Happy Days! We Can Go Beachcombing Again!

I know that I have done some beachcombing this winter but I don’t really count the local beaches because I can visit them anytime! Crete is jam packed with gorgeous beaches and all of them are different and all of them are so stunningly beautiful! All of these beaches I have missed exploring because of lockdown restrictions. However, at the end of the first week in April the Greek Government lifted the restrictions on travel for personal fitness – for weekends only!

Lisa and I on one of Frangokastello's Beaches

Lisa and I on one of Frangokastello’s Beaches

Lisa, Debbie and I have all taken full advantage of this extra freedom and visited all the beaches in Bali, Falasarna and Frangokastello in three consecutive weekends. The weather has been great and last weekend we were all in shorts and strappy tops, getting a really good tan! A beachcombing day involves countless squats and lots and lots of walking, over a period of about 6 hours. So we were keeping fit and getting an even suntan all in one go. Not forgetting the pleasure of finding so many beautiful seashells. You find different shells and ocean treasure on different beaches and we never tire of showing each other our cherished discoveries. I must start taking photos of some of our beach finds. I get so absorbed in the exploring – that I don’t even think of taking photos… and I should.  Needless to say, we always have a great time with lots of fun, lovely picnics and plenty of chat too! Tomorrow we are all going to Elafonisi for the day and really looking forward to it!

Debbie on aonther beach at Frangokastello

Debbie on aonther beach at Frangokastello

Aside from the beachcombing, we’ve all been busy with the changes we have to make as expats living in Greece, as a result of Brexit. Firstly we have to apply for the new Biometric ID Card. This entails at least three visits to the main Police Station in Chania. On the first visit you have to bring a long list of documents, then two weeks later you have to return for your fingerprints to be taken. When I went to the police station last week, I was expecting to place all my fingers and thumbs onto ink pads. Of course it’s all electronic and digital these days and so I had to place my digits onto left and right pads. There appeared to be a problem with my prints registering on these devices and the young police officer told me to go and wash my hands and after that it seemed to work. Anyway then he said, “I don’t like your photo”! I didn’t know what to say! There was a brief silence before he indicated my forehead and fringe. I remembered the photographer asking me to pull my hair back and show my forehead. I swept my fringe to the sides as best I could, but it kept bouncing back. However, I don’t have a thick fringe and you can clearly see my eyes and my eyebrows in the photo. So what’s the problem?! “Well,” said the police officer, “Just beware they may reject it.” If my photo gets rejected, I’ll have to take some grips and pin all the fringe back… and I won’t even look like me anymore!

Deserted Chania, as never seen before!

Deserted Chania on a sunny day in April, as never seen before!

Because of Brexit, the other thing we have to do is to change our UK driving licenses to Greek ones. I never wanted to give up my UK license and when I first heard of this possibility about two years ago, I thought I had found a way round it. When I was in the UK I bought an International Driving License from the Post Office and thought this would solve the problem. Turned out I was wrong! The application process is, as usual, bureaucratic and complicated. In addition, you were obliged to visit any doctor and optician you chose from a long list in Chania.  I won’t go into all the details but can say that most of us are so baffled with all the procedures (only explained in Greek), that we have saved on the stress and paid 50 Euros to the lady at Creta Services to handle it all!  It’s a small price to pay for all the wonderful benefits of living on Crete.

Chania as never seen before - totally deserted!

Chania as never seen before – totally deserted!

Last week when I had to visit the optician and doctor, we decided that as we were already in Chania, (and we had permission) we would take the opportunity to spend the rest of the day there. We visited the harbour front first and were shocked to see how deserted it was! It felt as though it were a great privilege to be experiencing Chania without any people there. Like a ghost town… it is as so many cities around the world are right now. We bought takeaway lunch and fresh ice cream, then decided to walk to Neo Chorio beach, which is just beyond the harbor. There we found lots of tiny seashells and some really nice beach glass. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and we had a lovely time with Chania all to ourselves!

