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I’m in Corfu for a wedding, Rhiannon and Nondas. We’ve known Rhi for almost 25 years, since she was 10, playing cricket on the beach in Pembrokeshire. I remember when I was just a bit older than the bride-to-be is now, sending down a wickedly inswinging yorker, uprooting her off stump, then wheeling away in delight and shouting, “Yeah! Take the long walk, little girl!” Good times.

It’s going to be a great day. Obviously, my expectations are part My Big Fat Greek Wedding, part Mamma Mia!. I’ll be disappointed if Meryl Streep doesn’t turn up singing The Winner Takes It All in a floaty dress. I’m told there’s to be no plate smashing. We’ll have to see about that.

Pinning envelopes stuffed with cash to the bride’s dress is also considered old-fashioned, apparently. I dunno, another decade or so and we Brits won’t have any archaic condescending stereotypes of funny foreigners left to cling to at all. Although, to be fair, I have got the whole family adding -opolopolous to every fourth or fifth word. It’s a right mouthful but, hey, it’s important these harmless only-a-little-bit-racist traditions are maintained.

My children, Sam and Rachel, and me have never been to Corfu before, and Nicola only once, 40 years ago. I’ve been elsewhere in Greece — Athens, Crete, Zakynthos — but not for 30 years. I’d forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful this country is. No wonder modern civilisation first got going in these parts. The scenery somehow compels you to be on best behaviour.

If that hasn’t changed, lots else has. The airport at Corfu Town was, unlike Stansted, spotless and efficient. The same goes for the bars, shops and our Airbnb. That perennial “Can you drink the water?” worry from my youth is these days more likely to be asked by a Greek tourist in Britain. Or it should be, given what we know is pumped into our lakes and rivers. Naturally, the prices have updated too, which is a shame for us if not for them.

We hired a car, a Suzuki Jimny, one of the cute little borderline-joke 4x4s that proliferate on the island. As the man did the paperwork, explanations and handover routine, the exchange revealed another modernising shift.

Having begun in the usual fashion by addressing all his answers to me, even though it had been Nicola who had asked the question (about fuel, headlights, soft-top retraction mechanism and so forth), this chap caught on to the reality of the situation and switched instead to speaking to Nicola. I was impressed by the speed with which he read the room. Thirty-five years ago, in Crete, I recall us bowling into some mountain village, Nicola at the wheel of a hire car, and the old boys sitting in the shade staring at the driver/passenger configuration with shock, incomprehension and, finally, something close to outrage. Not any more. That’s progress, isn’t it?

I guess this guy was helped along in his assessment by the fact I showed zero interest in his information, and instead kept sniggering with Sam and Rachel about the tiny proportions of the bootopolopolous.

We had to head over the ridge to the west coast to reach our accommodation, in the dark, up and down a series of steep hairpins. The hire guy advised to “Watch out, lots of horn!” on the corners. I was still working on the smutty possibilities of “lots of horn on the corners” when Rachel said she’d genuinely thought he’d said “whores” not “horn”. Obviously, hill roads teeming with prostitutes has since become an excellent running gag.

“Woah, tight corner, Nicola, dozens of hookers coming in on your leftopolopolous.” “Major quantity of sex workers in the woods dead aheadopolopolous,” etc.

Another thing I’ve remembered I love about Greece, which hasn’t changed one bit, is the presence of a cat about every five yards on the harbour front. Sam and I pay due attention to each and every one. Progress between tavernas is slow.

And another thing that has changed, most certainly for the worst, is the way you’ll be lying on the beach and several couples, or maybe a man or woman on their own, will turn up, spend ages taking photos of each other posing, pouting and preening, often talking to their phones as well, sometimes holding up some product for the camera, and then leave without interacting with their surroundings in any other way. Weird.

They’re not the much maligned Gen Z, these narcissists, but people in their thirties and forties. Maybe those who have grown up with social media are naturally able to regulate their usage. While many old enough to know better are still in thrall. Their loss.

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