Tuesday, 27 August 2013

St Fanourios and the Gifts to Self

My book Falling in Honey is, in some ways, about losing things. It’s about losing people you know to cancer; about losing relationships you thought were your future.

But on the flipside, it’s about how these things encouraged me to grasp life by its curly goatish horns. The universe was waving a big banner that said: ‘What are you waiting for?’

To give myself new, happy plans for my future, I came up with the Gifts to Self.

One thing guaranteed to make me happy was a Greek island. The combination of sun, sea and stunning landscapes always hit the spot. I wanted a month on a Greek island.

Work also had to change, to stop dominating my life. I did the figures and decided I could live on a four-day week for a while.

The third gift was making sure I didn’t fall in love again for a good while, so my heart couldn’t be broken anytime soon.

It was all possible; I did it, and the sky didn’t fall.

So I cooked up a plan: to move to Tilos.

It didn’t go smoothly.

But I now believed I had the power to make my life better. And two years later I came to live on a Greek island. I spend loads of time outdoors, walking with my dog and swimming in the sea.

This morning, around seven-thirty, from across the valley I heard the beautiful, soft, haunting sound of the priest’s voice singing a service. I checked my diary, which being a Greek diary handily lists the many saints’ days. Of course, the wondrous St Fanourios! Fanourios the Revealer, who helps you find what you’ve been looking for. It’s been a day for thanking him.

 Lisa the pup, unfortunately, didn’t find what she was looking for this morning: her boyfriend, who had been on Eristos beach all summer and had taken the big boat back to Athens last night, which meant it was safe to take her to the kantina again. She kept looking towards where he should be, willing him to appear. 'He loves me, I know he'll come any minute now, I can smell him...' The poor angel. We all tried to console her – how to tell her he would have stayed and waited forever if he could?

But I've found two other things that I was looking for: a new house with my very own office (fingers crossed); and an energetic and social exercise class for the winter (still smiling from my very first zumba class tonight!).

My gifts to self could have been anything. What are yours - what are you looking for?

Here's the tiny church of St Fanourios in the old town of Rhodes, and nearby...



  1. Yeia sou! ( again) I was thinking that where i can buy your book, because i live in Finland and they dont sell it in here. And im so happy that i found your blog!! It always makes me feel good! It helps me with the school. When i read your blog ,i always get the feeling, that wonderful Greece awaits me! Efharisto Poli ! Greetings from cold Finland! :)

    1. Yeia sou! (from a very warm and lovely Tilos...)
      I think it should be available somewhere in Finland - I will check with the publisher and get back to you.
      So pleased you enjoy the blog!

    2. Ah, just checked and you are right, they aren't distributing the book in Finland. Hmm. I can send you a copy if you like?
      (My email is my last name followed by my first name, no punctuation, at hotmail dot com)

    3. Yeia sou one more time...

      Have just found out it's available in Finland after all, at:

      Stockmann Akateeminen Kirjakauppa

      Keskuskatu 1, Pohjoisesplanadi 39

      00101 Helsinki

  2. Efharisto Poli! :) Im going to buy it from there. Thank you very much! Sunny days in Tilos! :)

  3. Now the buying the book problem in Finland seems to be solved. In Sweden you can buy it on www.bokus.com. That's where I bought it and on www.amazon.co.uk you can buy it too! Just wanted to say this if more people ask. Probably you already know!!!