The beginning of September saw us off my travels again, this time to Ixia on the Greek island of Rhodes, set in the glorious azure waters of the Aegean. Booked at short notice by my niece, Cheryl, we always enjoy our holidays with her. She’s a lot of fun and laughs are a plenty, thus we were delighted she wanted her two favourite aunts, Bunny, and her mother with her for what was to be a week of relaxation, especially for Cheryl who’d just finished university with a 1:1 degree in nursing and soon to start as a registered nurse at the famous Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, a very prestigious and well-respected unit in England.
Our all-inclusive hotel was close to the beach; my sister Ursula, Bunny, and I shared a room with a glorious sea view, whilst my other sister Lydia and Cheryl shared a room overlooking the mountains affording views of the glorious sunset each evening. It was a small hotel, rather shabby but immaculately clean and good, home-cooked food with plenty of Greek salads. Drinks were included but the beer and spirits were local brands which weren’t to our taste; a good job we all enjoy ouzo, which we drank plenty of. Yammas!
The weather was hot, hot, hot; even hotter than we had experienced in southern Spain back in July. Even the locals were saying they hadn’t experienced such heat in September; this was the sort of temperatures they are used to in June and July. We were only a ten minute’ bus ride from the main town of Rhodes, and had planned to visit the town on our last day as we had to vacate our rooms by midday and our flight home not until 21:30, but it was far too hot, certainly for me, to spend the day walking around a busy town. We had thought to do an evening visit but agreed we wouldn’t see the place to its full advantage at night; a good excuse to go back to the island, perhaps much earlier in the season. So, our week was spent either lazing around the hotel pool enjoying the facilities and entertainment or, as we prefer, on the beach, a short walk from the hotel, where the sea breeze helped to keep us just a little cooler.
Because Bunny’s not a good swimmer and averse to being buried in the sand, nor didn’t want to lose his little brass bell on its red ribbon he liked to wear around his neck, or his head, hippy style, I left him back in the hotel in the cool. This was a bad move and one I truly regret. For I have to tell you – and this is the sad part – Bunny went missing.
We came back to our room and he wasn’t where I’d left him – on the bed, sleeping off a heavy night on the vino. We searched high and low, moved furniture, looked everywhere. The sheets on the bed had been changed that morning, as they were every day, the top sheet folded into a fan shape, along with our pjs, but no sign of Bunny. My heart plummetted. Where was he?
Reporting his disappearance at reception, the receptionist’s eyes lit up in recognition and she opened a cupboard by the desk, retrieving… a child’s teddy bear. Not Bunny. She explained the sheets were sent out to a laundry who always return anything found, as it often happened. All week I queried his safe return, each time in hope, and each day she sadly shook her head. The answer was obvious: poor Bunny had been boiled! And no doubt the staff at the laundry spent the day wondering where the sound of the tinkling bell came from.
We’ve had lots of fun with him at home and on holidays, he’s always been with us no matter where we’ve gone – up mountains, on boats, coaches, played in the sand, enjoyed lilos and … and, I’m welling up now just thinking of him. And I have to admit, as our plane took off to come home, I cried, knowing I had left him behind to his fate. It wasn’t a case of bye-bye Rhodes, it was more bye-bye Bunny, I love you. We all miss you.