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.
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!
This is a style of art from the 1930s that was again a reaction to the harshness of world war 1. It took its name from a exhibition that took place in Crystal Palace show casing all of the new items for sale. Art Decoratif in French or Art Deco as it came to be known in English. Wikipedia has a very good article on this so I don’t need to go into too much detail here but it was fascinating when I went in the Design Museum in Berlin to see object from this era on display. I also love it when I come across examples in painting, architecture or tile.
I really like this as it’s angular and embodies the principles of form and function without redundancies. There is not superfluous lines there just to make it look good. It is streamlined and efficient. It is also aesthetically pleasing.
It was taking place not long after the Bauhaus movement in Germany. It also influenced many of the Greek poets that I have previously written about since they lived in Europe at the same time. I have also written about Bauhaus along with Picasso impact on Cubism.
Which art movements have spoken to you over the years?
I can’t believe I’ve never written about one of my most favourite art movements before! I absolutely love Cubism. I have been a fan of this style since I first discovered this at college. I did an Access course to higher education which grants you entrance to university after one year instead of the usual 2 if you were not able to do your a levels for some reason.
I had a good Art History teacher Lorraine Monk who was also a bit of a feminist so we studied people like Frida Kahlo which is another one of my interests and one of the reasons why I was very happy when I got to visit Mexico. Anyways this is getting away from Picasso.
Picasso invented cubism with his seminal art work Demoisselles de Avignon in 1917. He was affected greatly by the First World War as was everyone else who served in it. Being Spanish Picasso was very emotional so the world was constantly recreated in an abstract way on his canvases. When a friend of his committed suicide he entered his blue period for the next couple of years until he had recovered. It was the Spanish Civil war which caused him to paint Guernica which is another era defining painting.
I think a certain amount of anguish is necessary for art to be created as we need to tap into that resource of feelings which are usually hidden behind logic. The best music is usually created by musicians when they are currently under going some kind of trauma like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac or the Winner takes it all by ABBA.
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.
I have learnt today that you can block yourself from achieving what your heart desires via the psychological blockages that are present in your brain. This is responsible for over learning and trying so hard but just not getting there. You become so inventive trying to find the reasons for your failure but because you are not attacking the root cause you will never solve the problem. The fact you haven’t the faintest idea why this happens continually is why you will never find a solution no matter how creative you are. The answers you are looking for are located in your brain but all the signposts are lost. In fact there isn’t even a map so you have to stumble around blindly until you somehow come across what you are looking for. There is a quicker way to locate those lost items but it requires you look deep within yourself to discover those items.
I find zoning out watching Netflix in foreign languages or YouTube videos is very helpful to this process. Watching an in-depth program on tv also helps. Anything visual that captures my attention allows whatever is there to bubble up to the surface.
Last dinner we were having dinner and we just start talking in Greek. My husband, myself and my father in law discuss the prawns were eating, how many potatoes we want, etc. While my father in law talks in sentences about how tasty these prawns are even though they are whole (there not deveined I believe is the technical term), my mother in law doesn’t say a word and barely answers how many prawns, asparagus, potatoes she wants. We don’t even talk about the wine which is unusual for us as it’s usually quite a big deal. I liked the fact that because the context was immediate I didn’t really need to translate because it was obvious what was being said. Practice really does make perfect even with impromptu jokes about a common occurrence (the taste of shell on prawns compared to shelled ones).
He Thomas Heatherwick, creates architectural works of art. His buildings that are more like installation art than anything else. He likes using the symmetry of nature along with art, structure, line , form, colour, and material as you would expect from an architect. The Art of Architecture on Sky Arts ran a program on him creating the Vessel which is how I came across his work. They are unique in there design and he has made buildings all over the world.
Since I like to celebrate the unusual I thought I would showcase some of the things that inspire me. I spend a lot of time alone with my thoughts but it is nice to connect with others. I’m not good at communicating my thoughts to others in a way that they can understand so I’m trying to improve that. One way is by sharing what I have been interested in lately so that others can possibly find common interests and start up a dialogue about these things.
I bought this book in October 2018 and I have picked it up several times reading bits and pieces digesting the content. This is not a book you undertake lightly for though it is written well; it’s content is revolutionary as it’s pushing at the boundaries of what we currently understand about quantum physics. I still haven’t got more than a third of the way through it as it takes complete concentration and focus which I rarely have available to me. It’s only due to storm Ciara that today I have started it once more.
