Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Part of my preparation for living in a Greek village for nearly four months is to learn Modern Greek. To that end I have bought a set of C.D.s PIMSLEUR'S QUICK & SIMPLE MODERN GREEK. One problems is I have no idea of how the words are spelt, and must rely totally on my fading hearing; 'excuse me' sounds like 'spig nommy' ; Ka ta la venite ugly car? is 'Do you understand English?' But I am still on disc 3 and there are three more to go.
Practising pitch and intonation is developing an entirely new set of muscles on my lips and tongue. It's like learning a new tune, questions in Greek have their stressed syllables in different places, for example, 'Ishte Americano' can mean 'You are American,' but 'Ishte AmerCAno.' becomes 'Are you American?' And verbs have gender.

Then there's preparing to walk the Imbros Gorge, no matter what I walk for 25 minutes every day, and there's quite a bit less of me that there was before Christmas, in spite of daughter in law Kim's inspired Christmas cooking.

Having something demanding to look forward to is one of the ways I can resist a rest home, I hope.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I dislike reading or hearing people talking about 'THE PROBLEMS OF THE AGED' . We aged do not have problems, other people have problems because, unlike us, they have not experienced life as long as we have.

For example, when I last consulted my friendly, capable and well qualified young doctor (he's about 50) I did not realise it was Diabetes Awareness Week. But he did, and he sent me for a blood test. Later that week his nurse rang. My blood sugar was high, could I please come in? Now the 'normal' range for blood sugar is from 4 -8 mils. Mine is 6.2, so I do not agree that it is high. However I accepted the literature about diet and exercise, down loaded the diet and exercise plan. It was sensible, very little different to my own regime, so I followed it. Apart from a torn ligament in the walking programme, I am feeling better, there is less of me, so I shall keep following directions, BUT I STILL DO NOT AGREE THAT I AM DIABETIC .

Us 'oldies' are still functioning, achieving and contributing. Last October I had ten lovely days in Ireland then popped over to Liverpool for my on line poetry group's reunion where I read from my latest 'slim volume', OVER AND OUT FROM DOWN UNDER.

Next June I plan to live in Crete for four months.
So where's the problem?

Anyway, here's a poem from "Over and Out From Down Under". Happy New Year!

Waitaki Hogmanay

All day caravans and cars
will drive through our gate and
make a circle round the green
like a wagon train in a western.

Awnings will spread, children will scatter
to take up games laid down last summer.
Except Jason and Dulcie
Who will stroll to the beach because
now they are fifteen; he has begun shaving
and her breasts are budding.

We will spread trestles under
the oak tree for drinks
and salads and things ladies bring on plates,
not forgetting sausages and steaks
and fillets of salmon wrapped in foil.
Fred's new barbecue has a grill
and hotplates, rotisserie and
an oven for warming bread.
Men will gather to admire but
they remember bonfires on beaches
and sausages on sticks.

"Has anyone seen Dulcie?" her mother will ask.

At ten o'clock, Alice and Bert will tune their guitars
Mothers will send children to wash their hands.
"Where the hell is bloody Jason?" his father will snarl.

At midnight we will sing "Auld Lang Syne"
and toast the New Year, absent friends,
whitebait , salmon and sea-run trout.
Anglers from the next camp will come
first footing and when there are
no more bottles or cans we will
make tea to toast the dawn.

Jason and Dulcie will stroll back
from the beach, last night's stars
still bright in their eyes.