High life | 2 August 2018

Still – my country is as beautiful as ever, and I am happy with my family – don’t tell!

High life | 2 August 2018
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On board S/Y Puritan

I’m sailing off the charred eastern coast of Athens where so many died last week, and I remain suspicious as hell. Fifteen or so fires starting simultaneously smells like arson to me, committed by scum who murder for a TV set, or set fires in order to loot abandoned houses. Sometime soon we Greeks will have to take matters into our own hands. Frontier justice will prevail.

Mind you, the community of Mati, where most of the dead lived, was illegally built some 40 years ago, and only issued building permits after the fact. It is a middle-class community of mostly retired doctors and lawyers, but it lay in a gully that funnelled the flames all the way to the sea. Extremely high winds did not help. The authorities talk a good game but will do nothing. If I were in charge, I’d arrest every criminal in Greece and deport them. Violent crime would disappear overnight, but then I’m not in charge, political correctness is.

Not that the UK is doing any better. Who would believe that Sarah Champion, a Member of Parliament, who pointed out the simple fact that the young white girls who were abused — 1,400 under age and targeted by British Pakistani men — would need police protection for uttering the truth? If this isn’t sick, I don’t know what is. The bad guys have PC protection, the good ones nada. Not to mention the publicity-starved Diane Abbotts of this world protesting about the fate of the two bloodthirsty Isis monsters who our American friends know what to do with once they get their hands on them.

A 55-year-old acquaintance of mine, a father of three young men, is attacked in his house by two known Albanian criminals, he almost kills one of them with a punch to the head, and is then slain by the other with a blow to the head with a steel pipe. They get away and we are fed the usual bullshit.

Despite the loss of cultural coherence, however, life does go on and I’m sailing around the Aegean on Puritan, one of Alden’s greatest designs, a 1929-built, 38-metre schooner that I sail on every summer, whose crew is mostly British and South African, and whose Italian captain is the best since Captain Blood. However embarrassing it sounds, without good-time ladies on board, I’m quite content to sail with my son and daughter, my son-in-law, my two grandchildren and grandma.

Who knew I would end up like this — I certainly didn’t. In Kimolos and Milos, the white clay rocks turned the sea into a diaphanous marvel, but the nightlife in both places made me yearn for a shithole like Monte Carlo.

Never mind. I am reading Cavafy, the gay Greek poet whose poem ‘Ithaca’ is a classic. Cavafy emphasised the journey rather than the destination, a sort of reversal of the Homeric myth, using the trip as a metaphor for a life that must be lived to the full. It offers no help to an oldie like me who still yearns for adventure and fun. My two rude grandchildren asked me what it was like to live with dinosaurs, and whether Alexander the Great was a friend of mine. ‘Pappou [Greek for grandpa] preceded the Bible,’ they announced. As they’re half dago, I reminded them that we kicked the crap out of the Italians in 1941, and I was about to do it again.

Paros is among the nicest of Greek Isles, the ghastly tourist trade of new rich landing north-west from here, in Mykonos, an island that retains its title as the official whorehouse of the Mediterranean. My crew put up the sails at the slightest whiff of a breeze, a unique phenomenon nowadays, when crews on gin palaces are known to cower in terror when white flecks appear on the horizon.

Sailing around this beautiful part of the world does not exactly make one realise what the EU has done to this country. One sails into the wind, tacking and reaching, and one forgets that the country is not only broke, but will continue to be broke for generations, sacrificed on the altar of the euro. The Greeks are Mrs Rochester, hidden in the attic, and only yours truly is protesting. The rest have been bought off, starting with that arch collaborator Tsipras, whose name I hope will one day be one and the same with Ephialtes, the traitor of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. There you have it, dear readers, I am plunged in bourgeois morality, sailing around with my family without a tart in sight, and happy to boot, while my country has sold out to those faceless men in Brussels. Observing the civic blight amid the physical splendour that is Greece is like seeing a beautiful woman with bad teeth. It’s time for a change.