I have found though that I keep coming back to this topic. When I’m bored and don’t know what to draw; I draw a rainbow, the universe, a sunset or the night sky. I have taken more photos of sunsets around the world than I can count! I’m fascinated with astronomy as I’m always watching Brian Cox. There has to be something in this for though I have explored many, many avenues; This one remains relatively untouched because of the brain power it takes to comprehend it.
I also find that only when I have covered all of the bases and I’m in a really deep meditative like state do I start to appreciate the complexities that are inherent in physics. It usually starts with boredom as I’m unsure what to do next and ends up with some amazing revelations about my self, my place and the world around me. Tapping into the strength of our minds is where our creativity comes from and our best ideas whatever they may be. Walking is good here as espoused by many a scientist who had there breakthroughs then, having a bath like Archimedes with his famous Eureka statement or the more unusual like Einstein working as a patent clerk.
Whatever it is that you do, find some time for yourself as you will be much happier once you have discovered that latent content locked within the fortress that is your brain. You have everything that you need to progress in life already. You just have to find out how to use it to benefit humankind.
As you all no doubt know by now, I am a child of the British Empire and the Ancient Raj. Being an army child but not having the companionship of any of the army families around me is incredibly isolating.
You start out with all of these morals and ideas from a bygone era that immediately sets you apart from the rest of the civilian world. I had a very structured and disciplined upbringing which was good for me in general but it wasn’t when it came to socialization. This made me rather awkward as to properly socialize you need to both know yourself and be yourself. This requires you to be an individual and as part of the army mindset you are just another cog in the machine. You don’t think for yourself, you just do as your told, blindly and without question as that is the nature of hierarchical authority.
This probably explains all the trouble and problems people like Lord Byron caused. They were born with a different mindset so they had to go on extended tours of the continent to find themselves. When they had and realised they were never going to fit in to the closeted English society – they stayed abroad in the many outposts of the British Empire.
This is possibly why I’m attracted to people like Patrick Leigh Fermor and Lawrence Durrell as they echo the upbringing of my parents. They were both well travelled enjoying the benefits that living in foreign countries brings. This way of living compels you to always travel, think, research, to understand the meaning of things.
There is so much history out there that has been reported in a biased way. It was always to the benefit of the victors neglecting the other side of the conflict for wars are fought by 2 sides but only 1 is recorded. Even then it was only men who recalled their lives for prosperity.
So in order to correct this I have been watching The Rise of Empires – The Ottoman Empire on Netflix and I have been reading feminist retellings of classic books like the Odyssey and the Iliad. I have written about my findings and I hope in the not too distant future to go on holiday to places like Sicily, Rhodes and Cyprus to further explore my background.
Can you lose your native language as an adult?
I’ve been fascinated by adults in Greece who can speak both Greek and English to native levels yet as they get older they stop being able to do both. This has perplexed me in the UK too with people who learnt languages fluently at a young age yet can no longer speak the language.
This isn’t just related to an average person though. If you look at Ricky Martin’s career he speaks with his native accent in Spanish and English but then he moved to the US and gets married to an American. His accent changes so drastically that he can’t even sing his own back catalogue properly anymore!
Luckily this change can be reversed as on his most recent song he is back to sounding how he used to when he was younger.
As the article above suggests it’s all to do with emotions. If you associate positive emotions with a language and a specific purpose then you are more likely to remember it. If however you try to use a language for another purpose like your native language for work purposes in an English speaking country your likely to fail. Too much mental control is required for this to occur.
When I was just starting out to cook for my self I made the usual student meals. Everyone knew that bacon and cheese were wonder foods that could pretty much rescue anything disaster that you happen to make in the kitchen. Bacon was also the cure if you had drunk too much. What those experiments teach you is the importance of salt and fat to your food.
You don’t realise this then as the object of food then is fuel that is to be cooked quickly and eaten just as quickly so you can get on with whatever activity you were doing before.
I also realised why you always eat pancakes with honey and lemon. There soft, sometimes chewy but also crispy and sweet so all your taste buds are covered.
I’ve have had Hugh Fernley Whittingstall’s 3 good things cookery book for a while. It’s another textbook sized cookbook that goes into detail about the ingredients that chapter is focused on. I’ve used it quite a lot as it’s simple and quick to put together but the results are amazing. I have his River Cottage cookbook and his Bread cookbook too. Bread is a thing the British don’t do particularly well as anyone who has even eaten a slice of white sliced bread will know.
