Saturday, 29 June 2013

a trip down memory lane part 1

I spent some time visiting with my aunt Xeni yesterday (Thia Xeni to us). She lives downstairs from our home in Athens. The two sisters (my mom, Mary, and Xeni) bought this block of land in the 50s and built a duplex, two houses side by side. 

Thia's house has not changed since we arrived in Athens in 1970. In fact, it probably hasn't changed since the day she got married in the 60s sometime.

I looked through her house and found all kinds of memories. Like this great photo of the family. Don't ask me why its in colour. Someone, somewhere along the line got it blown up and colourized. This photo is from the 1930s.

My grandmother sitting in the middle holding my mom's second youngest brother. From left to right: my aunt Anna in blue, Xeni in white, no idea who the one in gold is, then most likely mom's oldest brother Yianni, Giorgo on grandma's lap, mom on the right in white. At that age I think I looked like mom.
 Thia Xeni's house is full of her old furniture, as I said. She knows I love old stuff so she says "When I die, cause you know I have heart problems, I could go at any time" (she's always 'going at any time', she's 86 and she'll most likely outlive us all!) "I want you to come and take anything you want".

Then she proudly shows me her gorgeous old lounge suite which has never had its covers off. Its in mint condition. The old buffet and dining table and chairs...

Everything is always covered. I couldn't get decent photos!

I love her crystal chandeliers in the living room, dining room and even a small one near the door where the original hallway would have been before they opened up the space to make the house more open plan.

She has the original double bed she bought when she got married, in that spotty laminated timber, with its matching bedside tables, wardrobe and vanity. "They're fine" she says, "why would I need to change them?"

She'd probably have a fit that I'm showing her bedroom to the world... Don't tell her!

Notice the retro wallpaper? Its so kitch its cool!

I told her I'd be back for her chandeliers and her furniture. She's resting easy now.

But it was when I went into the bedroom that I started planning a trip to ransack her house. She has my grandmother's old Singer!

And she still uses it!

My grandmother on mom's side was a seamstress. I remember spending many siesta hours on Paros, where house rules were you lay down during the hours of 2-5 whether you liked it or not, going through all my grandmother's old fashion magazines. I bet they've all been thrown out now, but back then there were piles of them in the storeroom and I'd go through and read the articles from the 50s and 60s.

Maybe that's where my love for old stuff started. I was warped at a young age.

My aunt has our old bookcase. My uncle Yianni made this for us when we moved to Greece in 1970. It was made for the bedroom my brother and I shared in the old house downstairs. Its a bookcase with 2 pull-down sections which served as our desks.

Ah memories... Sharing a room with a little brother who loved onions... who'd come into the bedroom and breath over my bed to stink it up before bedtime.

I really didn't like my brother that much back then. I love him now though. He's my little brother.

I definitely believe we appreciate our family more the older we get. I know I do.


pallets and koureloudes

What, you may ask, is a kourelou? (kourelou-DES being plural)

Its Grenglish for greek rag rugs. 

I love them! I want some to take back to Australia to make outdoor cushions out of like they did at the cafe/bar we went to last night.

How gorgeous are these? Take a standard footstool and cover it in a kourelou = instant cute.

And this? A built-in stone seat with kourelou covered cushions. Its 'greek chic' as opposed to 'shabby chic'.

I forgot to take photos of the pallet couches lining the outside wall and its kourelou covered cushions. As it was I was walking around the bar taking photos of everything.

"Its ok.... I have a blog."

Like having a blog gives me license to behave like a Japanese tourist.

But the bar was cute. They had pallets for everything outside. This big outdoor table/bench/thing.

The outdoor bar: 

The outside wall:

I LOVED the collection of old colourful trays on the pallet bench outside. They had them on the steps as well. I figure it was like a portable table, you grab a kourelou cushion and sit anywhere you want with a tray to hold your drinks.

Inside, the bar had some nice simple light shades which looked they were made from twisted cane painted white.

