the next installment

First up, a work in progress photo of the Ikea bookcase. Love the Ivar system. So easy and adaptable.

This is where I had planned to put the bookcase. Notice the powerpoint I had added on the wall where I thought I needed it… See the light fittings. Now look at how things are now:

Ok, maybe its not that easy to see. Basically I first bought a 32in TV thinking I didn’t need anything bigger… I got it home and from the couch it was like “where is the TV?”… so I had to swape it for a larger one. 50in. Much better.

Of course that lead to a lot of changes. The TV needed to be opposite the couch, so I had to move the whole bookcase down. Not to mention the bigger TV wouldn’t fit in the bookcase as it was. I needed to cut the bookcase to adapt it to fit a larger TV. I did that by cutting the front upright in the middle section. I have a bracket I plan to put there for added support for the shelves above. I’ll do that when I start painting the bookcase as I dont really want to be moving the TV twice.

I had planned on adding a narrow section to the end near the door, now I added it to the end by the wall. That meant I had to move the power point as it was now in the way. That was one of those 5 minute jobs that took 2 weeks cause I kept forgetting to buy the right drill bit with the right screws and plastic sleevey things. THEN it took 5 minutes to do.

The bookcase is all secured to the wall at the to so there’s no moving it now.

I ordered my narrow section and realised I forgot to get the little black feet… and didn’t order enough shelves… so now I wait to get those bits to finish the bookcase.

You can see I’ve got one section set up as my laptop station. I’m still not sure if I’ll extend that with a fold down section for a keyboard… We’ll see.

Meanwhile its just a general storage area till I get myself sorted. But there are pockets of pretty. Like this one with the little cactuses I bought a couple of weeks ago. Real ones!

The little stool is something I picked up at an antique store. They are something every greek house on the island had in various sizes – my grandfather made 3 of them for his grandkids. This was a dark green which I painted white. Of course. Its so Paros.

And this is me, right? Brushes and tools, the industrial light fitting, an antique photo frame…

The little table Barbara gave me (thanks again) is my sewing table while it waits for its makeover. It will always be my sewing table, but it will be painted and mended where Petey (her dog) snacked on it.

Another Zefi touch is the covered shoe (and other) boxes. I mean I couldn’t just have ugly boxes holding stuff on my shelves. I used brown paper bags from shops to cover those 3 and an old table cloth to temporarily cover the large one. The bigger shoe box holds the power cables cause who wants to see those?

Outside the front things happened for a while… My uncle and his buddies came over to install a sail for me. A nice big rectangle one. To keep the resin off the pine tree off any furniture I put out the front. They also did a few things out the back for me. The triangle sail to stop the hot afternoon sun from coming into my bedroom and provide some privacy, a washing line (no one seems to have those here… like, what? there is only so much you can fit onto a clothes airer!) And they put up a bamboo screen to the yard next door which does get occupied at times.

Well, in theory the front sail was a great idea. Till the wind grabbed it and ripped the post out of the wall.

Back to square one on that…. Now I’m thinking I’ll put the small triangle sail out the front and see how that goes and move the big rectangle one to the back where its protected from the wind. And next year, before things get busy, I’ll organise to build a pergola for the front. A real one. Built from timber. The wind shouldn’t take that one!

Meanwhile the coffee table is a craft station. I still haven’t recovered the dark brown cushions, I want to cheer the place up a bit. I did make the round cushion cover removable using fabric scraps I had on hand so it can be washed.

And Lainee keeps me company no matter what I’m doing. She’s settled in really well. Still very shy around people but loves other dogs and gets so excited when she sees one.

She’s begun to wag her tail for me, not often, and play short bursts of happy poodle. But the moment I try to join the game she stops… Its so sad. I don’t know why she’s like that. She doesn’t seem to get playing. She’s glued to me like a siamese twin, yet if I call her she will cower at my feet. And if anyone approaches her she just looks really worried.

Still… she’s improving all the time and I’m so glad to have her. She is the sweetest dog in the world and she’s helped to heal my aching heart from losing Montana and Romeo. And not being there when Montana died. She was such a special girl and I adored her. And Romeo was my boy from the day he took his first breath. Leaving them was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life. But they both found amazing homes with people who adore them. Its all I could want for them. It was just unfortunate that Montana only had a few months to enjoy the love of her new family.

