It had been two weeks since Breakfast Club as I’d been in Santorini with Michael.
Santorini, Santorini, Santorini – I wished I was right back there but after a few days at work it was fast becoming a distant memory.
I was looking forward to seeing Lil and Armando today and I hoped there had been no drama while I’d been away and that Lil was continuing to regain her confidence after the horror of her home invasion.
The weather had been mixed in Santorini, with the last days better than the first few, and I had a little colour. I wanted to show this off but not at the expense of being cold. At least my face, which was also the brownest part, would be visible – it not being balaclava season.
It was great to see a bloom of purple-rinsed curls before me as I opened the café door.
‘Now there’s a sight for sore eyes,’ I said as I greeted Lil with a kiss on her cheek.
‘I thought you’d been on holiday Boulevardier? Where’s the tan?’ Lil asked and let out an ear bursting cackle.
Armando joined the party with a lovely big pot of tea, and it felt as if everything was returning to normal. I had been very British and packed some teabags into my luggage – Assam of course. Let’s keep that to ourselves as I wouldn’t want to risk losing my Boulevardier title. After all, nowhere in the world understands our affiliation with a good cup of tea.
There was no sign of Bill but I wasn’t going to ask any questions, yet.
‘Good trip?’ asked Armando.
‘It was lovely thank you. Santorini is a special place. I’d go back tomorrow,’
‘Yeah and I might come with you,’ said Lil.
‘I’m not sure you’d get that up and down the myriad of steps,’ I said pointing at Lil’s sidekick – her polka-dotted shopping trolley.
‘Why’ve they got so many steps then?’ asked Lil.
‘A lot of the town and villages are built right into the cliff face. Our hotel, which was beautiful by the way, had about 60 steep steps between our room and the pool,’ I said.
‘That is no good for oldies and people with disabilities,’ said Lil firmly.
‘Neither is Everest but it doesn’t stop people climbing it,’ said Armando.
We looked at Armando and laughed. And before we could continue our banter breakfasts arrived; plates steaming with promise.
‘Goodie,’ said Lil, ‘I’m so hungry this morning.’ She tore open the top of her egg with the fork prongs and adeptly folded back the film to stop the exposed runny yolk from spilling over her plate.
‘What was good with the hotel?’ asked Armando.
‘Oh Armando it was glorious. Each room seemed to have its own level. We were at the top and had a terrace looking out to the sea and across to the most northern peninsula of Santorini. The way the various living quarters wound down the cliff made it feel like quite the labyrinth.
At the heart, or in other words about halfway down, was the reception area with a comfortable dining section. Further down was the pool and pool bar with sun loungers. It made me think of the multi-levelled apartments on Barbary Lane – ’
‘What’s Barbary Lane?’ asked Lil as she dabbed the sides of her mouth with her napkin.
‘It’s the complex around which life revolves in Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin,’ I answered. Armando nodded as if in acknowledgment of a new fact. Surely he had heard of Barbary Lane.
‘Who is Armi- whoever you said?’ asked Lil.
‘He’s a writer. Look don’t worry now, just imagine lots of separate rooms on different levels oozing mystery, but with terracotta steps rather than white wooden ones,’ I said.
Lil picked up her cutlery again and moved a piece of bacon next to a sliced mushroom which was my signal to continue.
‘We met such an assortment of guests too, it was great. Dave and Cindy were on the level below ours and on a month long vacation from Western Canada. They’d flown in to Frankfurt two weeks previous and didn’t seem to have any fixed plan other than their return date. We never saw them without a glass of wine in their hands; Dave red and Cindy white.
After they left another set of Canadians arrived who were a young couple on their second honeymoon as the first, six months previous, was cut short. They had a six week trip planned to minute detail. They proudly told us ‘’we’ve booked in two hours by the pool this afternoon’’. That is not what I call a holiday, however, I smiled rather than question it.
Peter and Jane arrived midway through our stay. They were a middle aged couple; he was retired and she was a Headteacher. Peter was one of the “been there, seen it, done it” types. We were informed that they usually holidayed in the same destinations as Robert De Niro and Adele apparently. He also said that they live next door to Ann Robinson. Jane looked embarrassed as Peter name-dropped.
I thought Michael might keel over when Peter asked him to guess how much the insurance cost for his sports car.
And I haven’t even got to all the lovely locals.’
‘Ha, sounds like a bunch of bores and nuts to me,’ said Lil as she allowed another of her hoots to tickle our ears.
‘Lil you would have loved it. On the first night when we went to dinner in the most gorgeous local restaurant Michael ordered Kalimera rather than calamari!’ I said.
Armando sniggered and Lil cast him a look. ‘What are you talking about now Boulevardier? Sometimes I do wonder if you speak English at all,’ said Lil.
‘Calamari is fried squid in batter and Kalimera means ‘Good Morning’,’ I said. ‘So Michael ordered good mornings.’
‘I think you’d better get another pot Armando, as I think his tan will fade faster than these little Greek anecdotes… At least we won’t have to look at the holiday photos,’ Lil cackled and I noticed that the waitress and a couple of unknown patrons also smirked.
I don’t think I was going on too much or into too much detail but I guess you had to be there to enjoy my stories and see the romance of Santorini in my every word.
At least Lil seemed back to her old self. I wanted to know if she’d seen Bill or had been going out much but decided status quo was healthier for today.