Real life

My bid to boost my carbon footprint

12 October 2019

9:00 AM

12 October 2019

9:00 AM

Inspired by Harry and Meghan I decided to get on a plane. I hadn’t been anywhere for so long it was becoming ridiculous, and neither had my other half. No kids, no trips, no new cars…

‘If my carbon footprint gets any lower I’m going to have to eat coal,’ the builder boyfriend said, putting things into perspective.

These celebs and royals are never going to stop lecturing us about taking flights we’re not taking. And they are never going to stop taking all the flights themselves. So one is inevitably going to become bitter unless one takes action.

And the action I decided to take was a late deal to Lefkada in Greece. ‘If we split it between three credit cards I think we can just about manage,’ I told the BB, and he agreed.

When I was next with my best friend, I mentioned it to her: ‘I’m so at the end of my tether I’ve booked a package deal in a place called Lefkada.’

‘Oh, that will be lovely. Mike and I love Greece. We’re going to Lefkas in a few weeks actually,’ she said, not batting an eyelid.

‘Lefkas is Lefkada,’ I pointed out. It turned out the BB and I were booked on the same flight going to the same resort for the same week, in a villa 20 minutes apart from two of our best friends. Naturally the men did not believe for a second that their women had not conspired to arrange the entire thing.

It was a hoot getting the plane together and following each other along the coastline in our hire cars. We turned off the road before our friends, and climbed up a steep hillside.


‘This must be it,’ said the BB, when it seemed the Fiat Panda could not climb any higher and as a smart paved driveway to the only house we could see stretched up almost at a right angle in front of us.

The driveway was overhung with an abundance of bright pink bougainvillea which draped in long ringlets over the wall.

When we got the car to the top, the sight of the villa took our breath away. It was a beautiful stone house with a large terrace and pool in a breathtaking position above the bay.

The pool had an infinity edge so that it appeared to stretch into the Ionian sea dotted with its small private islands.

Given that this was our first holiday together in ages and that the only foreign trip we have ever made together was a week in the Dordogne years back when it rained almost non-stop, I was ecstatic.

I ran from the car, throwing my clothes off on to the patio as I went, and plunged naked into the pool.

‘This is more like it!’ I cried, coming up for air and flinging myself on to my back in the turquoise water.

‘How much did you say you paid for this?’ said the builder b as he sat down on a luxurious cane sofa.

I told him and he whistled. ‘That’s amazing. Just look at that view.’ He took the suitcases into the house and came back out in his swimming trunks. I was splashing like a child in our deserted paradise and he was standing looking over the bay and a small private island with a yellow Palladian beach house on the shore, when a voice drifted up to us.

‘Hello!’ said the voice, coming from the steep driveway beneath. ‘Hello!’ Then the voice became distinctly Brummie as it called out: ‘Excuse me, but I think you’re in our villa!’

A girl in shorts huffed and puffed up the path and presented herself to us, pink in the face and somewhat flustered. I got out of the pool and grabbed a towel.

‘I think you’re further up the hill,’ said the girl. There was something further up the hill? ‘Oh for heaven’s sake. This is your fault!’ I shouted at the builder boyfriend.

‘I’m so sorry,’ he told the girl, as I ran inside to put on my clothes and repack the suitcase whose contents were spilled over the main bedroom floor.

We got back in our car, rolled it backwards down the vertical slope and saw that behind a tendril of bougainvillea was the name of the villa, which was not ours. We screeched up the next slope where we found two further villas.

Happily ours was just as nice as the first, and although it didn’t have the infinity edge sea view, it was more nestled into the hillside with a better view of the mountains.

So if that had been the only mishap on this, our first trip abroad in years as we attempted to get ourselves a carbon footprint, all would have been well.

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