Saturday, July 07, 2007

Kindness of strangers

They say that strangers are only friends you haven't met yet, but I have to admit that this seems to be the experience of Corfiot people.

We asked our builder if he and his wife would join us for dinner one evening, so that we could get to know each other and make sure we were thinking along the same lines for our houses final finish and appearance.

Of course, we needn't have worried, they were a delightful couple - although there was a slight language barrier, we got along really well, and 'put the world to rights' in an most enjoyable fashion! We all enjoyed the simple but excellent grilled meats offered at George and Margaret's Grill Room in the North Eastern resort of Kassiopi.

Margaret has, in my humble opinion, the most gorgeous light, fruity locally made red house wine that I have yet to sample on the island. Served chilled in a metal jug, it is almost a rose, and slips down so very easily with the wonderful grilled meats and chunky homemade chips that the Taverna specialises in. Such simplicity sounds simple and rustic, but has to be tasted to be believed - Simon is virtually vegetarian in the UK, but he can't resist the local meat! It is absolutely excellent, tasty and rich - just as it used to be in our far off childhoods!

A phrase we've picked up from John Mole's excellent book 'It's all Greek to Me', that seemed to be easy to drop into conversation is 'Ti na kanoume?' - 'What can we do?', accompanied by an almost Gallic shrug!! This helped to break the ice and helped what we hope to be a great friendship to develop.

As is Greek custom, though we invited this couple to drive for over an hour along mad hairpin bends and blind corners, we were prevented from picking up the tab! I really hope that they will let us reciprocate when we return in October.... especially as we hear our builder's brother runs a very traditional Grill Room just south of Corfu Town!

Happy days.....

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Blogger Sibadd said...

Lovely to see you back. The kindness of strangers. Long ago we were sailing towards Athens on the Gulf of Corinth. A figure in black beckoned us from the rocky shore below a headland. We anchored and landed. The man led us up a goat path and sat us in front of his lonely hut from where we could see our boat below. His cellar was full of collected rain water. He gave us ouzo - two glasses each to graduate the mix - and we spoke by hand. He gave us olives and bread. Later he succeeded, via an eloquent ballet of gestures, in getting us to understand that his hospitality relied on the possibility that any stranger, including two salty young Englishmen, might be Christ. I recall the sound of an explosion in the sea below the headland. "My brother is fishing." As we motored on eastwards towards the mouth of the Corinth Canal he stayed motionless on the shore watching us depart.If we might have been Christ, who might he have been?

4:23 pm  
Blogger Becky said...

Thanks, Sibadd!

Those were the days, I am sure, but I was just a babe in arms when you undertook this journey, I'll be bound!


11:01 pm  

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