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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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Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Dogs of Democracy

In May of 2016 when I was in Athens I noticed the many stray dogs that roamed around Syntagma square. Some of these were much loved pets that the owners could no longer afford to feed or keep. Maybe others were less fortunate and had been abandoned by them when they realised that having a pet means costs, effort and love. I put a photo of such a dog on the blog, curled up, sleeping, and found my heart was a little torn by what I saw. What I didnt know then was how these dogs became part of the Athenian soul. 


The Greek Film festival is on in Brisbane at the moment and looking through the programme I came across one called the "Dogs of Democracy". I went last night to watch it. 
http://greekfilmfestival.com.au/program/418/dogs-of-democracy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4deL_HmIBQ

The director is a Greek Australian called Mary Zournazi. She visited Athens and like me she noticed the dogs - she then went on to make a short documentary film about it with a special star called "Loukanikos"- "Sausage"- a  fearless handsome dog who seemed to be there with the demonstrators, protecting the most vulnerable against the onslaughts of the riot police and whose image was well known to Athenians. Loukanikos died of some of the side effects of tear gas and old age. At that point he had been lovingly taken in by Rita, a woman who clearly sees the human side of these animals. She and Spiros, a man who has been rendered homeless by the financial crisis, spend time and valuable resources, looking after the strays.They have come to represent a unifying human influence on Athenians as they come together to give them care and food when they can.

I was much moved by this short but thoughtful film. My sadness however was compacted by the fact that there were only four people in the cinema. I had attended the premiere the previous night, a full house, a chance to be seen, and free food. Sometimes we just have to dig a little deeper to get more and let me tell you it is well worth the effort. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Flames

Some of you may have realised that I love the colours of nature and all that it offers at different times of the year. The other day I went to a neighbourhood in Brisbane, called Bulimba to meet a dear friend for lunch and as I was walking down to the ferry my eye caught these colours.

Look down  

Look up 



Look all around

Resplendent red buds of the flame tree on the ground, on the tree, and the hedge nearby. 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Australian Collection Re imagined - with Cypriots in their midst !

Today I went to the opening of the new Collection of Australian Art at the Gallery of Queensland. A huge gallery beautifully laid out and thought out, with magnificent works of Australian artists, starting from  Indigenous groups, to colonial days and after, right up to more recent contemporary art. 

In amongst two hundred exquisite items are two Cypriots. I am particularly proud. I noticed the first some months ago in the gallery and wrote about him - a work by William Dobbell of a Cypriot waiter in London done in the 1940s. For those of you who read the blog you may remember him. He takes pride of place on one of the walls by an entrance, looking down at us with his piercing eyes and vibrant blue shirt. 


Right next to him is "Bad Dad" by the amazing Michael Zavros, a lively and likeable Cypriot Australian who is producing work of such calibre and talent that he has already taken his place in amongst the great Australian Painters. His work Bad Dad was recently acquired by the Gallery. As he describes it "he has cast himself in the role of Narcissus in a contemporary evocation of the ancient Greek Myth, and as something of a cautionary tale."

Forgive me for concentrating on these two art works when there is so much more - but these are links  to my Cypriot Australian life that I cherish and want to share. 

Friday, 29 September 2017



Bright and shiny, loud and clear,

This is one time I wish I had the vote

To put my mark in the small yes box.

Read the arguments of the the nos,

They felt faulty, phobic

Frankly disrespectful to blokes and gals,

Choosing who to love and how

Is a gift for all.

Love my neighbourhood. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Pambos Savvides - an old friend and colleague


