So off we went on a little boat operated by the hotel, to explore some uninhabited islands. Ideas of sandy oases floated in my head as we lazed on the deck of the little boat. In no time at all we arrived at the first island. Well, I say "at", near would be a better preposition. There was no harbour. There was no docking. Merely a desultory lowering of the anchor, and a 25 metre swim / wade to shore.
As for sandy beaches, you can forget them. There was some sort of scrubby shingle, upon which - a bit bizarrely - bunny rabbits were frolicking. Out of the shingle, a large pine-covered hill loomed. We knew one of the local islands was called Rabbit Island, so we assumed this was it.
We waded to the shore, me holding a beach towel and my sandals above my head, TheBloke (TM) choosing to take his whole rucksack, which I thought at the time was a bit excessive for a twenty-minute stop-off.
On shore, I wrapped the scratty hotel beach towel around my bikini-clad person. TheBloke (TM) started trudging up the fucking hill. Of course he would. Call me old fashioned, but a bikini and Crocs are not usually the attire I choose for mountaineering. (Who am I kidding? The thought of mountaineering is so alien to me that there's practically UFOs hovering round the very idea.)
We tramped cheerlessly up the mountain (OK, gentle incline) until the path became impassable. Then, we turned 180 degrees and tramped down again. "Laura, I have something to ask you," said TheBloke (TM).
("Oh God, he's going to want to knob me in the forest," was my first thought. Ratified by the fact that he had the video camera pointed at me.)
"Will you marry me?"
Obviously he was taking the piss. "Are you taking the piss?" I asked.
"No," said TheBloke (TM). He held up a ring, which looked suspiciously like it had come from Argos, but you're not supposed to say that, are you?
("Did he just find that on the ground?" I wondered.)
"This is a temporary ring," said TheBloke (TM). "I thought we could pick out one we liked together. This one's from Argos."
It was at that moment I knew he wasn't joking.
Reader, I married him. Well, I didn't there and then, obviously, but I just couldn't resist quoting pretentiously from Jane Eyre. I expressed my intention to marry him.
So, after removing the newly-presented ring (TheBloke (TM): "Don't go in the water with it - your finger might turn green."), we got back on the boat.
We thought it would be nice to know the name of the island upon which we'd got engaged. I said to the captain, "Is this Rabbit Island?"
"No," said the captain (please put on your best Turkish accent), "we go Rabbit Island next."
"Oh," I said, "are there rabbits there too?"
"No," said the captain, emphatically.
"So why is it called Rabbit Island then?" I asked, not unreasonably.
The captain gave a shrug, which, in a different location, I would describe as Gallic.
Not to be deterred, TheBloke (TM) asked, "So what's this island called then?"
"This island?" The captain cleared his throat. "This island is Rat Island."
Rat Island. The romance. And for further romantic viewpoints on the same story, check out http://sadmuppets.blogspot.com/