My summer working in the family business on Corfu

The Tail End of the Donkey

on September 22, 2012

“It is the tail end of the donkey”, Jimmy, my partner has said to me, as our Greek family business of beach bar, taverna, and mini market here on Corfu starts to slow down at the end of the summer every year.

It’s a Greek phrase, meaning obviously “the final phases”. In this case, the final phases of summer.

However, I’ve started to use it for all manner of things – I’ve been known to say it during all types of circumstance these days – such as during that post coital cigarette after sex (“It’s the tail end of the donkey” – spicing the blog up a bit here), when a song I like is about to finish on the radio (“It’s the tail end of the donkey”) and also even when the milk is running out from the fridge (“Oh, fuck, it’s the tail end of the donkey!”)

We are indeed, at the tail end of this year’s donkey summer. What a donkey it was. Boredom, boredom, worry, fear, lettuces and cucumbers, hangings from balconies, boredom, fights, collapsing chairs, economic crises, ranting, raving, tears, laughter, boredom again, missing ice cubes, plastic bags worn on heads without acknowledgement, troops of Italians and Germans, forty five degree heat, underpay, missing water bottles, too much bleach… (Haven’t blogged about that one yet – bleach will never mean the same to me again after living here – it’s a mother in law thing).

The rain has finally come once or twice, in the form of fantastic storms after some of the hottest days I remember here on the island for the thirteen years I have spent summers and years here. (Costas, the waiter from the restaurant was getting particularly randy before the rain hit, like he was on heat, randomly targeting any girl in a bikini to come and look at if not partake of our ice creams down in the bar – some might have called it harassment, technically it was, but I found it amusing because I know how much he’s been through).

So yes, the storms hit, and with them gave great relief.

All staff have now left but for the following…

Nicky (the ever slave), Prokopis (my brother in law), Jimmy (my partner) (of course), Chrisanthi on sandwiches just for a few days more, and someone else…. oh, yeah, ME!
(I am helping Jimmy out until I leave the country very soon with Angelo my son to England, hopefully for him to come later).

Had a couple of somewhat amusing post storm experiences now that things are quieter, Jimmy has calmed down, and we can play a bit in the bar…

One goes like this –
About two years ago whenever I went to the toilet, I kept wondering where the toilet paper was every time, every day, for about a week. Finally I asked Jimmy, after realising that every time I had wondered, he had served me only some sheets… “Jimmy, are you hiding the toilet paper?”
He finally confirmed to me that he had been. He had been RATIONING ME, for the reason, and may I quote, “that I use too much”. How far can one man take an economic crisis? Rationing toilet paper, hiding it? How mad can it get? How tight are we?

The other day I took my revenge while working down at the bar.
I took the opportunity, (while there were no customers and we were much bored) to take one of those giant kitchen paper rolls that resemble giant toilet rolls up the hill to the restaurant, and roll it down the hill (while hiding myself), arriving seemingly randomly from the bar point of view, until it unravelled and stopped past the bar near to the beach. It was like one of those Andrex golden retriever puppy toilet paper ads on helium. (That may only make sense if you’re British).

Nonetheless, when I could hear from a distance both Jimmy and bar staff pissing themselves, I called out from above “CONSIDER IT MY TOILET ROLL TAX INSTEAD OF TIPS!”

Funny thing is, the next day I noticed that Jimmy had indeed collected the unrolled kitchen towel and was still intending to use it.

The tail of the toilet paper is upon us.


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