Sweat the small stuff

I have a friend who likes to write articles contrary to popular opinion and sayings to get you to analyse what is really behind those words and thoughts. Quite often what applies to the majority or what worked in the past no longer applies especially under our current circumstances.

These common phrases often irritate me because while they may apply in some sense to my life they frequently do not. I am not like other people. I am a woman, therefore a human but since I don’t drive, work or have kids that’s where I am vastly different. I have not had the same experiences so I lack that common base.

I am just as intelligent maybe more so in some areas but not in others. It is my differences that seem to cause problems as I am not business minded where as there they would be an asset. I have social skills now although I no longer have any chance to practice them living under my 3rd lockdown. It is tough living with the same people since practically March last year when the first lockdown began.

Banana bread

I now bake bread/cake weekly to keep myself occupied. I didn’t bake in the first lockdown or watch Great British Bake-off but now I have. My bread recipe book and breadmaker are very useful in helping me achieve my edible, creative pursuits.

Pepper and onion bread
Coconut wax dyed and scented candles

I also make candles as gifts. These are comforting hobbies just like encaustic art is. This is an art form that was first made in 6th Century Greece by monks with beeswax and mastic gum from Chios. It is quite tricky to get hold off and to get right so I tried experimenting with lots of different types of paint and wax first because it’s not generally something you have lying around. It’s very tempting but also expensive to order the world off Amazon right now. Jasper Johns also managed to make artworks in this format in 20th century America. Thankyou once again internet, Google and Wikipedia.

Coconut wax dyed, scented and decorated candles

I found that my acrylic effect (sand, silver, gold, white, crystal) paint from Lidl in combination with my dyed coconut wax worked really well. I used some drip paint too (from the Range) for the colouring of my flower meadow. It was quite relaxing to just drip the candle wax where ever but you do have to be careful as it is hot and some candles burn quite furiously if tipped upside down. Don’t do this is you have young kids at home.

Candle wax and acrylic paint on oil paint

In addition to my canvases I have started linocutting also not a child friendly activity. Landscape artist of the year on Sky is responsible for me getting a sudden interest in this and the continuing lockdown that has no end in sight despite progress on the vaccine front.

Linocut test prints

As a result Linocutting is quite calming carving out your pieces ready for printing. The rollering of the ink is surprisingly tricky to get right to produce a good print but I think that is half the fun of it. Enjoying the magic of a process that is both simplistic and random because it is quite the art to getting the ink to stick where it is supposed to and not anywhere else.

Another linocut, the same image but expanded
Trying colours on the linocut

Soon I am going to start indulging in my inner Warhol with screen printing to get better at the ink part of linocutting. That is after all where you make your image come alive. I feel I owe it after visiting the Warhol museum last February. That seems almost a lifetime away now with all that has happened since.

Sweat the small stuff

I have a friend who likes to write articles contrary to popular opinion and sayings to get you to analyse what is really behind those words and thoughts. Quite often what applies to the majority or what worked in the past no longer applies especially under our current circumstances.

These common phrases often irritate me because while they may apply in some sense to my life they frequently do not. I am not like other people. I am a woman, therefore a human but since I don’t drive, work or have kids that’s where I am vastly different. I have not had the same experiences so I lack that common base.

I am just as intelligent maybe more so in some areas but not in others. It is my differences that seem to cause problems as I am not business minded where as there they would be an asset. I have social skills now although I no longer have any chance to practice them living under my 3rd lockdown. It is tough living with the same people since practically March last year when the first lockdown began.

Banana bread

I now bake bread/cake weekly to keep myself occupied. I didn’t bake in the first lockdown or watch Great British Bake-off but now I have. My bread recipe book and breadmaker are very useful in helping me achieve my edible, creative pursuits.

Pepper and onion bread
Coconut wax dyed and scented candles

I also make candles as gifts. These are comforting hobbies just like encaustic art is. This is an art form that was first made in 6th Century Greece by monks with beeswax and mastic gum from Chios. It is quite tricky to get hold off and to get right so I tried experimenting with lots of different types of paint and wax first because it’s not generally something you have lying around. It’s very tempting but also expensive to order the world off Amazon right now. Jasper Johns also managed to make artworks in this format in 20th century America. Thankyou once again internet, Google and Wikipedia.