I picked up the phone and rang his mobile in the hope that he would answer. 
A male voice did answer and I said loudly and hopefully Pambo ? Pambo ?
No, he said I am a relative but we have taken over the business, is there anything we can help you with.
Not this time, I said, I am ringing to find out how he is.
Every time I go to the island this is one person I contact, often because I need his help and guidance but also because he is a lovely humble man who is good at what he does, but also a caring individual.
When I was a young barrister in Cyprus he was the certifying officer the office used to certify documents. Like a notary public. He was in and out of the office a lot and was always there to help and advise.
Unusually tall for a Cypriot with curly hair, now grey, and puppy eyes he had a cubby hole for an office at the end of Ledra St. He carried a briefcase and was generally well liked by all the pen pushers and you could be sure to track him down at the District Lands Office.  His only failing was that he spoke too fast and the wordsranintooneanother. He was hard to follow sometimes. 
I got married and left the office and the island but I kept in touch with Pambos  and wherever I was in the world I knew I could ring up, explain what I needed and he would be out there sorting it out. He rarely asked for money. He married late and had twins and he was so proud of the children. They were a good reason to make sure he was paid for all the work he did. There was so much he did for which he never got paid.We would sit down with a cup of coffee and one of the best cheese pies from Noufaro and catch up.
This year when I rang I was told he was in hospital. I went to find him. Cancer of sorts but one which they thought they might treat experimentally with some new drugs.The months passed and I often picked up the phone and rang. It never answered until yesterday. I was told he was not well. I asked for them to convey my thoughts and good wishes to him all the way from Australia. I will never know if they got to him. He died at 11.45am a few hours after I called. He will be missed.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Shave anyone ?

Just imagine all your menfolk taking a shaving brush in hot pink and mixing their shaving cream into a soft and luxuriant lather. Well now take this image and see what nature has provided in the form of yes, you guessed it, a Shaving Brush Tree. I came across this on a walk in the Botanical Gardens the other day and I was so taken with it I came home to look it up and tell you all about it. It hails from the Americas and is called Pseudobombax Ellipticum and it is tall and spindly but oh those shaving brushes are splendid and I just loved them in the tree, on the ground and in my hands.


 

And just because I love the contrast of the colours I am throwing in some balls - so very wholly natural, of the quadong tree dropping its fruit into my outstretched hand.


Nature always wears the colours of the spirit - Ralph Waldo Emerson.  



Monday, 18 September 2017

Shame on them


We left India in 2013. So imagine my surprise when unusually for me, I looked into the blog and saw that I had loads of comments mainly in 2017 !  Well, I am not a very controversial writer and I suspect that most of my readership likes a quickie (pardon the pun) on FB and wont bother with anything else, let alone write a comment. But for a brief moment my heart fluttered and I reprimanded myself for not being more diligent and checking with each blog entry to see who could possibly be commenting on my blog!

Well haha - there was surprise, mild amusement, but mostly disgust when on closer inspection I came across these, many, many of these, in slightly different wording, the best of Hindglish and from everywhere on the vast Indian sub continent you can imagine, from the busy Bazaars of Chandni Chowk in Delhi to Chandigarh. From Jaipur to Mumbai and my word there is so much on offer here. Shame on each and everyone of them, all written by men of course, exploiting young and probably destitute girls. Well it took me ages to get rid of them all but now I am  can safely say I am Escort Free.

Two select extracts of the gibberish nonsense they write. Hopefully NO ONE would be attracted to this. All wholesome comments gratefully received.


Needless to say, the people who are intimately disappointed in their lifestyle opt for the precious agency of the females and find general satisfaction in their company. All of them have their own costs components about the ongoing service promotions. On the involved internet web page, you can possess each and everything about their promotions and select the scheduled program accordingly. What creates the true variation between the real satisfaction provider of Escorts in ..... and the various other common women can be that of strategy and abilities. 

We believe that trust is hard to earn in this modern world but our Escorts along with our Celebrity Escorts, Airhostess Escorts and College Escorts in..... are working hard to maintain this trust. Apart from it our  Escorts are looking forward for a good relationship with you maintaining your secrecy also. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Are you NIPPY or a JOLLY ?



As the Economist put it are we the new GERIACTIVES, The SUNSETTERS or NIGHTCAPPERS ? How about the NYPPIES- not yet past it ! Or the more expressive OWLS- older working less, still earning. There are more descriptive terms, which is an indication of the heightened interest in finding the right description for this new group of luvs. One family called them the HOPSKIS : Healthy Old People Spending Kids Inheritance. Another group remembers calling them WOOPIES Well off older people, or JOLLIES Jolly old ladies with lots of loot which I love. Finally the rather deadpan INDY-
 I am not dead yet.

