21 August 2021

Help!

Stuff tumbled from the lower shelf of the big pine bookcase in our study. Sorting through the mess, I discovered things I had forgotten about, including travel journals. Amongst them was a diary from the summer of 1982.  I have blogged about what happened before but today I rediscovered the words that I wrote at the time in the very W.H.Smith notebook shown above...

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Tuesday August 31st 1982 - Ios, Greece

There were no paths. I just guessed where the beach would be. I slid down the cliff and to my dismay found I was probably in the wrong place. There was only a small pebble beach and rocks.

Anyway, I decided I would make the most of it. I swam and sunbathed, read my book and drank my water till around one o'clock when I chose to leave that lonesome place.

In the hot afternoon sun, I struggled back up the cliff but when I was about fifty feet up with rocks below, I slid and slipped down about ten feet. Now glued to the crumbling cliff face, I trembled with apprehension and it was a couple of minutes before I was calm enough to slowly descend. In that moment, I did not have the appetite for a second ascent.

Coming down had been easy enough. I had not imagined that I'd have a problem going back up when I wanted to leave the little cove. Later, I attempted to leave by different routes - right and left of the beach but after initial success I met with sheer cliffs. I had my blue backpack with me containing passport, money and air ticket etc. so swimming out to sea and round the headland seemed out of the question.. Besides, I was tired from all the swimming I had done and my three failed  attempts to scale the cliffs and get out of there.

I found some shade in the lee of a big rock that must at one time have been dislodged from the cliff. I rested for an hour, regathering my strength and  feeling increasingly  thirsty because I had finished all my water a couple of hours before.

I tried yet another scrambling route but the same thing happened as before - the rocky 60° slope crumbling under my hands and feet as I tried desperately to gain purchase. Then I asked myself a question: if a fishing boat passed by would I try to signal for help ? My internal response was a resounding "Yes!" for I knew that I was now in a very dangerous situation.

I was by now weak and dehydrated - it must have been around five in the late afternoon. Again I rested. There were no boats passing by so in desperation I tried another route up the cliff. But this last effort was just like all the rest - useless. If I fell onto the jumble of large rocks below I could die either instantly or more likely a slow death caused by the injuries I would sustain and the lack of water. There was no doubting that.

to be continued...

39 comments:

  1. Oh, my gosh. You really know how to keep a reader coming back for more. Talk about a cliffhanger (no pun intended). What I want to know is: Did you make it out? Well, obviously you did. Can’t wait to find out HOW you made it out.

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    1. If you check the link you will see that you commented on the first telling of this story back in December 2010. We have been reading each other's blogs for a long time now.

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  2. What you could call a real cliff-hanger!

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    1. Ha-ha! That's clever Carol but Rhymes (Bob) got there before you... by two minutes.

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  3. So did you die?
    Ha! Seriously, I want to hear what happened next.

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  4. This was a case of what goes down, must come up...or, look before you leap. Since you're still here, I'll assume a happy (if not exhausting) ending.

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  5. Did you walk around the corner along the promenade and found a Greek pub and a WH Smith's? I thought the notepad was a clue?

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    1. You are Ireland's equivalent of Sherlock Holmes Dave!

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  6. Yikes! Can't wait to find out how you managed to save yourself YP.

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    1. Others saved me...Thank God (if there is one).

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  7. Fact or fiction? The fact that you're writing this in 2021 means you got out alright, but how?

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    1. Read on when you are in Ukulele Pixie Lily.

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  8. It's disturbing how easily a situation can spiral out of control. Now perhaps I understand better why you don't carry a cell phone on your walks - they are tame by comparison to what you've already gone through and survived.

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    1. Is a cellphone a device you use to phone prisoners in their cells? I don't move in those kind of circles though I was once locked in a cell myself. Please don't ask.

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    2. Well now I HAVE to ask :)

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  9. Didn't you call for help on your mobile phone?

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    1. It was 1982. As I recall, they didn't have them then.

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    2. Oh! Right! Cool! So you wrote ΒΟΗΘΕΙΑ in big letters in the sand and were rescued by helicopter.

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    3. The true ending is provided in "Continued" - the next blogpost.

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  10. Not since reading Wodehouse's *Sticky Wicket at Blandings* have I been in such a state of suspense.
    Will there be a rock-scrambling Greek goddess to the rescue?
    Aphrodite, Athena, Calista, Jacinta, Khloe, Xanthia, Zosime ...
    Goddesses are a drachma a dozen in Ios, and they all have dragon tattoos on their biceps.
    Haggerty

    P.S. You could have been chained to a rock and have an eagle eat your liver every day for eternity.
    That what's happened to a Greek guy called Prometheus. Bad karma or what?

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    1. The ending is more ordinary I am afraid. No Greek goddesses, nor eagles with a penchant for human livers.

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    2. Private Eye in its early years had a crossword devised by the scandalous Tom Driberg, once William Hickey of The Daily Express.
      Driberg's cryptic clues inclined to the sordid not to say filthy.

      Driberg called himself Tiresias, the blind transsexual son of the Greek nymph Chariclo.
      One of Driberg's most more sordid clues was cracked by a lady reader, the wife of Robert Runcie, then Bishop of St Albans later Archbishop of Canterbury.
      Mrs Runcie won the £2 prize which no doubt she donated to the deserving poor.
      Haggerty

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    3. She might have bought herself a small dry sherry in "The Mitre Inn".

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  11. I can't wait for the rest of the story!

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    1. You won't have to wait very long Jennifer.

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  12. But...but...you MUST be saved! You've got a blog to write and a gorgeous grandbaby to tend to!

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  13. You know how to put a little tension in a good story. I'm predicting that you will scramble back up the cliff.

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  14. I misread the first sentence, snuff for stuff and snorting for sorting.

    Since I am reading this, you must have survived. It does sound like a frightening situation.

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  15. The latest 'whodunit' but we know the end of the story, because you are here to tell the tale. Bet you never go down cliffs now?

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    1. I would certainly think twice about it Thelma.

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  16. I have cheated and read the previous story..... Couldn't wait to see if you lived ,or died a sad lonely death on a greek cliff!!

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    1. That's okay Frances. I was most interested in the diary entry and how I wrote it - almost forty years ago now.

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  17. So your wanderlust started way back then to go off on untrodden paths and even no paths! Were you rescued by a passing mountain goat?

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    1. I will tell you later today ADDY. My wanderlust began before I was born with my parents' wartime experiences.

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