Welcome to my new blog!

I already run a successful blog: www.leavingcairo.blogspot.com - a blog about an English girl the wrong side of 35 who finds herself settling (for the moment) in the beautiful country of Greece.
But there's more to Bex, the author - hence "The this 'n' that blog".
Documented here will be every day ramblings and observations - enjoy!



Saturday, 31 December 2011

Kindle - the end of those lovely bookshops?

File:Page Kindle.jpg
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Page_Kindle.jpg
I had quite a good Christmas.  Apart from returning to my native UK from Greece (and feeling decidedly less native every visit) and looking forward to returning 'home' to the sunnier weather - I did quite well in the present department.
Apart from the ubiquitous bath smellies from siblings (oh, another thing in the UK's favour is LUSH's Bath Bombs - wow!), I bought myself a Kindle with some nice money I had.
Delivered 24 hrs later (OK - that's another point for the UK in my internal Greece vs UK bashing I have going on), I excitedly charged it up (and became positively gleeful when I found the USB lead it came with fits in nicely with my Apple iPhone charger!  No need to spend any extra!) and downloaded my first book -   "Confessions of a GP" OK, so it was a Kindle "Special" and I didn't want to spend a fortune initially.  But it's actually very good.


I noted with disappointment at myself: I was rushing to finish my current paperback, the excellent "Super Sad True Love Story". In my rush to play with my new technological 'toy,' I was missing out on the essence of the plot - and the whole enjoyment of curling up in bed with the cat and a cup of tea to read a good book (Jeez I'm getting old!)  Well, let's face it, it doesn't quite sound the same to say

"I'm just going to curl up in bed with some hot chocolate and a good Kindle."

And the other thing that worries me: the eventual demise of those great sanctums of escapism from the God awful Saturday shopping crowds, the beloved bookshop:
Athens is full of bookshops tucked away down old ancient side streets.  One of the bigger chains,
Eleftheroudakis has a beautiful choice, both Greek and International with lovely sofas to lounge upon.
Compendium is another one of those old ones that one can stumble across - a haven from expats with its vast range - and the owner is very helpful.
Compendium Books - Athens, Greece

Solonos Street has the best book shops/cafes in Athens - near the area of Exarchia.

I know I know - we can't halt technological advancement (and neither SHOULD we), but I can't help feeling sad that these lovely sanctums might eventually disappear.

Any thoughts?

Friday, 30 December 2011

It's the simple things in life

In a piece I wrote for my "Leaving Cairo..." blog recently, I spent quite a long time moaning about being back in the UK, even though I'm just visiting for the holiday season.  Well, I decided - despite the abysmal weather, to get up off my arse and go for a wander along the local canal.
Off I trot - all wrapped up in silk thermals and scarfs, and guess what?  Yes, the heavens decide to open.

So there I am, hood up on my waterproof and grumbling about the UK and the only good thing about my dad's home town is the Indian take away - when I stop dead in my tracks:  there, gliding along effortlessly are a mother and father swan (Hen & Cob) with their two offspring.  I walk slower this time - and as if sensing my discomfort, very patiently stop for me under the shelter of a bridge, cocking their beautiful necks to one side and eyeing me as if to say
"It's OK - we know it's crap, but come and chat to us, we'll listen."

I reach into my pocket and pull out a slice of brown bread (brought with me for this very reason - on the off chance I run into some ducks...but I never imagined SWANS!).  I throw some in - they gobble it down.  I try a different approach: I tear off a bigger piece and lean forward ever so slightly - the male glides up to me, stretches his neck forward and gently takes it from my hands.

I felt quite emotional: in a world where people spend most of their time around technology, (and I am just as guilty - I have just received my Kindle through the post and will be spending the miserable, rainy afternoon playing with it), it is a beautiful thing when nature reminds us what is real and beautiful in life.

Thank you - mama swan and co.  Now, back to my Kindle...

Welcome to my new blog!

Those of you who follow my other blog(s) Leaving Cairo and Overland Athens will know that I am not a conventional girl in her 30's.
Not being married with kids can present some questioning "what's wrong with you? Are you a lesbian?" looks, to which I now just shrug my shoulders good naturedly.

It was returning back to the UK (no longer termed as 'home' as I love Greece so much now and feel like an honorary Greek) and chatting to a dear old school friend (also in her mid 30's) that prompted me to start up my third blog. I was moaning over the dreaded FB to her about the British weather and how bored I was, even though I like visiting family. This lead on to a conversation (somehow) about how, as a single person, it is automatically thought that she will be the one to babysit over the holidays - to automatically drop everything she has planned to be there for her niece and nephew. And whilst she loves them to bits, she's getting a little fed up of this expectation - especially as people view her as selfish if she dare to say "No, I need some time to myself."

I can relate totally - it's like 'The Look' crosses over ones face - you know, that 'Look' that says "YOU?? You ALWAYS have plenty of time to yourself, you're single without any kids! What's wrong with you?!"

I also have a dear friend in her 30's in Greece. She's not married with kids, but her sister is. BUT, she is a kindergarten teacher and looks after (wait for it)...30 kids a day! And she works 6 days a week!
On the 7th day, she's asked to babysit her 2 (adorable, admittedly) nephews and once again, she feels obliged to say 'yes' so that she doesn't get 'The Look.'
We met for coffee before I flew 'home' for Christmas - she flopped into the lovely "Friends" Central Perk style sofa and proceeded to breathe out "No more children!!! PLEASE!!!!"

Anything anyone would like to add?  Are those of us withou children selfish to want some 'me' time?  Do you perceive that people without kids CONSTANTLY have 'me' time?

Back to the point of this blog: it will be a hotch potch of different stories that don't fit into the category of living in Greece: life observations, past travel experiences and just general day to day experiences.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my Leaving Cairo blog.  As always, I value feedback so feel free to comment.

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