I went on a very odd holiday, recommended by a stranger at a party. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoyed it, but I returned anyway, four times before I’d had my fill. The setting was fabulous: Greek coastline, fruit trees, pine forests, white towns tumbling to coves and crags, picture postcard pretty, although the beaches had jagged rocks and plagues of sea urchins too small to show up on those same postcards. The accommodation ranged from basic to primitive, but the place was selling a back to nature package and most visitors enjoyed the break from their gadget strewn flats, or their Victorian family homes in need of so many repairs only selling them would solve the problems.
You could attend courses in personal development, yoga, or windsurfing, to name just a few. This was refreshing. At home such courses are often graded by ability or experience level, but here everyone was mixed in: sometimes terrified beginners seeking to achieve personal goals alongside savvy, generally kind old hands who were often roped in as deputy instructors. I became a keen mosaicist, of which more in a later post.
Haphazard creativity sparked a rich selection of evening activities. Guests and staff threw together ideas for our mutual entertainment: someone might lead a ceroc session, guide a star gazing midnight walk, compère an evening of music and poetry or host an anarchic quiz.
Affairs began, juddered, restarted, and partners changed around. Everything happened fast, real life rites of passage copied and pasted into a two week time frame. These were not your ordinary holiday romances. They involved lots of deliberate soul searching. Commitment was a heavily used word, as were excitement, passion, betrayal… Can you be betrayed by a one night stand during a holiday romance? Is it fair to accuse somebody of a lack of commitment when you live continents apart and have only known each other since breakfast? The ratio of at least three women to each man added to the competition and inevitably the explosive recriminations of the runners up clashed with the triumphs and the trophies – in the nicest possible, civilised, drunken way, of course.
I thought it was fertile ground for a whodunit. I bought airline tickets for some oddballs I’d invented, added local characters to highlight the contrast between the island’s traditions and its visitors, and installed a state of the art swimming pool to muddy the back to nature ethos. I began to write. The whodunit became more of a whywhodonewhat, contemporary fiction rather than crime. Four years later after many waves and ripples, The Infinity Pool was launched.
© Jessica Norrie 2016