Monday, May 28, 2007


Some of you are already aware that Michael is my brother and a handful have read some of Maria's (my mother) poetry so now I am going to introduce my sister Pauline, who is about to launch a blog of her own. I for one can't wait.

Doesn't Play Nicely With Others

You see that girl hanging round our house
With no friends to go out with at night
She lives in a world of imagine
With no other person in sight

Oh yes, she can talk about engines
and Leonardo's theories on flight
Or discuss at great length metaphysics
or even why animals may bite

But she doesn't know much about make up
or shopping for clothes come to that
In fact she looks like a bag lady
she's just short of a shawl and a hat

Don't talk to her please, she's our sister
Although that may give you a fright
She doesn't play nicely with others
So we don't let her into the light

by Pauline

Note to Pauline, Come into the light. Post something on your own blog.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The way to a man’s heart attack is through his stomach.

She was cooking his favourite food. A dutiful and diligent wife ought to attend to her husband’s needs; Six rashers of bacon, two sausages, a couple of fried eggs and plenty of French fries; might as well add a grilled tomato for show.
Cooking for him was murder, but it would be difficult to prove.
Late addition. My sister sent me a 55 and is threatening to start blogging. Yeah!

Twas brilig and the slithy toves had just done gyring and gymbling in the mire and were wondering what to do next. The borogroves were still a bit mimsy and probably not ready to drink yet. The threshers were shut and the sans berets couldn't sell borogroves after 3pm on a brilig. Oh mire !

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In An Emergency.......Pray You're Not in Greece

I haven’t been around much for the last couple of days. The reason for this is that my mum in law, Elevtheria, who is in poor health contracted a tummy bug to add to her other troubles. She probably caught it from me but whereas I just felt under the weather for a couple of days Elevtheria had a temperature of 102 and barfed enough to fill several blogs for the foreseeable future.

Things got so bad that on Sunday I decided to take her to the emergency room. This is “a big story” in Greece, meaning it is a lot of bother as opposed to an untrue story, as my brother explained in his last post, "Big Stories". I was advised, by a second cousin twice removed, that in order to avoid waiting for six hours or more to get through the door we should call an ambulance. This part was easy I dialed 166 and was suitably impressed that we only had to wait half an hour for it to arrive.

I left my children in the capable and loving hands of my dear friend Tina and set off for my first ride in a Greek ambulance. I was in for another surprise it actually had a gurney in it AND sick bags! I once asked my husband if ambulance attendants here have to be qualified and he told me that if you are lucky the guy behind the steering wheel has a driving license. When we arrived at the hospital I gave the ambulance attendants a 20 dollar hand shake, you never know when you might need another ambulance and they WILL remember. This little trick got us past the other poor souls dying in the corridor and directly into the emergency examination area. Have any of you seen “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”? I think the entire cast was in that room, and that was just the doctors.

So there I was surrounded by about 30 assorted fools, drunks, madmen and almost corpses, accompanied by my rainbow shouting mum in law, in a room that was about 12 square feet in size, and a few of them were clubbed feet at that! I encouraged Elevtheria to shout a bit louder as she barfed for the umpteenth time that day and God bless her she got right into the spirit of the thing. She even managed to make more noise than the alcoholic in the corner who seemed to be suffering from a case of the DTs. I’m not sure if it was her enthusiastic chundering or my hearty congratulations that got their attention but two harassed looking interns were soon writing up a bunch of tests and giving her a shot of something or other.

