Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Blog 54 u…Summer? 
 It is hard to believe that we are in the summer month of July when you look at all the unfortunate people who have been flooded for the second time in weeks. Where has all this rain come from? Where is it all going to go? I know, I know the rain cycle and the sea but honestly it is beginning to get beyond a joke now when we have so little sunshine to brighten up our days before the onslaught of the winter!
Looking at old photos of holidays it makes you just want to go out and book flights to somewhere hotter, less wet and relaxing. Talking about summer days when we were children and what we got up to in comparison to the children’s wet, wet summer breaks; just makes me long for the sunshine even more so that they can get out and enjoy some summer sunshine!
Whilst I am sitting here typing the rain is drip, drip, dripping down the windows, the lamps are on to try and cosy up the place and yet my door is open because it is hot…no, not just the menopausal hot flashes that keep me awake half the night…but real moggy heat that makes your shirts stick to your backs and your skirts flap on your thighs. How is it that it is pouring with rain and yet so hot? Are we heading towards a ‘Rainforest’ climate; good God think of all the insects and creatures that would start to appear in our trees…huge spiders…and…no stop! I cannot think of that. It’s too unreal!

But what I can think about is the small ray of sunshine I felt on my face just two days ago. For a very brief moment, an interlude in between the rain storms, there was a crack in the clouds and the sun broke free. I stood in my wellies in the middle of the puddle that we lovingly refer to as our garden and I turned my face towards the sun; eyes closed, hands on hips and standing very still I transported myself to a different time and place…Corfu 1983…

The sky was the brightest, bluest, cloudless sky I have ever seen. The sea was the deepest blue with the whitest waves. The sand was the cleanest, purest, golden sand I had ever set barefoot on. The warmth of the sun on my skin was magical…I can place myself standing in the shallow sea, hands on hips, face turned towards the sun, soaking in every minute. The sound of people laughing, children playing, Greek tunes on a radio in the distant bar, the smell of coconut sun oil and the freshness of the sea as the gentle waves circled my legs.  As I stood there I remember thinking if only time could stand still…if only I could stay here forever…I was determined to somehow imprint the sights, sounds, smells and the sun into my brain forever.
Ah yes, what a beautiful place and a holiday to remember: not least because it was only the second time I had ever been abroad and the last time I would holiday as a single, carefree girl! I was on a girl’s holiday with two very good friends and my ‘big sister.’ The four of us had jetted off to Corfu for a summer break of two weeks for sun, sea, sangria and…well actually even though the saying goes; “What happens in Corfu…stays in Corfu…” we actually didn’t find love on the beach, or the bars or the airport for that matter although we did come close to some form of sex when we emerged from a night club and some boys on motorbikes circled us and shouted:
“Hey, English…you wanta gang plank..!”
We fell about laughing and they nearly fell off their bikes at our response…funny how 'Clear off...!' can translate into all launguages…!
We may not have found Mr. Right but we did have a laugh and lots of sunshine and we made happy memories. [I have treasured photographs which I can share with the ‘Bridezilla’ showing how beautiful and happy her mum was as a young woman…]
We went sailing on a clipper ship and dived over board into the crystal blue waters; we ate sword fish and chips; we drank ouzo in the local bars at night and danced until the early hours in the little disco; we watched fancy dress competitions whereby the young men dressed in togas and the girls looked like Aphrodite; we visited a little hill top restaurant and ate the most gorgeous food whilst listening to the crickets and looking out over the town all lit up, lights reflecting in the sea.
We visited the Old Corfu town where the Castle was lit up at night; there was a fabulous market, designer dress shops, shoes to die for, tavernas, ice-cream emporium…just a beautiful place. [We actually had to find a chemist first as I, at the time, suffered badly from Dyspepsia and needed copious amounts of Aludrox in order to keep any food down…the chemist only sold it in huge bottles the likes of which I had never seen before! He put it in a brown paper bag and I rushed out, down a side alley way and glugged from the bagged bottle…ah… relief and yes, there are photos of that too, somewhere in someone’s photo album!]
Although not all the memories are happy…there was an incident one afternoon that actually has scarred me for life…emotionally that is! The four of us were determined to get the best suntan ever! We were staying in a small block of holiday rooms within walking distance of the beach; we sat having breakfast in our bare feet and bikinis listening to the sea and at lunchtime we sat in the beach taverna under shades eating watermelon, slices of ham and crusty bread; then the rest of the day when we were not eating we sat on the beach reading novels, sleeping in the sunshine or swimming. We got to know other holiday makers quite well and often chatted. There was a group of young lads who would carry a table and four chairs into the sea and sit playing cards with their beers cooling by their feet.  One particular day we decided to get some lie-los so that we could lie in the sunshine getting a tan but also keep cool by dipping our hands or toes in the sea. Out of the four of us there was a ‘very sensible one’ who did not partake in the lie-lo culture and would sensibly return to the rooms for a siesta and chill. Whereas me, [totally senseless!] my ‘big sister’ [a little more sensible than me but not much!] and the other ‘less sensible one’[but more sensible than me and my ‘big sister’] laid out in the burning sun to catch the end of the days rays…on our lie-los.
This particular afternoon we stayed out a little longer and laid on our backs paddling our hands and feet over the edges of our lie-los, talking, laughing and completely unawares of the tide changes in our little cove. Then it began to get a little windy and my ‘big sister’ announced she was off for a quick swim before we need to go and get ready for our night out. She slid off her lie-lo quickly and disappeared, her lie-lo was free from her weight and shot off into the distance whipped up and out of reach by the wind.
“Don’t move,” she shouted as she re-emerged from the depths and grabbed my arm; “stay very still, don’t panic but we are in deep water…”
When someone says don’t panic; you do don’t you?…my stomach was flipping faster than the mirage of her disappearing lie-lo. OMG. What on earth? The tide had changed and had been carrying us out towards Albania in the distance!
The other ‘less-sensible one’ announced she would swim to shore to get help but on sitting up carefully and putting our legs over the sides of our lie-los we realised that we would be swimming against the tide, the wind was blowing the water into our eyes and stinging, how the hell could we swim that far?
My 'big sister' knew I hated deep water anyway and she knew I’d probably drown if left behind... she made the decision not to leave me…for which I'm thankful…and that we should try and attract attention by waving and shouting every so often. After trying to paddle the lie-los together towards the beach we were becoming exhausted and not getting too far…of course I was crying by now…and the other two probably would have been safe on dry land if they had left me behind! Surely someone would notice us?
Well actually they did! The four young men sitting in the sea around their table happened to see us and thinking that we were rather far out decided to swim towards us…thank God for young men!!
We were saved! They dragged us into less deep water where I could stand and then after giving us a good ticking off they laughed with us about ending up as white slaves somewhere…the relief was unbelievable. I have never been so afraid of drowning and I used to be a strong swimmer but that far out to sea…well…let’s put it this way never again once my feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool or the sand in the sea…I panic and need to swim back quickly to a safe place!
Thing is the next day exactly the same thing happened to another girl…we watched in horror as we saw how far she had suddenly gone…the lads stood up…
“Here we go again…” shouted one of them only this time they borrowed a pedalo and reached her before she woke up and panicked!
Needless to say the lie-los were relegated to the room!
As a way of treating ourselves to get over the ‘almost’ disaster we visited an evening bbq and circus festival; whereby trapeze artists flew above our heads whilst we ate and there was a little market place where we bought silver jewellery and my ‘big sister’ mixed  her own perfume…a haunting odour all of her own design! This night was the cause of our second holiday mishap…it rained and we sat in wet clothes for hours.
During the night I became ill. Thinking it was just me and my usual upset stomach I dealt with it and crawled back into bed. I was up and down what seemed like all night, my temperature was high and the sickness didn’t stop. Then I became cold and shivery and put on some clothes before crawling exhausted back into bed. The night seemed never ending and my head ached, my throat was sore and I was desperately in need of a drink. I longed for the morning and lapsed in and out of the most fitful sleep. Eventually I tried to wake the ‘less sensible one’ to discover she too had been ill during the night. We sat feeling really poorly and wondered should we nip next door to where my ‘big sister’ and the ‘sensible one’ were sleeping. It was dark outside and the lights were lit all along the pathway.
“Get the English Embassy…call the travel rep…help I’m ill…OMG I’m so sick…the toilet’s blocked…the shower’s blocked…” I can laugh now but this is what we could hear from behind their door!
On all getting together we discovered we had all been ill with the same fever…worse still when we dressed and walked up the little road to the local taverna for some food we were greeted with:
“Ah you English girlies…where ave you bin?” shouted George the landlord of the taverna.
To our horror we discovered that we had actually been ill in bed for two full
days ; he explained that they were all worried as they had not seen us at the usual time and they knew we were not due to go home for a few more days and they were deciding who should go looking for us when we appeared!
He insisted on feeding us hot soup, crusty bread, no alcohol and gave us a bottle of white spirit to rub on our backs and chests to help with the coughing!

No more late nights in the rain after that! But long, glorious days in the sun…and a wonderful trip to a monastery on the hill tops in a little place I think was called Paleokastritsa where the buildings were white and the sea the most beautiful of blues…yes it’s exactly as it is in the films!
All too soon the holiday was over and we had to face the flight home…from the smallest of airports with the shortest of runways…that ended sharply on the tip of the ocean…each time a plane took off the crowd on the balcony stood watching and shouting;
“Is he going to make it…yes yes..ooohhh that was close…”

When I opened my eyes I was standing in my wellies in the middle of the puddle that we lovingly refer to as our garden…hands on hips, face turned towards the sun…ahh the warmth…ahh the memories…ahh the summer time of my youth…
And I wonder…what kind of memories will my boys grow up with of their summer times?
Perhaps one day they will stand with the sun on their faces and say…    “ee...remember that summer when…?”

Blog 54 v coming soon…next Wednesday…

P.S. apologies to those of you who have been having problems posting a comment: I've 'flicked a switch' so to say and should have now enabled anyone to post a comment...good or otherwise!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, glad you found me and enjoyed it x

  2. What lovely memories to give to Bridezilla!!!x

    1. I know, she loves hearing about her mum x

  3. memories eh?!

  4. Ah yes memories are all we have as we get older, ha ha!x