Disappointing, Dull & Miserable Weather For October

For the rest of September the weather here on Crete was much more comfortable to live and work in. I did well from my beach stall and sold 29 Seashell Mosaic Paintings, the majority of which were the larger and more expensive designs, which surprised me! Last September there were virtually no tourists here so I couldn’t sell at all that month. Therefore this is indeed a good result and I am happy!

Seashell & Sand Mosaic Donkey - popular design in September. Both my Donkey designs also sold on Etsy.

Seashell & Sand Mosaic Donkey – popular design in September. Both my Donkey designs also sold on Etsy.

Contrary to how I imagined – October’s weather from the start was unsettled. After the first week it started to get noticeably colder and rain has been forecast for most of this month. With the big drop in temperature, for me it felt as though we’d left summer and entered mid-winter at the drop of a hat! Although this is actually quite average for October – I just remember how nice it was last October. I had planned to continue selling this month but quickly realized that I would have a nightmare with the weather and the lack of tourists (especially British) was of course, the deciding factor.

at the Carl Axon gig in Kalyves

At the Carl Axon Gig in Kalyves- not a good one but I am scraping the barrel for photos to put in this post!

Social events-wise, I’ve been to more live music gigs in Kalyves and Georgioupoli and enjoyed early doors at my local, Vangeli’s in Plaka for the music and general knowledge quiz held on Fridays. I’ve also started back on David’s walks after an absence of ten years. When I first came to Crete in 2009, I joined David’s walking group so that II could get to know the area better and meet other expats living here, whom I could ask advice of – should I need it. But after about 2 years I had to stop going because I was crazy busy with my art business and didn’t have the time to spare. Now that I finally have more balance in my life – I have loads more time to do other things again.

Sold in September – Greek Blue Door & Steps in Seashell Mosaic Painting – 25 x 30cms & also available from my Etsy shop.

But the weather outlook improved a little and my dear friends, Caroline, Tony and their daughter Lucy arrived on Crete last Saturday, to beautiful sunny warm weather. After checking into the Almyrida Beach Hotel we went straight up to the roof terrace of the Almyrida Residence Hotel opposite and enjoyed a late lunch in the sunshine. Later in the evening we ate at Psaros in Almyrida and the food was really good, especially the wine! The lovely weather continued into Sunday but since then it’s been dull and miserable with lots of drizzly rain. A good old thunder, lightening and heavy rain storm would have been better, because it’s exciting to watch and nicer weather usually follows. Never mind – we made the most of getting out and about and spent all day Monday in Chania, returning in time for dinner back in Almyrida at Thalami. In my opinion this taverna is one of the best long-standing restaurants in Almyrida. It was packed in there that night and we were lucky to get the last, albeit small table left. It was their last night of the season so everyone wanted to be there. The food, service, wine and atmosphere were excellent! I highly recommend.

First walk with David's group - all around Kefelas

First walk with David’s group 10 days ago – all around Kefelas.

We spent another day visiting Bali, which is about an hour and 15 minutes drive from Almyrida. Actually we were chasing the better weather and although it never really improved – remaining dull and miserable – at least it wasn’t pouring with rain. We had a leisurely long walk all around Bali, browsing the shops occasionally and stopping for lunch at a nice taverna with a view. We stopped off at Georgioupoli to split up the journey on the way back, ending our trip with a lovely cocktail at Splendid Cocktail bar in Georgioupoli.

Scorpio design in Seashell Mosaic on Sand, Natural Wall Art. Sold 2 this summer. Also available from my Etsy shop.

Scorpio design in Seashell Mosaic on Sand, Natural Wall Art. Sold 2 from my beach stall this summer. 20 x 20cms Also available from my Etsy shop.

We had two lovely evenings on my balcony, eating, drinking and chatting the night away, laughing lots and having a good time. We all enjoyed a really tasty meal at Elpis in Plaka and last Sunday we watched only the first half of that dreadful football match between Manchester United and Liverpool in my local sport’s bar, Vangeli’s! On the last day we had a ten pin bowling match at the Almyrida Residence Hotel bowling alley and a last drink at Franscoise before heading back to Chania airport for their return flight in the evening.

