The New Norm – Learning to Cope With Frequent Heatwaves

We are in the middle of a heatwave being experienced all over Europe and other parts of the world.  It seems to be dragging on and on…  My heart goes out to all the people and wildlife affected by the wildfires raging across the Greek islands and other parts of the world.  Sadly this is going to be normal from now on, as the direct consequences of mankind’s total abuse of our planet and world governments’ refusal to do anything or make the necessary changes – despite knowing about climate change for many many years.

I feel extremely lucky.  Comparing conditions of the last two summers, I think I am coping better with the extreme temperatures this time.  Last summer we were lucky and I don’t remember there being any serious heatwaves.  It was the summer of 2021 that was the ‘killer’ for me and I didn’t cope well at all.  However so far, there have been refreshing breezes to keep me cool as I sell by the sea at the edge of Almyrida Beach.

Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting - 20 x 20cms

Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting – 20 x 20cms – Popular this summer 2023

I have not missed any selling days because of the heat and even when the breeze has dropped, I have my mini USB chargeable 3-speed fan which my sister Karen kindly let me have.  If I feel myself ‘burning up’, I hop across the road to the Almyrida Residence pool, swim a couple of lengths and put my dress back on wet.  This seriously cools me down and is a much quicker option to finding a non-stony path into the sea – further along the beach from my stall.
When I am working from home, the air-con is a Godsend, of course.  I couldn’t work without it and even then – the paint and especially the glue dries much too quickly, making me work a little faster at times!

Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting - 20 x 20cms

Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting – 20 x 20cms – Popular this summer 2023

Sales are going well on the two days a week that I set up my stall – usually on Mondays and Thursdays.  Last week I sold 10 artworks in one day and this is not unusual.  I am so grateful that my style of art is still popular in this my 15th year as a professional artist.  Many visitors to Almyrida still remark on how they have never seen anything like my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings before.  To be honest I am quite surprised that I am selling well when the poor tourists are always having so many extra demands put on their finances, which thereby affect their spending monies.  This year it’s the expensive flights and well… everything has gone up in price as everyone tries to cope with ‘the cost of living’ crises.  I am never complacent and count my many blessings every day.  Even though my own rent has risen by 100 Euros this past year, I still feel fortunate to have secured another 3-year rental contract.  Everybody wants to buy this house I live in as its location is simply awesome!

With Karen & Lisa at one of the local gigs in Vangeli's

With Karen & Lisa at one of the local gigs in Vangeli’s, Plaka

I went to three live music events in the last week of June, including a Caribbean-themed evening held at the Old Olive Mill in Kalyves.  This was quite a different venue from the usual taverna and was set among the olive trees.  For 15 Euros we ate a Caribbean-style chicken dinner including ice-cream dessert and a free glass of rum punch.  This also included a 5 Euro entrance fee – all good value for money.. except I spent a further 10 Euros on cocktails!  The wonderful band ‘The Lions’ provided the evening’s music and we all danced our meals away!  Last week there was another event arranged at the Olive Mill and this time it was a ‘funky/groovy/soul night.  The Band was called The Marmitas and they were really good, especially the lead female vocalist who had such a powerful voice.  I could kick myself for not taking photos of the band again –  but my excuse this time was that I already had a prior engagement that night.  One of the walking groups I belong to held their summer evening meal at Dimitri’s in Almyrida and so I didn’t manage to get to the event until around 10pm.  Then.. as is usual for me – I am too busy living in the moment to think of taking photos.

Marianne's place at Tsivaris

View from Marianne’s charming garden in Tsivaris

There have been a few other live music gigs locally – at Vangeli’s and Totem in Plaka.   Also Lisa and I had a lovely evening with Marianne at her charming old ‘priest’s cottage’ in the village of Tsivaris, where she has lived for the past 19 years.   She cooked a wonderful meal of homemade Boureki, couscous salad with everything in it, followed by a delicious homemade dessert.  Marianne spoiled us rotten with food and drink, all enjoyed in her charming garden with beautiful views.

Lunch at Almy in Kalyves

Watermelon and Raki (not!) after Lunch at Almy in Kalyves, on one of our lovely relaxing Sundays

On Sundays Lisa, Debbie and I have been enjoying ourselves as tourists.  Living on Crete and not retired – we all have to work for a living and very often do that almost every day during the summer months.  But as we are lucky enough to be our own bosses – we can take time out as and when we want to.  We decided to do this once a week and Sunday seemed the obvious choice.  We’ve spent these days at Almy in Kalyves, lounging on the comfy sunbeds, taking lunch there and sometimes a stroll along the beach.  We visited Marathi and nearby Loutraki one Sunday and also the far end of Georgioupoli, at the Seven Souls taverna where Dog Pound Blues play regularly on a Sunday afternoon.  But we took a picnic with us to eat on the beach in front of the taverna as it’s expensive to eat there.  These days have become a real ‘must’ for us to relax and take time out from our respective busy lives during the summer months, when most of us earn the bulk of our money.  However Debbie has flown back to Wales for a few weeks and taking the heatwave into account, the Sunday just passed, Lisa and I met down at the cantina on Almyrida beach much later than usual – at 5pm… to cool down, swim in the sea and relax until after sundown.  Ahhhhh…just bliss!

Tonight's setting sun from my balcony

Tonight’s setting sun from my balcony