Elizabeth: I was born in England to a French mother and an English father. Even though I was raised in England, I would spend my childhood holidays in Normandy, France. My grandparents used to have a restaurant and rooms to let in a small town where they would make their own wine and cider. My grandma was an excellent cook and so was my mother, and I learnt a lot about cooking from both of them at a very young age. In the summer of 1978, together with my mother and auntie, we decided to go on holidays to Greece. I was 27 at the time. We were booked to go to Mykonos. One week before the departure, the agency called us in and said we couldn’t go to Mykonos and that we must choose another destination. The options were Aigina, Poros, Hydra or Spetses. My mother and auntie said I must choose as this holiday was my idea. Without knowing anything about either option, I chose Poros. I was very much into sports then and supposedly Poros had a lot to offer. Only when we got there I realised that was not the case and the only sport really was table tennis! On top of everything, the table tennis table at the hotel we were staying at (it was the Poros Image hotel, then called Xenia) was broken. The first morning after breakfast I went to the hotel bar to have coffee. Spiros was sitting at the other end of the bar, sipping his. The moment I looked at him, he looked at me and just smiled. I smiled back and said “hello”. And we just started talking. We talked about all the “usual” things (Spiros, laughing: “where are you from, are you here on holidays, do you like moussaka”). The next day I kept thinking about this guy. It was his eyes and his smile that really attracted me. The next morning I had to go to the reception to find a European plug for an iron I brought from England and Spiros just happened to walk in at that very moment. I asked if he could fix this iron for me and he said “of course”! (much later he told me he had no idea how to do it so he gave it to somebody else to fix!).
That evening I went out to a bar with some girl friends (at that time Xenia hotel had a very nice bar next door called “Dichtia”). As I walked in I saw Spiros right in front of me. (Spiros: “that was the only year when I was working there as a bar tender not a DJ”). We said hello to each other, the girls ordered some drinks and off we went to the dance floor. Suddenly the manager of the place asked me to dance, but I said no. Then Spiros asked the same question and I said yes! Of course the manager was very upset and afterwards Spiros lost his job! So that night we danced together and that was it for me (Spiros, laughing: “I was a very good dancer, hey”). We were together for the rest of the holiday. My auntie at the time made it really difficult for us though. She didn’t want this “awful Greek man” to take her niece away. She wanted me to marry an officer back home. We managed to escape to Spetses for 2 days. I told my mother I was going away with Spiros and she said “fine, go, he seems like a nice man”. My auntie obviously was not very pleased. When we got to Spetses, Spiros said: “let’s have breakfast now!”. At that time it was very trendy to have champagne breakfast on the island, the whole atmosphere was very different. Everybody was sitting by the sea, enjoying their eggs, bacon, champagne, smoking cigarettes and chatting away. Spiros actually went to one of the fishermen and bought some fresh oysters for us to accompany our champagne. Being half French, I was used to eating a lot of seafood of all sorts, but oysters for breakfast? Spiros opened one that was very big. It looked horrible inside! Like an elephant’s nose or something! (Spiros and Elizabeth laughing). I thought: “oh no, just think of England, close your eyes and forget it!”. I swallowed it and practically downed my champagne. For the two nights we were on Spetses we were going out a lot. Spiros brought his guitar along and everywhere we went, he took it with. He was like a magnet playing his guitar and singing. There were plenty of girls around him all the time. I had a lot of competition, you know.
We spent two magical days and nights on Spetses and when we went back to Poros, I had to face my auntie. She was very angry, but thank goodness my mother was ok. We went back home to England. Spiros and I would call each other often (it was so expensive at the time!). Eventually I planned to come over to Greece again. That second trip was actually quite funny. You see, I didn’t know Athens had two airports. We were supposed to meet at the airport and when I got in, I thought it looked quite different to the last time. I didn’t see Spiros anywhere. After waiting for about 45min, I eventually asked and found out there was another airport! I went like crazy in a taxi! I tried to find him at the second airport lounge, but did not see him anywhere. I went to the coffee lounge (thank goodness there was only one at the time!) and eventually he spotted me and started shouting “Elizabeth!”. And that was it. That’s when I stayed in Greece. We went to live and work on Evia island for 2 years. Spiros worked as a DJ, Greek dancing teacher and sports instructor. I ran the hotel shop and also helped Spiros with his activities.