Reaching that magical 60 is almost the stuff of dreams - my dreams from which I havent quite woken up from of being 16 and on a long beach in Famagusta or 21 and graduating from University and pursuing law until that day when my father's departure released me into another world. A world which was a little uncertain and wholly unfamiliar and one which to this day remains full of surprise and wonder. Wonder at where I have lived and what I have survived, wonder at the three wonderful sons who have made it to adulthood in spite of the tribulations, vaccinations, linguistic challenges and strange foods. Finally perhaps but by no means least a lasting respect for a companion whose work and principles and a perpetual quest for knowledge are what persuaded me to follow him to the end of earth, guessing, learning and evolving. Today 31 years married and a mere 42 since we met. More to come in this geriactive state.

So dear friends which is the term which you identify with and why ? 

Friday, 1 September 2017

The Samaria Gorge- Crete

The Samariá Gorge has been a National Park in Crete since 1962 - a major tourist attraction of the island – and a World Biosphere Reserve. We travelled by bus from Chania to a height of 1,250 m at the northern entrance.The cool winds swirl around the pine trees at the top and a little shiver goes through you. We entered the National Park with lots of other eager hikers and started making our way down on the broad stone steps. You need to keep your eyes on the ground because the stones are uneven and very slippery from use so it is easy to slip over or sprain an ankle. We saw a hiker do exactly that but she was rescued and placed on a horse or mule ambulance to take her out of the park. It would be a long ride so ... eyes on the ground for the most part but then stop and look up to this- 




Not sure those logs will be long lasting but there were parts of gorge where clearly walkers had enjoyed the thought of leaving their mark playfully on the wood and with the rocks. 


We walked down many steps, slipped on stones and fumbled our way over loose ones. The hike was through the pine trees, plane trees and tall cypresses. In parts it has shaded rest places. After some four hours of walking we were finally right in the depth of the gorge walking along the river bed which burbled with crystal clear water. We crossed bridges and walked along dry river beds, looked at the geological formations and saw the pressures on the earth's shape right in front of our very eyes. 



We marvelled at the trees that came out of bare rock and compressed layers which formed their solid seas. 
The most animated of all were the expressive goats that scrambled fearlessly on the precipices or lay sleeping during siesta time. The gorge was 13kms long and at the end of it was the village of Agia Roumeli which appeared completely isolated on the edge of the most beautiful bay. The water deep and soulful and very cooling and the scenery passionate. The sand black as the goat and burning hot. 

Monday, 28 August 2017

Balos and Gramvousa - Crete

We took the boat out to Balos Bay with thousands of other tourists. We had looked for something a little more contained but our number was large enough not to allow this so we scrambled on, literally in the nick of time, onto the Gramvousa ferry and we fought for our place in the shade next to tourists with sunburn, girls with skimpy bikinis and families with playful toddlers. Not the most serene of surroundings but actually once we got going with the wind in our hair and the gentle rolling of the boat it did not matter. We turned the furthermost point of Crete and headed to Balos Bay this idyllic green bay with soft sands and shallow waters and the strange thing is that the crowds just dissipated and looked like ants in the distance. W could claim our own little picnic spot to play and splash about and take in the beauty of the surroundings. 






The day was complete when we headed back and stopped at the Venetian Castle on the island of Gramvousa. Built between 1579 and 1584 this amazing fortification protected the island against the Ottomans and ensured Venetian trade routes. It is built on a promontory overlooking the sea and is almost fully intact to this day. We climbed with more crowds only to find ourselves once more enjoying a walk in relative peace. The views over the bay were stunning, the waters were ink blue and the edges trimmed with the turquoise green of emeralds. 







Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Cretan Capers

The island of Crete is the birthplace of Theodorakis, Mouskouri and Kazantakis, giants in music and literature of the Greek world. The diminutive - akis- seems to be the norm on the island but there is nothing little or small about these people who are proud and strong as they showed time and time again, perhaps most recently in defending the Allied Forces in the Second World War. They showed support particularly for all the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who will forever owe them a debt of gratitude for hiding them and ferrying them away from the Germans sometimes at the cost of their own lives. They are hospitable and friendly and somehow have stuck to their traditions and their earth better than most of us. They are the fruit and vegetable basket for Greece, their cheeses and wines are wonderful and their countryside is breathtakingly rugged and unspoilt. 

