Fiona Duff: Sun, sea, sand and tax-free salary

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Next week my oldest friend, Amanda, is off to the Cayman Islands to work for three years. Before she phones me indignantly, I should explain that by “oldest” I mean that I have known her for so very long.

Anyway, it’s the sort of job many of us would dream about. A nice salary (tax free) with one of her roles making sure that the sand between the house and ocean is properly raked twice a week. She doesn’t even need to do it herself, just oversee some lithe young man who will perform this task.

In my twenties, several of my friends went and worked abroad. Without family or commitments it was a relatively easy decision to make. Once there are children and spouses then a lot more consideration has to be given to such a decision. However, Amanda is on the other side. She had children before me so they are now either at university or graduated, and her husband upped and left quite some time ago (idiot that he is, but that’s another rant, another time). Her only worry is to whether she has enough linen trousers and floaty dresses to take with her, as Scottish wardrobes aren’t usually over-flowing with such garments.

Of course, there are some for whom working abroad isn’t a choice. I recently bumped into a friend who is working in Hong Kong. “How’s it going?” I inquired, “I was there on holiday years ago and it seemed a fun place”. “Maybe for a week or two” he growled, “but it’s really not the most pleasant place to work,” and with that he stomped off down George Street in the other direction.

It reminds me of that film, White Mischief, set in Kenya’s Happy Valley. Sarah Miles opens her curtains in the morning and announces “Another effing perfect day”. Could it be that constant sun and heat would make one pine for the drizzle and haar? I’m rather hoping not, as it will take me a couple of years to save up enough for the airfare to the Cayman Islands so I need Amanda to stick it out until then.