Enough of that. It will make me cry.

I’m off to work now. No rest for the wicked. I hope that come off season I can get into a better routine and start making things again. Then I’ll have more stuff to share.

z

learning to live on a greek island

OMG!!!! I found this unpublished post when I sat down to write today… I’m so embarassed! LOL Actually, I’m not surprised. Things just get away from me…

So anyway… here is a post from over a month ago! I’m adding updates in italics to make it more current.

Meanwhile I’ll get to work on the next post…

Even prickley weeds have beauty.

Things have been busy lately. As if you hadn’t guessed given the resounding silence of late…

All good though. Only the odd minor drama…

I’ve moved into my new place. That’s if you don’t count the boxes I still have in storage, but since I haven’t yet had the energy to tackle the storage space in the basement I can’t bring them over yet. Its the thought of creepy crawlies or mouse droppings that’s keeping me from the task. And the heat. Then there’s the fact that I’m expecting visitors and 47 boxes in the middle of my living/dining/kitchen area will make life a tad difficult.

My visitors have come and gone. The boxes are still in storage but I’m counting the days till I can bring my stuff home. And my brother cleaned out the creepy stuff in the basement store room so its clean at least.

I’ve ordered my Ivar bookcase from Ikea (now that was a nightmare with their site taking turns recognising me or telling me I didn’t exist or I didn’t have a valid phone number??). It should arrive right when I have my brother staying. I can see it now… “hey bro, since you’re not doing anything…” hahaha

Somehow I don’t think that’ll work…

I got my bookcase up, decided I needed more bits. Its a work in progress.

I got a new coat of paint on the interior before moving in. And already have one scratch on the wall.

New light fitting with entirely the wrong globe. I hadn’t bought globes and the electrician picked these… hm…

The electrician came and changed the wall light fittings to ones I bought and put in some extra power points. He also put a couple of lights under the kitchen cupboards so I can see to burn food and wash dishes.

I got more appropriate light bulbs and I like it so much better now.

I bought a rickety rusty old bench for outside as a work bench and moved the outdoor setting to out the back cause the front is impossible to use.

So far all I’ve used the bench for is potting plants, but thats ok. And what you can see is actually the neighbour’s back patio space. The unit is unoccupied and while its in bank repossession limbo I’m spreading out that way… the area beyond the fence you can see with all the pretty plants is the other neighbours. Much bigger than my patio… I’ve now put up a bamboo screen for some privacy.

I borrowed my uncle’s water pressure cleaner and cleaned the worst off the front porch. On the negative side: the resin coming off the pine tree next door is unbelievable. That space is unusable without a sail or a pergola. I’m opting for the sail this year and see how it goes. Till I get a sail up I can’t even clean out there cause its a waste of time and effort. Not to mention white spirit, which I’d rather not throw around on a regular basis.

The lock on my bedroom window broke so its either open or closed, no in-between…

Thankfully that fixed now and I’m waiting on a quote to get security screens on the front door and window…

My suitcases are here… feels like home!

My car still runs but the back driver side door stopped opening. The knobs on the back seats both broke so I can’t lay the seats down to put big things inside. And I live to transport big things… Occasionally the radio turns itself on out of the blue… I’m sure that one day the lock and/or door handles will come off in my hands… eh. My car has character, what can I say?

The back door is fixed. Thanks to my brother. But the back seat issue remains.

I miss my Amarok. The quiet of WindDancer Farm. My poodles. Working from home.

Pay that matches cost of living – more or less.

Bureaucracy that makes sense.

Sigh.

Still, living on a greek island has its good points.

Like the sea. The views of the sea. Life by the sea. Swimming in the sea. And did I mention the sea?

I’ve got the most romantic mosquito net over my bed thanks to a good friend. Thank you Barbara!

Thats it for this post.

More coming. Soon I hope…

z

old houses

So, I’m back on Paros for the Paros Festival again this year. Three days of tours, dancing, bands, performances and open houses.

Last year I just managed to scrape in a visit to a couple of houses, an exhibition and a tour of the old church. This year so far its just been old houses… I absolutely love old houses.

These old places are old mansions belonging to the aristocratic island families of the past. They are either lived in and kept more or less in original condition, or left empty and are slowly falling apart cause the owners can no longer afford to maintain them.

