Hello welcome to my Blog
Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.
Saturday, 3 November 2018
The question I ask myself over and over again is when will this door to lasting peace unlock and enable the two communities to live side by side on the island which is blessed in so many ways. Is it the hubris of the gods who look down on our comfortable lives and give us a continual set of self serving politicians who as soon as they accede to power seem to need to cling on to it, however corruptly, and these days unashamedly? Because that it is what it is looking like for the island at the moment. No tangible progress, no attempts to explain to people the meaning of the proposed "bi-zonal, bi-communal federal system being proposed or the more recent flavour of the month, the so called "loose federation".
Meantime the island and its people are slowly and inevitably being transformed as the older generations disappear. Those who remember independence, lives lived together, struggles, the divisions and the occupation of the north of the island by Turkey. Its nearly 45 years since I left the coastal town of Famagusta and we all yearn to go back, yet the politicians seem unable, after all this length of time to find a solution which would enable this. The town remains ghostly but lights are slowly being lit along its coastline which means it wont be long before it is taken from us completely. So its return to its inhabitants is a bit like a mirage which recedes as you approach.
In Nicosia, the capital, I walk towards the Green Line, and look at the changing landscape. The roads that were once lined with commercial shops have slowly been taken over by coffee shops and bars, restaurants and live music venues. I pass the ice-cream shop my father would take us to, and further down see the little narrow shop which once used to be a bookshop (a favourite place for a Saturday morning visit with him) now selling Indian artefacts and things that can only be described as tat. Just nearby a small patisserie which has survived the changing times, producing the best cheese pies called Hurricane. My friend Pambos would always treat me one, and going back there was an acknowledgment that while he has gone, my thoughts honour his memory.
On the same road my eye spies a familiar figure from the back. An Armenian friend who I used to exchange some friendly and flirty greetings in my youth. He owned one of the many material and shoe shops there. He has been there day in day out since as far back as I can remember. Except that this time he turns round and faces me with a toothless grin. I am shocked and mercifully he doesn't recognise me. Perhaps we both look ancient to one another and best to allow memories to stay in the past. I leave the main commercial Ledra St and head up to the car. In these backstreets the artisans had their shops. Mr Yiannis, the shoemaker, Mr Stelios and Mrs Koula the dressmakers. Now a handful, if that, of them are there. Using their old traditional methods of cutting the cloth, marking it with chalk, stretching the leather and hammering on the heels.
The whole of the centre of the city is being subsumed by a layer of concrete, courtesy of the now deceased Architect Hadid whose tortuous plan is unfolding like a nightmare over many years and untold inflated budgets. It is a joke now about how and when the whole project will be finished but even this seems to stand a better chance then what we call CYPROB.
And yet and yet, the neighbourhoods where I live when I come back, are full of houses which bask in the sunshine, the pomegranates hanging from the trees, the lemons glistening green, the flowers cascading over the fences which can no longer contain them.
The Kyrenia mountain range is bluish purple and perfectly visible in all the days I am visiting. The dreaded sand from the Sahara forecast for the weekend has not quite arrived to shroud their view. A fading view of them and all the history that they hold. But even as they fade every family and every person can recount stories of village life and families that the mountains cradled in their gullies and valleys over so many decades. I leave once more, happy to see the family well, but heartbroken that this place, with so much to offer has boundaries and walls, Green lines and defence posts that should have no place in this world anymore.
Maybe it is time Cypriots took it upon themselves to decide their future before it is decided for them.
Time to UNITE CYPRUS NOW.
Monday, 29 October 2018
Nancy and I did it too - a little more speedily with some consequences. In Perth we had a 15 minute yoga and meditation time to set us in the mood and spirit for our crossing.(Wish I had taken a selfie of us both stretching) The crossing was done at 38000 ft with better food and some bubbly to help us along the way, navigation was a bit more precise, and entertainment such as dear Captain Cook could not ever imagine.
