Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Blood and even more blood...

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I know. I've generally been very busy with work, the house, my social life. I’m not complaining though. It’s been fun. In an even weirder note, I've even enjoyed having to work over the weekend. It’s nice to be productive and creative on something that you don’t mind doing…


Anyway, starting with the most major news of the last weeks, I met the doctor of my heart! I can’t really remember his name but he’s a nice gentleman from the NHS that acted as my medical and cardiac consultant! He’s the kind of doctor of that age that took notes with an ink pen and my blood pressure with an old style manual monitor. It was adorable. And what made it even better where the wonderful news he brought me.


Apparently the diet worked! Shedding a bit more than 10% of my body weight and watching my diet decreased my cholesterol levels. They’re still higher than normal, but fell quite a lot. So, the bottom line is that I’m under surveillance and will go back in 2 and again in 4 months, but at the same time I won’t start any medications or other treatments. Hoorah! That's the first part of my news associated to my own blood.



In a way to celebrate these news, I took JJ to his ever first Ancient Greek tragedy called ‘Medea’ by Euripides in the National Theater, produced for the first time in 431 BC! The adaptation had somewhat brought Medea to contemporary times. I can’t say I was entirely thrilled with that (being a Greek snob) but I’m glad to say that JJ liked it. I quite enjoyed it too.


The actress playing the main role was simply amazing though. It’s not an easy role to play. She wants to plot her revenge over the husband that abandoned her, but at the same time to portray an inner conflict and struggle over her hatred and whether it’s the right thing to do. For such an ancient play the subjects analysed are quite modern; foreigners versus natives, men versus women, power abuse and the subjective sense of rightfulness. In all fairness however, the Ancient Greeks really knew how to put curses on one another.

Yes, as promised, more blood at the end...

Monday, 4 August 2014

Groundbreaking Developments

I have mentioned in the past that my family is not very accepting of the fact that I’m gay, living with ‘JJ’. It’s been 5 years this month that I came out to them as mentioned here. Since then, I tried to reconcile things with the most recent incident last spring. When I visited Athens with JJ in June I had invited my parents to meet JJ over a coffee and they declined. I know that the main reason they both keep their distance is my father and my mother doesn’t want to confront him. They generally never argue and try hard to maintain the same attitude over family matters. So, while my father never talks to me about personal stuff, he concentrates more on professional matters, my mother will ask about Jeff, my life, the new house, the dog etc.


Last winter when we rebuilt the roof in the house, my mother had mentioned coming to help out during the works. To be honest however, there was no need for any extra help. The builders came, finished their work, packed their mess and left. But I realised that she might need an excuse to come over and visit us. She worries about my wellbeing and an excuse like that we could work against my father or even herself.

So, now that we’re planning the next step major step on refurbishing the house, installing central gas heating, I asked for her help. Again, I don’t think that we’ll really need it. We’re planning already on how to remove the flooring where the pipes will go and how to cover, protect, the furniture. On the contrary having an extra person in the house with all the builders might be an obstacle. I believe that it will be easier for the builders for us to be out of their way, but the benefits outmatch the negatives. And the most surprising thing is that she agreed!



During mid-September, for a whole week, my mother will visit us! I’m extremely excited and terrified of the event. I don’t really need my mother’s approval for the life I've setup in London. I have the confidence that I've made the right decisions and created something that makes me so happy that I shouldn't really care. But that doesn't mean that I don’t want that approval. I want her to get along with JJ, like the house and fall in love with Penny.


Generally, for Greek standards this next step we're taking is unbelievable. The vast majority of Greek gay friends I have are deep locked in the closet. They're in hiding of their personal preferences and life, which is very sad. I have mentioned in the past that the Greek community is in general very short sighted and conservative. Forget about Mykonos and what was happening in Ancient Greece. Nowadays, the number of openly gay public figures and good role models is very limited and the common general opinion is very negative and organised religion plays a huge part in that. In a way, I'm proud of my parents and the things we've achieved, even if it has taken us some time to reach this point.

For the week that she’ll be here, I've taken the days off work. We’re not planning any holidays with JJ anyway. With all our money spent on the house, we can’t really afford them. So, I have so many extra days of holidays I really need to book, otherwise I’ll lose them. I've also booked a special Sunday brunch and ticket to a musical. I know she likes them and hoping to be thrilled when she finds out. JJ’s equally excited. He’s created a list of things we need to do to prepare the house for her arrival. He’s also trying to learn everyday Greek expressions to talk to her, even though she speaks English fluently, even if we a heavy Greek accent.

Deep down I know that it will be all fine, but at the same time I can’t help but worry a little bit.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Digital and real farmer...

My latest craze over my mobile phone is a game called ‘Hay Day’! I think I’ve been playing it nonstop for more than the last month. At first I can’t say I was overly impressed. I found the graphics and theme nice but I didn’t think I could get hooked. I had the impression that I’d be bored easily due to the lack of storyline since the only thing you have to do is produce, harvest and sell your farm's products. But after building and expanding my farm to accommodate new types of livestock and vegetables / fruit, I find myself been drawn to it and keep going back. 


 

I’m not sure which experience level I’ve reached and the moment. I’m still trying to keep up with my ship orders and farm expansions. I can’t say that I have the most beautiful farm, but it’s functional and I although there are some micro transactions in the game to speed things up and buy beautifications for your farm, I haven’t caved in to do it.


On another hand, I’ve been having a very good harvest this year in real life so far. I first planting some vegetables when I moved in with JJ in his old place, some years ago and I got intrigued and kept doing every year since. This year in my new house, it was no different. JJ built a very nice vegetable patch on the right hand side of the garden. There, after seeding the vegetables in pots indoors I’ve transferred some courgettes, beans, lettuces and tomatoes outside.

 
The vegetable patch can be seen here on the left at the back of the house.
That photo was quite early on.

The size of the courgette!
 
One courgette - two trays of lasagne! 

Green salad from the garden to your plate.
 
Green Beans
 
For the time being we’ve tried beans, courgettes and lettuces from the garden and they’ve been amazing. From a single beans plant we got so many pods! We also got some massive courgettes which we’ve used in lasagne twice so far! I can never get bored of lasagne! We’re trying to use whole-wheat pasta, low calorie sauces, cottage cheese instead of ricotta and various vegetables or soya mincemeat instead of the real thing. The output might sound a bit bland, but it’s amazing. Believe me.
 
The tomatoes are still to come

 
I can't say that I completely know what I'm doing while growing the vegetables or tomatoes. I'm just going along trying to keep them slug free, water them regularly and add some extra plant feed to them from time to time. I have lost some of the vegetables because I didn't pay attention to harvest them in time. But overall I'm happy with the results and doing a bit of gardening is quite therapeutic from time to time.