So Excited About Christmas!

Doesn’t time just fly?! Now I haven’t left enough time to write up this last post, for what has been an incredible and wonderful year for me.
It started off with my house move to what is undoubtedly my ‘dream’ home. Then my daughter Emma and now son-in-law Ash, got married right here on Crete and what a huge and wonderful family wedding that was! And let’s not forget the joy I’ve experienced being a ‘Yaya” to gorgeous grandson Ralph!

Granted I missed out on my annual exhibition on the Harbour Front in Chania and when you add that to the loss of sales on the beach (and I still blame Brexit!) – then money-wise it’s been the only and worst year in seven. But really – I can’t complain. In fact the unexpected poor sales were just the ‘kick up the arse’ I needed to broaden my marketplace – instead of relying on just one small holiday resort on Crete. Now my new Etsy shop – seashellBeautyinArt (link above on menu bar) has given me a world-wide marketplace and one that operates 24/7! What could be better than that? Well…fingers crossed – it’s still early days.

Right now, I’m almost packed and ready for my flight back to the UK at the crack of dawn tomorrow. I love Christmas in the UK – obviously because I can be with all my family, but also because I think England epitomises Christmas and does it like no other country can!

I can’t wait to see and play with Ralph again. It’s actually only been about a month since I was in the UK, but of course I still missed him – despite regular Skype contact. So Karen is picking me up from the airport tomorrow morning and Emma has managed to get tomorrow afternoon off. She is coming with Ralph to stay the night at Karen and Mike’s and I will look after Ralph all the next day while Emma’s at work. I am so excited!

cute as ever - Ralph!

Cute as ever – Ralph!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone! My Mum has already arrived from Spain and is staying at Karen and Mike’s. Bless them both – they do end up running a hotel for family over the festive period! On Christmas Eve morning, Zoe and Rich will come to collect Mum and I, to spend Christmas at their lovely new home in Golcar, somewhere quite rural in Huddersfield.  Emma, Ash and Ralph will also be joining us and we will all stay at Zoe and Rich’s for 3 or 4 days. We are especially excited because Ralph will be sooo entertaining at the age he is now – just 13months old. It’s going to be just wonderful!

Then there’s my friends. I really hope to touch base with lovely Jill and Rick at some point and also Chris, who is a mutual friend and one I haven’t seen for at least 5 years! Chris moved to Spain about 10 years ago and is currently in the UK for Christmas too. I’m also looking forward to enjoying some festive drinks with my old chums, Fran and Ange on the Friday before Christmas Eve. We’ve already arranged to meet up at the Church Inn in Cheadle Hulme and will probably move on to John Millington’s til late so that should be fun!

I do so hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas too, and a healthy, happy and lucky New Year.

So Happy to be Beachcombing Again!

When I came back from the UK late October I brought my sister Leonie back with me. She has had many serious problems with her leg over this past year and it was time for her to think about her return to Cyprus. Crete was a natural first step and I really enjoyed Leonie’s company for the few weeks she stayed with me.

The Retreat

Enjoying drinks for my Birthday on the sunshine terrace of The Retreat in Kokkino Chorio

It was great to have Leonie here on Crete for my Birthday. I don’t think I would have bothered to organise anything otherwise. I have so much else going on that it just wasn’t a priority! As the food was so good last year I decided to have a slap-up Sunday Roast at The Retreat again. Leonie also wanted to see the place where Emma and Ash married last June, because sadly she couldn’t attend the wedding. On Sunday the weather was glorious and a few of my friends joined us on the terrace of The Retreat for a good excuse to enjoy a few drinks in the sunshine before consuming one of the best Sunday roasts we’ve all had! Ian who runs The Retreat in Kokkino Chorio, is English and certainly knows how we Brits love our Sunday Roast Dinners! It was a great day and carried on afterwards at our local, Vangeli’s in Plaka.

The following weekend I travelled back to Cyprus with Leonie so that I could help her settle in. The weather in Cyprus was glorious and we got loads done. I couldn’t believe how many people I knew on the planes both outbound and back into Crete! Thanks to Ryanair, it’s a hop skip and a jump to reach Paphos from Chania and many expats take the opportunity to have short breaks in Cyprus.

Elafonisi

Someone visiting Elafonisi left this very large message in the sand! “On leaving take with you you memories. Leave only your footprints.”

On the work front I have been busy creating whenever I can. I still have to make time to add more photos and details to my Etsy Shop listings, but too many other matters have demanded my attention lately.  I also opened up a Facebook account which I thought I’d never do!  But hey – It’s good for my Art Business!  I finally got my car back after more than ten days in the garage. It went in for repairs, a service and MOT. It’s a long story and the whole saga has cost me another 650 Euros. After over seven years of throwing money at it – I think I need to change my car next year!

Elafonisi

A very small part of beautiful Elafonisi, where I was collecting some shells

Happily last week Nick, Ron and I visited Elafonisi for the day. I was desperate to go beachcombing! It’s been so long since I’ve had the chance and I just couldn’t wait to feel the warm sun on my back and the sand between my toes again. I couldn’t wait to start my hunt for beautiful seashells, which will eventually be woven into my seashell mosaics. I am never happier than when I am on a beach and by the sea. It was indeed a glorious day with lots of sunshine and not a breath of wind. I absolutely loved it and managed to collect lots of the shells I needed. I know this is the start of much more beachcombing which I will do in the New Year. I am hoping to get at least one more day, perhaps in Bali before I go back to the UK for Christmas and New Year – now less than 3 weeks away!

Beautiful White Mountains over Almyrida

View from my balcony this morning – lots of crisp white snow on the mountains! Beautiful!

For the last few days the weather has been awful with lots and lots of rain and wind. Temperatures have been dipping to as low as 12 degrees – that’s cold for we ex-pats! I woke this morning to see the first snow on the mountains and it looked stunningly beautiful!  Beacuse last winter was so mild it seems ages since there was so much snow up there!  The time has been flying by so furiously that I can hardly believe it’s just two more days until the Almyrida Xmas Fayre again! My photo this morning shows how much improved the weather is today but its forecast for sunshine and showers on Sunday. This will be my eighth fayre and it looks like being the last one, the organisers are saying. I have written about these Fayres in previous posts and I’m sure that this final Fayre – held every year at the Almyrida Residence and Beach Hotels and hugely popular with all the residents of the Apokoronas area of Crete – will be just as great as it always is, raising tons of money for local charities and giving everyone that real Christmassy feeling!