I’m trying to design a new blogsite for my ramblings. I’m obviously too old to learn new stuff, as this is frustrating me to the point of frustration and I’ve been so close to giving up many times this afternoon! So this is just a practice run, to see if i can add photos etc to this blog.
……and I thought I’d tell you about my exploits this morning in my search to buy a chisel for the husband….. No, i hadn’t been overcome by a sudden pang of generosity in the present-buying department, and it wasn’t a spur of the moment impulse buy, he made a genuine request at breakfast this morning that I should buy him a 10mm chisel…..
My heart started pounding – OHMIGOD not another visit to a random Greek tool shop, I’ve only just recovered from the mission to buy some screws last week ….
So I entered the little hardware shop near the post office. There was no shopkeeper in view, so I had a surreptitious look at the items hanging up behind the counter in the hope I could see the exact item I wanted, and get away with pointing, instead of actually trying to converse with someone. The shopkeeper emerged. He had been cutting keys for another customer, but they had been hidden from my view. We exchanged “Kalimera” which means good morning and tested the extent of my Greek language skills. I asked him in English if he spoke English and he shrugged his shoulders and said he spoke it a little bit. I took a deep breath – “my husband would like a 10mm chisel, please”, hoping this sounded genuine enough to absolve me from all responsibility of requiring such an item for myself, heaven forbid.
He looked at me the way Manuel would look at Basil in Fawlty Towers when he had been asked to fetch a basket of grapefruit, and I thought he was going to say “Que?” in a Manuel sort of way, but he just shrugged. “Chi-sel?” I repeated. “For wood?” Another shrug followed. The key cutting customer also shrugged. I tried my first mime using the counter top as a prop, and hope I did a good impression of a carpenter chiselling wood. But apparently not, as I had to repeat the mime with even more acting skills. This still produced no result, and the shopkeeper temporarily left the shop.
Maybe he was fed up with this crazy English woman and was taking an early lunch. But no, he stood outside and called to a friend of his walking down the road. Presumably he said, “if you want a laugh, come and see this crazee woman doing a mime in my shop …..” But it turned out that his friend spoke a tiny bit more English than he did, and thought he could help. So I repeated my verbal request. No result. Now two of them were staring at me vacantly. I resorted to the mime again.
This resulted in the shopkeeper producing a range of implements, including a rasp, a paint scraper and a knife sharpener. I inwardly groaned. A new customer entered the shop, a well-dressed Greek woman. She obviously spoke a bit more English, but wasn’t letting on. She barked an instruction in Greek to the shopkeeper, and he scurried off into the darkness at the back of the shop. Several minutes passed, and I thought he had definitely gone for lunch this time, but no, he returned carrying a chisel! Hooray! But now I had to ask for a 10mm chisel. I knew the word for “ten” and held up ten fingers. He returned with ten chisels! Oops! The woman put him right, and two minutes later I was the proud owner of a 10mm chisel!
Where would Greek tool shops be without women!