Coconut wax dyed, scented and decorated candles

I found that my acrylic effect (sand, silver, gold, white, crystal) paint from Lidl in combination with my dyed coconut wax worked really well. I used some drip paint too (from the Range) for the colouring of my flower meadow. It was quite relaxing to just drip the candle wax where ever but you do have to be careful as it is hot and some candles burn quite furiously if tipped upside down. Don’t do this is you have young kids at home.

Candle wax and acrylic paint on oil paint

In addition to my canvases I have started linocutting also not a child friendly activity. Landscape artist of the year on Sky is responsible for me getting a sudden interest in this and the continuing lockdown that has no end in sight despite progress on the vaccine front.

Linocut test prints

As a result Linocutting is quite calming carving out your pieces ready for printing. The rollering of the ink is surprisingly tricky to get right to produce a good print but I think that is half the fun of it. Enjoying the magic of a process that is both simplistic and random because it is quite the art to getting the ink to stick where it is supposed to and not anywhere else.

Another linocut, the same image but expanded
Trying colours on the linocut

Soon I am going to start indulging in my inner Warhol with screen printing to get better at the ink part of linocutting. That is after all where you make your image come alive. I feel I owe it after visiting the Warhol museum last February. That seems almost a lifetime away now with all that has happened since.

A year in review

2020 has been a roller-coaster year. We have had the first lockdown in the spring which was unprecedented at the time and I coped with it by doing art and photography. I also went from some walks. Our student rentals suffered as everyone went home but we just stopped the services and applied for refunds. Some of which we got quicker than others. As you may know I spent my time painting, taking photographs, writing and spending a lot of time watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. I couldn’t stomach my usual programming choice of WestWorld. Meditation was reforming me just as much as the enforced isolation was.

I was also in the process of moving house having acquired a new property last October. It needed a lot of work doing to it and we had ripped out fireplaces, tidied the garden etc already. We were waiting on the council to approve our extension plans before we could put in a new kitchen as the existing space was far too small. The house had been built in the depression era and had been occupied by a spinster for most of her life. As such she hadn’t changed the layout of the house only adding a stairmaster which had been present for the last 25 years.

That meant that our house needed to be emptied of its goods but we still needed to keep enough items there in case we went back there. We didn’t know how long the lockdown was going to last but we were staying at the in-laws temporarily as we had just got back from a holiday to India with them. It was strange living in that bubble not knowing how long we would be there and when we could leave and re-enter the world. The weather was amazing for the time of year so that kept our spirits up as well as Amazon. Being able to see another person even if it was for 2 minutes while they delivered something was a lifeline.

Then the quarantine finally eased up. So we had friends round for socially distanced BBQs. These were bizarre affairs as everything was separate so its like we were in rival gangs living in the same neighbourhood sharing a communal piece of ground. We were so grateful to have company though as our conversations were becoming rather stale. Nobody had been out in months except to the supermarket and there wasn’t anything to report from those trips. The drive to a fast food outlet was heaven.

It was very odd when we finally went back to our own home town after months spent holed up with my in-laws. The pubs were radically altered with their queues and separation measures. The convival atmosphere of the pub had disappeared. Only outdoor pubs could open. Luckily we would continually be blessed with good weather. This was highly unusual to have such a long run of good weather. That certainly helped with people’s moods. It was good for business too.

Afterwards, while the eat out to help out scheme was running to try to persuade people back into restaurants mingling with others; we went to Greece to try to salvage something of the year. It was bakingly hot but so quiet so the tourist industry still suffered. This was a bit of a problem in terms of income but we were glad as there was a lot less work to do. The ambience wasn’t there again but if your worried about your income it isn’t going to be.

My birthday came around and in the relative ease that we were enjoying I had my parents round who I hadn’t seen all year and we went to Ramsgate. We also had a very enjoyable day at a local zoo checking out the improvements that had made since I last visited several years ago. It was also a birthday trip then I believe if I recall correctly.

After that there was a new student year to prepare for but we were granted some more luck here as the students sign up in December/January so its very difficult for them to renege on their contracts. There is always a couple that decide uni isn’t for them or go elsewhere but were used to those teething problems. Unis were operating in a different way to before but the social isolation that preceded it meant that there reopening was necessary to try to get to some form of normality again. With the introduction of the tier system the media started to propagate the idea that universities were fertile Covid breeding grounds. This was again not true as although students thought they were immune and being a bit careless; It was more that drinking makes you forget about the new restrictions so you hug, kiss and visit many people. Mental health is a very important factor to the new generations so they know that self care is crucial to their well being. This includes the sensation of touch which can’t be replicated by Zoom or phone calls no matter how many you have or how often.

