You may have…

… assumed that I spend my time as a latter-day lotus eater in this pastoral idyll, with occasional paranoid dashes in various directions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Well, no, let me modify that statement as follows: That is only partially true. I have, indeed, become a bit of a lounger-around, idle reader, desultory net browser (at dial-up speeds, it has to be desultory) and uneasy blogger.

However, I am also, as you know, a part-time boat mender’s assistant, no easy assignment, in which profession I spent part of today sanding a slim telegraph pole of a piece of wood, which is destined to be the mast of my boat, while Alexis did the dirty malodorous stuff with some resinous gunk or other on the inside of the hull. Paint and sealing materials alone have so far cost him, or, rather, me, well over a thousand pounds, which is nothing, I suppose, to what the bottom line is going to be.

But it did not escape the islanders’ notice that I had some facility with my laptop computer, and early on in my stay, I received many friendly invitations to discuss and inspect the various PCs on the island, of which there are a surprising number. Like a party guest who is discovered to be a doctor, I now seem to hold an impromptu surgery at Nikos’ almost every day. At various houses and business premises, I’ve also installed and adjusted XP, anti-virus and firewall products, consulted on E-Bay shopping, diagnosed a printer fault as a cable connector with a bent pin, and performed many other minor tasks, such as unpacking and plugging in new computers. I resolutely refuse payment, because none of these people can afford my fees, and I refuse to work for less, so everything is a favour. The result, however, is that many of my drinks are paid for, and if I arrive too early at Nikos’ I am regaled with so much hospitality which cannot be refused for fear of giving offense that I am frequently half-cut by the time my meal arrives and I can barely see to ride home. In addition to drinks, I sometimes discover that my meal at Nikos’ has been paid for, and gifts of sweetmeats and other food frequently turn up in neat packages. I’m not complaining. It’s rather pleasant to be part of the barter society.

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