Another typical day, or so it seemed…
‘Shrove Tuesday‘ apparently. Whatever the f*ck a ‘Shrove‘ is? And yes, I was actually asked last week. Not a clue either. For this fact, I am neither embarrassed or worried about either and I’ll tell you why…
I’m English, speak the language, went to Church as a kid, grew up and imprisoned in a Roman Catholic school with other unwilling victims and had a God fearing nan threatening to send me to hell herself if I was naughty, a mum who knows I was an angel (ok, shhhh), and still, no idea what the hell a ‘Shrove’ is or was.
Thankfully I looked in the ‘Cambridge English Dictionary’, quite an old one too so I figured if anything, this is the kind of Dictionary which my nan would have battered me round the head with when as kids we’d all try and sneak a lick of the cake bowl before we were allowed to, and guess what, not a clue either.
So, if they don’t know, I don’t need to know. Simple. It’s a poor show when even the Cambridge English Dictionary don’t give a f*ck!
What it did say though was this :
Shrove-Tuesday. The last Tuesday before lent… I kid you not.
HELLO!? That’s the job of a Calendar, not a fricking Dictionary is it not!?
We know that bit! But what the hell’s a ‘Shrove’…!?
I was going to look up Ash Wednesday to see if that was in anyway connected with ‘Wednesday’ but didn’t want to tax my already vexed mind further.
I couldn’t recall what ‘What the f*ck’ Thursday was called either so named it myself for subsequent years. You’re Welcome.
Anyway, on a sidenote, just realized it might not be today, could have been last Tuesday or next Tuesday even. To be perfectly honest I’m just glad I got the actual day right these days.
I’m not very good at days of the week. Last time I had argument about days of the week was when my old Boss insisted I came into work at the weekend and I told him to ‘go f*ck himself’, turns out it was a Monday. I say, old boss, but you know what I mean, Ex Boss, whatever.
Since found out that Shrove Tuesday actually goes by the name of ‘Pancake Tuesday‘, something everyone knows and loves, and which makes perfect sense, as it is also named after something that exists. Is real.
And the Church questions Science when they don’t even recognise Pancake Tuesday!!!
Their double standards astound me.
‘Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today’, another gem of my nan’s, still echoing around my head when I reflect on all the things I should have done yesterday!
Now obviously, I’m just thinking aloud. I’m not suggesting that my nan was the only person to EVER have said that saying!
I don’t want any more law suits coming in for her having copyrighted all manner of things unbeknown to the rest of my family, all reading this thinking, wow, all those patents and who knew…
No. She was one of many I suspect who used language and shared it’s many virtues.
“Simon” she used to say, (well, it’s my name so what else would she call me?). “You’re going to hell if you touch another slice of that cake”…
Just joking, she rarely needed to. When your nan’s peering over your Grandad’s shotgun words in a way become meaningless.
The mission to get cake never ended though.
We knew she was serious when my cousin triggered a land mine in front of the pantry door. Honestly, no one suspected she was so serious about her cakes.
We were choked up for , Oo, minutes before realizing that it was now easy enough to step over him and dash in for a quick piece of the chocolate cake before the sirens went off and my granddad loaded up ‘Old Betsy’…
Sadly no one was brave enough to try and get to the ‘fairy cakes’ and so for years the family never actually knew what these tasted like or who actually ate them.
Another beloved saying is the classic “careful, you’ll have someone’s eye out with that”…
Walking gingerly through the house you’d hear “careful, you’ll have…”.
– “Don’t’ worry nan, it’s blancmange”.
Tip toeing through the house in the middle of the night, wearing slippers made from Ninja Hamsters and you’d hear “careful, you’ll have…”.
– “Don’t’ worry nan, it’s just a chocolate mousse”.
Meanwhile, me and my cousins jousting through the living room with 8 foot Spears made from old mop handles and not a word!!!
So, back to the point. Apparently…
People here going about their daily routines as you’d expect, well apart from a few of the more hardcore Religious/Easter types. Many still sacrificing squid to Loki and hoping for the Rapture to spare only the ‘true’ believers, but other than that it’s same old, same old.
