Gillian Bouras
An Australian
Writer
Living in Greece

It's Still Greek to Me!

 

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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July 2013

Anthropologists believe that the outsider in society is both dangerous and in danger, and I eventually learned this truth in a small but painful way when I came, very unexpectedly, to live in a traditional Greek village, where I formed an Australian community of one. The outsider is dangerous because in questioning matters s/he does not understand, a threat is perceived and the status quo, which may have existed for centuries, is seen as being threatened, if not undermined. It then follows that the outsider is inevitably in danger, because society, and often small societies are the most vicious and punitive, will usually act to crush him/her as swiftly and as effectively as possible.

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June 2013

The beginning of summer. Summers here pass in a flash, and so it is that Nikos Kazantzakis’s autumnal Peloponnesian journey of so long ago still haunts me. On this matter, I seem to be repeating myself: that’s what happens when increasing age and languishing projects conspire to combine.

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May 2013

Only connect wrote novelist E.M. Forster, giving sound advice that stresses our often-ignored common humanity. This dictum also applies to the ageing brain, and I obeyed it when I recently received a news feature about the Wimmera township of Nhill, where I spent formative years as a small child. It seems incredible to me, making the mental connection over time and space, but Nhill now has a new ethnic community: some 120 of the Karen people from Myanmar have settled there, halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide.

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Gillian Bouras

 

Eureka Street

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Gillian Bouras 2018 CreativityGames.net