The story of the Nazi flag/ Λάκης Σάντας

Είναι κάποιοι άνθρωποι,πού λες κι είναι φτιαγμένοι από άλλο "υλικό",από άλλο καλούπι... Κάνουν πράξη αυτά πού εμείς οι υπόλοιποι σκεφτόμαστε, αλλά δεν τολμάμε.
Σήμερα το πρωί έφυγε απ' τη ζωή στα 89 του ενας απο αυτούς. Ο Λάκης Σάντας, ο ένας από τους δύο νεαρούς πού το 1941 κατέβασαν απο την Ακρόπολη τη ναζιστική σημαία.

This morning we heard that Lakis Santas has died ,aged 89. 
Lakis Santas was one of the two 19year old boys who one dark night in 1941 sneaked past the German guards and pulled the Nazi flag down from the sacred rock of Acropolis.

It was 27 of April 1941 when the victorious German troops entered Athens. Through the empty avenues the Panzers reached Acropolis and the first thing the Nazis did was to take down the Greek flag from the Parthenon and raise the hated swastika.

Στούς δύσκολους καιρούς πού μας βρήκανε-κι ας μην αρχισω εδώ να τα ρίχνω,εδω μιλάμε για τον Λάκη-καλό είναι να μελετάμε πράξεις λαμπρές και "τρελές" γιατί πολύ μας χρειάζονται. 
"Τρέλα" ήταν αυτό που σκεφτηκαν δυο 19χρονοι φοιτητες περνώντας από τον ιερό βραχο: να βρίσκαμε εναν τρόπο να κατεβάσουμε αυτη τη φρίκη απο τον ιστό, να τούς ξεφτιλίσουμε τούς Ναζίδες.
Και το έκαναν! Μεγάλη η νίλα των Γερμανών όταν το ανακάλυψαν το πρωί. Οι Αθηναίοι πήραν μια βαθιά ανάσα και αναθάρρησαν, σε όλη την Ελλαδα τα σκυθρωπά ηττημένα πρόσωπα έσκασαν ένα χαμόγελο κι ήταν η αρχή τού τέλους της μαυρίλας. Μια "αποκοτιά" πού αναψε την σπίθα.

Lakis and Manolis Glezos were at that time students and close friends. 
They belonged to that rare species of humans, who take action when something dangerous has to be done.
So the two friends studied the rock of Acropolis and learned about the caves and the ancient tunnels under it.
On the night of the 30th of May 1941 they creeped up the caves -"armed" with a small flashlight and a knife and cut the swastika down.

It was just an embarrassment to the all powerful Nazis, but a joyful morning for the inhabitants of Athens,who saw the swastika missing from Acropolis.
 Soon the news spread all over the Nazi occupied Greece.The Germans searched in vain for the culprits.They doubled the guard around Acropolis but it was too late: The Greeks took hope and organized the second best resistance guerrilla army in Europe-the first was Titos army in Yugoslavia.

Lakis Santas and Manolis Glezos in 1941.

Βεβαιως, η "πατρίς"-η επίσημη φαρα των τότε λαμόγιων, πού μας άφησε, ως κολίγους, κληρονομιά στα σημερινά λαμόγια-επιβράβευσε γενναιόδωρα και τίμησε τον Σάντα και τον Γλέζο: 
 Φυλακίστηκαν,εξορίστηκαν,βασανίστηκαν, έφτασαν στο παρά πέντε να εκτελεστούν την ιδια ώρα πού οι δοσίλογοι και οι μαυραγορίτες, έκαναν πάρτυ  (κάποιοι από τους απόγονους τους το συνεχίζουν)
Γνώριζα τον Λάκη από τότε πού έγινα φίλη με την κόρη του στα 16 μου. Θα θυμαμαι πάντα τον γλυκομίλητο, βαθύτατα ευαίσθητο και χαμηλών τόνων παλαίμαχο αγωνιστή. Και όλοι μας θά πρέπει να τον ευγνωμονούμε για ο,τι έκανε εκείνη την-απ΄ολες τις απόψεις-σκοτεινή νύχτα του '41.

