Well, I finally finished another painting. I’ve been spending more time on handy work than on painting lately… Not that I’ve done any handy work at all on my two re-do cabinets…
This piece is a sort of natural progression from the fish I painted on old wood a couple of weeks ago. While looking for old wood to paint on I found this cabinet door just sitting around doing nothing, begging to be made use of.
Yes, there is a hole in the large urchin. Came in handy!
I had planned to paint mostly white on white and shades of white, but in the end I put in more colour. Not sure what I’ll do with this but I have time to decide.
I’m planning/hoping to have an exhibition this summer and almost all my work will be recycled and art from trash type of works… (dog sculptures, plastic bottle naked ladies, sea rope baskets etc) This fits in with that so maybe it will be included… or maybe I’ll list it for sale on Facebook. Who knows…
Second life for this piece of wire I found on the side of the road. Its first life (with me) was when I used it as a planter by putting it around a plastic pot on the front porch.
But the plant died and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it so I just let it sit there a while.
The floor lamp I use it as my work lamp has a broken ‘neck’ and won’t stand up when it has the lamp shade on it – too top heavy. I removed the shade and have been using it with a plain bulb. But I had this brainwave and now this is what the lamp looks like.
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it doesn’t overbalance any more and the wire shade doesn’t interfere with the light.
We managed to enjoy our first outings post lockdown. I had brunch with Zefi and a friend, took a long walk along the seafront and said hello to friends having drinks at cafes. Not everything is open of course. Still plenty of places closed till later in the season. Some may not open at all, like last year. Who knows. Still, it was lovely to get out and see people sitting and having drinks or food in public.
Of course, there were plenty of idiotic things people do: so many without masks and without any care for social distancing. Its natural I guess. People are frustrated after all this time in lockdown and need to ‘break free’… They might also be feeling like I do: that sooner or later we’ll pay for this with another lockdown so may as well enjoy it while it lasts.
Sure, vaccinations are going ahead, but I’m not sure how effective that will be in containing things short term. All we can do is wait and see.
Meanwhile its been a little cooler while still being pretty hot in the sun so swimming isn’t out of the question. I love the beaches when they’re quiet.
The cats outside are enjoying the warm weather. I brought my table and chairs up from the basement and Bob made herself very comfortable…
Selina, or Smalley as we call her, is much healthier. She will always have issues with her lungs after her chest infection but she’s full of beans these days, though she remains much smaller than a cat her age. She’s still not 100% trusting. Its a good indicator of her health in fact, when she’s not feeling well she will let me pick her up, if she’s feeling well I can’t catch her. I’ve booked her in to be spayed on Friday cause we’ve already got some unneutered strays hanging around her.
Meanwhile NMC (remember Not My Cat who adopted me when I first moved in?) is in my back courtyard recouperating. He was hit by a car a few days before I took Lainee to Syros and my neighbour and I took him to the vet thinking he would be put down. However the vet wanted to give him a chance so he operated on him and held him there and now he’s recouperating here with me.
Ok… I get the whole save a life thing. But NMC is not a pet cat. He’s an older stray who tolerates people cause they feed him. I’ve often been scratched by him for daring to pat him and make friends with him. Caring for him isn’t easy. Plus, after he’s well enough he has to go back out on the road. ie the neighbourhood. Technically I think he belongs to a couple who lives up the hill from here but he’s a stray they feed, not a house cat. He spends most of his time outside our building, no longer on my porch as the female cats chased him off it.
He had broken ribs, a broken jaw, a haematoma on his head and lots of cuts and scratches. He was in pitiful condition. The vet wired his jaw, it came loose and he had to put him under to rewire it again… I did think it would be kinder to put him down rather than let him face life in a compromised condition ‘out there’. But here I am now, caring for an unfriendly cat who can barely eat even when i mush and dilute his food with water. He gave me a good scratch when I removed 3 ticks I found on him (the vet said he’d removed some too but obviously didn’t treat him for them) so today I have to go buy more cat food, kitty litter and some topspot stuff for him.
I feel so sorry for him. He looks awful and seems to be in a lot of pain. I set up the cat carrier under my bench outside, with kitty litter next to it and put out sloppy wet food 3 times a day. He takes so long to lick some up and sleeps in the carrier all day. He’s obviously in pain. Yet I can’t put him down now, after all this, so we persist…
Anyway, gotta get going. I have cat food and kitty litter to buy!
This post is a day late, but its to be expected. Greek Easter is a huge thing, bigger than Christmas. It was a big day for me, my first swim for the year, a family get together, lots of food, a nap cause the weather continues to be unseasonally and oppressively hot, then we girls got together again with mom and an aunt to make more goodies. Paximadakia this time. Two different types. One was my aunt’s recipe, one my mom’s.
Who had time for blogging?
But today we wake up to a country where you can sit at a cafe or restaurant again. Restrictions still in place, but the lockdown is over and tourism opens officially on the 15th of this month.
I remain skeptical about it all as new cases in Greece remain well over 1000 per day, but hey, who am I anyway? Just a cynical blogger, not a government official…
I am so looking forward to having a coffee out with a friend or two over the next week. Its what I missed most – being able to have a coffee seated somewhere that isn’t my house or my car!
The eggs were dyed. And then some of them were hand-painted. Turns out the dye on the eggs isn’t very stable… Everything I painted white turned pink no matter how many layers I gave it. Live and learn. Next time I’ll try a white marker and see if that stays white.
Still, they turned out ok more or less. Please ignore the one I tried to do. That didn’t work well at all!
Meanwhile the cookies were a great hit. Here are the guys having a drink with the tray of finished cookies between them. So many cookies. Quite a few had already been gifted by then too.