However, with a second lockdown that created some more problems or reignited old ones. Some students returned to their country of origin scared by the fear mongering that the media creates. There was also the inevitable backlash of students paying thousands for online lessons but again this is another media story blown all out of proportion. Students have generally being coping pretty well if the stories of my husband’s cousins are to act for all students in Corona virus hotspots.

November was a big month for me as I took to baking and pickling everything in sight for people’s Christmas presents. I refused to buy the same generic presents that I always did. The shops were not selling anything new and there had been no craft fairs to buy handmade gifts or something out of the ordinary. Most of the shops were closed again so it was handy that I had already bought my husbands presents in October when I had chance to browse. I couldn’t get anything spectacular but then we hadn’t been anywhere new after March to be able to pick up good gifts.

On a personal note I finally moved house after buying the next one what was now a year ago. My husband bought it while I was on a hen do so I had no choice in the matter. I’m not into the property game having moved house many times in my childhood. The whole renovation game is not my deal. I’m no good at any of those tasks having tried my hand at them all many times previously. The council had finally granted permission for us to start the extension and renovation works after applying a year ago so that meant back to the in-laws. I had a week’s notice to pack up our house and decide what was going to the new house as we wouldn’t need it for about 3 months and what was going to the in-laws. Their house was still accommodating the majority of our items from earlier on in the year but now they got everything that was left in our house. Its a good thing they have a big house.

It took me weeks to find homes for all the items. I spent a lot of time checking dates and quality of items as we didn’t have time to be choosy when we moved. We once again borrowed our mates cars and vans to move house as hubby refuses to get removal vans when those same mates own curtain sided lorries for their family business. Furniture is difficult to move and we didn’t have time to sell items off like last time we moved. There was also no time for charity to collect items either. It took us a day to clean and shift with several trips.

As the 2nd lockdown ended we had the tightening of restrictions with the upping of the tiers that the majority of people were in. This included myself as were now in tier 3 so lockdown in all but name. We had been in tier 1 beforehand which gave us relative freedom but now that had been removed. We had been imprisoned in our homes once again. Its a good thing I’m such a hermit crab. I went back to my usual organisation of cupboards, fridges and even the freezer this time. I realised this is the most stereotypical autistic thing I do as nobody else gets such joy from a well stocked, labelled and organised larder.

There was a lot of prep work for Christmas this year despite the fact that it was destined not to be well attended. We might not even have a party. I had to keep the house clean though as well as ourselves. Having quickly got zoom fatigue and found out I’m completely useless at music quizzes I took to calling people on the phone and WhatsApp video calls. In the first lockdown I found out that people are easily freaked out if you call them using Facebook messenger regardless of whether its video or audio. Especially if you don’t usually call them. I learnt to only contact the close friends as that makes the conversation run smoother even though nobody is actually doing anything. The transition to the new tier 4 which is a regional lockdown made doubly sure of that.

Life has a funny habit of creeping up on you when your not watching it as people still got new cars, had car accidents, elderly relatives died and major operations occurred. As for me the major event was finding out that my father had stage 4 terminal cancer yet I couldn’t go and see him because of the regulations forbidding travel. There were always in a different tier to us. There was also the fact that he had to have a covid test before each appointment and self isolate to protect himself. He had many scans and xrays of various parts as it was a proper detective story locating it and finding the original source. He had been fine as far as I was aware for my birthday but in actuality it had been picked up on a scan 6 months previously however due to the onset of Covid it had been missed and allowed to progress until he no strength at all. He was rushed to hospital barely able to breath but after a night inside he was dispatched. The saga continues still to this day as he is being treated by 3 different hospitals and the consultants can’t agree on the best course of action. He had a hip operation but is at home and my mother is struggling to cope. Its not what you expect to be dealing with in your golden years. The neighbours she would have previously relied upon have either died, moved away to stay with younger relatives due to ill health or simply moved because there are too many bad memories from other close friends dying.

Greece and India

When I was writing many articles about the history of Lefkás last year someone commented about the fact they thought there was some link between the two. At the time I couldn’t find anything on the web about this so I couldn’t help them. It is only through listening to the excellent Eva Palmer Sikelianos- Her life in ruins by Artemis Leontis that I have been able to find out any information about this. Even Google comes up blank!

