Until 1992 I’d never flown anywhere before, then in this year I did it twice. The first time was when a friend’s mum asked if the crew fancied a holiday to Cyprus, and not long after that I was on a flight to Corfu with brother Harry.

Although I was living with my ex partner at the time, I’d been talked into spending a week away with Harry and two of his mates. Then came a phone call from the travel agents pointing out how little it  would cost to go for the fortnight and I was in.

I hadn’t enjoyed my first flying experience much, nearly having a panic attack at take off, but I was soon adjusting to the routine. I even managed not to flip when the plane banked sharply for the run in to the bumpy Corfu runway; even though there was the tail of a crashed plane in the water below us!

Our accommodation in true Harry style was very basic. Three of us had to sleep crossways on two single beds pushed together while the other guy had a very uncomfortable fold up bed. It was also stiflingly hot. The temperature was regularly in the 40’s and even down on the beach it took regular dips in the ocean to keep relatively cool.

Cramped room

The holiday started off great; we all got on really well, had a good laugh, and even hired mopeds to do a tour of the island. We visited some beautiful places. But then came the mosquitoes!

I’ve always been susceptible to bites from insects, but I’d never encountered it on this scale before. I had so many painful bites that my veins were bruised; I looked like I’d been shooting up drugs. On a night I would spray a sheet with repellent, wrap myself up in it, and sleep in the middle of the bed with Harry and Mally either side. Then each morning I’d wake with a fresh crop of bites while the other two remained untouched.

Mally didn’t go unscathed however. He was feeling unwell and clearly struggling in the heat. After a visit to a clinic he was confined to a hospital in Corfu Town, some miles away from where we were staying. He was diagnosed with an enlarged heart.


Soon after our mate Paul was also admitted to hospital with stomach pains. Things suddenly went a bit flat.

Harry and I took our lives in our hands, riding our mopeds into Corfu Town to visit the guys in hospital. We went to the wrong place at first, a local hospital where patients were lying in corridors and filthy rags could be seen lying on counter tops. Thankfully the guys were in a private hospital specifically for holidaymakers.

They were both released after a few days but the fun had gone out of it. We spent a quiet few days after that just really killing time until our return flight. We wondered if Mally’s diagnosis had been exaggerated by the hospital in an attempt to claim more off the insurance; but later on we found out that Mally really did have a heart problem. One that unfortunately led to his demise.

After that holiday we spoke about getting together for another one, it never came off though. I was still left with some great memories of the place (apart from the mosquitoes) and thought that one day I might like to go back. But when the weather was cooler.

No we weren't staying here!

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