Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Sh*t happens

'This is Olympia Raad-yo, Olympia Raad-yo, to all sheeps to all sheeps...' And so my odyssey begins again - at least for the next week as we take an end-of-season trip on our boat in the Ionian.

She will soon be completely ours, as readers of this occasional blog know, and it's a strange feeling. In theory, next year we could be here all the time, sunning ourselves, sailing, cooking simple suppers on the tiny galley stove. But Mr Grigg has a couple of years to go yet before retiring and I need to devise a way of earning a living in Greece when he does. I speak no Greek but my command of English is pretty good, and those of you who have stopped by here before know my plan is to do a TEFL course and teach out here for at least a year.

I am never going to be the next J K Rowling or Zadie Smith. It is true the more you read the better a writer you become, but it does make you realise your limitations. It's like the amateur footballer who reaches 30 and it slowly dawns on him he will never do any better than playing for the pub team.

On the boat with Mr Grigg, his brother and Number One Son, the four of us look like rotund little Buddhas, the Grigg siblings more than anyone. We sit in a bar and a wild man with long grey hair and an even longer beard, drives by in a red Massey Ferguson, smoke billowing out from the back. An Englishman strolls by talking to his daughter's boyfriend, who has the words SEX WAX emblazoned across the back of his T-shirt. He bores his future son-in-law with a tale about a tractor he once owned that had a bench for a seat. The Greek Orthodox priest saunters by, in his long black dress. He hitches up his skirt and sits down with the men in the kafenion as they play backgammon.

Back on the boat the toilet is blocked. We can't pump it out and it is in danger of spilling over and flooding us all with smelly effluent. A phone call to the base manager and he comes out the next morning to pump out the blockage with the dinghy pump. Whoosh, a long ribbon of watery poo gurgles out, floats past and stretches 100 metres or more.

'It's like a bloody oil slick,' says Mr Grigg, disgusted, but watching closely because he might have to do this himself next year. And then a large blob of lavatory paper floats by, the legacy of previous occupants who know no better. I find the nearest aftershave I come across and, appropriately, spray Mr Grigg's Intimately Beckham around the loo while the base manager clears the air. It's a sh*t job but someone's got to do it.

'I used to be a jeweller,' he confides. Now the only carats he handles are the vegetable type digested by clients through their lower intestines.

As Mr Grigg spies the loo paper, he says: "Thank God for that, I thought it was the bloody square pasty.'

Because this, dear reader, was the vehicle parked outside our house on the morning we left.

Just watch out for those spinach pies.

That's about it

Love Maddie x


Anonymous said...

Im reading your post and when I read the bit about the loo being pumped I think to myself "I wonder if Mr Grigg saw a pasty in all that mess". You do not disappoint. Mr G is infamous. That's all Im saying. How Ginsters have not sponsored your Blog is a mystery.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Poor Mr. G, hope he had his marigolds on.

Pondside said...

Well, there was a warning early on, for the faint of heart and stomach!..the things one has to be able to do in order to loll around in paradise. I hope Mr Grigg was watching the whole pumping process closely enough to be able to replicate it next year.
I did the TEFL course two years ago - had taught English abroad before but thought I'd better get some current qualifications. It wa worthwhile, and perhaps someday I'll put the course to use again.

Pipany said...

Hmm, not sure I shall ever view a pasty in quite the same way again! x