Arriving so quickly though, on the other side, has stores of surprises, not least the chilly autumnal air and the notorious jet lag that awaits. Everyone has a theory about how to avoid it or diminish it. The day is busy seeing kids, family and friends and staying awake till the last possible moment and then oblivion. Sleep so deep and wholesome it is wonderful to fall into. And then the sudden though not unexpected consciousness, like the lapping of a wave over the shoreline, advancing and inevitable. Lying there with eyes firmly shut I attempt to exercise mindfulness and achieve this admirably but perhaps in its literal sense. Read Mind - Full. Recipes are reworked, invitation lists drawn up, Xmas gift ideas crystallise and blogs take shape word after word in total darkness. Mindful though can also take another form and I take in the warmth of my hands on my stomach and the areas on my legs that I haven't moisturised as I should have. I have been offered sleeping pills and special draughts, all designed to counter the wakefulness but I have concluded that actually jet lag offers a "down under of sorts time" literally when you have no other obligation other than being in the moment and milking it for all that it is worth. So next time you are lying there, eyes shut and frustrated, put it all to good use and create away. This blog written at 3.49 am in my head is served fresh from another night of wakefulness.
Monday, 15 October 2018
Every family needs a Super Gran - a Queen Nancy - a Ma. At the age of 98 3/4 she has made the trip over to Australia, as she missed her two grandsons and was curious about their new lives here.
She is frail but fiery, questioning and curious, warm and wonderful. I did not have the opportunity to meet my grandparents and so I never had the indulgence of grandparent - hood. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to polish the silver, get the canteen out, bring out the tea pots, the pearls and twin sets and make endless egg sandwiches, together with a small addition of Greek Tyropittes (as a memorial to my mother) and sit down to a wonderful high tea with friends who are dear to us and to her. There was one other exceptional grandma there, a much younger one sporting a shiny new red car which granny asked if she was allowed to drive not knowing it was actually her car! Nothing passes her by and she is fully engaged 24/7 and able to ask the most probing questions which we struggle to answer and head off to Wikipedia to find the answers. Wikipedia is one of the organisations I regularly send contributions to as they are invaluable as a resource.
So we have had to answer questions about the colour of lorikeets and their mating habits, their social pairings and contrasts with pigeons, why Nasa chose a family man to place on the moon and whether Ivonne Goolagong helped her tribe. Her fan club is scattered round the world as she has visited us everywhere we have lived and has met many many friends who enjoyed her company.More scarily she remembers details about these friends that have long since left our memory banks. We are kept on our toes and that can only be a good thing. Meanwhile she has brought relentless rain to Queensland and that in itself, like her, is a blessing.
Wednesday, 10 October 2018
We went out on a day trip recently and had a beautiful time visiting some falls and doing a hike there. But that is not the reason I am writing today. As I was driving I spotted the most unbelievable flaming red tree along the way. We followed our tracks back and I found it again because it seemed so spectacular to me so I stopped by the side of the road to take some photos for you all. Here it is - the red flowering gum tree.
Could it be more vibrant, more inviting, more warm ?
Could it be more vibrant, more inviting, more warm ?
Sunday, 7 October 2018
This morning at the crack of dawn, with the skies clearing after yesterday's rain, we headed to Kangaroo Point to participate in the Walk for Awareness, together with 2,5000 other Brisbanites. The tone uplifting, the welcome to country so informative, the didgeridoo playing just awe inspiring and the walk itself, 8 kms to honour 8 years since two friends of the organisers were lost to suicide. A gentle but heartening riverside amble with wholesome conversations among lovely like-minded women and at the end a hearty breakfast, just in case we lost a few calories heading round.
The Mental Awareness Foundation organises this walk every year which is the biggest event in Australia and commands enormous respect. The event brings people together in a friendly environment to discuss issues of mental health, including thoughts of suicide and how to prevent it. It aims to support charities that are working directly with communities who are implementing strategies to raise awareness of depression and mental illness.Here are some of the lovely moments of the morning.
Lucy Bolton this one is for you, as it is your commitment to Lifeline that spurred me on today wearing your beautiful earrings which will forever be connected with you and your wonderful work.