On to the next hurdle, one of the interns babbled a list of instructions and directions that sounded completely Greek to me, probably because they were. I bribed a passing person in green baggy clothes (who could have been the head surgeon for all I knew) to find me a wheelchair then we set off on the next leg of our hospitalathon (it could well make it into the next Olympics the way things are going, along with snowball fights for the winter
games). Actually getting that wheel chair out into the corridor was a gargantuan task. Elevtheria, exhausted by her award winning aria and the subsequent prodding flopped gratefully into the perambulatory vehicle and left me to it. No help was at hand from the ailing allsorts so I backed towards the double swing doors apologizing to everybody as I ran over their toes and slightly encouraged by the alcoholics excellent impression of a banshee (“Oooooo eeeeee ooooo eeeeeee oooooo eeeee!!”) I lent backwards and head butted my way into the corridor. Well that was the general idea but in fact what happened was that as my head passed through the doors they swung back into place so that my head was in the corridor whilst the rest of my body along with my mother in law and the wheel chair were still inside the examination room.

I could turn my head just enough to see the interested stares of some of the walking wounded lining the corridor. They were perking up a bit, not many things provide entertainment at the ER on a Sunday afternoon and my little dilemma must have looked pretty promising to them. OK, time for my world famous human banana impression! A mini space walk managed to get my feet into a position that made it possible to put pressure on the door with my heels. The pressure on my neck started to ease as I slid my feet backwards and outwards pulling on the wheelchair as I reversed. The onlookers seemed genuinely pleased by my progress but they weren’t going to spoil the fun by offering any kind of assistance, apart from one game soul on a gurney who waved an arm in encouragement almost dislodging his IV in the process. I was about as close to doing the splits as I am ever going to get when the wheel chair decided to join the party and my own version of the evolution of dance moved into spasmodic jive mode as I fought against the momentum to avoid running myself over with my mother in laws transportation, finishing off with a little rain dance(silly not to really) and a nonchalant twirl to reposition the wheelchair I set off down the corridor towards the x-ray department aided by pieces of paper, cellotaped to the pea green walls at irregular intervals, with little arrows drawn on them in felt tip pen.

Once we had finished with x-rays, blood tests and the like we proceeded to the admissions area which had two six bed temporary wards and about 50 patients. As it turned out the bribe for the wheelchair was money well spent as Elevtheria would probably have been sat on the floor otherwise. I tripped up a passing nurse to get her attention and shoved our paperwork into her hand. I felt bad about this later when I realized that there were only 2 nurses on duty and no doctors. The doctors showed up at 9pm, 3 hours later, pronounced my mother in law fit to go and sent us home.

I cannot say that some of that time wasn’t profitably spent, for one thing once news got round that Elevtheria was unwell various cousins, uncles and their dogs joined us, two of them traveling over 100km to do so, and an impromptu family reunion took place. In addition to which I discovered the toilet facilities to be in such an abominably filthy condition that I searched out a mop and bucket and cleaned them myself figuring that 2 nurses to 50+ patients added up to no cleaners within a mile of the building Just before we left I went out to the canteen to get a bottle of drinking water and was horrified to see some poor chap propped up against the trunk of a tree with his IV resting in the branches, I can only hope that he had popped out for a cigarette.

My mum in law then spent her third night in a row “talking on the big white telephone to God” so today I went totally Greek and took her to a doctor who ” knows” us, in other words someone we have bribed on a regular basis ever since Elevtheria started her battle against cancer 12 years ago. A 50 dollar handshake later my mum in law was finally admitted to hospital and is now being cared for by people who know which side their bread is buttered.

Friday, May 18, 2007

55 Flash Fiction - Emotional Fallout


“You have to drink this. No, don’t fall asleep!”
The insistent voice comes from a long way away close by.

The glass is pushed up to her mouth once more.
Gagging on the salty liquid she pulls away vomiting into the sink.
Hearing the ambulance siren approaching
she wonders why they won’t let her die.



I must remain calm, now more than ever.
Seeing the salty spittle bubbling on my daughter’s lips
I feel fear squeezing my throat, don’t panic. Bastard!
“You have to drink this. No, don’t fall asleep!”
I mustn’t forget to take the bottle with me to show the doctors.
Why is the ambulance taking so long?


Who the hell could be phoning him at this time of night.
He listened to the sobbing almost hysterical voice of his estranged wife.

