There’s a lot you can do in 45-minutes; drink a cup of tea, watch an episode of Eastenders, write a blog post, beat the Greek God(zilla) in a game of chess… but, there is one thing that you definitely can’t do in 45-minutes and that is rest and unwind!
This summer, we were fortunate to spend almost 4-weeks in Greece. The first 12-days were with Yiayia, Papou and BB in beautiful Crete. This year, we rented a car for the full 12-days and had an amazing time exploring the island, stopping off to swim at gorgeous beaches along the way, and eating our body weight in delicious Greek cheese.
We also left Yiayia and Papou for a couple of days to visit Loutro, a small seaside village on the south coast of Crete, only accessible by foot or by sea (2-hour walk or 15 mins by water taxi from Chora Sfakion) and it took my breath away.
Having Auntie BB with us, who was doing a superb job entertaining Zee, meant that I could turn quite a few pages of my book and by the end of our time together, I had finished Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng), The Dry (Jane Harper) and Back to Me (BA Paris).
I left Crete feeling fully relaxed and was excited to meet up with a few of our wonderful friends and family in Naxos. There is nothing that warms my heart more than having some of my favourite people around me, and knowing they wanted to spend their precious holiday time with us too was such a huge compliment.
One of the great parts of our time in Naxos was watching our husbands, who don’t spend as much time together as we do, get along so well. They would go for bromantic walks along the beach together “to collect shells for the girls” (there’s a bar at the other end), spent a day trekking to the top of Mount Zas – the tallest mountain in the Cyclades – and created a little game they liked to call ‘Headers in the Sea’, whereby a group of men (and boys) attempt to keep a ball in the air by heading it to each other.
Every day, a new record attempt was made and sometimes this meant they were heading that ball back and forth to each other for hours at a time. For the kids, the call of the swimming pool (or food) was usually too strong for them to last more than an hour heading a ball in the sea, but the men kept going determined to reach a 6… then a 7… 8, 9 and finally the elusive 10!
And, while all of these valiant attempts at a new record were being made, or mountains being climbed, or “important” football matches being watched, we were building sand castles with the kids, or walking them back over to the pool, or playing the “cute cats” card game over and over (one for another post!) or, you know, feeding them. Again.
Luckily, the older children can swim, but the 2 youngest kids were not as confident in the water and needed an adult with them at all times. If I wanted to find my sister, I just had to look out for a woman shivering in the sea with a 5-year old boy tightly clamped to her body, while in the distance a group of middle-aged men bopped a ball to each other on their heads.
After a particularly long liquid lunch in which they watched the first game of the season (that’s football to anyone who doesn’t live in a sports-obsessed household) and slammed shots of tequila (!) we started to feel a bit like babysitters on a lads holiday! So, we decided to take some time back for ourselves. A trip to Naxos Old Town provided the first opportunity to give our husbands and kids the slip and do some shoe shopping without dragging bored children along. Sorry, when I say shoe shopping, I mean margarita drinking and then looking at shoes.
We had just made it into the first shop when the phones started ringing. All of them. The kids were hungry. They are ALWAYS hungry. However, there is a very small window before hungry turns into HANGRY so we headed back to meet them for dinner. A quick glance at our phones confirmed we had been away for approximately 45-minutes.
On the day of their epic mountain climb, we had a really fun and relaxing day with the kids, but when the men returned very tired in the evening, we took ourselves out to a great little cocktail bar that was recommended by my brother-in-law. We had barely taken a sip of our first margarita when we spotted them all congregating outside the restaurant next door. My brother-in-law then walked over to the bar and started scanning the tables as eager for a glimpse of our heads as a volley ball in the sea. When we thought he’d clocked us, we did what any self-respecting wife and mother would do on seeing their lovely husbands and children… we sunk low in our chairs and ducked under the table! Another glance at our phones confirmed it was once again 45-minutes since we had waved them goodbye!
The 45-minute theme continued throughout the holiday. Fortunately, 45-minutes is more than enough time to enjoy an Aperol Spritz on the beach. Even one in a plastic cup.
Their hard work definitely paid off as right at the end of our time together, they hit the big 1-0!
I don’t recall how long this particular record-breaking attempt took, but as they had the kids with them I am guessing it was around 45-minutes.
Although, does it really count if the headers are achieved in the pool and not in the sea?