We Brits living out here have a lot to answer for. I mean, we go about our day-to-day affairs with scant regard for how we may hurt the feelings of the locals around us. I shall proceed to illustrate.
Quite regularly we meet a few Greek friends on a Sunday morning. Last Sunday, however, our friend Kostas was missing. He it is who keep sunbeds on a beach in this area and he's the character you'll have read about if you've read the item entitled "Please Do Read This" a little way down on the News and Stuff page.
Now Kostas isn't great at English. He does speak a little Italian, but English he struggles with. We asked where he was and his brother said, "Oh, he's gone to a garaz [that's how they pronounce it] sale today, somewhere down near the gymnasium [at Kalathos that is]." Both Kostas and his brother Petros (who features in chapter 10 of Tzatziki For You to Say) used to live in Canada, although both are Kalathos originals, having been born here. Having lived in Canada, though, they are well used to "garage" sales, which are fairly common over there, whereas we in the UK seem to suffer from an overdose instead of "Car Boot" sales. Of course, to a former Canadian resident (and indeed anyone living in that slightly warmer country just south of Canada) a "boot" is something you pull on to your foot when you're going outside. To them, what we in the UK would call a "boot" in vehicular terms would be a "trunk", which - of course - anyone knows is really something you store your old memorabilia or blankets and clothes in isn't it?
So, there was Kostas looking at a notice in the village a few days before the aformentioned sale took place and he read...
Now, as I said, Kostas isn't great at English. When I bumped into him three days after the Sunday in question, I asked him, "Did you get anything at the 'garage' sale then Kosta?"
He replied, a huge expression of disappointment all over his face, "No Gianni. It was rubbish. All it was was a few 'Angli' [Brits] with their trunks open. Just clothes and old ornaments and stuff. Not one boat and not one car was for sale!"
"I did wonder," I replied, "when Petros said it was a 'garaz' sale. I rather thought that he meant 'car boot', since it was British people running it. We were a bit surprised that you went, since most Greeks don't tend to go to these events."
"Gianni," replied Kostas, "It clearly said 'BOAT' sale. I saw it. It said CAR and BOAT sale on the sign I saw."
You see what I mean about the responsibility we have toward the locals now? Poor Kostas was all hopeful of picking up a secondhand boat and all he got to see was a collection of old sweaters, dresses and the occasional vase or painting. "It was a waste of time, Gianni" he told me, and I didn't have the heart to tell him he'd read the sign wrong!