A Wonderful Time with Granchildren Ralph & Neve.

I have returned to my beloved Crete after another month in the UK, having spent a wonderful week with my new Granddaughter Neve and gorgeous Grandson Ralph. I also spent loads of time with my Mum, who I am so pleased to report, is doing really well!

The Friday after I arrived in the UK I hitched a ride with Zoe and Rich (who were attending a family wedding down south) to Emma and Ash’s new home on the military base. The house is a well-proportioned 3 bed semi situated across from a large sports field on a private road. Because we arrived at Emma and Ash’s so late, I didn’t get to meet Neve until the following morning. She is 6 weeks old and utterly adorable! She doesn’t cry much at all. Neve is just content to look at everything going on around her. Her little bright eyes are so alert! Ralph is lovely, gentle and caring around her! I couldn’t stop taking videos of the two of them!

Ralph and Baby Sister Neve

Ralph is kissing his new baby sister, Neve!

Ralph is only two months shy of three years old yet he already loves and cherishes his little baby sister. He is always including her in his little conversations. ‘What about baby Neve?’, he will say… and you can see the concern in his little face. Ah bless… I do adore them both and am indeed blessed again to have had such a wonderful week with Emma, Ralph and Neve.

As always, Emma had already found some great places nearby, to take Ralph for some fun and adventure. For me too, because I loved romping about in the forest with him, finding all kinds of interesting natural treasures. This forest we visited was amazing, with towers and climbing ramps galore for kids of all ages to enjoy – all made from wood! There was even a ‘Musical Trail’, where you could discover all manner of strange musical instruments built into the surrounding landscape and make your own forest music! It’s hard to explain what they were exactly… but we had fun trying them all out!

WIth Ralph & Neve

At the cafe outside the forest with Ralph & baby Nev

We had a lovely lunch at this park and in fact, we had lots of lovely lunches on our days out. There were many facilities on the base too and Emma took me to the Community Centre and the Church group for pre-school children. Emma has made new friends already and it is so much better now that they are all living together as a family. I cannot begin to describe how wonderful this week with my daughter and grandchildren was. I hope to enjoy many more too… after all, Christmas is not that far away.

Sadly I was unable to see much of Zoe and Rich. What with their work commitments and the travel distances involved, we only managed a few hours over an early tea in Bramhall Village  at Yardbird. It was lovely and gave us both one-on-one time together, which was great!

Ralph tries out one of the unusual musical intruments!

Ralph tries out one of the unusual musical intruments!

Back at Karen and Mike’s I spent lots of time with my Mum and a lovely evening with family friends, Caroline and Tony who kindly brought round a curry Caroline had cooked, because my Mum loves a good curry!
I also managed to hook up with my friends Jill and Ange, meeting Ange for a few drinks at the Church Inn in Cheadle Hulme and enjoying a Friday night out in Bramhall Village with Jill, where we had dinner at the Bubble Room. Really nice… and it was so good to catch up with close friends.

Now that I am back home I have started to look for a car to replace the yellow sport-modified Punto I have been driving around in for the last 9 years! It’s been all over Crete and had two engine re-builds as well as countless other parts replaced, so it has been a right old money pit! My Punto is now rusting badly and almost 20 years old! Time to trade her in for a new model and so I am looking. I have a dear Greek friend who has been in the car rental business for many years, and he is going to see if he can secure a good deal for an ex-rental. I am actually quite excited because it will be a great relief not to have to worry about the car breaking down again this winter!

Me and Ralph

On the swings together and I can act like a big kid when I am with Ralph!

I had half a day beach selling a couple of days ago and although it was cloudy for most of the day and the tourists were thin on the ground – I sold 3 of my Seashell Mosaics. On the social front, I went to Neisha’s Birthday Bash that night at Nikita’s. This is always a great venue for a party (both my daughters had their wedding ‘After Parties’ at Nikita’s). There were heaps of pretty tiny white lights strewn everywhere including the trees on the beach. Then there was the roar of the waves crashing onto the beach behind us – a stunning backdrop for any occasion! It was great to hear the band, Small Change again. They played at Zoe and Rich’s Wedding Reception earlier this year in May. They were brilliant as always and I danced lots. It was a good night but I am now coming down with a cold, which doesn’t surprise me  after my Ryanair flight home last Tuesday.

Emma with Neve and Ralph

Emma with Neve and Ralph

Looking to the immediate future… the big 60 is looming fast and I have found myself reflecting on the past 10 years and how I have successfully followed my dream of the way I would love to live my life. I was 50 when I moved to Crete and have since devoted my energies almost entirely to my art business, creating Seashell Mosaic Collages and ‘working with nature’. I have enjoyed every moment and aspect of my art. Yet now I have realized that it is time I put a little more balance into my life. I have been enormously happy and content on my own for so long but I finally feel ready and open to sharing this wonderful life with someone special. Whether I will meet that certain someone… well there’s a question? Because I truly believe that whatever will be… will be.

