At a splendid birthday bash the other evening (26 guests) at a delightful restaurant famous for its jube-jube tree, I never knew jube-jubes actually existed or grew on trees, the talk naturally got around to the crisis. Judging by the food that was being served you certainly wouldn’t know a crisis existed and two English girls dining on their own were invited to join us. They declined with thanks as they had already ordered and started their meal but one of our lot got talking to them and it turned out they were on holiday for a couple more days and couldn’t wait for their next visit. They went on about how beautiful the island is and more importantly how warm, hospitable friendly and generous are the Cretans. Sure there are bad apples, there always are. It would be very strange if there weren’t but, on the whole, visitors don’t tend to be ripped off despite reading at least one letter in Athens News every week someone’s tale of woe of it happening to them, and the British press has a lot to answer for in their lies and ignorant denigration of Greece that has devastated the tourist industry.
It would seem there is hardly a country that isn’t undergoing some degree if financial crisis: Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, US of A and the UK isn’t exactly far behind but then it appears to me that when it comes to spending (or overspending) no one is ready and able to say, okay, this is the line, don’t cross it and so-called savings are inevitably made in the wrong direction. For example maybe cutting back on the armed forces is logical if Britain isn’t going to go to war at the drop of a hat but cutting back on the police is plainly ridiculous and dangerous. Not that they seem to be up to much cop these days (unintended pun) with all the paperwork they have to do and all the elf and safety precautions they have to take and the possibility of criminals screaming of their yuman rights and trying to sue left right and centre. So how is it in Britain these days? I ask the question because one of the rumours circulating at the dinner party was that 80% of panicking ex-pats have put their houses on the market and are ready to return to the country they blithely abandoned when the going here was so good. It is very foolish if true. One, it isn’t a seller’s market even before being flooded with unwanted houses, and even if they manage to sell at a much reduced price, what will that get them in England?
I hate to sound snobbish or ‘told you so’ but a great many of these ex-pats coming out here seeking the good life have never made any attempt to integrate or contribute to Greek society. Some of them, letting their homes for holidays, have the money paid in sterling into a British bank which doesn’t do anything for the Greek economy even though the holiday makers themselves obviously spend money whilst here. But they see bad times ahead and have decided to make a run for it, the days of sand, sea, cheap booze and cheap cigarettes are over. For some reason we nicknamed them the Dagenham Brigade because despite their age their whole mentality is chav.