Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I left Greece on the thirteenth, arriving back in Manchester the temperature was 13C. I am certain that those numbers should be the other way round. A cheery weather man on the TV said it would go up to 18C tomorrow. That was the temperature at night when I started to feel a bit chilly. I am cold.

Taking a charter flight from Skiathos to Manchester is an easy way to travel. I caught a tourist boat one-way to the island, with the captain's wife being very jolly and welcoming after she had phoned me the night before to say that a party had booked and that it would be running. There weren't many of them. A small group of Eastern Europeans were swaying in time to the Lady Ga Ga CD playing over the boat's loudspeakers on a blazingly hot day as we swayed past some gorgeous island scenery before pulling into the main town's harbour. Then to the airport.

As we sat on the tarmac with the cabin doors open, hot air flooding in, a fly buzzed into the aircraft and settled on a single hair of a balding man's head. The doors closed and the fly spent the journey going up and down the plane. There seemed to be something utterly tragic about it. Its short life, instead of being spent in heat and a surfeit of rapidly decaying organic material, perfect for a satisfactory insect existence, was going to end on a dismally cold runway in Manchester. At least I knew what I was doing.

Thirteen looks like a distant aspiration today as the drizzle falls and the skies lower. The forecast for tonight is for it to drop to five.  My liking for Greece is not solely based on the weather, though it doesn't half help. I just can't help wondering why, when the great human migration out of Africa took place, they didn't stop at the Mediterranean and think, 'this will do fine'.

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