Seashell Mosaic Collage - 20 x 40cms - Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

Tropical Goldfish – Seashell Mosaic Collage – 20 x 40cms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

On the work front, I sold the underwater scene with the Angelfish to a local lady and managed to have enough shells to make another one for my Etsy shop. I also decided to make a smaller version of the underwater scene featuring tropical Goldfish instead of Angelfish. I have also spent the last few weeks working on an important seashell order from the USA. This incorporates 2 separate suppliers that I’ve been using for over 10 years. I would normally have made this order around November last year, but have delayed it because of the Pandemic.

Debbie took this photo of Lisa and I in Georgioupoli a few weeks ago

Debbie took this photo of Lisa and I in Georgioupoli a few weeks ago.

It is the Greek Orthodox Easter and it’s Good Friday today. I do feel for the Greeks as this is the second year running that they have not been able to celebrate the most important tradition of their year. It seems particularly harsh that Easter Sunday falls on 2nd May, but everything does not open up again until the 4th. The government has laid on an extra 10,000 police to make sure that the Greeks do not travel over the Easter period. I do not know of any other country that has been in constant lockdown for 6 whole months, but it shows just how seriously the Greek Government has handled this pandemic, to ensure that Greece is a safe place for tourists to visit again. It goes without saying that we are all super excited about being able to visit tavernas and coffee shops and to socialize and dine out again.  We will all be celebrating next week for sure!

The Far Beach in Georgioupoli

The Far Beach in Georgioupoli

A Christmas of Joy Worth all the Stress of Covid

I arrived home to Crete on 2nd after leaving a very cold UK and I am blown away by the wonderful weather I’ve come back to!  I am amazed to be sitting here on my balcony with warm and tranquil sunshine washing over me like a comfort blanket. It’s been blue skies and sunshine ever since I returned and it’s forecast to be 24 and 25 degrees at the weekend. Wow!  Despite having a list of stuff I need to deal with – I just have to sit here and enjoy it!  My view is magical and my recent memories are magical… so I am perfectly placed to write all about them here and now. Continue reading

UK’s Quarantine List Didn’t Spoil Holidays with my Family

Despite the UK adding Crete to their quarantine list – it didn’t stop my brother, Mark from enjoying his Cretan holiday with me. He works in the film industry, which like everything else has been greatly compromised and anyway, Mark has been working from home on his book and so the quarantine restrictions on his return to the UK weren’t an issue for him. Continue reading

Missing Almyrida’s Tourists

I realize that I haven’t posted for many weeks, but then there hasn’t really been much to write about.  For the first time in 11 years I have not been selling my unique Seashell Mosaic Paintings & Collages by the beach in Almyrida. I have dearly missed seeing the tourists that visit Almyrida every year and meeting all the new visitors that arrive from all over the world. I have missed that wonderful holiday atmosphere that is so normally prevalent in Almyrida during the summer months from May to October. I have missed all the buzz and the fun that comes with my beach selling season. Continue reading

A Beautiful Day in Bali

There’s not much to report since my last post. Working on my Seashell Mosaic Collages is always a given, because whenever there isn’t anything else that takes priority – I am busy creating! This is also the time of year that I do my seashell sourcing and place orders with my regular suppliers. But I wanted to write this final post of 2018 before I return to the UK on Saturday morning. Continue reading

August Beach Sales Have Been Really Good This Year!

It has been over six weeks since I last wrote and that is because I have been so busy coping with my hectic work schedule.  That month I spent in the UK meant I had lost a month in terms of production.  I was not as fully stocked with my Seashell Mosaic Collages for the summer season as I would normally have been. So August has been mega busy while I’ve been trying to keep up with the designs that are selling well. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Happily Enjoying my Creative Splurges!

white mountains

The amazing view from my balcony – you can see why I love working here!

I’ve been working on my balcony this afternoon. Recently we’ve had some odd days in between rain and cloud that have been so warm and sunny – that it was just plain daft not to work outside! A few weeks back we had so much snow and it wasn’t just confined to the mountains but crept into our villages as well! I got stuck in the snow and ice several times on my way to the dentist in Vamos. A journey that normally takes around 10 to 15 minutes took me over 45 minutes and was so treacherous that I was holding my breath for most of the way! In 8 winters of living here on Crete I have never seen so much snow! 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