Oh the Joys of being your Own Boss!

I know it’s been over three weeks since my last post, but I’ve been busy with ordering tons of new canvases and sourcing seashells from all over the world. I have also made time to do some local beachcombing. Then there’s the small matter (I Jest!) of the time it takes to actually make my seashell mosaics and collages!
Captain Jack’s have offered me a permanent display of my pictures for the whole of the winter period and I am chuffed to bits to accept! However, many of the designs I wanted to show have sold in my recent exhibition in Chania and so during these last three weeks I have been making a few of them. I got my collection together and after dropping them off a few days ago, they were already up in the bar by the next day I noticed, when I dropped the price list in.  I left it up to Ritchie to decide which pictures went where and although they were originally supposed to all hang on the same stretch of wall, Ritchie could not get a nail in – for love nor money.  So instead, my mosaics are hanging in little clusters in different parts of the bar – which looks good.

Seashell Mosaics at Captain Jack's

Captain Jack’s – one of the groups of canvases that form part of my display

On Tuesday morning it looked so beautiful outside and because the sea had been so choppy and wavy for the last couple of days, I decided it was the perfect day to go beachcombing in Georgioupoli. I sold the two pictures of Georgioupoli Chapel I’d made for this summer, so I have been working on two more. They are almost finished but I don’t have enough of the stones that make up the sea path to reach the chapel.  I spent a blissful 4 hours collecting stones and seashells on Georgioupoli’s beautiful beach. There were a few tourists about, quite a few in fact in some parts – but it’s a huge beach and for the most part, I felt relatively alone. Oh the joys of being your own boss!

Mosaic of Georgioupoli Chapel

Mosaic of Georgioupoli Chapel – 20 x 40cms

Because the weather up until recently has been gloriously warm and sunny, I have been doing a fair amount of work on my balcony and when I got back from the beach I spent all afternoon there, cleaning and sorting stones and seashells and finishing the chapels, of course. At teatime my friend Jenny called me, having not long ago arrived in Chania for a short visit. Jenny is a fellow victim of the crimes committed by the company, Cretan Life aka rentapropertyincrete.com. I wrote about this dreadful company in my June 3rd post – but I refuse to lower the happy tone of this post and so I am not going to talk about it!

Jenny asked me what I was doing over the next few days and would I like to join her for a boat trip the next day. In fact – would I like to pack a bag and come and spend a few days in Chania? My first reaction was to say that I couldn’t, thinking as usual that I had too much going on to give up three days of valuable production time. Then I thought – heck! I could be giving up a couple of days of fun, when I can work on my mosaics any day! Life really is too short to be working all the time. And I always say this to myself when faced with a choice to continue with my artworks (which I do love making!) or to indulge in the more compulsive, spontaneous and adventurous parts of my nature. The real beauty of this is that I can do this. Oh the joys of being your own boss! And anyway, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

No argument then – I packed a case that night and went into Chania the following morning to meet Jenny. She had organised a boat trip for us both and also another lady called Caroline. Caroline manages Jenny’s apartment for her and has become a valuable friend. Sadly the trip was not meant to be and the owner, Andreas called to say there was something wrong with the boat and would tomorrow be ok instead? We said that would be fine but as it turned out, the weather had already started to deteriorate. So we never ended up going. We were quite disappointed about this but that is how it goes sometimes. After a long and chatty lunch, Jenny and I met up with Caroline and had an entertaining evening in a restaurant on the harbour that also had live Greek music on that night. The food was good, the company even better and we all had a good time.

Dining at the lively little restaurant on Chania Harbour

Dining at the lively little restaurant on Chania Harbour

The next day, after a little shopping in the morning, we ended up in Neo Chora for a long and boozy lunch! What a charming little resort that is – situated within walking distance of the harbour, it has a lovely sandy beach, lined opposite the road with lots of lovely Greek tavernas. It was a cloudy and blustery day but after lunch, I couldn’t resist a quick explore of the beach. This was done in real style because Jenny and Carolyn made me take my glass of wine with me! I must have looked quite eccentric but after I returned, sadly empty-handed – jenny later couldn’t resist a little paddle and she went equipped with wine glass in hand too!  During the course of our four hour lunch we made plans for the evening. Jenny suggested treating us to dinner at Keriatis – a fabulous Italian restaurant at the back of the harbour. The food and wine there is top dog and although Caroline has never eaten there, Jenny and I have, even if it was quite some time ago and so we know it’s good! We were going to have the works – including champagne and lobster! What a star Jenny is!

We got back to the apartment to shower and change when I happened to mention to Jenny that just around the corner from her apartment was a shop that was selling one of my pictures. I related the story of how at an exhibition last year, a lady came into the mosque on the last day and tried to knock down the price of my ‘Heart Swans’ picture. When I found out that this woman, called Marguerita has a shop that sells arty stuff I told her that she could not sell it on in her shop unless she paid the price I was asking for it. She insisted it was for her own enjoyment and although I had a few reservations, I agreed to a slight discount as it was the final day of the exhibition but I made a mental note to go into her shop (called Marguerita’s) and check for myself – a few months down the line. Of course I never did and funnily enough when both Emma and Fran were over (separate visits), we spotted the picture when we were browsing the shops! Both Fran and Emma went into the shop, while I stayed out of sight, and enquired about the price. I was staggered! It was three times what Marguerita had paid me for it! After filling Jenny in with the details she promptly said, come on, let’s go there. I want to buy it for the apartment! Well what an experience that was!

