What a start!

by Hilary  

It was hardly dark before it was light and the alarm went off at 8am. 10 minutes snooze I thought, but no: 'Hilary, come on'. Georgos on the road shouting up to come shopping. I shout 'epxomai' (coming) through the window in my nighty and pull on yesterdays clothes, and just about glup a glass of peach juice.

In 3 minutes I was out the door with Eleni standing in her going out clothes by the car. We go and pick up her sister, Katrina, a younger and feistier version, that you would not want to cross. With the car full we go to Limenas, Georgos singing and talking to himself, putting the car into neutral going down hills, taking the corners wide like a racing driver, cylinders rattling with any acceleration.

We drive out of Panagia, and up the hill, and as he changes gear the engine fails and comes to a stop on the bend. Several attempts to restart the engine fail, and he takes off the handbrake and the car backs down the hill to the opposite side of the road, facing the oncoming traffic that cannot see him just around the bend. We were lucky that there was no traffic at that movement, I reach over and put on the hazard lights before we make an exit. He manages to coast it to the side of the road out of the way, Katrina already out of the car and walking back to Panagia for the bus, and Eleni, bewildered, standing in the middle of the road, waving at cars and full taxis. Georgos is on the phone, probably to Manolis, the mechanic who fixed my battery.

Katrina and I walk down the hill, abandoning Eleni, still waving at passing cars, with the aim of finding a taxi, but rather, I think, of escaping from the chaos. A taxi drives passes and turns back for us, and we pick up Eleni on the way. Georgos is still stuck in the car on the phone.

It is very hot today, early morning clouds burnt off, and the shopping has not got off to a good start. I?ve decided against making Pasticcio today and spending all day in the kitchen, I?ll buy 2 chickens, as they suggest with oven potatoes, some vege and salad. So there is not much I want to buy. Eleni goes to the bank, again, to the Chemist, again, for mountain of drugs, we pass a cheap clothes shop, run by Chinese, that we have to stop at every time, and Katrina pulls a top of the rails and says 'Yia sena' (for you). And she?s right, a turquoise top, without sleeves ( I know, it will show my lumpy arm, but its so hot) that looks fine. I try it on and buy it for 10 euros while Katrina buys herself a red top, a bigger shape.

The one thing I do want to do is make a hair appointment, but we are so early that the shop isn?t open yet. There are a few more shops to visit and Katrina is already fed up and ready to go back. We march to the bus station and one is leaving in 15 mins, at 10.15. I think I have time to try the hairdresser again, and rush back there, manage to make an appointment for Friday, and rush back to find them queuing for the bus, holding my things ? a lettuce and the top. The bus is impatient to go and leaves 5 minutes early, I only just made it, 2 minutes more chatting with the hairdresser and it would have left without me.

So finally we get back to Potamia and Eleni struggles up the hill with her packages. We pass her other sisters house, and Eleni say, 'Lets go for a coffee', but her sister is not keen, she has some cleaning to do, some mud or dirty mark on the tiles and they both looked concerned, and I just want to get in and have something to eat and drink. As we get to Eleni?s house, Kostas is waiting behind the gate, looking up for her like a lost child.

I?m now on the balcony,

after a greek salad sandwich and three cups of green tea. I can hear Georgos shouting down road, without car,in his straw hat wheeling a bicycle. 'Little problem, not every day. Problem with electronics', and he makes the shape of a cylinder..

A late middle aged couple walked passed with guide book in hand, red faced with rucksack on back. They look up 'Panagia?' I say, 'are you German?', they say Yes. 'Can I see your book?' I ask, I?ve always wanted to see this book and pathway. Its not very clear, and its so hot I have to stand in the shade under the balcony to look at it. I say 'Many Germans walk this way, and they don?t come back'. They laugh. 'Its very hot' I say, 'and a long way'. The woman looks at me like its none of my business if they chose to walk in the mid-day sun, without hats, up the hill.

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