Saturday, 27 June 2009

Eros in a Small World

When I admitted in a tag, last Autumn, that I had met my husband on a Greek island, I was surprised by the curiosity, interest and requests for a post that this fact generated. I have waited until now to post about how I met my husband. Today is our wedding anniversary, so it seems as good a day as any for this post.

It was the summer of 1989. I was a single working girl with a mortgage around my neck and a hole in my finances, after having to pay a string of unexpected bills. I needed and wanted a holiday and worked out that I could afford one week in the sun. I decided on a week's holiday on the Greek island of Alonnisos with the tour operator Small World. I had been with them a few times before. Their brochure advertised 'social holidays for single people' mainly in villas, in parts of the Mediterranean which were only semi-commercialised.

I set off early one Friday morning in July, driving to Gatwick airport at the crack of dawn. The flight was delayed which meant that we were late arriving in Skiathos and missed the Flying Dolphin hydro-foil to Alonnisos. I and my fellow travellers had to sit around, for an hour or two, in the Greek afternoon heat, wearing clothes that were more suited to a grey day in the UK, whilst we waited for the next hydrofoil to Alonnisos. By the time that we reached our destination it was early evening. We just had time to unpack and have a shower before dinner.

Meals, which were eaten outside in a small courtyard, were prepared by the villa girls, known as Muribirds, after the founder of Small World, Colin Murison-Small. Some of the group were half way through a two week stay. For others it was the first week of a two week holiday and for those like myself it was the start of their one and only week. After dinner which was washed down with plenty of wine, all eleven (four girls and seven lads) of us, that were staying in the villa, walked down to the harbour for a drink. Husband to be (HTB) and I hit it off straight away. I could not tell you what we talked about, that first night, but I managed to establish that he lived not far from me back in England.

The next morning those on their second week showed the new arrivals the way to the nearest beach, which meant a 45 minute walk or taking a water taxi. The other three girls opted to take the water taxi but I decided that as I was holidaying on a shoe string that I would walk to the beach with the lads and save myself the cost of the water taxi. There was not much to do on Alonnisos, so most days we walked to the beach. Then late afternoon, on our way back from the beach, after a hard day of sunbathing, we would stop at one of the harbour tavernas for a thirst quenching and well deserved beer. Over the course of the week HTB and I often walked together. We got on very well and I remember thinking what a pity it was that he had a girlfriend back home as we seemed to be made for one another. Our relationship was totally platonic. HTB was the perfect gentleman.

Too soon it was time to return home. We were up early on the Friday morning to catch the hydro-foil to Skiathos where we had breakfast at a taverna before heading to the airport. At the time HTB was a smoker and I rashly agreed to sit with him in the smoking section of the plane. They say that love is blind, it must also have lost its' sense of smell. I have never smoked and HTB stopped smoking at the end of 1989. When we got back to Gatwick airport I offered him a lift home as he only lived five miles from me. We got to his house to find his girlfriend there. Goodness knows what she thought of me. At some point we exchanged contact details. The relationship with the girlfriend did not last but it was not until about a year later that we started to see each other on a regular basis. We got married almost two years after we met.

Although we only lived five miles apart, it is unlikely that we would have met, had we not chosen to go on the same holiday, as our social lives took us in different directions.

37 comments:

Working Mum said...

What a lovely story. I can identify with the walking home and talking bit; that's how I met my husband, we were the only two going back to Halls of Res late on a Thursday at Uni, me after ballroom dancing society, him after football training. I should have known then .............

TechnoBabe said...

You were truly meant to meet. I know what you mean about the smoking. I quit smoking in 1981. When I met my hubby in 1995 he had quit smoking 6 months prior to our meeting. THANK GOODNESS.

Maggie May said...

Truly romantic story! Was obviously a union that was meant to be.
Great story.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oh, wow, can't believe you only lived 5 miles apart!! Happy Anniversary to you both. Hope you have a lovely one! XX

Moannie said...

