just a quickie

I’m not actually blogging today, I just wanted to say I looked at my post from the other day and the photos were all mucked up. No idea why. I think I’ll leave blogging till I return to Paros and my laptop. I am a bit wary of the tablet right now.

So full updates on the weekend.

z

athens. again.

Just a couple of switches on the wall…

Nope. This is not a ghetto in India. Its our old apartment in Athens, now belonging to my Aunt 1, which she had rented to the grot of the century.

I got the keys to place back today after trying to get the tenant out for almost a full year. Firstly I let him know we wanted the apartment for mom so she didn’t have to go up and down stairs. He basically said he’d been there 29 years and had no plans on leaving. Ever.

He hadn’t paid my aunt rent for 5 months so I chased him for it. Then I took advantage of the fact that he was always late with the rent, waited till he owed us another 5 months and went to court where they ruled in our favour and we got eviction papers.

I mean, the guy is an idiot. He knew I wanted to get rid of him, why didn’t he jump over backwards to make sure never to give me a chance to kick him out and pay rent in advance?

Not only did he not pay rent before the court order, he didn’t pay after either. But I’m a decent person. I gave him extra time to find a place (till after Christmas, way more time than was required by law) and said he could keep the back rent to put towards moving.

Then we went into lockdown.

And I knew he knew I couldn’t kick him out. So I gave him a bit more time. And then more time. But in the end I was sick of it. He whined and complained constantly. He was too old (he’s my age), too afraid of COVID19 to go looking for houses, he couldn’t afford anything else, that this house wasn’t worth more than 200e a month (yeah, he’d been paying 200e a month for 29 years!!!! And got my aunt to sign another contract for 10 more years at the same price), and that he was sick with stress since the day I told him he had to move out.

In the end I told him, and my lawyer told his lawyer in no uncertain terms that I’m a very NICE person and I’ve been way more than reasonable about this, but if I had to resort to getting the court to order the police to throw him out on the street the day lockdown ended I would also go to court for the rent he owed us PLUS court costs. If he was gone before lockdown ended he could keep the 10 months rent he owed. I wasn’t giving him more warnings, I was sending the police around first chance I got. Over and out.

Even then he asked for 10 more days. And that was 5 day ago. So he managed to drag it out for another 15 days past the ‘end date’.

When I met him today to get the key, he verbally attacked me. Telling me how the house was a wreck and that he only stayed in it despite the condition it was in cause he was ‘part of the family’ and he would never forgive me for causing him such stress during a time of pandemic, that my cruelty had made him sick, and that I ruined his reputation cause he never planned on not paying rent, he was a professional and his reputation was everything, and that the house wasn’t even worth 200e a month in its condition.

Uhuh. Like… who’d lived in the house for 30 years and let it get to that stage? Did he ever once clean or open a window to let in fresh air? It was in the condition it was in cause he never wanted anyone to do any maintenance on the place and he never lifted a finger to maintain it himself. We lived in that place for 7 years and never had issues with damp and sure as hell never let it become so disgusting. Four of us in that tiny place. But then again, we opened windows now and then.

Anyway, here are some photos of the house today. Warning: Not for the squeamish.

I’ve already organised for a friend to go in and rip out the bathroom, the kitchen and all shelves and cupboards. Our family painter had a look and said he can rescue the door frames, window frames and doors and windows…

The place needs to be fumigated and disinfected and demolished and everything has to be done over. Its beyond disgusting. How anyone could live in that filth is beyond me.

Ceiling in the bathroom.
Would you like to have a shower in here?
Bathroom window.
One of the walls in the kitchen.
Wall in the hallway.
Even the floor in the kitchen has mould where something sat for years. Sorry, no photos of the kitchen cabinets. I was too sickened to look at them for too long.
Inside one of the wardrobes.
Inside the other wardrobe.
The cigarette stained walls. The paintwork was once white. Its now all yellow and the house stinks of old cigarette smoke and mould.
Old wallpaper falling off the wall cause of the damp. This is right under one living room window but its not from water coming in. Its from damp from living in a closed up house.
The window frame and wall under the other living room window.
The surface of the built in shelves in the living room.
Even the bits which were covered by posters or whatever are yellow, just a paler shade than the rest of the walls and ceilings.

Its made me sick to my stomach but I can’t say I wasn’t expecting this. Now I start another house renovation, hopefully with better people and better results than last time.

