Saturday, 22 April 2017

The night the lights went out ...

Not an unusual event on Skiathos ...

From time to time, the power goes off, the water gets cut to 'make improvements for the tourists' this happens in winter, and never seems to benefit anyone, as far as I can tell.

So sitting in Kabourelias, having a banter across the tables with Panagiotis the bus conductor, and his Greek friends. One of the fluorescent light tubes dimmed, flashed a few times and died. Kostis looked at it, then the TV and went to get the remote to turn on the aircon, as its still a bit nippy.

The aircon starts and the fluorescent lamp comes on. 'Το έφτιαξα - 'Fixed it' from Panagiotis and his mates, with a cheer. Only to see it dim and start to flash again as if on cue.

Kostis returns with a fluorescent light tube, and as only a Greek can do. He measures it up, for suitability from about ten feet below, and without any steps. Holding it rather like a snooker cue, from one end ...

At about that moment both tubes expired, as if on cue.

We still had the four side lights, so carried on the cross table banter. The guy to my right adjusting his seat to get better light to read his newspaper.

Now the tubes came back on just as Kostas changed the TV channel. What is it with Kostis and remote controls? We all laughed, but our friend reading the newspaper, was cold. So Kostas adjusted the aircon, and the tubes started to flash on and off. One to another again.

Alkis came in looked at the TV, the lamps shrugged, and went back outside ...

The tubes both expired again, apart from a glow at each end, then the four side lamps started to flash on and off in tandem, two by two. Newspaper man carries on as if nothing has happened. Panagiotis and his mates look at me and at the flashing light, raise their glasses, and one said to me.

'My friend in your country this means Time gentlemen please' and we all laughed.

As the last time this happened to me was when, I was a few feet away and four floors up. My one and only time in the Rooftop bar, with 'Townboy'  Roy was closing up, and uttered the immortal words, along with flashing the lights on and off, and 'haven't you got homes to go to'...

After a few disco moments, all the lights went out ...

We sat in the dark, lit by the light from the kitchen, where Alkis, and the team all looked out at us sitting in the dark. It was a surreal moment. Strangely the aircon still worked, as did the TV for a few minutes or so.

Alkis and Kostis, came in looking up at a darkened ceiling - not sure quite why. Panagiotis table said get us more wine, holding up their cans and were illuminating their table with mobile phone lights. Newspaper man with his back to the kitchen, was holding up his paper to read it.

Everyone was in the dark, Alkis was barking orders not sure if they were drinks orders, food orders, but one was to get Costas, the electrologos (Electrician) from the ouzeria round the corner.

Costas is laid back, but he seems to be the only one on 24 hour call who attends every emergency day or night - If you can find him. He reminds me of Windy, one of the characters from Camberwick Green, he has the same walk, and often looks like he has just emerged from the music box in his normal clothes.

Costas aka Windy ...
What I like about him, is he likes a challenge, even getting through an 18 inch thick wall. He was the man for the job. Where windy has his scarf. Costa has a lamp on a cable, its like a medallion, but is part of his testing kit.

He walks in and takes a look, followed by Alkis Yorgo and Kostis wherever he went. Us customers resorted to ordering via mobile - Me waving the light and clinking the tsipouro bottles. Which my Greek friends thought was a great idea, and joined in, as we still sat in the dark.

Costas was opening boxes, flicking switches and testing circuits, with the lamp flashing beneath his neck, as he went from box to box, and circuit to circuit. Then there was a team meeting held outside, by the fridge. All looking up, Even the chef leaned out of the window, and looked up ...

Get the long ladder from Angelos at Syrainno's, oops Yorgo has borrowed it to paint the hotel, how about the steps? Angelos also came to take a look ...

Costas climbs the steps but is too short to reach the box. Get a taller electrician shouts our Greek friends as we all roar with laughter. Alkis who knows nothing about electrics, but has had a glass or two of wine, ascends the steps to take a look.


Returns to terra firma, safely in one piece, and without being electrocuted, as he cannot reach either.

Alkis is the boss so he comes up with a plan ....

Then they fetch a table. They place the steps on top and Yorgo and Kostis hold the steps. Thought was given to Hellenic Health and safety, a chair was used for ease of access. Additional lighting was provided by mobile phone, both at low level and high level.


Costa ascends the steps, and reaches the box illuminated by mobiles ...


What a team ...


 Keep the ladder steady boys ...


That's how you do it - Teamwork, even if it could not be fixed until the following day ...

My contribution, illuminating my table with the phone, so Kostis can get my bill.


I saw Costa the following day, on his motorbike, He said you have pictures and laughed. He also had enough cable looped round his back, to run an extension, half way along the port. I think he needed it too ...

Later that night it was business as usual, the TV was working, My Greek friends were saluting me from another table. The aircon was working, for our friend with the newspaper, and it was time for some more tsipouro, with Skiathos friends ...

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