I’m not especially brave although I’ve never been a risk avoider. I like variety – don’t feel particularly in need of security. But working for my step-daughter? Well, that’s a very different kind of risk. With a lot at stake.
Four years ago, when Simon and I married, risk was all about running a business in the UK. In 2011, however, the loss of two very dear friends in their early fifties prompted us to re-evaluate. Were we living the life we wanted? Were we the people we needed to be? It was a shock to realise that the answer to both questions was no.
It took us a year of extreme downsizing – winding up the business, selling the house, endless garage and car-boot sales – before we found ourselves the new owners of a canny fifth-wheel caravan. Our new home. Our only home. There were midnight moments waking in a cold sweat but finally, we were ready. With a map and our beloved Archie-dog on my knee, it was off on the open road.
Our first silver-surfing destination was Vilanova i la Geltru for the winter at a marvellous campsite thirty miles south of Barcelona. We found plenty to occupy us in that rich confection of a city, and realisation dawned that we could do this. The nomad in us began to breathe, to grow. This was life. This was fun.
So when my step-daughter, Samantha, came to us one day with a proposition we found ourselves facing some interesting choices. Sam and her husband, Mark, run a well-established holiday resort on the Ionian island of Cephalonia. It’s beautiful. Simon and I actually had our wedding there, so it’s very special to us. Increasingly popular, it had reached the stage where Sam and Mark needed more help in running it.
It’s also a naturist resort. Did I mention that?
So… bring on the interesting choices.
Could we be the help that Sam and Mark needed? Could we give up our new-found freedom? How would it feel not to be the boss – to work for one’s daughter? And without clothes…
Don’t misunderstand me. We love Sam and Mark dearly. We love the Vassaliki Naturist Club and its atmosphere of quiet affirmation of being naked in the sun. But there were issues to resolve. Above all, we’d need to find a way to make the transition from parents to hired help if this was going to work for everyone.
Simon and I spent months agonising over it, but X months later here we are. The sun shines on twelve serene apartments in beautiful gardens, a rippling palm-ringed pool, breath-taking views of sea and mountains from the hot tub – and no blood on the carpet! Injuries have been minor; a mildly chewed ear the worst any of us has had to deal with.
High spots? Cooking and leading gym classes have always been passions of mine. Having a dozen or so appreciative diners to cater for each evening gives me a huge buzz. To alleviate waistline-guilt, I also run aqua-fit classes three times a week in the pool. Sam and Mark are able to spend more time with their guests now that their workload’s been trimmed, and seeing Simon and Sam catching up on quality time together is a real delight. And each night Simon and I get to sleep in our own bed in our own home.
So… has the risk been worth it? Well, what do you think?