Georgia on my mind

As the famous song goes but I did have a troublesome Greek tragedian Georgia in my life for three years. Now no longer in this life, her muffled voice did try to communicate with me earlier this year.

I first saw Georgia Koltronaki at the old restored synagogue in Chaniá at the New Year (Rosh Hashana) service in September 2013. She was noticeably colourfully well dressed and stood out as everyone present wore dark boring attire. I discovered, despite being Greek Orthodox, she was one of the synagogue committee members! Later that evening at the traditional Ela restaurant, we sat opposite each other and agreed to meet the next afternoon.

We met in a seafront cafe at Chania harbour opposite the famous lighthouse where she announced she had no money but would buy me a ‘welcome to Chania’ coffee. Her ‘investment’ in a new potential ‘friend’ as I was later to discover! She appeared very helpful when I explained I was looking for a flat for my friend Jude to spend mild winters in Chania away from the grey, cold damp of Brighton. By the end of that evening, it was I who had paid a deposit on a delightful traditional flat in an old Turkish house around the corner from the synagogue. Yati Oxi? Why not?

I excitedly moved in at Xmas and Georgia became my new ‘best’ friend. She chose me to be her ‘sister’ so I became her closest friend, the one she confided in and dumped all her woes on because she could not reveal her dirty washing in the closed community of respectable Chania!

A complex spiritual and religious woman in her mid 50s. A woman of many surprises and contacts. Even a lady Freemason! With a knowledge of several badly spoken languages, she had worked, after her divorce from her wife-beating husband Costas, in Dubai or was it Beirut at the Greek Embassy? She was attracted to Arabs and they to her. Mother of 2 contrasted girls. One good and kind, a psychology student at Rethmnion university. The other bad, vulgar and ignorant who took after her slob of an obese father who I had the misfortune to glance at once through the window of his car hire company. Once was enough! A man who had been number one in his self made business sliding down to number zero, having gambled away all the company’s profits.

Georgia had enjoyed the trappings of a good material life with him in his heyday, flashy cars, gold and diamond jewellery but those days had long gone. He abused her mentally and physically even in front of the children. Finally after a bitter struggle they divorced and she moved abroad to work, took lovers and got back on her feet with a new Alpha identity and a Voice!

The old family house in Chania drew her back as Costas had moved out and begun a new life. The domestic scene was unclear but when I met her, he had moved back into the marital home, after a mysterious fire at his new house, as his name, not her’s, was on the marital house deeds, so even though she had lived in the marital home for more than 20 years, it was not actually her house but solely his under antiquated Greek law. He had moved back in despite having been divorced for over 10 years and she was thus confined to a garret at the top of the house and forced to do the cooking which he paid for. She had no other option but to work for the bastard for E20 a day at his car hire company which she, under Greek Law, had a small legal percentage of. This legality prevented her from getting unemployment benefit because he refused to sign the release document, so she was forced to work for him for cash. Later he reduced that meagre amount down to E10 a day. That was when I stepped in to become her benefactor. I moved her into a small flat for her mental health and well-being leaving slob Costas behind with their 2 daughters. After all I was her best friend but by this time in 2015 she had developed a large growing cancerous lump on her neck which could not be cut out completely because the nerves were linked to her brain.

Mysteriously she had moved to Jordan and ‘married’ a Jordanian, a Greek friend had insisted she meet, who wanted a wife. An arranged marriage not made in heaven. All poor Georgia wanted in life was to be with a man who would take care of her, buying her clothes and meals. She did not ask too much in life, just normal basic happiness, respect and survival. I lost touch with her for several months that year but it seemed he ‘divorced’ her Arab style (Triple talaq) when her cancer returned. She fled back home to Chania without the exotic beautiful abayas her husband had bought her, to abusive ex husband Costas. I lost respect for her a bit when she confessed she had allowed him to make love to her. She must have been desperate for sex that night.

I rushed to help and support her in April 2016 but disaster befell me and I ended up in a private clinic with a prolapsed disc and a sciatic nerve pressing on it. Georgia became my lifeline and helped me greatly. Our roles were reversed. I was in acute pain for the first time in my life. After 5 nights on a morphine drip, she moved me into a business hotel opposite the car hire company office so she could visit me constantly and arranged for her Russian masseuse to give me reflexology. Our friendship deepened but I knew her time was limited.

Then disaster struck again. I came back to Brighton as an emergency and my best friend Pauline was at my side but she was going to Jamaica and I was alone and incapacitated. Georgia agreed to ‘look after me’ between her appointments at the Athens cancer hospital. It was a battle against time. Like an egg timer, the sand was running out. She agreed to care for me for 19 days before Pauline’s return. To look after someone. What does that mean? I presumed, cook, shop and bathe her closest friend, the ‘sister’ she said she loved. So Georgia flew in when Pauline flew out. Right away I could see things were not good. She was dressed either in an odd red boiler suit or in her black every day Jordanian abaya looking very ‘domestic’. Gone was elegant clothes conscious Georgia. The woman I thought I knew.

