Sunday, 7 July 2013

We could have danced all night

Up at the plateia, the mandolins did a sound check to Zorba's Dance.

Children tore around the square's twin trees and toddlers bobbed up and down on bended knees while devoted mothers and grannies looked on.

Old men sat outside the kafenion, clacking their worry beads, gazing out at the scene unfolding before them.

The butcher arrived in his van with two crates of souvlakia as the barbecue began to smoke. The wine and beer and Coca Cola was flowing and plates and plates of souvlakia, oily roast potatoes with aubergines, chicken and peppers kept arriving on our table.
'You want wine? I bring you wine,' said an important villager, who wandered down the road to his house to bring back a fancy decanter of his home made brew, his own feta and green olives.
'Why do they keep giving us all this?' said our children, who are staying with us for the week. 'Shouldn't we be paying for it?'

Mr Grigg was happy. What with the children buying two rounds of drinks, he didn't spend a penny all night. So when he found out the festival was in aid of the village football team and the big panygiri later in the year, he coughed up a hefty donation and was promptly given a receipt.

The women danced in lines and were joined by the men. The men danced in circles like cockerels admiring and sizing each other up. A slim, middle-aged holidaymaker stunned everyone with her energetic Turkish-style shimmy, dirty dancing with the most athletic Greek dancer of the night . A chair overturned and a man fell out of it, hitting his head on the paving slabs. There were momentary looks of concern and then laughter when it was clear all was well.

A line of male dancers made their way in and out through the kafenion, a conga-style line but with a Greek flavour.

And still the food kept coming.

'You think this is busy, you wait until our panygiri in a few weeks' time,' the villager said.

It is festival season all over Greece where villages and towns across the country celebrate their local saints. Despite dire times, the Greeks really know how to party. They are the most joyful and most hospitable race I know.

And the dancing went on into the night.
That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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