Monday 29 May 2023

Monastery Views

There is one Monastery on the island, Zoodochos Pigis.  The name means 'Life giving spring'.  Google says that its a medieval monastery (1773) and has a few rare icons.  There's only one monk there usually with some of his family and a few hangers-on.

I know that from the entrance, up quite a few steps, there is a great view of the bay below and the mountains on the mainland opposite.  Women cannot enter wearing men's clothing, wrap around skirts provided in the entranceway.  If you enter wearing trews, or shorts for  men, and the monk is around then you'll get told off. 

There's a spring down below whose waters are supposed to have cured Archbishop Jacovos 11 of lithiasis, gall stones or kidney stones.  He decided to build the Monastery where this miracle took place.  And Hey Presto, here it still is today.  One of Poros's few sites/sights to see

The steps to the church and cloister

One of the many cypress trees,  
Cypress trees always grow (are planted) around churches and graveyards

View from the top
Monastery Beach (what else would it be called)
There's an organised beach down there and a fish taverna.  All rents go to the Monastery.  It has acres of land around it, mostly forest but also olive trees.  

Woman in men's attire wearing wrap around skirt

And down below on the roadside is a cafe with chairs under the spreading chestnut tree and a cool breeze coming down the ravine even in mid-summer

The 'life-giving' spring
Just a trickle now but you can fill a bottle and give it a try.  It's good to drink.  All the water served by the cafe comes from there

Our good friend Meleti and his coffee-carrier
Meleti makes the cheesecake, pies and a variety of snacks by himself.  Well worth trying
He's a good friend and a jolly wee man who will make your day a happy one.  He's often helped by his wife and children, all equally cheerful
Loos are up the road in the forest.  Pleasantly clean

Meleti and his wife Nektaria always have a show of flowers and plants in pots.  Soon there will be big bushes of basil

Now, doesn't that look pleasant.
The chairs aren't terribly comfortable but are ok for an hour of book reading, talking and ouzo drinking

Monday 22 May 2023

And Here We Go Again

Celebrations and jubilations

 Two name days and General Elections. Three more grand-children voted for the first time. 

Voters gave a victory to governing right wing New Democracy party but not enough to form a government. We will be back at the polls on June 25th.

We celebrated two Saints Days. Half the family is named after these two saints and I squeeze myself in there too. There's no Saint Linda. Not around here anyway. I pretend I'm a Lydia and the observe a name day along with my grand-daughter

20th May ...

Saint Lydia 

21st May ...

Saints Konstantine and Helena (Eleni) 

My present from my girls and family. A friendly Troll. Love him

K got a few bottles of ouzo and a new table for his laptop. We are both happy.

Daughter and grand-daughter were both baptised Eleni but we always call them by short forms of the name. As a name day present  I wanted to make hotcross buns for my daughter but they were a flop. The dough didn't rise so I chucked it. What a waste. Half a kilo of expensive bread flour, eggs and real butter.  I chucked my yeast as well. Can't think what else was the problem though it wasn't stale yeast.
I'll make more tomorrow. Thankfully I've still got half the flour and butter .

The family all came to say 'Kronia Polla'
Many happy returns
To their father.
He was happy as he'd been cooking all morning. 
Not too many leftovers. We will only be eating them for a couple of days instead of a week.
Its always a delight to see the family together. The girls are excellent at clearing up too. 
They're all revving up for end of year exams. 
Summer holidays begin towards the end of June. 
Monday 5 June is another long weekend. Pentecostal Monday or Monday of the Holy Spirit. 
11 June Invitation to the baptism of a neighbour's baby boy and reception at our local rural taverna.

My English friend came to celebrate with us so I had a good day chatting in my mother tongue. She's a member of the family now.
One of K's friend had a few too many ouzos and went to sleep at the table.  We've got used to him and just let him sleep on and clean up around him. He came with his daughter and grand-daughter who tried to take him home. He mumbled a refusal. 
An hour later he lifted his head and I suggested he at least go inside and sleep in an armchair. He decided he'd wobble off home. And wobble he did, onto his motorbike. Fortunately he only lives up the road. 
Life here is never without it's drama.

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Celebrating Again?

 Yup, here we go again.  One of the grand-daughters became a godmother last weekend.  She and another girl baptised, or the Priest did, a bouncing baby girl.  As Godmother she could invite her family to the ceremony and so it was another family get-together.

Here are the 2 godmothers reading the ....Apostles Creed, I believe it is called in English.  That prayer that begins
I believe  in God, the Father Almighty......
Then they promise to do all they can to make sure the babe will be a devoted member of the Orthodox church.

The child is dunked 3 times into the font, covered with olive oil, the best from this year's family olive harvest, and has 3 pieces of hair cut off. 
This little babe is one of the few that didn't wail when she was dunked.  Most babies cry throughout the ceremony.
She was baptised Evangelia-Pavlina,  Evelina for short

Once all that oil is wiped off with a special cloth she is 
 dressed again in the new baptismal clothes bought specially by the Godmothers. The Priest puts on her gold cross, also bought by the Godmothers. 
They then proceed around the font 3 times 'in an act of rejoicing with the angels of heaven' says Mr Google 

Before Evelina was handed back to her mother my grand-daughter, holding Evelina, was lifted into the air by her siblings and told they'd keep her up there if she didn't promise them a gift.  
After 'a bottle of beer', 'a vow to wash all their dishes for a month', 'free tickets on the car ferry to Galatas' didn't make the grade they finally let her down after she agreed to buy them tickets to New Zealand.  That's going to be an expensive baptism for her!

Both Godmothers will take Evelina to church for the next 3 Sundays to take communion and then their duties are buying gifts for her on Name Days, Birthday, Xmas and Easter.

The party afterwards took place on the beach.
We changed into more casual clothes, drank beer and ate souvlaki till a chill evening wind made me move K and head home.


The beach wasn't deserted but it was mostly ours.  The sun came and went.  Small children and dogs went swimming.

When my girls were baptized, on Poros, my mother-in-law took the cloth that held the oily baby down to the sea and washed it there. That tradition has died out.  We went back to Piraeus the next week so my girls weren't taken for communion. Their heathen mother wasn't prepared to go that far.
They've grown up into awesome adults anyway.

Monday 8 May 2023

Another Celebration

We have just celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary.  And what a celebration it was.  We went to a local taverna for a quiet family night.  It turned into a night of music and dancing 

What we didn't know was that the taverna was having a live greek music night.  And what nobody knew was that at the long table where visitors were celebrating a coming wedding there was a saxaphone player, with his sax, and a professional singer.  

It started off with the usual greek songs which the wedding party all got up to dance to and then the dynamic french singer stood up and picked up the pace.  The greek singer who was running the music night knew a whole range of songs and together they gave us a concert of italian, beatles, toe tappers and back to greek  .  The saxaphone player began his  mellow accompaniment and the taverna erupted in cheers and clapping.  In days of yore there would have been some plate smashing too.

There was cake of course
Enough for all of us, friends at the table next to us and quite a bit leftover for the taverna staff to have a taste

My three girls dancing a hasapiko (butcher's dance)

K joins in. 
The paper napkins on the floor are thrown at the dancers.  In an Athens nightclub it would have been baskets of carnations

I was forced to dance as well.   But you aren't going to see that video!