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Day Two of the 2019 Olive Harvest at the Greek Hovel – Thursday, Vreki & the Police pay a visit

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 30 November 2019

An early start for myself and volunteer 1 K, who I really should hire out at commercial rates to my neighbours as he is a most excellent harvester, clambering up trees to saw off branches and using the twerker as if he was a veteran. After a good morning’s work, starting on the button at 7.30, we retired to Eleni’s Kourounis taverna for lunch. And then the skies darkened.

By the time we got back to the Hovel it was raining so we gave it 20 minutes and the shower seemed to have passed and we laboured on. By 3 PM we had harvested another 150 kg of olives but were both concerned that our bags of olives contained vast amounts of twigs and bark. We had made enquiries in Kambos at both hardware stores but both had sold out of the massive sieves they use here to deal with this issue. But I was given directions to a man who lives in the outskirts of Kalamata who makes such devices.

Anyhow it then started to rain again. Vreki. Bad News.  K is a blunt Northerner so when I observed that it was raining he just said “there’s rain and there’s rain” and seemed to want to carry on. Within minutes even K accepted that it was bucketing it down, we shovelled the olives on our mats into bags and took all of our bags to a place of shelter (my bedroom).  By the time we had retrieved the rest of our equipment we were drenched.

But the Mrs made me pack three pairs of trousers so a warm shower and a change of clothes later I headed to Kalamata, saw the man about the equipment, handing over 120 Euro with a promise that he’d drop it at the hardware store in Kambos that night, and then went to the bus station to meet volunteer two, T1, who is a journalist and also a ShareProphets subscriber.

Later on we found ourselves in Miranda’s for supper where, four days into the new EU imposed smoking ban the law is still ignored by all. My friend Vangelis was holding court buying jug after jug of wine for myself and C and T1 and, of course, smoking heavily. Then in walked a Policeman and another man. Both sat at a table, looked at Vangelis and the Policeman started filling in a form. All the other smokers looked shocked and, for the first time in history, stopped smoking.

Vangelis smiled with a look of cheerful resignation. Other folks looked less happy fearing the worst. The Policeman carried on filing in a yellow form but he clearly had a pad of them and there was evidence on other tables of the new crime. Vangelis lit another fag. “might as well be hung for a sheep, as for a lamb” thought I. The policeman carried on scribbling before putting the slip into an envelope and handing it with a flourish, and with some panache, to Vangelis. At which point Vangelis lit up again and the Policeman walked out.

Vangelis then explained that the form was for someone else on a completely different matter and everyone lit up again. The Greek’s healthy contempt for EU diktat is to be applauded. Viva Miranda’s.



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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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