I am off on my own tomorrow morning, to Porto Heli in Greece, for a conference. OK - the business part runs from Friday to Sunday but I've booked a bit of time either side to laze about. As a preparation for my visit to the pool or the beach, I have done something I've never done before, and that is book in for a fake tan. Wow! The results have been most gratifying.
I went to my lovely facials-expert Lynn Taylor in Whitstable last night and she exfoliated me more or less all over, and then applied some brownish muddy looking-stuff, promising it would mostly wash off with my shower in the morning, which it did.
I am left looking really bronzed. I don't usually go this brown even after a long summer but everyone assures me it looks brilliant. At the yoga class this morning they advised I should not tell anyone about what I have done but hint I have just come back from a naughty weekend in the Bahamas....
Well, maybe, maybe not.
I think I'd better wait and see what happens when I dive into the delicious-looking pool at the Nautica Bay Hotel - will I be surrounded by a horrid tell-tale cloud of tan washing off into the water?
Another friend told me how she had done this fake tan thing once, and (as she is not an avid sun-worshipper) she alone of her friends got steadily paler as their holiday progressed and her tan washed off.
Anyway, you get the idea - I will at least look fit and glowing when I arrive and as long as I cover myself in sunscreen to make sure I don't get burned, I will probably get away with it.
I was disappointed that the ferry service from Piraeus is so much cut back this season, so that there is no practicable service to get me to the hotel in time for a wedding which is happening tomorrow in the early evening on the beach. So, a group of us will meet up at the airport and share the hire of a car to get us there.
The wedding sounds wonderful - two people I have never met but who were kind enough to include me in their party when they heard I was going to be there.
I am so excited about it all.
Right now, I should be packing and remembering all those stupid bits and pieces which make a trip easier - plug adaptors, passport, phrase book, something to read, toothpicks, blah blah blah, and I have some French homework to do - practicing the conditional tense I think - but I thought I would just get this posted for you.
When I was 60 last September, someone emailed me to say '60 is the new 10' and by George she was right. It's a gas. I just feel I can (at last) be myself, go places, muck about, say what I want. It feels rather risky and hedonistic, but so what? I guess this is how lots of people live their lives all the time, fully engaged with what is possible, and not always worrying and feeling guilty.
When I get back next week, I have at least two excellent projects to come back to: the exhibition of icons at St Peter's Church, Oare, as part of the Canterbury Festival (www.iconsatoare.org) and for which I am on the committee, and helping to promote the start-up of a new arts venue in the middle of Faversham this September. Both these projects are the result of literally years of dedicated work by other people and it feels very positive to be asked to help them at this stage, when we need to get public involvement.
The arts have not been particularly well-served in Kent, compared to what we saw when we were in Germany and Barcelona recently. And going to Greece for a few days, to see where so much of our culture sprang from, will be another boost. It would be lovely to spend more time there but maybe this will be just a little taster for further trips in the future.
Next time you hear from me I should be in Porto Heli.