And the decor was a mix of modern, fashionable and the contents of old Aunty Evronia's house.

The old wooden chairs were gorgeous. Distressed just right. The tables... not quite so good. Someone should have taken the sander out of this guy's hand a couple of hours earlier.

I mean really. Shabby chic is all about making things look old, like they've been used for many years by generations of french peasants. Not like someone had an accident with a runaway grinder.

I loved the detail in the tiling though. Plain tiles on the floor and then a strip of mismatched tiles. Gorgeous.

Down on the corner of our street in Athens there's a house which hasn't changed since I was a kid. Its owned by some Boo Radley type family. Seriously. We were scared of the guy who lived here as kids. He's now in his 60s and is still the same creepy guy he was then.

When I walked down to the bus stop yesterday he came out and kept staring at me... I thought maybe he recognised me so I said 'good evening'. He said "What did you just say to me?" in the same tone of voice De Niro used when he asked "Are you looking at me?"


Better stay clear of him and his creepy house. I did, however, manage to sneak in this photo of their gate. I really really wish I could get into that place to see what's in there... I bet they have tons of interesting stuff. I'd need a tetanus shot and maybe a bio-suit to go in there. It looks like no one has swept a floor since sometime before WWII.

This afternoon Petro and I managed to get my code or whatever from the local taxation branch (some people can't afford to go on strike), only to discover my paperwork has the wrong birth date on it so there's another thing I need to run around for when I'm back in Athens later. Oh joy.

I went to visit a couple of friends in the neighbourhood which was great. One of them is my godmother's daughter. I remember her when I was growing up as someone who disliked dogs. She's had dogs in her home, sleeping on her bed, for my last couple of visits now.

That's one thing I DO love about the changes in Greece. People love animals here now. My aunt collects table scraps to feed the stray cats, every second person has a dog they treat like a human and you see people walking dogs everywhere. Its nice. I love that about the new Greece.

The other lady I dropped in to see is an old friend of mom's. Her son and I were born 2 months apart and as babies we played together. We played together a bit as teenagers too, but that's whole 'nother story.

She was so sweet. Telling me how gorgeous I looked and how I looked prettier every time she sees me (her cataracts are getting worse) and that I look younger than her son. That was nice. It feels good to get compliments. 

I love some of these old ladies. They're just so down to earth. She was telling me about how her son and daughter-in-law took her to one of the new-fangled restaurants where they give you all these glasses and cutlery and you're too afraid to touch anything in case you use the wrong thing. She hated the food. They said she must try some spiced fig jam cause it was so good. Nope. She'd rather go to the local taverna where the food is real and they don't put spices in the jam. Well, they don't serve jam with meat, they serve tzatziki which is how it should be!

To my greek friends: Before I forget! You see that door handle on the blog header? I want one!!! If you know where I can find one, let me know!


Friday, 28 June 2013

the shoe's on the other foot

I survived the metro! Actually it was really easy. And quick. The worse thing about it was that the minute I stepped off the bus to buy tickets for the metro I was accosted by begging children who would not leave me alone. I remembered all the stories about being robbed, necklaces grabbed so I held onto my bag and tried to pry 3 euros out of my purse without showing how much money I had in there.

I had heard that the metro had a lot of ancient ruins in it but never got the chance to see it. Apparently when they were digging to build the metro they kept running into ruins. The greek solution: put it behind glass and make a display of it.

Wonder if that approach would work for Australia where they dig and find aboriginal burial grounds...?

Nah. Maybe not. We just divert the highway.

Anyway, my high school friend Helen was meeting me at the metro station and while I waited I noticed that there was a parking lot right outside the station. There's a house with a garden in front and a parking lot at the back. Some enterprising farmer took advantage of the fact that they put a metro station opposite his farmland, asphalted his paddock and put in a parking lot.

He still retained some character in his small garden - an old wheelbarrow holds flowers with a view of parked cars.

As always, parking remains imaginative in Athens. Sometimes just plain fearless. Like this red car. Notice the dints... obviously his parking style has left a few scars.

