Cool Lime Time

A new way to get around Athens. I’ve not tried it personally yet, but I love scooting, so…

ATHENS LIVING DIARIES

Sometimes navigating the streets of Athens can be a bit like a scary video game. Potholes, trees, badly parked cars, aggressive drivers and slippery sidewalks all seemingly ‘out to get you’ can make it a bit of a nightmare for the uninitiated.

Since late January, there’s a cool new way to get around town that might provide the eco friendly, gentle way to play the around Athens survival game! Lime electric scooters are popping up everywhere and offer a hop on, hop off alternative form of transport through the busy streets.

They are easy to find and easy to use. Download the Lima app and GPS tracking will help you find the nearest free scooter. Scan the barcode on the scooter and then ride away for just one euro and 0.15 cents a minute. Drop off the scooter anywhere when you are finished, what could be simpler?

It’s great to…

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Happy New Year!

What better way to ring in the new year than watching fireworks explode over the Acropolis?

 

Photo credit Kathimerini

 

Athenians braved the rainy weather, forgot their woes, and came out with their umbrellas to celebrate.

 

Photo credit Kathimerini

 

The photographs are from the daily paper Kathimerini, and provided some distraction from the otherwise continuing dismal news. What do we have to look forward to in 2019? Yet more rising taxes, elections, and a continuing and unmanageable refugee crisis.

However, a brand new year always brings with it a glimmer of hope. And the feeling that here we are, alive and kicking—we made it through another year!

 

Photo credit Kathimerini

 

A big thank you to all who follow, read my rants, and especially those who take the time to comment. I greatly appreciate it. All by best wishes for a wonderful 2019!

Attention, writers

Has anyone heard of Jericho Writers? It’s the new manifestation of what was formerly known as The Writers Workshop, a site offering editing services, manuscript critiques and such, to aspiring as well as established writers. I’d availed myself of these services a few times, and always found them excellent. They also ran the Word Cloud, a free writers’ community where a bunch of us chatted away, critiqued each other’s work in a very encouraging manner, voiced our opinions freely and ran informal writing competitions amongst ourselves.
Finally, they organised various events, including the yearly Festival of Writing at York University, an extremely fun, inspiring and useful occasion where one can meet agents, writers, editors, publishers and, mostly, like-minded people.
However, some time ago, the Writers Workshop was totally overhauled and ended up morphing into Jericho Writers, the excuse being that the technology propping it up was now obsolete, could not be improved upon and needed changing.
Us old cronies in the Word Cloud were pretty annoyed about that: we did not like our habits interfered with, and we did not like having to pay for something which was formerly free. And, although we were promised the old Word Cloud would remain intact, while admitting no new members, it slowly became decrepit—as someone remarked,’It’s like a ghost town in there now.’ And maybe it’s just me, but the last couple of times I looked, it appeared to be dead. Maybe the technology did give up after all.
However, it’s no use being grumpy and expecting things to remain the same forever, and I have to admit the new site looks both chic and user-friendly. So, (full disclosure,) I jumped at the chance of a free annual subscription in return for an honest review.
Before writing this, I navigated around the whole thing thoroughly, and I must admit I was impressed. Their services are pretty comprehensive, offering the following:
Editorial advice: various forms of manuscript assessment (for everything from novels, to non-fiction to play-writing to children’s books). Also copy-editing.
Tutored courses: A range of 7 online courses, including Debi Alpert’s famous ‘Self-editing your novel’ course. Sadly, I’ve never taken it myself, but others who did rave about it.
There are filmed interviews with agents and writers, and Masterclasses, which are shorter courses on a wide range of subjects. These are free for members, as is a free advice service.
Events: a few one-day seminars plus the Festival of Writing at York, which I mentioned above. I’ve attended a couple of time, and it was amazing.
Literary Agents: there is a comprehensive list of agents in the UK and US, catering to all genres, and a service called Agents Match which helps you find a suitable agent.
And finally the Townhouse, which has replaced the old Word Cloud community. Open only to members.
The site is pleasant and easy to navigate, and members get a lot of freebies, and a discount on all paid-for services.
Is it worth the annual €250 subscription? I must admit I did not have time to research other sites offering similar services, in order to make comparisons. I think that if you were going to avail yourself of what they offer on a regular basis, especially for people living within reach of London and who can attend the events, it would definitely be worth it, since their product is excellent (at least whatever I’ve tried or used so far).
Finally, they did insist that reviews had to be honest, so I  will admit to a couple of gripes.
1. The writers’ community, the Townhouse, is not there yet. The old participants are staying away (I’ve only recognized a few so far). A lot of the discussions are started by Jericho themselves, with little or no response from writers. In the old Word Cloud, you had to fill in a little profile, which made others get to know you a little. Now all you get to  see is a plain name, mostly without even an image or logo. Also in the past you could form groups, ‘friend’ people, etc—it was very convivial.
I hope it’ll get there eventually, but a lot of tweaking is needed. At the moment, it’s just like similar situations on other sites, whereas before, it was a special place to be. However, in the spirit of not being grumpy, etc, I have joined in, and will see how it goes.
2. Some corrections are needed in the list of literary agents, because a few names are repeated up to 4 times (i.e. Lisa Ekus), which is confusing and a little unprofessional. Also a lot of people on the forums seem dissatisfied with the Agent Match feature, complaining that it doesn’t work properly. Jericho have promised to fix it, but I confess to not having a personal opinion on the matter, since I haven’t tried to use it yet.
3. A final suggestion: it would be nice to have a course in memoir writing—I noticed the lack thereof because it’s something I’ve been interested in lately.
To sum up, definitely worth taking a look (here).
Even if you just subscribed to the newsletter to begin with, you get emails with lots of interesting tips, and you can always join in some events or take the occasional course at full price.
Note: the photographs are all from their site.

