Friday, 8 July 2011

Dear So and So: The working from home edition

Dear Greek countryside,

Whoever said you were quiet and peaceful? Well, whoever it was, they were wrong.

Isn’t enough that I was rudely awoken by the rattling cry of a hooligan magpie and the sclatter of battling cats outside my bedroom door at 6 this morning?

But I’m an optimist and try to be philosophical about things, so I got up, grabbed my laptop and headed for the balcony to make an early start on work, surrounded by your early morning bounty.

All was well…. ‘til I settled down with my cup of Greek coffee (the type you have to sip slowly over a couple of hours if you don’t want a choking mouthful of coffee grounds) and starting reading my first emails. Serenity reigned (due in part to assorted family members we share this country hide-away with still snoozing gently) and I was ready for my morning productivity surge.

But then, just as I started going through with the latest magazine proof with a proverbial nit-comb, all hell broke loose!

The local cicadas woke up, en masse, with a sudden onslaught of synchronised chirping from the pine trees all around. We’re not talking a gentle chirruping here, we’re talking high octane, high decibel rhythmic waves of noise. Though weird looking, cicadas are harmless and strangely wonderful – especially when you learn the story of their life – but boy do they make a racket! They must be the metal heads of the insect world.

And if that wasn’t enough, the panic-stricken wood doves then decided to join in the cacophony. We’re not talking the gentle cooing that punctuated the more idyllic summer days of my English childhood – these are pigeons with attitude. Their cry is an aggressive reminder of their presence, probably tinged with the angst about Greece’s uncertain future that’s infected us all.

And another thing, how’s a girl to concentrate of the finer details of document when there’s the sight of a pine-covered hillside rolling down to the sea to distract her?

But you know me. I’m a trooper and I’ll battle through, despite your attempts to lure me away from my Protestant Work Ethic.

Until, at least, our date on the beach at the end of the day.

In eager anticipation – cos you know I love ya!

Dearest Mother-in-Law,

Thanks so much for the cup of coffee. I appreciate it, I really do.

But please understand that when I'm trying to work, I can’t sit and chat about the latest exploits of Kyria Mina’s daughter’s next-door-neighbour or the intricacies of the best pasta flora recipe.

I know you’re pleased to see me after so many days. I’m delighted that we get on just fine, but please try to understand that although I am physically in front of you on your balcony, in every other sense I am somewhere else.

The last thing I need when I’m trying to argue my case with a colleague in Singapore is you faffing around trying to straighten my collar and making disapproving faces at my shameless bare feet.

With love,
Your (mostly) dutiful but slightly off-centre English Daughter-in-Law.

Dear Battling Neighbours,

You really need to chill out.
Don't you know that so much anger is bad for you?

I've been listening to your screeched exchanges of "Go to hell", "Get out of my face", and much worse since the early hours - and I'm pretty sure that all the houses within a square kilometre know that you are definitely not the best of pals.

But please, can't you just put your border disputes and screaming matches to one side, and simply enjoy being here?

Don't make me come down there, alright?
You may not know this, but hell hath no fury like a middle-aged Englishwoman whose peace has been shattered by someone else's all-too-public arguments.

The "Anglida nyfi ths Kyrias Renas".

Dear kids,

I really don’t have time for this, you know. You’re old enough to work things out for yourselves and I really shouldn’t have to play referee to your cousinly squabbles.

And for the last time, switch off the ******* Play Station and get outside to get some fresh air!

Your loving mother and auntie.

Dear seaside,

If I called you a beach, I hope you won’t be offended.

I know I haven’t been round to see you enough – it’s been WAY too long. But I’ll be there soon. Just save a spot in the shade for me to hide my pallid, puffed-up bod after a much-deserved dip in the briny.


Dear Boss,

I know I'm not at the office today, but believe me I'm hard at work. In fact I bet I sent my first email before you had your breakfast. Honest!

Your humble servant - remotely but nonetheless professionally.

Dear So and So...


  1. This makes me really glad I don't have any neighbors and live in the middle of nowhere. (Even if my lawnmower and gate got nicked)

  2. It sounds like quite the day! Great post :)

  3. I hate the damned bird that thinks its a good idea to have dawn and evening chorus.

    Hope you managed to find some peace!

  4. I get so easily distracted by loud noises, even some small ones that are repetitive. I can't sleep with my window open because of it.

    I hope you managed more than the breakfast email for your boss by the end of the day & I hope you made it to the seaside. :)

  5. a friend of mine who was going through a problematic relationship and was in teh midst of an economic crisis well before the greek one even struck made a comment that sounded completely out of this world in the middle of a discussion which centred aropund trying to deal with his problems: "one day," he said, "i'd like to enter a spaceship and go to the moon."
    i had no idea what he was talking about until just recently...