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Tales from Messinia - An afterlife in Greece


It was not that long after we had first moved here & at a time when even equiped with a basic knowledge of Greek, things used to get very confused. In fact, looking back. it was the very fact that I DID appear to the locals to be able to speak some Greek that this happened, as they always assumed that I knew what they were on about, wheras, in fact a lot of the time it was only picking up key words - the rest was guesswork ! - a very dodgey practice !

We were sitting in Pavlos Taverna one night, Gerri & myself, along with Vasilis & his wife Alexandra. I had been having a bit of a problem of late in the old nether regions - Piles (can't spell Haemorrhoids !) I mentioned this fact, in low subdued tones to Vasilis, as I had not visited the Farmakio as yet in the village & wondered if there was a well know remedy locally available. This of course was a huge mistake ! Vasilis sprang up & addressed the other fifteen or so customers in the Taverna & anounced the fact that I had this problem, much to the delight of everyone ! also there sprang into being several sub conversations as to the cause & cure - all of which differed considerably. (these peple don't get out much!) Anyway after the excitement had died down, Vasilis confided in me, that he suffered a similar problem & if I would care to meet him next day at 9 a.m. we could get sorted.

There he was as agreed, outside the Farmakio - "Get in the car" says he - "Why" said I." We are here! " Anyway, for some reason, it transpired that we were not. A ten minute drive in Vassilis's beat up old Cavalier with grossley oversized wheels, so he can go cross country, took us to a place where we got out & he started picking plants. This happened a lot at this time, we thought we were doing something & we ended doing something totally different, frustrating but never boring. When we had enough in the bag, vasilis gave me half & I looked at him in my usual quizical way which indicates to Vasilis my total lack of comprehension (He knows this look well !)
It's for the piles he advised & all suddenly dawned ! Ah ! a herbal remedy, yep I'm all for that if it works. O.k. how much do you use & for how long do you infuse it ? Then I get the "Look" & the game of Charades start ! There were several passing motorists at the time & I dread to think what they imagined was going on. Vasilis bending over & pointing repeatedly at his bum !! At this point in time, it became obvious what was to be done with the leaves in question & Vasilis was smiling at the look on my face.

Back at the homestead the Saintly Gerri (She who must be obeyed) was reduced to fits of laughter when advised of the proceedure to be undertaken & saying the thought of me lying flat on my stomach with no trousers & a plant sticking out of my a*se was just too much to take ! In the end, without too much detail & with the aid of a mortar & pestal plus a little olive oil, the problem was resolved & yes, it did work ! Hang on - we're not finished yet !
Next time I saw Vasilis, I asked if he was o.k. as well & he relied he was, So the leaves work then I said - he replied that he did'nt know, as he uses ointment from the Farmakio & that's where he had been when he met me that morning ! BUT his Father always used to use the particular plant & he wondered if it actually worked !

Copied from blogs (original entry) - post comments here.

You could of course do as we did when we moved to Spain and bring a supply of "Anusol" with you, plus any other items that were known to work on cuts, itches or sores. Then when we run out, either re-supply is transported out from UK by friend or family or posted in a jiffy bag. That way we avoid tenuous broken Spanish/Engish conversations in the Farmacia with another 6 giggling Spanish or Ex-pats all listening in, not least, to your pathetic attempts at murdering the local lingo let alone your problem.



Yeh Nutty, that was one of our first thoughts - then, as we had decided to get away from it all as much as poss. we had made our minds up to attempt everything by ourselves & source all that we needed here - not easy considering we moved to a hill village with NO other western European residents. For the first year or so, it was like living in a Monty Python script ! Three years now down the track, things here seem normal, rather than weird. Bit like being in the mob really - better mates, stacks of cheap booze & a "make & mend" when the "Boss" allows
Its OK until it all go's tits up. A Chef who I joined Ganges with spent 20 years on a small Greek Island, went native learnt the language, his English wife taught English at the local school. Then he was accused of murder, wife and oppo arrested taken to Athens both got two weeks of sleep deprevation he also received regular beatings whilst naked. Local Mayor and Doctor finally got them bail, Two weeks later two Albanians arrested still with property from the burglary and murder scene. Told they were free from bail conditions. Two weeks later left Greece for ever.



That is of course one of the problems Nutty - what if ?
One never knows the things that fate has in store. Still just imagine if you never do these things, then regret it when it's too late, besides "Beatings while naked " sounds o.k. to me !!!
Yes of course the 100,000's of thousands of Ex pats in Greece and over a million in Spain wander through life with no trouble other than the odd traffic ticket. A few do suffer very badly financially being ripped off by their own or locals and a smaller amount fall foul, often innocently of local authorities who quickly become very nationalistic and take the sides because it is easy to blame a Foreigner who has little local sympathy and often does not know the rules of the game.

You need to tread softly and consider any action that you undertake shit happens.

Saying that I cannot see any set of circumstances that would make me consider a return to the UK where not only is the weather cold and wet and prices exorbitant but just about every Public Service is controlled by targets and spin, including the upper end of the RN. Good service, house keeping, real issues and problems are sacrificed on the altar of presentation and a person's next career move.


PS Dick stated the beating would have been OK if a booted Greek copper had not been standing on his chest while they beat his feet.
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