lifeofriley2013

A single woman's search for hedonic pleasure before marriage, mortgages and making babies

“Fly like an eagle…”

Bald eagle in flight

Is there a single thing this man cannot do? We flew to Sicily, or rather Dylan flew us to Sicily… in a four seater Cessna!! Now while your average rock star might travel by private jet or boast membership to the Mile High club, Dylan being a true outlier opts to fly himself around in his own plane. You can’t get much more cool than that!

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Now while I quite enjoy flying, especially if it’s long haul and the promise of adventure lies at the other end, being in a small plane is an entirely difference experience to anything I could have ever imagined. As we turned into the runway and began to taxi down the tarmac rocking about in our seats with every pebble and bump, I felt I was in a toy. Did he really plan to get us to Sicily in this?? I pulled a face at him to which he responded with a reassuring smile. Then I heard his voice come through the headphones over the loud whir of the propellor. ” Let me get her up and then I’ll let you take over the controls for a while, okay?”  With that he gave us full throttle, pulled back on the control stick and suddenly we were tipped backwards nose pointing horizontally into the sky. My back pressed hard into the seat with the thrust of the engine and as we soared upwards I felt a gush of adrenaline rush through me. Overcome with excitement I exploded with a giggle. This had to be one of the most exhilarating experiences I had ever had. After a little while and  once I was comfortable that we were not going to nosedive like those paper airplanes we used to make as children, I dared to look below me through the tiny side window on my right and watched as people and houses grew smaller and smaller. The sensation of flying in a small plane is simply awesome!

I read somewhere that doing exciting or fearful things with someone can make you feel warm and fuzzy around them. If this is true then there was a certain and present danger of spontaneous combustion if I didn’t manage put some distance between me and this rockstar pilot with a sexy smile and a devilish glint in his eye. I needed an escape but seeing as we were already soaring into an endless blue cruising at 9,000ft above ground, jumping didn’t seem like much of an option.

Suddenly we took a sharp turn right and the wing dipped low. I gasped as we rolled onto our side and grabbed the sides of my seat, at the same time noticing a small tear in the fabric where someone else had dug their nails before. Dylan laughed out loud as he straightened us up again. “I thought you wanted to take a closer look.” he said impishly, “your turn now. Just take the yoke like this and no need to panic we have duel control so I can take over at any time okay? Keep the nose on the horizon like this, if you start to drop you just pull back a little and if you climb too high push forward. It’s easy.” I took a deep breath and wrapped my hands around the yoke that was floating freely in front of me and began to take control of the plane. At first it was a bit tricky because I didn’t realize how sensitive it was, any small adjustment I made seemed to lift or drop the nose but soon I got the hang of it. I was flying on my own! Dylan relaxed back into his chair and put his hands in the air. ” All your’s now honey, just check on your altimeter from time to time and don’t forget the horizon is your guide. Now take us to Sicily!”

With a bit of practice, it wasn’t long before  I was dipping and soaring, turning and swooping. Once we saw land ahead of us Dylan took over again and reminded me that although flying is easy, “it’s the taking off and landing and watching the traffic that’s difficult.” he said. “I’ll take it from here but hey you did a great job for a first time.” He then told me a story about a very close friend of his who flew straight into high voltage electricity cables killing himself and his wife. Blinded by a strong sunset he had never seen the wires as he came in to land. “That’s why you have to live each day like it’s gonna be your last, one day you will surely get it right!” It was a cliche I had heard many times before but somehow it made a lot more sense in light of this story.

Immune from the world below us we shared our stories and fantasies, dreams and ambitions and for a while I wished we could just keep flying forever, or at least until we ran out of conversation or fuel, the latter I suspect being the more likely!

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It was almost sunset by the time we came in to land. Dylan reported to traffic control at a small airfield and then somewhere nearby we landed with a bump onto a lumpy grass runway. Apparently Dylan’s old PR manager, who retired young and decided to live in the sun and go organic farming, is also a keen pilot  and has his own landing strip which he kindly offered to make available to us. The plane jostled along until finally we came to a stop near the end of a freshly mowed strip of lawn. We were in the middle of a corn field and as I climbed out I could hear the crackle of evening as the sun set majestically on a golden horizon. We had arrived!

 

Plan for Spontaneity

Whilst I love spontaneity it’s sometimes a good idea to plan for it! Stormy conditions have scuppered any notions we had about sailing from Greece. Hurricane force winds and a band of dirty black clouds sweeping across the Mediterranean has forced many people to take their boats out of the water before the end of season. Still, I enjoyed the drama of the moment Dylan proposed the idea even if it was just a little too corny and Mills n Boon to be true! Never one to be defeated however, he had another plan, and like most ‘other plans,’ contingencies often turn out to be even better! “So, let’s go to Sicily instead,” he offered by way of consolation. “We can travel before the storm arrives and if we get stuck there for a few days sure what the hell, between us I’m sure we can find something fun to do, what do you say?” With that he raised his eyebrows and flashed a smile that I couldn’t say no to.

