Lifting my spirits by doing the things I love doing!

It’s been a hectic six weeks since I returned from the UK.  Lots of things to catch up with and attend to – so many different things that needed doing… and yet this has helped in part, to distract me from the sadness of losing my Mum… I really miss her.

Fishing Boat & Seagulls in Seashell Mosaic - 30 x 40cms - Available to purchase from my Etsy shop.

Fishing Boat & Seagulls in Seashell Mosaic – 30 x 40cms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop.

Helping me cope with my grief, I have enjoyed getting seriously back into my Art and I have created a few new designs as well as building my stock for the coming summer beach selling season.  This has been so therapeutic for me and has lifted my spirits enormously.  I have also been ordering seashells from my regular suppliers and enjoyed cleaning and sorting them all, ready for use in future seashell mosaics.

However I have been so absorbed in creating my Seashell Mosaic Collages that I have missed out on all the fun going on in February and March!  Carnival and Clean Monday went by without me really noticing!  I just haven’t been in the mood for partying.  However I did make an effort and went to Mary’s 60TH Birthday Party at Vangeli’s last week, so I have not been a complete hermit!

Penguins in Seashell Mosaic

Penguins in Seashell Mosaic – 20 x 25cms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

One of the most wonderful activities I absolutely love doing is to go beachcombing!  I just have not had the time to do this these past 18 months, but I have surely been making up for it during the past 6 weeks!  Winter is always the best time to beachcomb, after storms and when the beaches are deserted.  I love to explore the fabulous coastlines around Crete, taking in all the stunning scenery and gathering sea treasures to use in my Seashell Mosaic Collages.  These recent beachcombing trips have lifted my spirits like nothing else can!

We’ve had some pretty severe storms since I’ve been back.  This beautiful Island of Crete has certainly taken some battering and in the Apokoronas area of Crete where I live, old bridges have come crashing down and floodwaters were everywhere!  Chania Harbour Front was seriously damaged – I saw for myself when I spent a day there recently, with Debbie. We spent some time looking around the shops and buildings in the little cobbled back streets behind the Harbour. 

An old shop in Chania, revealing another building underneath - fascinating!

An old shop in Chania, revealing another building underneath – fascinating!

When we came across a shop that looked like an archaelogical dig!  The floor had been completely removed and underneath it they found remains of ancient walls set like buriel tombs.  When we looked closer (no-one else was around!) we saw that it must once have been a small mosque.  It was fascinating!  We wondered whether the recent storms and floodwaters had created the damage to the shop.  Either way – it didn’t look like it was going to be open for business again – anytime soon!  I must say that the storms didn’t affect me as luckily, my home is situated so high up that water drains easily away – it’s the wind I have to be wary of!  But I do love to watch a good storm from my balcony overlooking the sea.

Beautiful Chania Harbour

Chania Harbour Front, with the White Mountains behind – stunning in reality!

Whilst in Chania we couldn’t resist taking a quick look at Neo Chora beach, which is only a 10 minute walk or so from the Harbour.  We ended up spending a couple of hours exploring the beach there!  It was really interesting and we found some good stuff.  With that 2 hour distraction, we didn’t return to the Harbour Front for lunch until about 4pm, by which time we were starving!

Inspirational writing in the sand

Inspirational Writing in the sand Collage – 20 x 30ms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

In between these storms, there have been some wonderful warm and sunny days that are just perfect for beachcombing.  Even better still is that in the winter, Crete’s deserted beaches are filled with interesting and fascinating things to find after a storm.

Last October, Lisa introduced me to Debbie and I have to say she is the best beachcombing buddy I’ve ever had!  She’s just like me and loves nothing more than spending time exploring beaches and collecting fascinating things that have been washed up on the shore.  Debbie will notice fossils, skulls and bones, sea glass and countless other interesting objects as well as shells.  Whereas I am always concentrating on the seashells, since I have been beachcombing with Debbie, I’ve started to notice all the myriad of other sea treasures to be found!  The driftwood after a storm is quite phenomenal and so I couldn’t resist taking many samples to incorporate into my artworks in some way.

