Monday 28 March 2016


The carnival is over.  Lent has begun.  We had  a leisurely Clean Monday, though K did not think quite the same.  He and Kyriakos sat outside in the cold bbqing, boiling and cleaning all the seafood.  Kina in the half 'shell' has to be cut in the middle with a special 'implement'.  Crabs have to be boiled lightly, octopus and kalamari grilled and a sort of shiny cockle opened ready for slurping.  Small children were entertained with squirts of lemon juice which made the cockles wriggle and squirm. Cockles and mussels alive, alive-o.

Kina (sea urchins, ahinous) were snagged by K from our local bay using a piece of fishing net on the end of a long pole.  They are an endangered species now, although you would not think so when swimming around our bay.

I made half a dozen loaves of flat sourdough bread and lots of taramousalata.   For 'pudding' we had fruit doused with honey and cinnamon and a big halvas, made of semolina, sugar and oil.

No one ate too much, no one drank too much, the kids were reasonably uninvasive.  We sat around the table with only close family and a good friend, chatted and gossiped, listened to the wind and rain outside and stoked the fire to keep out the damp.

Not a day for picnics or kite flying.

The last two days we have had southerly winds and dense clouds of red sand from the Sahara with just enough rain to make it all stick.  The red dust cannot simply be rinsed off, cars and outdoor fixtures have to be properly washed and cleaned to get rid of it all.  Our windows and doors are covered in thick red raindrops.

a small child dressed up as a kalikanzaro, a sort of naughty imp, wielding a yellow plastic cricket bat (from NZ of course)

clean Monday table

25th March - National holiday with parades, wreath laying, poems, dancing and feasting with those named Evangelina or Evangelos.

This day is a religious and a political holiday.  It is Annunciation day - announcement day in simple language.  The angel Gabriel gave Mary a lily and told her she was the chosen one and would give birth in exactly nine months to the Son of God.

Also on this day many hundreds of years later Bishop Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag and started the revolution against the Turks.  The Greeks cried 'Freedom or Death' and began a 9 year war of independence.

There is a big military parade in Athens and in every village, on every island there is a parade of local bigwigs and school children, the laying of wreaths and patriotic music and dancing.

On the eve of the holiday our school kids have a small celebration at school where nationalistic poems are recited and there are small theatrical productions starring those historical heroes and heroines who took part in the long struggle.  Byron was also one of the heroes of the campaign and died in the swamps of Messalonghi in 1824.

The blue and white blue flag is flown outside houses and businesses and it is one of the few days of Lent when it is allowed to eat fish.  Traditionally this day the fish dish is salt cod and garlic sauce.

We went across to the inlaws on Galatas to celebrate with Kyriako's family.  His brother's name is Vangelis (Evangelos).  The salt cod has to be soaked for at least 24 hours to get rid of the salt and then it is fried in crisp batter.  The garlic sauce is made from stale bread soaked in water, lots of olive oil, many cloves of crushed garlic and a good dash of vinegar. 

Aunt Eleni, over 80, had fried 60 pieces of cod.  It is a large extended family.  The maiden aunts will feed  cod to all the cousins. uncles and aunts.With the left over batter she made a huge pile of little pancakes, great with wine and a few olives so I was told.

salt cod and garlic sauce - NOT fried fish and mash as I once thought.  What a nasty surprise
K puts up our flag
Me, left bottom corner with one of many glasses of wine

Refugees - Greece already had one million refugees before this latest crisis started - from the Balkans, India and Pakistan mainly.

Now almost 60,000 from Syria and middle east  and more arriving. 

15,000 refugees camped out in the mud in appalling conditons, and weather on the Macedonian border.
This route through the balkans is now officially closed but they refuse to leave and go to established camps......just in case.
5,000 refugees camped out along Piraeus harbor.  Also refusing to go to established camps. Fighting and protesting a daily occurrence.

Italian PM Renzi sent carabinieri to the help the Albanians secure their border with Greece.

Refugees now just a Greek problem  it seems. EU borders closed.
Is this Warfare by migrant invasion?

Je suis Bruxelles

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