Of course we had all-the-family gatherings at our place too.  K would have been very disappointed if he hadn’t been able to feed them all.  There was octopus, greek salad and tzatziki on every one of our menus plus the usual ton of meat or fish. And local wine and ouzo.The weather stayed fine and even at the end of October the younger visitors were still swimming.

The dreaded virus is still around. Mostly forgotten. We all caught it, except K.  We have all been vaccinated and everyone had an easy time of it.  Slight flu symptoms, a headache and that was it. 

It's economic crisis time again.  Did that already in 2012 .  It really does make for a quiet life.  I love it.  Kostas hates it.  He misses  his daily meetings with friends, chewing the fat and drinking raki.  He’d be happier down in Poros where he could walk  around to his favourite watering holes and socially interact with more people.

I can happily spend days up here, 6 kilometres from the harbour, hardly seeing anyone. Though I must admit I did enjoy a coffee down on the waterfront in the summer, people watching and listening to the men gossiping. Whoever says women gossip hasn't spent much time in male company.

I still write my blog, woffling on, but not as often as I used to.  I find I'm writing the same thing year after year.

The summer vegetable garden was a disaster. I planted some tomatoes. We ate 5 cherry tomatoes. It got too hot and everything was burnt brown. I kept the mint, thyme, oregano and the roses alive.  Now I've planted a few lettuces and some rocket. They're growing, at the moment. I'm not a gardener.  I have had successes in the past but my heart is not in it anymore.

More weight off this year.   Still some more to go.  At least  I seem to have found some sort of balance .  I walk most days, now up to 3-4 kilometers.   Almost 3 years ago I started off with intermittent fasting    Lost a lot of kilos. Got bored.  Became a vegetarian.  Lost more kilos the next year. Got tired of lettuce and chickpeas.   Now I’ve done  a 180o turn.   I’m eating carnivore - meat, fish, cheese, eggs, lots of butter and a bit of salad or vegetables. Still losing .  Blood results, blood pressure perfect. More energy.  I hope I don't get bored with this regime too soon.  I rather enjoy being able to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast every day and cheeseburgers for lunch, without the bun. Nothing with flour or sugar allowed. No fruit. But I do have a glass of wine now and again. 

Erdogan, the Turkish PM is still making threats and says he will invade the greek islands one dark night. And his latest hate speech, threatening to target Athens with his missiles. He’s drumming up support for himself by attacking Greece, hoping 'his people' will forget the country is almost bankrupt. Turkey has elections sometime soon.

Then there's the other face I prefer not to see on TV or news apps.  I hear the voices of Putin and Erdogan so often I recognize them without having to see faces.  The Kiev Ukrainians were like the Athenian Greeks, civilians living western lives with their big international chain stores,  nice cars, cosy apartments, children expecting to grow up to be doctors, lawyers, artists, muscians or such.  Then suddenly their lives were torn apart, cities bombed, villages razed, millions became refugees.  It makes me shudder.  I hope it never happens to us or our children or grandchildren.

After being on the cataract waiting list for 18 months we revisited the doctor. Gave him 200 euros under the table and my op was immediately scheduled. Like Immediately! He strode over to the calendar and said 'is the 16th ok for you? You'll  be first for the day'. Actually I was the last .  One eye down. One more to go in a couple of months.

And another year bites the dust.


Wednesday, 11 January 2023

The King is Dead

 





King Konstantine, former King of Greece

King Konstantine II of Greece, was the last King of Greece. Forced to flee in December 1967 after the military junta took power, he lived in England for most of his life.

The Monarchy was abolished on 1 June 1973 and Greece became a republic .

He was a second cousin of King Charles III, godfather to William, Prince of Wales.  He took the throne in Greece at age 24, married Princess Anna-Marie of Denmark. Has five children. The second child, eldest son, Pavlos, is known, outside Greece , as the Crown Prince of Greece.  The king's  sister Sofia married Juan Carlos, King of Spain.

Do we say the former King is dead, long live the new former king? No, the Monarchy has long been abolished.

He was not allowed to return to live in Greece for almost 50 years but finally returned in 2013, living not far from Poros down the coast  at Porto Heli.

