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My father in Greece: the 25 chickens and penises

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 29 June 2021

My step brother T has sent me a photo of our late father sitting, topless, holding a large chicken and wonders if it was in Greece. It is not terribly flattering so I shall not publish it but it is the sort of memory of an eccentric man you treasure. It reminds me of a story from when we were very young and my father had just returned from a trip to the mountains of Northern Greece. We had stayed at home with mum.

In those days, his travel involved trains and rickety old buses and a lot of walking, for many villages, even Anelion, were off road. It was not something you did with young children especially in the winter as the snows closed in on the Pindus.

Stopping at some Vlach village, my father had engaged in conversation with some locals using his best Greek and Vlach and feeling very proud of himself. He explained about his wife and children and his farm back in England at Butterwell and how he had 25 chickens. Everyone looked rather shocked.

A man who spoke some English or German pulled my father aside and asked “Do you really have 25 penises?” An easy mistake to make. And one soon forgotten amid the retsina and ouzos of a small snowbound Greek village. But not a tale that is forgotten by Dad’s children.

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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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