Lakis Santas and Manolis Glezos a few years ago
After WWII, a bloody civil war tore Greece in two. Lakis and Manolis fought on the side of the Peoples guerila Army, against the government troops. 
From 1946 till 1974 they were exiled, imprisoned, tortured and got too close to be executed.
I had the honor and the pleasure to have known Lakis. His youngest daughter has been my friend since we were 16 years old. I will remember him as a sweet-talking, deeply sensitive and unassuming man and I'll always feel gratitude for what he did that dark hopeless night on the sacred rock of Acropolis.


Herbs for cooking/Τα αρωματικα μου

Mint viridis, commonly known in Greece as "dyosmos"
Early this Spring I realized I should enrich my small herb collection, so I could open the kitchen door and pick whatever herbs I need to cook.
It became obvious that the kitchen veranda does not have enough direct sunlight for some of the herbs and I couldn't keep them all in the same spot. Plan B. See where each one is happy and group them accordingly..
The two I already used while cooking is the bay laurel-which is not a herb of course-and the mint. Bay leaves are a must for tomato sauces and of course lentils. Mint is superb with almost anything :) I use it mainly in meatballs 
Both plants are strong and hardy and can cope well in pots,laurel needing a large one to be sure.

Apollo's laurel. Planted in a garden it will grow into a quite tall tree.

Είναι τρομερά εύκολο να φτιάξετε μια γωνιά,η δυο γωνιές για τα μυρωδικά σας, ακόμα και σε μικρό μπαλκονάκι. Η δάφνη Απόλλωνος, που γίνεται μεγάλος πυκνός θάμνος, θα σας χαρίσει,εκτός από κάλυψη και φυλλαράκια για τις σάλτσες και τις φακές.
Ο δυόσμος, ένα από τα πολλά είδη αυτοφυούς μέντας, που έχουμε στην Ελλάδα,αντέχει σε κρύα και ζέστες και αισθάνεται μια χαρά και στον ήλιο και σε μερική σκιά. Οταν δεν έχω μαϊντανό βαζω στούς γίγαντες δυόσμο. Δοκιμάστε τους και με ανηθο!! Άπαιχτοι.

Celery and parsley ,ήτοι σελινο και μαϊντανός ομού κι αγαπημένα.
I made the mistake to plant two parsley roots and one celery in the same pot.The celery has gone out of control ,the parsley is coping so far but next time each will get its own space.
Rosemary has been an old friend. This year the gnarled old one died and was replaced with a young one.I use it in backed potatoes,meat,chicken and fish...in almost everything :)

Rosemary-το λατρεμένο δεντρολίβανο!

Εβαλα-κακώς-μια ρίζα σέλινο με δυο ριζες μαϊντανό στην ιδια ζαρντινιέρα. Το σέλινο έχει αφηνιάσει και ο καημένος ο μαϊντανός πασχίζει να βρει λιγάκι χώρο. Την επόμενη φορά θα πάει το καθένα στην γλάστρα του να ησυχάσει :)
Ουτε το δεντρολίβανο χρειάζεται πολύ χώρο, θέλει όμως απ' ευθείας ήλιο γιά να πάρει τα πάνω του. Το βάζω σε πατάτες φούρνου, κρέας, κοτόπουλο και ψάρι.

Thymus vulgaris, one of the many kinds of  Mediterranean thyme. It is in a  quite small pot and adores direct sun.
Σε μικρά γλαστράκια έβαλα θυμάρι και άνηθο,ο οποίος άνηθος μου εχει σπάσει τα νεύρα διότι αρνείται να μεγαλώσει. Η δεν εχω βρει τα ποτίσματα του και τον πνίγω η δεν έχω βρει την σωστή θέση στον ήλιο.
Το θυμάρι,όπως βλέπετε,οργιάζει.

Zucchini update

Look under the leaves! The back of the flower is starting already to form into a little-so far-squash!!!

Η κολοκυθιά μου προοδεύει! Κάτω απο το λουλούδι εχει αρχίσει να δένει το πρώτο κολοκυθάκι!!!! Ας του αφιερώσω εξαιρετικά, να έρθει στο τσακιρ κέφι.

"Ball of the peas", from a very popular daily radio musical show 1976-1980 called "Lilipupoli". It was supposed to be for children ,but even adults would rush home not to miss an episode of Lilipupoli.
Vegetables are invited to dance at the "Ball of the Peas".

Typewriter R.I.P/Η τελευταία γραφομηχανή

The last remaining typewriter factory closed a few days ago in Bangalore. I don't think there are any typewriter factories left anywhere in Europe or the USA.
The fact made me feel as old as I am...sigh* and so did my husband...sigh again*

I remember when I was accepted as an apprentice reporter...well you may not believe it, but we used to write with a thingy called a ball pen on another thingy called a piece of paper.
Some of our colleagues were notoriously bad in calligraphy.
In the newspaper's basement there were only a few Linotype's workers able to read the garbled letters and type in metal the text to be printed.

Up till 1981 all Greek newspaper's texts were "transferred" from paper to printing in Linotype machines like this one-now in a museum.. Each line was then cast in molten metal.
Παλια λινοτυπικη μηχανη. Σ' αυτες "γραφονταν" ολες οι ελληνικες εφημεριδες μεχρι το 1981 που βγηκε το ΕΘΝΟΣ με φωτοσυνθεση.

Το τελευταιο εργοστασιο γραφομηχανων εκλεισε στην Ινδια, μου διαβασε την ειδηση απο το Διαδικτυο ο αντρουλης μου 
Ειναι μια απο αυτες τις στιγμες που μας χτυπαει-κατακεφαλα θα τολμουσα να πω- το ποσο "παλιοι" ειμαστε . Η, μαλλον, ποσο γρηγορα προελαυνει η τεχνολογια. Η και τα δυο μαζι :)

 Οταν ξεκινησαμε στην δημοσιογραφια, γραφαμε στο χερι. Καποιοι συναδελφοι εγραφαν τοσο απιστευτα ακαταληπτα, ωστε ελαχιστοι λινοτυπες στο τυπογραφειο καταφερναν να "αποκρυπτογραφησουν" τα κειμενα τους.

Me and my brand new typewriter !!! Meh,wrong picture ...

After a few years, I bought a typewriter! Oh the joy! What an awesome change! And in the 80s I was getting payed well enough to buy an electric typewriter. Double joy!
Typewriting didn't solve a huge practical problem though. What happens when chief editor looks at what you've written ,says "take this and change that and put the third paragraph under the fifth and be back in 5 min"??
Cut/copy/paste was done then with a pair of scissors and a lot of paper glue!

This was the main reason I fell in love with Word when I got my first PC. I wouldn't go back to typewriting, evah. Both my old typewriters enjoy a happy retirement in the basement closet. I guess one of our nephews/nieces/godchildren or their children will be happy to have them as antiques someday:)

Οταν αγορασα την πρωτη μου γραφομηχανη-με δοσεις-ημουν η ευτυχεστερη των θνητων. Κι οταν επισης με δοσεις πηρα ηλεκτρική γραφομηχανη, εκστασιαστηκα. Δεν την χαρηκα για πολύ. Λιγα χρονια αργοτερα εμφανιστηκαν τα πρωτα κομπιουτερ, με Dos μεν, αλλα δεν χρειαζοταν πια να κανεις αποκοπη/αντιγραφη/επικολληση με ψαλλιδι,κολλα η σελοτεηπ :))
Μετα λατρεψα το Word. Οι δυο γραφομηχανες μου εχουν συνταξιοδοτηθει και αναπαυονται στα ντουλαπια της αποθηκης.
Καποιο ανηψι θα τις κληρονομησει ως αντικες καποια στιγμη ;))


Baby Athena

It came as a wonderful surprise when our friends Manos and Olivia had baby Athena. All the rest of our friends either have no children at all or their offsprings are already adults.
Athena, now 14 months old, comes visiting sometimes with mommy and dad.

Which one to grab? Bright, nice little thingies!!

It's red, it's shiny, but what is it for?

Athena is a cat lover from cradle. There are two beautiful felines living with our friends. 
The problem was, our cats have never seen a baby before. I was a little apprehensive, but I'm proud to report they behaved well.

Any idea what this little two-legged creature is?

It is a rare baby, who prefers beet-root salad to fried potatoes. 
Athena is one of them. As you can see,Olivia has no problem feeding her.

French fries? Nah!I don't think so...

Beet-root??? YEA! bring it closer!


