Friday, 21 July 2017

Living a (very) quiet life ... *updated with pictures 01 August*

Well what a boring old so and so I have been over the last week.  I can't believe how little I have done and how quickly the time has flown by just lazing around doing very little!

Sunday morning dawned  warm and sunny and I spent the morning by the pool, but there were weather warnings about a huge storm heading our way.  By late afternoon the clouds were rolling in and I popped to the supermarket for some essentials and prepared to stay put.

It was still raining the next morning, but thankfully the worst of the storm had bypassed my little island.  The Monday was still chilly, wet and windy but I ventured out up to Taxiarchis before heading down to the old port to meet up with friends and the happy couple.  We had a great evening and I headed home just after midnight.
I spent the next day in bed ill - I'm blaming the grill place we went to for dinner, a few people had complained of upset stomach, sickness etc - the weather wasn't all that great so I didn't miss much.

I took it easy for a couple of days and when I finally felt better I headed to my favourite restaurant on the seafront - Scuna for a beautiful Greek salad and moussaka.

Friday was the first time I managed to motivate myself enough to get up and go to the beach.  I spent a lovely few hours on Agia Eleni before the hoardes arrived and had a late lunch at the Golden Bay hotel before catching the bus back and lazing by the pool until the sun went down.

I think my brain has finally switched off after the last few months and I've literally come to a halt.

My goddaughter and her grandparents arrive from Athens on Monday for a few days so hopefully we will explore the island and they will love it as much as I do and the it's the wedding on Thursday before I fly home on Friday! So a much busier second week :)
I need to have a walk around the old town and take some pictures - maybe tomorrow ;)

H xxx

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Getting my Shirley on... *updated 01 August with pictures!*

Firstly, I have to apologise for no pictures on the posts - for some reason Blogger won't allow me to access my photos on the iPad or iPhone so I'm afraid my posts are going to be even more boring than usual until I can get home and upload photos from a PCs
An it looks as though I'll have to source a better (Apple friendly) blog platform.

Anyway... I'm getting my Shirley on again!
My holiday this year coincides with my friends wedding so I'm here a bit later than I would normally choose - but it's always the best feeling stepping off that plane ✈️
Due to lack of organisation I didn't get to bed until late on Thursday night and then had the worst nights sleep ever.  When the alarm went off at 0445 I felt like I'd hardly closed my eyes! 
Never mind, Dad dropped me off at the airport and after a speedy check in I headed for some breakfast, a good nutritious start to the day was needed so I headed to the nearest eatery and ended up with a warm croissant and a lovely chilled glass of prosecco!
Delicious 😋

After a mooch around the shops the flight was called and we boarded immediately, such is the problem of a small airport at Skíathos we ended up siting on the runway for almost an hour waiting for a landing spot but hey ho we finally were on our way.

Best part of a book later we were coming in to land and a familiar sense of calm settled around me - I love this place so much.

For the first time we "parked" at the far side of the airport apron and actually got on a bus to the terminal - I know!! Those of you familiar with the airport will find this hard to believe but I promise you I wasn't dreaming lol

Luggage, smiley doors, transfer coach and within an hour and 15 minutes of landing I was being welcomed by Asimina and unpacking.  I decided to head straight up to see Taxiarchis and Eleni and just relax at the pool bar.

The walk up Papadiamantis Street saw no significant changes from last year and the welcome at the pool bar was warmer than ever.  I whiled away the afternoon chatting to Eleni before Taxiarchis and Mike arrived and after a good catch up I headed home.
I couldn't be bothered to get dressed and go out so threw a pair of shorts on and popped next door to the tennis club for a salad before having an early night.

A decent sleep and no alarm made me very slow and meh this morning so I finished unpacking and had a lazy day by the pool at the tennis club.
Comfy beds, good music and an awesome frappé and before I knew it, I'd finished my book and was almost halfway through another!!

I decided on a laid back night (are there any other types here?! Lol) and ate a delicious stifado at Nikos before strolling home :)

Beach tomorrow - I have gorgeous homegrown tomatoes and cucumber from Asimina for my picnic :) now to engage the brain and decide which beach to go to ....
Kalinichta x

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Getting back on track...

Well hello there,  I am so very sorry I've been AWOL.

The last few months have been a lot more difficult than I ever anticipated.
Thankfully I've not had too much grief to deal with in my lifetime, but when it does come along I'm never quite sure how to go about things.

My dearest Aunt lost her battle with cancer on the 22nd April and took us all by surprise.
Merely a couple of weeks after her consultation where the words "there's nothing more we can do" were finally said, she slipped away quietly at home.
I dreaded those words.
They get ingrained in your mind, make your heart skip a beat and then you realise that life is never going to be the same again.

I'm thankful it was quick for her, but selfishly it's so difficult to deal with for those of us left behind, but it's been a long 4 years for her and I'm relieved it's finally all over.

