You will be glad to know our pile of wood is now safely covered and no longer getting wet when it rains.
We found a nifty long off-cut of retro kitchen tablecloth upstairs in Katerina’s Supermarket that did the job nicely. 13 euros well spent, I thought although there was a gasp from Elias when we told him that we’d spent so much. Well, needs must, a tarp wasn’t appearing any time soon of it’s own volition.
The woodpile cover is not the only thing we’ve accidentally overspent on either!
In Katerina’s we asked the young lady behind the till if they sold kindling. We had tried to light the fire the night before with only 2 x firelighters and a few fir cones, no paper or kindling. It wasn’t happening.
Kindling, for you youngsters under 30, is neatly tied up batches of small bits of split dry wood, usually sold in bundles at petrol stations in the UK. You use it, along with paper and firelighters, to get a fire or your bar-b-q burning before you put on your bigger bits of wood.
We’ve all seen The Island with Bear Grylls, we know you always need kindling of sorts to get a good fire going.
I felt sure they must have some in Katerina’s, as they sell just about everything else, including currently the tools to knock olives out of trees, the nets to catch them in and the sacks to bag them up with.
Said young lady looked a bit non-plussed and there was a short discussion with the four or five greek gentlemen who were now standing in the queue behind us.
Then her eyes lit up, along with those of our audience and she dashed off to the “fancy oil, gluten free biscuits & pasta and expensive organic toiletries” department (yes! they have one of those too), returning with a cellophane gift wrapped bunch of twigs with a ribbon on.
Sarah by now was muttering “no, no, leave it, come on, they obviously haven’t got any” but I was so confused and embarrassed by now, I bought the damn thing, it only being 1 euro 75 cents. I felt rather obliged as she’d made the effort to find it for me!
We beat a rather hasty exit and started our trudge back up the hill speculating about what we had just bought that was obviously some kind of gift from The Mani.
We’d only gone about 20 metres before I spotted a small pile of thin olive branches by the side of the road, looking very much like dry twigs or, in other words KINDLING!
We had not even seen it on the way downhill, our minds being on something else entirely.
Now the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon was kicking in, otherwise known as “selective attention” and “frequency illusion” and everywhere we looked we saw little piles of dried up grass, piles of thin olive twigs and all of it right for collecting in carrier bags and using in future.
All completely free of charge.
Oh, how those guys in the supermarket must have been chuckling to themselves!
Coming back to Katerina’s, it’s a great story of enterprise made good. When we first visited twenty years ago, it was a great supermarket on Stoupa seafront, made most attractive to the younger visitor by a very large talking parrot in a very large cage right by the checkout.
When I came back in 2010, the big Katerina’s was being built on the main road (when I say “main road” I mean a car or truck every few minutes, sometimes two or three together!).
Now apparently, the owner (a man, not known as Katerina at all) reigns over 4 such emporiums in the area and each with their own little twist.
The original one, on the seafront, specialises in basic food and toiletries, with a large range of leather sandals and flipflops, hats and beachwear.
Parrot #2 has been in residence for 13 years and regularly rides triumphantly around on a trolley shouting his head off.
Ours, the main road version, sports the mysterious Fancy Circle as we have come to think of it, with attractive pastel vinyl seats for the resting of one’s weary trotters, as you fill your basket with things you never knew you needed.
I’ve not visited the others, but I suspect they each have their quirks according to the needs of the local population.
Altogether a successful entrepreneurial operation, spanning 3 decades, about which I will endeavour to find out more.