Now in order to fill in a lot of gaps of generally unreported or unknown history I’m going to have to give out a couple of history recaps and this will make this article long and quite possibly unwieldy. Bear with me while I set the scene.

When I was in India just before Covid caused the world to shutdown I went to the Gandhi memorial gardens. It’s a peaceful paradise in the middle of a busy, hot, dirty city. It’s quite simple but it’s effective just like Gandhi would have wanted it to be. It is however part of the tourist trail which is not what he would have wanted but you don’t have control after you die. As we were on quite a whistle stop tour we just passed by it since you can see everything from your window and Covid was starting to bite. It might have been nice to go around the place but instead I have a postcard memory. By that I mean the memory of an image rather than the actual place.

As India is so big it’s good to have a plan in place so that you make the most of your time there. Checking out Gandhi’s history only became part of the schedule as we had time to spare. It would take a whole other holiday to properly research this.

As I’m clearly digressing from the point I’m wanting to make I will try to get there promptly. The reason I mention Gandhi is because he was a major influence in the revolution in India against British colonial rule and included in that was wearing Parisian fashion. These were often made using Indian cotton and cloth. This was to become known as the khadi or homespun cloth movement. He wished women to go back to the loom and weave their own clothes similar to Eva Palmer Sikelianos.

Eva had also met the first Indian Nobel literature prize winner poet and polymath Rabindranath Tagore; along with the granddaughter of Dadabhai Naoroji who was known as the Grand Old Man of India. Now Khorshed Naoroji is a person who has completely disappeared into history apart from her time spent with Eva, Gandhi and the knighted Tagore.

Khorshed possibly had a brief intense relationship with Eva where she was converted into wearing traditional Indian saris instead of the more fashionable Parisian styles she was more accustomed to wearing. She was trying to develop a Byzantine style school to teach those in India about Greek music, dance, language and culture and would have succeeded but Eva choose to help her husband with the development of the Delphic festivals. It was this that led to Eva’s life in ruins as well as her study of archeology 😉

Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Choker Bali is available on Netflix to watch if you want to find out more about his work for yourself. I found it a very enjoyable watch. It’s subtitled as far as I recall.

The Grand Old Man of India, Dadabhai Naoroji, was the first British Indian MP who is commentated in many street names in India but also in Finsbury Park London. If I had continued to read the William Dalrymple book that was in a hotel in India I would know more as would you all.

Clothing as a social and economic battleground

Many different people have used clothes over the years to showcase their point in a way that there words and action have not quite been able to capture people’s attention.

Catharine the Great had done so to emphaise both her feminity but also that she was empress of Russia. With that she was leader of the armed forces so was entiled to have military elements added to her dresses to show solidarity but ultimately that she was in charge.

Eva Palmer Sikelianos rallied against the influence that the Parisian fashion houses had on the bourgeois in the 20th century. She was so committed to presenting herself as an original that she wove all her own clothes from her adulthood onwards. She also influenced many of her Indian compatriots including Khorsed Naoroji and Gandhi to adopt their nationalist dress.

Freddie Mercury or Farrokh Bulsara who was of Parsi Indian origin, wore outrageous clothing on stage to make the point that you can be an outsider in terms of culture, religion, language and sexuality but if you have an undeniable talent and showmanship the people will flock to you. You can change the world bringing light, awareness and recognition to sensitive issues like AIDS.

In the case of Elton John ie Reginald Kenneth Dwight, he showed that while flamboyant costumes make a good character, so does a more subtle look as it doesn’t change your innate talent. In addition he decided to fight back against the drug and alcohol abuse that is so prevalent in the music business by going sober many years ago and still be hugely successful.

Lady Gaga Or Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is known for her stage outfits being on a par with Elton John with how otherworldly they can be. Her meat dress springs to mind as a protest against treating gay people as pieces of meat. They have rights too.

Grayson Perry is an artist/potter who famously went to collect his award for services to art from the queen wearing a dress and in her Claire persona. It was interesting to see that during lockdown within his own house he was wearing normal clothes for a man. He even joked that since it went on for so long the first time he almost shouldn’t be allowed to do it again or anymore.

Drag and it’s older theatrical cousin pantomime is the ultimate in self expression and non conformity as it is men dressed as women. This is lowering your place in the social hierarchies and they are poking fun as what society says you must do in order to be classified as a man or a woman. This disobedience allows others to bring attitudes, beliefs and desires to light that outside of a comical show would be too heavy to digest otherwise.