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Soon as we arrived back, I threw my clothes in the wash, caught up on some emails, checked over some invoices I had collected from the hall floor at the site on my way home and then threw some extra underwear in a bag should we end up stranded in Sicily for a few days.

Dylan picked me up in the early afternoon. “Long time no see” he joked. “Yeah, feels like a lifetime,” I quipped back. ” Aren’t you bored with me yet, or is it you just dont have any friends? I was joking with him now. “Hell no,” he said grinning, “you’re like ten different women rolled into one, the surprises never stop coming.” I decided to quit while he was ahead as I could see this was going to get quite competitive very soon and I wasn’t up to full speed on wise cracks just now. “What about tickets?” I asked changing the subject, “can we get them at the airport?” ” As long as you have your passport, leave the rest to me.” He wasn’t answering my question so I let it go, after all I wouldn’t wish to ruin any surprise he might have tucked up his sleeve!

 

The Thrills of Travel

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I’m just about recovered enough to report on the events of the past few days, although admittedly it still requires considerable effort to co-ordinate my fingers on the keyboard! The party of course was a huge success. As soon as Dylan arrived on stage looking extremely hot, cool and oozing sex appeal all at the same time, the crowd of about eighty guests went wild and then when he picked up his guitar and started to play they went completely insane!. Immediately we were all up dancing, drinking and lip – syncing to tracks we hardly knew, enjoying the last real blast before the Mediterranean winter. The floorboards shuddered as we rocked the city until sunrise and even then Dylan continued to play until the last man was left standing which, as it so happened was not a man but a woman, me! In fact, I hadn’t sat down all night, evidence of which could be found in my pink swollen feet, skinned to the bone by shoe leather and sweat.

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Once the guests had finally left we joined Dylan’s friend Carlo and his wife for brunch at the ‘Federal’ cafe, yet another great place in Barcelona serving hearty breakfasts. Our eggs benedictine, spinach, bacon and delightfully oily french toast, washed down with strong black coffee, helped to soak up some of the alcohol, or at least enough to get us back to our hotel room. Dylan, it turns out, has not only incredible stamina but amazing hands too! After a very long hot shower (separately of course) he insisted on giving me a foot massage.

It was simply sensational, both strong enough to relieve the tension in my calves and gentle so as not to hurt my tender toes after too many hours spent crushed in stilettos. By the time we were ready to leave for the airport I was walking on air. Dylan too was on a high, the spring in his stride and lightness in his mood telling signs of a man who lived for his music and the joy of entertaining others with it.

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Flying over Sicily he leaned across to see Sicily out of the window  beside me and suddenly blurted, “Come to Greece with me.” “What?” I said, both surprised and confused “Yes” he said beaming with delight, ” I have a friend there planning to sail back to Malta next week. Come with us. It’ll be fun!” Excitement danced behind his eyes and I felt something stir inside me, the thrill of travel and exploring something new.

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“Sure,” I said without thinking at all, which now I am beginning to realize, is probably a better way to approach this life!

Exploring the City

After this morning’s embarrassment, and relief I might add, we decided to do breakfast at la Rambla 31, a cafe recommended by tripadviser. After some fresh brewed expressos with double shots of caffeine to get us going, we climbed El Carmel  hill to Parc Guell, in the hope that our efforts might help us work off some of the delicious chocolate and cream croissants, too irresistible to refuse under the influence of a hangover.

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Our waist expanding feast served us well because we ended up spending most of the day wandering around what is, according to a local guidebook, the largest architectural site in the south Mediterranean. Home of Antonio Gaudi, it was originally intended to be a luxury housing development away from the smog of the city, but only two houses were ever completed. The show house “la Torra Rosa” was never sold but later bought by Gaudi, in 1906. He lived there for the next 20 years transforming the site into a garden of tranquility and peaceful calm. Indeed it is.

As we sat on the serpentine bench we marveled at how cleverly he made the seat with its snake like curves. His attention to detail and creativity was incredible, designing always with the experience of the user in mind. A typical example of this was his use of sharp edged mosaic to prevent people sitting on areas where water tends to settle.

