The Birthday Party.

Mad Petros’ Birthday in 2017.

What a coincidence, we just happen to be here in Koufonosia at the same time as my Australian mate, Mad Petros. He’s here to help celebrate his younger brother, Stratos’, 60th birthday. His two other Mad brothers, Giannis and Thomas are also here, along with wives and girlfriends etc.

The ‘Mad’ Brothers….

I had introduced Mad Petros to this island over 6 years ago, when I had invited him to my own ‘special’ birthday here…. (OK, it was my 70th if you must know) and it was obviously a successful party as three years later Mad Petros decided it would be a great place to hold his own ‘significant’ birthday here, his 60th, in exactly the same restaurant, Captain Nikolas’ fish taverna, as I had held mine, some 4 years earlier.

Mad Petros’ 60th at the ‘Captain’s…

All his brothers came here for that too and it seems that everyone who came for Petros’ party seemed to just love the location and the island and it’s unique attractions. Petros sent YM and I an invitation too, but we had made other plans. After 10 weeks in Europe, mainly Greece, we were actually on our way back home to Australia, by ship, and we just didn’t fancy making the long journey back to Greece again, a few days after arriving home, just for a birthday party. I phoned Petros up and told him the news that unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to make his 60th, but I’d definitely be there for his next birthday. His reply stunned me…. “Yeah sure, but what makes you think you’ll still be alive next year”

When I told YM what Petros had said to me, all she could add was that he was absolutely right, (even though I’m in really good nick) and who knows what the future holds. “If it was me” she said “I’d be on a plane back to Greece quick-smart”.

We disembarked our ship in Singapore, and a few days later YM flew back home to Perth…..but without me. Me? I caught a plane back to Greece, then a ferry boat from Piraeus to Naxos, then the old slow boat, the ‘Express Skopolitis’ to Koufonisia, arriving just in time to attend Petros’ party. Was it worth it? Yes, of course it was, any excuse to spend time in Koufonisia……and any excuse for a party too….. and Mate, I’ll still be there for your 65th too, you Mallacca.

Mad Petros in ‘Party Mode’….

Petros with his special guest, Paul Keating, ex Aussie PM. Paul is on the right ( he always was!)

Last year, in 2018, I again went to Koufonisia for another special birthday, mine, (OK, it was my 75th…. jeez, I find it difficult to even write that) but I don’t have as many friends, nor family, as Petros, and even though I told him that he wasn’t invited, he turned up anyway. He told me that I didn’t own the friggin island (or words to that effect!) and “so how are ya gonna stop me from coming!”

My own smaller party last year, June 2018, at Kalofego in Pori Bay.

Now, another year on, and it’s his younger brother Stratos who has decided that as everyone enjoyed Mad Petros’ birthday so much, he also would follow suit, following the self-same formula for a successful party that I had started 7 years previously, including the same location at the Captain Nikolas Taverna. Oh well, they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I guess I’m quite flattered that my original idea for a special birthday destination has been so successful.

Stratos’ 60th at Captain Nikolas’ Fish Taverna

I often get to joke with Mad Petros that I get a ‘kickback’ from the owners of Captain Nikolas’ Taverna (in Greece, it’s colloquially known as ‘Fakelaki’, which means a ‘small brown envelope’, filled with cash-money.), and he even half believes me. He calls it ‘handbag instead of fakelaki, which is a term we used to both use when we ‘cut our teeth’ in the many ways of making some ‘fakelaki’ when we worked on the old liners of Chandris Lines in the 70s.

During these latest proceedings, I made an excuse to go to speak to someone I knew in the kitchen, making sure that Petros saw me go in. When I exited the kitchen and returned back to the table after a few minutes, I had my wallet out and pretended to stuff it with a handful of Euro notes that I had in my fist. “ What’s that” he said, “is that ‘handbag’ ”? I made a pretence of looking guilty, but an actor I ain’t, and burst out laughing. “You Mallacca” he said, about the only greek word he regularly uses, “I fuckin knew it!”

PS: Some images, as well as names, have been digitally altered to protect the innocent.

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