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!

Seashell Mosaic Painting

Sold in September – 30 x 40cms Seashell Mosaic Painting

I finished my summer selling season by mid October because there were not enough tourists around Almyrida by then.  I sold another 51 Seashell Mosaic Paintings during September and a further 19 in the 4 days I set up my stall in October.  Overall the results this summer have been totally unexpected and my stock now has never been so low!  I ran out of so many designs that have consistently sold well this season.  Even by reducing my selling days from 3 to 2 a week – I couldn’t make enough to meet demand!  I am quite thrilled that my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings are still so popular.

So since I stopped selling and producing so much I have been out and about lots, while the weather is so glorious and I have more time.  The two walking groups have resumed their walks and I’ve walked in Maza and Deliana Gorge with the Happy Wanderers and Argrioupoli with David’s group.

Deliana Gorge

On the Deliana Gorge walk with the Happy Wanderers

All the walks were wonderfully invigorating and so scenic.  After not much walking in the heat of the summer months, I have welcomed the additional exercise these walks afford.  As for the amazing views at every turn… well I just love this beautiful Island!  I wish there was more room for photos.  A walking day is really a whole day out.  We start early and end up with a late and very long lunch.  Every taverna is different and most do not actually have much in the way of a menu – especially out of season and in these ‘out of the way’ locations.   The hospitality is beyond measure and we are frequently gifted extra treats, whether in the form of food or alcohol.  We are so satisfied at the end of our meal that we do not need to eat at all for the rest of the day!  Mind you we are usually all heartily hungry after our walks!  I always have to take plenty of snacks to keep me going for the 4 or 5 hours that we are rambling.

Seiten Limania Beach Crete

Seitan Limania Beach

Last week I drove 3 of my friends to the other side of Akrotiri to see if we could access the ‘Glass Beach’ on foot.  This is quite an amazing little cove which is filled with sea-tumbled glass that my friends love to collect.  For 3 years we have been talking about hiring a boat to get there but with covid and other stuff going on, it’s been difficult to arrange.  I actually visited this beach with Matt in his speedboat back in 2014, yet Debbie looked on Google maps and reckoned we could drive so far and then walk down the cliff to the bottom.  When we arrived there it turned out to be another cove – a quite famous one called Seiten Limania Beach.  I couldn’t believe how many tourists were there and so many friendly goats came right up to us! Lisa, Debbie and Kathy didn’t seem bothered about climbing the long way down and then back up again – as neither did the majority of tourists there.  So we took some photos and then headed for nearby Stavros to spend the rest of the day there, collecting shells.

At Stavros

At a little beach in Stavros – with Debbie, Kathy and Lisa

Social events and dinners with friends have been a-plenty.  Penny and I had dinner in Plaka and she came with me to the ‘Libra’ Party that Neisha organized at Nikita’s in Almyrida.  That was a fun evening of all night dancing as there was a DJ, which made a pleasant change from a live band as the music was more varied.

Night out in Plaka

Night out with Penny

I enjoyed another lovely evening with my Norwegian friend Solveig, when we had cocktails at Happy Hour on the rooftop terrace of the Almyrida Residence Hotel, followed by an excellent – as always – meal at Thalami in Almyrida.

Lunch in Chania

Lunch in Chania with Solveig

We also spent a day in Chania when the weather was a bit iffy, having lunch there before wandering around the harbour front and shops.  I was again amazed at how busy Chania was for October and recently learned that the Greek Tourist Minister declared this the busiest October on record.

Halloween gig in Kalyves

At the Halloween gig in Kalyves with Lisa

On Friday night I went to a bar in Kalyves where ‘Island Beat’, ‘The Vibes’ and one or two other musicians rocked the ‘Halloween-themed’ night away.  It was packed and a great night out.  So too was Lawrence’s party on the Saturday, held at his charming villa in the gardens and around the poolside.  Although temperatures drop quite steeply now in the evenings – we all dressed up warmly and enjoyed the music constantly being played on Lawrence’s amazing dukebox!

Almyrida

Almyrida – A photo I took on Sunday morning during a power walk to clear my head after all the drinking I did at the weekend!

This wonderful weather is set to continue until the weekend with warm temperatures of 25 degrees and so we all plan to visit Falasarna for the day on Friday. It may well be the end of the summer on this first day of November… but it doesn’t feel like that to me, as I sit on my beautiful balcony overlooking the sea and writing up this post…

 

 

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.

Greek Urn wit Plant Seashell Mosaic Painting

Popular again this summer – Greek Urn with plant – Seashell Mosaic Painting. I sold 3 of this design in August.

The weather overall this summer has been perfect compared to last year.  Not so many heatwaves and it has felt much ‘fresher’ thanks to the strong breezes.  Of these there have been plenty to cope with on my selling days!  Selling by the coast here does not come without its challenges, the biggest of them being the winds which often change direction and can arrive and disappear quite suddenly.  On some days I have had to reposition my car several times, to act as a windshield.  But I do not complain as these strong breezes keep me fresh and cool in the high temperatures.

