The house we have rented has no internet. The Greek lady owner tells me that without a phone it is still not possible to have the internet. “ Greece is far behind the rest of Europe” she says as I show her the Network 3 web pocket that I have in Italy. “ Maybe next year” she says more in hope than any expectancy.
I realise it is like coming of a drug dependency being without instant access to the world. The Kindle becomes your substitute methadone but it is hard not to have access to the world on a regular basis.
It is an holiday my wife keeps telling me. Enjoy the sun and swimming and I am. It’s just it would be nice to read other stuff too.
I have always thought that sun loungers were designed with me in mind. I have often said that a mistake was made in the hospital and that the wrong name tag was put on the wrong wrist and that out there is a 66 year old guy who has spent his whole life frustrated at having to sit on beaches and sail on luxury yachts when all he really wanted to do was work . Meanwhile here was I ideally suited to the life of leisure, flogging away at work all my life. I am not sure quite how many millionaire’s wives there were at the NHS Hillingdon General Hospital that January maybe not that many if I think about it but there must have been one, maybe caught short at Northolt Airport or the newly opened London Heathrow Airport on Hounslow Heath.
Now one of the frustrations of sun loungers in the main is your towel. The towel is great for reserving sun loungers as you can put the lounger flat and lie the towel on it. A couple of books ensure it wouldn’t fly away and as you breakfast you can look out at the frustrated Germans pacing around looking for empty ones. But once you actually want to sit on it you need to raise the top part into the sitting position. Now the towel takes on a mind of it’s own and however much you tuck it in it falls down behind you and specially on plastic sun loungers you start to sweat. You also then wander up to the bar with everyone looking at your back and thinking you have been on the wrong end of a cat o’ nine tails.
In Florida when working there I went one Saturday to see an old work colleague from Toronto Canada as she had a winter home there . She had solved the towel issue by sewing together two 4 ft towels lengthwise. Then she folded over about 18 inches of towel and sewed up the two sides. Are you still with me? She then slipped the top bit whose sides she had sewed over the top of the sun lounger. No more slippage no more cat o nine tails. But rather a lot of work and quite a few towels needed for the exercise.
Today I settled on to a sun lounger and turned on my iPod Nano to my playlist called beachcomber music. It is my longest playlist which must prove how dedicated I am to the beach. After a few minutes I realised my towel had slipped down behind me despite me wrapping it through about three slats. I glanced down the beach to two Germans who had set up camp nearby and was astounded but delighted to see their solution to the towel issue .
Two bloody great pegs . How easy is that. Now all I need to do is find out where they bought them.
Do all revolutions start in the south of a country ? Bodica was running around East Anglia burning Romans, Napoleon came from Corsica, Garibaldi started the Italian revolution in Sicily and blow me down if the Greek Revolution in 1821 didn’t start just 2 kms from the beach I was on this morning.The Turks ruled Greece then and in the small village of Kitries ( and I mean small) lived the man Petrobey Mavromichalis who decided to toss them out. By March 1821 he had the whole of the Peloponnese revolting and then the British, French and Russians asked to join in and the Turks were well and truly on their way out with the Greeks busy slaughtering Muslim converts and burning their homes or indeed towns.The Egyptians came to the Turks rescue in 1825 but then the British and French Navies put a stop to that.
I have to admit not knowing a great deal about Greek independence but like Italy it is a country much invaded and very much a pawn in the great powers chess game of the 19th century.
I am of an age that I can remember when carrying a British passport was a great thing to possess. “Her Britannic Majesty requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to offer the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary” written on the inside cover really meant something rather like being a citizen of Rome was in Roman times. Looking briefly at Greek history I came across the Pacifico affair. He was an ex Portuguese Consul no less but was born in Gibraltar so could claim British citizenship. His house in Athens was burnt down in 1850 during an anti semitic riot ( he was a Jew ) and he wrote to complain to the British government. Now imagine today David Cameron getting such a letter. Nothing would happen except maybe a sympathetic letter from a junior F.O clerk or offer of counselling on Pacifico’s return to Blighty . What did Lord Palmerston do when he got the letter ? He summoned the Admiral of the Fleet and he in turn sent the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean fleet to blockade Piraeus. The Greeks rather than starve settled not only with Pacifico but paid up for the cost of the fleet too. Love it.