For anyone watching this years Love Island I have a very true tale to tell.
I used to live on Love Island. It was quite simply the craziest summer of my life. And for all you people who doubt the show, if you strip away the cameras I absolutely promise you, with my hand on my heart the concepts of this show are more than real to me. Don’t laugh, don’t doubt, just read to the end and make up your own mind.
I’m not one for Reality TV, generally if it’s not a show full of flesh eating zombies, with exploding cars, a dam good conspiracy and possibly a dragon I’m literally not interested. But a bout of summer flu had me sitting on my sofa wanting something mindless to watch. Curiosity got the better of me so I downloaded the first episode of season 5 Love Island and hit play. Dutifully as a dating blogger I thought ‘this is probably something I should at least experience for myself right?’ All I can say is from the very first episode I was hooked, there was something so familiar, so true but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
9pm last night I’m tucking in to tub of Cookie Dough and my phone buzzed. Message; it’s the Mediterranean ex from 15 years ago. Asking if I was going to finally make a decision and go and stay with him in Ibiza this summer. That’s when the penny dropped. The familiarity and nostalgia I’d been feeling all this time stemmed from the Summer of 2001. A summer that not only involved the drama of England V Germany in Euros and the tragedy of 9/11, but personally very real and exceptionally complex mix of love triangles, difficult decisions, heartbreaks, the discovery of Absinthe, a stolen boat, lost car, unexpected death, surprising hello’s and tearful goodbyes, way too much booze and all tied up in a 6 bedroom Spanish Villa on the Island of Majorca. Let’s just say for now that Med ex plays a big part in this tale but well get back to him later!
March 2001 I’m a super slim party girl and flare cocktail bartender, not very many of us at the time so I was a bit of a novelty. A friend and nightclub owner had tuned my head from my normal job and sold me on a summer of fun in the sun. Having just started dating current BF and fellow bartender I easily managed to secure him a spot at the Sports Bar we would be working in. (Let’s call him CBF for now, we can change his name later to Dick if you like and I’m sure you’ll think of a few more suitable ones too).
With absolutely no idea what the summer held I turned up at the airport with nothing more than a suitcase and a meeting point details. All I knew was that there was a bunch of new recruits from the cocktail circuit heading out with me and CBF. that I was the only girl, that we would be working for a yacht company in an cocktail bar on a marina, and that we would all be shacked up together somewhere in Spain.
Fuck I nervous. Never worked abroad before and only ever been on holiday with friends. I was so dam grateful that at the very least I had CBF to hold my hand. As we reach the bar I spot a familiar face, another guy from world of booze (for those of you who don’t now the cocktail industry it’s a small one). Standing at the counter oozing confidence, full of dreadlocks and charming grin was a chum of mine. I had no idea we would be working together and God I was bloody pleased to see him. Big hugs and shots ordered, things were looking good.
There was supposedly 5 of us flying out but only 4 of us had managed to find each other so far. Introductions made, air kisses, more hugging and another round of shots set the tone for next 8 month. 20 minutes now till take off time but still no sign of number 5??? All 6ft+ of my solid friend instantly assumed the role of Alpha (FFS he’s bloody huge and for all his smiling you aint gonna mess. In fact maybe that’s what we should call him – ladies meet Smiler).
Smiler hits the phone and starts calling round, eventually comes back with apologies from the missing link. There’s been a horrible confusion, natural disaster, alien invasion or some other bullshit story and he was going to miss the flight. Months later came the confession that this particular chap had been on a bender the night before, woken up in the middle of nowhere and couldn’t get his act together enough to make the plane. The carnage that followed this guy around for the next 8 month was utterly hilarious and have to say without a doubt he grew to be one of my favourite boys in the villa. Actually, I can’t think of a better name for him, so we’ll just call him Carnage.
The last man was our inevitable leader, club owner and VIP. He’s the one that created this merry band of misfits and the person I have to thank for the utter mayhem that followed.
The plane journey was a blur of excitement and complete and utter terror, mixed with champagne and a splash of vodka. By the time we landed it was fair to say I was a tiny bit trolled. We caught a cab and drove through the beautiful Spanish city of Palma not that I remember a huge amount of the journey but eventually reached the destination of our villa.
My first memory of the house was pulling on to this pretty little street and noticing a stunning building situated on the corner. This beautiful house had the most ridiculous looking glass box room on the roof that for all intents and purposes should have been an extension. Whilst we joked at the stupid looking and ill placed glasshouse, the cab pulls on to the drive and the realisation lands that this was to be our new home. OK; so it’s not the grand posh Villa of ‘Love Island’ but it’s a bloody good IRL version.
With squeals of delight we grab our cases and leg it in inside (watching two 6ft men practically skipping is a sight you don’t forget…. ever). And so began the battle of the bedrooms. I did the math, 6 bedroom right? One for me, one for CBF, one for Smiler, one for the missing Carnage; equals four rooms down. The boss already had an apartment out there so he wasn’t staying with us. We were due to have two more join the team, and the collective decision was; last one in gets the glasshouse by default. We pick our rooms and start to unpack. My shoes had their own house, my bikinis had an entire draw to them themselves, I had uber amounts of closet space with a view of the gardens. Content I lay back on my bed, utterly thrilled at the prospects for the summer. It didn’t last long.
There’s a tap at my door. It’s the boss looking fairly awkward.
“C, look I’m really sorry and probably should have explained sooner. But the glassroom is a guest room. No one can live up there long term it’s just too dam hot. I thought you and CBF were together and assumed you would be sharing a room”
Seriously WTF. We had only been together a few of months and whilst it was going well, I certainly hadn’t for one moment prepared myself to be living with a boy…. 😬🤯🤦♀️
FFS…Guess what…. unintentionally and completely taken by surprise I’d just been “coupled up”
Notes From Me: Its a bit if a change from my usual stories of Single Cat, but hope you enjoy it anyway. Apologies for the grammatical blunders, this is an absolute word splurge in my lunch hour. Promise to edit it soon!
Find out what its relay like to be ‘Coupled Up’ on Love Island