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Our first guest arrives at the Greek Hovel – the Bruce Springsteen expert & our first lunch on the new table

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 10 July 2021

Joshua and I had a day or so’s notice so yesterday tidied frantically. Even the bat room, of wildlife diversity invasion infamy, now looks pretty spotless. Compounding our triumph of being able to assemble a vacuum cleaner with twenty parts, we also managed to get the washing machine with Greek only options and instructions to work. And thus everything damaged in the bat room, Olaf’s bedroom should she pass covid tests and pitch up next week, is now clean and, if you can rid your mind of the thoughts of its former inhabitants, ready for use.

Our guest and his wife actually know this area well although not the track up to the hovel. We met at lovely Eleni’s Kourounis taverna before heading up that track, Joshua and I in the lead car our guests following on behind. Every now and again I stopped to ensure that they had not fallen off a cliff edge and were still with us. Joshua offered a tour of the house, we had a glass of wine and chatted while the boy watched Sherlock Holmes once again.

So who is this guest? James Pettifer is an Oxford Don specialising in this part of the world. As my dad’s faculties started to fade, James was the driving force behind the publication of the final work: Nobody’s Kingdom, a History of Northern Albania. Holding the first copy of that book off the press as he lay dying gave him some joy in those final days. For that we must all thank James.

But Mr Pettifer is also, as it happens, the author of Meet You in Atlantic City: Travels in Springsteen’s New Jersey, yes he is an expert on “The Boss”. And he is an active investor and attended the same Oxford college as myself, sharing my disdain for its woke begging emails and also for those frequenting the increasingly expensive town of Islington on Sea, aka Kardamili. We shared tales of price inflation, driven in part by the cult of Leigh Fermor. Then they left and Joshua and I enjoyed another first at the Greek Hovel.

Until now we have, rather lazily, headed down to Kambos for both supper and lunch. Since it costs only 10 Euro for a shared plate and a drink for each of us, this will not break the bank. But it is lazy and thus I took the opportunity today to pick up a loaf of artisanal bread and some tzatziki, taramasalata and cheese and Joshua sat at our new table for a formal lunch, a simple affair but a first. With all the shutters now open, the hovel is awash with natural light and with the aircon full blast, it is delightfully cool. Not a bad place to spend the next six weeks. Next up will be the opening of the pool early next week. It now looks a dazzling blue and must surely be fit for purpose on Monday.

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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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