Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Back 'Home' in Australia

Back ‘Home’ in Australia
 A Warm Winter House

We are back in the Dandenong Ranges and I’m loving it, even Takis is tolerating the cold. It is difficult to please us both! I wilt when the temperatures go over 25, and he complains of a cold nose and ears when it drops to 20. One thing we have discovered over the years is that it is impossible to live with a perfect outdoor temperature all year round, even with our peripatetic lifestyle.

We arrived in Australia to find that there were morning frosts in the open, though under the trees in this part of the ranges it only gets down to 3 at night, rising to about 13 in the daytime. However our house is toasty warm with its gas heating system. I would love to add a potbelly stove to warm up the kitchen a little more sometime for there is nothing like a real wood fire to cheer one in winter.

In winter we can sit in front of the gas 'log' fire

At Christmas time there is no need for fire, so the tree stand there

Winter Warmth in Lemnos?

At the moment we don’t have the means to warm up the Greek house in winter. It has always been a summer holiday house since the days of Takis grandfather. To survive the island weather in our large three-story house on Lemnos which is (surprisingly for people who think of Greece as always sunny) very cold and windy for half of the year, you would need a central heating system, and or a couple of wood stoves. Perhaps one on the middle floor and another in the kitchen.

Lemnos? Perhaps a stove in the kitchen?

Lemnos? Or a real fire in the lounge?

Takis and Anestis at work we discovered an old fireplace behind the plasterwork

Family Celebrations in Aus.

What has been lovely for me, beside being able to enjoy a winter this year, is that we were only away for three months and I’ve arrived back before the grand children grow too tall, as it is one grand daughter is now taller than me (or have I shrunk?).

This past weekend I had a wonderful time with two of the grand children; it was my 75th birthday and they were here with their mother for lunch along with friends from Adelaide who were holidaying in the state came. Takis cooked Youvetzi, that Greek lamb and pasta dish (wonderful for the cold weather) and I made the sponge, cream and strawberry cake, mostly without sugar, so I could have a small slice.  My grand daughter was looking forward to ‘Grandma’s party’ (parties being a great thing for her, her last one was a roller blade party!) so I did my best without putting 75 candles on the cake. A neighbour had lent me a candelabra (very Liberace) that we put on the top, a great over-the-top celebratory candleholder for a 75 year old!

Then also I had so many emails wishing me well. It was all a bit of a dream, in fact I was just getting over jet lag, with only two good night’s sleep this week and only three hours sleep before ’the party', so I just drifted through the day on a happiness cloud. And to top my pleasure one or two of my daffodils are opening and the sun was shining all day.

Getting Older and Wiser!

I just read an article by David Brooks in our local paper, The Age: Why Your Elders are Smiling.

In this article he quotes an essay by Ezekiel Emanuel saying that all things considered he’d prefer to die around the age of 75! His argument was that he wanted to go with all his faculties rather than have a sad decline. But I absolutely agree with David Brooks on this one, (and I don’t always agree with Brooks), that you would likely miss out on some of your happiest years.

It seems psychologists also agree. Reasons? When you are older on average you are more relaxed, you don’t have to worry about the future as you did when younger, you get more pleasure out of present, ordinary activities. Brooks also adds that as you get older you more likely to be able to see things from different perspectives and learn to balance tensions, plus, you have the ability to deal better with the downsides of life and realizing that things will eventually change in the flow of life. 

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