Pomegranates, Poo and Patriotic Fervour

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After my success at dealing with the second large pumpkin of the season, it was with some alarm that we received the latest gift from our very kind neighbours – a bag full of pomegranates and a large watermelon! pumpkin 003

Fortunately, the number of pomegranates was at least manageable, which was just as well because I do not really like them very much and everyone else here liked watermelon. So the melon has largely been consumed but the pomegranates have been staring at me from the cupboard every time I open it. Well, last night I had the bright idea of making juice. It worked quite well except there is really very little juice and I don’t really think that it tastes very nice! Still, we drank some for breakfast today which made a change from freshly squeezed oranges. Oh, it is such a hard life!

Flushed with success and with such an apt lead-in tag for my next topic (even if somewhat obvious!), I move on to Poo! Greece is arguably the only remaining country in Europe where loo paper is not disposed of down the lavatory. One of least enjoyable tasks when welcoming new visitors, particularly those who have not been to Greece before is to explain the procedure (which to the uninitiated involves the use of a small tin box and a visit from the ‘maid’ every two days!). I usually take the line that only that which has passed through you, should go down the loo. I was never very good at poetry but rhyming couplets, I can manage!

I used to think that the standard of Greek plumbing must be the culprit but then it was explained to me that this was not the reason. They do appear to use pipes of a rather narrower bore than we are used to in the UK which doesn’t exactly help the drainage but the main reason seems to be the use of right-angled corner pipes rather than something less sharp. Now this is strange because a recent trip to a shop which specialises in such products produced corner sections which had angles ranging down to 30˚ but there again, these were for drainpipes!

So we seem to have yet another Greek mystery. The answer may simply be that this is what they have always done it and just because everyone else in Europe have moved on, this not really a very good reason for them to change!

Anyway, I mention it only because our latest visitors raised the matter and when Sheila happened to mention that the Greek word for toilet is τουαλέτα, this was misheard and interpreted as ‘pooaleta‘, which in the circumstances seemed rather appropriate.

Today, we fell still deeper into the doodo when at our Greek lesson, our teacher started to explain the difference between the use of ότι and που. Both are conjunctions and have absolutely nothing to do with the subject being discussed but I did find it difficult to keep a straight face and certainly had no wish to explain my amusement, especially as I had already become ‘bogged’ down (no pun intended) in the lack of explicit sex in ‘Sex in the City’, for my homework!

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Yesterday was ΟΧΙ Day here in Greece. It might have passed us by in Kavousi except that the Supermarket was closed. It commemorates the day in 1940 when Greece rejected an ultimatum from Mussolini to surrender and accept Italian rule – oχι being the Greek word for ‘no’). We watched a display of military hardware in Thessaloniki on TV which was reminiscent of Moscow in the says of the USSR and later a film from the 1950’s which was supposed to somehow improve our understanding of the language! Watching daytime TV is, I am afraid, a bit of a slippery slope.

Last week we had our hair cut. Sheila had a short back and sides which looks great while I went for a somewhat less exciting trim! We were also invited by H2 for lunch and Hanneke served up the most amazing food.

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We had a great afternoon with them and it also gave us the opportunity to take the stone, which Walter had sculpted, to Bonnie’s grave.

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Our next task in that respect is to buy the tree which Hans will plant above her. It’s such a beautiful spot.

Our latest visitors, Vicki and Jeb, departed for Aberdeen yesterday. They had had a week in Plakias (in central southern Crete) before coming to us, so were already acclimatised. The weather had been kind to them the week before but was decidedly mixed for their stay with us.

Crete 86 019Still, Sheila took them up the two gorges walk to the Kastro, behind Kavousi and we had a number of swims, together with trips to favourite tavernas, including Captain Yianni’s with Walter and Brigitta.

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However, there can be no doubt now that autumn is well and truly here and it will not be long before the wood burner will be called into action. We are just hoping that the new doors and windows arrive and more important, are installed, before the winter rains really arrive.

Crete 86 011Finally, I mentioned in my last Post that I was about to brave the Greek health service to have some routine heart tests done here in Crete, so avoiding the need to return to Scotland once a year. Well, this turned out to be surprisingly easy and indeed, successful. A trip to Agios Nikoloas (just across the bay from us) secured an appointment with a heart specialist (private) and when I returned a few days later, he carried out the ECG and Echo gram after having spent some time questioning me on my health issues. I was there for an hour and a half and it cost 100 euros, which seemed like good value. I now have to have a couple of blood tests and assuming these are OK will not have to go again for a year. So far, so good!

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So, it is now back to the two of us for a week before our next visitor arrives. Now where is that hoover!

John

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4 thoughts on “Pomegranates, Poo and Patriotic Fervour

  1. Veronica Willins

    Beautiful sunset at the end John and again lovely pictures. Like the new hair cut Sheila- very good for swimming and tennis!!Wasn’t too impressed with the first half of the discussion-glad I wasn’t eating but the food looked very good!! Was nice to see Bonnie’s place of rest and the stones- I’m sure that she is very happy there and so close to you both. Take care. We are having our tennis prizegiving on the 8th. November so if you are around please pop in!!

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  2. Pat Marsden

    Pomegranate seeds are lovely in salads. I know because I buy them in a little pot from Sainsburys! PS I have just heard that I will become a great grandmother in May 2015! Daniel’s daughter Rosie has just had her 12 week scan. They will be formally announcing the news tomorrow at her husband George’s birthday party. So exciting!

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  3. Andrew Still

    Hi John (and Sheila) just catching up on your posts. Yes, pomegranates I wouldn’t miss if I never saw another, Patriotic Fervour may not be a subject we two should dwell on, but Poo! now there’s an interesting subject. I seem to recall that Turkey has or at least had the same issue about toilet paper. If the issue is about potential blockage then there is a simple solution, other than the tin box, a saniflo unit. They are quite common at home, you’ve no doubt come across one but not realised. There is a “box” behind the pan and it whirrs when you flush. This is a macerator which chops “things” up before pumping along narrow pipes to the normal size sewage drain. They are commonly fitted where the wc is below drain level e.g. in a basement or where full size waste drains would be difficult or intrusive e.g in loft conversions or en-suite installations. Unless the Greeks are liable to test your waste outlet for traces of paper, your only other downside is the initial cost and what to do in a power cut.

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  4. Anne

    Great post John! Toilet paper in Turkey is treated in the same fashion, but I suppose it’s not Europe, yet! Love the final photo.

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