UK’s Quarantine List Didn’t Spoil Holidays with my Family

Despite the UK adding Crete to their quarantine list – it didn’t stop my brother, Mark from enjoying his Cretan holiday with me. He works in the film industry, which like everything else has been greatly compromised and anyway, Mark has been working from home on his book and so the quarantine restrictions on his return to the UK weren’t an issue for him.

After collecting Mark from the airport, we dumped his luggage at mine, changed and went straight back out for dinner in Almyrida. Carl Axon and other bands were playing at Nikitas that night and as music gigs have been conspicuous by their absence – I felt we should not miss out on this one. Everyone was there and it was a great way for Mark to kick off his holiday. The music and atmosphere was great and we danced in the sand outside the taverna because we weren’t allowed to dance in the bar!

Dinner by the beach in Kalyves with Lisa and Debbie

Dinner with Lisa & Debbie by the beach in Kalyves

The following night we met up with Lisa and Debbie for a meal in Kalyves and Mark and I also dined out at Umami, the Asian Fusion Restaurant in Almyrida. We did all the usual things one enjoys on holidays – spent time on the beach and swimming, coffee and snacks at Franscoise and the odd night on my balcony just talking, talking and more talking! We had so much to catch up on. I don’t think I would have been able to have this quality time with my brother if I didn’t live here on Crete.

Mark and I dining at Umami - my Favourite restaurant in Almyrida

Mark and I dining at Umami – my Favourite restaurant in Almyrida

As soon as Crete was added to the UK’s quarantine list – Almyrida emptied itself of tourists and many more cancelled for September. So I realized that after only two selling days in Almyrida, where I sold a further 6 Artworks, this was now the sudden end to my season. However when Mark and I visited Kalyves it seemed a little busier so I decided to pitch up there for two days instead. Normally I do not consider Kalyves as a good place to sell and true to form – I did not make a single sale, although there was much interest which may come to fruition in the near future. Aside from this, these last two selling days in Kalyves made a really pleasant change of scenery and not least of all because I had Mark, Lisa and Debbie for company.

Selling by the beach in Kalyves

Selling by the beach in Kalyves

As luck would have it, when Mark and I were at the Cantina end of Almyrida beach, a tourist there commissioned me to do a special piece of artwork to commemorate their forthcoming wedding here next year. She was already familiar with my art and has since contacted me after browsing my Etsy shop, SeashellBeautyinArt. I now have several custom pieces to keep me busy over the coming winter.

At the end of Mark’s stay he agreed that he’d achieved everything he’d hoped for on his holiday – rest, relaxation, fun and laughter! I loved all our stimulating and enlightening conversations and enjoyed his company immensely. In these times of uncertainty, the busy lives we all lead and the distance between us – who knows when we will get the next opportunity to catch up on all that has been happening in our respective lives?

Playing with Arthur on the beach in Almyrida

Playing with Arthur on the beach in Almyrida

So cute... little Arthur is having so much fun in the sand!

So cute… little Arthur is having so much fun in the sand!

Two days after Mark left I collected Zoe, Rich and little Arthur from Chania. Because of the UK’s sudden quarantine restrictions for Crete, it was much harder for them to make the decision to come to Crete as planned. In the end they were able to work something out with their jobs, using up some more of their holiday entitlement for quarantining. Zoe and Rich felt that this first holiday for them as a family was what they both needed so much that it was worth the other sacrifices they would have to make.

The weather has been good for the whole week and Almyrida was so quiet that we felt like we had it all to ourselves! My Grandson Arthur has just turned one and because he has only started walking recently, he is a wonderful bundle of energy! I loved all my playtime with him, whether that was on the beach, by the pool or at home. Naturally we were out every day but spent our evenings at home because it was easier with Arthur. Anyway, it’s not as though we were missing anything as there was nothing going on. I babysat two of the nights so that Zoe and Rich could dine out together and enjoy some time out on their own. Again we had some lovely evenings just chilling and chatting on my balcony overlooking the sea and the mountains. On the last day we went into Chania, which again was unusually quiet and spent the afternoon on the picturesque harbour front, where we had a long and leisurely lunch before heading back to the airport.  Zoe and Rich also agreed that the holiday had done them both the world of good and was just the break they needed.

Zoe, Rich & Arthur at the deserted poolside of Almyrida Beach Hotel

Zoe, Rich & Arthur at the deserted poolside of Almyrida Beach Hotel

As for the problems the UK government caused in adding those 6 Greek Islands to their quarantine list for no good reason – I will just never understand! It makes no sense when you see how Covid-free we are on these islands. Many cases we had this summer were brought in by young UK tourists, as was the case with the plane returning from Zante to Wales. Those people did not get the virus from Zante but rather brought it to Zante in the first place! Prior to letting UK tourists onto the island, they were largely Covid-free.

An afternoon on the Harbourfront in very quiet Chania

An afternoon on the harbour front in very quiet Chania

If not for the UK restrictions I would have sold well in Almyrida in September, as I had done in August. Nevertheless, in weighing everything up – I feel so fortunate to have still been able to have all my immediate family and my brother – especially all my grandchildren staying with me this summer.  I feel truly blessed because wonderful things always seem to happen here on Crete!




Back to a more normal life.