My friends stayed for only 5 days but we filled them as best we could, given the awful weather. In fact it was just all so relaxed and casual that we didn’t even think of taking photos, apart from scenic views. So there is not a single photo I can upload here, to remember their visit! It was so dull and miserable and I felt the cold as if we were well into winter. We were all constantly wrapped up warm. But I thoroughly enjoyed this quality time with Caroline, Tony and Lucy and am so pleased they came to Crete for a break and to catch up with me. Hope I get the chance to see them again during my forthcoming trip back to the UK for Christmas.

Another awesome sunset view from my balcony in September

Another awesome sunset view from my balcony in September

Looking ahead, the weather is improving drastically from Tuesday onwards and I am joining David’s walking group on Wednesday for a leisurely stroll all round the mountain village area of Ramni, a place I haven’t been to for many years. David’s walks are all about the nature that surrounds us here on this beautiful island. There will be amazing views to see as well as wildlife such as owls and vultures. After feeling so cold this past week, I am looking forward to being out and about in temperatures forecast to be 26 degrees!

It really is ‘sod’s law’ that the weather should improve so much the week after my friends have visited! To make the most of the return of fine weather, on Friday I am driving Lisa, Debbie and Ross to Falasarna for our first beachcombing day of the Autumn.
Can’t Wait!

Crete’s Long Hot Summer Continues into September

I am pleased to report that the temperatures gradually came down to a more normal level and by mid August, were a lot more bearable, especially with the return of the cool breezes coming off the sea. By 9th August I was back selling from my stall by the beach. It was busy in Almyrida and Plaka yet still the majority of tourists were from France and Germany. By my recollection of the past 13 summers in Almyrida – I have never seen so many French and German tourists. There were hardly any British tourists this August and I am not surprised, given the way the UK government has made it so difficult for British people to travel this summer.

Popular this summer - Cat on Steps in Seashell Mosaic Painting

Popular this summer – Cat on Steps in Seashell Mosaic Painting

Now we are already into the middle of September and I have finally seen the return of many British visitors and many who weren’t able to visit Crete last year. It is lovely to see familiar faces again and to welcome them all back! I sold a total of 25 Seashell Mosaic Paintings during the 3 weeks in August and have sold a further 15 so far this month. Sales are down by less than a half to what they were pre-covid. But when you consider all the extra outlay on covid tests for travel – the tourists that do make it here inevitably have less money to spend. I feel like I’ve done as well as I could have hoped for, even managing to sell some more expensive artworks which I would not normally display and I have had to remove these pieces from the Etsy shop. My new cat designs have sold well this summer and the little mermaid too.

Not normally for my beach stall, sold this September. Fisherman, boat & Seagulls in Seashell Mosaic Painting

Not normally for my beach stall, sold this September. Fisherman, boat & Seagulls in Seashell Mosaic Painting.

It’s been a quiet summer for family and friends visiting this year, with only Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve’s holiday so far because sadly Zoe and Rich weren’t able to make it here this summer. My friends Jill and Rick were due at the end of August but felt they had to cancel because of the constant changes and restrictions the UK government is making on travel. However I am thrilled that Caroline and Tony are flying out for 5 days on the 23rd October. I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with them as it’s been a while since we had time to properly catch up.

The music festival in Gavalochori

The music festival in Gavalochori

 

Local  restrictions here on Crete have meant  that live music gigs have been few and far between. But now they are starting to pick up again. Last weekend I went to the music festival in Gavolochori, held at a large open-air setting with many different bands playing and despite the fact that we weren’t supposed to dance (duh?!!) – we were all up dancing in the street anyway!  Last night there was a gig in the local village of Drapanos and next week Carl is playing at Nikita’s in Almyrida.  Generally there are more events planned for the coming weeks.