On the outside it's business as usual:  get up, go to work, come home, start again.  No matter how bad things get, you have to smile and be pleasant and just keep going.
On the inside, however, it's a totally different story - I have depression, so this was never going to be easy.  But what has surprised me the most is that my creative self has wandered off and left me, I've got orders backing up and just no motivation to get on and do them.
I tried knitting instead of crochet and managed a little dress for my friends' grandaughter but even then, I found it hard going.  I've not wanted to post here either, I need to finish Samoa and other bits and bobs but just couldn't find the words.

My dining room is now full of my Aunt's crafty stash - fabric, threads, patterns, books, embroidery materials, gadgets and enough beads to open my own shop - yet still, motivation and inspiration have left me empty of ideas.
I know it will come back and I'll love the crafts I shared with her again but at the moment everything I'm doing is a chore.  It's like I'm going through the motions and when the next day comes I do it again.

I was so lucky to have 2 work trips very close together which got me away from day to day life and offered interesting distractions and I'll be forever grateful to the Cyprus group for their support; they kept me going that first week and were such a lovely, genuine bunch.  I don't think I've ever laughed so much in a lift in my whole life!  
My Aunt was really looking forward to me going and just two days before she passed away we were talking about the trip and how great it would be to see places I'd not visited in over 15 years.  I'm so sad I didn't get to share it with her.

What I did share was 40 years - my whole life is filled with precious memories which I will treasure forever.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Apologies ...

Oh dear, what a couple of weeks it's been since my last post.

A heartbreaking bereavement swiftly followed by a work trip to Cyprus; I've not had the time or mindset to write.

I do, however have plenty to collaborate and share once I get my head in order - as Miranda says "bear with"


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

First day in paradise: Samoa 2016

We landed just before sunrise at Faleolo airport and were welcomed by the resident band playing local music and singing and as soon as the luggage arrived we joined the queue for the bureau de change.  The Samoan tala isn't a closed currency but it is very difficult to obtain especially in the UK so most visitors take Australian dollars and get it changed at the airport.  As expected, the queue was rather long and by the time we emerged, dawn had broken ...

We were given gorgeous fresh flower leis from our drivers Joe and Chris and once the vans were packed up we set off across the island to our first accommodation; Coconuts Beach Club

One of the first tourist hotels on the islands, Coconuts has a bit of a history including almost complete destruction when a tsunami hit the islands in September 2009.
Our drive took us from the airport on the west of the island, right across the middle to the south coast, and less than an hour later we were checking in and sipping coconut cocktails (yes, at that time of the morning!)
Hannah and I were sharing a 2 bedroom beach fale which, as the name suggests, was beach front with the South Pacific just a few steps away.  Despite the rain (which featured very heavily during our trip unfortunately) I took myself off for a quick paddle with my coconut, as you do...

We has time to freshen up before having breakfast and then having a full tour of the property; the original accommodation known as the tree house (a small block of rooms was built back in 1992, the beach fales which were completed in 1994 and finally the over-water fales which were the first ones in Samoa back in 1997 with more added in 1999.
The tsunami pretty much wiped out the whole property but by February 2010 they were ready to accept guests again and were fully operational in no time...

We then met up with Chris and Joe and they took us the short journey inland to the Lupe Sina Treesort...

I've never seen anything like it before!  Designed and built by owner Jack (an American who has lived on Samoa over 30 years) it is certainly unique!  The main accommodation is the Samson suite, built within the branches of an ancient Banyan tree (over 300 tears old they think) climbing the narrow stairs up 12 metres into a tree was like being transported to a mythical land and the view was just stunning - I can only imagine what it must be like on a clear sunny day looking out over the rainforest to the ocean beyond.  Some members of the group criticised it for being very old fashioned but I think bright modern fixtures would look totally out of place in the heart of a tree.  I certainly wouldn't call it luxurious but it's definitely a once in a lifetime experience...

Unfortunately we couldn't view the other tree house (Star Gazer) as there were guests staying but the view from their deck area was just so beautiful...

The Star Gazer is around 10 metres up in an Ava tree and the bedroom has a glass ceiling so that you can watch the stars from your bed - and with very little light pollution I can only imagine it to be spectacular.
We were invited to the main house for refreshments and were treated to fresh coconuts and home made chocolate cake, I love this place already!

We were scheduled to do a gorge walk in the afternoon but after extremely heavy rains it turned into a river walk - some of us carried on and had a great time and the rest of us (me included) headed back to Coconuts and relaxed for a while.

Dinner was in the lovely Mika's Restaurant, listening to the tales of the river walk and then the Fia Fia began...

Fiafia is a celebration of everything Samoan:  filled with colour, music, song dancing and of course fire!

I was invited to take part in the 'ava ceremony and stood up, raised the coconut shell cup and said my first Samoan words "la manuia" which has a multitude of meanings: happy, well, good.  I then (having watched a couple of people before me) took a drink and then threw the rest of the contents over my shoulder - symbolising the throwing away of misfortune!

After such a long and busy day (London felt like forever ago!) it was time to head to bed.