A busy Greek Supermarket, yesterday.
The privations of the life aquatic tends to suit a chap. One can cheerfully eschew the drawing room, unlimited real ale and access to the new chapmobile for a few weeks bobbing about on the briny, taking potshots at the French and a god-given right to drink rum for breakfast. Sodomy is optional, the lash essential.
Not the usual scumsail flotilla life for us in the Aegean, either.
Rampant individualism oft flying in the face of folk wisdom or marine training calls the day.
And it is as thus one flew out t’other week off to the Cyclades to introduce the Dear Northerner to a life on the ocean wave - a ruse to the idea that we should retire to a marine existence – sort of a pensionable version of water-world, sans avec Kevin Costner.
I have taken two prior Miss Chaps to this place with limited success. They prob don’t read this anymore which is just as well. Neither were suitably amphibious to cope.
Now there is a separate post coming about her appreciation of the marine facilities known as the ‘heads’ however it is worth reflecting previous and recent experience on the daily privations of life afloat.
I have known a couple of girls get through fresh water at ludicrous rate. Now, every chap knows the trick for making his pants last a month – and lets face it – most of the time one can spend the time in one’s birthday suit as there isn’t a soul about. Add to that baby shampoo to wash in the sea (it really works) and shaving the head to keep the worst of the weevils at bay then one can settle into pelagic squalor with joy.
Previous Miss chaps have tended to guzzle fresh water – but they have neglected seamanship duties normal to a fellow afloat – such as tidying up after themselves.
Dear Northerner is the complete opposite. Like a good Yorkshire lass, she is exceedingly house proud and if the boat had a front step, she would have scrubbed it. Now admittedly she had a Yorkshire taste when it came to the local food....nothing ‘dirty’ , ‘greazy’, 'garlciky' or ‘oily’. (That excludes almost all Greek food)...
But she took it upon herself to supply a level of 'tween decks cleanliness that would make an Admiral proud. However she did tend to use a lot of the valuable fresh water for this - and .....a lot of 'products'.
Now, a chap tends to sluice everything out with sea water, pump out the bilge and then set about a large Aubreyesque dinner of sea-pie, moussaka, baklava, salad, fish, baked chicken and spotted dog, washed down with ouzo, retsina, metaxa and liberal quantities of mythos.
The Greek Islands.
They are somewhat remote, pleasingly non-commercial and backward and ideal for basic comestibles. Sun baked, whitewashed Choras reveal little but tomatoes, salt fish and grizzled old widows scowling over their fly-blown laps. Sea-miles away from Blackberry reception and modern conveniences. And I might add - Tescos super store.
I had provisioned our little ship with all the kit we needed for a fortnight afloat. Undaunted I was dispatched when first we touched ashore (Skhinoussa, as it 'appens) to acquire some 'products'
It is indicative of the dear gel that I got this as a shore-going shopping list.
Rubber washing up gloves
Stainless steel cleaner
Washing up liquid
To her ongoing horror I returned with Anchovies, Ouzo and Coca-cola.
PS: Ouzo + Coke is a particularly astonishing tipple. Heartily recommend it.