They contain original collectables and furniture and are more like museums than homes.

They’re beautiful old places, and man, would I love to have the money to buy and restore one… sigh… not in this lifetime!

Meanwhile life goes on at a breakneck pace… whereas things crawled along for ages, a while lotta stuff happened all at once this last week.

For one thing, I now have wifi at home! Which is great cause I had my new 50in TV for a week with no internet access…

I also now have a bamboo screen, a clothes line and a sail in my back patio area. And 4 new plants…

My Ikea shelving unit (aka the bookcase) has been fixed to the wall and most of the stuff sitting on my kitchen bench have gone back to living on shelves… till I sort them out…

I have a washing machine (…maybe… long story…) but no connections for it AND it won’t fit under the kitchen bench… sigh…

There have been broken pipe incidents all over the place at the little community I live in. Apparently, they tell me, when the desalination plant went operational and we were connected to the service, pipes began to burst all over the place. Two reasons for this…. up till now the water was always pumped into a tank and the water ran on gravity feed. Plus they’re old pipes. They couldn’t take the new whiz bang mains pressure. Ugh. The first pipe to burst was next door above me. I came home to no water as they worked to fix that till late evening. Next was a place up the hill from me. And yesterday the place on the corner of my floor had a leaking ceiling cause the unoccupied place above was flooded. That was particularly bad as it wasn’t an outside leak, this one has done more damage.

I have a plumber coming today to put in the necessary plumbing for a washing machine and I was told to ask him to put some kind of pressure limiting gadget on my water line.

Ah… adventures….

Other than that, things move at their usual rushed pace. Get up early to walk Lainee and go to work each morning. Hurry home then to the beach or a grooming appointment. Go home for a shower and change to go out with friends or meet family.

Where is that slow paced life people talk about on a Greek island?

z

unbelievable… then again, maybe not…

Today my Ikea Ivar bookcase was delivered. I was so excited. I’ve been so looking forward to this. After the beach I got stuck into it. Unpacking boxes, lifting out bits and pieces and leaning them against the wall I’d already cleared so I could put it up tonight. Having decided that it was easier to just put it up now and worry about painting it later, like after the summer season, when I wasn’t busy with a job and the beach and all that…

So I opened up all the boxes, creating a pile of stuff to put together, only to find there were no lugs or pegs or bolt-like thingies to hold the shelves onto the sides. I thought maybe I got it wrong… maybe there’s some hidden trick to attaching the shelves. I looked it up on Youtube (as you do) and nope… there are supposed to be lugs or pegs or whatever and there were NONE. One guy on Youtube said they’d all fallen out in the packaging when he got his, but I looked through every bit of cardboard and not a single lug to be found anywhere.

Wonderful.

Now first thing on my to do list for tomorrow is ‘call Ikea and have them send me the lugs’. Then wait a week till I get them so I can put the damn bookcase together and get stuff out of the way.

And I thought I was on the home stretch…

I still haven’t got my sails or outdoor cupboard. I’ve gotten as far as speaking to the transport company which is shipping it but they haven’t located my order to inform me when it will be delivered.

Wonderfuller.

Sigh.

And while I’m whining and complaining… why is it that light switches are never on the right side in Greece? I don’t mean on the right wall, I mean the one on the right turns on the light on the left and the one on the left turns on the light on the right. I mean… how hard can it be to get that right? How about why some light switches are on when they’re up while others are on when they’re down… sometimes even in the same house…

Not to mention the fly screen on my front door … it opens the wrong way entirely. Its a double door, a narrow double door which means that you can walk through if you leave one side of the door closed (the side with the bolt top and bottom), but if you’re carrying stuff you really need to open both sides. Any NORMAL human being would put a sliding flyscreen on the ‘fixed’ side of the door so you can push it half open to get in and out when you’re only using half the doorway. But no. The bright spark who installed the one in my place put it on so you either have to open both sides of the door in order to open or close the flyscreen, or you have to contort and twist to reach around and slide it open or shut with half the door closed.

Really stupid obvious things to anyone with a brain… You’d think.

Ignore me. I’m just in a shitty mood cause I’ve spent the last 3 hours getting ready to set up a bookcase with nothing to show for it but a bigger mess than I started with.

