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.

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Friday, 31 July 2015

A sign of things to come.

I was walking by the Broncos Training ground, and for those of you not familiar with them, this is a Brisbane Rugby team. They were out training today and this sign caught my eye.

They are warning us about drones operating overhead and combined with the Ozzie concern for health and safety we are told they may be overhead (where else could they be ??) and we are asked to locate and observe. I suppose this is the first such notice I have seen and this posting is as much for my grandchildren who may find this in the years to come and laugh their heads off reading what their grandmother thought was novel or odd. And to that I have to add the myriad other technological advances that I can barely get my head around, before I realise that everyone else has moved on to something else, from mirror-less cameras, from the voyeurism of Facebook and the incessant need to publicise every aspect of some lives, to reducing your thoughts and emotions on twitter wisdoms of 140 characters, and insisting the world be told, to a cornucopia of visual images on Instagram and the various Clouds and Drop Boxes that are floating around. 

Of course it is important to try and keep up but also to recognise that each is a passing phase and as the kids now abandon Facebook to the oldies, so we too, will soon abandon it for something new. Or dare I even suggest something old and tested, like picking up a good book, even if it is the Kindle Variety and seeing what an author has to say over the page instead of the pointless, lets face it, likes or dislikes on Facebook however amusing they may be. Facebook keeps contacts with parts of our life alive,in a tenuous and non threatening way,  and it is excellent in ensuring even those of us without 1000 friends are feted on Birthdays and who can argue with that. Now apparently for those wanting to continue their Facebook presence even after they have left this earth, they can appoint someone who will continue to post to family and friends even though they have crossed to the other side. That is a slightly unsettling thought but we have to give credit where it is due, even in this aspect of their forward planning. It is great for kickstarting campaigns and disseminating some information but for the most part it is totally time wasting. Trouble is patterns have been set and habits hold hard, at least for the time being, and if I didn't post this on FB would anyone bother to go to my blog? Necessary evil ? passing phase ? Our lives are on the page for as much as we want the world to see and perhaps we still have a modicum of choice around that. This latest craze however is on another level and may be a sign of how things will be, when our lives will be filmed from up above, and all we are asked to do is to locate and observe. 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Light up the creatures of the night

I love finding aspects to this city that stand out as being different and interesting - so my story for the day is lampposts.

How many of us bother to look up and notice what they are like, what shape they are in and what light they diffuse? I suspect very few and it is not really surprising there is not often much to them until you come across some like these, dotted along Adelaide St. 

Fred Whitehouse - an artist and sculptor was commissioned to make these in 1996 and he must have had a love of nocturnal animals - so we have a flying fox, a frog, a lizard and a possum and I believe there is a snake as well but I haven't spotted it yet. They are delicate and life size bronzes which look out at the world below through the light of the lamppost- it is time for my dinner thinks the flying fox, or mine says the possum ? Shall I slither down the lamppost ,says the snake, to meet my friend the lizard, or to gobble up the frog!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Bus stop chats

Bus stop chat 1
I was at the bus stop waiting to catch the bus into town. A young man was also waiting and after a while he asked if the bus went into Queen St Mall, the main shopping area in Brisbane. I said near enough, that is where I am going and I am happy to show you were to get off.
So we travelled into Brisbane and he told me he was down from Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. It was his first ever trip to the city and he could not believe how big the city was. Noosa is very small by comparison. I asked him if he liked living there and he said there wasn't very much there but nature and the sea but that was good enough for him and yes he did surf. He seemed content with his life  but also eager to explore so like a good Brisbanite I showed him the City hall, the Tourist Information centre and where to catch the bus to get home. 
I left him strolling off ready to explore this mega city - his perspective was so different from mine it was wonderful. I love Brisbane for the compact small big city it is and he was exploring it for the mega new city it appeared to be in his eyes.

Moral of the story - always have a chat with people you meet at the bus stop. They will have a completely new take on something firm in your head.

Walking in the park -"Post it" on the railing

"In the world you may be one of many but to one you are the world."

Bus stop chat 2.

Woman rushes over to bus stop. 

I said "Don’t worry you haven’t missed it there is one coming along any minute now." 

"Oh good" she says.

Where are you off to ? she asks 

"I am going to a session on Brisbane's Dark Past at Brisbane Library."

"Oh that is interesting and I would have loved to have come along to that but I am actually going to hear this woman talk about Deadly Australians".

I laugh – "Well isn’t there a lot about this small town that we have to discover!"

Yes she said – "I remember those two lesbians who killed a man and drank his blood."

