After three days we returned the car and went back to the routine of the first week with long days around the swimming pool, sunset drinks on the hotel terrace and seeking out different tavernas for evening meals. Some days when we tired of the pool we visited the scruffy beach which was across a busy main road and through a gloomy underpass, which we rarely used, preferring instead to take our chances against the traffic. Actually the sand was nice enough, soft and golden, but the place was full of activities and games and was just the sort of beach that these days I would go out of my way to avoid. One day we did join in and Richard and I went out to sea behind a motor boat being dragged along on water skies. I had done this before but only on a freezing cold quarry in Leicestershire and doing it on the warm blue Ionian Sea was much, much better and I surprised myself, and everyone else, by being able to keep upright for most of the fifteen minute ride.
Towards the end of the fortnight we went on a day trip which turned out to be one of the highlights of the holiday, a full day on a Greek boat, with a Greek skipper and plenty of alcohol.
This was George’s boat and at mid morning we joined about thirty other holiday makers when we arrived at the concrete quayside opposite the hotel and were welcomed on board by George himself, a man with a big smile and a flamboyant sense of humour who worked hard to get us all to enjoy ourselves before casting off and steering the brightly coloured boat with the steady rhythm of its chugging diesel engine away from Corfu and out into the Ionian Sea. As soon as George had completed the tricky bits and negotiated his way out of the harbour the fun began when the wine was opened and passed around and drunk from plastic cups and he began an amusing narrative and a stream of jokes, which were corny to begin with but got ruder as the day progressed.
Eventually someone had to be the first to use the on deck toilet which was located within a sort of canvas modesty tube and this was the moment George was waiting for because as soon as they were inside he scooped up a bucket of sea water and then to everyone’s amusement (except the young girl in the loo) he poured it through the open top and drenched her. Her shrieks could probably be heard on the mainland and the whole boat was in fits of laughter. After this there was no stopping George and his next party trick was to scoop up more water and then discharge this over unsuspecting people minding their own business and sunbathing on pedalos bobbing gently on the water. HELLOOO! he shouted just as he emptied the bucket load all over them. Some thought it was funny but some didn’t share the joke. Everyone found this hilarious and encouraged George to repeat it over and again at every opportunity.
George took us first to a remote beach that was inaccessible from the land and he dropped anchor and invited us to jump from the prow of the boat into the warm crystal clear water below and we stayed there for a while swimming and diving and then sitting on deck in the sunshine drinking more wine. After the swimming break we set off again for a stop at a small village for a barbeque lunch of fish and salad and yet more local wine. It wasn’t the best wine I’ve ever tasted but sitting by the water with a cool breeze rippling the sea and the table cloths it was delightful and we could easily have stayed much longer than the time allocated and before we were really ready we had to set off on the journey back with more wine, more japes and a thoroughly good time.
Eventually the fortnight and an idyllic holiday came to an inevitable end and we had to reluctantly leave Corfu. It had been an excellent holiday, perfect weather, Greek beer called Fix, Ouzo, Retsina, Moussaka and Greek salads. Lovely people, good sightseeing and the best boat trip I have ever been on even now. I have never been back to Corfu, I have been twice to Cephalonia which is similar but my favourite Greek islands are really the Cyclades and I have generally chosen to travel there instead.
I’ve googled and checked and 25 years later George’s boat is still running:
Some more of my boat journeys recorded in the journal: