Conversations Inside a House

To get inside No. 45 Kakouri you have to use a big village key to open the door that lets you enter a tall ceilinged hall with a bathroom on the left, a kitchen in front and a narrow staircase separating the kitchen from the dining room on the right. The hall is not really an entrance hall. It is the remains of the stable, as the main dividing wall below was structural and the dining room could not be made bigger. Still, the hall is my favourite room. The bathroom door has a small triangle of frosted glass at head height, probably so you can see if it is occupied, or if the occupant has been electrocuted by some surge of electricity because of an uncertified electrical wiring style. Uncertified, even though all the right taxes and fees were paid. It is still safer to switch off the geyser when you shower in case you get shocked!

The hall houses a chest of drawers and a cupboard. All keys, phones and notes are left on this. In the drawers are a miscellany of items, some incense for the cemetery and address books filled neatly in my mother’s back slanting writing and  added to in my father’s untidy left does not know right writing. Some of my pictures hang there, from my trip to Analipsi with my brother. It had snowed that December and I remember using yellow filters on my camera for the black and white photographs. My favourite is the snowflake crusted cross on top of the small church. My father had placed some big photographs of his grandchildren riding the village donkeys and tending sheep in the fields behind the house. These were his favourites.

The floor in the kitchen, hall, bathroom and steps is polished stone. The rest of the house has wooden plank floors that creak when you walk over them. This creaking happens when you cross into the dining room. There are two couches against the wall but that is not enough to grace the big room with the name of lounge. We also call this room the house of horrors, as it has all our photographs up on the wall. Between the two shuttered doors leading to the vine covered veranda are the wedding photographs. My grandfather John and his wife Marigo are hung on top in their rightful place of honour. Below are their three children, my father, Peter, his brother Arthur and his sister Vasiliki, all on their wedding days. Below them stand their children. Each row down the weddings seem to get more opulent, and the dangers that face the couple seem to become more imaginary and imagined.

All our graduation photographs lie proudly in frames on a table in one corner with a group of happy holiday photographs on a table in another corner. Along the wall facing the veranda doors are a few of my father’s political photographs; with the president of Greece, and then one with Mandela. He Cross of St Mark hangs on the same wall.

There is a double dining room cabinet against the remaining wall that holds glasses and plates and family records, with some odd ornaments and a photograph of my mother and father with Telly Savalas at Madame Tussaud’s in London. I always take a check on this one to see if the actor is real or not.

Olga and Peter with Telly Savalas

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