Saturday, 9 May 2015

All things must pass


Nothing lasts forever. Always an ambiguous phrase in my view. Do we mean that there is nothing which will last for eternity or do we mean that what we term nothing does, in fact, go on forever. In my typically equivocal fashion I suppose I mean both.

In this instance what will not last forever is my time here on Skopelos. After a lot of thought and soul-searching we have decided to return to the UK. There are a number of reasons for our decision, but most are bound up with our family.

While there is not always a lot I can do for my family when I am in the same country as them, there is virtually nothing I can do for them when I am on a remote Greek island about 1,500 miles away.

In addition, I will admit to feeling increasingly jaundiced about my life here in Greece. In Greek mythology the lotus eaters were a race of people on an island whose primary food was the narcotic fruit and flowers of the lotus. This resulted in them leading lives of peaceful apathy. Sometimes I feel that is what my life has become here.

I cannot pretend that I am not fearful about the future. Is returning to the UK the right thing to do? How will we manage? What will we do?

Also I know that Mrs C is less struck on the idea than I am. After a recent sojourn in the UK she returned to Skopelos complaining bitterly of the British weather. That is not her only concern about life in the UK, but it is one I understand. Also she will miss her beloved garden which she has worked so hard to create. I am troubled that she will be unhappy away from this beautiful island.

In her typically pragmatic fashion she has assured me that returning to the UK is something we will have to make work: no use whingeing and wringing our hands, we'll just have to get on with it.

Since coming to the decision to return to the UK there has been a General Election resulting in a Conservative government. This fills me with some foreboding, but then I am currently living in a country where foreboding is the default setting as it continues to lurch towards seemingly unavoidable economic doom. What will be, will be, wherever I live.

Today is my birthday, which is usually regarded as a cause for celebration. Still here, still above ground, not completely moribund, and yet I am writing this post which is more than a little woeful. I am sorry to be sombre, but today it is the way I feel. I'll cheer up later. I suppose I should take some consolation from the title of this post. All things must pass, nothing lasts forever.

I will get over this, but in the meantime, as is my usual practice with this blog, I'd like to finish with some music. I have chosen the very beautiful, but also rather mournful 1st movement of Elgar's Cello Concerto.

I'm now worrying that this is all getting much too gloomy so we'll have one more bit of music which will be much more like how my birthday ought to be.


  1. Happy Birthday! I can only imagine what you must be feeling as moving is never an easy business but leaving one country for another must be totally frazzling! Yes - waking up to a Conservative victory and not another coalition was a bit strange - we will just have to see how things go and as you say we will get through it whatever happens :) Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    1. Thank you for the birthday greetings. As for the political set-up in the UK, well I expect it will be the same old, same old just in slightly different clothes.

  2. You make me think of that famous TS Eliot quote " . . . and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time" Returning to be near family sounds like a good decision to me. I hope you will continue to enlighten and entertain us from your new location. And, of course, wishing you a most happy birthday!

    1. I love that TS Eliot quote. I don't know enough of his poetry, but that line sounds really good. Thank you for the birthday greetings, I celebrated quietly!

  3. Happy Birthday Mark! I wish it was a happier one for you. Sounds like a big decision weighing heavy on your mind. Making a big move like the one you are about to is always rife with stress. Couple that with all the unknowns and the What Ifs, it's enough to drive one a wee bit crazy. I'm sad to hear of the conservative victory in the UK. If the conservatives win here in the next election, I'll be extremely depressed. The one thing that always held true in all my major decisions when it came to relocating is the fact that if you get to your next destination and you find that you're not happy, you can always go back.
    I hope that as the day has worn on, your mood lifted and you are celebrating your birthday in proper fashion: with loads of fun!!
    All the best,
    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Thank you, Michele. I did cheer up as the day went on, you can't sit around moping all the time! We'll be fine when we get back and, to be honest, I'm looking forward to some of the challenges.

  4. Happy Belated Birthday Mark. I hope it was a good one. Sorry to hear that you are having to leave Greece. But if your family is in the UK that is where you must be!

  5. Happy Birthday.....from my new computer and me Drop me an email... lots to tell you...let me know when you are due to depart your Grecian idyll....all the best, Brian

  6. Hi Mark - sorry I saw this and now I'm very belated .. life ticks over way too fast.

    I know when I returned from South Africa - it was lovely to be home, yet there were advantages in staying put .. but I'm here and have been a part of family life and feel British again .. but the experience of living abroad is such a broadening of our lives.

    Welcome back .. when you get here and I hope all the moves go easily .. and have a happy year ahead .. cheers Hilary


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