Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Back in the saddle, and on the whole glad to be there. Greece was wonderful, every hour of it, and all went smoothly – including my husband's London adventure. Life has been a bit sharper-edged since.

Within half-an-hour of my return on Sunday afternoon, the overhead light in the kitchen exploded. The cleaning woman failed to get the metal sleeve out of the socket yesterday, so I'll have to get an electrician jn. A nuisance.

I was ill yesterday morning (hence no blog) – innards readjusting to real life, maybe. It was bad enough for a few hours in the morning to create some anxiety about how we could manage if I were disabled. We couldn't, is the answer. But I'm OK now.

Yesterday evening I went out to get a bag of potatoes I think I left in the car after the last supermarket sweep. I couldn't find it – not the bag of potatoes. The car. So that's today's first job. I might be mistaken about where I left it. The City of Edinburgh might have confiscated it. You never know. It's a very old car. Google has provided the police telephone number to ring – they'll know whether it has been impounded. How did we manage before Google?


Now, how to tell you about Greece? Where to begin? The weather was unspeakably wonderful -- La Primavera, quando Flora da fiori adorna il mundo. Wrong language, right sentiment.

Here I am with the Kouros of Sounion:

Here, in a cafe studying a brochure:

Here, at the monastery of Osios Loukos:

It was founded more than a millennium ago. It is in the hills near Delphi (where we didn't go). Mount Parnassus, still snow-capped, was clearly visible.

After the visit, we had lunch in Distomo, the nearest town. The cafe and its food were of the simplest – Greek salad, bean soup. Delicious. We were the only customers. Over coffee, the proprietor suddenly began telling us about the Massacre of Distomo, of which I had never previously heard. “Right there” – gesturing to the window – “in front of the National School”. An old man in the corner joined in, looking even more like a retired partisan than the proprietor did. His grandfather had been killed that day, and his mother's two brothers.

Two babies died – unbaptised.

I looked it up when we got home. It's a famous massacre. It was the SS, of course, in reprisal for something the partisans had done. It's one of the events for which Mr Tsipras is still trying to get reparations from Mrs Merkel. Those men must have told the story a thousand times, as they did to us that day. It was still a memorable conversation. Greek Helen translated for us as it went along.

More to follow.


  1. Lovely to see you back on my feedly list tonight. Your blog is the one I read first each morning. Welcome home.

  2. Welcome back Jean. Looking forward to more tales of Greek adventure. Good luck with the hunt for the missing car.

  3. So glad everything went according to plan last week and you were able to enjoy your visit. I look forward to the next instalment. I think Teresa May needs to tell her hairdresser that she wants a cut like Jean Miles.

    Good luck with the car search.

  4. Welcome home! I missed you. Hope the car search goes well.

  5. Wonderful to have you back, Jean! You have such great stories to tell - the car is a classic. I hope you just parked it round the corner.

  6. Pleased to have you back safely - now for the car!

  7. Welcome back! If you push half a potato (the cut end) into the broken light bulb, you can use it to safely twist out the metal

    1. Anonymous6:32 PM

      But the potatoes are lost with the car!

      Happy to have you "home" on my computer, Jean.

      Judith in Ottawa

  8. So happy you're back and had a good trip. Your account of the missing car is just like one Alexander McCall Smith tells. This must be fairly common in Edinburgh! I frequently have that problem in large parking lots, so it was a happy day when we got a car with a remote so I could find it by "beeping." Hope all goes well with finding it. Also, the sweater looks fabulous on you, and I, too, love your hair!

  9. Anonymous1:22 PM

    So glad the trip went well! Lovely photos (and such a stylish sweater!).
    You are inspiring me to plan a trip to Athens as soon as I can get there.
    Welcome back!

  10. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Welcome back, Jean! Thanks for the pix and the story. Kouros and cafe shot take me right back to Athens. Distomo - those WWII atrocities still very alive for folks, as they are in parts of the former Yugoslavia - similar in Spain, always that disconnect that we are having lovely holidays in places where terrible things happened not so long ago. Your car - yes, shades of Bertie's parents - ? a common New Town problem? Lovely to have you back.
    - Beth in Ontario

  11. Lovely to have you back. You are the first knitting blog I read every day and I missed you!! So happy that things went well.
    Hope you find your car!!

  12. Ellen1:40 PM

    We, too, have successfully used a potato, and it was an electrician who showed us how. But why did the lightbulb explode? to have him check the wiring.

    I'm glad your trip lived up to expectations, and that your husband learned, perhaps, that others can take care of him. I hope you find your car quickly!

  13. Welcome home. I love hearing about your adventures! Lost potatoes in a missing car, ancient monasteries, misbehaving lightbulbs and WWII crimes, indeed! And all before breakfast!

  14. Welcome home after adventures and safe travels. I hope the car is easily and inexpensively recovered. The potato trick does indeed work to retrieve the broken-off part of a light bulb. Looking forward to more stories and pictures of your trip!

  15. DawnC2:53 PM

    You were missed!

  16. Wonderful tales - looking forward to the continuation of the account - watching this space (blog).

  17. Wonderful tales - looking forward to the continuation of the account - watching this space (blog).

  18. I checked your blog every morning just in case you came home early. What a wonderful adventure, many memories. Now to find the car and the potatoes.

  19. welcome home! I missed you! next time for the broken light bulb, one can use a potato... trim to the size of the socket, screw it in just as if it were the light bulb, and then unscrew. The metal socket will come right out.

  20. Welcome back Jean! You were much missed. Glad to wake up this morning and find you back. Also glad to hear that Athens and London both went well. The light fixture and the car will get sorted out.

  21. You'll never believe it! I've just been watching a programme on BBC 4 about Ancient Greece and those same statues were featured! They are indeed huge! You will probably be able to see it on Iplayer. Glad you had such a splendid time and that you're back safely.