Friday, 9 October 2015

Αρχίδια με Λουλούδια

‘Bollocks with Flowers’. I learn a little more Greek every day, and I’ve only just come across this delightful expression. You see, I’ve been having some trouble translating a Greek novel written 200 years ago by a Kephallonian. Not only is it written in ‘katharevousa’ (‘Purified’ Greek; an outmoded language with different grammar, vocabulary and syntax) but it is sprinkled with Italian words in Greek type, and many specifically Kephallonian dialect words and expressions. And I was lucky enough the other evening to meet, in our little bookshop / bar, an educated Kephallonian woman who had been doing a summer job as a waitress here. Her taverna being now closed, we met again the next evening in the same place, and this time I had the book with me. She helped with many words and phrases that were quite unknown to me.

After she’d gone, one of the regular customers — he comes for the drinks, not the books — looked up from the corner where he’d been lurking and said ‘Nice lady you were talking to,’ and went on to make the usual male remarks, which I won’t give here. I responded in a very ψηλομύτης (‘high-nosed’) manner that such considerations had not crossed my mind; we had been engaged entirely in discussions of a literary nature.

‘Αρχίδια με Λουλούδια’ he replied.


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