Just too Hot to Work in!

Temperatures have really soared these past few weeks and I have often found it just too hot to work in! About two weeks ago we had a heatwave which lasted 4 days and left everyone feeling drained and lethargic. Temperatures were in the 40’s and it was too hot to do anything! Luckily I only had one selling day during the heatwave period. Working on my seashell mosaic artworks, under the shade of my parasol and with the breeze coming off the sea, I am usually quite comfortable. But where was the sea breeze when you really needed it? It made me realise how much I rely on it to keep me cool during the long days that I am selling my seashell mosaic art at the edge of the beach in Almyrida.

DSC09465

On gorgeous Georgioupoli Beach, playing Rummikub with Nick!

On the first day of the heatwave I had my air conditioning units serviced and cleaned. Then after my selling day on Friday I spent the Saturday indoors with the air conditioning on non-stop! On Sunday, the last and hottest day, my mate Nick and I spent the day at Georgioupoli beach. There was actually a breeze and the sea was the warmest and calmest I’ve ever known it be there. I could have drifted in that sea all day long, feeling the intermittent waves of cold river water mingling with the warm sea water. It really was heavenly! With every dip we took we saw people just standing in the sea, chatting! We had Lunch on the beach and played a couple of games of Rummikub in between frequent stops for a swim or cold shower – all within easy reach… although Nick almost burnt his feet on the sand! Talk about walking on hot coals! This wonderful day on Georgioupoli beach saved me a fortune on my electric bill and was the absolute obvious and best thing to do to escape the heat – Spend time in the sea!

Greek Urn in Seashell Mosaic Collage - 20 x 30cms

Popular this summer – Greek Urn in Seashell Mosaic Collage – 20 x 30cms

With world economic circumstances prevailing I am lucky to be still selling my seashell mosaic artworks, albeit a lesser number of them. My larger and more expensive designs have been selling, as well as many of my new designs. But it is my small 5 x 7” designs that are suffering. They are the cheapest artworks I sell and they’ve been super popular with all the tourists who have visited Almyrida during the last 7 years. Now everyone is having to tighten their belts and all the local services and businesses have noticed reduced spending. This recession began during the middle of last summer and I can’t help wondering if Brexit has much to do with it!

Anyway, I am most excited about my sister and brother-in-law’s visit! Karen and Mike are arriving on Saturday, for a much needed week’s holiday. I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with them and having a little break myself – but only on non selling days!

Greek Donkey in seashell mosaic collage - 20 x 30cms

Popular this summer – Greek Donkey in Seashell Mosaic on Sand – 20 x 20cms

Back to the present and with temperatures in the mid 30’s it’s been hot, hot, hot again but rain is forecast for tomorrow and that is most unfortunate as it’s a selling day! But I am going to turn up regardless and pray the rain is contained in the mountains, over which already there is heavy cloud cover. At least if it does rain, everywhere gets refreshed again and temperatures drop to a more manageable level.

Almyrida has that Holiday Atmosphere Again!

It’s Easter Sunday and I’ve been busy getting the spare room ready for Zoe and Donnas’ visit in a couple of days. The weather has been glorious again and so later this afternoon, I couldn’t resist a couple of hours working mosaic on my amazing balcony! Now I am enjoying the peace and tranquillity and the early evening sun, whilst I lounge comfortably on the balcony sofa. Quite a contrast because yesterday I was taking a break at the same time, but it was anything but peaceful! Bangers and crackers were going off intermittently, making me jump out of my skin every time! This in turn, was setting off all the dogs barking and even the sheep below me were starting to protest! Clio the cat who frequents my balcony, jumped 3 feet into the air when one particularly loud banger went off! That did make me laugh!

Easter Saturday in Plaka Square

Easter Saturday in Plaka Square. You can just see Judas hanging from the gallows in the middle of the bonfire!

All day the villagers had been building the customary bonfire in Plaka Square – ready for tonight’s big burn! As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in previous Easter posts – this bonfire is for burning Judas on and is a night when Plaka is full of people carrying lighted candles. It all makes for an atmosphere of warmth and togetherness.

