What a wonderful week I’ve just had with my two gorgeous grandchildren, Ralph and Neve! My daughters and my grandchildren are the precious jewels of my life and they illuminate every breath I take through their very existence. So a week with all four of them was just pure bliss for me!
Zoe is pregnant and expecting my third grandchild in August. My little family which used to be just Zoe, Emma and me, is now growing larger and larger and there will soon be eight of us! I cannot begin to tell you how much they all enrich my life and make me so very happy. How lucky am I that I got to spend this past week’s holiday of happiness and fun with my family at my home on Crete. Ash has been posted to Cyprus for three months and Rich had work commitments, so they were both unable to come, but (and of course I am biased!) my precious jewels were all here!
The weather continued to be unsettled but I think we were lucky to have had so many beach and pool days. It was largely sunny and warm, although we had first some very strong south winds which filled the air with red dust and then the last two days there were particularly gusty west winds. Yet we always managed to find somewhere more sheltered, like the lovely large and grassy pool area at the Langden Hotel in Almyrida or the Almyrida Beach Hotel poolside.
I will never forget waiting at the airport for their arrival and Ralph spotting me from inside the baggage claim hall. He just ran the distance straight towards me, calling “Yia yia! Yia yia!” And he ran into my arms with such gusto that we fell backwards onto the floor, laughing our socks off! It was great that Zoe and Emma booked such an early flight because by about 3pm that first day, we were already on the small beach in Almyrida! It was so sunny, warm and calm that we stayed there for a few hours before going to Dimitri’s for dinner. After that first day, we had dinner at home every night, preferring to eat out for lunch every day instead, apart from two exceptions where we took a packed lunch and the cool box. It was easier and made sense with two small children – Ralph is three years old and Neve is just eight months.
We spent a day on Kalyves beach and although it was windy, we were sheltered by a large wooden taverna. I have so enjoyed playing with Ralph and Neve on the beach. I took Ralph for a walk all along the beach and we were looking for interesting things that had washed up on the sand all the way! We walked right up to the small harbour, where I sat Ralph on the large torpedo and we even went inside the tiny chapel, which was only big enough for one or two people to stand in.
Saturday was the only really cloudy day, with a couple of brief showers and when we saw the forecast we decided to visit Georgioupoli for the day because it’s a really nice place to walk around, have coffee, lunch and browse a few shops. We came across a large children’s fun park with a taverna and spent a wonderful couple of hours watching Ralph and Neve while they enjoyed all the facilities. There were two huge bouncy castles, a go-cart racing track, trampolines, a ball park and playhouse to name some of them. Both Ralph and Neve had such a good time – well we all did as they were such a joy to watch!
Some of the days we visited the Almyrida Beach Hotel poolside where there is a play area for small children and we alternated between the harbour end of Almyrida beach and the small beach at the other end of Almyrida. Locally we are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches and poolside terraces in which to enjoy our time together as a family.
I am so grateful to have been able to create these opportunities for all of us, by living on this beautiful Island of Crete! I will have been living here for ten years on 13th May and right from the beginning, I have enjoyed so many memorable family occasions. This most recent holiday is just as special in so many ways and I love being a Yia yia! I loved talking to Ralph – you can hold whole conversations with him now! It’s such fun playing with him, soaking up his enthusiasm and sense of adventure! I loved watching Neve while she enjoyed playing in the sand, laughing at her reactions to everything! To help during mealtimes, bath times and bedtimes were all such pleasures for me! I loved every single minute of this family holiday and I shall cherish the wonderful memories for always. And I am so proud of Zoe and Emma.
So naturally… I cried buckets all the way home, after dropping all my precious jewels off at the airport! Then I cried when I arrived home and saw the highchair, the toys, travel cot and Ralph’s camp bed. I moped about for the rest of the day, missing them all so much. It’s a long journey for them to make with Ralph and baby Neve, but the children were angels on both journeys. Thank goodness for Skype, which gives us virtual reality whenever we want and need it! Zoe and Emma Skyped me when they had arrived safely back at Zoe and Rich’s and I talked to Ralph who said he wanted to go back to Crete, bless! Neve was crawling all over the place and full of energy! She had slept well on the plane in Emma’s arms, bless!
Now I am busy getting ready for my beach selling season, watching the weather every day, for the best day to start. It’s proving very difficult this year, with this ongoing unsettled weather we’re still having – most unusual! I am not rushing to sell while the winds are so strong and I am so exposed to them whilst I am working. Sitting there at the edge of Almyrida beach, the gusty winds are liable to blow away my whole display! I have already experienced this unfortunate casualty several times over the last 10 years!
I am looking forward to my dear friends, Jill, Rick and all of their family’s visit for two weeks from 24th May. Jill and Rick were the first people to come and stay with me when I moved here in May 2009. Two weeks later and they were here, which helped me to really settle in! Jill and Rick are not staying at mine this time and last June they ended up staying at my house without my being there, as I stayed in the UK when Mum was so poorly. So it is wonderful that I can make up for that and spend some time with them on this holiday instead.
I am also looking forward to meeting up with Paul and Sheila with their family, any day now. They are good customers and I have come to know them well over the years. Sadly I have not been able to see them for the last few times they have been to Crete – due to my family commitments. But this time we will definitely meet for lunch and a long overue catch-up!
Here are some more photos from our wonderful family holiday here on this beautiful Island of Crete!