Sunday, 27 December 2009

Happy Holidays

So, how was it for you? I imagine that for most of you Americans, Christmas has climaxed already. Here, of course, it lasts for longer. Because Boxing Day fell on a Saturday, we get Monday off as a public holiday, so we're only half-way there.

As expected, I didn't venture out at all on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. On Wednesday evening I visited the pub, staggering home after closing, or rather sliding home because it was treacherously icy. I'm glad I had a lot to drink that evening, as had I been sober I might have injured myself.

As usual on Christmas Eve, I watched everyone's favourite seasonal film - Die Hard. This has to be the best Christmas film ever. It's just a shame that I'll have to wait 7 years before I can watch it with Helena. I also cracked open a bottle of Claret, and started on the stilton. Bizarrely, the label says that you've got to eat it within 3 days of opening. Or what? According to wiki, they spend 9 weeks cultivating the mould, so just how is it going to go off in the space of 72 hours?

Christmas wouldn't be the same without listening to at least part of Manos Tsilimidis' (aka "The awake man") Christmas Eve/Christmas Day Special on Greek Radio (10pm - 2am Greek Time). Every year I realise how much more Greek I understand.

The highlight of Christmas Day was having a traditional British roast. Actually, it was one that was labelled "Roast Chicken Dinner for One" and you did it in the oven, but it was very nice, especially when washed down with yet another bottle of Claret. And then more stilton.

I watched one of the DVDs I bought in Athens. There was a shop there selling ex-rental DVDs for €2 a throw, and I bought this one. I believe you can get it here by the name of "A touch of Spice", but don't believe IMDB when they say it's a comedy. It was a very artistically photographed film whose hero spends part of his childhood in Constantinople, but his family is forced to leave in 1963 when the Turkish authorities are, as on other occaisions, harrassing the "Greek" minority due to events in Cyprus. When they get to Athens, they find that they are treated with suspicion by the Greeks. Our hero has been interested in cooking from an early age (his grandfather had a shop selling spices), and food is juxtapositioned with life and with the universe. His grandfather hasn't followed the family to Greece since he's a Turkish citizen, and since he can't bear to leave "the most beautiful city in the world". Finally his grandson returns to his birthplace to bury him and to come to terms with the world that he left all those years before. The plight of the "Romioi" (people of Greek extraction from Constantinople) is both sad and fascinating. These are people who are culturally Greeks, but whose fatherland is Turkey, not Greece. There used to be a large population, but many were driven out after the events of September 1955 and 1963. The film was very successful internationally, and I think most people would find it interesting. The dialogue is in Greek, Turkish and English, so you have to watch it with subtitles unless you're trilingual.

The only bad thing is that I've come down with a cold. The office was half empty this week, and I've hardly been out, so I think I must have got it from Helena. The cold itself isn't that bad (yet - Helena is cheerfully predicting that it will get a lot worse, based on her experience of it), but I find it vey difficult to sleep when I'm congested, so I had a sleepless night with wierd dreams. Though according to wiki that could be the stilton.

On Boxing Day Helena arrived, so the family side to the Yuletide Festival has begun. But that's a story for another day...


Jean Knee said...

yes, i've always wondered how sour cream can go bad as well. or buttermilk. I feel your stilton dilemma.

my MIL had some dreadful hacking cough disease which we (knock on wood) haven't come down with yet.

other than that it was a quiet x-mas. My sister only cried once AND I wasn't the one who caused it, yesss!

Chris Wood said...

Hope you had a good one.

Excellent point about the stilton. Maybe you should keep an eye on it round about Monday, see if it does anything surprising ...

Brian o vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

I'm glad you had a relatively peaceful time.


I hope your trip to Jersey went okay. I'll keep looking in on the stilton...

Bee said...

I love cheese but I think I'd have to take a pass on anything that looks like that. Enjoy your time off while the rest of us are slaving away.