All hail Eric

Good to see the spam filter as efficient as ever on the iPad during my sojourn in the Land of Milk and Honey. For which read non-existent.

So far this week I’ve had two million euros deposited in my personal account, been offered both debt advice and the opportunity to squander my new-found wealth in any number of online casinos, reminded several times of the need to plan my funeral and write a will (hopefully not due to any psychic insight on the writers’ part), and been offered ‘life insurance in a click’.

Apparently I have money to spend in my Paypal account (I don’t), I haven’t changed the password on my Dropbox account in four years (I have), and my non-existent bank account is on hold – all of which can be handily resolved by typing in my user name and password, following some simple instructions and/or updating my credit card details.

I’ve been courted by a virtual shopping mall of retailers, including Russell & Bromley. Given that the last pair of ‘water-resistant’ boots I bought there fell apart and required reheeling in just three months, apparently due to ‘the way I’d worn them in the rain’, thus ending a long and loyal relationship, they have a cheek, frankly.

Then there’s Sweaty Betty and Sahara, Iglu Ski and Skiworld, Amazon, Quark and Photobox, Pizza Express and the ITV hub (forever tuned to Emmerdale, my guilty soap secret) – a perfect algorithm of my life, past and current.

I’ve also been courted by any number of gentleman who clearly don’t fully grasp the English language and whose names always seem to be a strange concoction of one or more names from my address book. Needless to say, I have shunned their every advance, not least because I am more than happy with the Windsurfing Gremlin (note subtle title change). Incidentally, I assume they’re gentlemen. I like to think the average woman might have too much on their plates just running life without scamming innocent strangers every hour of the day. But, as ever, I might be wrong.

A certain Jekmail Raj promises to make me ‘First page Google!!!’ Three screamers, no less!!! He must be good!!! Quite what I’ll be first page with he doesn’t say.

Jenni Johnson seduces me with a ‘brand new Samsung TV’ (hmm, maybe my theory about women having better things to do with their time is flawed), before saying she really needs to know whether this is an unwanted email. All I have to do is ‘click here to reply’… She must think I was born yesterday.

And someone calling himself Morrison addresses me as ‘Dear {name}’, before letting me know I might have won a ‘Morrison gift card worth £500’, if I’d just let him have a few details.

Thankfully, thus far, I have no dear friends marooned in far flung places having lost passpart, money and all sense of decorum, asking that I Western Union a few bob across pronto to get them out of their pickle.

Did we ever feel so bombarded, so threatened, when emails were still a future hell and advertising was all down to column inches, forty-eight sheets and thirty-second TV ad breaks? At least then we could turn the page, avert our eyes or go click the kettle. Or top up the wine glass. (Although, speaking as an ex-TV storyboard artist, there was a time when the ads were frequently better and bigger budget than the TV they so rudely interrupted. Occasionally they still are).

All hail Eric!

‘Is Eric blowing yet?’ asks my brother, via text.

It was he who recommended this amazing holiday to us some time ago. And it’s the perfect holiday for us. Sun and sea, poolside loungers, yoga with a spot of meditation thrown in, and a pile of paperbacks for me thanks to Healthy Options. Thrashing about on a windsurfer all day for him – courtesy of Wildwind and Club Vass – with the odd yoga class to ease his aching bones.

‘If Eric is the afternoon wind,’ I text, ‘it is indeed blowing’. Which fails to impress bro.

‘Don’t tell me you’ve been to Wildwind for four years now and you don’t know who Eric is?’

Eric, it turns out, is more than just the afternoon wind. Eric is the Wind God of Vassiliki. Those who wish for his help, the sailors and surfers of this world, must worship and appease him, offering sacrifices when necessary, else he will not blow and all their hard-earned cash will be for nought. And all they will have to show for it will be their tanned, bruise-free body, muscles and bones free from pain, only their egos bruised…

Mind you, a bit of a breeze is very welcome poolside too. So maybe I’d better start being nice to Eric too.