Life in general is good. Well, ok, mediocre at best. Fair to crap if you think about the whole economic aspect but, no. We’re in Greece, (f*ck it) we win…!!!
Smiley face, exclamation mark and facebook like and all ongoing!
Meanwhile, I dare say this year’s weather at this time of year must be the worst on record, EVER. And yes, I mean EVER.
I know. I’ve been here eight years now and I mentally log any day under 25 degrees. Really.
Maybe it’s just the worst weather in eight years then, but either way, it’s crazy.
We have clouds, I’m having to wear more than a T-Shirt and I haven’t worn my shorts once yet. These are dire times indeed people. And just to reiterate that last statement, I am wearing other clothes, it’s not like I’m just in a shirt, nuts on a bench kind of thing!? So, don’t worry mum…Θ)
It’s days like this where you want to see the Greek newspapers running with a front page spread of “Athens, WARMER than Skegness!!!”… Accompanied by a picture of me on my balcony in a mankini, a sombrero and a pair of flipflops, or ‘thongs’ if you’re here.
Yeah, ‘thongs’. First time I went out wearing a pair of ‘thongs’ I was nearly arrested! Uncomfortable, got wedged up my arse and I got strange looks, avoid unless female.
Anyway, it’s been so cold I actually saw Penguins waddling down an Athenian pavement, in formation last week. Well, ok, Nuns of you want to be picky. Same difference.
As of this week, I can conclusively and thoroughly dismiss the whole Global warming argument on these statistics alone. Yesterday it even rained! Well, I say ‘rained’, here’s what actually happened :
It got cloudy, it got a little cloudier and showed the promise of rain and at one point, somewhere high above the Planet a droplet of liquid was dispatched by the God of ‘Taking the P*ss’.
It fell, earthbound, evaporating as it gained speed until a single molecule of what can only be called ‘wet nano dust’ landed tenderly on my face and then vanished…
That was it. There I was, naked, soap in hand waiting for hours until my goosebumps were bigger than my love plums and so in I went.
Grrrrr… Haven’t seen rain for weeks, maybe months. Proper rain anyway.
I haven’t actually seen good rain here yet AT ALL, and despite this some here will obviously dispute this fact, but I just say ‘Manchester’ and you can all shut the hell up.
End of discussion.
Even people in the Borneo rain forests say it’s ‘Mad Fer It’ when it kicks off, they then make a brew and disappear in the deluge never to be seen again.
I think there’s only me and the mostly Asian street vendors who rush out to try and sell Umbrellas who actually like the rain, and they avoid me like the plague.
Once one saw me wading through the puddles on my way home, soaking wet minding my own business and must have thought to himself, bingo. Customer.
He came dashing over all smiles like he was about to save my life, I just smiled, “Sorry, I’m English” and carried on. He’s still stood there, same spot and probably hasn’t moved since. Bless.
Anyway, there was a f*cking point to this. No, really! And guess what, this still isn’t it by the way.
About the sh*te weather! I shall be taking my findings to the UN Council at the first possible opportunity and demanding action be taken to ensure that in future, I am able to tan my knees through my ripped Jeans well before June begins or else…
I mean, as a Brit it’s bad enough having to endure the Sun for the best part of the year anyway, adding insult to injury and not allowing me the ONE month which isn’t usually barbarically too hot for me to ease myself from a ‘pasty’ white shade of misery, to a slightly tanned state of ‘probably going to burn up any second’ kind of brown is an outrage.
I can only assume it’s the latest EU sanctions and the IMF which are to blame. F*ckers are rationing the Sun now so it seems. It doesn’t matter though, we still have more than everyone else! Yeah, bite me… We do, it’s a fact.
The Sun and me here have a love/hate relationship, I love it and it hates me. Where as in the UK I used to walk about with a permanent cloud hovering above my head, here I have the Sun stalking my every move. Even at night.
I tried to get a restraining order against it but the Courts are still on strike and after a brief yet non productive talk with an off duty policeman, I was told I was crazy!?
Being called crazy by a Greek Policeman, another highlight … Θ)
So, moving swiftly on, here I am.