I also like Jack Monroe as I bought her first book about cooking on a budget. She it turns out is autistic and has some Greek heritage too so that might have something to do with it. It’s a good book as the receives are simple to follow and there all costed and portioned well. They use some unusual ingredients like tinned peaches but if your as limited on funds as she was you have to improvise.
Another one of my favourite chefs is Jamie Oliver as when he first came on the scene he was known as the Naked Chef due to his stripped down style of cooking. He has made many a book and program since his Jamie’s Great Britain but I find this a brilliant book.
I also have a Readers digest book on potatoes which I find quite authoritative when coming up with new ideas for what to do with spuds.
I thought I would list the best books that I have found for autistics to use so that they can learn some independence. It works for students just as well as there are no fancy ingredients unlike Nigella Lawson.
Thriving Autistic Adult Series
I thought since this is another basic area that we all need to learn I would draw attention to a book I read about this on Blinkist. Mrs Hinch’s Hinch yourself happy. This is an advertising campaign that started appearing all of a sudden when I went shopping for cleaning materials. There was never any explanation that I saw in the form of adverts for who this Mrs Hinch was or why she was so good at cleaning. She certainly wasn’t a celebrity like Kim and Aggie Woodburn became with her own reality tv show. So the conclusion I came to was she was a housewife who had just gone viral through the use of social media. This is what the book, which I came across later, more or less says. Authenticity is the key here I believe. She believed in herself and became a star.
Part of My basics for living well as an adult with autism series
When thinking about the scientific method of cooking detailed by Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat I came across some notes that I made for myself about the basics of savoury and sweet cooking. Knowing that I have a butterfly mind it’s good to know that I had the sense to record the knowledge I had then.
I had previously done it with card games that I learnt at sixth form but the instructions were not explicit enough. I could no longer remember how the games were played and with there being no one around anymore, the paper was useless.
Anyone can cook they just have to be taught in the correct way. This seems applicable to any skill in the world. It can be broken down into its parts and then when they have been learnt, reassembled to create many different things.
I feel like I’m finding my way finally after being lost in the wilderness for many years. I tried many avenues after my initial purpose of being a computer programmer was thwarted by unforeseen events. It’s really nice to be in a good place like I am right now. Yes I’ve had a lot of anxiety and indecision about plans made and unmade but that’s life. I’m learning to roll with its punches.
Just like my earlier post In praise of wine, it sometimes takes a novice to learn all the necessary requisite skills of an activity, to be able to explain them to others in an easily digestible manner.
She has a 4 part Netflix series which I watched over Christmas as it gave me insights into Mexican cuisines use limes and sour oranges (acid), The Japanese obsession with the sea (salt), The Italian love of dried meats (fat) and her own life as an American immigrant from Iran. (heat).
There is also a Blinkist book which I read this afternoon that gives some scientific explanation for the use of different elements in cooking. She explains why
- Middle Eastern cooks love salt to an unhealthy degree (not just the climate),
- why vegetarian cooking takes some re-education (fat is flavour),
- why white wine or tomatoes are counted as a cooking acid where as lemon juice is a garnishing acid
- and why we love crispy food (heat).
I have just received her cookbook in the post from Amazon and it’s a veritable textbook! It’s at least an inch thick so it’s certainly a distillation of all other knowledge that she has gained while working as a professional chef in America.
I like cookbooks that go into depth about the why things happen rather than just assuming you know all of the kitchen tricks already. When girls left school during my parents era they were given a book that detailed how to do all the different dishes that were commonly eaten them as well as advice about the ingredients. This was to back up the domestic science lessons that they had received. It helped them to run the household a lot smoother. While this was patriarchal, gender equality wasn’t present then. It did however allow women the skills to perform to the best of their ability.
I think we have lost something essential by stopping teaching cooking in schools. I don’t have the innate knowledge that has been passed down from generations or a handy cookbook to assist me to run my own life. I think it would benefit all students if they had such a book. Good mental health comes from good food and the knowledge that you can look after yourself on a budget. With this in mind I have decided to make this a part of a series on things that an autistic adult needs to survive in the world. When there mind is calm then they can contribute there brilliance to the world whatever it may be.
Just in case you were wondering what happened to the language posts here is one.
