Greek Blogyssey » The British Embassy in Athens

Another corner of a foreign field: Newbould and Manoliasa

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Rupert Brooke’s grave on the Aegean island of Skyros is well known to many. I once walked there – it is a beautiful spot. Cared for by the Commonwealth Graves Commission, his gravestone is engraved with his famous poem ‘The Soldier’: If I should die, think only this of me; That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England. … Next year, on 23 April 1915, … Read more »Another corner of a foreign field: Newbould and Manoliasa

Remembrance and Affirmation

On 27 January each year, the United Nations remembers the Holocaust that took the lives of six million Jewish people during World War II. This day is called the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. On this day in 1945, Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. Like many, I will be today attending the annual commemoration in Athens … Read more »Remembrance and Affirmation

We’re all stories, in the end

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How can defence possibly be interesting?  For me it can be if it’s about people – the people behind events, their roles and lives.  How they think.  What they think and what inspires them.  What they do and how they work with others.  I’ve never been a great fan of Doctor Who.  But I like what the Doctor says about there being a story behind everyone: “We’re all stories, in … Read more »We’re all stories, in the end

2014 – A year of opportunity?

On the banks of the magnificent Rhine, in my room on the sixth floor of the Hyatt Hotel, I’m watching the comings and goings of the container boats that ply their trade between the industrialised cities of the Rhineland. From above it’s as if they’re gliding effortlessly, bearing their cargo without sound, without propulsion. The majestic river, here affected by its confluence with its tributary, the Main, changes its plumage … Read more »2014 – A year of opportunity?

Countdown to the Greek Presidency of the European Union

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On New Year’s Day 2014, Greece will pick up the Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers, and run with it for six months. The last time Greece presided was 2003. That Presidency broke new ground: it created a new vision and new prospects for EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, and, at the same time, welcomed 10 new Member-States to the Union. Of course, much has changed since then. … Read more »Countdown to the Greek Presidency of the European Union

Two sea-faring nations

When they appointed me ambassador, I knew almost nothing about the maritime world – whether naval or mercantile. Sure, I had grown up near one of the most important ports in England and had gone to school there. In the 19th century, the fleet of Hull was principally occupied with whaling. In the 20th century, until the 1970s, it was deep-sea fishing. But when I started secondary school in the … Read more »Two sea-faring nations

Wanderings on Athos, the Holy Mountain

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When I was 19 I tried for the first time to gain a permit to enter the Holy Mountain. I am an Anglican and a believer, and have long been interested in monasticism and Orthodox spirituality. In 1987, my application was unsuccessful and I rather lost heart; I have waited over 25 years to fill the gap in my Greek cv.   Last week, after finally securing the necessary permissions (without … Read more »Wanderings on Athos, the Holy Mountain

Enjoy the holidays!

 I’m preparing for my holidays. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not actually doing any practical preparations. I always plan early, but pack very late. I know where we’re going and have been thinking fondly about our various destinations for some weeks now. But after booking tickets and rooms, I have done nothing except think and fancy.  I shall spend my two weeks, of course, in Greece. It has always been … Read more »Enjoy the holidays!

G8 priorities: what do you think?

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At Lough Erne in Northern Ireland recently, leaders of the G8 discussed some of the fundamental questions facing our societies and economies. They came up with a short list of practical steps to take. Those steps are set out in a remarkably short and punchy declaration, which you can find here. Representing half of the global economy, the G8 leaders recognized the need to promote growth and jobs and to … Read more »G8 priorities: what do you think?

Building Bridges – Guest Blog

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Rania Kossiori, VC Rhodes, blogs about her shadowing trip to EUMed department and the Minister of Europe’s private office.               I have been working as Vice Consul in Rhodes for the last 8 years. During this time, a lot of changes have taken place in the way that we provide assistance to British nationals overseas – which is the essence of consular work. These … Read more »Building Bridges – Guest Blog