Holiday – Part 1
C and I are just back from our hols. A lovely, relaxing week on the island paradise of Paxos, Greece. The land where the tomato is tomato flavoured and the man who owns the black dress shop and the worry bead store is king.
The climate and weather on Paxos was truly wonderful. Blue skies and sunshine with a temperature nudging 30 degrees in the day and not falling much below 20 degrees in the evening. Heaven.
The island, also seemed to be mosquito free. Although that may well be a seasonal thing as the local “supermarket” (not much bigger than our front room) had a whole shelf dedicated to repelling, killing, and soothing the after effects of the buzzing little monsters.
This – the lack of mosquitos – was good news for us, however, as C is a bit of a bite magnet. If there is a biting insect within twenty miles, it will seek C out. Indeed she did get bitten three times on one foot while we were out walking, probably by a horse fly or something that got trapped in her sandals.
I can be lay next to C in bed and awake bite free, while C will have red sores all over her. I have tried to convince her that aniseed is a natural repellant and that the reason I get away without being bitten is because I “force” myself to consume vast amounts of Ouzo/Raki/Pernod, depending upon where we are holidaying. She is having nothing of it. When there are mosquitos about, we generally have a fretful, sleepless night……..and C is not at her best without sleep. So, thankfully, there were no mosquitos. And, I saved a lot of money on Ouzo.
Now, we all know that Ancient Greece was one of the truly great civilisations and empires. So, how come they don’t do proper toilets? You know, proper WCs where you can wipe your arse and then throw the paper into the loo and flush it all away? Why is it not beyond the wit of a Greek plumber to devise a waste pipe capable of coping with a bit of soiled tissue paper? Instead, they insist that you throw your toilet paper away in the little “bins provided”. In a temperature of 30 degrees. When the cleaner only comes every thrid day. Civilisation? I think not.
Thankfully, C and I were somewhat protected from this rather unsavoury side of our daily ablutions in that we had two bathrooms. We labelled them bathroom number one, where we did our number ones, and, bathroom number two……..where the little bin that shall not be spoken about lurked!
The toilet thing is only a minor personal irritation. C, however, got very vexed by our sugar supply. Our travel agent very kindly provides a welcome hamper of essentials – beer, wine, chocolate biscuits (?), washing up liquid, toilet paper, milk, olives, feta cheese, ham, eggs, vegetables, tea bags, and sugar, etc. The sugar comes in those little paper tube things – not sachets that you might get in a British cafe but little paper tubes:
C thinks that this is a highly inefficient and wasteful method for the dispensing of sugar. I am certain that the amount of engineering and manufacturing involved leaves a carbon footprint that far outweighs the minor calorific benefit of the few grains that little tube contains. What is wrong with a good old kilo bag of Tate and Lyle? C was quite irked by it……every morning…..over breakfast…..when we had a cup of tea.
Indeed, the whole morning tea thing could get a bit stressful. I ended up drinking my tea black. Not because I have gone “French”. The French seem to think that they are more sophisticated than us because they drink their tea black, maybe with a bit of lemon or a spoonful of honey. Whereas we know it is because they are a pretentious nation of coffee drinkers whose empire, unlike our own, never stretched as far as the places where you could get a decent bit of Typhoo.
No, I was drinking my tea black because the milk that they had provided us with was “sterilised”. The long life stuff that tastes like, well, anything other than milk. Those of you of a certain age will remember the days when the milkman used to deliver milk to your front door rather than you having to buy it from the shop. Way back in the day there used to be different types of milk that came in proper glass bottles. When you finished with them, you washed them and left them outside your door and the milkman would take them away when he delivered the next morning. An efficient form of recycling, unlike those bloody multicoloured boxes and bins that the councils foist on us today.
There was also a variety of milks to choose from. There was pasteurised milk that came in a stumpy fat bottle and a foil lid, the colour of which was different depending upon whether you had full cream or semi-skimmed. And, there was the sterilised stuff that came in a tall thin bottle with a metal bottle top such as you still find on a bottle of beer.
We used the pasteurised stuff to drink, either au naturale or mixed with a bit of Nesquick, and to pour on our cereals, because it tasted OK (full cream moustaches – those were the days). The sterilised stuff only existed because it kept longer and was cheaper than the good stuff. It tasted like crap which was why it was only ever used in cups of tea and coffee, but, after a decade or so we Brits collectively made up our mind that even with a couple of spoonfuls of Nescafe and sugar (loose stuff, from a big bag), the milk tasted crap and we stopped buying the stuff.
So come on Greece, what is it with your little tubes of sugar, your crap milk and your strange toilet habits?!?! Catch up with us civilised folk in the twenty first century.