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.