Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Catching up with old friends

Holed up in Corfu with Mr Grigg, he playing Odysseus to my Calypso, the waves are jumping for joy. The sea is slopping around like an upset stomach.

We are back in the Ionian. For ten days - not nearly long enough for my liking, but better than nothing - we will pootle around, sailing here and there wherever the wind, and the mood, takes us.

In the airport queue, by a quirk of chance, I see old friends who are on their way to see another old friend who has gone native on the island of Paxos after selling his farm in the folds of Dorset's beautiful Eggardon Hill. I always said to the father of Number One Son this person was 'my first reserve' - jokingly, of course, but enough to keep him on his toes.

But now I have Mr Grigg, my number one husband, my only husband, who today celebrates his 60th birthday, with a glass or five of Corfiot wine (Grammenos Family). The wind has died down now, and we are gently bobbing on the quayside at Mourtos, on the mainland, while our old friend, Andreas, at The Bamboo Place is walking fast, like a running train, serving the people who are all his 'friends'.

A day or so ago, on a windswept beach in the north of Corfu, we look for one of our favourite tavernas, The Three Brothers at Astrakeri. It is all shut up now, and we are sad. This place was an unspoilt gem, where the three brothers - Jack, Costas and Spiros - sat far apart from each other on plastic chairs up against the back wall, while their wives slaved over a hot stove. This is the place where I sampled octopus in red sauce that has never been beaten. And now it is gone.

So we head up the hill, downhearted, looking around us.

'Oh look,' Mr Grigg says. 'The Three Brothers.'

We smile and think 'that's nice' and then the car screeches to a halt as I yell out 'stop!'

It is The Three Brothers re-born in a slightly different location, with just Costas and his octopus-in-red-sauce-cooking wife at the helm and his three sons front of house.

It is Jiannis I recognise: a young, very talented graphic designer who spends the winter working in bars in Birmingham.

'Hello Maddie!' he shouts. 'I see two thousand people every year and I remember you!'

So we sit on the balcony, overlooking the wild coast and an electricity junction box.

After the national strike, the power is back on, and Jiannis' mother is cooking.

So by the light of the setting sun, we feast on octopus and think ourselves very lucky to have stumbled yet again on another enchanted village, far away from our own, but on a par with our lovely Lush Places.

And in the evening, the excitement mounts as I Skype a friend I have never met. The lovely, loyal and beautiful Pondside, in preparation for our book club meeting across the internet when we get back home, linking Vancouver Island with our special part of Dorset.

We are reading Mistress of Nothing. But me, right now I feel I am mistress of all I survey.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


Corfu Bluesman said...

Glad to know you're out in this part of the world...although we're up in the mountains of Epirus. Incidentally, do you know about the "Dorset Voices" book project? See www.poundburyvoices.blogspot.com
Deadline for submissions is July 30.

Pondside said...

You are in paradise - and I am deeply envious! I just know you are seeing more sun in 10 days than we have seen since the first of May. I know that it's not nice to be so envious - can't help it - although I can spare enough bonhomie to wish (the doubtless tanned) Mr Grigg a Happy Birthday!

Gail said...

Wish I was still there! And we were in the same area ---- we were on Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionians! Hope you have a better trip back than we had. x