Getting into the Christmas Spirit!

I have found it very difficult to tear myself away from my work lately. So three weeks has all but flown by again and means I have had to remember everything else that I’ve been doing during that time.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to Jeff and Shauna’s Thanksgiving Dinner again. I say fortunate because only about ten of us received an invite. What a feast and a spread they put on! The turkey was enormous yet somehow Jeff and Shauna managed to cook it to perfection and the whole meal was wonderful – very American! A great evening was enjoyed by all of us!

Christmas Fayre Auction at ALmyrida Beach Hotel

One of the auctions going on at the Almyrida Beach Hotel – not such a good photo as it doesn’t show the blue sky or indeed, cature the atmosphere!

The Almyrida Christmas Fayre was its usual success and a real fun day out for everyone. So many people come to this event each year and much money is raised for all kinds of charities. It’s also the one day of the year that I get to see just about everybody I know. David and I took turns to watch each other’s stalls while we went walkabout, socialising with people milling around the two hotels which covered the event. It was a warm and sunny day and apart from all the lovely gifts you could buy, there were stalls upon stalls of freshly baked produce and foods from all over the world to feast on for lunch. Personally I loved the mulled wine and with the varied live music bands playing throughout the day, it felt really Christmassy! I took a few quick photos but it was impossible to capture the atmosphere or indeed, encompass the volume of people and activity going on at this much-loved event. I made a few sales of my seashell mosaics and would have made more if only I had the facility to accept debit or credit cards. Still… my leaflets flew out of their display holder, so maybe I will make those sales at some future date. However I have made some recent sales via the internet and so overall, I am quite pleased with the amount of pictures I have sold since I stopped selling on the beach in October.

I managed to fit in another lovely beachcombing day before the weather turned. This time with Jackie and Pauline. It’s amazing how many people want to accompany me on these trips, which is really nice because I do enjoy the company and it’s always a good opportunity to catch up with friends I don’t get to see so often. Anyway, we went to Bali which is about an hour’s drive and half an hour from Rethymnon. There are two beaches here that have shells on them. Jackie brought along some chilled sparkling wine – complete with plastic wine goblets, which gave our picnic on the beach a refreshing and bubbly twist! How terribly civilised!

Beachcombing on Bali beach

Jackie and I on one of Bali’s beaches

I have been so engrossed in developing new projects for my seashell mosaics that even stopping to cook and eat has been an interruption for me! As soon as I have completed the new designs I will post up a photo of them. I love nothing more than seeing a picture come to life and working – always with Smooth Radio Northwest on in the background, has further gotten me into the Christmas mood! I love all the Christmas songs of the past and present. Also I think the reason I have been working extra hard to build up some current stock including the new stuff, is because after Christmas and New Year I have to get busy with painting houses and the ‘dreaded’ railings again!

Of course I am returning to the UK for the festive period and can’t wait to see Zoe and Emma again as well as all my family and friends. I hate all the commercial pressure put on people in the run-up to Christmas, because for me that’s not what it’s all about. For me, Christmas is about family and spending quality and happy times with them and friends too. It’s about taking real ‘time out’ to enjoy with your loved ones. Last year I caught that dreadful virus from the flight over – interestingly – the first time I flew with a budget airline. I was quite poorly for over two weeks, so virtually, most of the time I was in the UK. This year I am back flying with Aegean and am taking no chances! My nostrils will be covered at regular intervals with Vaseline during the flight. I have been told that this acts as a barrier against germs and I will be taking some hand hygiene gel so that I can frequently wash my hands. This may sound over the top, but I think it’s worth it if it means I am fit and healthy for the whole two weeks that I am in the UK.

This final week in Crete I have plans to go into Chania early evening, have some dinner at a cosy Greek restaurant and see all the Christmas decorations which are quite spectacular. I don’t think the Greeks used to go to as much trouble in the past and whether that’s because of all the ex-pat influence here or just the fact that they want to celebrate Christmas more – I just don’t know. Here on Crete, Easter has always been the major calendar event. But as always, I suspect that a lot of it is down to sheer commercialism! I also want to spend a couple of evenings out with friends and of course, enjoy plenty of that Christmas spirit!

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