Six years ago this Summer, I found myself moving to Greece. It wasn't planned; it sort of just happened. I mean my dream had always been to find a little cottage somewhere in France.
I'd often envisage myself meandering through the French countryside behind the wheel of a little Ape 50 or Citreon Dolly, nipping into the boulangerie for freshly baked bread or just savouring a coffee whilst watching elderly gentlemen play boules in the village square. Naturally, in my imaginations I was also fluent in the lingo... All very romantic, I know.
We even organised a house hunting trip. The campervan was packed weeks in advance, the ferry tickets were booked and our excitement was building. But then it started to rain... and rain... and rain... and not just in England either, France was drowning as well.
Honestly, it felt never ending and like most people in the UK that year, we became desperate for a bit of sunshine. Although I suppose Rihanna's 'Umbrella' being at number one in the music charts for seven weeks during that time didn't exactly help any. So out we came to Greece instead, ready for some well earned respite and I've been here more or less ever since.
Tomorrow, however, I leave for good.
Of course, I'm excited about starting a new adventure somewhere else, but I have to admit I also feel a little sad. Although it's not hard to see why, is it?
Kalymnos has been my writing retreat all these years and not only has it provided me with a fantastic setting for the latest book, I've met some wonderful people along the way, some of whom I've included in my blogs from time to time and who I'll no doubt miss.
People like my neighbour, Birgitta. Not that you can really see her in this picture, she's worse than me when it comes to getting in front of the camera and would only let me finally show her face if you can't actually see it!
Then there's the lovely Birgit. A German lady who runs the dog rescue shelter here and is responsible for introducing me to both Roma and Nanos, the newest members of the Tullett clan - both of whom I couldn't be without, so for this I'd like to say a big thanks.
And I can't forget Nicolette and Daniel. Not only does Roma seem to have a crush on their little dog, Gina, they're also lovely neighbours and run the most fabulous ice-cream shop on the island! On the planet even! Something else that I'll definitely miss when I leave... Wonder if once I'm settled I could pursuade them to up sticks themselves and set up nearby?
Next is Ruth and Carl, fellow Brits and again such lovely neighbours even if they do like to spend their time hanging off one rock face or another! I know, I much prefer the safety of terra firma too, but hey, who are we to judge?
As you can see, Kirsten is more like me - much prefering the calming effects of a glass of wine to the excitement of an adrenaline rush. Although to be fair Carl and Ruth have also been known to partake every now and then - something I saw with my own eyes only the other night.
Next in line is Geraldine, a very nice lady who's become a fixture around these parts over the years. A fantastic climber, who also kayaks and sails and does all the other mad stuff I try to stay away from. Although I'm more than happy to cheer her on from the sidelines, a gesture I'm sure she appreciates.
She's stood with Stelios, a Greek chap from Athens who spends his Summers here doing Yoga and surprise, surprise climbing... He also likes reading and tried to introduce me to Edgar Allan Poe last year. Unfortunately, the cover alone was enough to put me off but you've probably already guessed that 'scaredy cat' could quite easily be my middle name. Although for those of you who've read my previous posts, as middle names go, 'scaredy cat' is probably preferable!
Last but certainly not least, is the Klonaris family. From left to right - Sakis, Theme, Panormitis, Petrula and Dimitra... Such a welcoming family you wouldn't believe - they've plied me with coffee every time I've needed a change of environment when writing, fed me and as a woman here on my own a lot of the time, looked out for me. A truly wonderful family that I will never forget. I thank you with all my heart.
Missing from the Klonaris picture is Eleni. I'm not saying she was purposely avoiding the camera, however, she did seem to keep disappearing off in the car whenever I was around yesterday... Sorry Eleni, but I couldn't leave you out and despite what you say, you look as lovely as ever here...
Now I suppose it's onwards and upwards in the next chapter of my life... An exciting prospect tinged with a little bit of sadness as it goes without saying that I'll miss everyone above and everything the island of Kalymnos has given me.
I just hope wherever I end up next it isn't raining... otherwise I just might have to come back! x