Living a Different Life

It is so hot hot hot! Right now we are in the middle of a heat wave.  A few days ago temperatures shot up into the mid 30’s and that’s in the shade.  The noticeable absence of any kind of breeze has made it feel even hotter.  According to Greek records, these are the highest May temperatures they have had for 50 years!  Personally I don’t tolerate these weather conditions well, as they drain all my energy and make me feel lethargic.  This is also one of those rare times when there is so much dust in the air that the sky seems almost white and the sunset from my balcony looks like an old sepia photograph – stripped of all colour.  Temperatures are not usually this high in May and because there are no tourists here, it just seems weird.

With all the dust in the air.. the sunset from my balcony lokks like an old sepia photograph.

With all the dust in the air.. the sunset from my balcony looks like an old sepia photograph!

Of course life has changed drastically for everyone in the world and I am no exception.  I can’t quite believe how different my life actually is right now.  As it is for most people, the main and biggest change concerns my work.  As a professional artist I have spent the last 11 years totally dedicated to my Art business.  Suddenly and because of Covid-19 I don’t know if I will have any kind of beach selling season this summer.  Normally I would already be down by the beach with my stall and display.  This realization hit me even before lockdown and has had quite an effect on my motivation to create more Seashell Mosaic Collages.  Indeed I could not even find inspiration to use this ‘extra time’ to bury myself in a creative splurge again, and produce some new designs.

Custom Artwork - Mother & Daughter on the beach painting with Seashell Mosaic & Sand - 30 x 40cms. Commissioned from my Etsy shop

Custom Artwork – Mother & Daughter on the beach Painting with Seashell Mosaic & Sand – 30 x 40cms. Recently commissioned from my Etsy shop.

However, during the lockdown I was thrilled to receive a custom sale from my Etsy shop.  It was a personalization of an existing design and I am pleased to say the client received her Artwork safely – even though it took just over 2 weeks instead of one, to reach her.

Overall, lockdown has been no real hardship for me personally.  I am extremely fortunate to be living in Greece, which appears to be one of the few safest places to be right now.  Indeed this fact is what the Greek government are proud to use in persuading tourists back from July to September.  But everything is still so uncertain and how can it be otherwise?

Thanks to WhatsApp and Skype – I’ve had plenty of regular video contact with all of my family and friends, but especially my Daughters and my Grandchildren.  It has been so wonderful to watch Ralph, Neve and Arthur playing in their respective gardens, enjoying the nice fine weather that the UK has been experiencing in the last few weeks.  I do miss them all and am only sad that it seems unlikely that they will be coming to see me this summer – as was originally planned.  So I feel as though I have nothing to look forward to this summer.

Emma - covered from head to toe in PPE.

Emma – covered from head to toe in PPE.

I am proud to say that both my daughters work for the NHS.  After Emma had her second child, she quit her career in the world of advertising and eventually wants to train as a midwife.  She has been a part time care assistant for about two years, but Emma has been working on the frontline as an assistant in the ICU for many weeks now. Although she never signed up for this – she is also doing night shifts.  The conditions in these rooms are awful because the ventilators drive up the temperatures and wearing all the PPE is claustrophobic and sweaty.  I do worry about her but she reassures me that at least the hospital she is working in has plenty of PPE, thank God.  Zoe will be returning to work after her maternity leave in just under 3 weeks time.  She also works for the NHS as an Occupational Therapist based at an intermediate care home.  I pray they both stay safe and well during this dreadful pandemic.

Meanwhile.. I feel as though I am living a different life too.  During the 6 weeks of lockdown here on Crete – instead of spending countless long hours working on my mosaics, which is the norm for me – I’ve been out exercising with Charlie.  So I have been training for 3 months now and am really pleased with the results.  I can do stuff like pushups and planks that I couldn’t come close to before!  I feel so much fitter and stronger.

Working out on Charlie's terrace and trying out 'superman'!

Working out on Charlie’s terrace and trying out ‘superman’!

Even my diet is different in so far as I have added a lot more protein and healthy snacks in between meals. The bike rides have felt easier, although recently they began to get more tiring as the temperatures started to climb.  During this heat wave it would have been madness to go out on the bikes, so Charlie had a much better alternative.  In his garage he has 2 exercise bikes and it is much cooler in there, especially with the addition of a large fan!  Of course it’s not the same as riding amongst the beautiful countryside, but at least I’ll remain fit and strong for when the temperatures drop and we can get on a real bicycle again!  We still do our workouts on the terrace by the swimming pool and how wonderful and refreshing it is to just jump in there after an hour and a half of strenuous exercise!

