I am back on Cretan soil after my sixth ‘Happy Families’ annual holiday with my sisters and my Mum – held this time at Leonie’s in Cyprus. I am well rested and refreshed and am now enjoying looking back on the wonderful week we all spent together.
I arrived on the Friday morning and Mum and Karen, much later in the evening. When we were all finally together again, we didn’t stop talking until the wee hours of Saturday morning. We were all so animated with stories of all that’s been happening in our lives and other family related news, that the people staying in the apartment above us complained about the noise! We tried our best to tone things down a little for the remainder of the week – though this was indeed difficult at times!
For the next couple of days, apart from dinner at a local restaurant a short stroll away, we centred ourselves around the large pool which was accessed just outside the apartment. It felt as though we had our own private pool because we were the only ones using it. Leonie has lived on this lovely complex for over 6 years and the pool area is in such a nice setting that it is just a great place for relaxing (the sun beds all had padded cushions), chatting and dozing off – which I am always doing on these holidays! The weather was very hot and humid although it was cloudy at times and we had rain during one of the nights. However I learned after I got back that there had been a few days of heavy rain in Crete so I am pleased that we didn’t have the same in Cyprus. Our islands being relatively close, quite often Leonie and I compare our weather and it is usually about the same, apart from the humidity which makes me feel even hotter than I am used to.
In past years we have played lots of Canasta but this year we had just as much fun playing Rummikub and Predictive Whist as well as Canasta. We are without doubt, a hugely competitive family and playing games has always been a big part of our holidays together.
But this holiday in Cyprus was particularly special because we were all celebrating Leonie’s 50th Birthday. On the Monday evening we booked a table at Leonie’s favourite restaurant in Peyia – The Grande – and enjoyed a wonderful evening, consuming vast amounts of wine and tasty food. What a laugh we had that night and Leonie’s actual Birthday was yet to come!
The following morning we visited a huge and impressive shopping mall, recently completed and located near Paphos, only a short 15 minute drive away. There were lots of designer outlets and even a ‘Jumbo’ – as in Crete – where you can buy almost anything at very reasonable prices. It was in this mall that we let Leonie choose her birthday presents and Mum even treated me to an early Birthday pressie – a lovely top from Zara. After traipsing around the shops for a couple of hours we enjoyed coffees and cake at a charming outside cafe in the upper part of the shopping mall.
Leonie’s Birthday fell on Wednesday and was kicked off with a champagne breakfast at around 11am – poolside of course! A few of Leonie’s friends and residents of the complex joined us for this very civilized Birthday breakfast, though I have to say that Karen and I chose to stick with ‘Buck’s Fizz’ lest we peak too early and fizzle out! By the time 5pm arrived, many more of Leonie’s friends had arrived and so we began a Birthday Pool Party! We rigged up the stereo to play continuous music from ‘Sunshine Radio’ – a local music station which plays all kinds of music from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and also some current tunes. Leonie’s friends from the complex brought their barbeques to set up by the pool and so we ate well, drank heaps and partied all evening! Karen and Jackie even went for a late night swim – how refreshing! I was too busy chatting and couldn’t be bothered to join them! From start to finish – the whole day was a wonderful social occasion and was made more memorable for being able to share Leonie’s special Birthday with her. How fortunate that fate conspired to make it Leonie’s turn to host this family holiday, not only in her 50th Year but that September happens to be the month we always get together.
The next day we were all a little jaded and didn’t feel like doing anything except for lounging on the sun beds by the pool, now and then taking a dip to cool off. Because of the extra humidity, Mum and I were always hogging the shade. Talking of Mum, she is just like one of us when we are all together. At 78 she is still so young in her outlook, never retiring to bed early, having bags of energy and never wanting to miss out on any of the action or conversation! I do hope I am as full of vitality and life as she is by the time I reach her age?!
Friday was our last full day together as Karen and Mum were leaving for the UK that evening and I was going back to Crete on Saturday afternoon. So we had a lovely lunch at Coral Bay and reflected on how well these family holidays always go and how next year we will be foregoing this tradition as everyone in the family will be on Crete to celebrate Emma and Ash’s wedding. We are all very excited about this major event in our family and can’t wait for it to happen!
Meanwhile, back on Crete I have been most disappointed because the bad weather has stopped me from doing the final days of selling my seashell Mosaics and collages by Almyrida Beach. I do feel sorry for the tourists that are here this week. I managed an afternoon on Monday but persistent rain showers have meant that I cannot do another until next Monday, when the forecast predicts that we will be back to sunshine and temperatures of 28 degrees. There are still plenty of tourists milling around Almyrida and the hotels are not closing until late October. I shall see how busy I am on Monday and then decide whether it will be my final beach day of selling for the season.