It was called the Village Taverna and run by a chap whom we called called 'Gleekos', which may have actually been his name, but it's more likely one of those playfully racist names that the English gave to people of differing racial backgrounds at the time. He used to wander between his restaurant, the pub and the betting shop bellowing a hearty 'Hey You!' and wave at anyone who acknowledged him.
I think it's a Spanish Tapas bar now, which is a pity - Their Mezzes used to be legendary, well, we used to like them, but I've never actually been there sober, so they could have been made out of cardboard and fish-paste for all I know. Anyway - To the stories.
Because he was a generous type, had lots of experience with drunks (His wife used to throw them out for him, he was only little) and was one of the few Greek Tavernas that still did plate-smashing, he was very popular with stag parties. You would often wander past, look through the windows and see crowds of apes in football shirts hooning plates at each other, whilst Gleekos ran around like Woody Woodpecker with his hair on fire, shouting 'No dee surfing playt! - We god da spesh playt for dee smashinge!'
On this particular night, we left the pub and decided to go for a quick stifado and a couple of bottles of retsina. As we pushed through the little door into the restaurant, it was obvious that there had been a stag night going on. Gleekos had pushed three tables together and there were slumped bodies all over them. The man himself was sat on a stool by the bar, rocking backwards and forwards saying 'My byootifull playt, I say no smashinge the surfing playt, they smashinge innit?, iz like they no hears me or sutin.'
We found a table, ordered some drinks and started to take the mickey out of the drunks. Now, in the dim and distant past, the restaurant had probably been a private house for some 19th Century mid-range toff and the upstairs (where the toilets were) was a bit of a maze. This is something you need to bear in mind for the next bit.
So we were sat there, happily drinking, enjoying a bit of houmous and pitta and suchlike (which we got free because we spent so much money there) when it started to rain. You know when you're sat there, on a park bench, admiring the view, and you feel the first few drips of rain and you think 'If it gets any harder, I might go home'? Well, the same was happening to us, but we were in a Greek restaurant, at just before midnight, on a Saturday, indoors.
It took us a few minutes to actually register that we were getting wet, and we called Gleekos across saying 'It's raining mate!'
He lifted his palms to the ceiling, agreed that it was indeed raining and then traced the water to a ceiling fan that was quickly spinning, and flinging water off the ends of the blades.
(Worked it out yet?)
So, he explodes in panic 'Ah godda leak, innit?' and runs upstairs to see if someone had left a tap on. He came down minutes later, holding a drunk dude by the scuff of his neck, jibbering away at him in Greek and clipping him around the ear. Turns out that the poor drunk chap had been looking for the gents, couldn't find it, and just decided to relieve himself in a corner.
It had gone through the floorboards, onto the ground floor ceiling and had found its way to the fan housing, which it then dripped down and onto the blades...
This story is completely second hand, told to me by my good friend Jock.
This is him, accepting a trophy for 'Best Chop' at the HAMC's 2006 Bulldog Bash, unfortunately for everyone who knew him, he died shortly afterwards. I've included the picture to give you some idea of scale in the story that follows.
Jock belonged to a group of like-minded motorcycle enthusiasts called the National Chopper Club. They would meet socially, very regularly and... How shall we put it? Knew how to have a good time. He knew Gleekos, as all of us did, which made his restaurant an obvious choice for one of their many robust social gatherings. It started out very sensibly, there was food and beer, then food and wine, then ouzo and wine, then ouzo, then Mr Sensible picked up his bowler hat, umbrella and briefcase, and left the building.
Sometime during the evening, two middle aged couples had come into the taverna and had chosen to sit as far as was humanly possible from the NCC lads. All fine and dandy so far, you might think, and it was, until Gleekos started playing 'Zorba's Dance' on the stereo, brought out the 'spesh' smashing plates and it all went a bit 'Anthony Quinn'
(Bit of trivia for you here, Anthony Quinn, who played Zorba in the 1964 film, was actually Mexican... Born in Chihuahua - You've learned something - Thank me later)
So, spurred on by the thought of smashing plates and general pratting about, our heroes decided to have a bit of a dance. Despite Gleekos' best efforts, it quickly degenerated from a traditional Greek-Cypriot folk dance, to something more like a Bad-Manners inspired can-can.
It was at this point that Jock noticed that one of the women was clapping along - and he did no more than wander over, grab hold of her, and drag her into the pile of broken crockery that had previously been the dance-floor - More dancing ensued, with the mature, but still attractive lady teaching the bikers how to dance. After the tune was over, Jock escorted her back to her table, politely pulled out her chair for her and thanked her for the dance.
Her husband, who had gone quite purple and sweaty remarked, 'You've done well to get her dancing.' With a fixed, rictus grin.
To which Jock replied, 'Ah don' know whut yer grinning aboot flower, after ah've had a pish, you're next.'
By the time he came back, both couples had, probably not surprisingly, made their excuses and left.
When Jock awoke the next morning, in his own bed, he wasn't alone...
You're assuming that his dance partner had returned aren't you?
Well, I'm afraid she hadn't. Jock was sharing his bed with a 4 foot square mirror, that had previously been screwed to the wall of the taverna. Up until the last time I spoke to him, he still had no idea of how or why it'd gone home with him, or why he'd particularly felt the need to take it to bed. Feel free to fill in the blanks yourselves - You probably won't be that far from the truth, however perverse you are.
I must extend a thank you to Briz at Custom Cycle Developments (Custom Harley Davidson frames and bespoke parts a specialty - Reasonable rates) who provided the above picture of Jock, although he freely admits that he can't remember where he got it in the first place - So, if you actually took it, my apologies, feel free to get in touch and I'll put in a credit for you.