Some reminiscences from our recent holiday in Greece
We had a brief sojourn in Athens, visiting the Poet cum Sandalmaker-to-the-stars, a pootle round The Acropolis and rummage through the flea market. Then on to the lovely island of Hydra, to stay with an old friend of mine Matina. She lives on the mainland, but comes back to her childhood home island for the summer with her son and husband. Her parents still run the taverna in the town – each day they sent a food parcel of lunch via water taxi (no roads = no cars). Clearly they thought their daughter could not be trusted to cook properly for the guests. On our last night we ate at the taverna. At a neighbouring table was this bunch of bright young things. Matina told me they’re connected with an incredibly wealthy naval business family, the Ecclestones of the sea world. I’m glad the Douskous were the recipients of these folks’ unearned cash, but my socialist hackles were growling. Amongst the many things ordered were two lobster platters - cost of 100 Euros plus each. They sat there braying and haw-hawing away about who of their party they’d leave on a desert island. I know what my answer would be.
Leaving the hackles aside, we went then to Naxos. I love a journey. Mine, or someone else’s. I get overwhelmingly emotional at the movement of modes of transport. Trains, planes, not automobiles especially. Even in the now joyless experience of the airport, with its 100ml liquid limit/speedy boarding scrum/everyone cramming too-big bags into overhead lockers, I get a thrill at the taxi down the runway.
Boats though. That’s the big guns. It’s all I can do not to blub as the ferries come and go (and there you were thinking I had a heart of flint 😉). My boys don’t share this - I don’t know if that’s an age/gender/personality thing (I’ve always loved boat journeys) - or maybe just the age in which we live - ‘What were you doing out on deck all that time?’ they ask incredulously. They each stayed briefly to watch a departure and an arrival, but their hearts were not in it.
I was delighted that on our journey to Naxos we called in at Paros first so I could indulge myself in welling up at another coming in and going out, without the kerfuffle of having to get off.
I also like watching the officials, who have the harried, self-important air of head chefs as they scurry hither and thither, blowing their whistles with gay abandon.
What I like about camping you could fit on a pin head (discomfort, rain, noise, needing a wee in the night necessitating a major expedition) I’ve yarped on about it elsewhere. http://www.maggiegordon-walker.com/detail.aspx…
Anyway, the thing I DO like about camping is the challenge of cooking with minimal equipment in inclement conditions.
The same sense of excitement happens looking at the interestingly equipped kitchen in a holiday apartment, such as the one we had in Naxos - here we had a prodding fork thing but no decent knives (usually the case) - it’s a challenge , but a good one. The joy of empty cupboards to fill with new things rather than the fusty old quinoa you have at home festering at the back that you know you should eat instead of the pasta you actually want. LOOK though at the curious little contraption here! At first glance this looks like a grill and oven, but no. It’s THE TINIEST DISHWASHER IN THE WORLD....!
I've been reading one of Alan Bennett's diaries (very slowly. Not because I don't enjoy it, but because it's in the bathroom, reserved for my post-shower sit in towel to dry off). It made me realise I would LOVE my own 'What I've been up to this week!' type column in a paper/magazine. So would many thousands of others, I'd imagine. So, I've created my own additional section here. Less ranty, reflectiony or reviewy than the other bits.