Lisa and I enjoying the music at the Gavalochori Festival

Lisa and I enjoying the music at the Gavalochori Festival

Just when I thought we’d seen the last of the high temperatures, this weekend it has turned hotter again with temperatures of 34 and 35 degrees. The sea is like a mill pond and the atmosphere is hazy and airless. When you step outside it is like entering a sauna and I am really hoping that by Monday there will still be sea breezes so that I am more comfortable when I am selling at my stall in Almyrida.

Another awesome sunset as seen from my balcony

Another awesome sunset as seen from my balcony

Another Heatwave Way Too Hot to Work or Play in!

The post you are about to read was actually posted on 6th August, but the hosting company migrated my site and in the process I have been offline for several days and have lost that post.  As it was a special one (well all of them are special to me) and because luckily I keep drafts, I am re-posting it now.

It is the 6th August and we are in the midst of another dreadful heatwave here on Crete. The Greek authorities have declared it the hottest on record and wildfires have been raging all over Greece and the islands. This is putting enormous pressure on the Electricity supply and this morning we had the inevitable power cut! I am so grateful that this heatwave didn’t happen last week, when my family were over. Out of curiosity I put my fridge magnet thermometer outside on my balcony overlooking the sea, to record the temperature. It went off the scale at over 120F (over 50C) and burst the bulb! Continue reading

It’s Late, but Summer is Finally Starting to Kick Off!

It’s true! Aside from the exciting UEFA Championship final between UK and Italy happening tomorrow, slowly, slowly Almyrida and Plaka are starting to fill with more tourists. I cannot wait to welcome the UK tourists back. They have definitely been conspicuous by their absence, with mostly only Germans, Russians and a few Americans visiting. But with the easing of restrictions in the UK on travel, this means many more British tourists can now visit Greece without having to quarantine on their return. Continue reading

Missing Almyrida’s Tourists for the Second Year Running

How strange and sad it is to see everywhere so quiet and deserted for the second year in a row. Both Almyrida and Plaka would normally be buzzing at this time of the year, yet there are barely enough tourists to warrant all the restaurants and shops being open. Indeed everywhere is open but everywhere is almost deserted! Continue reading

So What is There to Write About?

We’ve been in lockdown here on Crete for almost 5 months and everyone is feeling totally fed up! A couple of weeks ago they tightened up the restrictions even further and we are now only allowed to shop locally. No more trips to the large supermarkets in Chania. Also we are not allowed to travel by car to exercise, which means we shouldn’t be going to Kalyves for our lovely walks along the beaches there. Curfews are still in place from 9pm until 5am and you must always have a valid reason for leaving your home. Continue reading

Enjoying Weeks of Sunshine and Warm Weather!

I am loving the mild winter we’ve been having here on Crete. A noticeable indication of just how much sunshine we’ve been enjoying shows visibly on the mountains, where almost all the snow has melted. The fact that we’re still in lockdown is frustrating but is nowhere near as limiting as it is in the UK. I have been making the most of the hours of sunshine and warm weather by getting out and about on walks, because there is always somewhere close by to explore on foot. Continue reading

Warning! Never Book Anything Through Lastminute.com!

The only reason I am even telling this sorry tale is to let people know that Lastminute.com should come with a health warning! It is a long narrative if you can be bothered to read it. But they are a despicable company and should no longer be allowed to conduct their illegal business practices. Covid is no excuse for their total lack of customer service and outright lies to their customers!
Lastminute Customer Service is not fit for purpose and I hope I persuade anyone who reads this not to go near them! Continue reading

A Christmas of Joy Worth all the Stress of Covid

I arrived home to Crete on 2nd after leaving a very cold UK and I am blown away by the wonderful weather I’ve come back to!  I am amazed to be sitting here on my balcony with warm and tranquil sunshine washing over me like a comfort blanket. It’s been blue skies and sunshine ever since I returned and it’s forecast to be 24 and 25 degrees at the weekend. Wow!  Despite having a list of stuff I need to deal with – I just have to sit here and enjoy it!  My view is magical and my recent memories are magical… so I am perfectly placed to write all about them here and now. Continue reading