Having driven away from Melksham at almost midnight on Wednesday, I arrived in the Gatwick Airport car park some three hours later. On the bus to the North Terminal, I found to my horror that I had left my tatty old Greek fisherman's hat in the car. The idea of being without it until I could get a new one on Hydra was too horrific to bear, as was the idea of wearing a new one, so I went back for it, and caught the next bus.
I checked in for my easyJet flight at the officially correct time, only to find all the other people who had been checking in in front of me were on the same flight. So I was more or less the last to board, not that it matters much when one is travelling alone, found a seat, and went into a state almost, but not quite, like sleep for three hours.
In Athens, baggage reclaim was quick. I went outside, and caught the waiting X96 bus to Pireas, and arrived at the port a little after 1pm. It turned out that I had missed a Flying Dolphin to Hydra by a few minutes, and the next one was not until 5pm. Why there is a huge gap in the middle of their timetable, unless the boats are taking a siesta somewhere, is a complete mystery. So I sat and chatted with a gentleman who was going to Poros to join a mate on a yacht. Every few minutes we had to say "No thank you" to people selling genuine Rolex watches for tiny sums.
Shortly before 5pm, lots of people I recognised started to appear, which was good. In the so-called "real world", I know very few people, and most of them are a little dull. On Hydra I know rather a lot, and most of them are very interesting. To add to the people I know, I was delighted to meet Dave Murray and his wife Debbie. Dave and I have been (sort of) cooperating on a song translation project for much longer than I should really let it take, so it was good to meet him at last.
There was something wrong with the engines of Dolphin 19, and it kept slowing down to a comparative crawl. The journey usually takes 90 minutes, but this time it took well over two and a quarter hours. Ed Emery was waiting to greet people when I arrived, probably because so many were on such a late boat. I trundled my case a couple of hundred yards to the Ippokampos Hotel, where I was made so welcome that I felt they had been missing me for a year. Not only does the Ippokampos welcome me like a long lost son, but it also has a rather nice fast wireless internet connection, so I was able to email and Skype home with my nice Asus Eee PC to tell folks I had arrived safely.
After a brief rest, I went to Lulu's Taverna, and joined Dave and Debbie outside. Dave's dinner looked good, so I ordered myself some fish like his, and some Mythos beer. Nikos Politis, Tony Klein, and many others arrived, and we confused the wonderful folk at Lulu's by playing outside instead of inside. I recorded as much music as I could, with my Edirol R-09 and powered microphone. After a couple of hours and three beers, I was ready for bed, so off I went. I backed up my recordings to the Asus, and fell into the sleep of the very happy Rebetologist.