“Woke” society is identifying with this recategorization as is the LGBT+ movement. A lot of millennials and Gen Z kids don’t conform to gender stereotypes. They see themselves as gender neutral, non binary or gender fluid. This allows them to combine elements of both traditional female and male clothing to create there own styles. Fashion is about breaking the rules and they are certainly doing so.

Photography and oil painting update

I have been practicing with my new camera that I got for my birthday and sampling a new way of painting after watching Bob Ross. He was on during lockdown and since I think we’re soon to be locked down again I thought I better get cracking.

The Lefkás pictures are not mine by the way. (Also, I’m still reading the feminist books as I took a break for my birthday to visit friends and have my parents visit me.)

The struggles that women face when trying to become self employed

I have found that doing your side hussle as a way to keep yourself occupied because your unable to get a job means that your side hussle will fail. I have tried and tried and tried some more. I have worked to the point of burnout with no success.

If you are a self employed woman like myself you don’t have the pre existing business connections, the capital (money) or the resources to make it a commercial success. You also have our paternalistic society against you. In order to make it in a man’s world you have to deny your femininity. This means no relationships or children which is such an inhumane and demoralising way to live. Most women can only persist with this for so long. Eventually, their hormones get the better of them. By this I mean they might have a breakdown because there life just isn’t fulfilling anymore. They come to the conclusion that there is more to life then work and money.

If you do manage to have a child which I haven’t you will most likely find that you are not able and do not want to devote yourself to your job like you did before. Your priorities have changed but the working world hasn’t. Covid may have granted us a lifeline here with working from home but you have other new issues here. You now have more time and energy since you are no longer commuting but you still have the childcare problem in addition to your housework plus there is now no separation between work and home life. One intrudes on the other and everyone knows that bringing your work home is a bad idea. Trying to be a super mom is a disaster waiting to happen.

Most women that I’ve seen start new careers on maternity leave to earn extra money find that it is not sufficient which is why most mum-entrepreneurs as they have been called stop within the year. They don’t have the support that is required to really make there businesses a success. There is not generally anything wrong with them but the financial situation is usually what sways them.

I have come across a lot of women who have tried to start their own business. They have not lasted. The home beauty business model is flawed. Avon ladies are not particularly successful neither are the Virgin cosmetics girls or the ones selling Ann Summers products. Pick any company that relies on women to host parties and/or sell to their girlfriends and within a year they will quit. They don’t get the benefits associated with their old jobs like the socialisation that comes with after work drinks.

If you are always a stay at home mother then you start to yearn for a life outside the home like you did before otherwise you come to resent your new life which is no good for the child’s development. You miss adult company and conversations so much you wonder why you even thought having a child was a smart idea. Talking becomes very difficult as all young mums know since your life now consists of in the Night Time Garden and Peppa Pig.

I have seen that in Lefkáda that female business ventures tend to work out better as they have big extended families to help out with all of the different tasks of daily life. They also have a much bigger support network so socialisation isn’t so much of a problem. However, even over there the ones that are apart from their family groups haven’t managed to make such a success of things.

Life is all about balance and if your supports are not present then your life is going to be uneven. You can look at raising a child as the cherry on top of a multi-tiered cake. If the layers below are not stable then the top will add too much pressure resulting in the collapse of all that is underneath it. We need to help each other out so that all women live the lives they deserve and if they desire children they can have them in an environment that is conducive to a healthy childhood. It prevents a lot of later issues that may not be able to be fixed in the future.

Lockdown art

Since here in the UK the lockdown is only just starting to be eased with shops opening, social distancing being reduced and the ability to see friends and family through bubbles I thought I would show some of my art that I have made recently.

Lefkás inspired ones followed by Coronavirus inspired ones and pictures of the area.A boat on the lagoon in Lefkáda

A boat on the lagoon in Lefkáda

A boat by the shore in Lefkáda

A boat by the shore in Lefkáda

A beach in Lefkáda

A beach in Lefkáda

A collection of dystopian, coronavirus and loss inspired artwork
A collection of dystopian, corona virus and loss inspired artwork

The sporting events that didn’t happen in 2020

The sporting events that didn’t happen in 2020

The news cycle of spring 2020

The news cycle of spring 2020

The house
The house

A lake view with pier and bridge

A lake view with pier and bridge

The house with next door chicken farm

The house with next door chicken farm

Another view of the lake by the swing

Another view of the lake by the swing

The lake and the house

The lake and the house

Drinking and emotional regulation

I have come to the conclusion that the traditional British attitude of the stiff upper lip is responsible for us drinking far more than we should on a regular basis. It’s also not just how much but how early we start, that we commonly drink everything in sight and that we don’t stop. We don’t even drink soft drinks to water it down. Even in this pandemic alcohol sale and therefore consumption levels are at record levels. We can’t go to the pub to drink our alcohol so we drink it in our homes where we don’t have to worry about work, transportation and it’s cheaper.