The spanakopita turned out great, though I think I prefer it with less filling as it stays crunchier longer. Too much filling and it goes a bit soft. Me like crunchy pastry. Click here for the recipe.
Next time I make spinach pie I’ll make individual small ones. That way I can freeze some to bake at a later date instead of making a big tray and having to give most of it away cause how much spanakopita can one person eat? (In my case its A LOT, but maybe not the whole baking tray.)
Other than that it was a great day. I loved spending girl time with Zefi and her daughter cooking and chatting. I was even going to go for a swim with them but I discovered that I’d put three bikini tops in my bag and NO bottoms. Ooops.
To be honest I may have lost a day or two in my countdown due to not posting every day… but the fact remains that lockdown has gone on for most of a year now. And despite vaccinations being dispensed left right and center, we are still going to face some tough times ahead.
I’ve been doing mundane household things since getting back from Syros. In a country where summer is summer and winter is winter, the yearly exchange of clothing in the wardrobe is necessary. So this week I spent some time bringing the spring and summer stuff down from storage and putting away the winter stuff.
I haven’t yet put away my rugs, but that will come soon enough.
The flowers are beginning to bloom and the plants to shoot up. A lot of my seeds didn’t make it… thems the breaks I guess. Especially for someone like me who was born with a black thumb and has been trying hard to turn it green. I managed for a while in Australia, though I still manage to lose a high percentage of plants.
I just can’t get any aquilegia seeds to grow and it’s breaking my heart. I love my aquilegias (aka granny’s bonnets or columbines) and I miss them. I still have some seeds and right now I’m considering just tossing them out onto roadsides and see if anything comes up. Given they grow in the Tasmanian hot sun, they should grow in Greece. Sure, we don’t get frosts here, so maybe thats the problem… not cold enough in winter?
Anyway, being Greek Easter this weekend I’ve been busy with Zefi making sweets. We don’t make the traditional koulourakia, we make our own version which we like better. Plus her daughter loves shortbreads so we made an emergency run to the supermarket last night just before closing to get some butter to make some of those too.
Today we’re dyeing eggs red. In the Orthodox Churches, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, with further symbolism being found in the hard shell of the egg symbolizing the sealed Tomb of Christ — the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead.
Normally we gather at church on Saturday night, (good greeks having fasted before Easter) and wait for the priest to announce that Christ has risen at 12am, light our candles from the flame being passed down from the priests and crack eggs then rush home to eat traditional meat dishes. Of course this year the celebrations are subject to both social distancing and curfews. We will still crack eggs though and wish each other good health and happiness.
Soon as we got to the church of St George, guess what we found? You got it! MORE STEPS!
The inside of the church was gorgeous though. Beautiful artwork and colours.
Something you don’t see in greek orthodox churches: statues.
Something else you never see in a greek church: an organ!
I knew the church was old but the plaque surprised me. The first bishop (not sure if that’s the right term…) in the church is listed as having served in 343!!!!!
Since we were there, Zefi took the opportunity to repent for the nasty gesture she made going up the steps… About time too!
We visited another church on the way home cause when in Greece there is always another church to visit. That one is famous for having an icon by El Greco in it. We never actually noticed the icon. We looked around, lit candles and left. I think we were churched out by then. I know I was. Am. For a long time to come!
I accidentally hit publish on this post before it was ready so now I’m playing catch-up.
These are some of my door, window and other texture pics from our walks around town. You know me and colours and textures… so enjoy.
And sorry for the pic heavy posts of late!
We even found a shop we loved the name of. Hard to explain… its a very cycladic way of saying ‘look’ or ‘look here’… my mom and Zefi’ mom both use it a lot and we love it. So ‘parian’.
I love the inscription on the tiny Vamvakaris Square in Ano Syros. Here is a link to explain what it means and the words to the famous song.
And here is the song itself by the man who wrote it. A sort of greek version of the nasally country music of the 40’s… (which I love btw! The nasally country music of the 40’s as well as this particular song.)
The Hasapiko can be danced as a slow dance but also as a fast dance and originated in Constantinople in the middle ages. The dance originated in the Middle Ages as a battle mime with swords performed by the butchers guild, which adopted it from the military.
Here is a Youtube link to a good hasapiko. I used to dance this with the boys when it was fashionable to do dance displays for the tourists way back…
Vamvakaris was a famous writer of rembetika songs from Syros.
Rembetika music is the music of the Greek Underground. It originated in the hashish dens of Pireaus and Thessaloniki around the turn of the 20th century and was influenced by oriental elements that came with the forced immigration of 2 million Greek refugees from Asia Minor.
Rembetika are basically songs for those from the ‘wrong side’ of the tracks, hence the grafitti…
Syros is famous for a few things, least not of which is their loukoumia (turkish delight) and their nougat. So, with Zefi pushing me to actually do some touristy stuff, we visited a factory to see how they’re made.
A nice man showed us around and explained the steps…. first the mix is boiled in these vats for a certain amount of time (ok, so I wasn’t paying that much attention!.
They still have a row of the old ones there which they rarely use any more, but since I love old things…
Once the goo is ready they pour it into flat trays are lined with flour to stop it from sticking. When it cools down they cut it into four in preparation for chopping into individual pieces.
Once the pieces are cut, a lady tosses them in flour and puts them in boxes.
The nougat is a whole other section but I didn’t get more than this one photo of the boiling mix. They were’t concentrating on making nougat at the time so there weren’t any in production.
It was interesting and smelled pretty nice in there. They gave us a taste of the turkish delight (which I’m not all that fussed about) and nougat (which I adore) before we left. It was a nice visit.