Rather foolishly no-one took exact directions to the house of Paddy Leigh Fermor which is about three quarters of a mile outside the main area of Kardamili. My father sat in the other front seat and my step mother and wife sat in the back as I drove along the main road reliant on the fact that the Old Man had been there before. That was an error, Not for nothing does my father make regular donations to the Alzheimer's society.
Indeed, on occasion he manages a real triumph by sending a cheque to the society in an envelope addressed to one of my siblings while sending to the Alzheimer's folks a long, rambling and illegible letter in which he makes rude observations about a range of family members exempting - on this occasion only - the intended recipient.
As such the satnav skills of my father were rather lacking. He being almost totally immobile, my very pregnant wife not much better, it was thus down to my step mother and I to find a native and get directions. I take my hat off to my step mum who took directions in Greek and thanks to here we, somehow, arrived albeit rather rather late.
The house is open at certain hours and you have to get on the list to visit as part of a large group. Chez Leigh Fermor is up a rather steep track which I drove up by car to deposit the almost totally immobile and nearly immobile before somehow reversing down to secure a parking spot. A walk along a leafy path from the top of the track found the advance party of my step mother and I facing a long wall which encircles the property. Where the wall turned lower I peered over and saw a very well dressed middle class Brit and asked him how we might secure entrance.
Paddy Leigh Fermor attracts disproportionate admiration from elitist British snobs and this well bred member of the elite peered down his patrician nose to find himself staring at a man who has not shaved for two weeks and who was wearing a shirt without a collar, that is to say an Indian shirt, black jeans and sneakers. Clearly I was not the right sort of fellow and with great pleasure he answered my question "by arrangement only". I responded - we have made arrangements I just wanted to know how we get in?
But at that point the man turned on his upper class heels having spent far too long engaging with a member of the lower classes. Thinking that a man such as Leigh Fermor would have happily have sat at the Greek Hovel drinking ouzo unlike this upper class twit, I said "patrician tosser" in a voice loud enough for all to hear. The chap strode off to distance himself from the peasantry while my step mother, the daughter and sister of a Baronet and someone noted for being really rather posh, looked at me a little disapprovingly.
We headed back to the door to the compound which had been locked and somehow managed to attract the attention of a Greek. He had no reservations about speaking to a man in a beard who was wearing an ethnic shirt and entrance was secured.
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