But more than that, notice the clearance underneath. I doubt I could fit a Tally-Ho between the curb and the undercarriage.

Helen hasn't changed a bit since we were kids. If anything she's more beautiful than she was back then. Me on the other hand... I decided to sprout some kind of pimple on my eyelid the size of Mount Everest. And its not showing any indication of leaving any time soon.

Me and Helen. Or Helen and I, if you want to be more grammatically correct.
We had an iced tea in a great little cafe/bar which was decorated in my style. I'll be sharing pics of that in another post.

Then my cousins Zefi, Mina and Rita picked me up and took me out for a souvlaki. My first real souvlaki in 3 years. Not one of those souvlaki wannabes you get in Australia...

Little Zefi, me (aka the original Zefi), Mina and Rita
Here's an example of a real greek salad minus onions.  YUM. Mina reads the blog and ordered it minus onions especially. Sometimes a blog is a good thing.

And greek bread... the best bread in the world!

Last but not least a real greek gyros souvlaki in a greasy greek pita. Nothing like the souvlakis they sell in Australia, which are just kebabs on lebanese bread with aspirations of becoming a souvlaki. These have a pita which is lighter and greasier, having been grilled on the hotplate in olive oil - very tasty despite, or perhaps because of, its 120,452 calories per bite. And tzatziki. YUM I repeat.

Note, these are big souvlakis compared to the ones we used to get in the neighbourhood - see hand for size reference.
We sat, ate and chatted. We talked about whats been happening in our lives in the last few years, how the crisis is affecting them, and laughed a lot. Its always fantastic to see my family. I never realise just how much I miss them till I spend time with them.

Mina asked how I liked the metro ride - I said she could read about it on my blog...

Seems my blog might not always be a good thing... I'm not to be trusted - "Don't tell her about that! It'll be on her blog tomorrow!" (This about Mina's ghost who keeps rearranging the coffee canisters in her house - see Mina, I told you I wouldn't put it in the blog!)

When we were little we'd call Little Zefi "newspaper reporter". As far as nickname's go, this one wasn't clever but it was descriptive. We didn't trust her. She'd go running to mom with anything she heard us say that we shouldn't have.

She hated the nickname, which made it all the better.

Now the shoe's on the other foot, isn't it? Payback's a bitch!

Unbelievable. Its now 1.30am (cause staying up half the night seems to come easy in Greece... probably cause once the sun's gone you can move without melting into a puddle of sweat)... Its 1.30am and there are idiotic youths in the square opposite our house playing games and using their outside voices, making so much noise you'd think it was midday.

Actually these idiots are quieter at midday. There's an enforced noise restriction in the middle of the day. Not so at night.

In a city where people live so close together that you can hear your neighbour change his mind, people need to be considerate of each other.

These rude,  inconsiderate youths who call eachother "testicle",  "poofter" and "wanker", as terms of endearment, are the future hope of our world. What chance do we have?

Boy I'm getting old...



I've had to wait till morning to post this cause my supposed mobile broadband USB stick has decided that its not so mobile, and not so broadband either for that matter. Its as slow as our satellite connection in Tasmania and much more unstable. Here I thought that Greece was way better than that even in the most remote spots, not sitting on a verandah in the middle of Athens. Oh well. I guess I'm luck I have my own connection at all. :)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

its all greek to me - and what happened to my blog?

My blog control panel is all in greek!

Ok, I can read greek, but really? I'm not THAT good at reading it. Its bad enough all instructions are in greek, but mobile phones, computers... UGH!

So, I'm in Athens. Back in our family home. Its funny. So much has changed and so little has changed. Athens is still the big busy full-on city I remember but the smog problem seems to have improved since I was here the last couple of times. My brother Peter (or Petro as he prefers to be called) says its cause there are more new cars on the road than old ones, less emissions. And they have made an effort to improve things. Plus there are less cars on the roads that there were when he left here over a year ago.

