Much earlier in the summer, Mr Litlove and our son decided they would like to have a boys’ bonding holiday together. They toyed with the idea of doing a patisserie course in France, and then our son said he really wanted to go somewhere they’d never been before. With me in the mix up until now, that left the rest of the world pretty much open. And so they decided they would go to Greece and travel round the classical civilisation sites.
Once they’d booked their flights, Greece made headline news every day with its financial problems. Weeks went by when the banking system failed, and threats were made about the country’s ‘Grexit’ from the EU. Angela Merkel wasn’t happy, and facebook was full of pictures of Greek ministers signing off German debt after World War Two. A referendum took place on July 5th and I’m not even sure now whether it mattered. ‘It’ll all be fine come September,’ said Mr Litlove optimistically, and what’s really odd is that this summer has flown by, but June and July do seem a long, long time ago. I don’t doubt the financial crisis rumbles on, but my menfolk fly out on Wednesday and it’s been a while since I’ve seen an article on Yahoo about Greece (which shamefully passes as my news feed). I believe cash is once more flowing from the ATMs which was the only real worry for the tourist earlier in the year, when I was wondering if I’d have to sew euros into the hems of their t-shirts or something.
I’m still mildly concerned about seeing the pair of them fly off together. They went through a bad patch about fifteen years ago when I could never send them off on an outing together without one of them returning in tears. ‘Oh come on,’ Mr Litlove protested. ‘That was only Christmas trees.’ Indeed, it was one of our traditions for a while that Mr Litlove should call me from the windswept fields of the farm shop to the north of our village with the sound of our son’s wails buffeting around in the background. I seem to remember shoe shopping didn’t go much better, but if they can steer clear of buying shoes or Christmas trees in Greece, they can at least avoid the old triggers.
I have also warned them that when it’s just the two of them, one of them is going to have to listen. On a driving tour, I think there may be quite a few conversations along these lines:
Son: What are we doing here?
Father: This is where we agreed to go next.
Son: I don’t remember agreeing.
Though that makes me feel quite glad to be staying home. Nor will I have to find missing items for either of them. It’s been an interesting weekend in that respect, as Mr Litlove discovered on Saturday that he’d misplaced both his passport and his driving licence. This did not make him happy. The passport turned up quite quickly, but the driving licence is still in the Domestic Bermuda Triangle. He has applied for another, and has some sort of substitute form with all his licence details on it. I don’t suppose anyone else has been in this situation, have they? Of needing to hire a car when their licence has gone missing? Mind you, if they have to take public transport, it’s not such a disaster, as I have vivid memories of a holiday in Corsica with Mr Litlove many, many years ago, when he would drive along enthusiastically pointing out houses with swimming pools, five hundred feet below in the valley.
I have picked out their holiday reading, though, and am putting together their first aid kit, travel essentials I think they may have gone without otherwise. And I’m rather tempted to dig out a once-famous photo of the two of them in the bath when our son was about 6 months old, and suggest they recreate it – though in the sea, as I don’t think a bath is appropriate any more. And I’m not sure what kind of a bath they’d need to accommodate two 6’4” men. Nope, really don’t want to think about that!
They’re both looking forward to it hugely, and Mr Litlove can barely contain his excitement having spent the weekend on the internet researching places they can visit, and enormous meals they might eat.
And what will I be doing while they are away? Oh a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. I have friends to see and catch-up chats on the phone, and with a bit of luck, I might get to hear my friend and co-ed at Shiny, our lovely Simon, give a paper on Elizabeth von Armin at the weekend. Wouldn’t that be fab? And I might just try and project a maternal ring of protection in the general direction of Greece, you know, just in case.
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Much as I like the idea of Greece, I think I’d rather be with you listening to Simon’s paper! But I’m sure they’ll have fund, and you’ll have some lovely me time! 🙂
I’ll tell you all about it, if I get to hear it! Can you imagine – a whole conference on Elizabeth von Arnim? That’s rather delicious. And yes, I am sure they’ll have fun – I’m looking forward to hearing all their travellers’ tales when they get back!
After watching Rick Stein’s journey through Greece I envy Mr L and your son. Both food and scenery look delicious!
Oh I didn’t realise Rick Stein had been doing a series there. We’ll have to look that up on catch-up. Mr Litlove will love that!
He’s been travelling from Venice to Istanbul. Lovely scenery, delicious food and congenial company – a nice way to ease back into everyday life!
Yes it is a good series and I have been cooking some of the food in his book associated with it.
I hope they have a good time. Maybe it’s a nice thought to think that they will be putting some money back into the Greek economy although as you say at least they will be able to withdraw their money when they get there. How sweet to think that their relationship is so much improved (hope it stays that way.)