Olivia writes and manages an excellent site for young mothers (the site is in Greek)

"Mother India"/Καρδιά μου καημένη

This post should have the subtitle: Saved by a song !:)

Some years ago, we embarked on our second trip to India. We took a Lufhansa flight from Frankfurt to Delhi.
Just before boarding the plane, my husband said: Look! the Dalai Lama! And sure enough there he was, and for the 8,5 hours of the flight he was sitting in the seat right behind me.

I have read some of his excellent books and have tonnes of respect for him. During the flight I thought :If I could ask him for just one advise, what would it be? Hmm...It would be how to control my impatience and anger. I didn't speak to him, of course.
Little did I know the answer was already coming my way ;)

Πριν από κάποια χρόνια,ξεκινήσαμε χαρουμενοι με τον καλό μου γιά το δεύτερο ταξιδι μας στην Ινδία. Πήραμε μια πτήση της Lufthansa απο Φρανκφούρτη γιά Δελχί.
Ακριβώς στην πίσω θεση κάθισε ο Δαλάϊ Λάμα. Οχτώμιση ώρες σκεφτόμουνα κάθε τόσο: Πές ότι τολμάς να γυρίσεις να του μιλήσεις, τι θα ρώταγες;
"πώς να ελέγξω την ανυπομονησία μου και τον θυμό μου"
Δεν τόλμησα βεβαια να τον ενοχλήσω, πολύ περισσότερο να του ζητήσω συμβουλή...
Το "μάθημα΄" όμως είχε ήδη ξεκινήσει...

A ceremony taking place in Swayambhunath Stupa, the holiest Buddhist temple in Kathmandu

It was dawn when we landed in Delhi and realized WE HAD NO VISAS!!! A travel agent took care of the formalities on our first trip so we foolishly thought visas are optained at the airport ,like in so many other countries.
NOPE. NO WAY!We should have gotten a visa from an Indian empassy, period. So, we found ourselves ready to be DEPORTED! and send back to Frankfurt ASAP.

Χαράματα προσγειωθήκαμε στο Δελχι και ανακαλύψαμε οτι δεν είχαμε πάρει βιζες. Στο πρώτο μας ταξιδι τα είχε αναλάβει όλα ενας ταξιδιωτικός πράκτορας και ανοητως υποθέσαμε ότι την βίζα την πάιρνεις στο αεροδρόμιο. ΟΥΧΙ!!
 Οι υπεύθυνοι μας πήγανε σε άλλους υπευθύνους και βρεθήκαμε να πίνουμε απελπισμενοι τσαι με τον κ.Ντάμα, τον προϊσταμενο της βάρδιας. Θα μας έβαζαν στο ιδιο αεροπλάνο και θα μας έστελναν πακέττο πίσω στην Γερμανία.

I kept my cool, dont ask me how, and started calmly chatting with the chief of the customs in New Delhi airport, Mr.Dhama over a cup of tea.
I mentioned the love Greek people have for Indian movie songs (its true) and to prove it, I sang for him-with Greek verses-a song from the most popular ever Indian movie "Mother India"

The movie,staring the legendary Nargis,was nominated for Foreign Language Best Film Oscar in 1957, was a big succses in Greece and the main song was and stil is very well known and sung here.

Μας έσωσε το ότι κράτησα την ψυχραιμία μου και το "Καρδία μου καημένη,πώς βαστας και δεν ραγίζεις".
Πανω στην κουβέντα εξήγησα στον κ. Νταμα πόσο γνωστα είναι τα Ινδικά τραγούδια του '50 και ως απόδειξη τραγουδησα το γνωστό άσμα.
Ο κ.Ντάμα κατασυγκινήθηκε. Περάσαμε τραγουδώντας ντουέτο στό "Οσο αξίζεις εσύ κι η καρδιά σου η χρυση" και εκτελέσαμε σε αψογη ελληνο-ινδική συνεργασία το "Μείνε μαζι μου κι ας μη μ΄αγαπήσεις, μονο τα χάδια σου να μου χαρίσεις" 

Mr.Dhama got emotional and sung along with me. The scene was surreal: In New Delhi airport a desperate Greek and an Indian customs officer singing together :)
After some more Indian/greek songs Mr.Dama offered us a way out: we would board the next flight to Nepal-just two hours is the duration of the flight-stay a couple of days in Katmandu, get the visa from the Indian empassy there, then return to Delhi.