He says sure, some people are on holiday, but since the economic crisis a lot of people have left Athens to live elsewhere or have sold their cars cause they can no longer afford to run them. To me the parking and chaos on the roads is still bad... when there are millions of cars in a city and 10,000 are missing its hard to tell the difference unless you live here!

Everyone agrees that I've gained weight. Its official. I'm fat but my mother still loves me. She cooked fish soup for my first meal in Greece - I love my mom's fish soup!

Petro, Mom and Theia Xeni eating dinner on our verandah in Athens.


She's also has been making 'horta' (greens to you english speaking people), which I love as well. Ok, those she made for her darling son. Its his favourite dish. I knew I was 2nd in line of importance when she made a greek salad and put onions in it and I had to pick out the bits of tomato which hadn't come into contact with them. I hate onions!

Hey, what do they call a greek salad in Greece?



On a more serious note, things are pretty bad here but the greek people are pretty resilient. It seems like 3 in every 5 shops are boarded up. The optimists have 'for rent' signs in their windows. Those that have given up hope aren't even trying to rent them. No one's interested in renting a shop when there's very little business. 

Graffiti on a church in our neighbourhood says "Thank money we have God".
One other thing I've noticed is the amount of graffiti seems to have multiplied by a million or so. So too the iron bars on windows and doors. Theft is rampant in this new economic environment. Old ladies are robbed when they go to get their pension, are afraid to take elevators cause they get mugged in them, etc. Lovely. One of my aunts had her necklace ripped off her neck when she was walking in the street a year ago. Athens is no longer the safe place I used to live in.

Apparenlty (according to my sources here in Athens - don't I sound official?) Greece is the dumping ground for illegal immigrants from all over Europe. Australia complains about boat people but compared to here we have no problem there. Here the borders are so much easier to get through. There are hundreds of small islands and no enough coast guard to guard them. Boats come from Turkey, cross into greek waters then SOS and the greek taxi service (aka Greek Coast Guard) goes to pick them up and bring them over safely. There are (or were) no controls here and there are millions of illegals in Athens. And I'm told, there are new laws in the EU that when an illegal is caught they are returned to the country through with they entered... not the country from which they came.

Welcome to Greece. We were expecting you.

Julia eat your heart out.

Oh, and that reminds me. Last time I left Australia for a holiday in Greece Julia ousted Kevin. Yesterday I heard Kevin ousted Julia.

I can't even leave the country for a couple of days and it all goes haywire? Sheesh.

I even got a personal email from Kevin this morning. Yep. Addressed to me and everything. Apparently Kev and I are buddies!

This morning Petro, Mom and I all had errands to do. Mom had to go to the IKA (I suppose its like Centrelink in Australia since they regulate pensions). She received her pension the other day and it was HALF of what she normally gets. She went in today to find out whats going on. She was told that IF she's eligible to get the full amount (IF SHE'S ELIGIBLE??)  she'll have to wait till September or October to get the rest. 

O. C. T. O. B. E. R.

That's four months away. She gets 400 euro to live on till then. Hopefully she has no bills to pay between now and then and she isn't partial to eating.

Now, you tell me. The whole world gets the story of how the greeks are all crooks and they all stole all this money and they deserve the austerity measures and they're hooligans cause they demonstrate and riot and generally make pests of themselves since its so obviously their own fault they're in such dire circumstances...

That's the stuff I hear in Australia.

I hear a totally different story here in Greece. That the banks were going bankrupt and that they made the banks debts into the people's debts in order to save the banks. That everyone in Greece has a debt on his head, every newborn baby acquires a debt of 40,000 euros with its first breath. 

I don't know whats true and what isn't and I'm the last person to claim to know anything about politics - so please abuse me if I have 'the facts' wrong. I know that a ton of money was stolen from greek pension funds. Cause there's no money to pay people now. A friend of ours "went on the pension" over 14 months ago and has yet to receive a cent of his pension money.' Cause there's no money so they delay paying new pensions as long as possible. 

