Gillian Bouras
An Australian
Writer
Living in Greece

It's Still Greek to Me!

 

April 2017

Time seems to be speeding away, and having visited all my grandchildren very recently, I could wish that matters such as their growth could be slowed down just a little. The Big Boys (Nikitas and Maximus) turn 11 and 9 next week, a fact I find hard to believe, and are in current need of bricks on their heads. Before they turn into yards of pump water: both these expressions per courtesy of my late mother, who was always very interested in words in general and colourful expressions and parody in particular.

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March 2017

I’m sure I have a lot of mates who will join me in bidding a glad farewell to the trying month of February: I know this refrain sounds monotonous, and it is, but there you have it. Eventually, of course, we will be glad of the amount of rain that has fallen. In the meantime, however, we are all convinced that T.S. Eliot got it wrong: April is not the cruellest month, as that dubious honour goes to February.

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February 2017

It seems quite a long time since I wrote last, but 2017 is already speeding on its way. At this point, I have to admit that my Pollyanna resolution of last month is already under pressure. The main reason for this is the constant stream of news emanating from the USA in general and from the White House in particular. None of this news is good. How can it be, when there is a madman in residence in the aforesaid mansion?  Simon Schama, noted historian, and a person I follow on Twitter, has asserted that President Trump is ‘clinically unhinged.’ I agree wholeheartedly, and I’m sure I have millions of mates. Trump’s cry of ‘betrayal’, recently directed at the US Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, is typical of people who have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Mine is a lay person’s opinion, of course, but again, I think I have millions of mates who would agree with this diagnosis.

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January 2017

Having reached (at least in theory) the so-called years of discretion many moons ago, I no longer leap to welcome the New Year with a glad cry. Let caution be your watchword, I tell myself, and let’s see what happens: it’s bound to be plenty. We have to admit that 2016 was a trying time, and that’s putting it mildly. But we also have to keep hoping for better things, so let us be like Pollyanna and be glad about the good and bright spots: we each have a list. Tomorrow, for example, I’m glad I’m going to see my two youngest grandchildren. Very glad. And I’ll catch up with the others, my two big boys, before long.

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December 2016

Post early for Christmas, they say. Well, I’ll try to do so with this section of Diary. I can’t promise about cards, however: every year I make resolutions about being organised and early, but guess what? Well, the answer to that question is very predictable. The best-laid plans etc: my attempts to clear the decks before decking the halls, so to speak, usually end in ignominious failure.

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November 2016

Here in the Peloponnese, autumn is drawing to a close with wet and dreary weather. The occasional storm is also on the agenda. British journalist India Knight says she loves this sort of weather, as it gives her the excuse to loll around the house and wear enormous socks. I like big socks and admire India Knight, but cannot share her enthusiasm for this coolness: I eventually find the grey clouds depressing.

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October 2016

School has well and truly started, and eldest grandson Nikitas is (miraculous to report) learning French! I’ll soon be able to check on his progress, as I am about to set off very soon for Megara and Athens. Once upon a time I hardly ever went to Attica, but now, of course, the grandchildren are a great draw. And they change so quickly and grow up so inexorably. Each phase is interesting, but sometimes I wish the growth rate would slow just a little. Especially in the case of Natalia, my granddaughter, who is in her third month already.

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September 2016

My granddaughter is here! She is now a month old, and I will go to Athens to see her again shortly. She’s a big girl, in training to be some kind of Cretan-Peloponnesian warrior princess, I think, as she was more than 4kg at birth. And 54 cm long. Yet her mother took only five hours to deliver her: copy-book stuff, apparently. It’s a pity more of us females can’t manage this trick, or do not know the secret of it. In Greece babies are supposed to be named after the father’s parents, but I let all my children off that particular hook a long time ago. So my granddaughter is to be called Natalia, which means ‘birthday of the Lord.’ As you might imagine, she has a good head of dark hair: I am not used to bald babies!

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August 2016

An all-time record for posting ahead of time this month, but there is a good reason for it, as I am about to set off for Athens in order to be Granny/Yiayia: I am to mind my grandson Orestes while his mother goes about producing a little sister for him. Orestes, who is now three-and-a half, is in for the shock of his young life. I am jittering away, while feeling that after three sons and three grandsons, some kind of a drought has been broken. Watch this space for further all-important details.

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July 2016

At the end of June, the world is in a mess. I suppose it always is, but in my lifetime I have seen it get steadily messier: I have to remind myself we have made progress in some areas. I also have to remind myself as to what they are. I think, for example, we are more conscious of the planet’s frailty, which does not mean to say that the majority of the population takes heed of this frailty and acts accordingly. But on this very day of writing, the BBC news service has informed its audience that there is evidence of the hole in the ozone layer actually shrinking. This hole, as most people know, is situated over Antarctica, and has been a source of concern for a long time. And the shrinkage/healing is a slow process. But at least it is progress.

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June 2016

Summer has got off to a slow start, but it is here now, and two days ago I had my first swim of the season. Greeks count their swims; it took me years to get used to this habit, but now I count my plunges and paddles, too. The old belief was that the more swims you had, the better off you’d be during the following winter. Sand baths were also considered very efficacious in the battle against arthritis and rheumatism, but so far I haven’t had to worry about these problems. Touch wood. I’ve a lot to catch up on in the swimming department, as this time last year I was readying myself for a winter in Melbourne, which turned out to be the coldest for 26 years: just my luck.

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May 2016

Slightly late, but then as I write it is Orthodox Easter, and also May Day.

Excuses, excuses.

I have been to Athens again recently. One of my friends says I’m always bustling hither and yon, and I remember phoning an editor during a long ago visit to Melbourne. ‘Where are you?’ she asked. ‘I’m in a tram,’ I replied. ‘You’re always going somewhere,’ she remarked. On that occasion I was merely heading into the city, but I suppose she had a point. I also suppose my junketings and ‘going somewhere’ is a defence mechanism, and a distraction. ‘When in doubt buy a ticket,’ says a similarly inclined friend.

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Gillian Bouras

 

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