The fountain of Peace at the base of the  Stupa.

God bless him-and Lord Krishna too :)
A few hours later we had our first glimse of the Himalayas bathed in the morning sun...

Αμεσως μετα το σουρεαλιστικό αυτό happening ο κ Νταμα πρότεινε την τελεια λύση:μας εβαλε σε μια πτήση για Κατμαντού,πήραμε από την εκεί Ινδική πρεσβεία τις βιζες και σε δύο μερες επιστρέψαμε στο Δελχί.

Women preparing the offerings for the puja (the ceremony)
We sent Mr. Dhama a beautiful table book from Athens. 
Next year he was courteous enough to call us with congratulations, when the Greek national Football team won the European Championship :)

/salute Mr. Dhama
/respect and thanks for the answer Your Holiness
Στείλαμε στον κ.Ντάμα ενα φωτογραφικό αλμπούμ με τα ελληνικά νησιά. Την επόμενη χρονιά μας τηλεφώνησε να μας συγχαρεί για το Πανευρωπαϊκό!!

Ευχαριστώ για το μάθημα Εξοχότατε


Pixel future

www.ted.com is one of my favorite spots in the Net to have a cup of coffee, while listening to some very very interesting people with very very exciting ideas in various fields.
The subject of videogame addiction and it's mechanics occupied my thoughts for several months,for reasons stated in my previous post. During my after -wow time I often wondered where this new human+pixels relationship is heading.
This video gave me food for thought, thrilled me to no ends and scared me to death.
Imagine this technology coupled with a Massively Multiplayer Online game, like War of Warcraft... People would stay "lost" in there for life.

The video has subtitles in 18 languages here


Enjoy.And let me know what you think....

Back from Azeroth

One year WoW free and I feel it's about time to take a look at my years in Azeroth and set things straight :)
World of Warcraft is perhaps the best and most enthralling game I ever played. It's more than a game. It 's a whole fantasy world, where you don't just watch entertainment, you are a part of it.
You may wonder what a middle-aged lady like me was doing there,chatting with 16 or 20 year old guild mates and studying tactics to kill pixel dragons in pixel instances.
I'm not sure how to answer this :)
It was like I was finally able to "live" and "act" inside all the fairy tales and fantasy fiction I loved to read since I was a child. I was a Night Elf druid who could transform into a bear, a panther,a healing tree and a bird. It doesn't get any better :)
I don't regret it.

 I admire the team who created this world. I have no complains against Blizzard,like "they make huge amounts of money ","they make the game addictive" etc. 
WoW is "dangerous" for people with a lot of fantasy, people like me who can get immersed in another world very very very fast and effortlessly. 
It was my problem that I got hooked for more than three years. It was my tendency to escape a then boring real life and spent countless hours calculating statistics and talent points, changing gems and enchants, glyphs and buffs etc etc 
For those of you who haven't played WoW, the game requires more maths than I did in all my school years put together :)

The catch in WoW is that the game never ends .And if you want to play in high levels (hardcore) you have to invest more and more time in it. That's the pit I fell in, like so many. (Just for the record, I never was a top player, but I was in top guilds all along, raiding at least 4 nights a week).
Then one day it was over.
I've had enough.It was becoming too crazy and sick to feel crushed and lose a good night's sleep because a) the boss was not killed  b) the guild disbanded c) the raid leader blew his top after a wipe d) the Guild Master got "burned" by the stress and quited e) all of the above together.
I felt ridiculous...and I didn't like it.

So,one year later, I'm firmly back into the real world and very happy.I don't feel the slightestneed to log on ever again.
 I don't regret living for 3,5 years in Azeroth. I'll always remember my time there fondly.
 I'm proud I took a trip into something new, I m proud I was accepted by my in game "peers" ,it was interesting, it was fun,it got stressful, it turned depressing...now it is over :)  I should have quited a lot earlier...but no use crying over spilled milk.
Sometimes I feel sad about the young people I met there,who should be out in real life doing things, learning things, gaining real life xp (experience), falling in love, making friends. 
The time spent in an escape world will never come back, guys. And don't try to blame anyone else for it;)


Zucchini report

Despite the recent cloudy days there already is a zucchini flower ready to open and four more younger ones.
I hope the pot is big enough as I've never tried to raise a zucchini plant before:)

Kerala's Pepper

It was while traveling in Kerala, a State at India's southernmost tip that I made the acquaintance of a pepper bush.
 I' m a reasonably good cook and I love spices. But it never crossed my mind to look up pepper's origins or at least see what the plant looks like.

