21 AUGUST 1982, Page 29

l ligh life

List to starboard

7'aki Spetsai It is no longer up to Mrs Thatcher and the generals. Peace was declared this week at Aegean conference. There were high 'el talks, and even higher level drinks aboard the Bushido, a noble if somewhat ungainly vessel which just happens to be the property of your own correspondent. Fran- r, friends and Ariane Soldati, my Argentinian 'Fiends from Buenos Aires, are spending a Week on board, as are the Crawley brothers, Marita Phillips, and the closest

living thing to an underdone barbecued spare rib, Anthony Haden-Guest. No sooner had Anthony exposed his lily-white epidermis to the fierce Attic Sun than he began to resemble one of those horrible burn cases one reads about in war novels.

The rest is easy to imagine. He, the Englishman, is walking around looking very, very ill indeed, while the Argentinian couple look brown, healthy, and victorious. Despite his illness, Haden-Guest managed to make everyone feel like long-lost brothers by suggesting as a way out to the Falkland Island problem the Irish solution (the Falklands to the English, the Malvinas to the Argentinians). What Anthony has not managed to do as yet is solve the pro- blem of my idiotic captain.

One of the reasons my old sailing boat is up for sale, and I am motoring around the Peloponnese instead of sailing, is Captain George Barbarossa. Now his name might evoke childhood memories of keen seamen and daring pirates (it means 'red beard' in Spanish) to some of my guests, but to me it's synonymous with the comical bumbling Frankie Howerd portrays so well. When I apologised to Francisco Soldati after Cap- tain Red Beard had run the tender over him, wrapped the ski rope around his neck and missed his head with the propeller by inches, the Argentinian polo champion did not lose his cool. Nor did he make any disparaging remarks about Greek seaman- ship. He simply told me he didn't think that Odysseus would have chosen him to sail to the end of the world.

That I have chosen him to be the captain of my trawler shows what an idiot I am at times. His physique reminds me a lot of Nero, only shorter and with a double belly, I originally thought he looked so funny it might be amusing to have him order people around from the bridge. In fact I remember his brother, who was a member of the crew until he got drunk and went AWOL last week, telling me that when Captain George was born he was so ugly that the doctor slapped his mother instead of him. Now I have a Swedish girl acting as cook and steward, another Ugo Tognazzi figure ac- ting as crew, and Piraeus's answer to the most horrid of Roman emperors as captain. Which means it is one of the few times the passengers and owner are nicer to look at than the crew.

This can also be said about Spetsai. The people who own houses here and who come for the summer holidays are by and large the most civilised of the Greeks. The tools are among the worst of the Hellenes. They are loud, dishonest, cowardly and ag- gressive. In fact they are not Greeks. They are Albanians who came down when their miserable land couldn't feed them. They have managed to retain their horrid man- ners, however, and have acquired any bad ones the Greeks have, which are too numerous to mention. Why does one come to Spetsai if it's so awful? First of all because it is green and the houses are of the classical island type. Secondly, because one runs into the few people one would want to see during the summer, and third and most important, the awful meltemi, the hot easterly wind that drives all the queens mad in Mykonos, doesn't blow here.

One pleasant surprise has turned out to be my Taiwanese-built trawler. In any fight between the Taiwanese and the communists I would certainly bet on the few right- wingers who went to Taiwan and managed to build me a cheap boat that can survive even the seamanship of Captain Bar- barossa. Yes, what my new crusade a-la- Longford will be from now on is to bring the Taiwan Chinese to Greece and send the greasy ones over there. This way I might still see my birthplace re-enact its glorious past. My other campaign will be to con- vince Admiral Anaya of the Argentinian high command to make Captain Barbarossa an offer he cannot refuse. Ananya is not very smart and he might go for it. After all, he is the one who insisted on going to war. With my captain at his side in the future anything can happen.