Seashell Mosaic of Heart Swans

Seashell Mosaic of Heart Swans – 40 x 40cms (smaller version available)

After a brief discussion to organise our plan of action, we left immediately to go there. Marguerita wasn’t there but her husband was and he definitely gave the impression of being a shady character to deal with. He first said the price was 250 Euros and to start off with, Jenny offered 100 Euros. Of course he was horrified and so Jenny upped it to 150 Euros at which he was equally offended. So Jenny explained that she knew the artist and that the picture was acquired through false pretences. Marguerita’s husband continued to drone on that he was in charge and it was his shop etc and hardly gave us a chance to talk. I had remained silent up to this point and then decided to tell him that I was the artist and that at 150 Euros he would still be making a good profit. I was finally able to relate the facts that his wife had purchased the picture on false pretences, thereby robbing me of the true price she should have paid me! Then he back peddled slightly when he said that his wife told him it was not to be sold. Why is it in their shop then? I put it to him that if we gave him 250 Euros, would he sell the mosaic to us and of course he said yes – that he was in charge and that was that! This is the jist of what went on but in short, we were just wasting our time and said that we would return in the morning to see Marguerita. We walked out of the shop with Jenny remarking, ‘ you are a conman’ several times as we left. Actually I decided not to return there but realise I have a learned a valuable lesson – one I hope not to repeat.

The good news is that Jenny has commissioned me to do a large 3-panel centre-piece artwork, for her charming, beautifully renovated old apartment on the edge of the Harbour Front in Chania. The canvases will hang in the living area which has stunning views over the entire harbour, including the lighthouse. It’s just fabulous! I love taking on new challenges and now that we’re into autumn, I finally have time to devote to and indulge in developing something new again. Putting fresh and new perspectives on life and the wonderful world we live in! I am chuffed to bits and chomping at the bit to get cracking on it!

Back at the apartment again, we showered and changed quickly, to meet Caroline at the little Irish bar which is right next to the restaurant. We would have a quick drink in here first. As it happens Caroline knows many of the locals because she has lived near the harbour for many years and so when we were asked to join a group of people there that she knew, we thought why not? Well naturally, one drink led to another before we realised that actually, we didn’t want to leave! Why would we? Isn’t it always great meeting new people? These guys were mostly musicians and were certainly interesting company. So instead we ordered freshly prepared pizzas to take out and a bottle of champagne from the Italian restaurant. They delivered it all to the Irish bar, who were happy enough for us to eat it on their premises although they drew the line when it came to drinking the champagne there – Fair enough! The pizzas were delicious and everyone tucked in while we carried on drinking. By the time it was past midnight, Jenny, Caroline and I were up for some feel-good music and dancing and Jenny suggested we continue the evening at her apartment. Party time!!

We walked back along the harbour towards Jenny’s apartment, stopping at a late night kiosk to stock up on beers and crisps on the way. Believe me – we had all the ingredients we needed in order to have a really great party! The music took some time to rig up but thanks to the boys – Trouchie, Tyler, Troy and Costa – we had tunes! And what brilliant music it was! The music archives on Jenny’s iPod were classic and Jenny played us tracks that had us up dancing, then singing and even playing the drums on the table – it was rocking!! We were singing all the lyrics and drumming our hands on the table top to the beat! Jenny turned out to be a top DJ! Caroline’s friends could not believe the energy we girls had and we’re sure we were hugely entertaining to watch! The evening views from Jenny’s apartment were stunning and, looking at them I think we all thought we had just about everything you could wish for in an impromptu party. We were laughing and smiling the whole time! We could have gone on all night, but then at around 4.15am the boys left, looking all partied out. But not we ladies!

After the others left, Caroline, Jenny and I all sat around the table in front of the large window with a cup of tea and a barrel of laughs while we each related our highlight moments. This we did for a further hour before flopping into bed at around 5.30am! The only disappointment we had was that we couldn’t take any photos. My camera had no charge (should have checked that before I left home) and Jenny’s iPhone kept stating that she had no space for more photos – even though she deleted some of the pictures that were stored in there. Finally we remembered the iPad, but for some reason we couldn’t get that right either! It looked like it was set to record but we couldn’t retrieve anything. What a shame! But hey, what a wonderful night that was!

Needless to say we got very little sleep that night and by Friday teatime, when Jenny and Caroline came to Plaka to spend the last evening at my end, we were all fading fast. We had a drink on my balcony for an hour or so then headed to Captain Jack’s for a bite to eat. Although the plan was to spend all evening there, we left shortly after we’d eaten – all wanting to crash out at our respective homes, to rest and sleep!

Life is all about throwing unexpected circumstances at you and it’s how you deal with them that counts. But not to grab an exciting opportunity for some fun and laughter when it comes along – is madness! I am just so glad I went to Chania for those few days. I always try to keep an open mind and allow the impulse and spontaneity of life to take over from the routine part of my life – whenever I can. I made this life happen and love being my own boss!

2 thoughts on “Oh the Joys of being your Own Boss!

  1. Love reading your blog Chaela. You write is so well, it’s like a novel of your life ! You could actually make it into a book for your grandchildren to read one day ! Can’t wait to see you at Christmas. Mike x

    • Cheers for your remarks, Mike. I see you’ve just read my latest blog and I noticed that I missed a whole paragraph! I have added it now, so that it reads better. I am sorry you didn’t make it to Crete this summer because I have missed you too! We can look forward to having a great time with the family at Christmas. xx

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