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Back in Kambos – an ouzo in what used to be Miranda’s

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 27 November 2019

I still have not worked out what it is called these days but other than the name nothing changes.

As it happens I had sorted out the gas, water and other matters at the Greek Hovel so had a couple of hours to kill as I wait to go and pick up the first harvest volunteer from Kalamata bus station. Poor man, he has suffered travel hell too and will arrive pretty late. And so I wandered through Kambos saying hello to old friends.

First it was the olive press just gearing up for the season where the boss greeted me warmly “Thomas” and then spoke Greek to which I replied “Ne, Cala” and mumbled something about “Elias Avrio”  - olives, tomorrow for I have got the equipment ready and plan to start first thing. Then to the hardware store where the young man speaks English and then on to the Kourounis taverna.

Lovely Eleni was as friendly as ever. She asked after my children and did not seem to disapprove when I said Olaf was at University and drinking too much. A family trait you might say but she did not. I showed her photos of Joshua and the Welsh Hovel and we discussed how she will come to England next year. Now where have I heard that before?  All my old friends were there.

Nicho the Communist was playing backgammon and we chatted about Olives. His son is here to help him and says if I am struggling he can lend me a couple of Albanians. Yas I said to many others including Eleni’s mother-in-law who, in an annual ritual, spoke to me rapidly in Greek then chided me for not understanding a word. Just you watch, I will learn Greek and Welsh as well and then speak to her in Welsh and see how she likes it!

Folks watched the news coverage of the Albanian earthquake respectfully. Albanians may not be top of the pops here but this too is an earthquake zone. I don’t think any of us can fail to be touched by the old lady who gave her life sheltering the body of her grandson from falling rubble. He lived.

And then to Miranda’s where I opted for the meat dish rather than a pasta one. That’s the choice today. I did not know what meat it was, it was just a great chunk of flesh but it turned out to be pork and was great. I guess that it, an ouzo and a coffee will come to well under 10 Euro.

The no smoking sign still sits on the wall as it always does to obey the law. There was a new one passed three days ago. The owner and his wife, who sit on one of the six square tables, and more or less everyone else are smoking happily. This is Greece where folks show a healthy disrespect for the law.

Over the next ten days or so I shall gradually work out which members of the older generation have gone to a better place but other than that nothing at all changes in Kambos.   

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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