Thursday, July 28

SIMPLE ECONOMICS

In my village, we have a carpenter. He's fantastic with his hands, and over the last 3 years I've witnessed him making beautiful pieces of furniture. I'm no expert ,and I don't know the technical terms, but even I can see the joints are built to last, and that they're almost works of art.
Last Winter I went to him for a building job in my house. He came to visit my home and measure up once, again, then again, and then three more times again, painstakingly noting down the measurements, angles and many other details I would have missed. The work, he said, would take 3-4 weeks. A month later I visited him. He was still working on the design, on a piece of paper he showed me.
In early Spring I visited again. He proudly showed me the wood he had bought for the project. In late Spring I visited, again. He hadn't started the work because he's big electric, dangerous looking, saw was broken and he was waiting for a repair man to visit to fix it.
Early Summer, again when I visited, he hadn't started because it had been raining. For 4 days since the previous visit.
Late Summer when I visited, again, he was on holiday, but a huge amount of the wood he had bought for my project had been used. But there was no visible sign of my furniture. I was hopeful, though.
Early Autumn he came and visited the house to check some measurements.
Late Autumn he had made little progress.
This Winter I bought what I wanted. And what was this? Noah's Ark, you may think? No, three shelves on which I could sit my TV, DVD and CD player.

Last year, I accidentally smashed a small pane of glass in one of my house windows. I visited the glazier, in the village 30 minutes away. He came and measured and was somewhat disappointed to see the smallness of the repair. Nevertheless, he promised to return within the week with the replacement pane. 3 visits from me - and about 4 months later - he admitted the job was too small for him. If I could break some more windows he'd be willing to do the bigger job, and for a discount. Thank you.

Last year, I wanted to get my name and address, instead of the previous house owners, onto my ΔΕΗ bill. I failed in my mission because I refused to accept it, and, yes, I nearly ate the instructions that went with these instructions. I needed a copy of the Death Certificate of the deceased previous owner (who also happened to be blind when he was alive). I needed an electrician to do a schematic of my house wiring (slightly difficult with the wiring buried 6 inches deep into the wall cavity) and I needed this schematic stamped by a special office (25 Km away), and then I needed this stamped and approved schematic in triplicate, one for me, one for the special office and one for the electricity company. And, finally, I needed to pay a fee of several hundred Euros. Or, as the man in the electricity office told me, do what everyone else does. Just don't bother. So I continue to own a house with a long gone, dead man's, name on the bill. And, presumably, so do millions of other Greeks.
That's why my post often never arrives, I suppose.

They recently opened a KEP office in my village. A great idea with less than optimal implementation.
The idea is a state funded office where one can go for information on almost anything and everything. Staffed by people who are computer literate and able to speak in 2 or more languages.
The result was a new, modern, well IT - equipped building. 3 very polite, professional looking, young women.
None of whom speak English. Who couldn't print a document I wanted because it was longer than 3 pages (a paper restriction I couldn't get around even after offering to bring my own ream in), couldn't Save It to floppy because it was too large (yet only 43 pages of Word), and couldn't email it (for reasons I still don't understand). I'm told these jobs were 'bought' by their parents.

This set me thinking.
Maybe they actually have it sussed here.

Maybe Olympic Airways shouldn't be sold. Maybe they should turn the planes into airborne lap dancing clubs with free drinks? Business Club bookings would surely increase? Overall seat yield would surely increase and positive PR would rocket? Every hot blooded male would fight to get a job with them? Or just fly with them. And, they should be allowed to continue to mailshot dead people their flying loyalty points statements.

Perhaps OTE shouldn't be shedding all these jobs at such a cost? I hear you could buy your way in for a small investment of around 17,000 Euro? For a 2 year/lifetime tenureship. And exit several hundred thousand Euro richer soon. No, they should be closing more offices down, sending bills out even later and with even less detail on, and in braille? And to dead people at my house address.

Perhaps we shouldn't bother to fill in tax returns. We should just visit the tax inspector, take them for a coffee, ingratiate ourselves for a few minutes, and ask him how much tax we should pay. And when he tells us, we should simply say Thank You, and move on for another year.
(Oh, I forgot, this is actually what happens now).

Why does everyone make things so complicated, when it only takes a fool like me to think up these simple solutions?

Saturday, July 9

Double Oh Seven - Oh No

I know a lady who wants to be very friendly with me. Saucy friendly. She has a wild imagination, which could be interesting for me if I could be more interested in her. She wonders why I am here. (Like I sometimes do).

But her answer is more interesting than mine.
She believes (yes, really believes!) that there's only one explanation as to why an englishman would come to The Village, live in privacy in a large house surrounded by high walls, overlooking the Aegean coastline facing Turkey, keep his own counsel, take on a girlfriend he can't communicate with, have a satellite dish on the roof, and drink Martini (I do, really, I do).

According to her I'm an english spy. How obvious. Passing plane movements to M16. As you do. And here I was thinking I was just a boring, middle-aged, fart.

Friday, July 8

DEFINING MADNESS

I like this.
My philosophy, too.
That's why I'm here.

"A person needs a little madness, or else they never dare cut the rope and be free"

Nikos Kazantzakis (a Greek Writer whose work represents a major contribution to modern Greek literature, 1885-1957)