1457. Poster in a church in France

Couldn’t resist re-blogging this! From Bruce Goodman’s great blog, Weave a Web.

Weave a Web

(This is a translation of an actual poster in France)

After entering this church, you may hear “the call of God”. However, it is unlikely he will call you on his mobile. Thank you for turning off your phones.

If you wish to talk to God, by all means do so. Come in and choose a quiet place.

If you wish to see Him, send a text while driving.

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Mystery in Greece: follow six Greek detectives and discover amazing holiday destinations

Here’s a post full of goodies for avid readers of mystery and crime. Enjoy!

Lina Syriopoulou

This is my favourite article from the time I wrote for the Greek News Agenda public diplomacy magazine. It combines my two big loves: travelling in Greece and crime litterature. Here, I am proposing six mystery novels that will inspire you to discover three Athenian neighborhoods and will guide you to another three breathtaking holiday destinations. The article had many unique visits but  the most wonderful part for me was that it was descovered and promoted by the authors themselves through their social media. 

Crime_in_Athens

Athens

In Kifissia with Commissioner George Békas – Dangerous Spring

Follow the “patriarch” of the Greek crime literature and descover the secrets of the Athenian high society. Yannis Maris is the author who established the crime novel genre in Greece in the ‘50s. His main character, Commissar Békas is depicted as an everyday man who nevertheless is not afraid to defy the rich and powerful in…

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Here, There & Everywhere IMK Post

Is anyone hungry? Here’s another of the good sides of Greece—food! Local specialities and more…

An Evolving Life

I was away from my kitchen for the first part of the month. We were on holiday in Epirus, northern Greece, in the Pindos mountains, an area known as Zagoria. Just to remind us where we were, painted folk art on a plastiri (πλαστήρι), a traditional round board for rolling out thin sheets of homemade phyllo, spells it out. Not only was it pretty, it was symbolic of one of the notable culinary elements of Zagori food – the pita or pie, often made with homemade phyllo. I have two recipes for pies from this region to share when I get the chance – blatsaria (μπλατσαριά) and tembelopita (τεμπελόπιτα) – although neither of these uses phyllo.

We were staying in the central Zagori village of Vitsa with its mountain views and stone roofs.

Rhythms of life in the mountain villages begin with the morning bread delivery in the van. After…

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Cola tins transformed to art

I think these are marvelous! It’s fantastic when artists use their imagination to overcome shortcomings such as lack of funds or other materials. This type of recycling is done a lot by African artists such as El Anatsui, about whom more to come.

Art Scene Athens

christidou

IN THE age of the Greek crisis, some artists look further towards alternative methods of creativity and materials. Most traditional art materials are expensive, but there are also options that are free, and everywhere: arte povera was a movement that pioneered this approach in a conceptual manner, back in the Sixties and Seventies. Today,  Lefki Christidou has found some contemporary ‘poor materials’ of her choice, using them in a more decorative style, especially the Coca-Cola tin, which adds a slightly more pop aesthetic to her work.Christidou2It’s also in line with how artists today combine the art process with recycling. She manages to transform this everyday object into flowers, cats, people, landscapes and more, at Athens’s Gallery 7, in an exhibition entitled ‘Debt relief programme – developments’. Opens on September 25 (runs till October 13).

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