THIS ISLAND LIFEWERE you to take a stroll through the cosy suburbs of Dusseldorf one evening soon, you might well hear the locals, their windows flung wide in the clement twilight, discussing the strange tale of The Mad Cat Woman of Makryammos and Her Rather Peculiar Husband.
Should you decide to indulge in such eavesdropping, it would doubtless intensify your excitement to know they would be referring to Mrs Newbery and me, so you are due an explanation.
When we selflessly set off to do our bit for the Greek economy by swapping Solent rain for the Aegean variety (slightly more torrential but noticeably warmer) it was with a certain trepidation on my part.
This is because Mrs N has long regarded it as her primary mission in life to ensure all God’s creatures are properly fed (with the possible exception of her ever-diminishing husband).
The Greeks, on the other hand, are not a race renowned for their unalloyed consideration towards all creatures great and small, so it seemed inevitable the two cultures would eventually collide. Sure enough, during our first evening at the resort, Mrs N spotted two or three scrawny cats mooching around, so it was only a matter of time before Operation Feed the Hungry Moggies of Thassos swung into operation.
Tins of cat food were quickly purchased but as both breakfast and dinner at Makryammos were of the buffet variety, there was also ample opportunity to filch special little treats for the needy, such as pilchards and sardines.
However, smuggling them out of the dining-room was likely to present something of a problem and I was ordered to undertake the task on the grounds 'people will expect you to go up for afters, so no-one will take any notice’.
Armed with that indispensable item of oily-fish smuggling equipment — a plastic bag which once contained 500 cotton buds — I approached the counter as inconspicuously as could reasonably be expected of a 6ft 5ins man wearing a T-shirt bearing the legend 'Atheism — a non-prophet organisation.’
The CO’s final orders were still ringing in my ears: "Make sure you get some bread as well, because those finches outside the bedroom window looked a bit peckish."
I had almost finished placing the loaves and fishes in my bag in readiness to feed the multitude, when I became aware of a looming presence to my left.
A gentleman in his middle years was gazing reprovingly at me over the top of his rimless spectacles.
As he might have thought I was some sort of cheapskate harvesting illicit supplies for a midnight feast in the dorm, I decided an explanation was in order.
He looked Teutonic but you can never tell with middle-aged gents in rimless spectacles, so it seemed prudent to cover all linguistic bases.
"Bonjours mein freund. It’s not pours moi. C’est pours les birds und die katzen."
It wasn’t exactly Katie Boyle, so I emphasised the point by scuttling the tips of four fingers along the table top in a rough approximation of a feline gait, before adding a helpful 'miaow’.
However, the gaze remained stern and inscrutable, so I then held out my arms and did a slight swoop in an attempt to simulate avian activity.
I now realise he probably took one look at my bald head and 8ft wingspan and immediately concluded I was gathering rations for a pterodactyl.
Still not a word was spoken and he began to shake his head almost imperceptibly before turning to a woman who had just materialised on his left and saying something brief but undeniably guttural.
I’m not normally the type to whom people rush with their queries on the finer points of German grammar but I picked up the last word quite clearly.
That’s why I’m fairly certain he said: "Come my dear. The man is a complete idiot. Wait until we tell them about this back home in Dusseldorf."
Will the real Keith Newbery please take a step forward?
TAKE a look at this photograph and see if you agree with those who insist there is a similarity between me and Cllr David Williams, who has just completed his year as chairman of the IW Council.
So many people expressed the view we must have been separated at birth, I felt obliged to take the matter up with my mother.
She denied this was the case but added that if it had been, she had obviously decided to keep the wrong baby.
However, now the former chairman’s tenure of office has come to an end, it’s time for the truth to be told — and I’m afraid it may come as a shock to some people at County Hall.
I actually chaired two council meetings last year and nobody noticed. But the problems I had with that Geoff Lumley …
Cllr David Williams and Keith Newbery — or is it the other way round?