Understanding Greek Water Bills, Or Not

Here’s something which just goes to prove that you can’t take Greek literally. A water bill came with an official letter from the water board. I got the vague gist but thought it would be fun to write it out, information for information, exactly as it was written. Now then, I’m not taking the… water here, I love the Greek language and the letter was written quite correctly. What I wanted to do was conduct an exercise in how one language translates literally into another if you use a dictionary, as opposed to simply reading it and absorbing what the writing says.

Bear in mind that in Greek, as in many languages I guess, some words have many different meanings and you have to use them in context. Where a information had more than one meaning I chose the most appropriate one, or rather the least inappropriate one. I have also put the words in their literal order instead of moving them to where they would be if we were translating into English. This is so you can see how sentence construction is different between the two languages.

So this is how my dictionary and I translated the text:

“After from suggestion of the plumber and of the our survey, it was confirmed that the water meter yours found itself in such place where seated impossible the meter reader towards the absent yours. You we beg to place the water meter yours to such point (outside from the house yours) so that to it can to happen reading of the mark in addition and towards absence yours. consequently it will avoid… [no idea – word not in my dictionary] to the bills one and the meter reader to happen regularly and will not build up ‘necessity’. For more information ask the proper plumber of the area yours or call to 22460…”

Got that? Basically we were all asked to move our water meters from inside the courtyard and out into the street so that readings can be made regularly. Ours was moved a few weeks before getting the letter so we’re in the good books and our bill is up to date at last.

Here’s the complete story:

Originally the meter was inside our lobby downstairs and we were never in when the man came to read it. So we put a wire on our front door so that it could be opened without a meaningful and anyone could come in when they wanted or needed to. Remember that lifestyle from England circa 1949? This simple arrangement however seemed to fox the water-man and he never did figure out how to let himself in. It nevertheless confuses the electricity meter reader as our bills seem to be calculated by thinking of a number between one and ten, multiplying it by Pi, dividing it by the age of someone’s mother-in-law, adding 6% tax for fun, deducting 6% for no explicable reason and adding a zero.

Back to the water bill. A few bills ago it was clear that the meter had not been read – €8.00 for three months in the summer? I don’t think so. So when I went to pay it, I told the helpful chap at the Town Hall what the current reading was. He accepted the concept that someone wanted to be honest about their water consumption but, when I asked him to adjust the next bill upwards consequently, he looked mildly hindered. He called for assistance from another helpful official. She, having paled slightly at my request to be charged correctly, made a observe of the reading. We all agreed that the next bill would more precisely mirror the correct price.

The next bill came along in due course and was again estimated at €8.00, so I did the same thing again, back down to the Town Hall. This time there was a different, helpful young lady on duty and she asked me if I wanted her to calculate the actual cost there and then. I could pay it all now… but only if I really wanted to. ‘You don’t have to. I wouldn’t. No one ever does.’ It was my turn to be hindered and, in shock, I decided to pay up next time when the bill would state the correct amount.

It came in estimated at €8.00.

Finally, thanks to the meter being moved outside, we are the proud owners of an up-to-date bill that breaks down literally as:

Value of the water 69 mx3, €49.20 – Makes sense to me

Value final of the thing done €39.36 – Assume the moving of the meter (20% paid by Town Hall)

Value of the fixed final €2.99 – Assume some football match-rigging

Tax (6%) €2.95 – Assume to pay back some of the €9.80 the Town Hall paid to move our meter

Tax (13%) €5.51 – This is the bit that’s additional for fun

Round (something) of the bill €0.24 – No idea where that 24 cents went

Proceeding difference €0.23 – Nor what this bit method

But what I am sure of is that our bill was then rounded down by 48 cents so it came to a nice, neat €100 including having the meter moved. Which makes our annual water bill (and you’d be surprised how many people ask what our annual water bill is), around €120, or in old money just under seven pounds sterling a month for two people in a two-bedroom house with garden, washing machine, bath, shower, etc. (This was written a associate of years ago).

I’ll stop rubbing it in now and go and gleefully water the garden.

I won’t truly, as we’re saving water and not because of the cost. There was little rain this winter and the reservoirs are already low. So remember, when you come to Symi, stand in a large bowl when you shower; use that water for the loo or mop outside with it; put the washing-up water on the garden; if you need to flush, only flush when you really need to flush; turn the tap off when cleaning your teeth or shaving; as the shower is warming up, run the water into a bucket for later use; put the washing machine drain pipe into a (large) bucket and use that on the garden, floors, etc; do large washing loads instead of lots of small ones; save the rain water wherever and whenever you can, and make sure you turn the taps off properly. Oh, and in the winter, only shave and shower once a month and then only if you need to.

truly you should do all that wherever you live to help the planet generally. OK, I really am going now. I’ve just received a letter from the electricity company which starts; “Regarding the wire yours from on the doors yours…”

Leave a Reply