MATER’S HOTEL: Part 1
I’d only just arrived, so my surroundings were still a little unfamiliar, you could call them strange even by local standards and certainly wildly eccentric anywhere south of Calais. Having spent the last year bored out of my mind trying to sell houses in the Home Counties, nothing was moving in 1977, I thought a career change and new beginning abroad would be good tonic. Having recently separated from my first wife, fortunately without responsibilities, a luxury only the young can enjoy these days, I’d secured what I thought was a fairly high profile job, at least the title was commensurate and, more importantly, I was at last going to make use of the qualifications that I worked so hard to obtain. I’d been a complete dunce at school, not my fault really, as apart from the baggage I’d arrived with, the distractions at the co-educational boarding school were just too great to resist. Academic achievement was never the pinnacle of success at our school, talent in the performing arts was what it was all about. I was therefore rather proud of the fact that I had finally managed to pass something, a sign that I’d suddenly awoken from a deep sleep.
The owner and director of the hotel was a gregarious if not excitable little woman, as round as she was tall, who more than made up for her lack in stature by having an amazing pair of lungs and a voice that didn’t need the wind to carry it. It sort of trilled as the crescendo rose, transforming her face into a ripe tomato, accentuating her bushy eyebrows which by now would look as though an electric charge had passed through them. Having made her point with the help of some short, sharp hand gestures and requisite posturing – similar to someone getting the chop, she would invariably be left out of breath, which incidentally was foul if you happened to be anywhere near. She usually quickly recovered her composure looking like a frisky terrier, pleased with asserting her authority and the effect that it had had, especially on the male contingent. Corporate Greece in the late seventies was still very much a male domain. No doubt this was aided by the fact that her demure husband who seemed casually disinterested in the affairs of the hotel, preferring instead to immerse himself into the maze of maintenance issues of which admittedly there were many, was happy to leave his bulldog of a wife firmly at the helm.
Part 2 of this short story from a hotel manager in Greece will be released on March 24th 2015