Emily and Phoebe

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


First, an uncharacteristically gurly picture from Emily, with "Mummy and Daddy I love you" written at the bottom.


Meanwhile, I think everyone will agree that Phoebe's portrait of the Rolling Stones is a quite uncanny likeness of (from left to right) Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, and poor, poor Bill Wyman, who has clearly been suffering since he left the band.

No, actually it's Phoebe, Emily, me, Nevi, and Eleni (sporting a rather fetching Mohawk).

Friday, July 21, 2006


Phoebe has just told me that "Babyjesus and his mum Virginmary made us all out of sand."

Well, OK, I already knew that Eleni had decided to make herself responsible for the children's religious instruction (something about immortal souls, eternal hellfire, and so on). But really. Sand? Surely the Almighty could have come up with something a bit more durable than that, couldn't He. I mean it's hardly the material of choice, is it? Clay I could understand, loam has a nice earthy appeal, but sand? It makes Him sound like a cowboy builder. ("Nah, mate, sand's what you want, last a lifetime that will, looks lovely as well, dunnit...")

Sand. Makes me feel as though I'm waiting for the tide to come in...

Thursday, July 20, 2006


"Can you put me some more juice please daddy?"
"Phoebe, in English we don't say it like that. Can you think how we say it?"
"Can you put me some more juice please daddy?"
"Can you..."
"Can you put me some more juice please daddy?"
"Not 'put'..."
"More juice please daddy."
"Can you put me some more juice please daddy?"
"Can you give me some more juice."
"Can you give me some more juice please daddy?"
"No, darling, you've had enough."

As you can see, we aim to be firm but fair here at the Athens branch of Bumble's Workhouse. It's dog-eat-dog out there, the world doesn't owe them any favours, there's no such thing as a free lunch, one man's meat is another man's poison, what's sauce for the goose, etc etc. [Keels over, frothing slightly at the mouth...]

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It was Emily's name-day yesterday...

and we bought her a rucksack so that when we go to Tinos she can carry all her books, pads and pens, rubbers, pencil sharpeners, comics, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, marbles, gum, elastic bands (don't ask me why) and whatever else is essential for a trouble-free journey.

Phoebe, of course, highly miffed that there was no present for her, plonked herself down on the top stair and pretended to cry (which involved screwing up her face and making a "Waahhhh" noise - not the world's most convincing example of pretend-crying). Seeing that this tactic was having no effect on her hard-hearted parents, she got up, trudged downstairs full of feigned resignation, and announced that it didn't matter and that she would use a plastic carrier bag instead.

Can you say "Manipulation"? I knew you could!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The girls have been playing doctors today...

and Phoebe is turning into a bit of an imaginary invalid. According to her self diagnosis, she has haemorrhoids on her head.

I think a second opinion might possibly be required.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Phoebe's latest game

involves standing on one leg singing "I'm a flamingo! I'm a flamingo!"
It's been three days and she still hasn't got tired of it...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Emily's Gallery

This is the pick of what she produced at her weekly art class this year (September 2005 - June 2006)


The table is groaning with food: sausages, coleslaw, tuna salad and stuffed tomatoes. Surely there is something there that the Fussy Ones will try?
Emily, to her credit, takes a little bit of everything, tries it all, and says it's OK. Phoebe wrinkles her nose and says she hasn't decided what she wants yet.
"I'm very hungry, Daddy!"
"Good, because we've lots of food here that needs to be eaten up."
"Can I have some water, please, Daddy."
"Here you are, my love." I push her glass closer to her.
She picks up her spoon and waves it in front of her in an I-can't-quite-make-up-my-mind sort of way. She glances at me to gauge my likely response to her next question.
"Daddy, after I've eaten, can I have some chocolate?"
"Yes, my love, of course you can."
"Thank you Daddy, you're the best Daddy!"
She beams at me, her expression full of barely concealed cunning, and carefully dips her spoon into her glass.
She swallows the 5ml of water.
"Yum, this is delicious!"
She takes another spoonful.
"This is lovely, Daddy!"
And a third.
"I think I'm full now, Daddy. Can I have some chocolate, please?"
I answer in the negative, and a fourth spoonful is deposited over my stuffed tomato.
"Here's some lovely water for you, Daddy!"

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Phoebe is playing with Emily on the floor when suddenly she slips and bangs her head. Unusually for her, she begins to make a huge fuss about it, which is surprising, because it's only a little knock, and after all, she's suffered worse. When she broke her arm last year she didn't complain at all - in fact she was the one comforting us. The last thing she said before I took her to hospital were "Don't cry, Mummy, it doesn't hurt." Nor did she cry when she was stung by a bee. Her explanation was that the bee was trying to kiss her, and that that wasn't something to cry about. But this time she is really howling for some reason, so I offer to kiss it better. Red-eyed, she profers her forehead. I give it a peck, and as if by magic, she instantly brightens, launching into Phoebebabble: "ImgladtheresnobloodbecauseiftherewasbloodIwouldhaveclosedmyeyes." She theatrically covers her eyes with her hands and pokes out her tongue: "Urgghhh!" And then: "Thank you, Daddy, now I'm foine."
I'm sorry? Foine? What's that? Where did that come from? Am I raising a mini yokel? And more worryingly, is that the way I talk? I'm the only person the kids hear speaking English on a daily basis, so I have to wonder if this rural burr is coming from me. Do I in fact talk Mummerset? And while we're on the subject of accents... On the one hand we have Phoebe unconsciously (one assumes) imitating Joe Grundy, while on the other, Emily is consciously experimenting with how she speaks. Her favourite film at the moment is My Fair Lady, which she keeps rewatching, like some junior Henry Higgins, trying to pin down Eliza's accent. The result is that we can be in the middle of a perfectly normal conversation when she'll suddenly attempt some strangulated Audrey Hepburn Cockney (deriving not from London's East End, of course, but the strange and far-off country of Dickvandykeland, which is populated entirely by chimney sweeps and flower sellers).

And another thing. It's far from easy to keep a straight face when her response to being told off is: "Oim a good gurl, Oi am!"

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Summer's here, and the time is right...

for taking the kids to child-friendly films at open-air cinemas. Tonight's showing was the abysmal Steve Martin remake of the Pink Panther. Phoebe's question at the interval? "When can we go home?"

Never underestimate the critical faculties of a three-year-old...