I was browsing through some of our old photographs when I came across a packet containing some really old snaps of myself and hubby, boyfriend as he was then, on vacation in Rhodes. My daughter let out a shriek as I passed her one of my then favourite pictures of her dad. He was leaning against a rowing boat in long shorts, flip flop sandals, sporting a truly 1980s hairstyle with an earring. "That's never my dad"? she yelled but it was. " Who is that in the peach dress -- don't say it's you mum"?--- it was! " My dad's so thin and you look, well-- er...... young"
It was almost 21 years ago I explained and looking closer I realised just how we'd changed over the years. That was the holiday that gave us the shock of our lives and maybe the reason they were so carefully filed away.
It was our first holiday together. Steve really wasn't impressed that I'd chosen Greece as our destination. He was a real party animal and had only ever been to Ibiza where the nightlife begins in the morning. Greece on the other hand was picturesque, sedate and the pace of life so slow it was almost stop. It didn't take him long though to appreciate the Greek way of life and now, well he's an addict!
We stayed in a small hotel right beside the beach, The mosquito's were an absolute nuisance, they weren't very interested in me but they loved Steve and anything, and I mean anything that wasn't covered was a feast for the little blighters. He was so covered with bites he looked almost disease ridden. One night however he thought he'd teach them a lesson by buying a repellent spray from the local supermarket.
English for the Greeks in those days was very broken. Our Greek however was intangible. He bought a bag full of goodies, the most delicious grapes, peaches, nuts and the spray. The day had been a scorcher, the rooms weren't air conditioned and the nights were unbearable. Now without sounding like I was a brazen hussy, I slept naked and so did he, but we'd been together for 2 years so we were hardly one night stands.
We went to bed around 3am, my how you change-- 3 am is usually my wandering round time of late, in your 40's 3 am never exists! We'd been in bed for a short while when the familiar buzz began. Steve jumped up and almost emptied the can spraying everywhere and swearing. "That'll teach you" he screeched and then climbed back into bed. A few moments later my chest began to tighten and I began to cough and couldn't breathe. Steve was also coughing and gasping for air. He grabbed my arm and we both shot out the double doors onto the balcony naked as the day we were born. We both hung over the balcony trying to catch our breath and thankfully we both recovered to find two adjoining neighbors staring at us from their balcony -- to make it worse they were German so we didn't understand what they were saying but guessed anyhow. They were laughing and pointing at us so trying to cover up we fell over each other into the room and landed on a heap on the floor.
The next day breakfast was full of raised eyebrows and pointing fingers and I felt so ashamed but what the **** -- they didn't know us! -- we didn't know them! and we'd never meet them again in our life so we just got on with eating breakfast.
That night the spray can was peeping out of the bin and it remained there for the duration of our stay. Poor Steve put up with the bites.
Later that week, I'd been washing some smalls and hung them out on a line I'd brought with me on the balcony. We went down to the beach as normal. I was lying on a sunbed, slapping on the factor 8 when Steve announced he was going back to the hotel room for some bottled water and fruit. I lay there soaking up the lovely Greek sun then was shook by the arm, it was Steve looking rather bewildered. "Did you hang out your knickers to dry this morning -- on the balcony"? I answered yes! "Was the balcony okay" he asked. I thought for a moment then wondered what he meant. The balcony was fine, " What do you mean"? I asked sitting up on my lounger.
" It's gone!" he cried. " Gone! -- what on earth are you talking about!" I cried.
"The olive trees are wearing your knickers below and the balcony has gone."
I'd stood on that balcony not one hour previous and it had simply fallenl off the building. We were several stories high and I'd have surely been killed. The Greeks were extremely apologetic and it was embarrassing for us as they came every day afterwards with gifts of food and never ending hospitality. As for my underwear, they were retrieved by an old Greek man who came to our room holding them in his hands. I can't remember who was the most shy.
You probably wonder why we love Greece so much? Our first vacation there was anything but restful but we loved it all the same and give and take a few years we've been going there ever since.
This year it's Skiathos again. Can't wait till summer and as for those photographs well, they're so much more than that!