I’m tired.

I’m going to bed!

z

getting there

It seems I have a house! Well, a unit to be exact. A one bedroom unit with a nice livingroom/ kitchen area, a decent sized bathroom and a tiny back courtyard I need to partition off if I want privacy. Plus a shared porch out front with a sea view (not the one pictured), providing you’re happy to ignore the traffic on the road below.

All in all, its a nice little place and its MINE. That in itself goes a long way to making up for its shortfalls: the fact that its not a detached house with a yard on a quiet hillside with views for miles and the sound of cicadas instead of cars…

I’m signing the paperwork this Monday but the bank cheques have already been drawn up. Yay for me.

This where the long wait and wading through red tape to buy a place end, and the adventures of setting up a place begin.

Fun things like getting internet – a 5 week wait apparently. If the legal crap hadn’t taken months, this and getting tradies to do work on the place would have been easy. Now, as peak season breathes down our necks, there’s buckleys to none chance of getting a tradie to do a job at a reasonable price… and I want air conditioning!

Plus getting power switched on in my name… theoretically that should be easy, but I’m in Greece… Water… do I need that turned on and in my name also or is the mains just turned off? I have no idea.

This and many new and exciting things await me as I learn all about being a home owner on one of the most popular islands in Greece.

z

Time flies…

Or drags. It really depends on where you are and what you’re doing.

Lately it just feels like there isnt enough time in the day to get anything done. Partly its cause I’ve been working the 1-7-but-more-like-7.30pm+-shift at work.

It sucks. I always have things to do in the mornings and even though Lainee makes sure I’m up by 8am every day, I never seem to have time to just relax… let alone do the stuff on my to do list.

I really have no idea where time goes, but it just goes.

There are pills to take (for both us girls), then errands to run, not to mention walks to take. If I can squeeze in a quick swim I do it. I’m on greek island for petes sake! I’ve taken to wearing my swim suit when I leave home cause you never know… there’s nothing worse than finding yourself near a great beach on a gorgeous day without swimmers. In fact being on Paros and not being able to swim is my worst nightmare…

After work its rush home to walk the girlie, grab something to eat before its too late according to my stomach’s schedule, then its socialize and chat and drinks till at least 11pm… cause I’m on a greek island for petes sake!

So what keeps me so busy you ask? Well, there are always things that need doing, you know, normal living things like washing, grocery shopping, chasing up lawyers regarding buying my own place, stopping to chat with every person I meet, pat every dog I see… and dog grooming.

The middle of the day work thing is kinda annoying. But its only for this month apparently… then I go to morning shift.

I’m eager to get to the 9am start so I can have an uninterrupted afternoon to myself.

And as if that wasn’t enough I found a sick little kitten on the road and picked him up. No one could take him on for 3 days. The animal welfare societies on the island are volunteer run and everyone is already up to their armpits in kittens. Its that time of year when kittens are born to stray cats or are dumped in dumpsters by uncaring cat owners.

So I had this tiny little man who needs antibiotics once a day and eye drops twice a day for a while. And he’s so cute… and he and Lainee were ok together… but I DO NOT WANT A CAT.

I love all animals but I don’t necessarily want to live with or care for them all. And cats are too sheddy. And they jump on surfaces I’d rather not have decorated with cat hair. And I don’t need another pet to feed or vet. Right now its still a toss up as to whether I can afford to support myself, let alone a pet or two.

When a dinner out costs as much or more than you earn in a day… well… it doesn’t look promising.

z

the pitter patter of little feet

This is Lainee. Her name is actually Lady but I’ve always liked the name Lainee and its so close to Lady… New life, new name, you know?

Lainee was given to me by a friend in Holland. I so missed having a poodle in my life and I miss Montana and Romeo so much… Little Lainee is helping me fill that gap.

She’s the sweetest little girl. 10 years old and so quiet and accepting on the huge changes in her life. Over the last two days she’s left the only home she’s known, been on busses, trams, trains, an airplane and now a ferry.

Today she’ll be in the second home since I got her, first mom’s house in Athens, next the house I’m staying in on Paros, and later (once I’m actually in the house I’m buying) she’ll move yet again.

