Jaqui's Daily Blog

We're All Going on a Virtual Holiday

It was tipping it down this afternoon - but Mr B and I were far away in the sunshine of Corfu.

We had a lazy lunch in the beach bar overlooking the ocean, fed the fish in the blue, blue sea, visited a local church, enjoyed a barbecue on the beach before spending a truly delightful evening in beautiful Corfu Town. All without leaving home, too.

It's our latest addiction: selecting one of the many photo albums crammed into a cupboard in the front bedroom and revisiting Holidays Past. This afternoon, as the rain dripped in a melancholy rivulet down the patio doors, we travelled back to the Summer of 1997, nineteen years ago. It was a good year, indeed, 1997 - the year we became grandparents for the first and second times. Lots of family holidays stretched before and behind us but in Corfu, in 1997, it was Just We Two.

This was the holiday when Mr B spent every morning playing pétanque on the beach with fellow guests from many different countries. He reminds me that his prowess at the game won him a prize one day; the very photograph album over which we are currently poring with lots of exclamations of "Do you remember that" or "Where exactly was that taken?" or "What on earth was his / her name?" Our clothes are somewhat colourful. "Nice shirt!" I comment, from time to time - and "Nice legs!" says Mr B loyally. It's such a very long time since I wore short shorts, he's doubtless forgotten what my legs looked like.

My photo captions are not all that helpful. "Flowers" I have written, imaginatively, beneath one (flowery) scene and "Church" beneath a photo of one of those traditional Greek churches like the ones depicted in the colourful title credits to that new Sunday evening TV drama "The Durrells". Yet I have completely failed to record the name of the young fella who organised the pétanque games and who taught his team of players to dance to Zorba the Greek on our last night on the island. We rack our brains but neither of us can remember. Such a pity. Talking of the Durrells, one of my photos has captured the house where Lawrence Durrell wrote "Prospero's Cell" while another snap shows the palatial building where Prince Philip was born.

There are several of the mandatory photographs of the two of us eating. We recall that the evening buffet was always set out by hotel staff on the pool side; there's a good pic of us, full plates in hand, beside a table groaning with delicious food. We ate well that holiday. But then, you would expect that, would you not, of One Who Is Always Thinking Of Her Stomach? Even in those far-off days.

Every evening there was dancing on the terrace. One of our fellow guests, a truly ancient gent, was with a much younger woman whom we took to be his wife. She wasn't quite as young as she appeared, if you took a closer look at her, but she delighted in dancing around her man with increasingly voluptuous movements which had him all a-quiver. We always felt honour bound to check if he was still alive and kicking at breakfast the following morning.

Here we are on the boat taxi taking us across for an evening out in Corfu Town. And here's the ex Navy man who entertained us by singing sea shanties all the way back to the hotel, the stars bright in the sky above, the boat moving slowly through the dark waters. One of our Magic Holiday Moments, we tell each other.

There is a lot to recommend about a Virtual Holiday, don't you know? No rising in the early hours in order to get to the airport on time. No sitting in a cramped plane seat unable to stretch your legs for four hours. No disappointment when the promised sea view from the hotel bedroom turns out to be partial at best - and then only if you lean right over the balcony and crane your neck. No cost, either.

Plus, when you come to look at the photographs you have taken, why, you look almost twenty years younger!

We think we might head off to Cascais in Portugal tomorrow. We will go to the daily Fish Auction and see if we can spot anybody bidding (we couldn't back in 1993). We will have a flutter in the Casino at neighbouring Estoril and wander along the sea-front to the Norwegian Bar, where we can order grilled sardines and read the British newspapers threaded onto wooden slats in case anyone be tempted to run off with them. Ah, those sardines! That's the other thing about Virtual Holidays - everything is always exactly as you remembered it first time around.

Cascais it is!

But not to worry, we'll be home in time for tea...

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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