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As the Autumn sun started to fade we descended back down to the city and back to our hotel for a bite to eat and afterwards to get ready for Dylan’s party gig. I decided to go all out and wear a slinky skin hugging party dress before my rapidly fading summer tan disappeared altogether. When Dylan appeared out of the bathroom looking like a true rockstar in faded jeans, a rather cool Versace t-shirt and leather jacket cut to the hip, I have to admit I needed to take a breath. At the same time he was looking me over, sucked in air and gave a low whistle of approval. Well it was his big night, I had to make some effort! Seemingly we had both surprised each other, but then pushing aside whatever dark thoughts were flashing across our minds we quickly made a move towards the door for our awaiting taxi.

The Morning After…if only there was a pill!

Opening one eye amidst a blinding headache I noticed an arm stretched out on the sheets that was far too hairy to be my own. I put my hand to my forehead and took a sideways look behind me, cringing at what I might find. It was little consolation that it was Dylan and not some random stranger from a barcelonian bar. He gave a low groan, rolled towards me and threw a leg over my waist murmuring something into my ear. I froze for a moment hoping not to wake him while my brain whirred like a DVD on fast rewind, trying to recollect the final hours from last night. Nothing came.

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Cautiously I lifted the sheets and peeked down relieved to see I still had my knickers on. If not my dignity at least this much was still intact. Dylan began to stir a little, threw his other arm around me and then rolled me in under him like a sausage in a hot dog. His eyes were still closed and I certainly didn’t wish to be there when they finally opened.  Despite the rigor mortis which had settled in my limbs I managed to vault from the bed and into the bathroom just as he awoke.

After some deep breaths and some coaxing from the other side of the door I turned the key and crept out feeling very sheepish. Dylan on the other hand had a big fat grin on his face (well he would, wouldn’t he?!).”Don’t sweat honey,” he said starting to laugh “you passed out as soon as you hit the pillow and I was too far gone to take my shoes off, let alone your dress…not that I would without your permission of course,” he added quickly. “Man, that was strong stuff we were drinking!”

Barcelona! Barcelona!

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Barcelona was a blast! We arrived late in the evening and checked into the Neri, a rather chic boutique hotel situated in the gothic quarter and close to Barcelona cathedral. We had already agreed that it would make more sense to share a suite rather than book two separate rooms and besides after having already witnessed me at my worst, half drowned and half naked with mascara streaking down my face I wasn’t expecting to reignite any passion in Dylan. After deciding who would sleep where, we went for some tapas nearly and then spent the rest of the evening exploring numerous bars, sampling everything from local beers, or ‘cerveza’ (where the ‘z’ is pronounced with a lisp), to cava, the spanish version of champagne and ‘vermuth al grifa,’ a botanically infused sweet red wine popular in the region. Although the tradition is to drink it as an aperitif before lunch, this fact didn’t inhibit us from enjoying it well after dark.

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Eventually we found ourselves in Cafe Marula enjoying some late night cocktails, listening to the clubs funky tunes and people watching, which at this point was about as much as we could do after so much alcohol. Had we any inclination for conversation I doubt I could have managed to wrap my tongue around the extended vowel sounds that came pouring out of my mouth, as facial muscles surrendered to alcohol, in order to bring them to their consonant conclusion! Instead, we just sat back, relaxed into the oversized loungers, soaked in the atmosphere and resorted to fits of the giggles as a compensation for small talk or whenever either of us made any attempt to comment on the antics of young spanish girls competing ‘para la atención del apuesto camarero’ (I’ve been brushing up on my conversational spanish since yesterday).

Anyway, I have no idea how we managed to find our way back to our hotel because whatever happened half way through what I think was my sixth cocktail, not to mention what I had consumed prior to this, I have no recollection.

Inflight Entertainment

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According to some research at the University of Minnesota women buy expensive handbags in order to signal to love rivals that her man is devoted. Such nonsense! Who comes up with this kind of ridiculous trivia they dare to call research and who pays for it I would really love to know. I read about this in a magazine on the flight to Barcelona and thought it was a joke.

There could be any number of alternative reasons for these findings; that her love interest is gay, that he has a serious fetish for expensive handbag or perhaps they just like to indulge in a bit of sexually perverse bag bashing (have you ever seen the size of the studs on those  designer bags?!)

And before you scoff at this suggestion let me remind you that it’s a lot more credible than the notion of a man enthused by the idea of shopping for anything, least of all a plastic and mock fur handbag with some designers name emblazoned across the front. What’s more, in these days of ‘supposed’ equality and liberation don’t most women buy their own now anyway?

It has provided me with some food for thought however. Before I leap into bed with someone again (not forgetting that I still have 81 days and 2 hrs of celibacy to go), I will be making certain he buys me that horrendously expensive Louis Vuitton.

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