I recently went to a birthday party and the guests there were found of using the Sims computer game in foreign languages to learn all of the basic household items. They also liked to play Command and Conquer online with Russian and other eastern block people as it was a good way to learn the language as it was used by the people. My way of naming my Pokemon after Greek animals seemed rather inferior after that. I have thought about changing my devices to foreign languages but that never goes well. I’ve done it by accident and I’ve used items abroad and it’s just too confusing for me. I also came across an Alexa recently so I thought I would see if it could talk to me in foreign languages. This Alexa was new so didn’t seem to be able to even tell me whether she was an Echo, Dot or what version she was. I gave up after asking the same question in 3 different ways and getting the same default responses. So as much as games and technology can help you learn a new language, the best way is always going to be to get out there and to be social as much as you might dislike this method.
I’m beginning to think that a lot of the problems that autistics face are based on the perception that others have of us.
Sometimes we are thought of having no drive or ambition when in fact we are perfectly happy with our lives because we have all that we want and value. We are content with a lot less than the average person. We tend not to be materialistic or interested in money. We are almost hippyish or Buddhist in our unattachment to the majority of what the rest of the society thinks we all need to survive. This presents a challenge for relatives of mine every birthday and Christmas. It’s been this way since I was a child and I don’t see it changing. I think it’s a good antidote to today’s capitalist society. It’s also probably why I’m happier in Greece but I’m working on bringing the focus back to the uk even if I don’t have the weather!
Another factor is our honesty. Yes it’s uncomfortable to be the recipient of one of our remarks but comedians ‘roast’ celebrities on a regular basis and it’s prime time television. We also remark on our children saying things with such fierce truthfulness that we lost long ago. Children are not trying to please anyone or curry favour with their speeches. They just say it as they see it and it’s our reaction this this raw authenticity that catches us off guard as we have become so used to the sugar coating and lies of the adult world.
Authority is another area we struggle with. We are capable of obeying orders just like everyone else but often we don’t see why we should. Just being told to do something often makes us defiant. We need to be told the reasoning for the request for us to understand its importance. We don’t tend to blindly follow orders especially if they seem illogical to us. We are not sheep as we think for ourselves. An explanation is usually enough for us to comply with a task.
So drive and ambition, honesty, authority and the The secrets of Small talk for autistics are all factors that make us different but with a few adjustments mean we can fit into society just like everyone else.
Autistics hate small talk because it’s boring, repetitive and generally full of lies which they will get in trouble for repeating later on . They will be completely unaware of any falsehoods that have been uttered since they themselves are completely honest.
Small talk however does fufill a purpose. It fills in those gaps when you meet new people and it allows you to collect data on people’s lives. It shows you what is important in their lives. It is also a good ice breaker to see whether they are compatible as a potential friend.
Since I tend to find this tiresome I try to avoid it wherever possible. I am however missing a trick as I am stopping pretty much all people from connecting with me. The protocol exists for a reason and since I don’t follow through, I don’t get the result of friendship. This means I isolate myself which isn’t good for my mental health.
Thinking that if I don’t feel a connection with a person immediately then there not interesting is counterproductive. This leads to trouble as if your responding to hormones that’s just drama waiting to happen. You need to respond to traits, behaviour, background, activities, hobbies and intellect. The things which only seem to be available in a captive audience. Finding a place for people with like minds is crucial to ease your battle. It’s difficult enough for autistics as anxiety, panic, depression, low self esteem and many other co morbidities exist. Is it any wonder we resemble hermit crabs?
Thriving Autistic Adult Series
I believe that every autistic can talk. If they can’t currently talk it’s because there environment is too emotionally stimulating. A child needs time to process their feelings and to learn about themselves. They also need to learn about people in their environment. If there environment contains negative energy then they will start to react every time they go there.
I have started to do this every time I go to the ivf clinic even though no drugs are involved yet and 90% of the appts so far are just conversations. This is not a good omen but my mother has forbidden me from doing it as it is her belief that I will not be able to cope. She knows how emotional I get. When I’m emotional I can’t think rationally. If I’m like that I may not be able to properly look after a child. I would hate to harm a child through my own in attention. I do need to focus on myself at certain times and I think it is because of this that she is saying it is a bad idea to continue with this plan.
While I respect her prior knowledge, no parent is ever going to be truly prepared for their first child. You can’t be because that’s just not possible. You can teach your children all that you know about the world but you have to let them go so that they can truly become who they are meant to be. Treating them like children when they are fully grown adults disables them leading to regression. You want your child to be self sufficient but you want them to still be your child and that is not how the world works. You have to move on with your life as time stands still for no one.
As a result of my current thought processes I have decided to create a series of posts to help autistic adults thrive. Stay tuned for more.
