Sunday, 12 May 2013

Pink Skin on Parade, a Mystery "Maison" and a Plate of Macaronia

Well we sat in the Yachting Club Café at Mandraki on Friday morning for our first real "people-watching" session of 2013 and it was a very pleasant 23ºC or thereabouts. Just about warm enough for the Greeks to think about shedding their leather jackets, but not a local was to be seen without full-length trousers (usually denim jeans) of course. You can't be too careful, we're only just emerging from winter, after all.

From the above you'll have deduced that it wasn't too difficult spotting the tourists then. Not only were they all to be seen sporting shorts of varying lengths, but the amount of pink skin on display was bounteous, to say the least. Much to the bemusement of the "barely-out-of-shivering-mode" locals, there were even several highly cultured blokes wandering around without tops on at all. Now, call me old fashioned, even a curmudgeon, but I'd never dream of walking around in a public place that wasn't a beach even in high summer, when the temperature really is a respectable 35 to 40º, without some form of torso-wear. It's just basic decency after all, together with respect for the locals who live and work around one too. I know, I know, you're probably thinking that I'm hopelessly out of touch these days.

Lots of females were waltzing around with spaghetti straps hanging off of already reddening shoulders too. Ah well, can't blame them I suppose, I too have emerged from the aeroplane door in May in Greece to be greeted by temperatures some 15-20ºC higher than those I'd left a few hours earlier as I'd boarded the plane at some UK airport.

Anyway, it was a real treat to sit there at the corner table and drink in the buzz of Rhodes town in the early season. 

Changing the subject. if you do happen to be a regular Rhodean visitor, especially one who frequents the southern part of the island, do you recognise this house?

I dunno why you ought to really, unless you happen to have ferretted around the backwaters of one particular resort in the south of the island, it's just that I rather like the place and have been quite sad to see that it's remained unoccupied for a few years of late, seemingly anyway.

There you go, just a little teaser, if you've got your thinking cap on. Go on Vicky, I bet you'll know it.

Finally, if you've read the first of my "Ramblings From Rhodes" tomes, "Feta Compli!" (* see below), you'll have come across the chapter entitled "Auntie Effie's Cuisine", where I describe my wife's aunt Effie and her penchant for cooking "macaronia", the Greek term for spaghetti, virtually every day of her life for several decades. I was led to believe that this was because her hubby, whom we called "Uncle Stamati" was meant to be rather partial to it. On one occasion when we'd arrived in Athens we'd been treated to a portion of the stuff and had resorted to surreptitious methods in order to get it off of our plates and out of the building without Aunt Effie knowing that we'd been unable to eat it. For a full description of the horrors of her take on Spag-Bol, you'll have to read the book. (Can I drop in a plug, or can I drop in a plug. eh?)

Why do I refer back to this now? Well, we know a woman who lives in a shoe. No, sorry, in Lardos. She lives in Lardos - and we'll call her Fotini. She's actually only three years or so older than my wife, but is very overweight, waddles when she walks and has a lot of back trouble. My wife, even though she loves Fotini, was well pleased when some time ago another friend met Fotini for the first time and thought that she was my wife's mother!! I could never have done anything more to feed the better half's sense of well-being that day than did our friend from Rhodes Town!

Anyway, our friend Fotini is not very well off and so, when we're up near town and shopping in the Lidl store, Fotini will often ask us to buy her about a dozen packs of Μακαρόνια, since she's rather partial to it. She serves it up with a thin smearing of mincemeat and tomato sauce on top for her grown up sons and sundry other male relatives too. Virtually every time we talk to her about food, we hear "I cooked up some macaronia for the boys, they do so love it."

Hmm, yes, Fotini, are you sure that they do indeed love it, or is there perchance some ancient preoccupation with the stuff that spans the country like an invisible web and permeates the culture right down to every older woman's kitchen?

What about a little Linguini for a change? Fettuccine perhaps? Variety is the spice of life after all. 

That's a fact which is very evident when you're people-watching in Mandraki.

(*If you're wondering whether to shell out for the book(s), I'd only ask that you take the time to read all of the reviews, perhaps including the one on the USA Amazon site. "You can't please all of the people..." and all that stuff. But the reaction of a minority of hard-to-please readers who, in my view don't actually "get it" about my ramblings, is just that, a minority. Honest. Pleadings over!)


  1. I do indeed know where the house is , John, in fact I walked past it on my morning constitutional only a few hours ago. Never seen a soul there altho', apparently, the owner visited fairly regularly til a few years ago.
    Sorry not to have managed a catch up this time, by the way

  2. Hi John,

    Couldn't agree more about 'covering up' when off the beach. Hate to see anything less than a shirt over the torso when walking about, as for vests at the evening table...don't get me started!
    It was good to meet up last month at the White Post, hope you enjoyed the Butcombe.

    1. Yes Dave, I did indeed enjoy both the conversation and the Butcombe. Can't wait for another one, although it'll probably be next year now!