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  Nr. 11 - January 1999
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Twelve Days of Christmas

Continuing the exotic bird theme, as there are still 6 days of Christmas left in January, we present a traditional English Christmas song, together with a warning of what can happen if one takes life too literally:

(with apologies to John Julius Norwich, and thanks to Sid & Kay Siddons of Tsoukalia)

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree.
The 2nd day of Christmas my true love sent to me 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.
The 3rd day of Christmas my true love sent to me 3 French hens ...
The 4th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 4 calling birds...
The 5th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 5 gold rings...
The 6th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 6 geese a-laying...
The 7th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 7 swans a-swimming...
The 8th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 8 maids a-milking...
The 9th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 9 drummers drumming...
The 10th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 10 pipers piping...
The 11th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 11 ladies dancing...
The 12th day of Christmas my true love sent to me 12 lords a-leaping...

25th December: Dearest Darling Mario, that partridge, in that lovely pear tree! What an enchanting, romantic, poetic present. Bless you and efharisto parapoli! Your deeply loving Mimi.

26th December: Mario, Agapi mou, the two turtle doves arrived this morning and are cooing away in the pear tree as I write. I’m so touched and grateful. With undying love, as always, Mimi.

27th December: Mario Darling, you do think of the most original presents. Whoever thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all the way from France? It’s a pity that we have no chicken coops, but I expect we’ll find some. Thank you anyway, they are lovely. Your loving Mimi.

28th December: Mario, Agori mou, what a surprise, four calling birds arrived this morning. They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly - they make telephoning impossible. But I expect they’ll calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I’m very grateful - of course I am. Love from Mimi.

29th December: Dearest Mario, the postman has just delivered five most beautiful gold rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly. A really lovely present - lovelier in a way than birds, which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I’m afraid none of us got much sleep last night. Mama says she wants to use the rings to ‘wring’ their necks - she’s only joking, I think; though I know what she means. But I love the rings. Bless you. Love Mimi.

30th December: Agapite Mario, whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door this morning, it certainly wasn’t six socking great geese laying eggs all over the doorstep. Frankly, I rather hoped you had stopped sending me birds - we have no room for them and they have already ruined the lawn. I know you meant well, but - let’s call a halt, shall we? Love Mimi.

31st December: Mario, I thought I said no more birds, but this morning I woke up to find no less than seven swans all trying to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I’d rather not think what happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds - to say nothing of what they leave behind them. Please, please STOP. Your Mimi.

1st January: Frankly, I think I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight milkmaids AND their cows? Is this some kind of joke? If so, I’m afraid I don’t find it very amusing. Mimi.

2nd January: Look here Mario, this has gone far enough. You say you’re sending me nine ladies dancing; all I can say is that judging from the way they dance, they’re certainly not ladies. The village just isn’t accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless hussies with nothing on but their lipstick cavorting round the chorio - and it’s Mama and I who get blamed. If you value our friendship - which I do less and less - kindly stop this ridiculous behaviour at once. Mimi.

3rd January: As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are prancing about all over what used to be the garden - before the geese and the swans and the cows got at it, and several of them, I notice, are taking inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. Meanwhile the neighbours are trying to have us evicted. I shall never speak to you again. Mimi.

4th January: This is the last straw. You know I detest bagpipes. The place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse and a man from the Koinotita has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least Mama has been spared this last outrage - they took her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance. I hope you’re satisfied.

5th January: Sir, Our client, Ms. Mimi Sifnaios, instructs me to inform you that, with the arrival on her premises at half past seven this morning of the entire percussion section of the Athens Philharmonic Orchestra and several of their friends, she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent your importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock. I am, Yours faithfully, A. Creep - Attorney-at-Law, Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Run.

We wish you all a Very Happy 1999 and hope that you don’t expect us to be this full of birdshit all year!
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