I like to collect things I always have. This is an autistic thing for reasons yet unknown but I think its more to do with the introverted mindset. We are happier indoors, away from others and left to our own things. Our thoughts are strong to the point of being overwhelming. They control us so having familiar items around us calms us. However these same objects reinforce a negative mindset inside of us and in order to be truly free we need to be rid of reminders of past episodes in our life.
Like everyone else I have heard of Marie Kondo. I have even written a little bit about my opinion on her and her methods. Streamlining your home is a good idea at any time but it seems to take on new significance in the new year. Most people are open to the perspective of change at this time of year where as at other moments it takes something drastic like a relationship, environment or health change to inspire you to take a long hard look at yourself.
I was looking at the back history of my posts recently and this always serves to remind me just have far I have come from those early days when I mainly just posted other peoples posts that interested me. I forget how I used to be and need reminding that change is continual. When I hit some negative points like I did yesterday its comforting to know that I have been there before and I have gotten out of it. Each time I learn something new.
Expectations whether generated by society, your upbringing or yourself can be devastating to your self esteem and your morale. Know yourself as written on the temple at Delphi it one of the most crucial things to remember. You have to remember your core values as demonstrated in Inside Out for they are what motivate you. Sometimes they are warped out of all comprehension, sometimes you forget what they are but they are always inside of you.
Getting back to your basics is one of the important things that can be done easiest after Christmas because there is a natural lull in nature. Its a time for taking stock, reflecting, seeing what worked, what needs to still be worked on and possible strategies for the year. Planning is an activity that has to be completed otherwise you don’t have anything to work from. When things get hectic later on, if you can refer to your schedule then its easier to progress. Trying to make a schedule when you are burdened with too many responsibilities means that its going to be a poorly thought out plan.
All plans need wiggle room though as the unexpected does happen. I see in lots of couples that are successful the things that changes their lives the most is when they get pregnant. They can’t function like they used to. Children remind us that we are human and not the machines we have come to think of ourselves as. Take the time out to enjoy them as you don’t get that time again.
On the other side of the coin is when you have planned your life around having a child and your continually disappointed when that doesn’t happen. There is no end to the thoughts that circulate in your head. As the years go by and you attend more weddings and hear about the subsequent pregnancies and birth you wonder what is wrong with me? Why isn’t it happening for me? Maybe I not meant to have a child?
All I can say in response to this is that the most painful feeling is to not have a child when you want one but even that is topped by having a child with the wrong person as i have seen in some of my friends. They may have been the right person then but it just goes to show that nature isn’t fair, its brutal.
It’s very interesting to see how I interact with people once the initial awkwardness has passed by.
At first I was half asleep since I don’t function well socially in the morning. As they all knew each other as well I didn’t know how to enter the conversation either. When I meet people I’m too busy reading their vibes and absorbing who they are to be able to talk to anyone, about anything, in the first 10-15 minutes. This doesn’t tend to bode well. I think the fact I learn about people through my senses rather than spoken words makes it more authentic for me. However it frightens others as I’m seeing them for who they really are rather than who they are trying to make themselves out to be.
I go through this linguistic awkwardness every Sunday evening in Greece even though I’ve been doing that for years. It hasn’t so far got any better but I need more practice with the conversational aspects of the language and better emotional and impulse control. This may allow me to progress.
Yesterday it worked out well that we all then went to see a movie. Afterwards there was then something to talk about. Icebreakers are what I struggle with. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable in my own skin to get along with others. It’s nice though when I don’t sense any animosity from others. Most people have too much energy swirling around them so it can be quite exhausting for me.
I found this afternoon that since we were in a restaurant and action needed to be taken about what we were having that I tried to take charge like my parents would for me. I can be quite decisive since I’m generally quite opinionated but I don’t want to come across as rude, arrogant and selfish. I also don’t wish to offend others by overtaking things and not letting them have a say in matters like my parents would dictate to me. In the past I couldn’t make a decision quick enough as there was too much to think about as I didn’t get enough practice. This comes out when I’m asked a question and my default answer before I’ve even thought about it is “I don’t know”. It’s at this point that people lose interest in me and I’ve lost my chance to contribute to the conversation on that topic.
Again it’s interesting that I can command others attention when I’m speaking as I’m not used to that. Although it may be that they are straining to hear me since I’m so quiet usually, or that they are struggling to understand my accent and are too polite to mention this. It’s difficult to know with people you have just met.
I’m also glad to have learnt about myself while traveling the world since I now have plenty to talk about but I find that there is truly no place like home as Dorothy says.