Good enough story for a Mills and Boon, though I believe [from an article I read] that they are now rather racy.

cheshire wife said...

WM - I did mention that love is blind.

Moannie - I didn't think that we were in the Mills & Boon league.

Linda - Gold Coast said...

What a beautiful love story. Happy Anniversary and hope you managed to do something very special. Linda

CG said...

A lovely story...it must have been fate!

Sandi McBride said...

Now that was a holiday that keeps on giving...lucky girl! Fortunate boy!!
hugs
Sandi

Akelamalu said...

Aaaahhhh synchronicity! It was just meant to be and what a lovely story it makes. :)

HAPPY ANNIVERYSARY

imbeingheldhostage said...

wow-- what a great story. Hope you had a great anniversary :-)

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

It was meant to be then CW - a match made in heaven. Lovely story. Happy anniversary. A x

Scriptor Senex said...

So now we know - I think it's great fun hearing about other people's lives and how much hinges on what seem at the time to be fairly minor decisions.

Carol said...

Awww, that's a beautiful story!!

Hope you both had a wonderful anniversary and thank you for telling us how you both met!! It made me smile and that's a pretty good way to start the week :-)

C x

French Fancy said...

A belated Happy Anniversary to you both and how lovely that you suffered a smoking environment just to get to know him better. I smoked when I first met Mr FF and he never let on he was an asthmatic and my cigarettes were making him uncomfortable - mad fool!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Great story and very romantic. Have you gone back there since?

cheshire wife said...

FF - I would not tolerate a smoking environment now but then there are not many public places were smoking is allowed now.

MOB - no we have not been back, but husband has suggested it. There isn't much to do there and I feel that it just would not be the same.

Rob-bear said...

Beautifully romantic story -- the kind one would expect on a Greek island.

Gilly said...

Lovely story!


Have you thought of Skopelos? In between Alonissos and Skiathos, but with a bit more about it!! Good public transport and ferries etc.

Jenny said...

That's a great story but I do wonder where you'd both be now if that holiday had never been booked. Maybe you'd still have found each other, you weren't actually that far apart.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Oh, wow! What a wonderful story! Happy Anniversary!!

Suburbia said...

What a fab story. I love to know how people meet. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary, I hope you are doing something nice to celebrate. Isn't it amazing , if you or he had chosen another holiday, something different would have happened.

Catharine Withenay said...

Wonderful story - thank you! And (belated) happy anniversary!

cheshire wife said...

Gilly - Skopelos with a day trip to Alonnisos would be a good idea. Thank you.

Jenny - where would we be? Probably not living here in Cheshire.

HER ON THE HILL said...

It was clearly meant to be! Very belated Happy Anniversary. I think the sun shone for you again? :)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Now that's a love story. Greece. I want to go there.

Happy Anniversary!

A Brit in Tennessee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Brit in Tennessee said...

oooh that is so romantic and innocent...
Reminds me a bit of Shirley Valentine when she went on her holiday to the Greek Islands. Oh how I loved that film, I was recovering in hospital at the time from pneumonia, and was spluttering with laughter so hard, the nurses thought I was having some kind of fit.
Lovely story, and belated Happy Anniversary !

Jan said...

I love " Sliding Doors" sort of stories...everything in life happens so much purely by chance...

jinksy said...

Well, well, well! I can almost say snap! I met my HTB in Gibraltar when I was 17 and staying with my cousin and her family before going to college. HTB was then 28, and on a tour of duty on 'The Rock'. He too had lived exceeding near to my home all my life. So you can see the snap picture! Thanks for visiting me today...

Sarah Lulu said...

I love a fateful story!

indicaspecies said...

That's a lovely tale!
Belated anniversary wishes.:)

Brian Miller said...

what a wonderful story. always love to hear how people met, always so interesting. congrats on the POTD mention!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Congrats on the Post of the Day mention!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

POTD well deserved....greece is magical in many ways!

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