Among the tea plantations tall, branchless trees offer pepper climbers support

So it came as a wonderful surprise to see the plant in a tea and spice plantation up in the cool misty hills of Thekkady. 
I felt like a city kid ,who believes chickens have four legs, because the supermarket package contains four drums and then sees for the first time a real live chicken...
The wonder of it!! :)

These little green berries is the pepper we use. Depending on the way it is processed it becomes black,green,white or red.

Pepper bush only grows in a 20 degrees zone around the Equator. The closer to it, the hotter the flavor.
 When the berries ripen, they are harvested, sun dried, an enzyme makes its magic and they become black pepper. Take the husk off before drying and you have white pepper.
If the berries are harvested a little before ripening and are not dried,  you get the green pepper corns. 
Keep the berries on the branch,cut the branch and let them ripen there and they turn into red pepper.

Tea bushes sparkle on the slopes of Western Ghatts, where Thekkady and several other hill posts are located. 

India is pepper's birthplace and produces 50% of the planet's supply. Pepper was and still is the "King of Spices". Once upon a time,it was worth it's weight in gold, it was worth much more than gold to be precise. 

Workers-mainly women- from the neighboring State of Tamil Nandu harvest the tea bushes, plucking only the freshest of the new leaves. They and their families live in the small houses you see beyond the path.

As sworn coffee lovers,both me and my husband didn't pay much attention during the tour of the tea plant, where the leaves are dried,fermented, made into powder and packed.
But we enjoyed the tea nevertheless

In Thekkady if you need a banana you just go for a short walk outside

Along with pepper there were vanilla plants,nutmeg,cinnamon,clove, cardamon, in short all kinds of wonderful aromatic spices. We had to buy ourselves an-otherwise not really needed-large suitcase, just to stuff it with kilos of exciting spices for us and for friends/relatives.

Tourists who reach Thekkady are mainly Indians taking a break from the heat down the coast and the plains  and visiting  the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. We spend three nights at Taj Garden Retreat, which is quite decent.
I slept feeling really safe, as this majestic guy-the hotel's mascot-was patrolling the grounds


Fata Morgana

File:Fata Morgana of sea surface and sun glitter.jpg
A Fata Morgana of the sea line.

One of my all time favorite Greek poets, Nicos Kavadias, titled the poem "Fata Morgana". I adored it since my teens without ever wondering what the title meant. I took it for granted that "Fata Morgana" was a gypsy name.
In 1977 Marisa Koch wrote music 
and interpreted it.

I will commune with salty sea water
gathered from your body drop by drop,
in an ancient Algerian copper cup,
like the one pirates drunk from, before the fight.

Where do you come from? Babylon
Where are you going? To the eye of the storm
Whom do you love? A Gypsy girl
What is her name? Fata Morgana

A ship sail made of leather,all smeared with wax,
the smell of cedar-wood, of incense and varnish,
like the scent of an ageing vessel's hold
built long ago in Euphrates or Phoenicia.

Flame-hued rust from the mine tunnels in Sinai
the mining docks in Gerakini and Stratoni
this thin coating, this sacred rust gives birth to us,
it nurtures us, it feeds on us and then kills us

Where do you come from? Babylon
Where are you going? To the eye of the storm
Whom do you love? A Gypsy girl
What is her name? Fata Morgana

The mine docks at Stratoni Northern Greece.

By looking it up in the net, I discovered that Fata Morgana is:
  • The Latin name of Morgana le Fey, King Arthur's half sister and witch extraordinaire
  • A highly complex meteorological phenomenon that can occur over land or sea whenever the weather conditions are right. 
In a "Fata Morgana" ,objects in the horizon - ships, islands, bridges etc appear tremendously distorted and seem to float. The mirage changes rapidly.It is classified as a major mirage.

