"Small Talk" drabbles by Neville Hunt

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Beach days

Small Talk #91

Most days we drove to Manadendri Beach in the "crock". They said it was to the best beach on the island.... in the worst car.

There was a swimming pool. It was lovely, like the one we use at home, but when the water got in my mouth, it was all salty, so what did I do? I yelled.

After that I took my time before going into the pool again. I preferred to sit on the steps in the water. I only dared jump in with Daddy catching me.

But I wondered if there were other crocs watching me.

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Feeding time

Small Talk #90

On our holiday I really liked feeding time. No, not feeding me, because Mummy said I was a picky eater, but feeding the fish.

We sat on the quay at the Roxy Bar and Daddy had some old olive bread for me (and Baba). There were millions of little fishes. You only needed to thow in a tiny, tiny piece, and, Baba said, they went ballistic, whatever that is.

"Those larger black fish are no match for those tiny grey ones, they're like bloody piranhas. I'm not putting my foot in there!"

But Granny still had to drag him away.

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Small Talk #89

Driving through Logos is very scary, Baba said. The only way through it is along the quay. It's very narrow and it's even narrower because one of the restaurants has put tables and chairs on the road.

Daddy said the clearance between the car and the quay's edge was only a foot. I looked at my foot and thought wow, that must be really close!

But when people were standing in the road, Granny said Baba's language was as blue as the sea. I wondered if 'blue' was a local dialect of Greek.

Wow, Baba can speak blue. Clever Baba.

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Baba the builder

Small Talk #88

Baba liked Paxos so much he wanted to buy somewhere. Trouble was, he was only interested in dilapidated wrecks.

"I fancy a project", he said "I could stay at Steve's and do building work, plastering, electrics, plumbing etcetera on it during the winter..."

"And what about your work?", said Granny.

"Hadn't thought about that!", replied Baba.

But he kept taking down phone numbers.

He asked neighbour Les about it.

"Even total wrecks cost €100K upwards, and there's frustrating bureaucracy that'll cost you lots extra", said Les.

"Maybe we'll stick with Salcombe!" sighed Baba.

'Where's Salcombe, Baba?... can I come too?'

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Small Talk #87

Baba says Uncle S has had a shrine built on his terrace.

"All it needs is Mary and the Baby Jesus, and it's complete!" he explained, but I didn't get it!

It's very grand and was all-white until the other day, when Daddy and Baba were babaqueing.

When Granny saw Baba kneeling in front of it she said,

"Oh my goodness, he's finally found religion. We don't have that much time for his confessions before we have to go home!" I like Granny's little jokes.

Daddy replied, "No way! He's praying that the bloody charcoal will light this time!

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Business as usual

Small Talk #86

Our villa's water is rainwater, collected in a huge tank above the kitchen. This year was extremely dry and Uncle S was worried about the water running out during our visit.

So when the water pressure dropped, Granny panicked. Time for desperate measures. Washing up water for the plants.... eeeeew! Toilet flushing limited - pheeew!

Baba decided to have his shower in the sea every day. Granny said it was the cleanest he'd ever been! I was still allowed a basin bath.

"Mummy does as Mummy does", said Daddy. She carried on as normal, ignoring it completely!

Better call the plumber!

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Small Talk #85

Granny and Baba went out on Friday to eat. They both ate wild boar. They said it was huge! Waddling along the harbour quay, they met a nice couple, Graham and Jan, who'd given Baba and a case a lift to our villa when we arrived, because our hire car wouldn't fit us all in.

They had a lovely Fiat Panda, while Babis had fitted us up with a 'right croc', said Daddy, but I couldn't see it's teeth.

"Hey Babis, what's this croc? I thought you were my friend", Daddy said in pretend Greek...but Babis pretended not to understand.

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Small Talk #84

I've got a tee-shirt with FUN written on the front, because they think I am a fun little chap. The letters are different colours, but Baba says the N is hardly visible.

I have lots of fun, but sometimes I'm very grumpy, like when I'm over-hungry, over-tired and particularly when I've just woken up in the afternoon! Mummy says Daddy's grumpy when he wakes up too!

When I'm very grumpy, nothing pleases me. They all try, but Baba reckons my tee-shirt says it all.

"The N's almost Nvisible!", he jokes, "all I can read is FU!"

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Small Talk #83

Granny says I can be a difficult little fellow to feed. I don't know what she means!

I'm selective, that's me! I like crisps and ham and peas and sweetcorn and the cheesy bits of pizza. Granny keeps trying me on other sorts of stuff, but I know what I like.

"You must be getting bored with pizza little man!" she said once.

'No', I thought, 'not if it's crisp, pea, ham, sweetcorn and cheese pizza!'

"You're overloading on pizza this holiday!" she said, adding "and Baba's overloading on pints of Mythos, ouzo and wine by the look of it!"

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Small Talk #82

Daddy hired a quad bike. He was going 'off-road'. Mummy decided she was going too, so she sat behind him. Mummy always smiles and it was funny to see her smiling under the crash helmet - girl-racer! She put her arms round Daddy. She was really happy.

Granny said "It's good to see her do fun things with Matt and not be limited."

She's fussy though because although she loved the views, she didn't realise off-roading meant off-bike as well, as she kept getting bounced up off the seat. So she hugged Daddy tighter. Well why not?