Rick

At Elpis – not a great pic as Rick & I have our eyes closed. Clockwise with Rob, Jayne and Gill

At the start of September my dear friends Gill and Rick arrived with Rick’s brother Rob and his wife Jayne.  During the short week they were here I was lucky enough to spend two wonderful evenings with them, enjoying dinner at Elpis in Plaka.  Sadly I wasn’t able to join them on the beach during the day as I was busy preparing and organizing my work for the coming 2 weeks that Zoe, Rich and Arthur would be staying with me.  But those two nights were the best, enjoying such good food and wonderful company!

Arthur loves the beach!

Arthur loves the beach!

The first three days of Zoe and Rich’s holiday were spent on Almyrida’s various beaches and were especially wonderful with little Arthur, who has just turned three and absolutely adores the beach, like his Mum, Zoe!  We did a lot of paddling, exploring and building sandcastles.
As usual I set up my stall and sold on the Monday and in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Zoe and Rich got a taxi to the airport for their flight to Cyprus.  Zoe was chief bridesmaid for her best friend, Amy’s wedding and I was looking after Arthur for 4 days while they were away.

Arthur with Simon the Lifeguard

Arthur with Simon the Almyrida Lifeguard

So it was just my Grandson Arthur and me… and we had such fun!  We had three full beach days, eating lunch at Dimitri’s in Almyrida because there was a convenient children’s play area right on the sand next to the taverna.  But also it was near the lifeguard’s watchtower.  Simon – apart from saving a few lives (as witnessed by my friends Gill & Rick), has time for everyone including Arthur.  Simon made a big fuss of him, letting Arthur wear his lifeguard cap and whistle and after that, Arthur was in awe of him, bless!

Poolside at the Almyrida Bay Hotel & Resort

Poolside at the Almyrida Bay Hotel & Resort

On the Friday when Zoe and Rich were due back, Arthur and I were just about to leave for Chania airport at 1pm when Zoe called to say they had missed their flight!  Without going into all the details – Athens airport and Aegean Airlines were both at fault and in the end they didn’t make it back until the wee hours of Saturday morning.  This meant they had to endure hours and hours of waiting at Athens airport and the extra expense of a taxi back to mine.  Nobody I know has had a stress-free travel experience this summer… as airlines and airports don’t give a damn about any of their customers anymore…
Such is the world we live in right now…

At Elpis in Plaka

At Elpis in Plaka

There was no way Arthur and I were going to hang around my place all day, so we had a lovely afternoon at the large pool of the Almyrida Bay Hotel, where Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve stayed last year.  Considering it was a pool and not the beach, Arthur loved it there and was never out of the water!  And this is where we all spent the Saturday that Zoe and Rich returned.  The only downside was the fact that we couldn’t eat there, so we had lunch at Franscoise then returned to the pool afterwards.  That night we had booked a table at Elpis in Plaka, where there was live music on.  The food there is so good and Carl Axon entertained us well, as usual.  Rich left a little earlier to take Arthur back and put him to bed.

Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves

At Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves

The following day I drove them to the Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves.  Zoe and Rich had booked all inclusive to stay there for the last 4 days.  As I helped them to check into their family room, I was also given a wristband and therefore able to join them for dinner on Tuesday and lunch on Wednesday.  Both these days Arthur and I went for long walks on the beach there, collecting rocks and shells and anything interesting for our ‘treasure’.  We dug a hole and buried it, only to dig it all up again the next day!  The Kiani Beach Resort has much to offer families with small children but the all inclusive drinks leave a lot to be desired!  There was no bottled water – only tap water and the soft drinks were far too sickly and very sugary!  The alcohol was totally suspect – watered down and un-branded.  It is advisable to pay more for the VIP all inclusive upgrade, where at least the alcohol is drinkable!  Otherwise – the facilities, rooms, service and food were all really good value.

On Almyrida's far stony beach

With Zoe and Arthur on Almyrida’s far stony beach – disappointing weather on the last day.

I collected Zoe, Rich and Arthur from the hotel on their last day on Thursday morning after it had rained heavily and was cloudy and miserable.  Sadly our plans to spend their last day on Almyrida Beach were scuppered.  So we settled for a bite to eat at Franscoise followed by a long walk around Almyrida and then Plaka, where we stopped for a drink at Totem.  Back to mine to shower and change for a final dinner at the Italian Pizza restaurant in Almyrida, before leaving for Chania airport at 9pm.  Their flight was due to leave at 11.30pm and was on time but caused major problems by landing at a different airport!  As I mentioned earlier, travel is a complete farce nowadays and they didn’t arrive home until 7.30am UK time which is some 7 hours later than they should have!

