Hydra, the Greek island for dreamers | Polly Samson

The author of a new novel inspired by the heady days of Leonard Cohen and his bohemian set longs to return to the island of vivid colours and stories

The last time I left Hydra – was it really only two months ago? – I was careful not to forget to throw some coins into the harbour from the ferry. It’s a superstition I picked up from Didy Cameron, one of the real-life characters in my novel, A Theatre for Dreamers, who believed it would ensure her return. Except one day she didn’t have a coin to hand and, as her granddaughter Alice told me, she never made it back to the island. The morning after I threw my coins and we left Hydra, the Greek government closed all the country’s schools. In the UK, however, my daughter was returning to school after study leave. If I was still on the island, we’d be slowly emerging from lockdown into the sunshine of a spotless Greek island.

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