Monday, March 31, 2008

10 Best things I love about English

Take it or leave it

1. Humour but again English humour is not to be confused with good humour generally or cheerfulness.
2. Modesty/self deprecation: as a counterbalance to their natural arrogance
3. Recognition of achievement: no glass ceiling for the ‘hoi polloi’ see OBE....etc.
4. Cricket : I have no idea what is going on in this game but I like to see all of them and mainly Johnny impeccably dressed with their nice white outfits
5. Boden : It seemed to me nice clothes for the weekends in the country but after leaving for a while in England it tends to be my everyday outfits
6. English Breakfast for the morning and Earl Grey/Ceylon for the afternoon
7. Courtesy /Politeness in the extremes like the following “Excuse me, I’m terribly sorry but you seem to be standing on my foot!!!!”
8. Oxbridge Institutes/Oxford, Cambridge. Everyone who was at these institutes would announce that fact within 10 minutes of the start of the conversation... not too bad it could be in the first 10 seconds
9. Picnics with silver cutlery enjoying a concert in the gardens of an Estate
10.Not killing each other

And as a typical Greek I cannot stick to the rules I have one more 11th which is Adrian Mole, the quintessential English character

Hm ...and.. something else Pop music....!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ile de Re:The jewel in the French crown

Carla Bruni was the reason that we came back home urgently from France and specifically from Ile de Re. Carla Bruni her mother and her husband ‘en famillie’ as they say were visiting Johnny’s homeland. For this obvious reason Johnny had to be in his base and to welcome Carla in flesh and bones who was dressed up as Nanny McPhee in grey, like a good girl!
Anyway this event didn’t mess up with my good memories from Ile de Re where we are regulars the past few years. Ile de Re has a special place in my heart for many reasons but the first and most important is because it is like a Greek village adrift on the Atlantic Ocean, white houses, blue sky, vineyards and pine trees. And secondly it has cycling routes from the top to the bottom of the island. The rest advantages are an extra bonus like affluent markets, cultivations of oysters and generally sea food, harbours with yachts and beautiful restaurants . Of course I like to see all these yachtsmen tanned and full of energy but the only that I can share with them is a glass of Armagnac at the end of their trip, the view only of the rocking boat in the water makes me feel sick. But I quite enjoyed having seafood in the restaurants of St. Martin which is the main harbour of the island. Ile de Re is called “Francehamptons” according to New Yorkers and it is the holidays resort for the well heeled Parisians of the 16th arrondissement. So it it was nice to see all this upper class French who are so different from the English upper class. The French are like leather sofas polished with leather oil, so well groomed, the English cannot rid of their scruffiness, probably because they don’t care so much what the others say.... Sometimes I feel that they are a different human species, the above class in both tribes. What somebody can say for sure about Ile de Re is that there is no speck of vulgarity!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

So small article so big confusion

I would never imagine such a small article in the newspaper about my blog and book could create such a mayhem, confusion even disorientation. The facts are the followings:

Firstly: My mother was upset, because I bought a new house, I don’t have a proper address with a number and a name, but this incomprehensible and funny line as address, and even worse I didn’t inform her first, but she found out from the newspaper!!!!
Secondly: Best friend tried to make a nice and constructive criticism about the article saying that was a 'new age' presentation of the book with a little bit edgy words like ‘blogsphere’ and ‘electronic living room’ on the other hand it was very inspirational to describe the book with these new technological terms !!!
Thirdly: Uncle got the newspaper he couldn’t find the article; called my mother back, tried again and ever after mute. He was confused and in despair not be able to understand a word from the article!
Finally: Me, happy! Nobody from my inner social circle discovers my precious blog and my way to social freedom! And as an authentic woman I want to keep my friends for myself without interventions! The school’s playground rules are the same in the blogsphere. I don’t do ‘sharing’ my friends. You are mine...!
And the last and not the least as a ‘proper’ British and celebrity (ha!) I am on the way to France for holidays, avoiding paparatsi(ha,ha) and looking for buying a house(ha ha ha.....!!)
P.s Remember the 1st April is looming !!!(for the latter bit)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A glimpse of publicity!

" I would like to order twenty copies of the Greek Sunday Paper ETHNOS please!!" this was my conversation with the newsagent. The reason for above order was about an article in 'Ethnos tis Kyriakis' a Greek National paper about Me, My Blog and My Book "Johnny and Me-o Johnny και Εγώ" which is going το be published by Empiria Ekdotiki May/June2008 ! Hooray -Hooray. So there you are, The Article enjoy it!

