Enjoying More Free Time This Summer.

The summer months from May through to September are normally so busy and hectic for me!  Looking back over the last ten years – I really have spent long and crazy hours producing and selling my unique Seashell Mosaic Paintings and Collages.  It has been all about supply and demand!  My Art Business has totally consumed my time and energies but don’t get me wrong because I have loved every moment of it!

Seashell Mosaic Collage of Baby Turtles race to the sea - 10 x 30cms Still my most popular design!

Seashell Mosaic Collage of Baby Turtles race to the sea – 10 x 30cms Still my most popular design!

Yet this summer things have been quite different.  For the first time since I started my Art Business, I have lots more free time on my hands in which to pursue other interests and relax more.  This is because beach sales are down quite considerably and Etsy sales too – are very disappointing, but I will talk more about Etsy in a future post.  I know this is due to global economics and circumstances as I see and hear clear evidence of this through talking to customers from all over the world.  Many would love to buy my Seashell Mosaics but cannot afford to.  These are difficult times for anyone selling anything!

Consequently, although I still sell for three days of the week, the other four days are now not taken up with producing. My weekends are free and I only need one day a week in which to prep up canvases to work on during those beach selling days.  This still leaves me with three free days!  The pace of my summer life has suddenly become much slower and about time too!  It’s almost as though a drop in my sales was meant to be!  I have mentioned in previous posts how I want to strive for more balance in my life… well now I have the opportunities to do this, because now I have the time to do other things.

The far beach in Almyrida, so pretty and much quieter!

The far beach in Almyrida, so pretty and much quieter!

For the past month I have been going down to the beach on these free days, just for a few hours at around 4pm.  This is a lovely period of the day to be on the beach and it’s only a two minute drive or a ten minute walk down to Almyrida, so how lucky am I?  I have a choice of three beaches – all different, but I prefer the far beach which is much quieter.  Sometimes I meet Lisa at the Cantina beach, which is much busier.  I love to take long languorous swims in the sea, where the temperature is just perfect for cooling off and where I feel both emotionally and physically energised.  It’s so good for me!  I relax on a lounger in the shade, with a good book and Sudoku, taking refreshing swims in between.  These few hours are so relaxing and remind me of 2009 and the first summer I had here on Crete – before my artworks became so popular.  I am really enjoying again – all the marvellous amenities this wonderful Island and climate has to offer in the summer months.  I already feel that I have more balance in my daily life.

On the Island of Gavhdos and before I head to the shoreline to look for seashells!

On the Island of Gavhdos and before I head to the shoreline to look for seashells!

I’ve also been on a day trip to the Island of Gavhdos recently.  This entailed a coach trip to the south coast of Plakias and from there – an hour and a half ferry ride to the Island.  We were a group of about 50 or 60 people, many of which I knew and so it was good fun all round and interesting to meet new people too.  A coach at the small port of Gavhdos took us to a nearby beach where we could chill for a couple of hours.  There were no refreshments on the boat and so we had drinks and nibbles at one of the beach tavernas there.  Of course me being me – afterwards I headed straight for the shoreline in search of any interesting or different shells.  Sadly I did not find any but I enjoyed a refreshing swim and couldn’t help noticing how many nudists were on the beach.  No surprise I suppose, for this natural Island of Gavhdos.

On Gavhdos - the Taverna at the edge of the beach where we all had lunch.

On Gavhdos – the Taverna at the edge of the beach where we all had lunch.

After this we all boarded the coach again for a tour of the whole Island – so small it is only 10 km long and 5 km wide and is triangular-shaped.  We hoped the coach would be able to take us to Cape Trypiti – the southernmost tip of Europe, but unfortunately the road only reached so far and the rest was a long and steep trek down – which we didn’t have time for, disappointingly!  Otherwise, with the exception of a few scattered old ruins, there wasn’t much else to see on this tiny Island at Europe’s most southern tip.  We were dropped back off at the beach where we all went to another taverna for a big late lunch and some music.  It was a lovely setting at the edge of the beach and the atmosphere was relaxed and lively!  I enjoyed the boat trips and it was a great day out.  In fact it was a very long day and I didn’t arrive back home until 10pm.

Dr Albert Flipout and his One CAN Band - playing at Hasomeri in Vamos.

Dr Albert Flipout and his One CAN Band – A truly funny guy, playing at Hasomeri in Vamos.

I have enjoyed more going out in the evenings too.  To mention a few – a summer festival in Stilos Park and U4ouria Gigs on the Almyrida Rooftop Garden and in Kalyves Square.  Needless to say.. lots of dancing on these nights!  I went to see Dr Albert Flipout’s One CAN Band at Hasomeri in Vamos.  Marianne booked a table so we ate there too.  What a hilarious guy he was!  Apart from being a genuinely talented musician, this half Greek, half Danish musician entertained us with such funny stories!  The lyrics to most of his songs were so ‘off the wall’ and Marianne and I thought – so funny!  His blend of music was brilliant and so full of rhythm. He was a really different kind of entertainer and we loved him so we bought his CD!

Debbie and I on the Almyrida Rooftop Garden at the U4ouria Gig

Only a few weeks ago – Debbie and I on the Almyrida Rooftop Garden at the U4ouria Gig, where we danced for most of the evening!

So as you can tell… I’ve been having lots of fun and enjoying my new ‘free time’.  But as so often happens… something comes along to knock you off your feet and of course this is all part of ‘Life’s Balance’.  On a more serious note, Lisa and I have recently had shocking news about our friend Debbie.  She has been rushed to a specialist hospital in Athens for an emergency operation.  She has bleeding on the brain.  Her family and friends are all in shock and deeply worried about her.  We are all praying that Debbie will make a full and speedy recovery.  Apparently she is in the hands of Greece’s top Brain Surgeon and we take comfort from this.