In a weird way, Lainee is so much like my heart dog, Billybear. Its uncanny how much she looks like him. Same size, same colour even though she’s apricot (or was) and Billy was silver beige with very dark brown pigment.

I love having her, but its funny how quickly you get unused to having a dog. Or at least not having a yard when you have a dog. All the walks I have to take so she can pee or poop. We still haven’t worked out our routines and I don’t yet speak her language so I’m not sure what she’s trying to tell me a lot of the time. However when she grabs her lead I figure she needs to go out!

The quick trip to Holland was great. I have always loved Holland and every time I go there I feel like I could so easily live there.

Lainee’s neighbours included a miniature horse.

Have you ever seen a black and white swan? How beautiful.

Brunch in Amsterdam: cinnamon pancake with raisins and banana. Yum.

So… about the house… when will I move in you might ask… Everyone does. No one knows. Not even God at this stage. I keep following up, asking my lawyer and the agent, but apparently there is still paperwork to find, sort and submit. Really… You have no idea how not organised things are in Greece.

You know how things work in Australia? Well, here is nothing like that! In Australia I’d make an offer on a place with a written contract, the sellers would haggle, we’d settle on a price, I’d put down a deposit which would be kept in trust, we’d have a conditional contract with a time limit on the various aspects included in the contract (ie finance, building inspection, whatever) and once those deadlines were reached it would be unconditional and I’d have a settlement date I would work towards.

Here its done without a written offer or contract, without the conditions, without a settlement date. You basically say you want to buy a place then leave it in the hands of the universe. If I hadn’t pushed to put a deposit on it I would still not be sure the sale is going through.

Anyway, I’m so eager to get into my own place. To start nesting as it were. I’ve already bought some stuff for the new place, already raided mom’s cupboards for stuff I’ll need (she has an entire house of things I can take she says). I’ve filled bags with some pots and pans, some mugs, loads of NEW Tupperware she bought in the 70s… and cutlery. So I’m taking a few things to save myself some money while stocking up the new place.

When I get into the new place…

Cause as I said, NO ONE knows when I’ll get in there.

At least things are moving. I have a place to stay for now. I have a job. A car. And a poodle. All I need now is a home and that’s on its way…

z

the sirocco


Trying to catch up on the blog, I thought I’d mention the sirocco that hit the island of Paros about a week ago. Paros almost got blown all the way to Thessalonki. Seriously. It was one vicious wind, worse than it was even in winter. Not cold. Just incredibly windy.

Trees came down all over the place, leaves and broken twigs filled the small cobblestoned streets, anything that wasn’t tied down was lost. I found clothing around the neighbourhood, blown off clothes lines. My uncle lost the eski off his verandah – it was found in two pieces in parts of the surrounding neighbourhood.

Like anything, its a matter of perspective.

To me it was noisy and annoying, but no big deal. The window in the 2nd bedroom blew open and I couldn’t get it shut, but hey, no worries. I fixed it the next day. The bigger deal was the alarm or phone that rang every 5-10 minutes in a neighbouring house all night long. Timed perfectly so that you couldn’t get to sleep cause you were waiting for the next ring, then just as you were slipping off it would ring again. Grrr.

But to other people, the sirocco was a lot more trouble.

To my uncle Taki it meant a whole lot of work. He complained that all day he was running around with a screw driver in his hand, fixing things which the wind had blown open, blown apart or blown away.

To my uncle George it was a disaster. The wind had broken his apricot tree and he’d lost all his tomato plants.

Everyone has a different perspective.

I’m glad those winds don’t happen often but its ok. I’m used to strong winds. I lived in Tasmania where sometimes buildings would lose their roof.

z

ps… still haven’t met my toy poodle yet…

life is full of adventures

Its been an action packed weeks since I last posted. First there was the Easter disaster we managed to come out of ‘almost’ unscathed…

Then there was a whole lot of other things which just happened…

Here’s a small taste of how the entire last week went:

One day I had a plan – I was meeting my mom at 5pm to take her and the 3 aunts (her sisters, aunts # 1-3) to visit another aunt (a sister in law, aunt #4).

