The House with the Pink Shutters – The Fake Priest. Samos Island Greece
The fake priest lives in a house just down the road from us. Although he looks and dresses for the part apparently, I am told, he is just a monk. I would not be able to tell the difference and quite frankly don’t care if this old man wants to aspire to a seat closer to god. What I do object to is his attempts to shit stir and cause discord between us and our neighbors.
Every time we have stayed on the island over the past 12 years he will at least once or twice buttonhole Mitch and tell him that lands adjacent to our house belong to Mitch’s family. Lands that have now been built upon or turned into a garden by others. The fake priest gets quite indignant, says it’s not right and seems to expect us to do something about it. Firstly, since none of this land is marked on the topography of the house (plans) this would be hard to prove. Secondly, when the house was being built the family should have ensured that all lands owned by them were thoroughly researched at the local councils offices and included. Thirdly, there is a law (which I’m not too clear on) that grants squatter rights and ownership after a certain amount of years.
Now for many years Kostas has been building his house next to our small self-contained unit opposite the main house and allegedly took possession of a small patch of garden and some of the land behind it. He had planning permission and his plans had been lodged for all to see at the local council office so any discrepancies could have been challenged at the time if the family had had a decent solicitor or if they had wanted to take it further. But they didn’t and apparently the fake priest has been ruminating on this for 30 years getting more and more indignant with the passing of time.
When we returned to the island this year – to our surprise Kosta’s family had moved in and there were flowers and pots decorating the once empty concrete roof and ‘our’ garden had been tamed and the trees pruned. Very nice. However, the downside was that the back of the roof had been turned into a junk yard with half repaired bikes, old fridges and other rusting stuff. Not great to look down upon from our house let alone from the terrace of the small unit. We had guests coming to stay in the unit so I decided to buy large plants to use as a screen.
As usual nothing is quite as easy as you think it will be living on this island. After purchasing 3 large plants, one very pretty Bougainvillea and a heap of soil we asked for them to be delivered up the hill. The seller told us that his father had the truck but he could do it the next day and that he would throw in some water plates to go under the pots. All we had to do was come down at 9.30am and he would load up and drive us back. The next day we walked down.
My father still has the truck and will be back about 2.00 today – he told us – come back then.
I’m not walking back down the hill again – I replied – you call us when you have the truck and we will meet you at the square to help carry the stuff up to the house. Later in the day, when he finally arrived, I noticed that one of the plants was missing.
Where is the pink one? I asked. He looked blank. And where are the water plates you promised? He still looked blank.
You only paid for 3 plants – he replied
We had a discussion. He finally said that he would go and check but could not sort it out until the next day. Whilst Mitch was translating all of this to me – he left. Since I had been given a receipt (unusual in self) and a nasty feeling that that would be the last we saw of him for a while I rushed indoors, found the bill, told Mitch to catch up with him and bring that plant back no matter what. Which he did, plus the water plates, and in record time since after telling the father the whole story Mitch insisted that he was given a lift back up to the village.
So I had my screen but the next question was what to do with the Bougainvillea which was left over. We thought that it would look good in a pot standing by the front door of the house up and over the doorway. The neighbors came out to give their opinion. Gramataki suggested that we put it by the side of the flower bed so it grew up and over the shutters. Kosta liked that idea and expanded it further.
Dig a hole in the concrete (road) and plant it – he said
We can’t just dig up the road – I replied
It’s Greece – he said and before I had a chance to object more he had rushed into his house, produced a jack hammer and commenced drilling a big hole.
What if there is a water pipe underneath? Someone from the gathering audience asked
Kosta looked worried, stopped the machine and disappeared into his house. Ten minutes later he still hadn’t come back.
Well that’s that I thought – time to repair the damage.- but first a glass of wine and some headache tablets ( the jack hammer was very loud!).
Kotsa returned with a hand hammer (just in case) and recommenced the digging. The plant was installed and is now nurtured by our new neighbor who is very happy that he has been able to help us in some way.
Sometime later after inviting him up for an ouzo or two on the terrace he told us that Mitch’s father and he had had words over the building of Kosta’s house. “Your killing my view” Mitch’s father had said. The plans for the building had been lodged for anyone to check on – Kosta had replied |(nothing, I noted about the land takeover).
Its history, over and done with – we said. And that is exactly what we plan to tell the fake priest when he starts to pot stir again.
If you would like to read more about my life in Samos and the many wonderful people of the island I have written an e book called A Samian-Summer-Sue-Llewellyn.