Saturday, 29 September 2012

Celebrating being back

It has been raining non stop since I got back to the UK, so when there was a break and the sun came out I rushed to the park. It was late afternoon and the light was amazing.

The hydrangeas are in bloom

and the grasses look fabulous

it's that time of year when the leaves turn golden, particularly when the sun shines on them

and it was that time of day when the light transforms the everyday to something magical

and everything was very peaceful.

Shadow and light

and green, green - I had been starved of the green

preparing for winter

reflections in the water.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros


The permanent collection.

Photographs are not allowed so I can post only a few.

Yannis Yaitis, Exodus, 1924

one more photograph to show the two-dimentional aspect of the piece

going down the stairs

Yannis Pappas, Woman with Octopus, 1959

Takis, The Sea's Resonance, 1979

The three panels on the wall - an aural piece, the sound of which resonated throughout the gallery

Takis, Luminous Signs, 1976

Takis, Musical Instruments, 1979

Takis, Magnetic Wall, 1976

Kostas Dikefalos, Dynamic, 1986

Thursday, 27 September 2012

General strike

Yesterday's general strike in Greece brought the whole country to a standstill: flights were grounded, air-traffic controllers walked off the job for three hours, ships stayed docked, public transport was disrupted and all public services were shut down. Schools were shut, shops pulled the shutters down and hospitals were operating with emergency staffing levels only. Nothing was open, nothing was working.

According to police figures - and we know how much they underestimate - over 200,000 people took to the streets in protest against the new austerity measures that are to be imposed by the coalition government, under the Troika's instructions. The public sector unions put the figure closer to 350,000.

The coalition government will make the final decision for an austerity package that will lead to a total 11.9 billion euro reduction in public spending, more than 5% of the country's GDP.

The austerity package will amongst others include:
  • a slashing in social spending, including reductions in family benefits, special unemployment benefits for seasonal workers and other benefits that include funding of travel expenses for patients going for dialysis
  • new cuts in pensions and public sector wages
  • a massive wave of privatisations
  • cuts in health spending at a time when Greece is getting close to a humanitarian crisis
  • reduced funding for the Arts
  • massive cuts in education spending

90% of Greeks believe that the planned cuts are unfair and a burden to the poor.

I now want to post some photographs of the demonstration, photographs showing what the day was like, and not just of the last hour or so when violence errupted

A festive atmosphere and one of solidarity

wanting to be heard

some managed to reach Syntagma

a pun - a play on the words 'we are on strike'  and  'we are unemployed' . Wearing black armbands

'civilisation' written on the coffin: artists and intellectuals protesting against the cuts in arts funding

I have mentioned before  the role of a few dogs who never miss a demonstration and were always present during the Indignants' gatherings last year

Alexis Tsipras of SY.RIZ.A

demonstrators in the county of Ileia

Athens again

Some people believe that only the young go on demonstrations and then they cause 'trouble'

in Rhodes

On the right, the fence the government had erected all around the Parliament building and in the middle a disabled person trying to talk to the police - reports are coming in that disabled people were pushed and shoved by the MAT (the riot police) who used their shields against them when they demonstrated outside Parliament today

and then there were some skirmishes and the police started on the tear gas - as they did to their own colleagues last week who were protesting against cuts in their own salaries

and the atmosphere became toxic

and people started panicking

and they got upset

and demonstrators were hurt - this photograph was sent to me last night: it is the arm of the friend of a friend who was beaten by a MAT officer

and protesters lit fires as this is the only way to make tear gas disperse.

                                                               *  *  *

And my question is this: are all these hundreds of people 'troublemakers' as they are labelled by the media? Were the people who demonstrated in Madrid the day before also troublemakers? Were the people in Portugal last week troublemakers?

is she a troublemaker? (Madrid)

Is she? (Athens)

Is he? (Athens)

Is he? (Madrid)

Or are they just people in despair, who cannot bear the yoke of austerity anymore? Who cannot bear to see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer? Who cannot make ends meet, who cannot afford to pay the rent, to put food on the table, to buy medicines, to safeguard a future for their children? People who have lost their jobs, their homes, their hopes for the future?

How are these people going to make themselves heard? They protested peacefully last year, under the name of the Indignants, and did anything change? Where is this going to end?

Sources: Athens News
               The Guardian
                StopCartel TV-GR

For daily updates on Greece and and lots more on current affairs go to

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Hora in Andros - 2


Because it is built on a narrow peninsula the sea is never far from the Hora. It is also surrounded by hills which have villages dotted all over them.

The sea was very rough for the whole duration of our stay but it still retained its brilliant blue colour

The main church, which is right next to our hotel

As I said in the previous post the houses are beautifully restored

with careful attention to detail

and some of the houses are mansions

taking the footpath that leads to the sea

and here we are - the outrageously phallic lighthouse in the distance

a dovecote

we have now reached the bay

and the sea is raging

the spray reaching up high

I just can't help but keep posting more and more of these pictures - I think the colour of the sea is magnificent, seen against the backdrop of the white of the houses and the red of the roofs
one more - and you can see how the spray reaches right up to the house
entrance to one of the houses 
a grand house
a different view
This is next to a taverna we have used in the past (too windy and too much spray this time). The whole place is open plan and it looked wonderful one evening on our second visit to the island when we sat at the table in the picture and could see inside the house 
Up the alley 
and another one
lovely marble columns on either side of that door
and now we have reached the grand houses built into the rock with fantastic views of the bay 
massive houses - it is difficult to say how many floors this is 
and another look
this is the house of the people who have financed the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as the Archaeological Museum, a ship owning family
and this is the entrance to the house, built into the rock: I assume that there is a lift taking one up to the upper floors
the little church
and getting closer
one more view
another house and steps, steps
this one overlooking the bay
the main (and only) street, the rest are tiny alleyways 
another church
another mansion
views of the hills
the second hotel
a pink confection against the blue sky
and last but not least, this modernist dream
looking closer
what I could see of the entrance
another view of the tower
and another.
I can dream, can't I?