Emily and Phoebe

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Emily's birthday week culminates with inviting a friend over to watch Eurovision together. Opa!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another day off

Emily's birthday week keeps getting better and better. Monday (her actual birthday) was a holiday (the Feast of the Holy Spirit) and today (Wednesday) there is no school because the teachers are having some kind of meeting. Instead, Emily's class gathered in the park for a water fight which I kept a safe distance from (hence no photos).


Emily, like all children, is full of excitement that Greece has qualified for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. I, like all adults, am worried that we might actually win the damn thing and have to bear the huge expense of hosting it next year.

Monday, May 24, 2010


"Daddy, because it's my birthday today I want us all to be together this afternoon and I want to invite Pappous and Nonos and I want us to eat crisps and μπόμπες [towers of sandwiches] because I love μπόμπες more than anything and I want to make them - please can I make them Daddy? - and then I want us to have cake and ice cream and I want everyone to say what a good girl I am. Because it's my birthday."

And that is exactly what happened...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Run, Phoebe, Run!

Emily ended up not taking part in yesterday's cross-country race as she had a party to go to (a difficult choice, that: wear yourself out hauling yourself around the local park or hang out with friends eating cake and ice-cream).

Phoebe, though, decided she wanted to go in for it, and I'm pleased to report that she came to no harm from her exertions (despite not changing out of her sports kit after the event, which is apparently an absolute no-no and tantamount to inviting a ψύξη [see previous post]). She took the whole thing very seriously, in fact: she discussed tactics with me ("Daddy, I am going to run as fast as I can!"), took on board my advice about not going off too fast at the beginning (unlike lots of the other kids, who ran out of puff and barely made it to the finishing line) and in the race itself, zipped round the course to finish third in her category and take home a medal. Yay Phoebe!

Friday, May 14, 2010


There is apparently some sort of open cross country race going on in the local park tomorrow. Grown-ups and high-school students will be running 3 kilometres, while primary school kids will have to complete a 1km course. I am not intending to enter (my knee is a bit fragile at the moment) but I note that in two years' time I will be in the oldest category of participants and quite fancy my chances against the local παππούδες* (provided I put in a bit of training first).

Although I have decided to postpone my bid for sporting glory this year, Emily and Phoebe are quite keen to take part.

Nevi and I are divided, however, over whether this is a good idea. Nevi says that a kilometre is a long way for young children to run (I suspect she may be right but suggest that it sounds much further than it is, an argument that sounds reasonable until you subject it to any intellectual rigour whatsoever). She is also afraid that there is a danger of them getting trampled (to which I respond - perhaps more in hope than expectation - that there will almost certainly be a staggered start to prevent this kind of accident). I am sure that she is probably concerned about the effect of unwarranted exercise on young bones, as well, although she does not say so. Most of all, though, I think she fears that the girls will suffer a ψύξη (psee-ksee), a kind of muscular pain or stiff neck which is the almost inevitable consequence of irresponsible sweating followed by exposure to one of the dangerous breezes found all too often in Greece. She will never admit this, of course.**

If Nevi is a bit doubtful about the girls taking part, I am decidedly gung-ho. Frankly, I see this as a golden opportunity to live vicariously through my children, pushing them to achieve the success that I was denied through a cruel combination of chance, indifference and lack of sporting ability. (I believe that psychologists nowadays recommend this sort of "adult-centred" approach to raising children as a way of making them more confident, independent and well-balanced.)

In the end, of course, what Nevi and I think is spectacularly irrelevant, because in this, as in most things, it will be the girls themselves who decide whether they want to run or not...

* grandads (most of whom seem to spend their time sitting in coffee bars smoking)
** Nevi has in the past been subjected to a certain amount of scoffery for her belief in the ψύξη. She was particularly annoyed when I suggested that along with band-aids and iodine we should keep a supply of leeches in our first-aid kit.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


"Phoebe, can I take a photo of you wearing the garland you made on Mayday?"

"OK, that's quite nice, but you look very serious. Could you smile a bit in this one?"

"Now that was just silly. Be sensible."

"Sensible, I said. Not full of mischief."

"OK, that'll have to do I suppose. Emily, do you want me to take your photo? You'll look really sweet with flowers in your hair!"

"Come on Dad, we both know that all you really want to do is post a ridiculous photo of me on the blog."

Shocked! Shocked I am that my own daughter could think such a thing of me!


Monday, May 03, 2010


Emily's tennis coach... *puff* ...didn't turn up... *pant* ...for her lesson this evening... *wheeze* ...so I nipped home... *gulp* ...and got a spare racket... *choke* ...to have a knock-up with her... *gasp*.

Obviously, I went easy on her.


It was a weekend of gadding about for the girls. On Saturday I took them to Porto Rafti, where Emily's friend Giorgia was having a party. There we celebrated May 1st in traditional fashion by making garlands of flowers and eating huge slabs of barbequed meat. On Saturday evening Emily went to Giorgos's party here in Athens, where (oh good grief!) a (parentally supervised) game of spin the bottle was in progresss when I arrived to pick her up...