‘Johnny and Me’ are the adventures of Penelope as she told them to Dia Mexi-Jones. It is what happens when Bridget Jones meets My Fat Greek Wedding. It is a laugh-out loud book of the adventures of Penelope as she moves from urban Athens to suburban England and acquires an English husband and family along the way. It’s a modern day Odyssey full of Sirens, Cyclops and the curious patterns of contemporary life.
Penelope is a smart, sophisticated Athenian, heiress to 3 thousand years of culture, history and glory. Moving to England to study she encounters Johnny, her charming but unequivocally English partner. She falls in love with him, marries him and tries for a baby. What she doesn’t realise is she has a foreigner in her own house and she’s moved into an environment of cold houses, funny plumbing, strange neighbours and very curious customs.
Penelope struggles, puzzles, laughs, cries and learns as she tries to understand her new life and lifestyle. She struggles to tame the new language to work for her and at the same time charm the locals to accept her.
Penelope’s struggle doesn’t stop here, the Internet holds surprises for her! Like a debutante Penelope is getting out into the blogosphere. She buys a house with the address She decorates her living room and she is ready to accept visitors as well as visit other people in the neighbourhood! Penelope starts to acquire flesh and bones. In the evening during the time Johnny is watching television she keeps company to him with her laptop on her lap and at the same time she going for a stroll with her Greek friends. In other words Penelope starts her double life. She charms and she is being charmed, with the only weapon the pen of the keyboard. She chooses her friends, the time she will start and stop the conversation. She feels unequalled freedom with this new way of communication. They liken her to a Vamp, Pelenope Cruz, Columnist. She meets by coincidence an old friend, from a distance, of her mother, Rits, whom her mother had never met in her real life. Penelope is fascinated and at the same time addicted to the new world of blogspheres. This new world is an exit from her routine and a source for inspiration for her own writings.
Johnny and Me is a book for anyone who has ever lived abroad, met someone from another culture or ever wondered, ‘why do they do things like that?
‘Johnny and Μe- O Johnny και Εγώ’ Penelope’s adventures in England as she told to Dia Mexi-Jones is to be published in Greek by Empiria Ekdotiki in May/June 2008."

Στο ηλεκτρονικό σαλονάκι του θηλυκού... Οδυσσέα
«E» 15/3

Υπογράφει ως Penelope. Τη συναντάμε «στο ηλεκτρονικό σαλονάκι της», μοιάζει σαν να ναι δίπλα μας, όμως εκείνη ζει και μας γράφει απ την Αγγλία: για όλα! Την παλιά ζωή της και την καινούργια της. Τις αγωνίες της, τις χαρές της, τους παλιούς και τους καινούργιους της φίλους. Αλλά ο λόγος σ' αυτή τη σύγχρονη, περίεργη «Πηνελόπη» πρωτοπρόσωπα:
«Johnny-and-Μe» είναι οι περιπέτειες της Πηνελόπης Φωκά-Μπένετ όπως τις διηγήθηκε στην Ντία Μέξη-Τζόουνς. Είναι ακριβώς αυτό που συνέβη όταν η Μπρίτζετ Τζόουνς συνάντησε τον Γάμο αλά Ελληνικά. Είναι ένα ξεκαρδιστικό βιβλίο των περιπετειών της Πηνελόπης όταν μετακομίζει από την αστική Αθήνα στα προάστια της Αγγλίας και αποκτά Αγγλο σύζυγο και οικογένεια. Είναι ένας θηλυκός Οδυσσέας των μοντέρνων καιρών που αντιμετωπίζει σειρήνες και κύκλωπες και όλες τις περίεργες καταστάσεις της σημερινής ζωής.
Η Πηνελόπη είναι μία έξυπνη σοφιστικέ Αθηναία κληρονόμος τριών χιλιάδων χρόνων κουλτούρας, ιστορίας και δόξας. Οταν φεύγει στην Αγγλία για σπουδές συναντά τον Τζόνι, γοητευτικός μεν αλλά χωρίς αμφιβολία Αγγλος. Τον ερωτεύεται, τον παντρεύεται και προσπαθούν να δημιουργήσουν οικογένεια. Αυτό που δεν έχει συνειδητοποιήσει είναι ότι τώρα έχει να κάνει με έναν «ξένο» μέσα στο ίδιο της το σπίτι και ακόμα ότι έχει μετακομίσει σε ένα περιβάλλον με κρύα σπίτια, με αστείες υδραυλικές εγκαταστάσεις, παράξενους γειτόνους και με πολύ περίεργα ήθη και έθιμα.
Η Πηνελόπη αγωνίζεται, μπερδεύεται, γελάει, κλαίει και μαθαίνει προσπαθώντας να καταλάβει τον καινούργιο τρόπο ζωής. Αγωνίζεται να δαμάσει τη γλώσσα να λειτουργήσει υπέρ της, όπως επίσης αγωνίζεται να γοητεύσει τους γηγενείς για να την αποδεχτούν.
Αλλά ο αγώνας για την Πηνελόπη δεν σταματά εδώ. Η μοίρα του Ιντερνετ της κρύβει άλλες εκπλήξεις. Σαν «ντεμπιτάντ» βγαίνει στο κόσμο της μπλογκόσφαιρας, το Φεβρουάριο 2007, φτιάχνει το σπίτι της στην οδό, διακοσμεί το σαλονάκι της και είναι έτοιμη να δεχτεί κόσμο, και όχι μόνο, κάνει και η ίδια επισκέψεις στα άλλα σπίτια της γειτονιάς. Εκεί αρχίζει να παίρνει σάρκα και οστά η Πηνελόπη.
Τo βράδυ, την ώρα που o Τζόνι βλέπει τηλεόραση, εκείνη του κάνει παρέα με το λαπ-τοπ της αγκαλιά και την ίδια στιγμή βγαίνει τσάρκα με τους Ελληνες φίλους της. Με λίγα λόγια, αρχίζει η διπλή ζωή της Πηνελόπης. Γοητεύει και γοητεύεται, με μοναδικό όπλο την πένα του πληκτρολογίου, διαλέγει την παρέα της, την ώρα που θα μιλήσει και την ώρα που θα σταματήσει. Αισθάνεται μια πρωτόγνωρη ελευθερία σε αυτόν τον καινούργιο τρόπο αλληλοεπικοινωνίας. Τη λένε Βαμπ, Πηνελόπη αλά... Κρουζ, την παρομοιάζουν με αρθρογράφο. Ο κόσμος της μπλογκόσφαιρας της κρύβει εκπλήξεις, τυχαία συναντάει μια παλιά φίλη της μαμάς της εξ αποστάσεως, τη Ριτς, που η μαμά της ποτέ δεν κατάφερε να τη γνωρίσει στον πραγματικό κόσμο! Σιγά σιγά ο κύκλος των γνωριμιών μεγαλώνει. Η Πηνελόπη νιώθει εθισμένη στον καινούργιο κόσμο της μπλογκόσφαιρας, αλλά και το βλέπει σαν μια διέξοδο στην καθημερινότητα αλλά ταυτόχρονα πηγή έμπνευσης για τα δικά της γραψίματα.
«Ο Τζόνι και Εγώ», η ιστορία της Πηνελόπης, στην Αγγλία με τον Αγγλο σύντροφό της, όπως ακριβώς την είπε στην Ντία Μέξη-Τζόουνς, πρόκειται να εκδοθεί από την «Εμπειρία Εκδοτική» τον Μάιο/Ιούνιο του 2008, είναι ένα βιβλίο για οποιονδήποτε που έχει μείνει στο εξωτερικό ή έχει συναντήσει κάποιον με διαφορετική κουλτούρα ή έχει αναρωτηθεί γιατί οι ξένοι τα κάνουν τα πράγματα με τόσο διαφορετικό τρόπο από εμάς?

