Mr. Vangelis: Trench Superstar

by Sam Bartlett

Mr. Vangelis has been with us since the first shovel of newly picked dirt this season (approx. 4 weeks ago) and we have all become very fond of our fatherly Greek, Nescafe- loving workman. I was with him for the first two weeks in the original wall trench where I learned how to pick and shovel and “rest for four minutes” on the especially hot days. This led to a few Greek lessons, a suspicion that Mr. V understands more English then he lets on, and some lasting words of wisdom.


A favourite bonding moment in Gen’s wall trench with Vangelis was hearing a big giggle after I had used the word “Excellent” to describe something. He put down his pick and threw his hands up in the air and yelled, “Εξαιρετική, Εξαιρετική” (officially one of the only Greek words that has stuck with me)! Even now in other trenches, whenever Gen or I find something exciting, even just a pretty piece of pottery, we are given an enthusiastic “Εξαιρετική!” with a big approving smile.



Beginnings of the wall trench


One day in the wall trench Vangelis and his son were working with us digging up some of our rubble boulders. We were shoveling awkwardly on the large rubble stones to get the dirt into the wheelbarrow and I got distracted thinking about the piece of pottery I had just put into the pail. Instead of throwing my next shovel full of dirt into the wheelbarrow I spun a full 180 and threw it at the pottery bucket. Vangelis laughed so hard he had to lean on his pick to stand up and had trouble explaining what had happened to his son because he couldn’t catch his breath from the laughing. I received an understanding pat on the back after he composed himself.


Finally, the most famous Vangelis moment happened after being told that it was break time (and me never remembering the Greek word for break) his response was a sassy “oh, like (insert- Vengili- dance- movement- here) Break-dance”. The next day Gen only had to say “χορεύω” (Dance) and Vengilis perked up and said,“ ah, Break! Break-dance!”  

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