These last ten days back on Crete have been as busy as ever. I’ve been catching up with close friends and finding out how their Christmas and New Year celebrations went. Then there’s always lots of work to do where my seashell mosaics are concerned. After taking three weeks off, I am eager to step up production again.
I’ve also been beachcombing with my good friend Jackie, this time down on the south coast at a place called Franko Castelli, near Chora Sfakia. There are different shells to collect on different beaches and here I get the shells I need for my turtle designs. The weather has been quite wonderful considering its January. When the sun is shining and the skies are blue I am itching to explore the many beautiful empty beaches that I have such easy access to. Jackie and I had a really lovely day and found plenty of shells for my artworks. We had a packed lunch sitting on the beach and had to keep taking more and more layers of clothes off as it was so warm!
Because I am somewhat a struggling artist I have to find other ways of earning extra money during the winter months to improve my quality of living here on Crete. So I have been busy painting railings at one of the villas in Xerosterni. This villa, like so many others in this area of Crete, is down a very long, uneven and bumpy track and my car is just not geared up for that! Second hand cars are not easy to find here and when I bought the car four years ago, I was dismayed to find out that I could not remove the added ‘skirts’ that wrap round the car and make it very low on the ground. Two brothers owned the Punto before me and customised it with these trims which can’t be removed, but they are a real pain when driving on these stony uneven tracks!
To make matters worse, I have to admit that painting railings is my least favourite decorating job and I have painted quite a few in the last couple of years. It’s monotonous, repetitive work and unfortunately, there are lots of these railings that need painting! Also, because the paint is oil-based it is more difficult to work with. Especially in the sunshine and when it is windy as it turns progressively thicker and is already drying as I paint it on. Luckily on my first day I was working on railings that were in the shade and there was little wind, but I may not be so lucky tomorrow. The fine weather is continuing and temperatures of 22 degrees are expected with some wind thrown in! I would much rather be working on my artworks any day! Not to worry – I will take this in my stride and just do the best job I can.
On the plus side, because the weather has been so lovely I have been working on my seashell mosaics outside on my balcony today. How wonderful is that for the middle of January? It’s something I definitely couldn’t do in the UK.