What an unexpectedly busy August it’s turned out to be! I started selling by the beach in Almyrida right after Emma, Ash and the kids left Crete, and because it is still so quiet in Almyrida – especially for August, I decided two days a week was enough. Yet those two days have proved to be really profitable. I have sold a total of 29 Seashell Mosaic Paintings this August and I am more than happy with sales, given these unprecedented world circumstances.

Typically Greek and popular with tourists - Seashell Mosaic Painting 20 x 30cms

Typically Greek and popular with tourists – Seashell Mosaic Painting – 20 x 30cms

I didn’t realize how much I’d missed this part of my life. It’s been quite wonderful to meet and chat with the few tourists who have been lucky enough to get away for a holiday. So I am thrilled to be back doing what I love and earning some money again!

A favourite this August - Seahorse in Seashell Mosaic Painting - 13 x 18cms

A favourite this August – Seahorse in Seashell Mosaic Painting – 13 x 18cms

Sadly, Charlie and I are no longer an ‘item’. We realized that we are not right for each other but agreed that we’d both had a great time during the 6 months we were together. It goes without saying that we will remain good friends. As a direct consequence, my workouts with Charlie have come to an end. Now that I am working again, I don’t have the time or the inclination to work out in this heat! However I do understand the importance of keeping fit and I fully intend resuming my regular training, but only after the end of September and in whatever shape that may take.

Greek Donkeys - sold this August 30 x 40cms

Greek Donkeys – sold this August – 30 x 40cms

Socially, live music gigs have been few and far between and anyway, we are not allowed to dance! So I haven’t been out much in the evenings, apart from a sleepover at the mansion in the mountains, where Lisa and Debbie live. It was like staying at an exclusive hotel, with each bedroom having its own en-suite. This large two-storey villa is just full of fascinating things and has an amazing story attached to it – if only I could tell it! Anyway, the three of us had a proper girlie night in and such a good laugh!

September is going to be just as busy while I continue selling by the beach and I have more visitors arriving this month! Quite suddenly I have resumed my normal life during this last part of the summer and it just feels so right.
I am well excited that my brother, Mark is coming to stay with me on the 11th for 9 days. He came to visit me on Crete in 2014 with his two children, Honey and Ted and also for a few days during Zoe and Rich’s wedding in 2018. This time he is coming on his own and really looking forward to his first holiday without kids in 21 years! He is going to have a brilliant time here!

Consistently sells well - the Baby Turtles Seashell Mosaic Painting with sand, 10 x 30cms

Consistently sells well – the Baby Turtles Seashell Mosaic Painting with sand, 10 x 30cms

Then two days after Mark leaves, Zoe, Rich and baby Grandson Arthur arrive! I can’t wait to spend some quality time with little Arty, who was only 3 months old when I saw him last Christmas but is now aged one and walking!
So as usual, I am feeling very lucky and happy. Also the fact that Crete has so few Covid cases compared to the rest of Europe, has meant that tourists are coming here because it’s safer (far less populated) and has no quarantine restrictions on their return. A few of the tourists who purchased my Artworks, had in fact previously booked holidays elsewhere in the world – only to have them cancelled. Not wanting to miss out on their cherished and well-deserved holidays, the tourists are coming instead to Crete!

Always Believe Something Wonderful is going to Happen.

I have just enjoyed the most wonderful week with my Daughter Emma, Son-in-Law Ash, and gorgeous grandchildren Ralph and Neve!
Because Ash has not been able to go on holiday with his family, since their wedding here 4 years ago, they decided to book a lovely family room at the Almyrida Beach hotel, so that they would have a more restful holiday. The fact that Ralph and Neve are at the ages of 4 and 2, I now realize what a handful they are and how hectic things would have been if they’d all stayed at mine! Big bonus for me too really.. as I got to spend plenty of absolute quality time playing with Ralph and Neve, without all the clearing up! Continue reading

Missing Almyrida’s Tourists

I realize that I haven’t posted for many weeks, but then there hasn’t really been much to write about.  For the first time in 11 years I have not been selling my unique Seashell Mosaic Paintings & Collages by the beach in Almyrida. I have dearly missed seeing the tourists that visit Almyrida every year and meeting all the new visitors that arrive from all over the world. I have missed that wonderful holiday atmosphere that is so normally prevalent in Almyrida during the summer months from May to October. I have missed all the buzz and the fun that comes with my beach selling season. Continue reading

Lovely Cretan Winter Sun & Working Outside on my Balcony

During these last five or six weeks I have thrown myself back into my Art and creating Seashell Mosaic designs in readiness for the coming summer beach selling season. Designs such as Seagulls, Girls on Swings, “Always Believe…” sand quote and Pink Flamingos were in great demand, yet I could not produce enough last summer, after selling out of the ones I created over the winter months. So I am hoping I will be better prepared this year. Continue reading

The Year 2020 is Sure to be a Good One!

I came back home to Crete for New Year, after having had a wonderful Christmas in the UK with all my family. I returned on the 28th December to dreadful weather, having missed all the best of it whilst I was in the UK. The thunderstorms in Plaka were so severe that most of us didn’t have internet for days and power cuts were frequent. My car battery had died and it appears that there are some electric issues too, which I am still trying to sort out. I am thankful for my good friends Atremis and Rob, who both went out of their way to help me.. right up until New Year’s Eve! Continue reading