Now it seems he will be buried as a private citizen beside his mother and father at the former summer Palace of Tatoï, north of Athens.

Royal mourners from all over Europe are expected to attend. He was related to the royal families of Spain, Denmark and Great Britain and Germany.

His life, death and funeral will make an interesting diversion and hopefully take first place in news broadcasts for a few days, ahead of rape trials, wife killings, refugees, war and political scandal.


The 'imminent' return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece, at the moment in the British Museum, was making headlines, but maybe that news was a little premature. The British Museum has not agreed on anything yet.

The so called Elgin Marbles are a series of marble sculptures looted from the Parthenon, atop the Athens Acropolis, by Lord Elgin in 1801.  Eventually Elgin sold them to the British Museum. Greece has been asking for their return since 1835.








 




Monday, 9 January 2023

New Years Customs

 Bread and cakes with lucky coins. Every family, school, class, club, band of friends cuts a cake or loaf of bread and whoever finds the coin is guaranteed  a year of good fortune. 

The first slice is for the house then its cut in order of age from oldest to youngest down to the animals and even the fields


New Year's Cake made by daughter
Elli Tz
The perfect end to our BBQ
With icecream.


And Nels found the coin. 
It usually sticks out but this time it was in the middle of the slice. We all to poke around till it was found


I baked the bread
The decoration at the top is supposed to be the sun
And underneath 2023
It had a 2 euro coin
Usually its just a 'lucky' token 




Dividing the loaf into even slices



The coin was in the middle of 2 pieces. 
Luli has to share her good fortune with the dogs


Saturday, 7 January 2023

Blessings of Waters

 

6th January.  The last day of Christmas and New Year celebrations. A big church fiesta here and national holiday. Another 3 day weekend. Yeh for the workers, except for those in the food and drink industry. Kids go back to school on Monday.
 Called Theophania here, the revelation of god. Elsewhere Epiphany, Twelth Night, Three Kings, Adoration of the Magi.  It commemorates too the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. 
Our father told us if we hadn't  taken down our Christmas decorations by the 6th the bad witch  would come and make havoc of them. 
Granddaughter came up, went through the house like a whirlwind, took every last bit of red ribbon, gathered the gnomes from under the tree, pulled the tree apart, packaged it and stored it. 
It's over

I know this day as the blessing of the waters. All over Greece local priests bless rivers, reservoirs, lakes or seas.  
On a beautiful warm day like it was this year the whole population of the island, it seems, comes out to watch the ceremony and then stays on the waterfront, meeting with large groups of friends and relatives to have a drink of coffee, ouzo, wine with plates of mezethes, snacks like roast pork, fried salt cod and garlic sauce, meatballs and fried cheese. So many delicacies, so much conversation, too much noise. 

We stayed at home this year which was fine by me. 


All the local priests board this traditional fishing kaiki and sail out into the middle of the straits, along with the bigwigs and those who think they should be wearing bigwigs. Looks a bit top heavy! 


All lined up, droning into a microphone, preparing to dip the cross in the sea, ten swimmers lined up on the dock ready to dive. No girls this year


With an escort from the rowing club


And granddaughter Poppi
Of course

Photos thanks to my daughter 
Elli Tz

Bigwigs.. 
Mogul, VIP, nabob, pooh-bah, honcho, bigcheese
Love those words


Tuesday, 3 January 2023

Santa Run

Poros is joining in on new festive customs. 
This year we had our first Santa Run along the waterfront. 



Runners, including some of our family of course, took part. Hats were free. They ran, walked or pushed baby buggies half a kilometre along the waterfront and then half a kilometre back again. I could do that! And I just might, next year, with a family 'support team'. 

 


 Daughter far right having received her medal.


Everyone who ran got a medal and a Xmas spice cake. Right on!!

This took place on 30th December. You have to remember, Santa here is Saint Basil who appears on New Year's Eve, not Saint Nick who slides down chimneys on Christmas Eve. 


Municipal Square
A candy coloured train-aki (little train) full of squealing kids, chuff-chuff-chuffing,  round and round