Gillian Bouras
An Australian
Living in Greece

March 2015

My least favourite month of the year is over, for which much thanks. Although it is the shortest month, here in the Peloponnese it always seems the longest. There have been some sunny days, but these have most often been accompanied by winds that seem to come directly from Siberia, and nights have been simply freezing. My hot-water bottle is very high on the list of My Favourite Things at present.

Spring has sprung, though, despite the inclement weather. The red poppies that are really anemones are rioting everywhere, purple irises are peeping out from behind rocks, and fruit trees are misted in pink and white blossom. But during the last week all this floral activity has been considerably dampened by the serious rain of the Pelops: none of your drizzly English nonsense here. Never mind: the olive trees and their owners are happy.

I never say or write much about Greek politics. There are many reasons for what the average Greek, for whom politics is the very breath of life, would consider an inexplicable omission. For the last couple of months it has been possible to spend every waking moment following the developments in the krisi that has blighted life here for so long, but I have other fish to fry, other interests to pursue. I am just not a political animal, I suppose. In fact I have been known to describe myself as a pacifist anarchist. An anarchist in the nicest possible way, of course: I’m not a wrecker of anything. At least I hope I’m not.

I keep my weather eye open, so to speak, as the game of chicken goes on, but feel no temptation to let the whole business take over my life. It is scary, yes, and that may be ample reason for my lack of interest, but as a friend says, Greece will survive: it always does. Although perhaps not quite as it might like. In the meantime, Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis is cutting a swathe through the female population of Europe. One of my English friends says she wants to start a fan club. Tony Abbott, eat your heart out. Speedos clearly cannot compare with biker boots when it comes to basic appeal. Accept the harsh fact that some people have that je ne sais quoi charisma, while others patently lack it.

Within the last few days the world has changed for a generation, and for the succeeding generations that had not been born when the original series of Star Trek, a kind of space Western, was filmed. Leonard Nimoy, otherwise known as half-human half-Vulcan Mr Spock, has died. Strange to relate, the original generation was Spock-dominated, for there was also the famous Dr Spock, whose book Baby and Child Care, first published in 1946, was an astronomically (!) successful best-seller that had a huge influence, for better or for worse, on child-rearing throughout the Western world. Those watching Mr Spock had had their lives guided, at least in part, by the so-called ‘permissive’ doctor who shared the name.  

Leonard Nimoy was a fairly ordinary working actor before 1966, and cannot possibly have expected Star Trek to acquire the status of a cult, but this is what happened. The Big Bang Theory, for example, which is screened regularly on Greek television, shows the young scientists of the 21st century hopelessly hooked on anything to do with Star Trek: in one episode misfit Sheldon even dreams that his toy Spock is real. The character apparently took over Nimoy’s own life to such an extent that he wrote a volume of autobiography entitled I Am Not Spock. But this displeased his fans so much that he eventually wrote another volume called I Am Spock.

The New York Times did Nimoy/Spock proud. There were two articles and a video in yesterday’s edition, and one of the pieces attracted 914 comments from readers. (That was the count when I checked last; there may be more comments by now.)  One reader wished the deceased well as he went into ‘the Great Unknowable.’ The newspaper itself acknowledged Nimoy/Spock as ‘a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signal salute and blessing: Live long and prosper.’ Leonard Nimoy, who explained the salute’s origin in Judaism, apparently followed Spock’s advice.

A friend has just written from Melbourne to tell me that Grandmothers Against Detention recently held a march through city streets, and that the event made it to the TV news. Good. People who read the journal Eureka Street know my views on the matter of children in detention. Go, Grannies!!


Gillian Bouras


Eureka Street

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Gillian Bouras 2018