Farallon islands' Fata Morgana as seen from the California coast
 Knowing exactly what the poet meant made me read the verses on a second subtler level. 
Nikos Kavadias was a radio operator on commercial ships, travelling the oceans of the world all his life. His poems carry the smells of the various ports of the planet, the nostalgia for home, the lonely days and nights on a ship in the middle of nowhere, the uncontrollable urge to sail again after a brief stay on land. 
He died while working on a ship in 1974, aged 64. 

Easter in Athens

Easter Sunday and Greece is a giant BBQ.
 Athens transforms itself into a huge neighbourhood where whole lambs are being roasted in yards,patios,garages,sidewalks, in fact anywhere there is enough space.
Any passerby is invited to have a snack and/or a glass of wine.
We celebrated with my husbands family in the center of the city, in a let-me-have-this-cholesterol-bomb "orgy"

Lamb with potatoes baked in the oven. Created by roast speciallist  Takis Brisko!!!

If you think they had the best parts of the lamb meat you are right. Three little ferals and their mother have made this old yard their home.



"There are few things that smell as wonderful as a deep breath of warm, morning country air, full of the sweet smell of growing things all around", commented Janet and send my little grey cells-those that still work-in a frenzy.

There had been a time when people believed that inside every majestic tree, in every holy grove, in the deepest parts of the woods lived a Nymph. 
A Dryad to be presise, as Nymphs had many sub-categories: nymphs of the sea, nymphs of streams and freshwater springs, nymphs of groves and sea caves etc.

John William Waterhouse (6 April 1849 — 10 February 1917)  A Hamadryad  Oil on canvas, 1893  160 x 61 cm  Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth, Devon, UK
Hamadryad by John William Waterhouse

Some of the Nymphs lived as, lets say, souls and protectors of trees. Meliades took care of orchard trees such as apple etc but their sisters Dryads or Hamadryads were the souls mainly-but not exclusively- of oak trees 
(drys is the Greek word for oak....notice the use of almost the same linguistic root in the word druid ).

Dryads were somewhere between Gods and humans. They were not immortal, but they died when their tree died. Thus it was a sacrilege to harm in anyway the sacred trees.

Goddesses mine, ye Mousai, say did the oaks come into being at the same time as the Nymphai [Dryades]? The Nymphai rejoice when the rain makes the oaks to grow; and again the Nymphai weep when there are no longer leaves upon the oaks.” - Callimachus, Hymn IV to Delos 75

 39-19-18/37 Tiepolo,Giovanni Battista. Apollo and Daphne. A...
 Nymphs in general were quite wild creatures. 
They fell in love with young men luring them to their doom,they had affairs with gods, run naked following Pan, gave birth to semigods and heroes like Achilles, hunted with virgin Artemis, rode dolphins around Poseidon's chariot 
(and had a hell of a good time :)
But some-not many-of them were a bit more reserved. Best known is Daphne who run in terror when Apollo declared his love for her and prefered to be turned into a bush-the Apollo laurel-rather than having an affair with the most handsome and charming of the immortal gods...can't say I understand her choice...sigh* 

Ylas and the Nymphs. Companion of Hercules, he went to bring water and I m sad to report he never came back. The Nymphs of the pond fell in love with him and kept him there.
By John William Waterhouse.

All this wildness gave them a very bad reputation indeed and even today their name is used in the word "nympho-maniac".
But I have to point out that Dryads were in general realy good girls, just taking care of their trees, unlike their water/sea/spring sisters.

Nymphs survived the coming of the Christian era by hidding in fairytales and folk myths. Up till the middle of last century there were people in villages "able to see the fairies". Grandmothers told bed time stories about the "Neraides" and gave council to the children, if they meet one never never never to talk to her or she would steal their sanity and/or their voice.

There are countless folk tales about young men who happened to sneak up on a fairy taking her bath. 
If the guy kept his wits and managed to steal her garments, she would follow him meekly and be his for ever.
But many tales end with the fairy discovering her clothes hidden in the house. She would then abandon her husband and children and go back to her own kind.
A prominent Greek politician in the 1800s was seriously reputed to have a fairy as a great-grandmother :)
Maybe (I wish) Dryads will be back one day. Maybe we mortals will remember then what a huge part of life on this planet we owe to plants. Till then they will continue to hide deep in the forests...

(just an after-thought : maybe they are the Entwives Treebeard was searching for...if you meet him tell him about them)