Flip flop fandango

Speaking of tanned bruise-free bodies, not three days after reporting our friend Jacquie falling off her flip flop, I too have managed a similar feat, executing a remarkable somersault which owed nothing to intention and everything to chance and acquiring two tastefully grazed and bloodied knees in the process.

The last time I sported plasters on my knees, I’d recently attempted to hurdle a school tennis net shortly before the afternoon lesson bell. And failed. Spectacularly. My teachers were not impressed.

Some things just never stop haunting you.

Double doggin’

Steady on with the double entendres – it’s not what you think. Although our double dog achievement did inspire an admiring round of applause from onlookers and quite a yelp of delight on my part.

‘We’re doing partner yoga this afternoon,’ says Marina, whose excellent Hatha yoga classes I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this week. ‘I’ll be giving you some tips you can take away with you’. Enter the Gremlin!

Downward Dog, for those who aren’t aware, is a back-lengthening stretch in which the body inverts to a sort of tent-shape. An upside down ‘V’, if you like. Arms outstretched, fingers firmly planted, legs firmly planted, the hips are thrust skywards. To execute a double dog, the second person similarly inverts themselves, facing in the same direction, hands planted a short way in front of their partner’s hands, before climbing one leg at a time onto their partner’s back, feet firmly pressed into their hips. Quite something!

Sadly for you, no cameras were available.

However, inspired by this and other ‘partner’ poses, the Gremlin and I last night devised one of our own, having been plied with an extra – unsolicited – half litre of wine by our favourite restauranteur Georgiou.

Yogic walking-home-from-the-taverna-outside-of-a-litre-of-rose is as easily employed on the mean streets of the UK as the balmy-breezed stagger back to the hotel here in Vassiliki. Simply hold you partner’s hand, lean towards each other, pressing into each other’s shoulders as you walk, breathing softly in and out through the nose (in perfect synchronicity, of course), all the while. Amazingly, you will find yourselves walking in a straight line. Which is a huge improvement on any individual effort we might otherwise have made.

Parasols and painted chairs © Hackette on the How

Creeping homogeneity

Not just at home, it seems, where creepinghomogeneity threatens. Last year we heard of the hoohah on the harbour front because ‘the government’ was suggesting to restauranteurs – some of whom have served happy holidaymakers here for generations – that they must remove their tables, chairs and umbrellas. I gather no money changed hands for these plots, it was just a long-standing tradition that they operated thus.

Given that few of them have any sort of interior space which isn’t fully taken up by kitchen paraphernalia, this would present a real problem. Not to mention completely changing the look and feel of the place. I recall, four years ago, visiting Istanbul, recently stripped of its European-style street cafes and any sense of joy or colour, thanks to their president’s declared intention to turn the clocks back on Attaturk’s western-leaning vision for Turkey. Different motivation, same end result.

However, this year there’s a different look. The tables and chairs are still there but the oversized umbrellas which shade them are identical, all around the front. Extremely chic and stylish – still, to the visitor, authentically Greek – but identical nevertheless. (Though how they will fare in the heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast next week we have yet to see, offering no sideways protection whatsoever to the elements, which the older ones could.)

It’s a government directive, we hear. The government also now charges rent on these prime harbour-side plots, hence its new-found sense of style. Needless to say, not all the restauranteurs are happy at this loss of individuality. But at least, for the time being, they can still paint their chairs.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah Franklin says:

    I’m impressed by your double-dogging, we don’t do such flamboyant stuff in Iyengar yoga (I find myself being somewhat relived by this), any chance of a reprieve with photographic evidence? Enjoy the rest of your holiday, it sounds great! I’m off for my week’s yoga tomorrow in rather utilitarian surroundings, your location looks lovely….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It took something of a leap if faith to go for it, I have to admit!! That particular instructor goes home on Wednesday so not many opportunities left for a repeat performance. Will see what I can organise, this time with camera to hand. 😎😎


  2. PS. Enjoy your yoga break xx


  3. Ele says:

    Love the wine-fuelled-walk description. I’ve had a few of those in my time, in which the beach stroll becomes a lot more hazardous. I’ve not attempted the olive-grove-stroll in a similar state but there is still time! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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