Tag Archives: female

What I’ve been preoccuppied with – or why I haven’t been blogging

I haven’t blogged for a while as I’ve been struggling with things the last 5 or 6 weeks.

My job as the Admin Manager  (where I have been for over 13 years) was made redundant  on the 20th February.  I was called into the board room, given the news, asked to hand over my keys, passwords etc, was allowed to take my personal things and was out the door all within 20 minutes.

I have always reported directly to the Managing Director and knew he was a brilliant businessman but that he didn’t win any prizes for his warmth or personality but this was even lower than I had ever seen before. I was shocked, speechless and felt absolutely gutted by the way it was done. I spent the next five weeks beating myself up as to why they would do that, wondering what I had done so wrong that I could be treated like a piece of dirt.

He had a senior partner from the accounting firm that processes our salaries read me the letter saying they were reorganising the company and I was no longer needed. I was not even spoken to, by him, during the termination. Even though he could go away for weeks at a time and know that everything would be run just perfectly, even though in every performance appraisal since we started doing them he has rated me almost as high or as high as the scale goes, even though just that morning he had given me incorrect instructions about a huge amount of money to transfer and I had picked up the error, corrected it and completed the transaction, all without bothering him at all. It’s just totally wrong that you can spend that long working loyally and to your best ability for some-one and then out of the blue they can do that to you and not even thank you for your contribution over all those years or wish you luck or even give you some notice and explanation of what was going to happen.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with my part-timer from there and found out they are going to employ a company accountant to undertake more than I would be able to – fair enough, but why not just explain that to me at the time.

I do feel better now, knowing the why behind it but I’m finding it really difficult to have any nice thoughts about the company or the people who own it – although in a way it has brought my dream of travelling for an extended period to reality.

Long story short, – I leave on Tuesday 9th April for London!!!

I’ve booked a return flight for late October so hopefully everything will go fine and I’ll be away for about 6 months doing the backpack and hostel thing around the UK and Western Europe.

Soooooooooo, I’m hoping spring arrives sooner rather than later over there because the temperatures at the moment are frightening. We’re still having daytime temps of 30 degrees here so I’ll probably have that many layers on I’ll look like the michelin man.

Oh well, if that’s the price I have to pay – bring it on!!


Filed under Mid-life travel

Paros by Car

29th June 2012

"topless" on Paros

“topless” on Paros

I’ve been busting to hire a scooter at some stage on this holiday but my handbrake (Sarah) isn’t too keen on the idea. So…. we collected some hire car brochures yesterday and this morning I tootled off downstairs to see about organizing one for today.  Seeing as I had to opt for a car I chose the “open-top” version. I was feeling very pleased with myself on the way back to our room and looking forward to surprising Sarah with my news. Bugger  – I should have known better – she had been checking out the brochures while I was away and greeted me with “I bet you picked the open top one”!! Oh well, we had a good laugh about how well she knows her Mum.We had a few chuckles too about the hire car guy, his name was Achilles and he was so obvious in his flattery it was hilarious. I was elevated from plain old Julie to Julia in no time at all and we were on our way with hardly a glance at paperwork. I hadn’t given any thought to driving on the wrong side of the car and road so took it very slowly at first. I kept going for the gear stick with my left hand much to Sarah’s dismay, but thankfully (for everyone else’s sake as well as ours) there wasn’t much traffic around .

Costas from Kanales had marked a few places on the map for us so we pretty much followed his recommendations when we could find them. I don’t think either of us should get a job as map readers any time soon – we have a hard time working out where we are let alone getting somewhere else. I can’t even begin to imagine how boring it would be if everything was plain sailing – or navigating, we sure gave our laughing muscles a work-out.

Trying to do an open-top photoshoot Paros

Trying to do an open-top photoshoot Paros

Our fist stop was a really pretty beach for a paddle and photos and our second was for a photo shoot of the “open-top” car with a pair of loons jumping around inside. I will admit the sunroof was quite large for a small car but it was still just a sunroof and to try and take photos of us both looking out of said sunroof was quite an achievement – comical but still an achievement. I can’t remember now whose wonderful idea it was to try and capture this truly unique shot but we gave it our all.Because I know how to work the timer on my camera I ended up doing all the running around. Sarah is about half my age and size but she just propped herself in the passenger side of the car looking all elegant with half her body out of the sunroof smiling  serenely. I on the other hand was left to set the camera up on the hood of the car, run around the open door, get out of my thongs (flip-flops for non-Australian readers), get in the car and out the roof all before the timer went off – f#@%ing impossible for me to do without ending up looking like a total twit and both of us just about wetting ourselves laughing. Talk about stupid, I did all this at least 6 times before it sank in that we’d be a lot better off if Sarah had a go at being the speedy contortionist-photographer. We had an absolute ball and got some pictures to be proud of and some that should never see the light of day. Doesn’t take much to keep us happy does it?

