Maureen Freely

The Boat to Oslo

The Great Sex Divide


Peter Owen 144pp £14.50 order from our bookshop

Thousands and thousands of years ago, when I was an innocent and idealistic undergraduate, I spent a summer travelling alone in Greece. One evening, as I was making my way to a restaurant on the Ionian island of Zakynthos, I was accosted by a group of youths who wanted me to go dancing with them. I was somewhat testier than usual on account of having my sleep interrupted the previous night by a thin young man who broke into my room with a skeleton key, and also on account of having my bicycle run off the road that afternoon by a fat young man on a motorcycle. I had scared off both these men by impersonating a Greek grandmother, but I did not think I had to go to such lengths on the crowded waterfront, so I simply told the youths to go away.

They wouldn’t. The longer I ignored them, the angrier they got. Finally the ringleader came up to me and said, ‘You do not understand. You MUST spend the evening with us.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because it is impossible for a woman to travel alone in Greece.’

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