There was no way he was going anywhere at this time of night.
What kind of a guilt trip was she trying to lay on him anyway?
She would cope alone.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Five Fave Food Places,
Oh my gods tagged again this time by EBEZP with the food meme.
The rules:
1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
miss kendra (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Lee Ann (Birmingham, AL, United States)
EBEZP (Wirral, Merseyside, UK)
CATHY (Athens, Attica, Greece)

2. List your top 5 favourite places to eat at your location.


The Chinese in Haidari.
It’s close to home and not Greek.

--------------------------------The Mexican restaurant at the village centre.

They have the best chocolate soufflé that
I have ever tasted.

Though that is not Mexican food,

George’s souvlaki shop
I have no idea where it is.
My husband does the driving
while I just space out
and compose my next post.

Tassos, near George’s souvlaki shop.

It’s got a playground for the kids
so I get to eat in relative peace and quiet
and the salads are nice too.

The Apolis in Petropoulis, I’m not making this up honest. This is on top of a hill and you can see the Acropolis in the distance. It has coffee shops, bars, a disco, function room as well as indoor and outdoor restaurants. It also belongs to one of my husband’s relatives which is why I know so much about it.


1. Hale McKay ( because I think he might like this one, though I could be wrong)
2. puerileuwaite ( because he will undoubtedly give it a humourous twist)
3. Tina ( she takes a sick and perverted pleasure in doing memes)
4. charles (because I think he will do a good job of it, honestly!)
5. G-man (because he won't mind)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ode to Conscience

Without your weight,
My anchor to the ground.
I would fly away,
Disappear into the clouds,
Blow with the breeze,
Flee into the night,
To dance among the stars,
Twinkling, shining.

Without your stern disapproval,
Your frown of conformity.
I would sing by bubbling brooks,
Dangling my toes in the water,
Run naked through the grass,
Roll down hills laughing,
And pick flowers from the hedgerows,
To wear in my hair.

Without your ancient attitude,
Your melancholy depth,
I could be forever,

The child I never was.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Her limbs are so heavy; she is pinned helpless to the bed. How can a head filled with mist weigh so much? It is impossible to raise it from the pillow. Even as she calls for help she knows there will be no response. It would have been better to be located at ground zero.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Barf on a Blog!

When I started my blog it was a bit of an experiment to see if I could do it. The things that I posted were really just for my own benefit, to get them out of my head so to speak. I could compare it to puking on the pavement after drinking too much on a night out.
So when people started visiting to read my posts and comment on them it was a bit like having passers-by stop to examine the curbside chunder and admire the chunks. This is where things get quantum on us, observation changing the thing observed and all that.
I found myself impelled to re-arrange the diced carrots in my verbal vomit in an attempt to make them more pleasing to the eye. What is the point of this sick aside? You may well ask, and quite right to!
The point is that if I see my posts as a form of artfully arranged spew then what are memes?
Memes my friends are the equivalent of someone else throwing-up, collecting the resultant mess in a bag and passing it on to their fellow bloggers to see what they can make of it.
That said I will now proceed to re-hash Sugar Smack’s regurgitations passed to me this morning in an airline sick bag cunningly disguised as a comment on one of my posts.

Here it is: The Education Meme

What was the name of the teacher that was most influential in your life from grades K through 6?
I have barely started and I’m breaking the mold already because I am going to name 2 teachers. The first one was called Neville and I can’t remember his surname because we used to call him Neville the Notorious Noodle Nosher, I think my sister Pauline came up with the name and looking at it now I may have inadvertently stumbled upon the root cause of my fondness for alliteration (thanks Pol). The reason I remember him is because he was my first “crush” I must have been all of eight years old at the time. He played the guitar and sang to us!
My second choice is Mr. Dewhurst. He was a God among pedagogs in my view and I credit him with my appreciation of classical music, my love of nature, my enthusiasm for the written word and my interest in the arts in general. He also taught me to add up so he was pretty useful. I still think of him when I stop to listen to birdsong even though I haven’t seen him in thirty years.

