Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The taxman cometh

In sleepy Lakka, on the northern tip of Paxos, where the bay is a turquoise blue and the cicadas incessant buzzing is deafening, a person in the house on the hill practises the tuba. The mournful high notes penetrate this peaceful place as we bob around at anchor watching others prepare themselves for a day's sailing.

Yesterday, we picked up a couple of hitchhikers after Mr Grigg, always the entertainer, had a Maddie moment and invited two complete strangers on the taverna table next to us at for a day out on the good ship Nestor.

We pootled up from Gaois, enjoying the company of our new-found friends, Pat and Ned, after almost a week of being in splendid isolation. We lunched on board on chef's salad, bread, wine and beer after swimming around the boat in the clear, warm waters.
But I am very nosy and the burning question I had was what did they do for a living. They hesitated before looking aghast at each other.

'We're having such a lovely time. We weren't going to tell you this,' they said in unison.

A coldness swept through our veins. The Serial Killers of the High Seas, British National Party canvassers or septic tank emptiers (the last two are interchangeable but at least the latter is honest and necessary). Or maybe, heaven forbid as far as Mr Grigg is concerned, divorce lawyers?

There was a deep intake of breath as they said: 'We worked for the Inland Revenue as tax inspectors.'

You could hear a pine needle drop, just above the sound of Mr Grigg's brain whirring as he thought back to the last hour's conversation. Had he said anything incriminating?

Pat said: 'But we've both taken early retirement and we don't care.'

'Well, it's a job and somebody's got to do it,' I said, breaking the ice that had suddely frozen over the Ionian. As a tax saint due for a rebate, it was the least I could do.

At the end of the afternoon, we took them by dinghy across to the Quayside for a goodbye beer.

'You've really made our day,' Pat said. 'It's been the highlight of our holiday, thank you so much. My son will be so jealous.'

That night, we enjoyed a meal at Nionios in Lakka square, finished off with the ubiquitous small glass of brown stuff 'on the house' that tasted distinctly like Obridges cough mixture.

It's a hard life. But somebody's got to do it.

That's about it

Love Maddie x


ChrisH said...

There's something about sailing that makes you take up with new people. It sounds as if you're having a good time.

Jude said...

Hello, I love the feel that you're so close...sounds sad, doesn't it??
It sounds like you're having a wonderful time, much skinny dipping happening I hope......

Arosebyanyothername said...

Would anyone have missed them if you had tipped them quietly overboard? - only joking - I think.

Anonymous said...

The picture of the bay is phenomenal looking.
It was very generous of you to take the new found friends out for the day and I can imagine when they said you'd made their day - your really did. I know it would have made mine! But poor old tax inspectors, they get such a bad rep. They're party animals really.

Pondside said...

Too funny! I'd have been running through previous conversation too!
It sounds as though you're having a heavenly time. I too am a fair weather sailor. The Great Dane loves all the wind and speeding along, whereas I love to be becalmed, enjoying a picnic, a book and a bottle of wine.

Reuben said...

The generousity of Mr Griggs never ceases to amaze us, you not only gave them a wonderful day out but are also contributing to their index linked early retirement pension.
Enjoy the rest of your trip and not too much cough mixture.

Cait O'Connor said...

That was funny. They could have had a worse job.....couldn't they? Is there one?

seashell cosmos said...

stunning photo again, you've made my day. really, thank you! Loving this blog!!!

Maddie Grigg said...

Hi, thanks for all your comments. Will post more soon, and, when I get back,upload more photos. Would you believe the company with whom we have this yacht partnership are called Odysseus? Couldn't be more fitting. And just to say Pat and Ned were great company, especially after a wine and beer or three...
We are now debating who from the village we will take when we come out again in September. Number One Son looks a dead cert, and previous guests have included Mr St John, for whom we threw a love message in a bottle overboard, and the ladylike Mrs Bancroft, who waved like royalty at all who passed.

Gail said...

Disappointed you didn't extract some tips from the tax inspectors - you could have made them walk the plank if they didn't deliver.