Saturday, 24 December 2011

In Ano Korakiana

Kerkyra Sea from Ano Korakiana
Ευχές... 24.12.11. Χριστουγεννιάτικες Ευχές μέσω τις ιστοσελίδας μας….our Christmas greeting on the Ano Korakiana website
We embrace our Greek and English friends in the village. Thank you so much for your work keeping the world in touch with beloved Ano Korakiana. Απολαύστε το κρασί και το γλυκό άρωμα των Χριστουγέννων στην Άνω Κορακιάνα. Με αγάπη, Σάιμον και Λίντα
Enjoy the wine and sweet perfume of Christmas in Ano Korakiana. With love. Simon and Linda
Τα Κάλαντα του Νηπιαγωγείου: Πολύ αγάπη και μεράκι «περιείχε» η χριστουγεννιάτικη γιορτή του Νηπιαγωγείου μας, που πραγματοποιήθηκε σήμερα το βράδυ, στην Πλάστιγγα. Η νηπιαγωγός κα Ανδρομάχη, επιμελήθηκ: ε με ιδιαίτερη ζέση την κάθε λεπτομέρεια, προσανατολίζοντας με επιτυχία το κεντρικό νόημα της εορτής στη θρησκευτική και κοινωνική επικαιρότητα. Χριστουγεννιάτικα τραγούδια και αρκετά σκετς υπό τους ήχους του αρμόνιου του αρχιμουσικού της Φιλαρμονικής μας, απέσπασαν χωρίς ιδιαίτερη δυσκολία τα ζεστά χαμόγελα και το χειροκρότημα των παριστάμενων γονέων. Στο τέλος, προς ευχάριστη έκπληξη των μικρών μαθητών, ο Άγιος Βασίλης πραγματοποίησε μια έκτακτη εμφάνιση για τις ανάγκες της εορτής, σκορπίζοντας χαρά και γέλιο… 
Kindergarten Carols: Much love and care went into our nursery's Christmas celebration this (Thursday) evening. Mrs Andromarche, the kindergarten teacher directed every detail with great enthusiasm, bringing out the religious and social essence of the event. Christmas songs, accompanied by the conductor of the Philharmonic, won spontaneous smiles and applause from parents, and to the young pupils's delight, Santa Claus arrived - spreading joy and laughter...
Christmas Bazaar in St Nikolopoulos, Ano Korakiana
"Δώρα από σπίτι": Γράφει ο/η Κβκ: «Αυτές τις γιορτές ας πάρουμε τα δώρα μας από το χριστουγεννιάτικο παζαράκι του χωριού μας, στον Άη Νικολόπουλο. Αντικείμενα δικά μας που θα γίνουν πολύτιμα δώρα με την αγάπη όσων τα προσφέρουν και τη χαρά όσων τα δέχονται. Ρούχα, παιγνίδια, αντικείμενα σπιτιού, βιβλία, χριστουγεννιάτικα και άλλα πολλά, θα βρεθούν όλα μαζί σε στολισμένους πάγκους για να αλλάξουν χέρια με ένα (1) ευρώ το καθένα. Με ζεστό καφέ και κουβεντούλα να κάνουν τα Χριστούγεννα για όλους μας γλυκά σαν μελομακάρονα και χαρούμενα σαν κάλαντα
"Gifts from Home": At this time of celebration we get gifts from the village's Christmas Bazaar in Agios Nikolopou- los. Our own objects become precious - for the love with which they're given and the pleasure with which they're re- ceived. Clothing, toys, household items, books, Christmas ornaments, and more come together in decorated stalls to change hands for a euro. Hot coffee and chat to make Christmas for us all as sweet and cheerful as melodious carols.
These were two entries by Thannasis Spingos on the Ano Korakiana website.
*****
Richard and Amy on the way to Shrewsbury
Yesterday, as I've done before at Christmas time I met Richard and Amy at busy New Street Station. We gazed at the departure displays above the concourse and, on a whim - it being away in 10 minutes - we bought tickets for Shrewsbury, there to shop for presents and be together.


We climbed up the narrow road from Shrewsbury Station. In a small shop -  a little above a junk shop - we bargained ourselves some gifts, then on to find more presents in a series of charity shops - Cancer Research, Red Cross, Age Concern, Severn Hospice, Oxfam. This recession brings more and more of these to the high street. Rain fell from a leaden sky. Richard bought a second hand umbrella. In a tea room with Chinese management we ate a mix of toasted sandwiches, a ham and mushroom pancake, a pork roll, tea, milkshake, hot chocolate.
At 5.00 we headed back to Birmingham, damp and content. At New Street Amy left us to catch another train to Sutton and home. Richard and I visited Poundland and the 99p store in the Pallasades to seek a few more presents. The rain had stopped. We walked back to Richard's flat through the remnants of the German Market, dispersing home, picked up my bicycle, carefully loaded the presents I'd bought and cycled home along the Birmingham Mainline towpath, splashing through continuous puddles.


Later today I shall put up our Christmas tree and decorate it. Lin has collected her parents, Dot and Arthur, and brought them home to spend Christmas with us as they've done for over thirty years. I hear about people disliking Christmas. Not me. Not us.
** ** **
On Christmas eve morning my mother-in-law Dorothy made Arthur and me breakfast - two poached eggs on toast and a mug of tea.
Breakfast: Lin, Dot and Arthur at our house
I carried our tree in three parts into the sitting room along with decorations - baubles and tinsel. Lin took her parents out to do some last minute shopping in the Rag Market.
After setting the computer to play me some old comedies I fixed mistletoe in the porch...
...and set about assembling and decorating the tree, Oscar looking on morosely.
After two hours I was done. Oscar and I set out for town along the canal as usual. In the Western Arcade at Chouchoute Chocolaterie I bought handmade truffles, cherry liqueurs and dragees. Wandered up the Arcade I bumped into my daughter carrying a load of presents.
"What were the chances of that?" she said.
Amy picked Oscar from my pannier, and replaced him with her presents. With dog on the lead we headed to her car, stopping to get me some cava.
"You took a photo Dad. Makes it look as if I'm buying alcohol when I'm pregnant...
...We 'll see you tomorrow" she kissed me.
I phoned Richard and met him, also carrying presents, off Corporation Street. We ate at the New Sum Ye in the Chinese Quarter. I cycled home; once on the canal, Oscar was running again, a white blur behind and in front of me, as I cycled along the towpath. At home, Lin suggested I borrow her car; return to town to collect Richard to save him a taxi fare or a long walk from his flat to a 16 bus stop. Oscar, ever enthusiastic, leapt ahead of me into the car his nose pressed to the front windscreen. We headed back to town with light traffic this late on Christmas Eve. We hope to see Emma, who'll have tomorrow with her family, on Boxing Day. I stopped off at an off-licence for a bottle of Advocaat on the way home. All my Christmas preparations done, bar wrapping. At home I interrupted Dot and Lin busy with preparing food, "See see my Christmas tree!"
***** *****
I streamed another of Jack's films. "Long ago we used to say there were two ways of driving horses - bow top and drop thong."

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