I finished ‘The Amber Spyglass’ yesterday and contemplated starting ‘Cloud Atlas’ but the physical size of it put me off – I felt I needed something more lightweight to carry onto the plane home. Instead I went and had a browse through the bookshelf in the hotel reception area and a found a slim book called ‘The Twisted Playground’ by Bryan Forbes – it was the right size and seemed like an easy enough holiday read.

Then I had the cunning idea of going and finding ‘Sharpe’s Rifles’ from the book collection at the Marianna. Unfortunately I didn’t understand the receptionist at the Marianna when she told me where to find the books and the two couples I asked didn’t know where the books were kept. I searched about, wandering along corridors, up and down stairs, along walkways and eventually gave up in a blush of irritated embarrassment. I persuaded Siggy to pop in to the Mythos so I could have a look at their book collection, but there was nothing thinner or more interesting looking than the Forbes book.

Resigning myself to ‘The Twisted Playground’ we went down to Tigaki beach and pretty much stayed there the whole day. It was our last proper day and while we thought we might have most of the following day on the beach (since our pick up time for the airport was 5.30pm) there was high probability that we wouldn’t. It had hinged on us doing a late check-out from our room, but that idea had already been scuppered as the room was needed around 1pm for the next guests. Now it was a case mulling over the logistics of using the shower room at the hotel and the relative utilities of the hotel pool and the beach. That’s me sounding like an economist. Anyway I’m kind of getting ahead of myself.

Matt on Tigaki beach
Me on Tigaki beach, yesterday (the book gives it away).

Lunch was a cheese and ham ‘pie’ at Whatever bakery café plus a caramel milkshake and some pistachio and lemon ice cream. I think a doughnut might have been involved somewhere along the way as well. We had a dip in the sea and I had remembered my goggles and so attempted a bit of a swim, only to find that it’s a lot harder than it looks. The tidal currents changed my mind quicker than you can say ‘what’s that yellow cloud in the water?’

Back at the hotel we did a lot of packing while we were still relatively sober so there would be less to do the following day. Throwing things into the suitcase took a lot less time than it did to pack to come to Kos.

We returned to Vasilis Restaurant for tea – a very nice chicken and mushroom pizza that seemed to take forever to arrive. I was watching the pizza chef toiling at his oven and it seemed to me that he was cooking to a one-in-one-out procedure.

I noticed that the high tempo Greek music that most taverna’s play on their sound systems is in direct opposition to the speed of service and contrives to aggravate rather than dampen my impatience. Never mind Zorba the fucking Greek, dance into the kitchen and fetch my food…

The pizza chef saw me looking and gave me a nod when he was using the pizza slicer to cut our pizza into slices ready to be brought to the table. We asked the waiter to take a photo of us, as it was our last night, and he grunted something incomprehensible and walked off. So we asked one of the other waiters instead. Grumpy barstool.

Then we of course had to go to Memories for some cocktails and fond farewells. We had become quite well-acquainted with two of the floor staff. I noticed that floral print jump suits are the must-have item this season for dedicated followers of female fashion. It gives me the impression that they’ve come out to the boozer in their pyjamas. Great protection against mosquitos though I guess. I got bit despite the new insect repellent – so I had an itchy mosquito bite to take home with me as a memento as well as the fridge magnet.

Emma and Matt at Memories cocktail bar, Tigaki
Siggy and I at Memories cocktail bar, Tigaki. Just in case you had this theory that she didn’t exist, and you missed the last rare ‘sighting’ of her on Twitter from Covent Garden. Also note the would-be photo-bomber behind me getting ready to jump into action for the second take.

Then we popped in to Tirbouson for a night cap. We popped in to the couple from up North who were also going home the following day, on an earlier flight. This was the chap who was reading a Sharpe book, had recently done adult swimming lessons and recommended The Pretty Things to me. I didn’t mention my search for ‘Sharpe’s Rifles’ to them as I had got into the Forbes book by then. I subsequently discovered that it is not the next book after ‘Sharpe’s Trafalgar’ so it would have been a mistake to read it anyway.

I read a bit of Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trial 72’ when we got back to the hotel to make sure I didn’t accidentally finish the Forbes book before we boarded the plane home. I aborted reading Thompson’s book in Skiathos last year, but I’m committed to finishing now as it has sat gathering dust on my bookshelf all year. Then perhaps I will start ‘Cloud Atlas’.

I forgot to mention in a previous post rambling on about the crops and plants that grow in Kos that the cacti also get very large:

Cactus, Tigaki
Cactus, Tigaki


All photos: Copyright 2015 Matthew Haynes. The mosaic on this post was displayed at the Old House Café, obviously by an unnamed local artist who I’d love to credit but can’t. Soz.