Making More Memories with Family & Friends This Summer

As predicted, August has been mega busy sales-wise and I sold 51 Seashell Mosaic Paintings from my beach stall and 3 more from the Gavalochori Gift Shop.  This is over double the sales I had for this period last year.  Demand has been so high for certain designs that I have not had the time to make more.

Greek Urn wit Plant Seashell Mosaic Painting

Popular again this summer – Greek Urn with plant – Seashell Mosaic Painting. I sold 3 of this design in August.

The weather overall this summer has been perfect compared to last year.  Not so many heatwaves and it has felt much ‘fresher’ thanks to the strong breezes.  Of these there have been plenty to cope with on my selling days!  Selling by the coast here does not come without its challenges, the biggest of them being the winds which often change direction and can arrive and disappear quite suddenly.  On some days I have had to reposition my car several times, to act as a windshield.  But I do not complain as these strong breezes keep me fresh and cool in the high temperatures.

Rick

At Elpis – not a great pic as Rick & I have our eyes closed. Clockwise with Rob, Jayne and Gill

At the start of September my dear friends Gill and Rick arrived with Rick’s brother Rob and his wife Jayne.  During the short week they were here I was lucky enough to spend two wonderful evenings with them, enjoying dinner at Elpis in Plaka.  Sadly I wasn’t able to join them on the beach during the day as I was busy preparing and organizing my work for the coming 2 weeks that Zoe, Rich and Arthur would be staying with me.  But those two nights were the best, enjoying such good food and wonderful company!

Arthur loves the beach!

Arthur loves the beach!

The first three days of Zoe and Rich’s holiday were spent on Almyrida’s various beaches and were especially wonderful with little Arthur, who has just turned three and absolutely adores the beach, like his Mum, Zoe!  We did a lot of paddling, exploring and building sandcastles.
As usual I set up my stall and sold on the Monday and in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Zoe and Rich got a taxi to the airport for their flight to Cyprus.  Zoe was chief bridesmaid for her best friend, Amy’s wedding and I was looking after Arthur for 4 days while they were away.

Arthur with Simon the Lifeguard

Arthur with Simon the Almyrida Lifeguard

So it was just my Grandson Arthur and me… and we had such fun!  We had three full beach days, eating lunch at Dimitri’s in Almyrida because there was a convenient children’s play area right on the sand next to the taverna.  But also it was near the lifeguard’s watchtower.  Simon – apart from saving a few lives (as witnessed by my friends Gill & Rick), has time for everyone including Arthur.  Simon made a big fuss of him, letting Arthur wear his lifeguard cap and whistle and after that, Arthur was in awe of him, bless!

Poolside at the Almyrida Bay Hotel & Resort

Poolside at the Almyrida Bay Hotel & Resort

On the Friday when Zoe and Rich were due back, Arthur and I were just about to leave for Chania airport at 1pm when Zoe called to say they had missed their flight!  Without going into all the details – Athens airport and Aegean Airlines were both at fault and in the end they didn’t make it back until the wee hours of Saturday morning.  This meant they had to endure hours and hours of waiting at Athens airport and the extra expense of a taxi back to mine.  Nobody I know has had a stress-free travel experience this summer… as airlines and airports don’t give a damn about any of their customers anymore…
Such is the world we live in right now…

At Elpis in Plaka

At Elpis in Plaka

There was no way Arthur and I were going to hang around my place all day, so we had a lovely afternoon at the large pool of the Almyrida Bay Hotel, where Emma, Ash, Ralph and Neve stayed last year.  Considering it was a pool and not the beach, Arthur loved it there and was never out of the water!  And this is where we all spent the Saturday that Zoe and Rich returned.  The only downside was the fact that we couldn’t eat there, so we had lunch at Franscoise then returned to the pool afterwards.  That night we had booked a table at Elpis in Plaka, where there was live music on.  The food there is so good and Carl Axon entertained us well, as usual.  Rich left a little earlier to take Arthur back and put him to bed.

Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves

At Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves

The following day I drove them to the Kiani Beach Resort in Kalyves.  Zoe and Rich had booked all inclusive to stay there for the last 4 days.  As I helped them to check into their family room, I was also given a wristband and therefore able to join them for dinner on Tuesday and lunch on Wednesday.  Both these days Arthur and I went for long walks on the beach there, collecting rocks and shells and anything interesting for our ‘treasure’.  We dug a hole and buried it, only to dig it all up again the next day!  The Kiani Beach Resort has much to offer families with small children but the all inclusive drinks leave a lot to be desired!  There was no bottled water – only tap water and the soft drinks were far too sickly and very sugary!  The alcohol was totally suspect – watered down and un-branded.  It is advisable to pay more for the VIP all inclusive upgrade, where at least the alcohol is drinkable!  Otherwise – the facilities, rooms, service and food were all really good value.

On Almyrida's far stony beach

With Zoe and Arthur on Almyrida’s far stony beach – disappointing weather on the last day.

I collected Zoe, Rich and Arthur from the hotel on their last day on Thursday morning after it had rained heavily and was cloudy and miserable.  Sadly our plans to spend their last day on Almyrida Beach were scuppered.  So we settled for a bite to eat at Franscoise followed by a long walk around Almyrida and then Plaka, where we stopped for a drink at Totem.  Back to mine to shower and change for a final dinner at the Italian Pizza restaurant in Almyrida, before leaving for Chania airport at 9pm.  Their flight was due to leave at 11.30pm and was on time but caused major problems by landing at a different airport!  As I mentioned earlier, travel is a complete farce nowadays and they didn’t arrive home until 7.30am UK time which is some 7 hours later than they should have!