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.

 Seahorse in Seashell Mosaic - 13 x 18cms

Popular Design this August – Seahorse in Seashell Mosaic – 13 x 18cms

Nevertheless I’ve done my best and am pleased to say that sales in August have been really good, even though these last two weeks it has gone very quiet in Almyrida.  I would go as far as to say that it’s been the quietest August in all the ten years I’ve been beach selling!  So I count myself lucky to have sold 56 of my unique Seashell Mosaic Collages so far this month – to the fewer tourists that have stayed in Almyrida this August.  I still have one more day and I have to say it does look promising!

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Popular Design this August – Chapel by the Sea in Seashell Mosaic Collage – 18 x 24cms

The weather here on Crete has been very hot but we have had our share of strange days too. Like the end of July when it threw it down and I had to pack up my stall as fast as I could before the heavens opened!   Also and more recently – we had lots and lots of heavy rain and thunderstorms, which carried on well into the evening.  I am so relieved that it wasn’t one of my selling days that time, but I am always disappointed for the tourists who are here!

On the home front I am delighted to announce the safe arrival into this world of my beautiful new Granddaughter, Neve!  Emma is now finally living with Ash on his military base in the south.  I will be visiting them for a week when I am back in the UK for virtually the whole of September and I can’t wait to hold Neve and to play with Ralph again!  For now though, I must be content with Skype contact.  On the UK’s Bank Holiday Monday I was selling on the beach when Zoe and Emma Skyped me, because Zoe and Rich have been staying with Emma and Ash for the last few days.  So I could see and speak to everyone!  I could already see changes in 3-week old Neve and I love watching Ralph interact with her!  It will be wonderful to experience this in reality!

Ralph & Neve

Ralph is entranced with his brand new baby Sister Neve!

On the social front I have made time to spend with my good friend Jenny, who came with her Granddaughter, Alicia for a ten day stay in her apartment, which is situated on the Harbour Front in Chania.  It was good to see her again and I decided to go on another one of Jenny’s mini cruises and put work second for a change!  I’m so glad I did because it was – as it always is – awesome fun!  We were dancing, drinking Proseco and eating fresh fruit and Kalitsounia in between swimming and snorkelling.  Jenny’s crew were the Gorgeous George and Akis who were not only there to drive the boat but also to cater to our every whim (well… almost!) on our ‘Girls Only’ cruise!

Jenny's Mini Cruise!

Our All Girls Cruise! – Carolyn, myself, Jenny, Tracy and Deb.

Jenny and Alicia came to stay with me on the Saturday night and after enjoying a couple of hours with them on the beach, we had a late lunch at Tsunami’s.  Much later we walked up to Plaka Square for dinner at Fortini’s, before heading back to my house where we chilled out for the rest of the evening until late.  It had been at least a year since Jenny and I had had the chance to catch up, as we are rarely in touch in between her visits to Crete.

Jenny's Apartment on the Harbour Front in Chania - complete with 2 of my larger Seashell Mosaic Collages - Triptych Archway with Urn & Fisherman & his Boat

Jenny’s Apartment on the Harbour Front in Chania – complete with 2 of my larger Seashell Mosaic Collages – Triptych Archway with Urn & Fisherman & his Boat

What also turned out to be a real bonus was that I was able to use Jenny’s apartment last Saturday, so that Lisa and I could have a night out in Chania without worrying about getting home or driving.  Because of our respective work Schedules, Saturday was the best night for both of us and we couldn’t believe how busy Chania was – compared with Almyrida!  The Harbour Front was packed and everywhere was busy.  Lisa and I thoroughly enjoyed the change of scene and the chance to really relax.

I have good news about my Mum too!  Since I was last in the UK, her health has gone from strength to strength and she is back to being the Mum we all know and love!  I will be spending lots of time with her and although I shall miss the whole of September’s beach selling, I know that there are more important things in life that should naturally come before my work.  What better reasons are there than spending quality time with my family in the UK and I am so looking forward to meeting my new baby Granddaughter Neve!

Baby Neve

Gorgeous Baby Neve! Can’t wait to meet her!

 

 

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

It’s all part of Crete’s Charm!

I am writing up this post in a much better frame of mind, thank Goodness! In fact, everything has improved since my last post.  But best news of all –  is that my second Grandchild is well on HER way!  So I will have a Granddaughter who is due to be born at the beginning of August.  I am so happy for Emma and Ash and absolutely thrilled that it’s going to be a girl! Continue reading

Good Riddance to January & February!

I haven’t had time and I haven’t felt like writing a post for what seems like ages. I seem to have been in a depressive state and it hasn’t helped that I’ve had so many time-consuming problems to deal with in January and February. But most of all… My dear Sister Leonie’s sudden passing still feels so raw. I can burst into tears at the mere drop of a hat! Continue reading