We honeymooned in Gozo 31 years ago and I hated the place. I found it so macho. But because we had a friend there we continued to visit every few years and at the same time were looking around for a holiday home in the sun.
In 2003, we took a cheap holiday in Malta and to pass the time I said to Peter why don't we pretend we're on A Place in the Sun TV show and get an agent to take us round a few properties. We love the programme and once applied to be on it. So we did look at some homes in Malta, none of which took our fancy, so we headed over to Gozo for a boat trip.
We did that spur of the moment thing and with two days left of our holiday, bought a three-bed resale apartment in Xhagrha. It cost £70k and we had it for a year as a holiday home before deciding to sell and upsize to a five-bed new-build home in the same area for €83k. We were able to influence its design and spent €37,000 on finishing's.
We decided to move to Gozo full-time as we'd built up a nice social network and it always felt so safe and relaxed to me. I'd been going out with our two daughters frequently and everything was always so easy, and you didn't have to worry about personal safety or crime. Peter had also got early retirement after a career in the media. If our daughters were OK about it, we thought we would give it a go.
I never had the intention of working whilst I was there and planned to slow down but as it happened I got snowed under with work. It also started when I sorted out a woman's boat phobia on a local trip - with my EFT techniques. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping is like acupuncture without the needles. It's a method of removing emotional issues. Word spread about my methods and things snowballed. I practice and train in EFT as well as being chair of the Association for the Advancement of Meridian Energy Techniques (AAMET).
I've trained Gozitan school teachers, midwives, doctors and the parents of children with emotional issues. Ninety per cent of my clients are locals rather than expats, and I have a weekly one-day clinic in Mellieha in Malta. The Maltese, being Catholic, are quite conservative, but I was surprised how receptive they were to my methods. Most of them speak English which also helps.
So although I work at lot of the time I love walking and keeping fit on my days off. Our social life is incredible: art exhibitions, wine tastings, Rotary Club spin-offs. The climate here makes it so easy to plan things outdoors! The only downside is that Gozo is small so we will soon cover all the different walks to do.
I miss John Lewis, big supermarkets and the English countryside. My husband misses curries but Gozo's first Indian restaurant has just opened. I find clothes expensive, and some foods here. Oh, and British TV. But otherwise Gozo is like England 50 years ago which is a very positive thing...