View from old church on the hill, Paros

View from old church on the hill, Paros

You wouldn’t believe it but we got caught in a traffic jam in Parikia, took us ten minutes to go about 500 hundred metres – and then we went round the roundabout and back the way we’d just come because we couldn’t find anywhere to park. Enough of civilization, we decided to try and buy some supplies for a picnic lunch and head out of town again. Between the terrible map reading, neck craning and wrong side of the road driving we spotted a supermarket just after the traffic jam episode. About this time I decided if you can’t beat them you might as well join them – I parked just like a local. Pulled in next to some garage’s driveway, almost on top of another car and nearly over the edge into a six foot ditch – perfect!! Sarah was just about having kittens but it was either that or keep driving round and round wasting good sightseeing time and risking having an accident to boot. Anyhow off we went back to the supermarket for our goodies with me acting all brave and Sarah all worried that we wouldn’t have a car when we returned. It was all good though, they probably thought we were locals.There was just so much to see for such a little island and so many questions to ponder. How they hire out sun-lounges and umbrellas on a tiny patch of beach smaller than our lounge room, then the waiters serve food and drinks to people on those beaches, why are there so many buildings just left to go to ruins,  how there is such a contrast between the brilliant blue ocean to the dead looking paddocks and rocks, do many tourists follow the “no toilet paper rule”, how friendly the locals are and how many of them speak English so well.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel

Paros, but first we explore Naoussa

from Naoussa, Paros

from Naoussa, Paros

28th June 2012

Poor Sarah had a very red and sore eye this morning, it hurt to open it anywhere near light. Sakis thought she’d been out last night and might have a hangover – he offered her an extra strong coffee! Apparently a few of the staff partied last night and he had about an hour sleep. He’s a funny guy, only young and came to Paros a couple of years ago from Pakistan. Breakfast wasn’t quite the same standard as the Myconian K on Mykonos it was still more than enough for us.

More laneway goodness in Naoussa, Paros

More laneway goodness in Naoussa, Paros

We couldn’t wait to go walking down to the town, it’s just so gorgeous here. Took Sarah to a pharmacy where they gave her some antibiotic cream for her eye, so hopefully it will come good quickly. We spent quite a long time talking with the owner of a lovely store named Tantanac. Apart from having beautiful items in his store he was a delight to talk to and we had our first lessons in the Greek language, learning how to say hello, please, thank-you and a few other simple words. He warned us (while laughing) not to say ‘calamari’ for good morning – it has to be ‘kallimera’ – so, no asking for squid for us.

Shady spot in Naoussa, Paros

Shady spot in Naoussa, Paros

We finally got round to trying gyros – they are every bit as good as everyone has been telling me. We bought some fruit on the way back to Kanales, it was so tasty and juicy. Can’t you just imagine the ancient Greeks laying back biting on ripe nectarines with the juice running down their chins being all very decadent?

Seeing as we had the whole resort to ourselves now I braved getting out in my swimsuit. The pool water was quite cool and the sun-loungers were definitely built for sleeping – we both dozed off. I woke Sarah when I startled myself awake and started laughing hysterically and couldn’t stop. A few chosen people will have heard how I startled myself, suffice to say it was hilarious but not very ladylike, so I won’t share here. Will leave that one to your imagination!!

Oh what a life – back to the bar for a cocktail before heading up to our room for a shower and change of clothes and a wander back to town for dinner.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel

Discovering more of Mykonos

27th June 2012

On Mykonos

On Mykonos

Do you know that feeling when you’ve got all day to shop and you don’t really feel in the mood or find anything you like and then an hour before the shops shut all of a sudden it hits you and you run around madly buying things and having a great time?? Well, so do I – and that’s a bit what Mykonos was like for Sarah and I, bugger!!!

We’d had a lovely time until now but nothing really to write home about and then we walked to town this morning and found the cutest, prettiest little streets, shops, cafes – you name it, we found it.

Lovely shop under the windmills - Mykonos

Lovely shop under the windmills – Mykonos

SOOOOOOO of course, we dashed around like mad things trying to see, photograph and experience it all before we had to leave for Paros. We found the hill with the windmills and spent ages in the shop there chatting to the owner about the jewellery he makes and sells – and bought a few pieces as well as a little ceramic fishing boat that I just fell in love with. He told me it was called Lady of the Sea. We wandered down to Little Venice and had lunch at a café named Venezia – highly original name (not) but great food and setting right on the edge of the water.

Little Venice - Mykonos

Little Venice – Mykonos

We could have spent days wandering around but it was back to the hotel then the port for another hydrofoil to Paros this afternoon. I don’t think I’ve stayed anywhere before that had such lovely staff, they are all so friendly and genuinely helpful without being obsequious. Really we couldn’t have had anything better – food to die for, day-spa on our doorstep, sea views in a beautiful hotel. Just what you imagine the Greek Isles are all about I guess – kinda sad to leave in a way but looking forward to what’s next.

It was a much shorter trip than the last one, maybe only an hour or so and we were like seasoned travellers this time – only problem is our luggage is getting heavier already. We had a chuckle at the rep’s sign with our names – apparently we are now Mrs and Mrs – guess that’s what happens when you’ve come from Mykonos.

The minibus we were directed to made a few stops dropping other guests at different places that didn’t look to be in terribly wonderful locations. We were both getting a bit worried about where we’d end up and whether our trusty Flight Centre guy Dan had kept up his hundred out of a hundred score for picking awesome places to stay. Then we headed out to the country – and we really started to raise our eyebrows as we passed paddocks and straggly crops with a few animals thrown in for good measure. But …….. Dan had done us proud again, of course, we shouldn’t have doubted him. We were being driven to the other main town on the island – Naoussa. We’re staying at Kanales in a one bedroom suite with a huge rooftop balcony on the highest level and it’s simply gorgeous.

Dusk on Paros

Dusk on Paros

We didn’t venture out again but made ourselves at home, had a few drinks and dinner at the bar and chatted with Sakis the chef/caretaker and Stellios the bartender as well as a couple of Aussies from New South Wales. Oh yeah – took another thousand photos between us I think, it is just too stunning for words.


Filed under Greece, Mid-life travel, Travel