(I have a build-up of elderly aunts here…)

Anyway, I set off to meet mom, the 3 aunts and another aunt (another sister in law, aunt #5) is at the bottom of my stairs, limping… She’d fallen down some stairs and needed a lift to the health centre. Please can I take her? Sure, but I have to go get the car (too far for her to limp) and take mom and aunts 1-3 (full car) to aunt 4, but I’d return to get her. Only ‘don’t tell my mom, she’ll worry’. Fine.

Off I go, pick up the mom and aunts 1-3, drop them off at the aunt 4, amidst the flurry of hellos I zip off ‘on an errand, be right back!’ and dash back to pick up aunt 5. Take her to the health centre. Wait a while. She gets bandaged up, nothing broken, rest etc etc. Take her back home. Rush back to where I’d left mom and aunts 1-3 with aunt 4.

Ah. Life is full of little adventures, isn’t it?

Then there was the whole ‘get the dog spayed’ adventure.

See, my uncle (and entire family) has fallen in love with a little mutt which has chosen them to be her family. She’s the sweetest little thing, big body, tiny legs… Anyway, she was in season and I suggested (urged, convinced) them to get her spayed for her own good as well as for the good of my own mental health. I’ve become the defacto keeper of the dog’s health, being, as I am, the family dog expert.

So I booked her in and me and my cousin Peter took her to the vet and waited to pick her up. Took in a frightened little girl, took home a sleepy frightened little girl. She’s fine now btw… she’s fine when the cone of shame is off, but when its on she’s a pitiful bundle of fear. Poor little thing. Still, better than puppies we’d have to find homes for!

While waiting to pick her up my aunt called (another aunt, lets call her #6) to see how she was. A worried mother, you know. Peter said ‘Listen theia (aunt in greek), we went in to pick her up but they have another little girl dog there that’s much prettier. We’re thinking of bringing her back with us instead’…

He’s a cruel man that cousin of mine!

Then there was the Two Lunch day.

Let me explain… Having a ton of elderly aunts on the island means that I have a ton of people I ‘should’ vist. Most years I come to Paros I don’t visit. Who has the time? I mean they’re like mom’s second cousins or her third cousin’s daughters sister in law or something obscure that, frankly, means nothing to me. I won’t even recognise most of them if I see then on the street. Yet mom (and they) expect me to visit and not just once…

So, now I’m living on Paros I thought it only fair to drop in and visit this one particular aunt (#7) I haven’t seen in over 15 years. Now of course she calls me to invite me for lunch or just to stop in for a coffee. Which is understandable. But its like just another obligation in an already busy life, right?

Well, this aunt invited me over for lunch on Saturday. I put it in my calendar and, now I’m not grooming full time and don’t live by my calendar, I promplty forgot about it. Come Saturday I went and picked up a friend to visit the Tao Centre for their clothing swap meet (great idea, take in things you no longer want or need and pick up something new someone else no longer needs. Great recycling). We went, then sat to have some lunch – green curry, YUM.

And the phone rings. My aunt is like ‘where are you? we’re waiting.’

Oh crap!

Two lunches that day.

Now I’m in Hollad. I just love Holland. It was always a place I wanted to live in but never really made the committment to do it. It was always Australia (for my heart) and Greece (for family).

I’m in Holland to visit my bestest friend Inge and her family and to pick up a toy poodle. Yay! I’ll no longer be poodle free!!! I so miss having a snuggle buddy of my own. More on that later!

z

things took a nasty turn

Yesterday was a day of adventure.

First mom came by work and said I just HAD to go to church to see the taking down of Jesus off the cross. So I got off work early to go cause it was happening at 12pm according to mom and the church Easter program.

People worshiping at the cross.

I stood in the church for well over an hour listening to the chanting (ok, mostly nice), people watching, thinking about things I should not be thinking about in church, breathing in someone’s stinky breath and/or farts (not sure which was worse, actual farts or farty breath)… I swear. I believe the priests print out a schedule and then delay delay delay cause they enjoy having a full church. Either that or they all just have Greek timing…

And when they finally took Jesus off the cross it was a huge anti-climax. I filmed it. It took 23 seconds. One priest climbed on the ladder and unscrewed the bolts holding the figure of Jesus on the cross, another stood below with a sheet, the first guy lowered him while the second guy threw the sheet over him and carried him away…

Wow. I waited over an hour for that…

Apparently it was another hour before they brought Jesus out and placed him in the Epitaphio which they then walk around town at night.

