I’m sitting outside my rented flat on the outskirts of a little village, looking out to a little bay. My gaze focuses on the platinum band between the deep cobalt blue of the sea and the paler blue of the sky. The breeze carries the woody scent of oregano, thyme and lavender. Cicadas rest on the branches of silver-leaved olive trees, their tireless song somehow slowing my world right down to their simple rhythm. I’ve been doing lots of thinking here, but right now, I can’t help but think that this is one of the best decisions I made this year.
It has taken six and a half days in total. That is, two ferry rides, 1000 km of driving through Holland, Germany, Austria and Italy (where we spent two magnificent days in Venice) to finally arrive at our final destination for the summer. Greece.
There are a few reasons I’ve decided to take such a long break from my normality. I want Trainboy to spend time with the Greek side of my family to bond and to help him pick-up the language. Then there’s my writing. I want to write more. Back home, in the UK, I have too much cleaning to do, as well as overly ambitious vegetable gardening goals. I’m not adding the obvious to the list: the damp, cool summers that I just can’t get used to!
Here in Greece, about 100kms north of Athens, I feast on the meaty tomatoes, the succulent peppers and the flavoursome cucumbers that my dad grows in his vegetable patch. I swim in crystal clear sea with my nephew, my niece and of course Trainboy. My Kindle has become a third arm and I am quickly filling my new notebook with notes and ideas on a new novel, as well as finishing long abandoned short stories and ideas for non-fiction articles to write.
Life is good, and although the crisis has hit every part of Greece, the sun, the sea and the warmth of the people really make-up for the gloom that is spreading out from Athens.