Oh, I just don’t know where to begin…
I have always been a mite accident prone. As a child I was forever tripping over, well nothing. I broke crockery so often when washing up my mother was convinced I did it deliberately to get out of the chore.
And I still recall that sinking feeling when I spilled a bottle of ink over the sitting room carpet.
It was a bit like the sinking feeling I had earlier today when I broke the washing machine on our cosy campsite.
Vasilis, the 81-year-old owner, had recently invested in a Zanussi washing machine for the convenience of his motorhome guests.
It was working perfectly, until I went to open it this morning to unload our weekly wash.
The handle broke off in my hand, trapping our clothes inside, and I stood there aghast, clutching a piece of white plastic, panicking.
“Spasmeno cherouli, sygnomi, sygnomi, sygnomi,” I blurted to Vasilis, showing him the offending item.
He looked, shrugged and said, “Bernard is special. He will fix.”
Berndt is indeed special. He and his wife Annie are from East Frisia, in the north west of German, but they spend up to ten months a year on the campsite, enjoying Greece’s great weather, food and hospitality.
They both speak Greek, Berndt has great English too, and he helps Vasilis with everything from the olive harvest to, well, fixing washing machines broken by his fellow campers.
But my clumsiness stumped even Berndt. “We will need to get an engineer to replace the handle,” he said after inspecting the damage.
“I will pay,” I insisted. “Yes, yes, don’t worry,” he responded smiling.
“No, I will pay. Please tell Vasilis, please,” I pleaded.
And he did. So now we await the washing machine man from Patras, and I am hiding in the van, still too embarrassed to show my face, giving me time to add up the accidents we have had since setting off on our journey on 20 September.
- The van ended up in a ditch on our first day, requiring a new bumper cap and an emergency bodywork repair.
- The toilet flooded – because I left the laundry bag on the flush handle.
- I broke the main window blind in the van, simply by trying to open it. We had to make a detour to Stuttgart to get it fixed.
- The fresh water tank sprung a leak. See Stuttgart.
- We suffered an invasion of fleas after I made friends with a cat in Patras.
- I left my new leather flat boots, bought specially for the journey, in the ferry from Trieste.
- We got pickpocketed in Athens, losing credit cards, cash and crucially Nigel’s driving licence and our ACSI discount card.
Accidents will indeed happen, as Elvis Costello first sang in 1979.
It is just that they seem to happen to some people more than others.
 According to Google Translate this is Greek for: Handle broken, sorry, sorry, sorry