Saturday, May 29, 2010


Yes, it's Eurovision time again. I've not been paying much attention this year, mainly because I've been working for the last couple of weeks and I've also had a couple of busy weekends with guests, which have meant more cleaning, cooking and going out than usual. So this post is more of a reminder for me than anything else, but I also thought you might want to see the Greek song being performed - it's a scream!

The countries that are competing in tonight's final are:

Bosnia & Herzegovina
United Kingdom

The competition is taking place in Oslo, as Norway were last year's winners.

The UK will be represented by a fairly nondescript song called That Sounds Good To Me (wishful thinking or simply aspirational?) performed by a boy barely out of school - or perhaps I'm getting older. Anyway, this is the video for anyone who's interested.

Greece's song couldn't be more different. Like it or not, nondescript it ain't. Plus the singer is my age, so I don't feel like a granny when I sing along to it.

I have no idea who's the favourite to win (personally, I favour France's Allez Olla Olé) but my prize for weirdest lyrics goes to Armenia's Apricot Stone.

I have more guests arriving tonight, so not sure when I'll next get time to post. In the meantime, enjoy the music and share the moment!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 92

Click on the photo to enlarge it and read the note...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Speechless Thursday

Meet Wenlock and Mandeville, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots. Words fail me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Catch up

Since my last post, it seems our parliament has unhung itself and the weather has improved marginally, so things are looking up.

I've not done much blogging in the last few days, as I've been busy with other fun things. Yesterday, I spent all day watching old "24" episodes with my friend Pamela. We had a marathon session with twelve episodes back-to-back, a real treat!

Earlier today I went to Heathrow airport to meet my friend Kostas who was transitting through London on his way to Dubai via Athens, Hungary and Croatia. Kostas is a jet-setter. He also enjoys good food and wine, and I've shared many an excellent meal with him. We spent three happy hours at Carluccio's at Terminal 5, having lovely food, great wine and lively conversation. Apologies to the people sitting closest to us, I know we were quite animated but we hadn't seen each other for over a year and we had lots of catching up to do. Plus we're Greek, so we're loud. It's in our DNA.

Later I went for a walk by the Thames in Greenwich. It was 9 PM by then and it was still light, so I took some photos for my other blog. I love the longer days we get in summer, and can't wait for them to grow even longer.

The tide was out, so the Thames foreshore was exposed. Not very inspiring as beaches go, but it's the best we have. It can be pretty good on a warm summer day, not that we're getting many of those at the moment, but there's no harm in dreaming.

All in all, this has been a good week, and here's hoping for an even better weekend!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Pray, pray, pray

You may have heard that there is a lot of political activity in the UK at the moment, as no one party achieved an absolute majority of seats following last week's election so we have ended up with a "hung parliament". I won't bore you with the details, suffice to say that every newspaper, every news report on the TV, every "top story" on the BBC website is about the election and the formation of the new government. I had to smile when I saw this poster outside a Baptist church yesterday. It seems to me that praying for the men and women at Westminster is an excellent idea in the circumstances.

In case you don't know, Westminster Palace, aka the Houses of Parliament, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom - the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Clock Tower of Westminster Palace, commonly known as Big Ben, is one of London's most famous landmarks. In reality, Big Ben is the name of its main bell (weighing 13.8 tonnes) - the official name of the clock tower is St Stephen's Tower.

Earlier tonight, I checked the long-range Met Office forecast for the UK. This is what the weather appears to have in store for us later this month:

A northwesterly weather type is expected to bring some spells of unsettled weather with temperatures starting normal for the time of year but becoming relatively cold again as we move into June. There are indications of above average rainfall amounts during the period, firstly over parts of northern UK but later southwestern and central parts appear to be the wettest. Otherwise rainfall amounts will be near normal.

To be honest, I think we really ought to be praying for drought....

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Yesterday we celebrated May Day by attending a Jack-in-the-Green procession. I imagine you have no idea what that is, so let me give you some background information.

Jack-in-the-Green processions have their roots in the milkmaid May Day celebrations of the mid 17th century. At that time, milkmaids would go out with the utensils of their trade (cups, pots, spoons) decorated with garlands and piled into a pyramid, which they carried on their heads. Later on, other groups such as chimney sweeps also started taking advantage of May Day as an opportunity to collect money.

At some point during the 18th century, the separate garlands of flowers and leaves were transformed into a structure, like a large beehive, covered with foliage which was carried by a man and which became known as a Jack-in-the-Green.

By the 19th century, May Day had come to mean chimney sweeps with a Jack and music provided by drums, fiddles and whistles. However, by the end of the century, these celebrations had come to be considered too disorderly and were often suppressed by the police. Jacks became a rarity after the First World War.

A revival started in the 1970's and there are now two well-known Jack-in-the-Green celebrations in South East England, one in Rochester and another in Hastings. London has its own Jack-in-the-Green procession, organised by the Deptford Fowlers Troop. This is the one we attended.

The route we followed took us along the South Bank and over the Millennium Bridge to a pub opposite St Paul's Cathedral, where we stopped for a well-earned drink or three.

Along the way, we met a group of Morris Men (folk dancers) heading in the opposite direction. They kindly stopped to be photographed.

The man inside the Jack also came out when we reached the pub and posed for photos. I also took a short video showing him twirling to the music. The big structure in the background is St Paul's Cathedral.

Tradition says that as long as the drum can be heard, the rain will hold off. I took this photo shortly after the procession finished, so perhaps there is some truth in that belief. Funnily enough, it started raining an hour or so later - and hasn't stopped since.

The historical information for this post came from a booklet titled "Fowlers Troops and the Deptford Jack-in-the-Green: A history of an old London May Day tradition" by Sarah Crofts.