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It’s All Greek to Me! by John Mole

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Rites and rituals

Our beautiful new roof glowing in the setting sun acted like a beacon. By the time Nektarios the roofer had finished his story, which is at least three thousand years old, men were gathering for an informal topping-out. In England if you put up a fence or add on a garage the neighbours pretend not to notice. They twitch the curtains or take a quick sideways look as they walk past. But in Greece they come round and tell you what you are doing wrong the moment the first sod is turned. And when it is finished they come and wish you health and good luck.

Spiros the carpenter was the first, after he had fed his doves and chickens. Ajax the butcher saw from his balcony that the roof was finished and drove up in his Datsun. He left ...

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