Emily and Phoebe

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

28 October

Just say no!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Today we went

to a Pumpkin Party! Lazarus and Eleni invited us to Kiourka, where we stuffed ourselves with pumpkin soup (served from a hollowed out pumpkin!), pumpkin pie and pumpkin souffle. Who knew pumpkin was so delicious? (Not the kids, at any rate, who were deeply suspicious of anything orange, and stuck to roast chicken...)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Phoebe

There were cards, there were books, there were clothes, there was Lego, there were remote controlled cars, there was a Captain Sharkey telescope, there was elephant poo (yes, really), there was cake (kept at a safe distance from the elephant poo), and there's more yet to come! Phoebe's verdict? "Daddy, that was the best birthday ever!!!"


Thanks to Katy for photos of Phoebe's splendid Spongebob cake (and for the Captain Sharky T-shirt she's wearing)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Making a spectacle of herself

Phoebe is cutting something out of paper. "It's a pair of glasses, Daddy, so that I can look like you."


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Nevi comes into the office, where I'm writing an invoice.

Nevi: "What's that?"

She peers at the screen.

Nevi: "Oh, I thought it was a poem."

Me: [Without even missing a beat] "It is. It's called 'Owed to a translator'!"

Thank you, thank you very much.

[I know, I know: this is not an Emily and Phoebe story and so strictly speaking it doesn't belong here. So sue me for posting the single semi-witty comment I have made this millennium. And think how honest I am in fessing up - I could have pretended that it was one of the girls that came in and asked me what I was writing. But that would have been dishonest, and here at "emilyandphoebe" we're all about the transparency...]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hong Kong Phoebe

has started doing Tai Kwon Do. And yes, I know that Tai Kwon Do doesn't come from Hong Kong. For that matter, it isn't just Phoebe doing it, either - Emily goes too. But "Taiwan Emily and Phoebe" doesn't evoke any much loved 70s cartoon shows, so "Hong Kong Phoebe (Number One Super Gal)" it is...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cor Blimey, Mary Poppins!

To the theatre last week to see "Mary Poppins Travels with the Beatles". I really don't know what to say about this. I mean I really don't know. Greeks can be a litigious bunch, so if I describe it as a "disgrace", a "farrago" or a "brain-curdling abomination" that might not be accepted as fair comment and I could find myself in court. So I won't. (Do you see what I did there?)

It probably suffices to stick to the facts. "Mary Poppins Travels with the Beatles" is a version of the classic Disney musical in which the Sherman brothers songs (with the exception of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious [can't be bothered to check the spelling]) have been replaced by Beatles songs with the lyrics rewritten in Greek. And... that's it. Seriously. That's what passes for "high-concept" in some quarters. I can only assume that what went through the mind of the writer was something along the lines of "Mary Poppins = good, Beatles = good, therefore Mary Poppins + Beatles = double good!"

The whole thing is utterly bizarre. The original plot has been faithfully adhered to, but is overlaid with odd Fab Four references so that it becomes completely incomprehensible. Admiral Boom, for example (neighbour of the Banks's who lets off a cannon to mark the time) stands stage right throughout the whole show on a yellow submarine. Even more bafflingly, the directors of the bank who fire Mr Banks are John Paul George and Ringo! (This is a show for Greek schoolchildren. How many of them actually are actually going to know who the Beatles are?) My personal (excruciating) favourite was when the cast launched into "Mary in the Sky with Diamonds".

Now all this might not matter too much if the show was actually any good, but the singing was substandard, the dancing rudimentary and the production values non-existent. The images projected onto the screen at the back of the stage throughout the show, for example, were either poor quality or nicked (the "dance with the penguins" - remember Dick van Dyke hoofing with his trousers round his knees in the movie? - was accompanied by a two-minute scene from Happy Feet! I would be utterly astonished, by the way, if it turned out that the producers had bothered to secure the rights to use this scene - or any other copyright material, for that matter. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they think that the P.L. Travers book, the Disney film and the Beatles catalogue are all in the public domain and used all of them without permission.

It could of course be argued that all this is beside the point and that if the children liked it* then who am I to criticise? Well, as Nevi so wisely said, children like all sorts of things that are not good for them - which is why one of our jobs as parents is to teach them to be discriminating.

*Emily and Phoebe did, quite, though they had the advantage of having seen the film and knowing some Beatles songs. Goodness knows what some of the young audience made of it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The return of...

Things I have really and truly said presumably in an attempt to introduce the children to modern idomatic English.

Number 4 (I think):

We were running a little late this morning, and as the girls still hadn't got up I found myself telling them to "shake a leg". Yes! Really! At which point Phoebe poked her foot out from under the duvet and waggled it from side to side. At least I didn't tell them that I wanted everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion. (Though now I've planted the idea in my brain it'll probably pop out of my mouth any day now...)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bang-up-to-the-minute teaching techniques

Emily is doing her geography homework. Today, that means sitting down and learning a list of Greek prefectures and their capitals. Is it just me, or is this a hopelessly outdated and utterly pointless waste of her time?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The horror! The horror!

Emily is teaching Phoebe to play the recorder.

I think I am losing the will to live...