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Small Talk #81

I've mentioned how Baba and Mummy shout "Spotto!" whenever they see a yellow car. Well now Baba has another game, shouting "Spothole", because there are squillions of potholes on Paxos roads. Baba says some of the roads are more like potholes with lumpy bits on top. Baba says it's getting like that in England.

To play his game, he counts the number of potholes he and Daddy had to swerve to avoid, because the car insurance doesn't cover pothole damage! He says he's up to 1,000, the same as the number of drabbles he's just reached. Baba's such a showoff!

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Granny's strategy

Small Talk #80

Mummy and Daddy went to the sunset bar for dinner, so Granny made me squid paella... yuk! I didn't eat it... until...

Granny started praising Baba of all people!

"Good boy Baba!" What's that? So I ate mine too. Good boy Harry (that's me). Baba flipped me peas from the paella pan. He knew my likes. Peas, sweetcorn... and sometimes rice.

Granny thought she was working us, but I was getting things I liked... but not squid!... too white! I like green and yellow, like peas and sweetcorn. My reward was icecream, twice today! So who's the clever one, Granny?

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Bad boys

Small Talk #79

Next day, Baba went to pay for hiring the speedboat. The lady looked shocked when she checked how much fuel we'd used.

"It's unusual to burn so much fuel. You've used 29 litres."

"How's that?" asked Baba, "we stayed on this side of the islands."

They'd tracked our movements on GPS. She showed him where we'd been on the screen. Up and down, up and down, over and over.

It was Daddy and Baba blasting it while I was sleeping!

The fuel cost almost as much as the boat hire!

"Well", said Baba handing over the cash, "it's our holiday!"

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Rocket man

Small Talk #78

Daddy mostly did the boat driving. Granny wasn't happy with Baba telling him to "Give it some welly!".

Before Granny and I went back to the villa for my sleep (I know, it's boring!), Daddy was going quite fast and Granny was a bit worried. I was loving it though.... until...

We hit a freak wave and the boat jumped up. I left the deck like a rocket and came down with a bump. I yelled!

Granny cuddled me and I went off to sleep. "Something in the air has made him sleepy."

That something in the air was me!

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Old salt and wounded pride

Small Talk #77

The speedboat was huge fun. But Granny didn't trust Baba! After we left Logos, Baba took the wheel. He and Daddy were going to share it. First destination Gaios, a beautiful harbour with an island. But to get there you had to pass the island through a channel.

Granny said to Baba "You'd better let Matt take over here."

Baba said "Why?" in his cross sort of way.

"He knows what he's doing!"

Then Baba said, unusually calmly, "Oh, I suppose 38 years owning my own boats don't count then?"

For once, Granny didn't reply... Baba stayed at the wheel.

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Small Talk #76

Ants don't make noises, "They scuttle silently", Baba says, "silently but deadly determined."

Our ants are so tiny it's difficult to see them. Baba picked up something on the work surface and found it was a pile of hundreds of an ants fighting over a tiny piece of bread. He became an anticidal maniac, so Daddy said.

Daddy also started singing "There are ants, ants crawling up your pants...". Granny wasn't amused. She hates ants.

Baba's making fish soup stock in a saucepan. He's now not sure if they're herbs or ants on the surface!

"Extra protein!" said Granny, surprisingly!

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Small Talk #75

There's one wild cat that keeps coming to the villa. Granny says that Aunty W feeds it because there's cat food in the larder. Baba says it only encourages the beast.

It's funny, because every time we're eating breakfast, lunch or dinner on the terrace, the cat comes along and keeps making noises over and over again. Baba hates wild cats.

"They're everywhere you go!" he says. "This one is clearly an optimist, because it knows it gets nothing from me but a running shoo!"

I wonder what an optimist is as I make my noise for yet another biscuit!

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Small Talk #74

We joined Granny and Baba at a cafe. I wanted food!

Granny spotted something on the menu and Baba ordered it for me immediately. But Granny has to think about things, so he got a bollocking. It was chocolate brownie and vanilla icecream. Yum-yum!

But the icecream was cream. Liars! I HATE cream! I yelled. Daddy got cross as he checked the menu. He snatched my plate and took it to complain. I yelled to order (because he'd taken my brownie!)

"I'm not paying for this!"

Meanwhile Baba got me a huge icecream from the shop next door. Yummy!

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Birthday treat

Small Talk #73

Went to Gaios today. Mummy and Granny wanted to do a shopathon! They all said Gaios was very pretty, but I loved looking at all the huge boats and the fishes swimming round them.

It was Daddy's birthday. Baba said, "Not much fun for you then Matt?"

Daddy agreed, and was allowed to go off with his camera taking "pictures of wild pussies", he said. Baba laughed. I wonder why?

Baba and me had to go shopping too. Baba was in a good mood because he bought Mummy and Granny two clothes each. (I never thought of him as generous!)

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Small Talk #72

I've learnt a brand new word on our holiday. Granny said it was the word of the holiday. Baba said it wasn't so much the word itself, but the way it was said.... well by Mummy anyway, so that's the way I say it too.

Daddy isn't just called Daddy, he has another name. Mummy uses Daddy's other name, saying it in a funny way. "Ma-att!"she calls all the time which seems to mean Daddy has to do something. Baba says it's part pleading and part commanding, whatever that means. So I'm a pleading commander now too!