Oops, I’m going to do one more – sorry about that “last goodbye”, I feel that I haven’t left this current blog with enough love and thanks – silly hippy me. Forgive the hippy shite to follow…
I “did” my last day yesterday down at the bar – jesus how long does this go on for…? I’ve been saying that for months – this is worse than chinese water torture. Trust me I’m writing this crap, I can’t think how it must be for you reading it…
Anyway I did. We were busy. Ironically in mid October, we were busy. It’s like all the Greeks came out to say goodbye to me. Without tipping of course. It was me, Jimmy and Nikos the waiter down at the bar. No sign of the parental in laws – thank god – but we did have the mid 60’s gab gabbing awful single childless aunts trying to continuously feed Angelo who was otherwise happily playing on the beach until they arrived. Any takers? They’re not on facebook, we believe they’re virgins though (tempting? I’ll arrange a tag – they do cook).
I have one week to departure. And, only finally now, after all the storms, am I feeling sad. I watched the sunset yesterday as we do everyday while serving the bastards who come down to see it (it’s pretty spectacular), in a new way…”It’s cold and wet and horrible in England,” I thought to myself, “lap it up while you have it…. there’s a reason you found yourself here…”.
Corfu has given me the best of me, amidst the worst. When in doubt, as clearly I am now, I want it to be made clear – this is my true home. She is England Ireland Scotland Wales (a skipping song from my youth), she is the harbour of your dreams, she offers you the vividness of innocence, and the corruption of your soul should you be willing (don’t let her, be strong). She is what you make her. But you cannot do it alone.
Now let me tell you the proper story of how I first came here.
Yes, 1986. It was my first time out of England. Yes, on a package holiday. Yes, it was trashy, it was Kavos (package hell nowadays) but it was early days then (hotels weren’t quite completed even when you were staying in them), I came with my Mum – my beautiful vibrant brassy Mum. I was nine. I played in the sand, a great experience for any British child them days, I watched my Mum flirt with a waiter (poor lad, he gave her a coffee with cream, she was sold), we took a boat out for a day trip to Pontikonissi (Mouse Island), we both looked over at the water on that brief boat ride and like a photograph I snapped a shot of my best memory ever – Me and my Mum looking at the water saying together – “wow”.
It is a blue that vibrates, the Mediterranean sea. Just as you look at it, she reverberates back at you. Oh yeah, you can get this colour in many other seas, in many other places, I’ve seen them too, but this, this… She looks back at you and says “I have a history, and a peace, launch into me”. We went on other holidays after, Mum and I, but Corfu stuck with me.
I arrived in Corfu once by boat after six trains across Italy. Early 2006. Just to see her for a weekend. (Not for anyone, just the island). In winter. All my Italian friends thought I was mad travelling across South Italy (Calabria and Puglia alone can be tough) as a woman by myself, having carefully negotiated arrivals and departures. (It was tight and required me to organise platforms and trains and boats all in Italian, no matter…).
As we sailed into Corfu harbour, as the sun was coming up an early dawn, I cried like a baby.
“I’m home, I’m home”.
I spent three days here and then arrived back for work in Calabria the following Monday. Not for a man, you understand, not to see anyone in particular. For Corfu.
When my mother died she requested that she be cremated, and that her ashes be scattered in a bird sanctuary in Australia. She had also said that she wanted to be near me. I abided by her literal word and did better. With my wonderful step father we scattered some of her ashes at that bird sanctuary, I took another third of her ashes and scattered them with family from England at her mother’s (my grandmother) grave in London (she had asked me for years to find that grave together; with family, to whom I will be forever grateful, we did) and the last third…
Well, they are scattered overlooking this beautiful island at “The Spot”, the first beautiful view of Pelekas Beach from the “donkey road” going down to the beach. I scattered them there in a quiet ceremony with one of my best friends.
On that final note, I think it’s time for a laugh among love and peace and all those hippy shenanigans.
Jimmy gets the last laugh.
“Looby, how many black people are there in Europe?”
“Jimmy, one, what defines “black”?, two, what is “Europe”? and three, how the hell would I know anyway? I didn’t study demographics, I studied wanky literature and the like…”
“Well, you went to University…”
“And don’t forget I got the Blackburn Medal for Drama…?”
Jimmy (serving tables) – “the Blackboo what?”