Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bing and Satchmo's Song?

Last night I was beavering away over a hot Mac when my wife tapped on the office window and, with a hand signal, bade me come outside. It was approaching 6.00pm and the light was fading. Slightly irritated at being interrupted in full flow, I allowed her to take my hand and lead me out on to the drive. This wasn't the appropriate time for a touch of romance. Things to do, emails to send. Just when I was about to express this thought she raised one finger to her lips and bade me keep quiet and listen. I'm glad I did, for there, just down the valley, drifting up toward us on the breeze, was the first blackbird's song of the year. Right on time as usual - early to mid-February (see this post). We stood in silent appreciation for this example of the natural world's audible beauty, before I reluctantly retreated inside again to get on with my work, but not without first having thanked her for drawing this wonder to my attention.

Changing the subject; talking with our friend Stuart over his front gate as we passed along the beach road on an exceedingly long walk yesterday, he regaled us with an amusing story which he was prompted to recall following his reading of the previous post on this very blog. With Stuart's permission (and accepting that I may make a few mistakes over the fine detail), I'll relay it to you my trusty readers:

Some years ago, he and his wife Joan were also in need of their Residency Permits when they walked into the Police Station in Lindos to start the process. There they spoke to the "Chief" who told them what paperwork would be required and what day and time to come back to see him. They duly turned up at the specified time, submitted their paperwork and filled out the necessary forms. All seemed to be going well. The "Chief" then instructed them as to when they could return to collect their permits. At the day and time suggested, they returned, to be met by a young Police officer who asked them what he could do for them. Stuart replied:

"We're here to see the Chief."

Whereupon the young Policeman raised his shoulders, jutted out his lower lip whilst turning his head ever so slightly to one side and raised both arms from the elbows, palms outward in that old familiar Greek shrug that says, "So? Not much I can do about that".

"He's not here." Came the not altogether surprising reply.

"But he told us to come today, at this time." Continued Stuart, all the while knowing that this particular expedition was a lost cause. The Policeman replied,

"I tell him you come. ...That you come back tomorrow at same time. He will be here then. Nothing else I can do."

Accepting defeat and hoping that tomorrow would prove fruitful, our heroes retreated to their rented accommodation in Pefkos, which at least wasn't too far away and, in those days, taxis were cheap. Tomorrow it would have to be. The next day they took a taxi back to Lindos and entered the maze of tiny whitewashed streets and alleys, eventually arriving for a third time at the Police Station. On walking in they were met by the now familiar young officer, who told them when they asked for the Chief that the fact that he was once again absent was due to his having 'gone fishing'! Stuart and Joan could have been forgiven for seeing a colour fast approaching the deepest crimson, when the young officer asked them their names.

They obliged, whereupon the young man seemed to "see the light" as some kind of penny appeared to have dropped and asked them to hold on while he picked up a telephone and made a call, obviously jabbering on in Greek, so they were unable to gather the gist of what was said. Placing the phone back on its cradle, the young man told them:

"Please to come back in thirty minutes, OK?"

That seemed fair enough, maybe things would be resolved after all. They agreed and walked out into the sunshine. Seconds later, as they stood a few metres away from the door, the young officer exited the Police Station himself, some paperwork in his hand and apparently on a mission. The intrepid duo decided that it may be fun to follow him, which they proceeded to do. Off he went at a trot, down through the narrow ramped and occasionally stepped alleys, down and down until he was on the path to the main beach. As they appeared at the edge of the sand themselves, they were bemused to see him pushing a beached dinghy into the sea, leaping aboard and gunning the outboard, before zooming off across the bay in a plume of white foam and spray.

Now, I bet you know where this is going don't you. Or rather, where the Policeman was going. Yup, sure enough, as Stuart and Joan watched furtively from behind a tree trunk, he re-entered the bay some ten minutes later, ran the dinghy up onto the soft sand, before killing the engine, jumping ashore and trotting back up into the village, a wad of papers still in his hand.

Following him at a safe distance they eventually strolled nonchalantly into the Station, where the slightly sweaty officer greeted them with a smile and handed back the papers which were theirs, along with the new Permits, all signed and stamped and legal. Business concluded.

If you're old enough to remember that lazy old song by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong, you'll know why it's referred to in the title of this post. Another typical day's work for the Lindos Police Chief.

At least it ended up with everyone happy. Good job there wasn't a "sign upon his door" as the song goes though, or they'd have never got their permits done, eh?


  1. and as i look out of MY office window at a flock of fieldfares in the tree outside my window in minus 6 degrees temperatures...........I think to my self.......what a wonderful world!!! (i remember him well !!!)

    "Porridge Oats"

    1. How we used to love Fieldfares. sadly we don't see them here. But for the extra few degrees we get in the winter, we'll make the sacrifice!

  2. I am old enough to remember the song, but sadly, also old enough to have forgotten it also!! Thanks to the previous comment I have now remembered it, at least for a few hours!

  3. A hot Mac? And we thought you were a vegetarian!

    1. Remember also the old Bonzo Dog Band song "Big Shot"? It ended with Viv Stanshall telling this corny joke, which only works in an American accent: "I went home late ...a punk stopped me on the street. He said: "You gotta light, Mac?" I said, "No, but I got a dark brown overcoat."