Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING


 

 LIVING                                                                                   JUNE 2014

 

 DRIVEN CRAZY


In 2004 we were a young family in Aegina needing to buy a new car and we had made up our minds that with a new life we should get a brand new car, a nice shiny one straight from the box.
Having previously rented Atos Primes,we decided that this what would make a suitable purchase as I was used to driving one, it would be easy to drive through narrow convoluted streets and since it wasn't massively expensive, I wouldn't feel too upset about the odd scratch or dent.
We went to Athens with a friend, a distant cousin who knows the area well, especially the street with the car showrooms selling Atos Primes. Odos Atos.
Not being a lover of shopping, I wanted the purchase to be quick and slick, so I quickly surveyed the parade of gleaming new cars and knew instantly that the one for me would somehow let itself be known.I chose one in a shade of metallic sage green, the same colour as the work surface tiles in my London kitchen.
Our friend offered to drive the car to Aegina the following week,which suited me. I can drive around Hyde Park Corner in London but to date I still haven't driven on the mainland of Athens.
We fit perfectly into the vehicle, Mr and Mrs L and their three children, aged 12, 10 and 7,who'd bicker about whose turn it was to sit by the window, dad in front with his brown hairy arm relaxed on the open window and mum, cautious and curious. An open car boot that soon would occupy two sibling puppies on excursions to Mesagros.for piano lessons ( not the puppies, the children!) the car was a welcome addition to the family.........except the speedometer didn't work and so it had to go back to the garage we.d bought it from.
Some months later, it needed to go to our local garage for a little bit of therapy and on its return, the radio wouldn't work properly; now it doesn't work at all,
Then, some years later, one of the electric rear windows wouldn't open, too much of playing with the switches and not just by Mr L but the children too!!! now there is always one window which won't work. At the moment it is the front passenger window that won't open, much to Mr L's annoyance as he does so love to perch his arm on the door edge, his elbow sticking out at a dangerous angle.Once, when I drove too close to a building, he knocked and grazed it on some masonry. He blamed my driving, I blamed the arm.
More recently, the car over heated and needed copious fluids to endure the shortest of journeys. Aegina town and back was its limit and it was in urgent need of remedial work. Kyrios Pavlos (not his real name ) didn't believe the car had a real problem. I explained that every morning, once I had dropped off Mr L, I would gingerly approach the steep hill leading back home, then accelerate along the wide stretch thus cooling the engine a little but on arriving outside my house, the car was hissing and sounded like a tree full of cicadas, plus the thermostat needle would never move as far as the red, hot area. The car though was very dehydrated and would consume 4 litres of water to quench its thirst.
He suggested we went for a test drive, he the driver, me the passenger. I put on my safety belt which I can only assume he took to mean that I didn't trust him because he proceeded to tell me that he was a great driver, that I needn't worry. I did!
He accelerated that poor car to 60, 70, 80 mph,not on the straight but around bends.
He overtook young motor cyclists speeding up Agios Asomatos on the road where there is a double white line which to most people means 'strictly no overtaking' Huge lorries roared past us in the opposite direction but by this time my eyes were closed and I was gripping my seat whilst nausea and regret were gripping my stomach.
I briefly wondered how Mr L would take the news of my death, incredulous because I am in his opinion a very responsible driver and then he'd learn that it wasn't me driving and it would all make sad sense. I felt sorry for number 2 who would arrive at the port, no smiling mother to meet him, his room in a state of being tidied, preparing for his arrival. And number 3 would arrive home on her bike, wanting to discuss the difficult exam she had written but would only hear a ringing telephone in an empty house.
Miraculously, we arrived back at the garage, screeching to a teenage halt. "Well,"asked Pavlos, "what score will you give me for my driving"?
"No score, zero!" I hissed! The car was silent, pretending to be normal but I was delighted to be alive, shaking slightly from the hellish journey.
The test drive, if nothing else tested my appreciation of life, of the everyday actions that we take for granted. I was so incredibly happy to reach home, to have coffee with my daughter and to prepare a home- coming feast for our son.
The car did have a problem, a blocked hose that conveys water to the engine; this has since been replaced and it is back to its loyal service, ferrying us around the island, three windows functioning, one not.



 

Alison Lorentzos                                                             copyright 2013

 

 

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