Enjoying a walk In deserted Georgioupoli, when the weather was much cooler at the beginning of May.

Enjoying a walk In deserted Georgioupoli, when the weather was much cooler at the beginning of May.

We came out of lockdown on 4th May and so Charlie and I celebrated by driving to Georgioupoli, as we were allowed to travel within the prefecture of Chania.  It was a cloudy day but really pleasant for strolling on the very long sandy beach there.  Of course we knew all the restaurants and tavernas were still shut up and so we packed a picnic and ate it on the beach, which was devoid of any sign of life.  In fact there was actually nobody else there but us!  It seemed really strange.  We also visited the miniature buildings of famous Greek ancient monuments that I love.

One of the miniature buildings,cleverly created and situated by the sea in Georgioupoli.

One of the miniature buildings, cleverly created and situated not far from the sea in Georgioupoli.

Then last week Charlie and I visited Stavros for the day, which is also situated within the prefecture of Chania.  Naturally… I wanted to go beachcombing again because I have missed it so much this winter.  It was a gorgeous warm sunny day and we did lots of walking and exploring the coastline.  We enjoyed our picnic lunch and then I discovered a really good area of beach, full of such a variety of seashells, that I was totally absorbed for the following 2 hours!  On the way back we managed to get a takeaway latte and a crepe, but we sat on stools outside the taverna and so it felt quite normal again.

In my element.. amongst a large patch of seashells on one of Stavros' beautiful beaches.

In my element.. amongst a large patch of seashells on one of Stavros’ beautiful beaches.

The Greek government recently anounced that all tavernas and restaurants can re-open on 25th May. It will be really nice to meet up with friends socially again, although I have met Lisa a couple of times on Kalyves beach, it’s not the same as having an ice cold beer at a taverna on the beach!

 

 

 

The Year 2020 is Sure to be a Good One!

I came back home to Crete for New Year, after having had a wonderful Christmas in the UK with all my family. I returned on the 28th December to dreadful weather, having missed all the best of it whilst I was in the UK. The thunderstorms in Plaka were so severe that most of us didn’t have internet for days and power cuts were frequent. My car battery had died and it appears that there are some electric issues too, which I am still trying to sort out. I am thankful for my good friends Atremis and Rob, who both went out of their way to help me.. right up until New Year’s Eve! Continue reading

Celebrating 10 Wonderful Years on Crete!

Yes, I cannot believe that I have lived on this wonderful Island of Crete for ten years! Those ten years have seen me living out my dreams because I have always wanted to live like this… by the sea and so close to nature and all her awesome glory. The lifestyle I’ve enjoyed has been so perfect for me and is everything I could have hoped for and more! How far removed it is from the life I led in the UK because here I have lived a simple, busy but contented, peaceful and happy life from the moment I stepped onto Cretan soil. Continue reading

Fond Farewell to 2016

The stunning view from my balcony

Back at home on Crete – the stunning view from my balcony!

Happy New Year!
I’m sitting on my fabulous balcony, stroking Clio who is sitting in my lap (a story for another time!) I am spellbound as I stare at the sheer magnitude and majestic splendour of Crete’s White snowy Mountains. It is late afternoon and the sun is about to go down on what has surely been an idyllic winter’s day on Crete. I am so completely at peace in my world right now and am amazed to realise that my life appears to have been a long series of struggles, until I moved to Crete. From the moment I stepped onto Cretan soil, I knew I had found my sanctuary… and all my past wounds began to fully heal. I have been reflecting on the two wonderful weeks I’ve just had in the UK during Christmas and New Year and I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me feel! And so it is almost with a tinge of sadness that I bid a fond farewell to 2016. Continue reading

So Excited About Christmas!

Doesn’t time just fly?! Now I haven’t left enough time to write up this last post, for what has been an incredible and wonderful year for me.
It started off with my house move to what is undoubtedly my ‘dream’ home. Then my daughter Emma and now son-in-law Ash, got married right here on Crete and what a huge and wonderful family wedding that was! And let’s not forget the joy I’ve experienced being a ‘Yaya” to gorgeous grandson Ralph! Continue reading