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Ancient ruins are literally everywhere in Greece. Every where you walk you are treading on the ruins of an  older civilization, probably rom...

Saturday, 18 July 2015

GREEK LIFE

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We have learnt to throw around 'millions and billions' as
though they are just a few euros, change for our purse.  We learnt about capital controls, GDP growth rates and 'Standard and Poors', as Greece's credit rating dived into murky depths with the likes of Sudan, Zimbabwe and El Salvador.

 We know all the European officials by their Christian names, sour old Wolfgang Schauble,  haughty Dutchman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, white haired Christine Lagarde, successor to French amore Dominique Strauss Kahn who lost his post as head of the IMF when he was caught with his pants down in a New York hotel room.

  It is time to put all of them behind us.   The deal is not signed,
 the fat lady has not sung, but the road looks like leading us to a Greek revival.

Spit on us all three times , ftoo ftoo ftoo.  Keep that evil eye away. 

I just looked up 'Standard and Poors' current credit rating for Greece.

 CCC   outlook stable  

Down in the town this morning there was a different aura.  Shoppers in the supermarket buying fresh tomatoes, whole ripe karpouzi (watermelon), melons and peaches.  Outside, the 'green chairs', K-approved café,  was full of coffee drinkers.  The taxi boats were buzzing fully laden from Poros to Galatas across the strait.  I yelled half a dozen sunny 'kalimera's before getting down from my quad bike.  Catherine's bakery was handing out scrummy long loaves of brown, white and multiseeded  bread. The cheese pie shop had feta cheese, sausage and spinach pies hot from the oven. The meat market had a few customers, not just those reading the 'death and memorial' noticeboard.

Every year we have seen small tavernas and cafes open and then close down here on our little island. Souvenir shops have almost disappeared.  Jobs in the tourist industry have gone with them.  

  Maybe now our friends  newly opened  *meze taverna will stay open in the winter and they won't have to  rely on their goats, milk and feta to survive in the off months.

* meze -  snacks : salted sardines, olives, fish roe salad, octopus or kalamari, whatever is fresh and seasonal served with raki, ouzo, beer or wine

 Maybe Elli's clients will pay the money owed to her office as their  businesses  finally make a small profit and maybe she too will get paid in full and on time.

  Maybe the Mayor will have enough money to fix the jetty which fell into the water two years ago. Maybe he will fix the potholes which bounce my quad bike all over the road, and maybe we can again have  some fireworks at New Year.

Maybe I will be able to buy an english magazine sometimes.  Maybe I will be able to indulge in some new knitting wool this winter.

 Maybe K will be able to meet his friends and continue with their old Wednesday get together and chew over the local gossip and football scores. 

Greeks are social people.  Without that interaction (social intercourse, as Harry would say) they shrivel and  fade, no longer those plate breaking, loud talking, singing, dancing, light hearted humans.  Even  German holiday makers lighten-up here, attempt a little Greek, kicking off their birkenstocks, dancing like zorbas, drinking ouzo and forgetting the towels draped since dawn over their deckchairs. 

The cooling meltemi has started blowing from the north.  This  north wind, freezing in the winter, blowing down straight from the Russian steppes, is a welcome breeze in these hottest summer months.

Now that the pantry is full of macaroni our greatest fear is not hunger but fire.  K and I were drinking our iced coffees this morning under the lemon trees when we both noticed the whiff of smoke in the air.  We went out into the road to scan the sky but except for a slight blue haze in the bay below the skies were clear and sunny. 

That was yesterday.  The meltemi became gale force winds which whipped up fires all over Greece.  By dusk there were 72 fronts being battled by volunteers, firemen, helicopters, Canadair firefighting planes and army apaches.

Instead of 24 hour politics we were watching 24 hour smoked filled horror.  On the outskirts of Athens on the slopes of re-forested Mount Hymettus the flames engulfed a house as we stared at our TV screen.  A politican who arrived to speak in front of the cameras was told to take off his jacket and help fight the flames.  He made a hasty retreat. 

Mount Hymettus used to be known for the quality of its thyme scented honey.  Now there are only brown and grey slopes with blackened tree stumps.  I hope the bees escaped.  However,  two beekeepers were arrested for starting the fire. 

A new dawn.  The winds are not so strong and most of the fires are at least controlled, but not before burning houses and businesses.

Last night there was a cabinet shuffle.  Nothing to be excited about.  It was a difficult choice as no-one wanted to be in the unpopular position of putting into action more tax laws and sacking more public servants.

Tonight the family gathers to eat the fish K and the grandchildren caught.  7 year old Natali has become another fishing fanatic, happy to get up at 5.30am and thrilled to catch 3 fish.  They went diving as well and brought up scallops, the perfect meze for an ouzo or two.

All is well till Monday when the banks reopen and I have to pay all the bills sitting on the bench.  We still have money to pay them so we are thankful. 

Tuna sort of fish cooked on a clay tile
served with beetroot and garlic sauce 





1 comment:

  1. So once again Poros life settles into the sleepy torpor we know and love it for. Lets hope Greek culture will survive the transformation needed to turn the country around.

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