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The Greek Hovel August 2020 - Day 13, business negotiations with Nicho the Communist & son

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 5 December 2020

The big event of the day was the return visit of Guardian reading L&G to the Greek Hovel. Joshua is a big fan of L in particular and his excitement at the prospect of splashing him in the pool mounted all morning. Aware that our friends like a drink or two, I headed into Kambos for supplies.

And there I encountered Nicho the Communist and his son, whose English is excellent, and broached the subject of my olive harvest this year. The Mrs, I suggested, would take a rather dim view of me heading off to Greece with more British volunteers at a time when she would be left not only with Joshua but with a two week old baby. I asked the older of the two Communists what he thought I should do. In Greece, communism is as much about genes as it is about beliefs.

Fear not, he said, we will take care of you. We will do the harvest and split the profits 50/50. This is the sort of entrepreneurial communism I can embrace. But it was agreed that team Nicho needed to inspect the trees. I was not sure if this was going to be a good year or a bad year as my own, non-expert, view was that it was going to be a middling sort of year which is clearly the wrong answer. Everything in Greece and with Greeks is always either very good or very bad.

In terms of the inspection, Friday was out as Nicho was preparing for the great party he was organising in the village square. That party would involve great amounts of eating but also drinking and would go on late into the night and thus Saturday was also out for obvious reasons. And so it was agreed that both men would come to the hovel, with their swimming trunks, on Sunday to inspect the trees.

With business concluded, I bought a couple of bottles of rose, some feta, bread and salad ingredients from Lovely Eleni and headed back to the hovel. On time, L&J arrived bringing booze and also some amazing food, a fish stew and some fava, both of which put my humble efforts rather to shame. 

L&G can drive up the hairpin bend ridden road from Kambos to Vorio after several bottles of booze without blinking. I fear that road. But it seems that the track up to the Greek Hovel produces exactly opposite reactions. For G, the driver, it is a frightening prospect. Visiting olive harvesters know that, even after a few ouzos, I handle the track with confidence. Even a bit sloshed, knowing exactly when to go into second or first gear and where all the potholes are, it is a doddle. 

But the prospect of heading back down the track restricted the drinking of the away team. It reduced it anyway. The main thing was that Joshua got to swim with, i.e splash, L in two sessions and that made his day.  For the Mrs and I, thoughts started to turn to a mask covered journey back to Wales, of dropping the car off and then lugging heavy bags through Kalamata and then Manchester airport. It is a cloud that seems to hang over you in an ever more menacing way as a holiday draws to a close.



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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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