Because the evening doesn’t really get going until nearer midnight, I didn’t walk up to the square until around 10pm last night. Lots of people I knew were already out and about and all the restaurants in Plaka were packed with locals and tourists alike. We based ourselves at Vangeli’s and took two tables outside. It was a mild evening although it got chillier as the evening wore on. We chatted while watching the square fill up with people leaving the church after the service with their lighted candles. All night the bangers were going off at odd occasions, making us all jump, but as Robert my Dutch friend said – and I agree – you’ve heard and seen nothing until you’ve spent a New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam! Finally, after the church bells started ringing, they lit the huge bonfire which for those of us that were feeling the chill, was most welcome! It was a lovely evening and I was home for just after 1.30am – so not too late really!

Seashell Mosaic Collage - 30 x 40cms

Seashell Mosaic Collage – 30 x 40cms – available to purchase from my Etsy shop – SeashellBeautyinArt (Shop link on menu bar above)

Back in the here and now, I’ m looking down on Almyrida and it’s like a picture postcard! All the shops and restaurants are open again and I imagine it’s been really busy down there today, with many Greek families, tourists and local residents. Yesterday I noticed a couple of sailboats and a few canoes out on the water. Now I can see an enormous cruise ship leaving Souda Bay so I’ll bet Chania has been majorly busy too.

I wish David and I could have had an exhibition on the Harbour Front in Chania this Easter. I think we’d both do really well. Sadly yet again, we cannot have an exhibition there this year because they changed the whole system again. Applications were received electronically in February. Because the information was on a different website, David was unaware of this until just recently, so we’ve missed out! Also it sounds like they are prioritising applicants that are local Greek organisations and artists, so who knows if we would even have secured a slot? Whatever will be… there’s always next year.. but I am so disappointed because I love and miss those wonderful exhibitions.

Seashell Mosaic Collage - 25 x 30cms

Seashell Mosaic Collage – 25 x 30cms – available to purchase from my Etsy shop – SeashellBeautyinArt

Ever the optimist, I have the whole of the summer season to look forward to and so much else besides! I am excited to see and spend time with Zoe, followed immediately by a week’s holiday in Spain with Mum and my sisters and then some quality time with Emma and gorgeous Grandson Ralph.  After another great Skype call with Emma and Ralph, I reminded Emma that she hasn’t sent me any recent photos of him.  I will soon put that to rights when I am back in the UK.  Hey though, starting from Tuesday, and after having had three intensive months of creating my seashell mosaics –  I will be having three weeks of socialising, holidaying and relaxing with family and friends! Absolutely fab!

So Happy to be Beachcombing Again!

When I came back from the UK late October I brought my sister Leonie back with me. She has had many serious problems with her leg over this past year and it was time for her to think about her return to Cyprus. Crete was a natural first step and I really enjoyed Leonie’s company for the few weeks she stayed with me.

The Retreat

Enjoying drinks for my Birthday on the sunshine terrace of The Retreat in Kokkino Chorio

It was great to have Leonie here on Crete for my Birthday. I don’t think I would have bothered to organise anything otherwise. I have so much else going on that it just wasn’t a priority! As the food was so good last year I decided to have a slap-up Sunday Roast at The Retreat again. Leonie also wanted to see the place where Emma and Ash married last June, because sadly she couldn’t attend the wedding. On Sunday the weather was glorious and a few of my friends joined us on the terrace of The Retreat for a good excuse to enjoy a few drinks in the sunshine before consuming one of the best Sunday roasts we’ve all had! Ian who runs The Retreat in Kokkino Chorio, is English and certainly knows how we Brits love our Sunday Roast Dinners! It was a great day and carried on afterwards at our local, Vangeli’s in Plaka.

The following weekend I travelled back to Cyprus with Leonie so that I could help her settle in. The weather in Cyprus was glorious and we got loads done. I couldn’t believe how many people I knew on the planes both outbound and back into Crete! Thanks to Ryanair, it’s a hop skip and a jump to reach Paphos from Chania and many expats take the opportunity to have short breaks in Cyprus.

Elafonisi

Someone visiting Elafonisi left this very large message in the sand! “On leaving take with you you memories. Leave only your footprints.”

On the work front I have been busy creating whenever I can. I still have to make time to add more photos and details to my Etsy Shop listings, but too many other matters have demanded my attention lately.  I also opened up a Facebook account which I thought I’d never do!  But hey – It’s good for my Art Business!  I finally got my car back after more than ten days in the garage. It went in for repairs, a service and MOT. It’s a long story and the whole saga has cost me another 650 Euros. After over seven years of throwing money at it – I think I need to change my car next year!

