As you know, we live on our yacht Fandancer for most of the year, but for a few months in the winter we leave the boat in Greece and come back to the UK to see friends, family and my four little grandchildren. This is where we are at the moment, in a very nice rented property, in a lovely village, just down the road from one daughter and two grandsons, and easy travelling distance of everyone else. I’m loving it.
I’m loving being back In England – I’m not missing the boat at all! I could do with some nice Greek sunshine though, and I quite miss sitting outside a taverna eating a nice Greek meal and drinking ouzo. But I’ve realised that I miss quite a lot of British things when I’m on the boat. I certainly miss UK shops. I’m a bit of a shopaholic. It’s not that I want to go round and buy everything in sight, I just like looking at the huge variety of goods on offer. I really love big hypermarkets and astounded by the variety of goods on offer! Yes, I’m weird I know, but when all you have in Greece in the areas where we sail, is a tiny village mini-market open at unusual hours selling random goods and boxes of fruit and vegetables outside, a butcher with no meat on display (it’s all in the fridge out the back) and a tiny baker with bread that sells out quickly. The shop keepers often follow you round, politely asking you what you want. But I don’t know what I want, I want to look at everything first, then make a choice!
What else do I miss? More shops – clothes shops, shoe shops, handbag displays, nice hairdressers, and most of all, big department stores with beautiful displays of homewares. Piles of colourful cushions, rows of towels, mountains of cookware, shelves of crockery, lamps, bedding, pictures, photo frames, furniture, garden equipment. You don’t get any shops like this in the Greek islands! In England I just love wandering round, pointing at things, mouth agape, the other shoppers must think I’ve just landed from another planet, for the first time!
But my problem is, now that we are back in the UK with this cornucopia of delights available everywhere, I can’t buy any of it! We don’t own our own property, we sold up and got rid of all our possessions when we bought Fandancer and moved aboard. When we come back we have to rent somewhere, usually a holiday let, or a furnished property. I can’t buy any of these wonderful objects, as they are not needed in the house, and would only have to go into storage or more likely re-sold or given away when we leave. I admit I have succumbed and lashed out on a few cushions and throws, a few bits for the kitchen, a new duvet cover and towels, but I look longingly at the shop displays of amazing lighting, pictures and rugs, and I think – one day, maybe one day, all this will be mine!