Still Loving the Holiday Atmosphere in Almyrida

Why does time have to pass so quickly? Maybe it’s because my life is so full and busy or maybe it’s just because I’m growing older…? They say that time flies by as you get older. It’s true.. and as always happens, Karen and Mike’s visit came and went in a flash!

We had such a good time! Lots of ‘catch up’ chat and discussion, lots of laughing, wining and dining out every night; lovely lunches at beachside tavernas in Almyrida and Kalyves, where we had plenty of relaxation, swimming, chatting and playing games!

Karen & Mike

Karen & Mike – having just retrieved Mike’s cap from the wilderness that is my garden downstairs! It had blown off Mike’s head while we were on the balcony in the strong winds.

We also went on Yorgos’ Speedboat Trip. I’ve taken other visitors on this trip but not Karen and Mike and I was keen to see if they enjoyed it. It’s only a two hour journey and covers the coastline from Almyrida, past Kokkino Chorio and beyond. Along the way we stop at many interesting caves, until we come to the one where a Greek man lived for many years before meeting and marrying an Englishwoman! At this point on the trip, those who wish to take a closer look, are encouraged to jump off the boat and climb onto the rocks. The entrance to the cave is situated high up and one must first navigate a series of steps and ladders the Greek man built, in order to reach the entrance to the cave. This all looks a little scary from ground level and many people, including some of my friends, have not attempted the climb. You couldn’t keep me from going up there though – every time! I was fascinated to see how this amazing Greek man lived – so ‘at one with Nature’ – for so long.

It was only last year that I was lucky enough to meet him! He came to my stall by the edge of Almyrida beach, bought one of my artworks and we got chatting. He was accompanied by the Englishwoman he fell in love with and today they live happily in a village called Kefelas, in a very unusual house that I’m sure he constructed himself!

The Scream that is embedded in the cliff face!

‘The Scream’ that is embedded in the cliff face!

But I digress!! Back to the trip and at certain points, Yorgos points up at the cliffs and we see goats hanging there precariously… as if they have special hooves keeping them attached to the practically vertical jagged rock! There were lots of them and I can’t remember seeing them on Yorgos’ trips before. So when we reach the Greek man’s cave – Yorgos explains that all the activity of the goats has dislodged many pieces of rock, making the climb up rather more dangerous. Naturally, he was concerned for everyone’s safety, but what a shame! I’m so glad I saw inside the cave when I did.  I didn’t take many photos this time, but I wish I could find the ones of the Greek man’s cave I’d previously taken.

After the cave, Yorgos took us to an area along the coast which is good for snorkelling and we stayed there for about 45 minutes. Karen was not so confident about snorkelling, but after some good tuition from Yorgos and about 15 minutes’ practice – she had improved massively and loved it! We saw lots of brightly coloured fish and rocks of all forms and shades. It had been so hot again that it was wonderfully refreshing to spend time in the water! We all agreed that despite not seeing the Greek man’s cave, it was still a great trip.

Enjoying a drink or two at Franscoise in Almyrida

Enjoying a drink or two at Francois in Almyrida – Karen and I at the start of their holiday.

All in all we spent a wonderful quality week together. This is indeed rare because when I return to the UK at Christmas times, Karen and Mike’s home is like Piccadilly Circus, with family members coming and going all the while! But it was over too soon and I am missing them lots – just as I am missing Ralph. I love to see him on Skype, watch him playing and chatting away to himself.. now just starting to string words together. I so love him to bits!

On the beach work front… I am fumbling along like all the other people who work in Almyrida for the summer season. It’s not the same as it’s been for the last 7 years… something’s changed. Tourists are not spending as much and there is nothing anybody can do about it! Never mind – I am still enjoying my beach selling days and loving the holiday atmosphere. Almyrida is busy and buzzing! I still count myself lucky that I am selling my seashell mosaic artworks every day, albeit fewer in number. I am always happy to see customers I’ve met from over the years, as well as meeting new people. This week just gone, weather conditions have been ideal for selling – not too hot with a nice breeze off the sea. But temperatures are souring again and I just know I’ll find myself frequently dipping in the sea to cool off!

Beautiful sunset in Almyrida

Just couldn’t resist – another beautiful sunset from my balcony!

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!

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

All Things Beach.

Down by the beach in Almyrida it is hot, hot, hot! But selling conditions couldn’t be better and for the last month or so the breeze coming off the sea has been just perfect for keeping me cool whilst I work on my seashell mosaics. My summer office is quite idyllic and if I do get overheated then I just put up my ‘Back in 10 Minutes’ sign, grab my towel and go for a quick swim in the sea – how wonderful is that?! Continue reading

My Best Exhibition Ever!

Oh how the time flies by when you are enjoying life! Shortly after Emma and Ash’s return to the UK I received the surprising but wonderful news that I am to become a Nana in November! Emma is going to have a baby! They hadn’t planned for it, having only just set a rough date for their wedding next year, but they are nonetheless thrilled to bits and I can hardly contain my own excitement! So it looks like I’ll be paying an early visit back to the UK this year – to see and be with my first grandchild! Continue reading

Happily Planning for a Big Family Wedding in Crete!

There’s been so much I’ve wanted to write about – but no time in which to do it! My life is always so full anyway but right now it’s all about family. I have exciting news to impart which you will already have gathered from my heading of this post and I shall go into more detail about it later… Continue reading

Almyrida Flooded After Big Storm Hits!

After Nick went back, at first the weather was settled and warm so I returned to my winter job of painting and decorating – all outside work. This time (unfortunately) I did two days of painting awful black railings. However, about ten days ago it all changed and we had horrendous storms that heavy rains and gusty winds had whipped up. Continue reading

Walking in the Snowy Mountains

It seems to me to be all about contrasts since I returned from the UK. Living in Crete is so much less hectic and more peaceful compared with the sheer volume of people, traffic, shops and buildings that I have recently experienced during my stay in the UK. I notice this every year and I have come home again to Crete with a smug feeling of relief and real freedom. Continue reading

Getting into the Christmas Spirit!

I have found it very difficult to tear myself away from my work lately. So three weeks has all but flown by again and means I have had to remember everything else that I’ve been doing during that time.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to Jeff and Shauna’s Thanksgiving Dinner again. I say fortunate because only about ten of us received an invite. What a feast and a spread they put on! The turkey was enormous yet somehow Jeff and Shauna managed to cook it to perfection and the whole meal was wonderful – very American! A great evening was enjoyed by all of us! Continue reading