Just Arthur & me on Almyrida's main beach

Just Arthur & me on Almyrida’s main beach

Travel-stress aside – Zoe, Rich and Arthur had a wonderful holiday and of course I had a wonderful time with them all too.  Yet again I have been so fortunate that all my family – all the grandchildren have come to Crete for their holidays again this year and made their Yiayia very happy indeed!

The next day I set up my stall to sell again – even though the weather was a bit iffy.  However, by the time the rain came at 12 noon, I had packed up after having already sold 7 of my Seashell Mosaic Paintings.  So far sales for September have been equally amazing and I intend to continue as long as the weather is good and the tourists are still here.

All of us after dinner at the Kiani Beach Resort

All of us after dinner at the Kiani Beach Resort

I have enjoyed a number of social events before and in between my family’s visit.  A couple that stand out are the charity gigs in Vamos Square and the Plakabury Charity festival which saw practically the whole of the village fill Plaka Square this last Wednesday evening.  We all danced so much and the atmosphere was amazing.  The bands – Three Little Birds and Phoenix were brilliant!  I think what makes these events so magical is that they are all in the open air and we are eating, drinking and dancing under the stars……
I’ve said it so many times before… I am so happy to be living here!

 

Having Lots of Fun Playing with the Grandchildren!

Emma, Ralph and Neve returned to the UK almost 2 weeks ago and I have been so busy with my art business that this is the first opportunity I have had to write a post about their stay with me.  We had a rather worrying start to the holiday with Neve being poorly and Emma unsure whether she was well enough to travel. Continue reading

Tourists Return to Almyrida and My Art is Selling Like Hot Cakes Again!

It’s been a busy month especially for selling my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings. I have still only been setting up my stall 2 days a week – usually on Mondays and Thursdays, yet I am already struggling to keep up with demand for several popular designs this year. I’ve spent all the free hours I have at home, creating more Mosaics to replace the ones I’ve sold. Continue reading

Extra Quality Time with my Family in the UK

I almost couldn’t believe that my return journey to Crete, after 16 lovely days with my family in the UK, was totally stress-free and absent of any delays. After the awful trip from Chania to Manchester and having seen and heard all the horror stories – I was quite prepared for another rotten travel experience and had decided I would just go with the flow and not let it get to me.  My outbound flight had been delayed by over two hours in Chania and when it finally arrived in Manchester, there was no staff to bring steps so we couldn’t get off the plane! Much later in the baggage hall, there was nobody to take the suitcases off the planes and onto the conveyor belts.  More and more flights were arriving but there was not a bag or suitcase to be seen! I was worried about my daughter who had to leave the car park because it was getting too expensive to stay. When I eventually got my bag (and I was one of the lucky ones!) I had to walk way beyond the airport to find Emma waiting by her car. How ironic that I was actually looking forward to travelling again – post pandemic. Yet it was far worse because the travel industry was so totally unprepared for the sheer volume of people wanting to finally get away. What a fiasco!

Needless to say – however bad the travel experiences – it is always worth it to spend such quality time with my family and grandchildren. It is a real holiday for me and I enjoyed and loved every minute of it. I stayed with Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve for the first 9 days, happily looking after Ralph and Neve for the two days Emma was working. Luckily the weather, although not as good as I’d hoped – was dry and quite sunny at times so we were able to visit the park and go exploring in the woods where we found a treehouse!

 

 

The military base where they live, gave out free tickets to Flamingo Land and so we all went there for the day and the weather was really nice. As it was half term it was very busy and queues for the rides were taking an hour or more. We decided on only a few choice rides, Ash taking Ralph on the steepest rollercoaster in the world – no less – whilst Emma and I queued for a couple of rides with Neve.

It is many many years since I visited a leisure park like Flamingo Land and I must say I was impressed. There was also a zoo set among the beautiful grounds of what once must have been a huge estate and manor house. We spent the whole day there and enjoyed a wide variety of options for lunch, which we ate outside in the sunshine. It was a lovely day out and shortly after we arrived home, Emma and Ash left to go to York for the evening and an overnight hotel stay. As it was their wedding anniversary and they don’t often get the chance to go out, I urged them to take advantage of my being there to babysit.

At the Platinum Jubilee barbeque

At the Platinum Jubilee barbeque held on the Military base

The next day, on the Saturday there was a big party and barbeque in the grounds of the Military base, held to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Again we were so lucky to have good weather as the sun shone for most of the time.  Zoe, Rich and Arthur had travelled from the other side of Yorkshire to join us in the celebrations, which turned it into a real family affair. Aside from the free barbeque, there was a large bouncy castle for the kids, a brilliant play list of music and tunes that many got up to dance to and we brought along our own beer and wine to drink. It was a wonderful day and we stayed until well after 7pm. Zoe, Rich and Arthur were staying over so after we had put all the kids to bed – we continued the party, drinking and sitting around a fire pit in Emma and Ash’s garden, playing music and chatting all evening.