What subject did you favor in high school?
Here we go again. The only subjects I didn’t like were athletics (because I sucked), cooking (because it was too easy) and sewing. I still hate sewing. The teachers were all shriveled up old bitches (up yours Miss Fowl!!) .

Did you attend a university and if so, did you attain a degree?
No and no.

Do you learn best through books, by watching, or hands-on?
When I get my hands on a book I watch the words dancing on the page.
OK, I’ll behave now. I think this depends on what is being learnt and not who is learning it.
Though I have met people who might as well be blind, illiterate double amputees judging by what they know.

Has education been an ongoing process for you?
How do you feel about that?
Learning and self improvement are ongoing processes that should continue throughout life (unless you are a blind, illiterate double amputee). Education on the other hand is a euphemism for processing human beings so that they fit neatly into boxes and become “useful” members of society. I am not well educated.

What seven people are you tagging to do this?
Now let’s see, who do I want to piss off on this fine spring morning?

Mona. She could put an extra twist in a corkscrew.
Charles. He likes putting things in boxes when he isn’t torturing cats.
Tina. She never gets angry with me.
Michael. Keep it in the family.
S. Revenge for Rufus on the wrong day.
And now for the mad bit the next and last tag is a blog that I don’t know from Adam which I found by hitting the “next blog” button until I found something that wasn’t in Italian, religious, political or pornographic. It took a while I can tell you!

Lost in Suburbia

Monday, May 7, 2007

Weather or not?

Hello, good morning and welcome.

Now for the weather forecast.

In Athens today the temperature will be in the upper seventies making it extremely unlikely that sufficient ironing, mopping or housework in general will get done. This is likely to produce a stormy outlook on the home front where angry, black clouds will inevitably gather in husbandly regions. Thunder is likely to ensue with heavy showers of sarcasm forecast for later in the day. All wives who are planning to desert their duties, in order to take advantage of blue skies and bird song, are strongly advised to be carrying an umbrella of indifference when returning to their abodes
The outlook for tomorrow is somewhat brighter as husbands who are working will be at a far remove and will be able to storm as much as they want without affecting the sunny disposition of the rest of the family. Sunbeams will prevail for much of the day dimming slightly in the late evening when moods will become overcast due to the return of blustery spouses.

Friday, May 4, 2007


There follows two 55s were written by my brother Michael who is steadfastly refusing all my entreaties to start his own blog. He sent these to me as emails and I decided to post them today instead of writing something myself.

'I Can't Drive' 55

"Two miles…nobody around at 2am…I only had a few" she rationalizes herself unsteadily into her Volvo.

“I can’t drive after drinking.” Billy hugs, kisses, leaves his girlfriend to walk two miles home.

Car coming. Light red. Safe to cross…..

The Volvo carries Billy’s broken body 200 yards. His legs are found by the traffic lights.


Don't drink and Type.

First I typed, Sgergp [ohgfh fdhdp p-ds[fi iug f09w=045jvnv allwh kjfhf iwqr ugfdgf. UEIU kldfFLdjfi sfgbsnb’lvlozfdh g[oawre hytW0GFVL. XK CNV OARHGFspcjvLI[XC fh0Q kld fFLdjfisfgb snb’l vlo zfdhg[oaw rehytW0GF. VLX KCN VOA RHGFspcjvLI[XCfh 0Q0 0YH! F9WFk soai dp0d uudodfh sdkfs ifge9ygepvjx lhgdai Goirh YVO!
Then I fell asleep on the keyboard trying to write a 55

Update: He did it a blog is born which he claims he may never post on and I reply........

INSATIABLE.... a belated 55.

It calls to me in the night.
Pleading to be fed.
Begging for attention.
“Please come to me, I need you!”
I cover my ears to block out the sound of its pitiful entreaties.
No use, the voice is in my head and will not be silenced.
There is only one solution.
Write another post.