They may get lucky. Some of them might die before they get a cent.

Who stole the money and where did it go? Well, I think its called graft (?)... I'm in government and I want to build a road. Instead of going for the best quote I'll give the contract to a co-conspirator who'll inflate the costs and then we'll split the money and, naturally, bank it outside Greece where its safe.

The rich can afford to bank outside Greece and not pay taxes.

Its always the little guys who suffer, like my mother who only has a single pension to live on or my friend who is still waiting for his pension to come through.

If Australia decided to cut the pension I'd bet we'd see riots and demonstrations there as well.

Just imagine if they cut the dole!

I don't even want to contemplate that! It'd be real ugly.

As I said, I hear all kinds of things, I don't know whats fact and what's rumour. All I'm telling you is what I see happening to the people I care about.

But I digress. I was going to tell you about my own errand. I'm a non-greek resident and thus have to have to be registered as such or I'll inherit a debt to pay off even if I don't live or work here. Turns out I'm lucky, Petro had registered me as a non-greek resident a few years ago. I still have to get some registration number or whatever, so Petro and I went to the taxation office to sort it out this morning.

There were on strike.


Till next Monday.

A guy there who was caught out like us said "So will you be open on Monday or will you continue the strike, then have Tuesday off 'cause its the day before Wednesday, then close on Wednesday cause its mid-week...." 

Obviously the beaurocracy here hasn't improved with the times.

Petro says Greece, of course, gave the light of civilization to the world. 

The problem is they forgot to take it back.

Anyway, I'm sitting here on the verandah, the breeze is getting cooler and I'm very grateful cause in a little while I'll be braving the public transport system and taking a bus (done that before) and the metro (never been on it!) to go see some old school friends and cousins who live somewhere far away from here.

It'll be a new experience.


on my way - more or less

This trip is turning out to be quite an adventure. Or misadventure, depending on how you look at it.

First the broken door slide thing on the Qatar flight and the need to offload 18 people with the bribe of a business class upgrade. Did that. Got to spend a night in a comfy hotel, have 2 showers and change clothes.

Got to spend a day in Melbourne. I really didn't want to do much. Not really. I didn't want to go shopping cause I knew I'd want to spend money I need for Greece. But a guy I met from the same flight had 2 cab charges and wasn't going to use them. That meant that I could go into the city to do something, anything, and get back to the airport for free.

So, why not?

I'd never been to Federation Square before and heard it was pretty amazing. It was being built when I first left Melbourne to live in Tasmania.

So I took the taxi and visited the famous Federation Square. On a day that reminded me of Holland: overcast and grey.

Everyone was complaining about the cold.

hmph. Not nearly as cold as Hobart was the day before!

Its right opposite the gorgeous old Flinders Street Station building.

The contrast of old and new is pretty startling. Federation Square is all modern buildings with sitting areas outside, cafes and restaurants everywhere, galleries and all kinds of entertainment. Including a large outdoor stage and a huge monitor. The whole setup reminded me of all those futuristic films and 1984.

Big Brother is watching you.

The one thing I thought I'd really like to do while here - to see the Australian Impressionist exhibition - was closed.

Just my luck. But the buildings are impressive. In their high tech way.

In all that ultra-modern glass and metal I found something I could relate to:

Since there was nothing I really wanted to do at Federation Square and I'd seen what there was to see of the place, I decided that maybe I would succumb to shopping after all.

I walked up Swanston Street, the same street I walked up and down so often when I was a student at the Victorian College of Arts. It was the same but so different. So much busier. The small side alleys are no longer just small alleys, there are shops everywhere, and more people that I remember before in Melbourne.

Surprise: the "all you can eat vegetarian meals" served by guys in orange robes is still there up the rickety steps! Perfect food for students which I availed myself to a few times while at art school.

And I discovered something about myself. I can no longer handle big busy cities. I had stimulation overload. Too much to see, too much noise, too many people.