It’s no wonder that millennials have stopped drinking. They have learnt from our European cousins that there is more to life than booze. They have also learnt to be a lot freer with their emotions. Emotional repression is why the majority of people drink as it’s too painful to endure but the consequences of this are insidious. You do more long term damage to yourself by not addressing your own problems and feelings than you do by ignoring them.

The Greeks are very spiritual and emotional people. They can be commonly found having a disagreement ie shouting match but it never results in blows. The next day they are friends again having resolved their issues. They do love a good catchup and right now they are enjoying their beaches having come partially out of lockdown.

Where as us in the UK are still in for at least another month. We can go out of our houses now but still have to social distance and can only meet friends one on one in the park. We can’t invite them round for afternoon tea or a sleepover. We can take as much exercise as we want as long as we social distance so playing golf for instance. No spectating and no group sports otherwise. We can go to work if we can’t do it from home ie construction or manufacturing. So working for others is allowed as you have to think of big business but otherwise stay home and alert watching to see if Covid is around the corner of your now spotless, well organized home. Which by now is full of home schooled children, artwork and home baked goods. Maybe you even have a bun in the oven yourself since you’ve had so much time on your hands?

The Girl under the Olive Tree by Leah Fleming

This is a historical romance ie chick lit book I have been reading to cope with the social isolation that we all have to perform right now to rid ourselves of Corona Virus. Its in a similiar style to the Victoria Hislop books that I have read and tried to emulate.

This is a very interesting book as it documents the fictional life of Penelope Angelika Georgiou or Penny George as she goes by when in the UK. Pen as she is called in later years recounts her life as a Red Cross nurse in Athens, Greece during the Second World War. Its thoughtfully written with an accurate portrayal of what an upper class debutante would have to face going it alone with only her Greek heritage and looks for protection against an uncertain world.

It seems that the books that I enjoy most inadvertently tend to evoke my own life as Leah is in the Yorkshire Dales while writing these books which is where I originally hail from. The character Penny has for a middle name, my name in Greek and she reminds me greatly of myself. Very much like when I was reading Angelology and Angelopolis about 5 years ago. That was on my other blog as this one didn’t exist then.

Athens by Dr Michael Scott on This is Greece

This is part 2 of a five part series on PBS. Part 1 is Northern and Central Greece, Part 3 The Peloponnesus, Part 4 is the Cyclades Islands and Part 5 is the The Dodecanese Islands .

I have been to Athens and I wrote about it previously when I visited at New Year. I haven’t been back since as it took some getting used to.

I must not having been paying attention when this was on in September and just recently during the week and on at the weekend. As it’s an American show I can’t stream it and I can’t find it anywhere else but I have written about The Parthenon which is a major part of the history of Athens.

Best wishes

Angela

Cyclades Islands by Dr Michael Scott on This is Greece

This is part 4 of the series with him previously visiting North and Central Greece before moving on to Athens, The Peloponnesus area, and now The Cycladic (Circular) Islands in the Aegean Sea.

The Cyclades encompasses sacred Delos which is the centre, Syros which houses the capital Ermoupoli, tourist hotspots like Naxos, Mykonos and Santorini for the magnificent sunset, historic Milos and Tinos, religious Paros and out of the way places like peaceful Folegandros and Sifnos known for its many churches.

Our guide for these islands are 2 different Greek ladies, Cassandra and Sylvia as tourism is more prevalent here than history. Santorini is well known for producing the best wines in the area due to its volcanic soil. I personally know this having attended a wine tasting involving their wines. I’ve probably written about this years ago too.

The famous Venus de Milo statue was found on Milos.

He visits Tinos to talk about the islands dedication to Poseidon and to see the many dovecotes on the island. There is also the famous church where pilgrims crawl on their knees from the port to the entrance which is 700 metres. This is an island that is part Catholic due to its Venetian heritage and part Greek Orthodox.

For the last episode he visits the The Dodecanese Islands or 12 islands.

