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Mary Irvine: Musings from Spetses 3.

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Spetses – an interlude on St David’s Day 2017

Did my teacher training in North Wales.  Good student days. Even managed some academic work. My son was born there. Got a soft spot for the place. One of the pieces of music that always touches me deeply is a recording of Paul Robeson singing the Welsh National Anthem. There is a story about his connection to South Wales. Must regale you with it sometime.

     Meanwhile, back on Spetses. The everyday life of island folk… I knew there would be no hot water before I arrived. Had been told plumber was coming to fix on day of arrival which he did but informed us not a boiler fault per se but an electrical one. Off he went and electrician duly arrived. Couldn’t repair then but would return after the Carnival Weekend/Clean Monday. Not being a great fan of cold showers I resorted to my childhood - one cold tap in the entire house (another story) – and ‘all over washes’ from a bowl of hot water, got by boiling a travel kettle a couple of times. Electrician and mate arrived Tuesday morning and fixed the problem in ten minutes. Not sure why it couldn’t be done previous Saturday.   

     Sunday morning, about half an hour before Esther was leaving to return to Epidavros the waste pipe from the sink in the shower room chose to detach itself. Am awaiting return of plumber, supposed to come yesterday but didn’t turn up! Now promised today.    

     Must mention the dog poo. On arrival Esther and I entered the shared courtyard to be met by a lot of dog poo (as I walk my son’s dog I’m an expert on dog poo - another rant at some time) and urine (am being polite - not what I said at time). It was a BIG dog. We ascended the steps to the apartment to be met by what appeared to be a doggy toilet on the private balcony. Imagine if I’d been a real tourist being shown to their accommodation.   

     A quick reckie by Esther soon discovered the culprit and a right royal argument ensued (after Esther had cleaned the offending turds away, she’s Swiss and has her priorities). Eventually the dog owner did send a girl to wash down the shared courtyard but the row is ongoing with several parties now involved. Have decided this is one of those times when ‘Sorry, I don’t understand’ will be in usage should anyone come knocking with big dog in tow.   

     Spetses has always been considered an expensive island and nothing has changed. Esther, Maria and I went ‘for a coffee’ on the Dapia. Not naming the coffee shop we were charged 4.30 euros for a mug of hot chocolate. To put in context I paid 2 .50 euros at the airport and 2 euros at a beach taverna in Epidavros. Maria said that even in Athens the prices are cheaper than here. What’s more we didn’t get a receipt (illegal not to give one). When Esther asked for one she was told the machine was broken. Her reply was that she’d sit and wait or return the next day. Eventually she did get one but observation suggested the machine kept breaking down.

     Not really good business to be expensive, especially as the island no longer attracts the hordes it once did. Maria commented that now the season was basically August with the occasionally flurry for special celebration weekends.   

     However, the view I had as I drank my expensive hot chocolate was spectacular.  Perhaps I’d paid for it… Unfortunately am having problems getting photos to Pat so will offer one of my favourites – of the Old Harbour, taken by my friend Mike (Taylor)

Mary Irvine, 1 March, 2017

Mary Irvine's blog: Lennox Heritage Society review talk in February, 2017
Mary Irvine's Blog, Musings from Greece 2, February, 20, 2017
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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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