Emily and Phoebe

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

to all from Paul, Nevi, Emily & Phoebe.

We'll be back in 2009...

Friday, December 19, 2008


There's a mouse in the house! (OK, outside the house, actually.)

Emily rehearses for her role as the rat mother in her class production of The Nutcracker Prince (photos to follow).

Clothes by Orchestra, make-up by Nevi, fascinator by Paul

Double-click on the picture to see Emily's expression in all its ratty glory.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Phoebe's new best thing is writing, and so we've become quite accustomed to her delivering little notes to us with messages such as "you ar a badd beby", "I am a poo" or (for my birthday) "you ar mi luv" (I'm translating from the Greek here, obviously).

Now she has started producing poetry. And if you're expecting me to exploit her eforts for cheap laughs (who, me?) then for once, at least, you're mistaken. Because I was actually rather stunned when she slipped the following lines* into my hand:

I'm alone in the cold.
Only a mother
Could save me
With a warm kiss.

*Spelling and punctuation tidied up

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The girls will not be having breakfast this morning as they're off to church with their respective classes to take holy communion today (them's the rules, apparently). Emily and I had our usual good-natured discussion over whether or not it is medically possible to catch a cold by drinking from a cup that two hundred other people have sneezed into ("Dad, I've told you a thousand times, it is perfectly safe!"), while Phoebe has decided that this time she wants to take communion too (not because she has suddenly found the Lord, or anything, but because she wants to see what the wine tastes like...)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I have lost my voice...

... but the girls, bless them, are doing a great job of disguising their disappointment at not being able to hear me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The roar of the greasepaint...

Emily has more news about her role in her class's Christmas play:

Emily: "Daddy, I'm not just playing a rat! Τhe rats perform a sort of miming performance thing and in that I'm going to be the rat mother who dies at the end!"

Me: "That's wonderful, darling; two roles in one! I'm very pleased. And actually, what you're going to be doing is called a 'play-within-a-play', which is a very interesting thing they do in the theatre sometimes, and because you're going to be miming it, it can also be called a dumb-show."

A thought occurs to me.

Me: "One very famous play-within-a-play, which was also a dumb-show, was in Hamlet, by William Shakespeare!"

Another thought occurs to me. I am getting quite excited now.

Me: "And can you guess what it was called? 'The Mousetrap'! Isn't that a coincidence! I wonder if yours will be called 'The Mousetrap' too. Although you're rats, of course, not mice, so maybe it wouldn't work, but..."

I trail off as I realise that Emily doesn't look as excited as she might. Perhaps I have lost her.

Me: "Have you actually heard of Hamlet, darling?"

Emily: [Scornfully] "Of course I have, Dad."

Me: "Oh good, Did you learn about it at school?"

Emily: [Eyes rolling]"No!"

No, of course not. What was I thinking

Me: So...?

Emily: [Getting annoyed, now] I don't know, alright, I just know. [Pause] I think they talk about it in Freaky Friday."

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Did you know that Kleisthenes is known as the founder of democracy? It seems that he assumed power in Athens having been granted an amnesty to return from exile by his political opponent Peisistratos (who was more or less on his deathbed when he did so). Anyway, Kleisthenes set about making great changes to the way things were run in Athens. Previously, political parties had been class-based and different classes had lived in different parts of the city. Kleisthenes' predecessor, for example, was nominally the representative of the city's poor. The major change made by Kleisthenes involved grouping the citizens into 10 phyles (or tribes), each of which had a strategos (leader) and elected fifty bouleutes (representatives) who sat in the "boule (parliament) of 500". This parliament discussed and made preparations for all the debates, enactments of laws etc, that would take place in the ekklesia (assembly), where all citizens could attend, speak and vote.

This is part of what I have learned (to be honest, not everything sunk in) after helping Emily with the 2 pages of History that she missed due to illness last week. Emily is nine and a half. Her conclusion, having ploughed through the above, is "Democracy sucks". Way to go, Educational Institute (the wonks who wrote the book), for engendering a love of history and an appreciation of democratic principles in the nation's youth!