Best wishes

Angela

The Dodecanese Islands by Dr Michael Scott on This is Greece

This is the final part of This is Greece with Dr Michael Scott having first visited Northern and Central Greece, Athens, The Peloponnesus area of Greece, and, Cyclades Islands.

The Dodecanese (12) Islands contain Rhodes which is a fantastic historical island especially for someone like me who has an interest in the Durell family as Laurence lived there writing a book about the island which I’m yet to read. That one was called Reflections of a Marine Venus. You can visit his house Villa Kleobolus while your there too.

Rhodes was subject to many invasions over the years so it’s been fortified accordingly. It has been ruled by first the Romans then the British as part of the Crusades and the famous knights of St John or the knights hosiptaller, the Venetians spent some time here, it was owned by the Ottomans but they kept the locals ruling and it was later passed on to the Italians before finally gaining there independence.

Leros is the next stop on the tour but our guide is now an Athenian lady Elenor. There is Byzantine, medieval, Ottoman, Venetian and Italian history here just like Rhodes. Sunsets are of course a big selling point along with churches dating from the knights of St John. If your a film buff you will want to visit the island as it’s the inspiration for the film Guns of Navarone.

He also travels to Patmos famous for being the place where the biblical book of Revelations was written by St John with many churches dedicated to him, a monastery as well as its many windmills.

Symi turns up too. St Michael is the patron saint here with a magnificent church dedicated to himself as he is also patron saint of sailors in the Dodecanese.

As usual with American programs the first and the last are the most interesting with the ones in the middle being mainly composed on second grade material. He even gets other people to do tour guides for you!

Best wishes

Angela

Greek language blogs

These are blogs that I’ve started following as in order for me to be able to talk I need to read an awful lot of content from native speakers on varied subjects. I didn’t publish anything for the National Greek Language Day that we just had and I was reminded that I should get back to my language studies again.

Best wishes

Angela

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire ruled Greece from when the Byzantines finished in the 14th century until the end of the First World War. This was a considerable amount of time. There was a program on BBC 4 about this last year by Rageh Omar. It was titled The Ottoman Empire – Europe’s Muslim rulers. There is now also a Netflix program about the rise of the Ottoman Empire which I’m going to write about as well.

I found it a fascinating insight into a period of history that isn’t covered much in the UK. It’s a crucially important part of Europe’s history but since we seem to be so anti European it gets missed out of the history books. I think this is a grave error and I’m almost working on filling in the gaps of my knowledge.

I want to visit Agia Sofia in Istanbul to see the magnificent shrine that was built by Sulliman the second. I want to see the Blue Palace and the Topkapi Palace as well as all the other delights that a city on the Bosphorus can offer. The Grand Bazaar is one of a kind.

Best wishes

Angela

The Parthenon

I was astonished recently when watching a program on an American television channel about how well the Parthenon was constructed. They understood so many things to construct the perfect temple. What’s more is they did it without a plan and in 9 years. The current renovation which the program covers has taken at least 30 because they had to correct previous fixes which were done incorrectly. They also had to figure out how they built it in the first place because there is very little records bar other temples.

Each piece of the temple is unique so it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each piece can only fit in one place. Slotting it all together is a big task for anyone to complete. The team decided to put the temple back into order as it stands without trying to restore it to a previous era as that would destroy its beauty and make it look unbalanced.

Do you have any wonders if the world near you?

Best wishes

Angela

The Greek Islands with Julia Bradbury

Since I like to keep up with all things Greek while I’m not there I decided to watch this show. This is a series created so that Julia, who is half Greek on her mothers side from the island of Chios can explore the bounty contained on many Greek islands like Crete, Spinalonga and Corfu ending up in Chios. If you have ever watched her on antiques and art show you would have never guessed this in a million years. I in fact did not know myself until I watched the first episode. It’s nice watching her progress with the Greek language but I wonder why she didn’t take advantage of it in early life.

It’s good to discover your heritage though whatever it is which is why in 2 months time I’m going to India which is where my mother is from. Being English and part of the army she didn’t learn any foreign languages but I think this has more to do with her dyslexia. My dad was also part of the army and learned German but not any other language despite his varied postings. This probably explains my love of travel and culture. Also the fact I don’t stay in one place very long so I never really put down roots or get settled. I was just starting to do that last year and then I had to leave. As usually happens with me.

Do you feel that your life is sometimes so stop/start you struggle to achieve what you think you need out of life?

Best wishes

Angela