I wondered into some shops and suddenly started to feel that low blood sugar thing where I just had to eat something (chocolate!) fast or risk ripping someone's head off. I grabbed a coffee and had half a chocolate brownie, then walked back to Flinders Street to get a taxi back to the hotel.

I'm over big cities.

So here I am now, back at the airport for the 2nd time in 24 hours, getting ready to board a plane for leg 2 of a journey that went from 3 legs to 4.

And guess what? The plane started boarding, I got in line and the line stopped. We waited and waited. Then we were told there was a small problem with a seat (?) they were fixing and boarding would resume shortly.

Thirty minutes later we're told the flight will be delayed for an hour due to the problem being in the hold and they had to remove part of the floor.

And the passengers who had boarded already got off.

Not a good sign.

We'd sat down where we were in line, but we got up at that and decided to move around some while we still could. Another half hour delay and a change of gate.

Now we're up to 2.5hrs delay and still waiting.

I wonder what will happen if they get us to Perth and we miss yet another flight to Doha?

Will this trip be extended by another night in another city?

I sure hope not. I want to get to Athens so I can get to Paros where I'll finally be able to relax!


ps. I found this hadn't published for some strange reason. Trying again now. Better late than never!

Monday, 24 June 2013

on my way - sort of

I started off the day like any other: checked email, did some laundry, folded washing to put away, washed dishes, cleaned the kitchen, scooped up some poopsicles (its been really cold lately!).

I must say, I'm not sorry to be leaving when its so cold. Though I actually don't hate the cold. I just wish we'd get some snow now and then. All we get is frost. Wake up to a white world which is frost and ice. Frozen dog bowls, ice on the dam this morning (first time ever!) and poopsicles.

It does make it more pleasant to pick up, I must admit.

Then I ran around in a panic cause I couldn't find the track pants I planned to travel in! I looked everywhere - in the wardrobe, behind the sweaters, under the boots, in the drawers, in Wayne's closet (he has been known to try to get into my pants!)... I even considered unpacking my bag in case it was in there. Thankfully I didn't have to go that far!

I found them in the bottom of my legging drawer.

What, doesn't everyone have a legging drawer?

Amanda gave me a lift to the airport, thank you Amanda! I used to be the airport driver for Merrill, and wouldn't you know it, just when it was her turn to drive me to the airport she went and moved interstate.

I call that over-reacting.

The flight was uneventful, though I did have a small moment of concern when there was an announcement over the speakers that "Would Clarice Starling please report to the crew"... hm...

Clarice Starling? Are you kidding me? Was Hannibal Lecter on the flight as well?

So, here I am, sitting at the Melbourne Airport waiting to board the plane to Doha where I'll take another airplane to Athens.

First leg of the journey accomplished... a 55 minute flight from Hobart to Melbourne.

Only 28 hours to go.


I am NOT looking forward to it.


Breaking news.

I'm still here. In Melbourne. At the Holiday Inn though, not on an airplane on the tarmac.

From what I gathered from others, a crew member did something when closing a door and a slide popped out almost sucking her out with it.

Not a good thing.

So after an hour delay and a further hour to come, the captain said that legally he needed 18 people to get off the plane voluntarily so they could fix the situation and fly. When he sweetened the deal with an upgrade to business class I took it.

I'm getting too old to fly in economy. My body just cant take that cramping any more. And when the person in front of me pushed his chair back into my face I almost became and instant claustrophobic. I had to get up and walk around. Sitting on a plane for hours is bad enough, but sitting in a plane which is not moving was just messing with my mind.

The deal is an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn with breakfast (and lunch if we opt for a later flight), a flight to Perth and then an upgrade to a flight to Doha from there to our final destination in Business Class. Guaranteed that they'd get us there to make connecting flights.

Hey. I'll get to fly at least partway like a human being and not a pretzel.


PS I'm too tired to proofread so if there are typos in the above, deal with it.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

i can still do the splits!

But not in any way that I'd like to repeat any time soon.

