LESLEY KEATING: Living the sun-kissed dream is OK, but I missed England

Santorini sunset: paradise, but constant Greek sunshine can wear thin
Santorini sunset: paradise, but constant Greek sunshine can wear thin
Police at the scene in Link Street, Hackney, east London after a man in his 20s died after being stabbed. Picture: Press Association

CLIVE SMITH: People are dying, so to hell with political correctness

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I was listening to a couple of shoppers moaning about the weather the other day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun and being tanned. I much prefer a summer’s day to a drizzly, grey November evening, but one was proclaiming how she wished she was living abroad in a hot country rather than having to put up with yet another dismal British winter.

Now, as someone who has done just that, you’d think I’d empathise.

I lived in Greece in my twenties and, yes, the weather was amazing… for the first few months.

But, once you’d got your tan you stopped seeking out the beach at every opportunity (yes, really!), and became aware of the gruelling relentlessness of unvarying heat and scorching sun.

What had originally been a bit of a novelty soon became depleting as the year rolled on, particularly when working at open-air restaurants during lunch times.

I began to yearn for misty, damp autumn walks when you could crunch over fallen leaves in your wellies, breathe in the scent of wood-burners and wear gloves.

I wanted to be able to walk briskly, not drag behind because heat was sapping my energy.

I wanted to go outside spontaneously without grabbing sun cream first.

I missed the subtle change in seasons; the first snowdrops in February, that short-lived downpour of huge, fat summer raindrops, the ‘new term’ atmosphere of early September and the building excitement of the festive season.

I’d eagerly awaited my first Christmas in Greece only to discover that Greeks don’t really ‘do’ Christmas as Easter is the main celebration.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved ‘my’ island and still do.

I was lucky enough to be able to take breathtaking scenery and turquoise sea for granted.

I could wade to work barefoot, ankle-deep in surf that broke on the most perfect beach you’ve ever seen.

But I was still working like a demon in blistering heat with little respite.

You can really have too much of a good thing which is why, rain or not, I still appreciate all that England has to offer.

WHAT ELSE WILL DISAPPEAR FROM THE SKIP OUTSIDE OUR HOUSE?

As part of the Big Renovation, we have a huge skip outside.

It’s been quite cathartic as I usually tend to be sentimental about ‘stuff’ which I don’t really want but still get a sense of security knowing is stashed away somewhere.

But this time I’ve been really tough: ‘if it’s not useful or beautiful, it has to go!’

It’s been funny to see how passers-by eye the skip eagerly.

Do they really fancy those battered old saucepans or perhaps they’re just nosey?

Strangely enough, a couple of things have actually disappeared since I hurled them in so I’m now waiting to see what else mysteriously vanishes.

Or will we have maybe acquired something new under the cover of dark? People never fail to surprise.

GREATEST GIFT OF ALL: BUT ONE WE SHOULD OPT OUT OF, NOT INTO

Everyone’s seen heart-rending news footage of some parent, desperate for a donor organ to save the life of their child, or a wife whose husband is dying but is saved by the generosity of a bereaved family at the most difficult time in their lives.

But despite that hospitals are still crying out for organ donation.

Perhaps we feel that we are ‘jinxing’ our lives by signing up.

Maybe we don’t understand enough of the process and find it easier to stick our heads in the sand.

But, as Mike says: ‘You can’t take it with you’.

Why can’t we all be opted in but have to decide to opt out instead of the reverse?

Wouldn’t that take the onus off the squeamish or uncertain among us?

Makes sense doesn’t it?