Thursday, 27 September 2012

Packing cases and boxes everywhere

After sorting out paperwork to do with the house we are renting for twelve months in Corfu and hiding from rainstorms in the Ionian, I'm now back in Blighty surrounded by packing cases and boxes.

Who would have thought anyone could accumulate so much stuff?

Apologies for not blogging for a while but it's been absolutely manic. The good news is Mr Grigg and I have found a great home for our two dogs, just over the hill in the next town. And the cats have been farmed out to one of my sisters in the Birthplace of Powered Fight.

All we need is a tenant for our house and we can feel a bit more relaxed about our Big Fat Greek Gap Year.

In the meantime, the October issue of The Ionian Magazine is out and I'm in it, on page seven.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mythical Ithaca


The fisherman sings as his boat swings into the small bay at Polis, Ithaca. His chugging boat is laden with a good catch.

Mr Grigg washes down the decks as I prepare breakfast of fruit, yoghurt and honey. There is a tinkling of bells as the goats wander down to the water's edge to nibble on seaweed.

The sun has taken a long time to rise above the steep slope to our port side. But the water is nice and warm. And the fish - those that have evaded the fisherman's net - swirl and swish their silvery sides, back and forth, back and forth.

Polis is a magical place. Here in a cave - its roof collapsed now following an earthquake - twelve geometric tripods, similar to those described in the Odyssey, were once found, along with terracotta masks dedicated to Homer's hero.

A trip to the archaeological museum at Stavros beckons, along with lunch at the garden restaurant, Polyphemus.

If the Ithaca of Odysseus really existed, then surely this must be it.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The paper trail starts here

At the Corfu tax office, the staff are dressed in polo shirts, jeans and trainers.

A ticket machine spews out a piece of paper with a number on it and we wait in turn, as if we are standing at the deli counter at Morrisons for two Scotch eggs and four slices of ham.

A young man with the chiselled face of an ancient Greek shuffles large bundles of paper very loudly, making his presence felt in a hubbub of voices in a foreign tongue. And then, after ten minutes, we are at the front of the queue. A few signatures, lots of stamping and we're done.

We emerge from the tax office, a five-storey, grubby building faced with light grey marble, air conditioning units outside every window. Teenage boys use the front courtyard as a skateboard ramp and a melange of mopeds and scooters are parked against a low wall.

We take in the hustle and bustle around us - with a tax number we are now part of this, after all - and it begins to rain. And rain and rain and rain. And there's me wearing my hat made from woven paper.

'It's the first rain since May,' says Marcus, who is sheltering in the same doorway. 'And I'm so excited.'

Zeus be praised, I think. This must be a good sign.

Paperwork over, there are a few more things to do before we come here proper, driving in convoy, next month.

We have to revisit the house. Yes, the house. Is it as good as we remember? Or are we seeing it through Ouzo-tinted glasses?

Stay with me to find out. More later.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Now's the time to say goodbye...

And so the countdown really begins as we start to pack up, throw out and generally sort through the house.

With gifts of English provisions such as Jacobs Cream Crackers and Marmite from Darling Loggins, Manuka honey hand cream from Pelly Sheepwash and four pairs of silky and lacy knickers from the fragrant Mrs Putter (what was she thinking of?), I am almost ready for my Big Fat Greek Gap Year.

But tonight we celebrate The Enchanted Village and its special people, the people who worked for weeks to put on four fun-filled days over the Diamond Jubilee weekend.

It is our annual thank you party and people have brought enough loaves and fishes to feed the five thousand.  There is dancing to The Macarena and Cha-Cha Slide, led by Randy Munchkin and The Loveliest Lady in the Village.

And then there is a lull when my iPod freezes on Born to Be Wild, giving Mr Loggins the chance to step in and say a few words.

'We're going to miss you two,' he says. 'But if anyone's going to fix the Greek economy it's Mr Grigg.'

I don't know how he works that one out. Unless Mr Grigg is going to bathe in olive oil and drink six bottles of Metaxa a week.

'But what we wanted to say,' Mr Loggins says, with the hall buzzing with about seventy people, one of whom has just won a bottle of Liebfraumilch I won on the tombola two months ago, 'is good luck. And we'll keep the flame alive while you're gone.'


A signed card and what I suspect is a hugely expensive box of hand-made, holiday-themed biscuits procured by Mrs Bancroft from the internet, is handed over to rousing applause.

The iPod fixed, we dance the night away to Abba, put on just for Mamma Mia, before clearing up and heading for bed. But not before Mr Grigg and I take to the floor alone and smooch to Can't Help Falling In Love With You.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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