We have driven through gorges, walked through others, visited monasteries where we spent some time looking at the interesting architecture and a little more time choosing some of the monastery's wine and honey and swam in water that was so clear and translucent you felt your body was enveloped in cool goodness. There was no one around - we had the place to ourselves - I guess not everyone would want to do the steep gorge walk down there. But what a reward for those who do !
 The Beach of Sheitan Limani which was popular and treacherous to get to.




Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Solidly spectacular

35 minutes from where I live is my closest beach - one that rivals many others on this great continent. I have a photo of the beach but today I am not going to show you that. My posting is all about how a casual walk on the promenade led me to Redcliffe Point where we gravitated towards some fishermen fishing over these rocks. They were so amazing in colour I took a few photos.


Look at the colours of the rocks, the oyster shells that are embedded in them and then look at the little mangrove plant that is shooting up from the rock itself and finally look at the layer of what appears to be a type of grass growing on the rocks. Solidly spectacular wouldn't you say. So I went on a quest of Google to find out what type of rock this was but failed. Rang up Redcliffe Tourist Information who put me in touch with Moreton Bay Authority and I left a description of the place and my question. A lovely man just rang me to inform me that this is laterite - a naturally occurring rock which has a lot of iron and aluminium oxide in it and the stones weather and oxidise to produce the variety of colours. They are common in tropical and sub tropical climate and are often found where the climate may be humid. Apparently India has a lot of Laterite and makes bricks from it - which I can now recall. 

The little mangrove shoot growing out of the rock and even more extraordinary is the grass !

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Queensland quilters

A curious Cassowary complete with with crown and grass background.

The EKKA is on - the biggest agricultural show in Queensland and I volunteer there every year with great joy and enthusiasm. So much love and effort goes into this show that it is hard not to come away completely singing its praises.This year I have to share the Quilters work - it is just exquisite and the work, the work that goes into each one, is just so meticulous and painstaking.

Look at this one, the forest threatened by the ever closing urbanisation. My choice for the best quilt but it was quite a hard choice. I guess I warmed to its concept. 

The applique work here is just outstanding.

 Look at this little pup - would have him looking at me from anywhere.

One of the many fine examples of the work the quilters have produced. There are so many more to see. Don't miss it.The Ekka is on until the 20th of August and the Quilters are in the Old Museum Building. Go and marvel at their exhibition but take in all the myriad of shows and events that EKKA has to offer as well. The weather is going to be fabulous - Come to Floral Crowns and I will make you a Floral Crown for Free!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Guinea fowl feathers and all

Sitting waiting for the bus an elderly man walks up, I shift over making room for him to sit down and he winks at me. I take one look at him and I am ready to start the conversation. 
In the headband of his fawn coloured cowboy hat he has guinea fowl feathers which I instantly recognise. He wears glasses and sports a big bushy moustache that hides some of his upper lip but as the moustache extends out the edges had clearly been twirled. This is a man with a glint in his eye. Around his neck a red kerchief which matches nicely with his blue shirt. He wears a black leather jacket and leather Aussie boots and a great matching leather belt to his fawn coloured trousers that of course match his hat. He took out a fog watch ( ! ) from his upper pocket to read the time. Oh my, I thought to myself, I must find out about this man so I casually say,

"Well dressed like this you must be heading for the EKKA, the big agricultural show in town which starts tomorrow". 

"Oh he said the last time I was at the EKKA I came by tram and that must have been in 1967!" 

He comes all the way from Lightning Ridge in New South Wales and his name is Reg. He hands me his card and I see an equally fascinating last name and the clue to his get up. He is involved in Opal mining. Lightning Ridge is home to Australia's biggest Black Opal mines. Black Opals are the most precious of the opals and while they come in all different shapes and sizes their inner dark background is unmistakable and makes them very rare and valuable specimens. 




I know these are a poor substitute for Reg - he is much more colourful, but I have his card now and so I will design a trip over to find him in Lighting Ridge. I love my bus stop.