11 December 2007

Busker's Big Baa-baa Fib

33 years after the event, and after being branded fibber ... I can share this experience, and maybe the couple (in their early 60s now) will see this and understand.

road from san luca; shepherd in distance

The road I'm driving down in this picture was built 34 years ago by my parents for the builders to access the land on which the house was/is built.

There was nothing but peasant paths and grazing land. No 'lectricity, no nothing.


When I first came out on holiday, I stayed in a small room in Kondokali and drove up in my dad's Fiat Spider to check progress of the house and be what nuisance I could.

After a decent interval pretending to lash the builders on, I'd collect my guitar and cool shades and zoom off to the softest sands, there to get on the outside of the coldest Mythos beers, strum the songs du jour and try to get on this inside of the warmest holiday chicks. Paradise, as I recall.

One morning I was informed that I was needed to give up a few hours doing shepherd duty while Polydoros ('Many gifts') was in town on an emergency.

Nothing to it, since a) the dog would do all the herding including keeping time, and b) the sheep could do it all themselves except that they were, um, sort of sheeplike and, um, needed someone there. But in a pinch they could see themselves home and into the pen etc.

So I cruised down in my finery in the natty sports car and strummed a bit of guitar to while the time and drank a little ouzo and took a little sun and then across the field came two backpackers. As they approached, the girl looked in her phrase book and asked me which way to town. Giving her my greekest stare,I replied in fluent Oxford tones that the bus left every 20 minutes from outside the taverna.

My! What good english i spoke; almost as good as a native, wouldn't her boyfriend say? BF nodded.

And what was i doing there, may she ask? A swig and a swill and a wink and a plunk of the guitar. "Just a little shepherding before heading on into town for supplies." Goodness, and was that my car over there? "That li'l jalopy? Yes indeed. Nifty little machine when it wants to be."

And so we bantered on until i noticed the hour creeping up when the faithful dog would rise and git them muttons back home to the toothless ma.

Timing it perfectly, i begged their pardon as i got Fido to help me herd them home. "Yee haw!" I signaled just as the dog rose to do the job anyway. Then I got into the Fiat and slowly drove behind the herd as it shambled home. My new friends followed.

As we neared the house, i stopped the car and got out and advanced on the house where the dog was shooing the sheep into a large pen whose gate had been opened by a toothless hag in standard black attire.

"Ah mother!" I called out, "I met some friends back in the field and I thought I'd give them a lift into town, do a bit of shopping and gossiping with the lads, and be back for a spot of luncheon around ... ooh, who knows? Okey doke with you?"

Not understanding a blind bit of what I'd just said, but seeing that I had fulfilled my bargain in bringing the mutton home, the old lady chucked my cheek and waved me on my way.

I gave the pair a lift into town, gracefully acknowledged their continued admiration of my command of the english language - not to mention envy of my trade as playboy shepherd ... and tootled on my way to the nearest beach n bar.

I never saw them again but wondered what tales they told of this immaculately tailored farm boy who drove a buzzbox car and sang Kingston Trio and lived the life of Riley ...

Maybe someone will point this page out to them and they will finally know the truth.

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