Just Arthur & me on Almyrida's main beach

Just Arthur & me on Almyrida’s main beach

Travel-stress aside – Zoe, Rich and Arthur had a wonderful holiday and of course I had a wonderful time with them all too.  Yet again I have been so fortunate that all my family – all the grandchildren have come to Crete for their holidays again this year and made their Yiayia very happy indeed!

The next day I set up my stall to sell again – even though the weather was a bit iffy.  However, by the time the rain came at 12 noon, I had packed up after having already sold 7 of my Seashell Mosaic Paintings.  So far sales for September have been equally amazing and I intend to continue as long as the weather is good and the tourists are still here.

All of us after dinner at the Kiani Beach Resort

All of us after dinner at the Kiani Beach Resort

I have enjoyed a number of social events before and in between my family’s visit.  A couple that stand out are the charity gigs in Vamos Square and the Plakabury Charity festival which saw practically the whole of the village fill Plaka Square this last Wednesday evening.  We all danced so much and the atmosphere was amazing.  The bands – Three Little Birds and Phoenix were brilliant!  I think what makes these events so magical is that they are all in the open air and we are eating, drinking and dancing under the stars……
I’ve said it so many times before… I am so happy to be living here!

 

Having Lots of Fun Playing with the Grandchildren!

Emma, Ralph and Neve returned to the UK almost 2 weeks ago and I have been so busy with my art business that this is the first opportunity I have had to write a post about their stay with me.  We had a rather worrying start to the holiday with Neve being poorly and Emma unsure whether she was well enough to travel. Continue reading

Tourists Return to Almyrida and My Art is Selling Like Hot Cakes Again!

It’s been a busy month especially for selling my Seashell Mosaic Collage Paintings. I have still only been setting up my stall 2 days a week – usually on Mondays and Thursdays, yet I am already struggling to keep up with demand for several popular designs this year. I’ve spent all the free hours I have at home, creating more Mosaics to replace the ones I’ve sold. Continue reading

Disappointing, Dull & Miserable Weather For October

For the rest of September the weather here on Crete was much more comfortable to live and work in. I did well from my beach stall and sold 29 Seashell Mosaic Paintings, the majority of which were the larger and more expensive designs, which surprised me! Last September there were virtually no tourists here so I couldn’t sell at all that month. Therefore this is indeed a good result and I am happy! Continue reading

Crete’s Long Hot Summer Continues into September

I am pleased to report that the temperatures gradually came down to a more normal level and by mid August, were a lot more bearable, especially with the return of the cool breezes coming off the sea. By 9th August I was back selling from my stall by the beach. It was busy in Almyrida and Plaka yet still the majority of tourists were from France and Germany. By my recollection of the past 13 summers in Almyrida – I have never seen so many French and German tourists. There were hardly any British tourists this August and I am not surprised, given the way the UK government has made it so difficult for British people to travel this summer Continue reading

Another Heatwave Way Too Hot to Work or Play in!

The post you are about to read was actually posted on 6th August, but the hosting company migrated my site and in the process I have been offline for several days and have lost that post.  As it was a special one (well all of them are special to me) and because luckily I keep drafts, I am re-posting it now.

It is the 6th August and we are in the midst of another dreadful heatwave here on Crete. The Greek authorities have declared it the hottest on record and wildfires have been raging all over Greece and the islands. This is putting enormous pressure on the Electricity supply and this morning we had the inevitable power cut! I am so grateful that this heatwave didn’t happen last week, when my family were over. Out of curiosity I put my fridge magnet thermometer outside on my balcony overlooking the sea, to record the temperature. It went off the scale at over 120F (over 50C) and burst the bulb! Continue reading

It’s Late, but Summer is Finally Starting to Kick Off!

It’s true! Aside from the exciting UEFA Championship final between UK and Italy happening tomorrow, slowly, slowly Almyrida and Plaka are starting to fill with more tourists. I cannot wait to welcome the UK tourists back. They have definitely been conspicuous by their absence, with mostly only Germans, Russians and a few Americans visiting. But with the easing of restrictions in the UK on travel, this means many more British tourists can now visit Greece without having to quarantine on their return. Continue reading

Back to a more normal life.

What an unexpectedly busy August it’s turned out to be! I started selling by the beach in Almyrida right after Emma, Ash and the kids left Crete, and because it is still so quiet in Almyrida – especially for August, I decided two days a week was enough. Yet those two days have proved to be really profitable. I have sold a total of 29 Seashell Mosaic Paintings this August and I am more than happy with sales, given these unprecedented world circumstances. Continue reading

Always Believe Something Wonderful is going to Happen.

I have just enjoyed the most wonderful week with my Daughter Emma, Son-in-Law Ash, and gorgeous grandchildren Ralph and Neve!
Because Ash has not been able to go on holiday with his family, since their wedding here 4 years ago, they decided to book a lovely family room at the Almyrida Beach hotel, so that they would have a more restful holiday. The fact that Ralph and Neve are at the ages of 4 and 2, I now realize what a handful they are and how hectic things would have been if they’d all stayed at mine! Big bonus for me too really.. as I got to spend plenty of absolute quality time playing with Ralph and Neve, without all the clearing up! 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