I invited her as my guest on the radio talking about friendship with her choice of Greek music on Friday 10 June. The programme can be heard on my website under ‘radio’. The following day I took her to the ‘Action for Happiness’ meet-up group nearby my flat to chat to other members as she was a very sociable soul.

More disaster when a charming French educated attractive Mauritian woman arrived looking elegant and flaunting her ‘wealth’. Being materialistic, Georgia pounced on her asking her if she was wearing a Prada skirt. No, a copy was Ann Labbe’s reply. The woman had divorced her German lawyer husband and moved to Aberdeen to be near her son studying at the university. So we were in international company and got on well capturing the moment, frozen in time, on my iPhone.

Ann not knowing anyone in Brighton, having just arrived, spontaneously invited us both for lunch. But first Georgia had to buy the chicken for dinner, at my expense bien sur, as I could not walk as far as the supermarket, even with my cane. After a lovely but expensive meal at ‘Semolina’, I invited Ann to join us for a Greek dinner on Monday night with Georgia as cook. She was an excellent Greek Goddess in the kitchen despite carelessly leaving the gas ring on and buying black spotted cheap bananas, obviously pocketing the change. I was totally supporting her financially in Brighton wanting her to have the best quality food for her condition.

Georgia looked sinister in her unadorned black abaya and red turban which she gave me later after I had given her about £300 cash that Monday. She played hostess at the head of the table going in and out of the kitchen all evening, serving up delicious Greek chicken and charred Middle Eastern vegetables. We had a humorous entertaining evening with Ann recounting her funny tales of woe so I invited her on the radio show that Friday to talk about the ups and downs of internet dating. As she had evinced an interest in speaking Spanish, I also invited her to the local Spanish group as well. After all Georgia would be staying 19 days to care for me until Pauline’s return that Thursday 16th June. A delightful evening with the potential of a new French speaking friendship for me. Little did I know what conniving Georgia was planning behind my back.

On Tuesday, Georgia abandoned me in at the Lewes Town Hall, leaving me to struggle with the food shopping and eventually going off with some Lebanese people she had met in a cafe who thankfully brought her back to Brighton by car. I was mad at her being so irresponsible as to get in a car with strangers. After all I was responsible for her in the UK.

On the Wednesday evening I texted Ann to come for dinner before Spanish on the Thursday evening and I received a rude ‘no’ without any explanation. When I asked about the radio on the Friday, I received an even ruder text saying she wanted no contact with me and did not like the way I ‘treated’ my friend and she was not a lesbian, I was or inferring we were! I was horrified!

I came home on Thursday evening after Spanish to find Georgia already packed and had arranged for a taxi to pick her up at 4.00 am to go to the airport. Only after 6 nights instead of 19 days, she lied that her mother was ill. I showed her Ann’s text to which she just laughed and said several people at the synagogue presumed we were lesbian. A fact she did not deny even though it was totally untrue! Then she was gone out of my life forever!

When Pauline arrived the next day back from Jamaica, after I had had a sleepless night, she showed me a text from Georgia sent on the Monday before I had handed her the cash, saying she had not come to Brighton to loose money! I was stunned at her insincerity and immediately cut her off from all social media and notified her ‘Born Again Christian’ Greek German landlady I would no longer be paying her rent. I had paid it and supported her for a year. I also went to my solicitor and deleted her from my Will. Enough already!

Georgia then rang from Chania as if nothing was wrong, confessing she had seen Ann on both the Wednesday and Thursday receiving bags and shoes and I presume her return airfare. Why could the three of us not be friends she asked? I slammed the phone incensed by her betrayal and greed. No doubt she had invited Ann to Chania with promises, promises!

Over the next two years she constantly begged my forgiveness but I never gave her the blessing she craved for. Her Romanian friend Micky, owner of the local Micky Mouse cafe, wrote to me on Facebook that she had finally died a painful death. I wrote my condolences to Micky and her timid ‘good’ daughter Stella, saying that she was finally pain free and at peace.

The end of the saga of the Greek Tragedy? Not quite. Yes, we had good times and exchanged a lot of Greek and Turkish jewellery, met in Istanbul and Athens before her betrayal. It was the lying and insincerity I could not endure plus her bad mouthing most of the ‘friends’ she had in Chania. She fell out with almost everyone including her landlady. Never a good word about anyone, perhaps even me. I will never know despite affectionately calling me her ‘sister’.

Earlier this year, two years after her death, I was listening to the Mixcloud link Susi Oddball had sent me for our radio show ‘Your voice matters’ at BHCR before sending it on to my guest. I heard the muffled sound of a distorted recording for at least three minutes with Georgia’s voice and Greek music from the programme when she had been my guest. Astonished, I texted Susi complaining. Susi texted back the recording was perfect. I played it again and yes it was perfect but I did not dream that sound. It was Georgia’s voice from another far away realm!

Written on 17th September 2019 in Petworth, West Sussex.


BHCR - Brighton and Hove Community radio
Triple talaq - Arab divorce
Ela restaurant in Chania
Semolina restaurant Brighton
Born Again Christians
Radio 10 June 2016