Wish me luck.

z

walking dead dolls

I know I’ve shared a couple of my Walking Dead doll remakes, but I found I had this post in my drafts folder and it includes one previously unshared doll: Sasha.

sasha2

This is Sasha in the show:

Sasha_Williams_TWD

And this is my Sasha, complete with a high powered rifle with moving parts.

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Remaking Sasha included a total repaint of her face and a new hair style. I made her singlet top and she wears Bratz jeans. I bought her gun on ebay as I’ve bought various other accessories at times when I can’t make them myself. I already have a crossbow to make Daryl… I just have to get there.

sasha5

Let’s revisit the other girls… Firstly my all time favourite: Michonne. This is how she began, a very messy Bratz girl I bought in an op shop. That’s one thing I miss here (among other things…) No op shops. I’ve never seen dolls I can remake for sale anywhere for instance. I’m glad I brought a ton with me! When I eventually get around to re-making some again.

doll2

This is Michonne on the show…

walking-dead-michonne-danai-gurira-season-3-amc

And this is how my interpretation, complete with a katana and a chain to hold her pet walkind dead.

michonne1 (3)

In Michonne’s case I had to do a total overhaul. I had to remove her hair and make dredlocks by wet felting a combination of wools. I made her top, including a leather vest plus a studded belt. Her jeans are original Bratz jeans as they’re just too hard to make.

michonne4
michonne5

Last but not least, Carol. This is Carol on the show:

carol

This is what the doll looked like before I started. A typical overdone Bratz doll with wild hair.

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And this is the finished Carol, complete with a gun, a military warrier knife and bag.

carol2 (2)

In Carol’s case I did a repaint of the face, gave her a haircut and coloured her hair grey. I made all her clothes and made a pair of Bratz sandals into boots by painting and adding laces.

carol5 (2)
carol4 (2)

I miss remaking dolls. Its one of the things I planned to work on in winter but never got around to it for two winters in a row. This winter I was working on sculptures and last winter who remembers… All I know is that time never seems to be enough.

And I get bouts of laziness and inspiration blocks.

I should really be working on things like this constantly but instead I spend hours doing all sorts of things instead of creating. I really work best when I have a ton of projects going at once cause then I can pick what I want to work on at any given time. Space becomes an issue in a 2 room flat.

Last night I was up till 12.30 working on one of my new (old) cabinets. I didn’t even realise what time it was till I saw it was pitch black outside.

I love it when I’m in the zone like that.

z

lamp resurrected

A friend of mine sent me a photo of his lamp. He’d knocked it over and wondered if I could do anything with it, since we both belong to groups about recycling and not buying new.

I said bring it over and I’ll have a look.

I had envisaged a japanese gold fix Kintsugi but more than halfway through glueing pieces I discovered there a couple of large pieces missing.

I had to rethink it. I had to make up the missing pieces somehow. I used air dry clay but it looked awful. So, I started to play with it. And this is what I came up with.

An octopus is now holding the lamp together. You can’t actually see him cause he’s inside, but his tentacles come out of the ‘holes’ and wrap around the base.

I hope he likes it when he sees it!

Meanwhile Lainee is doing great but the news isn’t good. The lump they removed in Syros at the vet hospital was malignant. I don’t have the details yet, what type of cancer it was, but they recommend I let her recouperate from this surgery completely and take her back to remove the entire row on mammary glands on the other side too. There are lumps there as well. Tiny ones, but since the big one was malignant they don’t think I should take the chance of leaving and watching them.

I guess I wait to get the full biopsy report and do some research. I want her happy and healthy and if that means another surgery, then I’ll do it. I’d rather do it now, before she gets any older… She’s 12 now and if any of the other lumps begin to go ‘bad’ she won’t have to face surgery at 13 or 14. I want her to live to be a very old lady.

Meanwhile I’m waiting to hear back from the doctor in Athens regarding my stent removal. And waiting to hear about my job this summer. And generally just waiting. Seems lately there’s a lot of waiting involved in life.

z

upcycled cabinet door

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…

z

re-recycling rusty wire

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.

I’m happy.

For now.

z

perfect days & cat dramas

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…

Poor boy.

Anyway, gotta get going. I have cat food and kitty litter to buy!

z

lockdown free (for now)

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?

My aunt Dora making the dough.
My mom giving instructions.
Lainee, bored of proceedings, takes a nap.

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…

Whatever.

If you’re looking for me I’ll be somewhere along here.

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!

z

a great day – lockdown 2 day 170

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.

Next time.

z

home again – lockdown 2 day 169

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.

Red Easter Eggs

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?

Who knows.

Koulourakia

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.

Anyway, I have eggs to dye.

Happy Easter.

z