P.S. I would like to thank very much Ms. Eleni Gika for the opportunity she gave me to present my blog and my book in her column! Much appreciated
Υ.Γ. Θα ήθελα να ευχαριστήσω την κ. Ελένη Γκίγκα για τη ευκαιρία που μου έδωσε να παρουσιάσω το μπλόγκ μου και το βιβλίο μου στη στήλη της !To εκτίμησα ιδιαίτερα

Friday, March 7, 2008

Penelope's Neighbourhood

Bath is the most elegant city and the only 'world heritage city' in Britain. It is the classical architecture of the eighteenth-century that offers such a feast for the eye. There are more grade 1(Georgian Houses) listed buildings in Bath than in central London!!
The Royal Crescent in the first picture is the most prestigious address in the world! There was a Spa in olden days and there is a new one where Penelope is a regular visitor.
There are quite a few famous people who live in Bath
such as (the order is according to the person’s importance and thoroughly objective!)

1.Penelope - Greenglish Blogger
2.Jane Austen (1801-1805) Author
3. Nicolas Cage - Hollywood star two premises in central Bath
4. Van Morrison Singer - Johnny’s pal. They say don’t ask for autograph, he bites
5. Peter Cabriel -I can see from my house the “Solsbury hill” his most famous song.
6. Sir Peter Hall- director only summer time
7. Manolo Blahnik - I see quite often this shoe maker of the ‘sex and city’ passing by. He is a little bit grumpy.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Too many men too little time!

Martin Amis, Hugh Grant Johnny and Me! The combination is a little bit crowded. Martin Amis ,diminutative and quite aged, wearing a pink shirt with grey suit , was reading extract from his new book “the second plane” last night in a event which was part of the Literature festival in Bath. He was referring to Hugh Grant in his book as allegory for Tony Blair ! Halleluja , join the club of Hugh Grant’s fans Martin’ I would like to shout at him but I was limited to just whisper it to Johnny next to me. But he is not far away from the concept of being fan, he is already fan of Tony Blair, he mentioned that it was almost a flirtatious interview with Tony! He was quite honest to admit he was attracted by Blair probably because of his power. Martin Amis was talking about his strong feelings and opinions about Islam or better against it. He stated clearly the westerner’s moral superiority, he condemned the feminism for the fall of the western population and for sure he didn’t believe in multiculturalism! Every time, he was making these statements he was stroking his hair with his left hand as he wanted to get courage to say what he was saying! What surprised me, was the audience, there wasn’t a single person to contradict his opinion. Three persons, with foreign accents, posed extremely articulated questions which were additions to what was saying. I am suspecting they probably were intimidating by his big name or they were part of the event. If somebody makes an exception to his simplistic or even arrogant way of thinking, which is flowing probably by his sense of himself as a famous novelist, he will find him quite charismatic, interesting, eloquent, articulated ,wit speaker and fun to be with!