A few years ago when I was 16, I went to Corfu with four friends, two guys and two girls.
Our parents let us book the trip ourselves and we found a villa advertised in the window of the newsagent near where we all lived.
Naturally it proved to be miles from the beach and we had to hitch to the sea every day, usually with the watermelon traders, who let us sit on their wares in the back of their truck in the boiling sun.
We had beer for breakfast and continued through the day with Ouzo and Metaxa brandy. We could do what we wanted for almost the first time ever and we did.
One day, I can’t remember why, we decided to go for a walk in the early evening. We wandered out of the small village where we were staying and up the hill through olive trees and dusty scrubland, passing only black clad women and toothless old men who we recognised from films about peasant life in southern Europe.
Just as the road petered into a track, lo and behold, a tiny rustic restaurant. There was no sign or anything, just a rough and ready wooden table in the shade of a vanishingly tall cedar.
We sat down and soon enough the family that ran the place appeared. We could see they were surprised to see us. We were surely the first tourists ever to sit on their benches.
They didn’t speak any English, and our Greek was restricted to ‘good evening’ and ‘good morning’. Somehow, though, we managed to explain that we wanted to eat and drink and so they brought food and wine.
Not that they produced a menu. They seemed to have just the one dish on that day: omelette.
How charming, we thought. How authentically Greek, or island, or Corfu, or something. How clever we were to have found the place.
The eggs were delicious and the wine was dusty (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever tried Domestika or Retzina).
It was incredibly cheap too, about a a tenth of what we had been paying in the bar across the road from our holiday home.
I think this is the only way I can be a writer. If a table is for eating at, then why can’t it be a restaurant if that’s what I need?
There are so many of us who want to write and publish. The sheer volume of the competition is frightening and that’s before I’ve even thought about the incredible talent that it’s so easy to find in cyber space or even in actual books which are being spat out more quickly than they can possibly be absorbed, let alone savoured.
So if it’s possible to publish a book, then I’ll just assume that that’s what I’ll do. I’ll simply close my eyes to the telltale signs that it is next to impossible to get a deal, even if I do produce a novel to try and sell.
It’s about as likely as finding a restaurant at the top of a hill, a mile outside a tiny village, on a road to nowhere.
The eggs were delicious.