There was definitely a discussion going on with friends and family around that time about Greece being a place people *ought* to travel to, as tourism might be the most useful thing we could give to the Greeks. Actually a friend of mine had what I thought was a brilliant idea – that Greece should always host the Olympics. They’ve got the buildings, and it’s a boost to the economy if you can actually use them on a regular basis for the games. And ha, yes, I do hope there’ll be no crying on this holiday! 🙂
I was quite exhausted by simply reading about your boys’ travel plans—though I’m sure they’ll enjoy it, if they don’t end up entangled in some dire father/son drama. But then, they’ll be in Greece…really no better place for symbolic drama. They’ll fit right in.
Oh, I am still wiping tears of laughter away! Just *love* this comment!
I think it will be fantastic for them! A friend of mine is going there on her honeymoon tomorrow so maybe they will all cross paths 😀
What a nice thought! Tell them to look out for two tall, skinny (very) white men! 🙂 Hope your friends have a wonderful honeymoon! I’m sure they will.
It sounds like a wonderful trip for them! I hope they’re able to be amicable travel companions and give each other enough space that they won’t get on each other’s nerves. I have found that is key when you are traveling with someone. Meanwhile oh, you will have such a lovely quiet time when they are gone! I know you will miss them, but also, you can just relax and be quiet and read and do exactly what you like. Heaven.
It has indeed been nice and quiet and I have very much enjoyed that. It’s also been strangely busy for the most part, but now I have a couple of days with nothing booked in and I’m really looking forward to them. The boys seem to have had a splendid time, and send me photos most days. I think they’ve managed to agree quite readily on what they want to do, and that’s helped. I’m looking forward to hearing the stories in detail when they get home, though!
I do hope the boys enjoy their jaunt around Greece. Looking forward to hearing all about it – that’s your next post right there!
You’re so right, Jacqui! So far I’ve seen a lot of photos of amazing-looking meals, and of cats they have made friends with!! I’m looking forward to hearing their stories.
Sounds like a great idea to me. Good luck to them — I think they’ll have a wonderful time. And so will you, as long as you don’t start worrying about them!
Ha! You know me too well! I’ve been pretty good about the not-worrying, and I’ve heard from them every day so far, so that’s been fun. They have been having a great time, from the looks of the photos.
I think it’s a wonderful idea (although a bit scary too) and they will come back with lots of interesting stories. Don’t get me started on losing important documents though. I get anxious just thinking about it 🙂
Oh I know! I’ve now been given my driving license (which WAS in the filing cabinet) and I check for it every day. It’s going to have to go back, I think! So far, it seems the boys have had a great time – I’ve got my fingers crossed they manage the last couple of days okay and have a good flight home.
I am sure the trip will be fine and they will return 10 pounds heavier from all the food they ate with lots of great stories to tell you. And you, you, enjoy the peace and quiet!
They have been sending me photos of the food, and I have to say it has looked lovely (and huge portions!). I’m really looking forward to hearing their stories now – not long and they’ll be home (which I am looking forward to as well, though probably they might want to spend longer in Greece!).
If they want to avoid a total bust up I suggest they agree they can take time out from each other at some point in the day. And they take it in turns to decide where to go and where to eat.
They both have smart phones now, and my experience is that a man on his phone is pretty much equivalent to a man in a nuclear bunker. So I think they have a natural alternative to conversation! 🙂 They seem to be having a great time so far, which is lovely to know!
Oh gosh, this was funny! They will come back with enough great stories to roll around for many years. Getting better and bigger and more hilarious with each telling. I wish them Bon Voyage.
Grad, I love that thought! I do hope that is exactly what has happened. They’ve been sending photos through to me every day, and it looks like they’ve been having a fantastic time. Thank you for your good wishes – I’m thinking they worked!
I’m off to Stuttgart tomorrow and then next week to CERN. However neither will be a tenth as much fun as this visit to Greece!
Let’s meet up soon (if that won’t be too stressful). Your faithful feline physicist. x
So you will have lots of travellers’ tales too! They might be about other things than food and the charms of foreign cats (I have seen lots of photos of very friendly Greek cats!). Would be lovely to see you though my health this month has been dismal. Still, we will chat soon and consider options. x
Last night I was at a local Greek restaurant with friends, looking at the photos of Greece, and we were talking about whether in another year and a half, when Ron and I will be through paying college tuition, we could plan a trip to Greece. But we want to go to Italy, too. And we’ve never been to Ireland or Scotland. So many places to go! I’m glad you will have a good time on your own. I would not want to be left behind!
Jeanne, judging by the photos I’ve been seeing, you will love it. And one thing about Greece, it sure is a cheap place to visit. I am a nuisance on trips and the boys have had a much better time without me – they have been packing so much into their days! But I am looking forward to them coming home. 🙂