Gillian Bouras
An Australian
Writer
Living in Greece

It's Still Greek to Me!

 

July 2014

People’s attitudes to travel are usually quite fascinating. I once rang a friend from a Melbourne tram. ‘You’re always going somewhere,’ she said, although as it happened I was not going anywhere very exciting. In a London supermarket long ago, a man once told me that you could walk from Hampstead Heath to Oxford Street in about an hour. Via Regent’s Park. ‘But of course,’ he remarked, ‘we are not going anywhere; we are already here.’ On that fatalistic note, he left.

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June 2014

Late again. More excuses. But it’s a really good one this time. I’m just back from a four day excursion, and am so glad I went.  Organised by the Friends of the Australian Archaeological Institute of Athens, the trip involved visiting Sparta, Mystras, and Monemvasia., so that both Ancient and Byzantine Greece received due attention. And we had expert commentary from an American archaeologist who clearly knows certain parts of Greece like the back of his hand.

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May 2014

 

The first of May is a public holiday in Greece. I don’t suppose too many of the locals have heard of Alfred Tennyson, the nineteenth century English poet, who penned, among many immortal lines, the not-so-memorable “I’m to be Queen o’ the May, Mother.’ But the locals, many of them, anyway, still keep to the custom of gathering ‘knots of flowers and buds’ for the making of ‘garlands gay.’ My late mother-in-law never missed making a May Day wreath, and it is considered bad luck for a house not to have one. Alas, I have taken this risk for many a long year.

 

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April 2014

Late again, but with a good excuse, as I’m just back from the Big Smoke, which is how I think of Athens, where smoke is a definite feature of the cityscape. Greeks who live in the countryside are more likely to refer to it as To Megalo Xorio, The Big Village. I’ve had a week being Granny/Yiayia, and in fact I started the interlude about 27 km south-west of Athens, in a place called Nea Peramos, which is where my two ‘big’ grandsons live. Nikitas turns 8 and Maximus 6 this week, and where have all those years gone? I ask myself.

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March 2014

I’m pleased to report that this last month has been the most bearable February I have ever known. There have been a few rainy spells, and bouts of cold, but not many, so as a result the wild flowers have gone mad, a sure sign that the Peloponnesian landscape is awakening from its winter sleep. Balmy weather has comforted us all, although it could well be, as my Scottish ancestors might have said, that we will pay for it later. In the meantime, enjoyment is the name of the day, and the locals have got on to spring tasks of ploughing and planting much earlier than usual. Jackets and coats have been shed, and people are readying themselves for Clean Monday, which is the huge celebration and general nosh-up that marks the beginning of Lent.

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February 2014

I know I’ve moaned about the speed of Time’s winged chariot before, but the vehicle seems to be accelerating, even while people of my age are trying, as a friend rather ruefully remarks, to break said chariot’s axle. To no avail, of course. And we can’t shoot the horses, either.

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January 2014

It’s happened again: another year is here, creeping up on us when we least expected it, when we’d hardly finished dealing with the last one. Some people I know are relieved, not having been entirely happy with the notion of 2013. 2014, they say, has a much better ring to it. Well, here’s hoping they’re right, and here’s hoping for good things to happen to all people. (So many bad things seem to happen to good people, let’s face it.)

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December 2013

Forty-five years ago, my parents moved into a house that had no front fence. In most of that Melburnian suburb, although side fences served as a practical sort of divider, lawns sloped freely down to the concrete pavements, and nobody thought anything of it. I certainly didn’t, but these days the subject of fences and walls is very much on my mind, and I think of that estate’s plan as being symbolic of a kind of trust and freedom that may have disappeared forever.

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November 2013

I flatter myself I have been punctual with this diary over the last few months, or punctual enough, but now I am separated from my laptop, which went suddenly bung the other day, with the result that I am struggling with an old and recalcitrant notebook. The notebook is not only slow, but has a will of its own. The laptop, meanwhile, has undergone its diagnosis (nothing very serious or too expensive, praise the Lord and the technician) and must languish for a couple of days before being restored to Home and Mother.

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October 2013

I had planned this month to write about something quite different from the subject matter with which I have become swiftly preoccupied. In my sunset years I have become a Lady Who Lunches, and Saturday’s effort was a Looong Lunch. And while it was happening, things in Athens were changing dramatically.

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September 2013

Here in the northern hemisphere, or in the Greek part of it, summer seems to linger on: it is still very hot. But leaves are beginning to fall from trees, and spirits are beginning to drop with those same leaves. At least mine are: the melancholy fit tends to strike at the first sign of autumn.

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August 2013

Not so long ago I thought of my two worlds of Australia and Greece continually colliding, or at least grinding against each other. These days I tend to think they have blended and blurred into one another to become something more and much easier than a testing juxtaposition. Today, for example, I spent some time on a beach, a pebbly one. Not very Australian, but then the long line of gum trees was as Aussie as you can get, except that I believe they came to this part of the world from California. Never mind. The sea was like a mill pond, as unlike the Southern Ocean as it can be. The Taygetus Mountains towering over the whole scene would dwarf places like Mt Buffalo, but never mind that, either.

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Gillian Bouras

 

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Gillian Bouras 2017 CreativityGames.net