Easter weekend in progress/over about to happen, (not really sure anymore), and I’m sat minding my own business watching the few cars going up and down my street.
As it’s Easter, (second only to at August when everyone abandons Athens like it’s sinking), the streets are relatively clear! Seriously.
I have actually seen road next to what I can only assume is the pavement opposite from where I live! I won’t take any pictures because I know many of you won’t believe me, you’ll assume I photoshopped a space to park next to a death trap piece of sidewalk that only suicidal people wearing inflatable clogs would walk down, but believe me when I tell you this. It really is the case.
Of course by the end of the week, cars, bikes mopeds and HGV’s will be stacked on top of each other 3 high.
So, I’m people watching. Not many about. A few neighbours curiously wondering what the halfwit English guy is going to be doing today, as they peer from their balconies squinting innocently at me like I can’t see them and so forth.
Where I live has a particularly convenient cut through to bypass a main road hub in Athens so usually it’s like 24 hour rally stage for people with nothing to do trying to get somewhere really badly. Plus, it might actually be a Rally stage, I just don’t know!?
Today is a great day if you live in Athens, have a car and are driving down my street and looking to park a car. I know, I can drive and I’ve seen some stuff in my time.
Car, Truck, Bus, Japanese High Speed Train, today you could park them all opposite where I live. Easily, and even with Stevie Wonder driving.
By normal standards I’d even go so far as to assume that on a scale of ‘entertaining traffic activity’, today would be a 1, maybe a 2 out of 10.
And what a nice surprise it turned out to be. I think this most days and rarely does it disappoint.
Initially I thought nothing of it. The one lone car parked in roughly the middle of the street, half way down the road had no particular allure. Minding it’s own business so much so that after a while I’d almost forgotten it’s humble existence.
Unlike every other motorist who drove down the road requiring somewhere to park.
So, candidate number 1.
I knew this guy was going to be a dick because he was in a BMW, and well, he was in a BMW. Souped, up, big rims, sh*te music struggling to burst through the petrol cap and wearing a cheetah effect shell suit jacket (which was nice), which really made an impression to me as you don’t see many Chav’s here in Greece.
First impression was that the Jeremy Kyle roadshow was in town but as I couldn’t see 12 screaming kids in the back and he wasn’t being blown by his mum so that was out. But still, nice to see culture embracing the look!
Thankfully he had decided to grace the neighbourhood with his presence before realizing halfway down the EMPTY street that he needed somewhere to park, preferably next to a parked car, somewhere as I discovered (nowhere near) where he needed to be…
So, nearly a whole street, I’ll say it again, EMPTY, he drives past the parked, lone car, comes to a halt and slots it into reverse. I nearly spat my coffee out at this point.
You Sir, have my attention!!!
Slowly, sunglasses reflecting his smug Formula One posers grin, he decides to casually wheel in his Pimped up beast of a car and slams it into the kerb.
One nostril full of coffee, I watch on.
Into first, rips out forward again, and then with his best (one hand magically controlling the steering wheel whilst not looking where he’s going because he’s beneath using common sense) at slightly less speed proceeds to reverse the car into the kerb again, this time narrowly avoiding the parked car in front as he does.
Unaffected by his pure and inexhaustible show of sheer motoring prowess, he then slots it into first and stalls it.
Thankfully the sh*t music ended for a second or two at least. Undeterred, he fired it up. Clearly still in gear as it lunged forwards, again narrowly missing the parked car which by now did somehow appear to look far more nervous about it’s own fortune.
Thankfully the music kicked back in. If only to counter the over revving maniac scrunching gears like he was man handling the car forwards with a hand crank!
Well, laugh, I nearly fell off the balcony when he stalled it a third time.
So, long and short of it, he eventually (and only due to the rotation of the Planet) managed to somehow align his car roughly with the road, avoiding the parked car and not running out of Gas, gears or tunes.
The best bit was the way he got out the car. In his head I’m guessing he was expecting half a dozen models and a camera crew as someone admirably draped a flowered hoop over his head and handed him a bottle of Champagne.
It was epic. So, he gets out, spends twenty minutes fiddling in the boot, in the front seat and with his crotch, and then after making sure its locked several times, walks right back up the street, turns the corner and disappears from view.