I came home from work yesterday and went about doing all those millions of little things you have to do when you live in the country and come home late. In the dark. And cold.

I brought in firewood. I lit the fire. I put on some washing. I groomed a dog.* I fed horses. I fed dogs. I put on some drying. I washed dishes. I folded towels drying in front of the fire and went to put them away.

I took one step into the bathroom with an armload of towels and went WHOOOAAAAAEEEEE!!!!!  SPLAT!

One leg out front, one out back, towels all over the place.

Wayne came running "What happened? Are you alright?.... Where are you?"

Down here. Wedged between the shower and the vanity. I couldn't get up cause I couldn't bring my legs together (not a problem I normally have). Wayne tried to help. By then the hysterical laughter didn't help. He had to drag me out backwards on my butt before I could gather myself together sufficiently to get up.

How embarrassing.

I have bruises in places that never normally meet the hard ground.

Turns out I hadn't turned off the HOT water tap properly in the morning and it dripped all day, flooding the bathroom floor. 

Good one Zef.

Eh. We need a new bathroom anyway. What kind of bathroom is it when you fall and get wedged between the shower and the vanity and there's not enough room to get up?

Note to self: add 'new bathroom' to the To Do list.

You know, there really is no rest for the wicked... I must have been very naughty in a previous life. Really. I mean it just never ends. And I don't even have children. Imagine if I did! Mom always warned me that one day I'd have children who'd give me as much trouble as I gave her. The Mother's Curse

Well. I showed her. I didn't have kids.

But maybe it still got me anyway, cause I sure as hell don't have one of those easy, selfish, relaxed lives people with kids envy their childless friends for.

Today I thought I had it easy. No grooming appointments and I got home earlier than usual. It was actually light when I got home. So I fed the chickens and collected the eggs (why do we keep chickens... with feed it works out to about $5 an egg right now), pooperscooped the yard (it was time, having stepped in poop this morning), fed the horses, repotted some plants and put them on the porch cause the frost was killing them (to think I picked frost tolerant plants), fed the dogs, lit the fire, brought in more firewood. 

About 1.5 hours later I was able to sit down.

Ah. This is the life.

Surely he'll drop something soon. He always does...

*Grooming appointments. I'm leaving on Sunday. For six weeks. About two months ago I sent out a newsletter to my customers letting them know I'd be away for six weeks and that they should book in early to get their dog groomed before I go. I've been flat out. Which is a good thing, I might add. Regulars as well as new customers. And in winter too when a lot of people tend to let the dog's hair get long. 

But I'm tired. And I still have so much organising to do before I go. I need a rest. I promised myself I will NOT take any appointments for Saturday. Or Sunday. I won't. I absolutely will not! Cause you know me... I just can't say no! 

Besides, I have my own dogs to do on Saturday. I want to leave behind a clean house and clean dogs.

And try not to stress about what I'll come home to...


Sunday, 16 June 2013

a real softie

Last night I finished this little fellow. He's an echidna. He doesn't have a name yet and 'Spike' just seems too obvious. He's bigger than the blue teddy, but not as big as Elmer or Kangarat.  He's basically the size of my hand but taller and spikier.

I just had the itch. You know the one which says "I really want to make something"...? After making the blue teddy the other day I just felt (no pun intended) that I just had to make another felt animal. I considered a wombat - too easy.... They're just a long roundish lump. Cute but rather uninteresting. Though I do love them in all their lumpy if-you-hit-me-I'll-break-your-car-ness.

I considered an eastern quoll or a bandicoot. I even went as far as printing out images of those for reference.

In the end the echidna won. I've always loved the little guys. I used to have one that made a yearly trek past my house in Fentonbury. It drove the dogs absolutely crazy to see him walk along our fenceline, impervious to their scare tactics.

It took ages to do the spikes... I needle felted each individually. It'd have been easier and faster if I'd wet felted those, but then where would the challenge be in that?

I think I'll hold onto young Spike here and enter him in the next Spindle Tree competition.


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