Ralph, Neve & Arthur waving their union jack flags at the Jubilee party

Ralph, Neve & Arthur waving their union jack flags at the Jubilee party

Platinum Julbilee Barbeque

Enjoying the Platinum Jubilee Party & Barbeque

A couple of days later Emma drove us to a shopping centre in Leeds, where we met Zoe. Because the children were back at school and nursery, we had a totally free day of shopping which included a tasty lunch, enjoyed in the sunshine in the garden of Gino de Campo’s restaurant. Then I went back with Zoe to their house in Golcar. It was a shame because the weather was not as good in their part of Yorkshire. In fact I found it rather cold because it was so windy. However this did not stop us from enjoying some quality time together. Zoe had the whole week off work, which was great for me. We spent time shopping and actually did some gardening which I really enjoyed, having only pots to tend in Crete. I also got to play with Arthur lots and I babysat a couple of times so that Zoe and Rich could go out. Like Emma and Ash – they rarely have the chance to go out without the children.

At Ilkley Food and drink festival

At Ilkley Food and drink festival

On the Sunday there was a food and drink festival being held in Ilkley. Zoe and Rich had been to this festival many times before and this year Emma, Ash and the kids came along too and met us there. It was wonderful as I wasn’t expecting another opportunity where we were all together again. Live music from different bands played all day, giving a real festival atmosphere and there were more rides for the kids. Dozens of food and drink stalls of every variety were dotted all over this huge field including many more stalls and marquees selling all kinds of edible treats and crafts. But – in typically British style – the weather this time did put a dampner on things as it was so windy and there was no shelter on that open field! Strong gusts meant that food flew off our plates and drinks were whisked out of our hands, with the children getting all upset at one point. But hey – we all had a great time really and it did brighten up later on in the afternoon.

I really enjoyed my extra holiday in the UK and I intend to make this visit in May/June a more regular thing. I can’t and don’t expect my girls and their families to visit Crete every summer and if they can’t come, then I am only seeing my grandchildren at Christmas time. As it happens I have been really fortunate that Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve all came for holidays here in 2020 and 2021. Zoe and Rich visited in 2020 but were unable to come in 2021. However this summer I am spoilt as Emma , Ralph and Neve are arriving for a week’s holiday on 21st July and are staying with me this time. Also Zoe, Rich and Arthur are coming over in September for two weeks, four days of which will be spent in Cyprus where Zoe’s best friend gets married. I will be looking after Arthur whilst they are there. So I have much to look forward to this summer.

I was back selling by Almyrida beach again two days after I arrived home and am pleased that I sold 5 Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings that day. Among them was the hugely popular design – “Always believe something wonderful is going to happen”. In only 5 separate days of selling this season – I have sold two of these already! And you know what? I truly believe that something really wonderful is going to happen this summer…..

Ange & I Enjoy Walking The Imbros Gorge

I have had three good selling days so far this month but the weather was not good enough for a couple of days last week and disappointingly I only managed to sell on the Monday. Tomorrow will be my last day in May before I fly back to the UK for 16 days. The weather otherwise has been sunny and hot and for the first time in two years there are plenty of tourists – including British – around and about Almyrida and Plaka.
Continue reading

Now I Have Time for Everything Including Lots of Socialising!

The weather has much improved since my last post and Almyrida has fully opened up for the early tourists. I am going to set up my stall and display in a few days and I am thrilled to be able to start this summer season in May instead of July or only August, as was the case in 2020 and 2021. I am particularly looking forward to welcoming the English tourists back to Crete. Continue reading

Goodbye to the Good Weather for Weeks of Cold and Rain!

For several weeks it has been really cold and we’ve had rain almost every day. So this winter on Crete has been a real yoyo between hot and cold temperatures. It’s been difficult to plan anything, especially beachcombing and long walks. The price of petrol has rocketed here (as all over the world) and we are paying 2.10 Euros a litre at the pumps – the highest in Europe! Continue reading

Making the Most of the Warm Winter Sunshine

During the last six weeks the weather here on Crete has been switching constantly from cold and stormy to warm and sunny. A few weeks ago so much snow fell in parts of Greece and Athens that the Greek government declared two days of national holiday as services and businesses struggled to cope with these extreme conditions. Greece is just not used to this! Continue reading

A Very Happy 3 Weeks in the UK with Family at Christmas Time

So it’s a brand new year again and here on Crete, 2022 started so beautifully with bright blue skies and a temperature of 18 degrees, the snow was shining on the mountains and the waves were gently lapping onto the shores of Almyrida Bay. After the New Year celebrations, I knew a brisk walk would do wonders to counteract all the drinking I’d done the night before.. and it really was reviving and invigorating. Continue reading