Monday, April 28, 2008
The connoisseurs say the relatives are good in a very small doses otherwise they start to smell. The life itself taught me to avoid strong expression like the latter and to say the truth it wasn’t really exactly like that, but close to, at least for Johnny . The Greek Easter was looming the nostalgia was escalating towards the need to repeat the things you were doing when you were young and you always forget the details, because the selective memory always cheats by hiding the real facts. So the nostalgia had overwhelmed my small brain which is always wired with my heart. On Thursday before Easter the Greek custom is to paint the eggs and make cakes(tsourekia). I had an urgency to make it ‘comme il faut’ so I invited two Greek friends Eleni and Lylie to celebrate the day. For the occasion I bought a nice ‘meze’ from the Waitrose, peppers, anchovies, cheeses and champagne. It is nice to nibble and drink and at the same time making all the ceremonial ‘arts and crafts’. This was my first thought but I realised that it was the wrong one, because Lylie didn’t eat anything but the peppers because ‘the cheese is not allowed’ let alone the fish. The champagne was a sin only by referring the word. To my proposal to have some music, Eleni and Lylie respond like a choir «Penelope.. are you mad....!It is not allowed-den kani!’ I was so frustrated with this ‘den kani-not allowed» that I was on the edge to say ‘girls lets draw the curtains and don’t worry the Greek God is very busy with the Greek affairs in inland , He is not going to have a tour around inspecting the Greeks’ affairs in England’! But I didn’t dare to say anything because I suspected even the jokes are a sin these days for the Greeks! On Saturday night I followed them to the Church for the resurrection mass . The atmosphere in the church reminded me something between the James Oliver’s chat show-exchanging recipes- and Hello magazine, who is trading up, who is divorcing etc. Still my expectations were high for the big day. I had organised a nice party for all our Greek friends. Petros , Lyllie, Eleni and Giorgos joined us. Johnny was looking forward to share with them all the common things they have, like talking about Guardian’s columns, the lost Empire, the Labour Party and citing Benjamin’s poems. The food was exquisite, nothing better than Welsh Lamb from the local organic butcher and all the Greek meze in the Easter table , Pinot Noir, and Greek dancing music (cliché to make things easy). When Johnny started to talk about the forthcoming mayoral London election and make prognosis who is going to win-Ken or Boris-Petros and Giorgos tapped Johnny’s back and they were off to dance kalamatiano, Eleni followed after Lilly and of course a minute later I joined the chorus. After a while, we were feeling really at home in the Greeky Greek land , drinking, dancing and laughing and singing. Johnny tried to follow the spirit but he was like me trying to speak with his oxford accent... At the end of this ‘panigiri’ he said to me. «Penelope I don’t know.. but I have to say when the Greeks have a celebration they look like riots, they are out of their heads. I don’t recognise them, let alone you!» Darling Johnny these are the Greeks for you, don’t forget Dionysos was our ancestor ! After this Greek explosion my life is back to normal to the nirvana state of the English life.