August is Always a Good Month for Sales

We have been very lucky not to have experienced any further serious heatwaves since I last wrote in this blog.  I know other parts of Europe and particularly Spain, have suffered with very high temperatures during August.  For the most part though, I have been comfortable on my selling days at the edge of Almyrida beach and this is all due to the constant breezes coming off the sea.

Seagulls In Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting - sold yesterday from my beach stall

Seagulls In Seashell Mosaic Collage Painting – sold yesterday from my beach stall

Currently, we are experiencing several days of cloudy unsettled weather.  It is very humid but not sunny and thick dark clouds threaten thunderstorms that never materialize to clear the air.  Again Crete has been lucky to miss the worst of the current storm Daniel raging across central Greece, which has hit the island of Skiathos very badly too, leaving many stranded holidaymakers.  But I also do feel sorry for the tourists that are here on Crete this week while the weather is so unsettled, especially visitors from the UK who have left just as a heatwave has arrived,  finally bringing some semblance of a ‘late summer’ to the wet and miserable UK.
However this unsettled weather is good news for me as I’ve gained more customers from people who were walking around the village yesterday instead of spending their day on the beach.

Love Seahorses in Seashell Mosaic Painting sold from my beach stall in August

Love Seahorses in Seashell Mosaic Painting sold from my beach stall in August

August has been a busy month for producing my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings and attempting to keep up with demand.  August is always busy work-wise and I am happy to report good sales again as I sold 40 original artworks in July and a total of 57 original artworks in August.  I do get a lot of repeat business and it is always lovely to welcome back regular visitors to Almyrida.  Some visitors like Rickard and his family came back for another holiday after 10 years and Rickard even left a lovely comment on this blog all those years ago!  Yesterday I welcome another family who visited Almyrida 4 years ago.

Lisa and I have been continuing our relaxing Sundays while Debbie has been in the UK.  A few weeks ago I needed to collect more pebbles for my fast and now best-selling cat designs.  So we went to Georgioupoli for a change and enjoyed a lovely day and a nice lunch on the huge and beautiful beach there.  We’ve spent quite a few Sundays in Almyrida, our Norwegian friend Solveig who was here for a couple of weeks, joining us for a day on the beach and last Sunday, because the weather was starting to turn, we had a long and leisurely lunch at Atlantis taverna in Almyrida.

With Lisa & Solveig - our long and leisurely lunch last Sunday at Atlantis in Almyrida

With Lisa & Solveig – our long and leisurely lunch last Sunday at Atlantis in Almyrida

Later that night we all went to Ross and Matt’s gig at Stella’s Meze Bar in Kalyves.  They are a talented acoustic duo called The Blue Orchids and play regularly in the UK. They are a refreshing alternative to the many rock bands here.  As they are not permanent residents here, we only get the pleasure of their performances once or twice during the summer.


At Ross & Matt's gig in Kalyves

At Ross & Matt’s gig in Kalyves

There have been lots of live music gigs, as is par for the course in summertime.  Earlier this week, as part of the culture season at The Old Olive Mill in Kalyves, I went to a ‘Bombay Night of music and dance entertainment with traditional Indian food served.  Last night there was a big charity event held at my local, Vangeli’s in Plaka which was in aid of raising money for difibrillators for all the surrounding villages.  Paul has previously raised money for difrillators now stationed in Plaka and Almyrida.  I packed up my stall early to enjoy the evening which consisted of two local bands supplying the live music and a raffle for which I had donated a Baby Turtles Seashell Mosaic.  September also looks set to be a busy month for both work and social events and I say… bring it on!

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


An Old & Dear Family Friend Comes to Crete for a Visit

It’s no surprise that I had a really lovely time in the UK.  The first week of my two week visit  I stayed with Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve in Thirsk, Yorkshire.  The weather was OK this time – better than last year with more sunshine and higher temperatures.  The weather I left behind in Crete was still very unsettled and unusual for the time of year.  So I was most pleased and surprised that for the duration of my two week visit, the sun shone for most days and we didn’t get any rain! Continue reading

My Blog is Now 10 Years Old.. But I’m Too Busy Living my Life to Write About it!

It’s been a good long while since I last entered a post and the best excuse I can give is that I’ve been too busy living my life to find the time to write about it!  Apart from when I first set up this blog in 2013 and wrote many shorter but more frequent posts, my life here on Crete is so chocker block full that it sometimes feels like a chore that needs to be fitted in somehow, like cooking and cleaning.  I can’t believe I’ve been writing about my wonderful life on Crete for 10 years!  The thing is that once I start recalling the events of the past weeks, it’s like I am appreciating my life all over again.  Believe me when I say that I am always grateful… Continue reading

Putting All the Hours into Creating my Art

We were so lucky with the weather in January.  It was sunny and mild for the whole month but in the first week of February it turned cold and stormy with lots of heavy rain – even hailstones!  And suddenly the mountains were full of snow!  This lasted for about two weeks and now, for the past week the warm sunny weather has returned. Continue reading

A Wonderful Family Christmas in Wales

I spent my first night in the UK at my dear friends’ Gill and Rick’s home in Bramhall.  Gill picked me up from the airport at around 6pm and Rick cooked up a wonderful steak dinner.  They spoilt me rotten as they always do, and it was the best and only time I had to catch up properly with them during this year’s Christmas in the UK.  We literally talked for hours…. Great food, great wine and great company.. so what more could I ask for to kick off my 2022 Christmas stay in the UK? Continue reading

How Easy it is to be Happy When You Live on Crete

The weather here on Crete for the whole of November has been absolutely fabulous!  We’ve had day after day of warm sunny weather, perfect for beachcombing and walking.  I’ve also spent countless hours on my art.. as I start to build up my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings for next summer.  I sold so well this year that I have a full and busy winter ahead.  Such is my life here that I pack it to the rafters with things I love to do both in my work and leisure time. Continue reading

Enjoying Wonderful Warm Sunny Weather This October

These past few weeks we have been enjoying some wonderful weather, especially for October and it is such a contrast to this time last year.  We had a really bad rainstorm in mid October which caused severe flooding on parts of Crete, but luckily not near me!  For the rest of the time it’s been lovely and warm with sunshine all day long! Continue reading

Making More Memories with Family & Friends This Summer

As predicted, August has been mega busy sales-wise and I sold 51 Seashell Mosaic Paintings from my beach stall and 3 more from the Gavalochori Gift Shop.  This is over double the sales I had for this period last year.  Demand has been so high for certain designs that I have not had the time to make more. Continue reading