Marathi Beach

One of Marathi’s beaches. Again – the White mountains in the background are stunning!

The fabulous beaches we have visited in the last month have been Stavros (twice), Bali (twice), the furthest parts of Georgioupoli, Frangokastello, Marathi, Loutraki and countless other beaches we found in between.  We’ve had a fabulous time scrambling about over rocks, across river and sea streams, having such a laugh and feeling like we were kids again!  I know I am hooked on beachcombing, I have a real addiction for it!

Collecting shells on one of the beaches at Frangkastello

Collecting shells on one of the beaches at Frangkastello

Now I am busy getting everything ready for my summer beach selling.  My sales leaflets needed updating and reprinting, new display boards putting together and of course, plenty of new artworks for the coming busy tourist season.  I am really looking forward to the summer and especially excited about Zoe, Emma, Ralph and Neve’s visit at the end of next month!

PS There simply isn’t enough room above – to put up all the fabulous photos of the wonderfull views and places we enjoyed while driving along between beaches.  Here are some of the wonderful photographs Debbie took on our recent beachcombing trips.

One of the beaches at Stavros

One of the beaches at Stavros

The view from the mountain which leads down to Frangokastello

The view from the mountain which leads down to Frangokastello

View of the 'pink' Mountains on the way back from Bali

An after sunset view of the ‘pink’ Mountains on the way back from Bali.

Askifou, the plateau high in the mountains.

Askifou, the plateau high in the mountains.

Leaving Askifou Plateau, the sunset turning the White Mountains pink!

Leaving Askifou Plateau, the sunset turning the White Mountains pink!

One of the beaches at Marathi

One of the beaches at Marathi

White Mountains of Crete

Wherever we went, there was no escaping the awesome White Mountains!

Remembering My Lovely Mum

Following New Year I had been home for barely two weeks when I received a phone call from my sister Karen, to tell me that Mum’s health had seriously deteriorated and so I immediately flew back to the UK. She had just been moved to St. Ann’s Hospice so that they could better manage her condition and make her more comfortable. Thankfully I was able to spend the last week with her in the hospice, along with many other family and friends who visited regularly up until the end.

My Beautiful Mum - 29th Jan 1937 to 24th Jan 2019

My Beautiful Mum – 29th Jan 1937 to 24th Jan 2019

My beautiful Mum finally passed away peacefully… surrounded by her family and a dear friend. Words cannot express how much we will all miss her.

The Funeral was held last Monday and we believe we gave her the best and most heartfelt send-off. My daughters, Zoe and Emma read ‘Nana’s Prayer’ and my brother, Mark delivered a most wonderful Eulogy. So many family and friends came to pay their last respects. Afterwards we celebrated Mum’s long and happy life with a wake held at the Alma Lodge Hotel in Stockport. We brought along all Mum’s old photo albums and everyone enjoyed memories that these photos brought back to mind. It was lovely to see so many relatives that we haven’t seen for a long time, or that we see only now and then. Mum would have loved it all…

Our dear Mum… I think she was amazing! She built her whole life around her family and was a truly wonderful Mother, Nana and Great Nana.  She was never happier than when she was with family, including all her Dutch relatives whom she regularly visited in Holland and entertained in Spain.  Mum was strong, independent and always optimistic.  She was glamorous, fun-loving and cheerful.  Her energy and enthusiasm in everything she did, knew no bounds and she remained very active, riding her bike and swimming every day until the onset of her illness in May 2018. With Mum – nothing was too much trouble and I have many fond memories of her digging up trees in our gardens, laying patios and up ladders cleaning our windows! All the while.. she’d be humming and whistling away to herself! For the last 8 years of her life, Mum lived happily and independently in Spain and we all visited her there many times, including our cherished family holidays which rotated between Cyprus, Crete and Spain.  She had a large circle of friends and a great social life!  Among her friends, she was proud to be in such demand as a Canasta partner and I’ll always remember our own Canasta Tournaments and how Mum was so competitive.  God help you if you ended up partnering her and didn’t play to her standard!  Oh, how we shall all miss her…