Obviously I didn’t stick around for that bit. I went home for a nap, knowing I’d be out for the Epitaphio procession at 12am.

Yes, you can tell I’m not overly religious. I’m greek orthodox as all greeks are. Born into it, christened into it. But going to church is pretty much something I only do at Easter, rarely at Christmas plus the occasional wedding, christening or funeral.

Yet greek Easter is something special for me. Probably cause the rituals are so lovely, and because we always spent Easter on Paros when I was growing up and its really beautiful here. I’ve tried attending Easter celebrations other places but its never as good as on Paros.

It could also be cause for 2 years I joined the choir and got to know the hymns sung at the procession of the Epitaphio on Good Friday. I was so looking forward to it. Its been many years since I was on Paros for the Epitaphio.

So all was going well last night till we (Zefi, her daughter Marouso and niece Eleni) and I decided we’d go to Marpissa to see the Epitaphio there first cause they also do re-enactments, living art, something I’d never seen.

I must explain here that different regions or villages have different times for their Epitaphio. Marpissa is at 10.30, Prodromos at 10 and Parkia at 12. We thought we could do both Marpissa and Parikia.

Marpissa and Prodromos are 2 small villages on a mountain top on Paros, right next to each other. We got confused in all the traffic and parked in Prodromos (which also does living art) but decided to stick to the original plan and go to Marpissa. So we walked.

Only about 1.4 klm but it felt like a lot more…

Once there, we joined the throng, we didn’t even see the Epitaphio let alone hear the chanting… If there was any! It was not much fun.

The resurrection of Lazarus.

We managed to see 3 of the tableaus before Marouso tripped and sprained her ankle. That was the end for us. We put her in a taxi with some others and got them to drop her at the car while we walked back.

Palm Sunday

Mary Magdalene.

The plan was a good one. Take her to the medical center, which is right next to the church of Panagia where the best Epitaphio in the world is. It wasn’t till I started searching to show you what I mean about what is so special about Good Friday on Paros, that I realised not all Epitaphios have a choir singing hymns… The best example I could find was this and this, not exactly the same…

I was so looking forward to it, it had been millions of years since my last easter on Paros.

We piled into the car and about 1klm out of the village I hit what I thought was an average pothole (they have a magnetic force field I am powerless to resist). Turns out it was a mile deep crater with edges like shark teeth that could have swallowed an entire Volkswagon combi van…

I blew out both tyres on the right hand side of the car.

Flat. Pancakes. The car was sitting on its rims.

Who has 2 spares?

I didn’t have a warning triangle. I didn’t even have my paperwork in the car cause I’d taken it to work yesterday thinking I should have a photocopy of it all for home just in case, then changed bags and left it at home along with my drivers license.

And we were on a hill, on a curve. And greeks drive like maniacs.

So we did the best we could. We took turns signalling oncoming traffic using our mobiles and calling anyone and everyone who might have advice on what to do. I didn’t know if I was covered for roadside assistance with my temporary insurance, we didn’t know if there was roadside assistance on Paros, I know nothing Jon Snow.

I think over 100 cars went past. Most slowed as we signaled. I swear some either ignored us or sped up at the lunatics waving flashlights in the dark. I was abused by one idiot for not putting out a warning triangle… like “yeah moron, what do you think the waving of mobiles is all about??? We just like playing chicken with traffic on greek mountainsides?”

Only 3 cars stopped to offer help.

Wow.

If I was in Tasmania (I’d have called roadside assistance for one thing) but I’d have had almost everyone stop to give me a hand.

In the end the fire brigade turned up cause the message they got was that we were in a ditch and had one person with a broken ankle… one of the guys was royally pissed off and stormed off in disgust when it turned we weren’t lying in pools of blood.

Two of the other guys stopped traffic and rolled the car to a little spot on the side of the road where we left it and got a ride back to town.

Oh, and the police called. Turns out they got the same message. They wanted to know if we were hurt. They ran the license plate and said the car was still registered in the previous owners name. What fun. Now I have to chase that up too. That was meant to have been done the by the day I picked up the car weeks ago!!!

Upshot? I didn’t get to see one single Epitaphio.

Happy Easter. Hopefully the Anastasi tonight will be uneventful.

I won’t be driving anywhere!

z