If I could, I’d have snook down, broken into the parked car and parked it behind him just for a laugh…
So, this got me thinking, and watching.
Now several weeks ago there was another incident involving what can only be described as the Greek Mr.Bean.
The street, as described was at this time packed, cars parked wall to wall and one space maybe three quarters of the way up the road, maybe 10-20 meters from my balcony.
It’s a good sized space but not huge, so perfect for most cars.
If you happen to say have a little VW Golf, great, you could take it apart and lay it on the ground piece by piece and still have room for a smart car and a kids bouncy castle.
So, I happen to be playing guitar and chilling out at the time and so am pretty uninterested in the goings on below until a squeaky, rusty presence rolls up in the usual ‘about to attempt parking’ mode.
So, my eyes glance down and there’s this VW Golf ready into position, roof looking like the Blob has tried to eat its way in, and at least one different coloured door on my side of the car that I can see. The front wing is damaged and I can see that it’s lacking at least one wing mirror.
I stop playing guitar and safely rest it across my legs. I know the signs now, this guys got ‘history’.
So, Crunch, Scrape, Grind and Kerchunk, complete with a cloud of smoke to equal the symphony apparent, it rocks backwards, engine revving like a bitch and squealing like a banshee.
The front dips as he wrestles with the biting point before easing up and back, at about 0.00014 mph, reverses the car…
Honestly. I though he’d broken time!
I had to wave my hand in front of my face to make sure I hadn’t slipped into some sort of catatonic state or been induced into a form of suspended animation.
I looked around waiting to see the mothership on the horizon with full tractor beam sucking up people into the sky, but alas, nothing.
WTF I thought to myself as I watched hair sprout on my chin, wrinkles forming on my hands and my clothes age and tear…
We’re talking f*cking Twilight Zone.
I’m not kidding, it must have taken nearly 20 minutes to move it about 3 feet. By now you could hardly see across the street for the smoke. The noise had rattled the fillings from my teeth and I realized my G-String was far too tight.
(It’s a guitarist joke. Don’t worry, made me chuckle)…
Seriously, if this guy had turned the engine off, put the handbrake on and thought about the car rolling uphill it would have moved faster!
Anyway, Forrest Gump proceeds to rock the car backwards and forwards for nearly half an Ice age before he’s now got it anywhere near a suitable amount of space from it sticking out the road, now finally allowing those caught up behind him to pass before their lungs collapse and they bleed out through their ears.
So, on what I assume and hoped was his final run up to angling the car, he puts it into gear, or doesn’t and then drives straight into the car in front.
I’m not sure what the suitable LOL – ‘I nearly just accidentally and uncontrollably shat myself’ modern text equivalent thing is, ( INLAAUSM) but, I nearly did ‘that’ right ‘then‘.
So, without acknowledging this in any way, he carries on, he slots it into gear, wrestles with the biting point and then tries to roll the Planet forwards slowly using reverse…
As he crawls out of the car he’s just hit, he gathers momentum and doesn’t stop until he reverses into the parker car behind!
Not content with just hitting it, or deaf and unable to notice or hear the impact he carries on seemingly trying to push the car uphill and into the one behind!!!
After a while I guess he either realized he had at least two cars stuck to his own, he was running out of petrol and or needed to stop before it was time to unpark the car.
At this I was now considering taking a photo mainly because if the owners to the parked cars had suffered much damage, then it wasn’t as funny as it f*cking was to me at the time, and I should at least be compensated for the pants I just nearly soiled.
So, while I’m fumbling with my phone waiting for the camera to kick in, he must have seen the light light me up, at this he starts the car up, slams it into first gear and then high tails it off, clipping the parked car in front as he goes…
To be honest I was quite glad, I couldn’t see for tears, was blowing snot bubbles out of my ears and was shaking uncontrollably from nearly having a seizure.
Best part was, not a single person came out to see what was or had happened!?
So, if you’re ever bored and in Athens and want to know what some of the best activities are around the city, just drop me a line…
To be Continued.
I feel like I’ve been writing for a week and only just touched on the subject I intended to. Ho Hum.