I would like to thank St Ann’s Hospice for the wonderful care they gave to our Dear Mum, during the last two weeks of her life that she was there. Added to this was their genuine care and support for our family too, ensuring there was enough space around Mum’s bed to accommodate us all and providing overnight facilities.   My lovely Mum departed this world with dignity, peacefully in her sleep… and with all her beloved familly around her.

Rest in Peace, Mum xx

                                                     Photo Album of Some Cherished Memories

Mum with her 6 children, born within 6 years and 10 months!

Mum with her 6 children, born within 6 years and 10 months!

Mum, Dad & Leonie

Mum, Dad & Leonie

 

Mum with 3 of her 12 Grandchildren

Mum with 3 of her 12 Grandchildren

Cyprus 2015

Cyprus 2015

Cyprus 2012

Cyprus 2012

Crete 2014

Crete 2014

Spain 2017

Spain 2017

UK New Years Eve 2009

UK New Years Eve 2009

Spain 2010 - Riding her bike!

Spain 2010 – Riding her bike!

Crete June 2016 - Emma & Ash's Wedding

Crete June 2016 – Emma & Ash’s Wedding

Spain 2017 - Collecting seashells!

Spain 2017 – Collecting seashells!

Crete 2013

Crete 2013

Spain 2013

Spain 2013

Spain 2017

Spain 2017

Cyprus 2015

Cyprus 2015

Mum with Great Grandson Ralph - Crete May 2016

Mum with Great Grandson Ralph – Crete May 2016

Christmas in the UK 2016 - Mum with her 3 eldest - Karen, Mark & Me

Christmas in the UK 2016 – Mum with her 3 eldest – Karen, Mark & Me

Christmas is about Celebrating Quality Family Time

This Christmas time I went back to the UK much earlier than I usually do.
This is a good thing because I was able to spend lots of quality time with my Mum – even though she slept so much! Also my brother Mark came to visit for a couple of days with his two children, Honey and Ted and it was so good to see them all again! As always, it is good to catch up with Karen and Mike, while I base myself at their beautiful home. Continue reading

A Beautiful Day in Bali

There’s not much to report since my last post. Working on my Seashell Mosaic Collages is always a given, because whenever there isn’t anything else that takes priority – I am busy creating! This is also the time of year that I do my seashell sourcing and place orders with my regular suppliers. But I wanted to write this final post of 2018 before I return to the UK on Saturday morning. Continue reading

My Big Birthday Bash on Crete!

I am writing up this post on my wonderful balcony, on this cloudy day in November. We’ve just come out of a prolonged period of fine, sunny and warm weather and now we are getting rain and thunderstorms. But right now it is not raining and I can hear the sea and see the waves rolling onto the shoreline all around Almyrida Bay. Vasili’s sheep are in my garden below again and so I hear the tinkling of the ‘main’ sheep’s bell and the odd almost baby-sounding bleats coming from the little ones. They seem to lamb all year round on Crete. It must be our wonderful climate! Continue reading

August Beach Sales Have Been Really Good This Year!

It has been over six weeks since I last wrote and that is because I have been so busy coping with my hectic work schedule.  That month I spent in the UK meant I had lost a month in terms of production.  I was not as fully stocked with my Seashell Mosaic Collages for the summer season as I would normally have been. So August has been mega busy while I’ve been trying to keep up with the designs that are selling well. Continue reading

The Highs and Lows of Life are Par for the Course.

So much has happened since my last post but this time it will have to be a short one and with no pictures. I don’t really feel like talking about stuff that isn’t important right now.  I’ve been working long hours in order to get myself fully organized for the 15th May, when my daughter Zoe flies to Crete just 12 days before her wedding here! Continue reading