The tans will fade, but the memories will last forever
She took the piece of paper from her pocket. “We are supposed to go to the small, white house next door and get the key. The people there are English.” It was tiny with bright, blue flowers, climbing round the windows. I knocked on the door and waited. I could hear a dog scratching at the door. It opened and the dog rang out. Like a rat on stilts with massive ears and a tongue hanging on his chin.
An elderly man in dressing gown and flip flops opened the door. “Can I help?”
“Hello. I am so sorry to bother you. Are you Alfie? I understand you were expecting us. We have the villa.”
The man smiled and shook my hand and kissed her on the cheek. “Of course. How are you?” He took a bunch of keys off a hook on the wall. “Follow me.”
He walked in front and ‘Chico’ ran by his side. We walked down a small path that led past the side of the house.It opened up into a courtyard and two large iron gates with a huge padlock. There was a single light above the gate.
Frustratingly, it took ages to find the right key for the gates, but then he did have about a hundred to go through. Eventually the lock clicked open and the gates swung back. The road opened onto a huge paved patio with a swimming pool and a hot tub. Beyond that was the house. All white with green shutters at the windows. It had a covered area to the side with loungers and a table. Round the side were of orange trees, laden with fruit.
He walked us up to the front door, unlocked it and handed over the keys.
“I have filled all the cupboards with food and drink, so you don’t need to leave the house if you don’t want to. If ever you get bored, please wander down, the wife and I are always in and you can come for dinner when you want. There is clean bedding on and towels in the cupboard in the bathroom. Anything else, just shout.”
We went in and she ran from room to room like a new puppy, making approving noises.
“This is lovely.”
“Better still, look.” The cupboards really were full of food.
“And…” she opened the fridge. Inside were bottles of wine, spirits and soft drinks.
“I’m tired. Shall we go to bed and sort everything out tomorrow?” I hugged her so tightly.
“This was a great idea.”
“I know. You should listen to me more.”
The bedding was white, crisp and clean. We left the bags, got undressed and got into bed.
She kissed me, turned over and cuddled in. “Night.”
“Night, sweetheart. Sleep well.”