A Commonplace

What is a commonplace?



A Nearly Perfect Day

Feeling good. I should remember this feeling - I've got another feeling that it's going to be a long winter. We've been holidaying on the Greek island of Milos and this morning we went to a rocky beach which had cliffs you could dive from into the water. And I did this about seven times.

The beach is called "Sarakiniko" - the Saracen's beach? And it's a collection of bright white rocks - some of which form platforms you can dive from. Some of which form platforms that you think you might dive from - but there's a sign saying it's dangerous. And in a country like Greece, if there's a sign saying something is dangerous, you pay attention.

So the cliff felt like it was about 10 feet up, and it was probably actually about 6 feet, but so what? It felt like living on the edge to me. And I got an idea of just how deep the water was when I had to dive through it chasing my sun hat, managing to get it just before my ear drums met in the middle and my lungs caved in - too deep for me to get to the bottom.

Of course, now, having dived in, my head hurts, a bit, because the first time that I dived in I didn't really get my hands up in front of my head fast enough and so got smacked in the forehead by the Aegean.

And my right arm - I can't lift it above my shoulder, in some parody of that old joke (I like to think it's a Tommy Cooper joke) that goes:

TC: Doctor! It hurts every time I do that (lifts up right arm).

Dr: Well then don't do that!!! (lifts up his right arm).

I can't quite lift my right arm because another time that I dived in, my arm mustn't have been quite straight and as I hit the Aegean and I kind of corkscrewed into the water, ripping I corkscrewed into the water ripping my arm in a direction that it didn't want to go.

And my back hurts a bit because another time as I encountered, by now my foe-of-old, the Aegean sea, half of me got in the water and then the other half decided to try to overtake it, folding me in half. But not folding me in half at the logical place for the fold - where my legs me my body, but about 6 inches higher up, around my naval, where no fold is supposed to be.

And the tops of my cheeks are burned, because when we went to another beach and - finding absolutely no one else there - we decided to go swimming with no clothes, no clothes at all. And if we were doing that, it somehow didn't right to keep my big floppy sun hat on. So I swam in the beautiful, turquoise Aegean, which for once, didn't beat me up. We swam, completely naked for 20 minutes until a pair of very worried looking Germans joined us on the beach. And I'm not being naked on a beach with Germans ever again, not after trying it on a nudist beach in Siros, talk about bringing a cashew to a gunfight. And anyway, 20 minutes was enough to burn my head bright red.

But despite all the moaning. Hey, I'm English, so whether I'm moaning or not is a better indicated of whether I'm alive than a pulse. Despite all the moaning, it was a nearly perfect day. Ok by the end of it I was a little bit worried that I'd never walk again. But then again, by the end of it, I was having dinner by the sea. Raw clams followed by cuttlefish with rosemary washed down with a Greek methode champenoise. And what makes it even more nearly perfect is that I spent it with my wife. After twenty years together, and just starting our eighth of marriage. I just asked her if she's say long-suffering, and she says - "not normally, no." So that's all right then. A nearly perfect day.

The Late and Over-Budge Notebook will continue talking about work next week when I'm back in London - sigh.