As a child, holidays were effortless. I remember waking up in a little Greek B&B, the sun streaming through the shutters. Running outside to see the blue sky hanging over the calmest sea. Days filled with swimming, beach games, the smell of a charcoal bbq and after hours at the Platea eating ice cream as my parents sipped on exotic turquoise cocktails. And the next day it all happened again.
Then teenage years hit - to be truthful more of a miss than a hit. Poodle frizzy hair, chubby, thick glasses and excess body hair made beach life painful. I resembled a cross between a walrus and Nana Mouskuri. Hot boys passed me by - a strange look of pity and horror.
Luckily I had a late blossoming - after a long dark adolescence and made up for lost time in places like Aghia Napa - nicknamed I'm a Slapper where you live off Pina Coladas - or Penis Enlargers. I remember one particularly seedy week where Irish navy boys had come into port. Let's say I made up for lost time and played them at their own game - I was their woman in every port. I also discovered podiums and clubbing - every night I was visibly placed like a peahen on the highest podium next to the loudest speaker. By the end of the week I had lost 8 pounds, was deaf in one ear and had too many unidentifiable dancing/making out injuries!
After that came the couple holidays. Dinners together under starry skies and canoodling under the midday sun. Though by day 4 I was usually bored and began eyeing up the local talent - stavros the barman or alessandro the poolboy.
Things went from bad to worse with my ex husbnd who wasn't so keen on holidays. Sun too hot. Beach life too dull. So instead we would run our holidays away. We were that crazy couple that you see jogging on a dusty roadside, sweat pouring from every orifice. I guess we ran so hard to avoid standing still with each other. I must have become an adrenalin holiday junkie as my post divorce boyfriend was an ironman. His first gift to me was a bike backpack and ski socks. I will never forget out first holiday in the English countryside. Him all kitted out in lycra as if about to do the Tour de France. Me wobbling on a rusty pushbike - hair cropped short to be extra hair-odynamic. The highlight for him was his emergency survivor sheet in case we were stranded. Needless to say we broke up after a very un-romantic valentine dinner at a local thai-pub. I had obviously not learnt my lesson as I then hooked up with an Austrian trekker who liked nothing better than walking for miles with his hounds. Poopascoop in this case became poopashovel. His dream holiday was camping round Africa. Again I pressed the emergency exit button.
Inspite of all my fiascos I always knew that the child-like simplicity of an old-fashioned summer holiday was still possible. And when I met my beau I truly found it again.
Holidays together at the beginning were tricky. His kids needed their family time plus his work pressures and my family in Blighty. We had the odd weekend here and there which were pockets of bliss but all too short.
This year for the first time we went for two weeks to our treasured Corsica, home of his mum and origins of my dad. Greeks believe of course that Napoleon was of hellenic origin. They say it is the bellybutton of Europe as it unites East West, North and South.
Being the uptight creature that I am it took a while to ease into la dolce vita. I wanted to plan canoeing trips, organise restaurants for every night and know exactly where we'd be every day. My patient beau cooked me lunch, drove me to empty beaches to empty my busy mind and held me when my planning anxiety kicked in. Then on day 5 I woke up and ran straight into the sea. I had no thought other than to be in the cool morning waters. I had refound the childlike joy of floating and playing with pebbles in the shallows. Back to nature everything tasted better. Sex was more intense, rose wine the sweetest tasting and the view from the Domaine d'Agnone like a van Gogh painting. We even had that classic magic moment kissing in the surf like James Bond with his sexy accomplice.
Ok. Ok. Its not all lovey dovvey-ness. I drove him almost mad trying to find a nearby gym to keep up my pre wedding regime. Nothing like pounding the running machine whilst staring at the ocean. And my cleanliness fanaticism means that my beau is forever securing the area like a hygiene policeman. My fashion obsession does not stop on hols either - hence our car boot is strewn with heels in case of a glam occasion and my 14 bikinis (one for every day, of course) are all over the villa. Also my renewed childish enthusiasm means bat and ball at 9am are de rigueur.
Nothing is perfect. Getting close to perfection though is possible, especially in the arms of the one you love. We have another 8 days and I intend to savour them. Especially those spent with the Guettas at the VIP club Via Notte in the south. My beau, hotpants AND a podium - AND the best DJ in the world. Exhibitionist heaven! Then after party on a cool loungey beach. The kid, teen and la femme in me will be utterly satisfied...vivent les grandes vacances!