"What!"– "Is that true?"I say in astonishment.

"Oh yes gruesome stuff and I believe one of the women will be out already."

"I guess it matches the alleged murder committed by Patrick Mayne all those years ago", I add.

"One case of something bad doing a lot of good. He gave the land that the university is built on, to the city."

"Enjoy your deadly Australians" –

"And you the dark past!"

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Breathing new life into the old city

I spent a few days recently in Nicosia, my home town. Two years ago when I was last there the effects of the global financial downturn were very evident. One of the main commercial roads in the city, Makarios Avenue was a terrible sight. Every other shop had closed down, there were empty buildings, for sale and rent signs everywhere and a general depression which enveloped the island like 

I write this of course as Greece struggles to maintain its economy, its dignity and its heritage. Cypriots went through the austerity and they were harshly treated by Europe. A lot of people lost a significant portion of their savings, I lost all my investments, others lost their businesses and one of the major Cypriot banks collapsed taking its shareholders and customers down with it. Three years on, the island is not over the worst, as there will be many foreclosures on unsecured loans yet to come but it has turned a corner. Makarios Avenue, which was the height of hip when I was growing up, has now re charged and while no longer the centre it used to be, there are more shops open now, trying to make a living.

What however was heartening was the walk I took in the old city. Nicosia is the only divided capital in Europe- we have a border which divides the Greek -Cypriot south from the Turkish-Cypriot north. This is also the only city with intact Venetian walls shaped like a star with 11 bastions and 3 gates through which citizens could come and go.

Following the invasion in 1974 this particular area of the city was a war zone - no one went there, the shops were deserted, the homes abandoned. There was barbed wire fence everywhere, a border had been created forcibly separating the city at its soul.

I have to translate this - Furniture and Shutters - "The Tyrrany " I wonder if he enjoys his job ?

A minaret in the South part of Nicosia, and nearby a Greek Orthodox church.

Now the border is open, people can come and go across it with some minimal formalities. The old lanes and the derelict buildings have become venues for little coffee shops and bars and the areas which were once characterised as war torn have now become desirable and sought after. Old buildings are being carefully restored and maintained. I was thrilled to see this life in the old city and it comes at a time when concrete hope has also been breathed into the talks. The future holds optimism and brightness. I wish I could say the same about Greece. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Aspasia- Alexis

These are the bigger moments that we take away from these special days. The celebration of a marriage. They start a new life together with wishes from friends, much love, support and joy at how beautiful they both were on their special day and how much they enjoyed the ceremony and the party.  The guests were plentiful, the food delicious, copious drinks and dancing and it went on all night long. In an unsuspecting moment of calm Nick took this picture of the two newlyweds as they breathed in the salty air, looking out onto the vast expanse of the sea in front of them perhaps wishing their life will flow as gently as the sea lapping the edge of the sand.

Much to look forward to in their lives together. Times full of laughter and fun but also testing moments when they will need to find balance and compromise in their goals and how they want to achieve them. They have everything it takes to ensure the channels of communication are open and their fulfilment are respectful of each other. To them both we wish boundless happiness and joy. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Capturing the detail

Sometimes when we have gone on holiday and come back, we remember the bigger things we experienced and I shall write more about that in the next blog. We quickly forget the detail, the weather, the land, images we see even fleetingly but which at the time leave their mark on our day and on our mood. As the years go by memories of such detail recede, disappear and all that is left is the feeling of well being we have taken away from that particular time.
So this blog is all about capturing the beauty in the detail which was abundant in Cyprus this June. I say this because it is not uncommon for June to be hot and dry - and the island was cool and even a little wet. The result a profusion of flowers, which fill me with untold joy.

Along the road of the villa where we were staying for the first time in my life I saw a whole field of prickly pears. Normally they are seen on the edges of roads, really more like big weeds rather than cultivated plants, so this field was quite exceptional and I stopped to wander among them and take pictures of their delicate flowers. They are from the Opuntia family of indian figs and come from the new world. They are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants and we would have them for breakfast when we were young. There is an art to picking them and peeling them so as to avoid the fine but prickly spines which cover them.

On a drive in the mountains of the Akamas we came across many goat pens and a river-bed which was painted pink because instead of water it was filled with flowering oleanders. You could pick out the snaking of the river bed through the flowers and it was quite exceptional but the pictures perhaps don't easily convey fully what an extraordinary sight it was.

The coast line of the area of Pomos and my sister's beach house on the hill.

 The holiday would not be complete without the some sweet balls !