Thoughts on a Shirley Valentine Summer

First things first, I have to say I was blown away by the lovely feedback I received following my last post. It was a bit of a gamble publishing my first ever short story for everyone to read but hey, I reckoned that I had nothing to lose by doing so. I absolutely loved writing it but had no idea if it was actually any good. Well even if it wasn’t particularly good and my grammar as pointed out by Mr R left a lot to be desired, you enjoyed it and wanted more which was the best thing I could wish for. I might be in getting ideas above my station here, but I’ve got the writing bug and want to turn my short story into a novella. The storyline is in my head, I love my characters, Maggie and Patrick and am developing them daily. I’m also researching how to actually write a book, which is probably quite an important thing to do. In my head it’s going to be a best seller and I’m thinking which actors will play the leading parts in the film. OK, so I may be jumping the gun here and I need to learn to walk before I can run but there’s no harm in dreaming big now is there. Thank you with all my heart for taking the time to read my little story, all of your wonderful encouragement and inspiring me to keep on writing.

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One of my favourite television programmes at the moment is Our Shirley Valentine Summer which is being shown on ITV on Thursday evening. If you’ve not watched it, the programme follows eight single celebrity women who share a villa together on Naxos hoping to find love, friendship and happiness. I love the idea of spending holidays with friends, especially girlfriends. Carefree days of girlie chats whilst sipping wine, cocktails or a G&T around the pool. Sharing the cooking, shopping trips, opening up our hearts to each other. But real life isn’t about sharing a fabulous villa with chickens in the garden, handsome neighbours to teach you greek or restaurants that are happy to let you run it for an evening because it’s something you fancy trying. Apart from Nancy Del’Olio distancing herself at times from the others and making it clear that she leads a glamorous lifestyle…I drink champagne dahling!…the others seem to be getting on like a house on fire and I don’t think I’ve heard one moan yet that someone is leaving their coffee cup in the sink or has not bothered to put a new toilet roll on the holder!

shirley valentine summer

Does going on holiday with anyone other than your nearest and dearest work? You may get on brilliantly when seeing each other in small doses. A meal out, trip to the pub, bbq in the garden, but you aren’t actually having to live with each others little foibles and irritating little habits. Can someone who has to have everything organised in the minutest detail and down to the nano-second, exist happily with anyone who believes the word holiday means chill, as in, I’m not moving from this sunbed and sod the washing up? Can we continue to be “nice” to each other for two whole weeks and keep smiling through gritted teeth when someone insists on talking continuously, which is fine over a quattro stagioni at Pizza Express, but not when you are trying to read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine! We may love our friends, but can we actually live with them?

 

 

Can a holiday of organisers and those that just want to chill ever co-exist happily?

Many moons ago when son number one was a nine month old , me and my then husband thought it would be a brilliant idea to spend two weeks in a Tuscan farmhouse with another couple who we thought of as great friends. The thing was though, we had always socialized with them with another couple and never with just them. In a group of six their loud and exuberant behaviour was diluted and bareable but being just the four of us was a different matter. What had been bareable quickly became unbearable!  We also had a baby with us and they didn’t, and they didn’t which didn’t help either. It started off all hunky dory and lovely but it wasn’t long before we realised that we’d made a huge mistake. They wanted us to do everything together, from supermarket shopping, to lunches that lasted all afternoon, followed by eating out again in the evening, to spending all day sight-seeing in hot and busy Florence and Sienna, and all with a baby in tow who was spending nearly every waking hour sitting in a pushchair and letting us know loudly that he wasn’t a happy little chappie! It wasn’t our idea of a relaxing holiday, but stupidly we gritted our teeth, didn’t communicate that we weren’t enjoying ourselves and played happy families. Resentment  grew until eventually on the last evening my husband, who had imbibed in one too many glasses of chianti called his friend’s wife a fat cow and then wondered why they got upset! Awkward! Needless to say we didn’t see much of them after that.

You’d think we’d learnt our lesson but years later we invited friends and their daughter to stay at our apartment in Switzerland over New Year. They were expecting a snowy landscape so they were not at all happy to discover a very green landscape when they landed at Zurich. For days we had to endure major sulks over the lack of snow. We offered to drive into the mountains to look for it, but no, that wasn’t the same as looking out of the window and seeing a winter wonderland. Needless to say we didn’t see much of them either after that!

We all look forward to our holidays don’t we. We have such high expectations and we want all aspects of it to be perfect especially if we have forked out a fortune to pay for it. Should we jeopardise that dream holiday by deciding to share it with others? Of course there are plenty of people who have the best of holidays spending it with their friends or family. Those holidays work because they’ve all probably been upfront with each other about expectations and by not spending every valuable holiday minute in each others company and giving each other space.

Would I go away with friends again? Absolutely, but without Mr R. I like it when it’s just me and him. I’d love to go away with girlfriends if the holiday was more than just lounging around a pool and topping up a tan. I’m in the organised camp of holiday makers and need to have days planned. Saying that though if offered a fabulous girls only villa holiday on a greek island with the chance of learning greek or collecting fresh eggs, I have a sneeky feeling I’d be off to the airport quicker than you can say Shirley Valentine!

What do you think? Do holidays with friends work?

 

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