Elafonisi

A very small part of beautiful Elafonisi, where I was collecting some shells

Happily last week Nick, Ron and I visited Elafonisi for the day. I was desperate to go beachcombing! It’s been so long since I’ve had the chance and I just couldn’t wait to feel the warm sun on my back and the sand between my toes again. I couldn’t wait to start my hunt for beautiful seashells, which will eventually be woven into my seashell mosaics. I am never happier than when I am on a beach and by the sea. It was indeed a glorious day with lots of sunshine and not a breath of wind. I absolutely loved it and managed to collect lots of the shells I needed. I know this is the start of much more beachcombing which I will do in the New Year. I am hoping to get at least one more day, perhaps in Bali before I go back to the UK for Christmas and New Year – now less than 3 weeks away!

Beautiful White Mountains over Almyrida

View from my balcony this morning – lots of crisp white snow on the mountains! Beautiful!

For the last few days the weather has been awful with lots and lots of rain and wind. Temperatures have been dipping to as low as 12 degrees – that’s cold for we ex-pats! I woke this morning to see the first snow on the mountains and it looked stunningly beautiful!  Beacuse last winter was so mild it seems ages since there was so much snow up there!  The time has been flying by so furiously that I can hardly believe it’s just two more days until the Almyrida Xmas Fayre again! My photo this morning shows how much improved the weather is today but its forecast for sunshine and showers on Sunday. This will be my eighth fayre and it looks like being the last one, the organisers are saying. I have written about these Fayres in previous posts and I’m sure that this final Fayre – held every year at the Almyrida Residence and Beach Hotels and hugely popular with all the residents of the Apokoronas area of Crete – will be just as great as it always is, raising tons of money for local charities and giving everyone that real Christmassy feeling!

My New Etsy Shop is Opening Soon!

A whole month has flown by again and I have been totally absorbed and occupied with expanding my art business.  As explained in some of my recent posts – I have been shocked at the fall in sales, which appears to be due to the spending power (or lack of it!) of most of the tourists visiting Almyrida this year.  All the local businesses here have suffered and I have realised that my marketplace is too restricted.  Continue reading

Life is full of Surprises!

Here we are nearing the end of August and it’s looking like being the worst August for sales that I’ve ever had! How can I have survived so well during seven long years of world recession, only to be thwarted by Britain’s sudden and dramatic exit from the EU! Naturally I have only assumed this outcome from all the facts I have accumulated over the years. The British are definitely my biggest customers, followed closely by the Scandinavians, Americans and Europeans. Continue reading

Fran and I Enjoy Exploring More of Crete.

Since Fran returned to the UK, having spent two whole weeks with me – I’ve been running around like a headless chicken, in an effort to catch up on production of my unique seashell mosaics and mixed media art! I am now well into the busiest part of my summer selling season and that means I must work countless hours during the days I am home, in order to produce enough artworks to meet demand. During the two weeks Fran was here, we went out every day I wasn’t selling and what a fab time we had too! Continue reading

Selling my Unique Seashell Mosaics & Collages in Almyrida

After Emma and Ash’s wonderful wedding on 2nd June – already over a month ago, life has resumed its normal pattern and I have been back in full swing with the selling of my unique seashell mosaics and collages.  Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I am to be found sitting and working at the edge of the beach in Almyrida with my displays and work table. Continue reading

Emma and Ash’s Wonderful Wedding!

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks that I shall cherish for always.  I have been happier than I ever could have imagined and it’s all because of Emma and Ash’s wonderful wedding! Prepare yourselves for an epic posting!

For me it started just over two weeks before the wedding when Emma, Ash and my gorgeous Grandson, Ralph arrived in Crete on Tuesday 17th May. From that moment on we were all in ‘wedding mode’… although I was in ‘Ralph mode’ for quite a lot of the time! Well what did you expect? After all, I am his doting Yaya – the Greek word for Gran or Nana. In all, I had over three weeks of blissful time, playing with and helping to look after Ralph. Continue reading

Now it’s all about Weddings!

I’m sitting on my windswept balcony, on the sofa while I write this. It’s the best spot on the balcony, giving more shelter in the corner from the wind. It’s really only the gusts that are sometimes a little scary but they can disappear as quickly as they arrived and now and again you get a little lull and all is calm for a time… before it returns in earnest and you never know what’s coming next! Continue reading