If you’ve missed any of the earlier posts in this series, this’ll make more sense if it’s read in the right order. Links to each part are given at the bottom of the page.
Having already begun to establish some new routines, another was added when we returned to our mooring after our first time out on the water.
Ioannis set out the plan. He and Linde would retire to a café for their coffees (already his fondness for this brew was coming to the fore), leaving Konstantin and I to shower and change. As with the morning routine, by the time they returned, we were finished and headed out to leave them in peace. I’m saying we headed out. Memory is a flexible thing, and more so as you get older. My recollections of those evenings were that Konstantin and I would go off for a wander and a drink together while we waited for his parents to clean up. But I have a feeling it didn’t start out that way – though what we did instead is something of a mystery to me.
Konstantin was quieter than his father, more measured in his thinking and his conversation. The contrast was striking, but the balance between them felt to me like it worked. And the opportunity to learn about him during those quiet moments of drinking as the sun went down was one I was glad not to miss.
Probably the most surprising revelation was that he’d spent time in the Army in Norway as part of the country’s National Service. There not having been any form of conscription in the UK during my lifetime, I’d complacently assumed this was the case in most other countries. And to hear this young man talking about it opened my eyes to the challenges conscripts face. If it had existed when I was younger, I doubt very much that I’d have been enlisted anyway – at various times I had tried all three of the armed services, and been rejected in each case for a range of reasons (not including my natural leaning towards cowardice). Without going into any detail, Konstantin’s matter-of-fact recollections were sufficient to assure me my rejections had been well placed.
I also came to appreciate that this relatively quiet, thoughtful man was open to other, more adventurous activities. In all honesty, I don’t recall the specifics and I won’t make it up because that would be unfair to Konstantin. Suffice it to say that I felt a little envy at both his fearlessness and the fact that he’d had such experiences.
That aside, by the end of the week, I was aware of his wide ranging musical tastes, several of which overlapped with my own – surprising given the age difference (and those of you who’ve read any of my posts relating to music will know that I lean towards music of the ‘70s and ‘80s).
As I’d declined to join the family for a meal the first night, I was pleased to be invited along again on the second. Although I was still conscious of the potential intrusion on the family holiday, I was made more than welcome and over the course of the next few nights thoroughly enjoyed my time with them.
Ioannis was very keen on his food, as his tales of making meals at home underlined. But it was his enthusiasm for photographing the meals as they were served which attracted the most attention. As someone who was brought up in an environment where gentle ribbing was a favourite pastime, it was inevitable that I’d do the same with Ioannis. Indeed, the occasions when he didn’t produce a camera seemed to offer the best opportunities as I feigned puzzlement and mimed looking all over for the missing device.
The humour was accepted in good spirit. I have a fond memory of leaving a restaurant later in the week and Ioannis putting his arm around my shoulders and telling me he felt like I was his adopted younger brother. It was a heart-warming moment for me. Looking back on it now, I realise that, although I’ve had close friends in my life, as an only son, I’ve never had anyone I thought of as a brother. It’s not something I’ve dwelt on, but it does make me wonder if maybe I’ve missed out.
Because of the hour we tended to moor up in the evenings, by the time we’d gone through our routines, it was usually quite late when we ate. While I’m not averse to a snack late in the evening, I’m much happier going to bed with a less than full stomach. When we’d return to the boat, we’d spend a short time sitting around the table drinking and chatting, but before too long we’d begin our nightly rituals and head to our respective cabins. In spite of my reservations, I slept well every night, and before we were half way through the week, had concluded that I should sleep on the water more often.
Links to previous parts to this story: