07 October 2022

Strangers in the Night

Yorkshire Pudding's recent post about a kindness done to him while on holiday in Greece reminded me of a similar story about a holiday we had in Greece back in the 1980s. We had many holidays during that decade visiting a number of Greek islands and one in particular has always stuck in my mind - that of Naxos. At that time Naxos did not have an airport and we had reached it by flying to nearby Mykonos and getting a ferry there. It was therefore at the time less touristy than most Greek islands, although many Germans had managed to get there somehow and put their towels on the deckchairs! English tourists were in the minority, which is why I suppose we liked it so much there.

One evening Greg and I were sitting at a harbour-front restaurant enjoying the sunset, when a group of Germans at a nearby table starting shouting and arguing very loudly.  Their inebriated conversations became more and more raucous and were clearly irritating a lot of the other diners. Suddenly a waiter appeared at our table with a bottle of wine which we had not ordered. When we said there must be some mistake, he said that it was courtesy of the man on the adjacent table - an elderly Greek man dining alone who looked remarkably like Anthony Quinn in the film Zorba the Greek. As we looked across he raised his glass at us.

We were thoroughly confused and the man asked in broken English if he could join us. We were intrigued and agreed. He told us that he had heard us speaking English and he was so sorry about the noisy Germans. His hatred of Germans became very apparent.  He said he had joined the Greek Resistance when Germany occupied the island in the Second World War and used to listen to the BBC World Service. When he discovered that Greg worked for the BBC World Service, he was beside himself and ordered a round of ouzo to thank us! He said that the British had helped liberate the island in 1945 and for that he would be eternally grateful. His English was not so great and our Greek only limited to a few pleasantries, but we spent a good hour chatting to him. We parted as if long lost friends, but of course we never saw him again. 

03 October 2022


Autumn has arrived. The mornings are much cooler and the evenings are getting dark earlier and earlier.  Occasionally I wake to mist floating around the garden and condensation on the top of the car. In four weeks the clocks will go back and we will be plunged into winter mode. I have always preferred the Spring and the Summer seasons. I think I must have been a dormouse in a former life, as I don't seem so galvanised into doing things at this time of year.

However, a project I have been planning since last year - to have one of the bedrooms decorated - is coming to fruition in the next few weeks. The painter I had hired last November has only just got round to doing the job I'd planned for last Spring, as he has been so busy. The room needs replastering and the plasterer he has sub-contracted is coming on Wednesday. This weekend Kay, Darcy and I have been clearing the room of furniture. That is no mean feat as my house is on six levels, which means furniture and possessions have to not only be removed from a room for it to be decorated but taken down a flight of stairs too  and found a temporary home.  I'm sure it'll be worth it in the long run to have a lovely guest room, but the house currently looks a tip and I can't find anything!