It’s All Greek To Me

I travelled into Manchester on a warm and stuffy bus, the heat only adding to my lethargy. I’d had only four hours sleep due to the late arrival of the student due to stay with us. (Don’t ask. No really- don’t ask! My WordPress word count couldn’t take it.)

After delivering him safely to the academy I called for a quick early lunch at the food court in the Arndale Centre. Sporting different stalls offering food from many different countries, I opted for a  halloumi pitta from Zorba’s.

Don’t worry this isn’t a food post, I’m not that kind of blogger.

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I took a table and began to eat while reading the book I was currently in the middle of, maybe not a good idea whilst making a mess of myself with yoghurt sauce. A voice reached me from a neighbouring table: “Do you like Greek writers?”

I looked across to him whilst frantically dabbing at my chin with a napkin. He did indeed look Greek, but I don’t think he was one of Zorba’s workers. Perhaps an expat with a craving for home cooking.

Emboldened by the name of the food stall, I replied “I’ve read most things by Nikos Kazantzakis.”

“He is Cretan.”

I conceded that he was, and that I’d actually seen the author’s grave in Heraklion.

“Crete is not Greece,” my neighbour said firmly. And then he glanced down at my plastic tray. “And halloumi is not meat.”
You had to hand it to the guy, he certainly knew his stuff. Again I conceded the point, and briefly considered asking him for both author recommendations and favoured meat dishes but decided to cut and run. For no doubt English would not be Greek and my wife’s cooking would not be his Mother’s.

I packed both my book and lunch into my backpack and said a hasty goodbye, bus to catch and all that, making  my escape through the adjacent indoor fish market. As usual with the fish market it is your sense of smell that registers before your sense of sight, but then Conga eels, live mussels and all types of fish parts catch your eye, including, at the end of the display, a sign for Cod Flaps.

Cod flaps? What part of a fish could that be?

Surely not?

 

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(He)art of the City

In the wake of the Arena bomb, the city drew the creatives to itself, as though, in some act of self-healing catharsis, beauty was brought to counter the ghastly.

Along the city’s highways, and especially in St Anne’s Square which was fast becoming the focus for the people’s outpouring of grief and defiance, artists could be seen hunched over easels and pavement flagstones, etching hearts, bees and other symbols of resilience onto the bones of her wounded body.

Even now, on the eve of the anniversary, we turn to art to express our deepest responses.

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In the wake of the Arena bomb, musicians could be found playing the music of their fellow Mancunians; recognisable core DNA transmuted through classical, reggae and ballads of bleeding. Mourners broke vigils with spontaneous outpourings of adopted anthems.

Even now, on the eve of the anniversary, we quote the words of some of her favourite sons.

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Tomorrow is twelve months. The healing goes on.

 

 

 

The conception of ‘(He)art’ was created by my fellow blogger Laura Bruno Lilly. http://laurabrunolilly.com/blog/

A Random Conversation In The Library

(Background information: this took place in my local library. I sometimes take part in clinical trials, and if a book I’ve ordered comes in while I’m away my wife picks it up for me.)

 

I called into Middleton Library today. Two librarians were stood at the desk, one greeting me in surprise:

L: “Hello! I’ve not seen you for a while! I was only thinking about you the other day.”

Me:”You thought I’d died, didn’t you? On a trial. Never came out again alive.”

L:“No! I saw that comedian on the tv . . .

Me:”Don’t tell me-Jason Manford.”

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L:”No but . . . yes! You are like him!”

Me:”You’re the fourth person now to tell me that. Who was it you was watching?

L:”Peter Kay.”

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Me:”Well thanks a bunch!”  I did that thing with my double chin.

L: ““I mean the way he tells his stories!”

The other librarian now joined in, thinking it an opportune moment to extricate her colleague from a conversation running amok.

L#2: “Didn’t I see your wife in here? While you were away?

Me: “With another man?”

L#2: No! With the kids.”

Me: “To be honest I’m more worried about her being with the kids than with the other man. She’s not supposed to have access.”

 

My book was overdue. They waived the fine.