About Me

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Crete, Greece
Married to the lovely Geoffrey, my soulmate. I have two fantastic big kids,both married, whom I love and miss every day I'm not with them, but I know they're living and loving their lives and we make up for time when we get together.I now have three granddaughters too...

Thursday, 26 February 2009

A Touch of Sunshine....

We are in the midst of a rather dull and wet period, not condusive to going out, let alone walking.
So, I spent a morning creating a little sunshine myself. Three jars of lemon curd.. made from freshly picked lemons, not a drop of wax near these and eggs, given to me by a neighbour, with yolks the colour of the sun, (proper eggs, as my father calls them).
My freesias are suffering, the weight of rain is making them drop.
The mountains are covered in cloud too heavy to lift themselves up.Everything is shrouded in mizzle.
We did manage a drive over to Elounda. This resort was made famous by all the film and music stars that used to go and stay there years ago. The television series Who Pays The Ferryman and parts of The Lotus Eaters were filmed here, anyone in the UK remember them??
This is where, suposedly, Robbie Williams has a home. There's always rumours of sightings each year....
There's quite a big ex-pat community living here. We did get out of the car but were back inside within 10 mins as the rain came down in stair rods and the wind was blowing a hooley..

Guess what?? How time flies when you're not looking, I've just realised it will be my 100th post next time. Puts me under alot of pressure, especially as I enjoy filling my post with photos of the countryside and we're having glum weather.
Anyhow, I'll try.
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Friday, 20 February 2009

Who's Idea Was This....

Geoff and I went off for a good walk yesterday, I insisted that we should go somewhere different.
You can't go wrong around here but at sometime sooner or later you do have to realise that you have to go up!!
In every glade you're bound to find a tiny church.
We set a good pace and before we realised we were climbing up a long gradient. My heart was pumping and I was feeling really good, trying to keep up with Geoff. We chatted easily about our daily life, what we were going to do to the house once the kitchen is finished. We have so many jobs to do outside too. There's also my trip to London in March. Bethan and I are going to be shopping for a wedding dress, plus meeting Matthew's parents (first time for me!) I'm so looking forward to it, we've been in contact via email and spoken on Skype so I think we will feel quite comfortable meeting.
The countryside around us was quite different with huge rocks jutting out of the undergrowth and goats scrambling about.

Then Geoff said he thought it not a good idea that I turn around, of course I did..

What to do!.... huge thundering rain clouds chasing behind us and beautiful sunny skies ahead.
We decided if we climbed high enough maybe we'd miss the worst of it, so, we continued on to the top of the mountain. I kept thinking that maybe over the next hill we would have a view of the sea with the sun glinting on it, but no.

The views were splendid and the rain missed us

We stopped at another church and smiled with this chap who is poised forever with his favourite tipple.
We also came across these tiny orchids, Orchis papilionacea ssp. heroica.

Eventually, time to wend our way down, slightly damp around the edges and very weary but happy in each others company. That's where we live, there, in the middle of the photogragh.... across the valley.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Wild Flowers and Essential Oils

I ventured out last night with my friend Chris to a meeting of 'Flowers of Crete', which, in brief is a group trying to protect the endangered orchids and plants of Crete. The meeting was held in a distillery... of essential oils.
The BioAroma Essential Oils Distillery is on the outskirts of Aghios Nikolaos. It opened last year, and as well as drying and distilling the wild herbs in the large new building, there's a small museum area, to attract visitors. In the Spring and Summer months, flowers and herbs are grown outside.
This small still was working, producing lavendar oil essence.

There were many dried leaves, teas and herbs to be sold for all our ailments...

Sorry, flash reflection on this photogragh but I think you can get the main idea.
Cretans drink an assortment of mountain herbs as teas. Dittany, sage, Winter Savory, they believe that most ailments can be cured by them.....

Of course, there was all the essential oils too, professing to rid us of wrinkles, cellulite, dandruff, bad breath, headaches......

Julia, of 'Flowers of Crete' waiting for people to arrive for the meeting. It was rather chilly, I must admit.
Eventually, we had a very contructive meeting, regarding future events and ways of raising funds.
We also talked about a nature reserve that we're trying to construct, the aim of which is to provide a safe haven for transplanted orchids and other endangered plants, which would otherwise be threatened by indescriminate development. I've already blogged regarding this problem, I know, but it is a subject close to my heart.

Sakis, who is the owner of the distillery, is a chemist. He gave us a tour of the small museum pieces. Very helpful young chap and, unlike a great deal of greek men, is very interested in preserving the Cretan landscape. On the whole, I would recommend a visit if you are ever in this part of the island.

I loved these cutouts of the cattle pulling the wooden plough.

There was a large display of the woven and sewn work. Also, the loom, which not so long ago, could be found in virtually every house. Now, sadly, they are left to deteriorate or used as fire wood.
Many of the flowers and plants were used for dying the fabrics.

Sakis told us the ladies in the photograghs were all relatives, grandmother, aunts.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Beware............a note to all of us!

Just to show you what can happen if we are unlucky. My friend Cheryl was plagiarized yesterday by some nasty Russian porn site....
They used the name of a woman who is in headlines around the world and then added meaningless photos and words from other bloggers sites to lure others in.
Very sad.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Flowers In Bloom

As we have rather unsettled weather at the moment, I thought I would share some of the photograghs of the flowers that are in bloom here. Botanically Crete is very important.It has approximately 1800 species of plants, of which 200 of those are endemic.
Firstly, we have Mandrake, which has been known throughout history for it's medicinal and mythical properties. The root is shaped like a human being and the legend says if you pull it from the ground you may hear it scream. It is said to be one of the classic witchs' plants. It is a hallucinate.
These are Milky Orchid (Orchis Lactea). They are about 20cms. in height, quite common and very beautiful.
And here as far as the eye can see is Greek Chamomile. Truly a wonderful sight and perfume.
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Saturday, 14 February 2009

Valentine Hearts

Thought I'd add some hearts to the already huge amount that are out in blogland today.
We're staying in and my soulmate is cooking. I've seen strawberries, chocolate and a rather nice bottle of red wine. The wood stove is stoked and we have a pile of logs by the door in case we need more. We have candles lit so the scene is set for a snuggly evening.
I know everyone thinks we have wall to wall sunshine here. It might seem it sometimes but we do have some rain and grey skies. We went to Malia this afternoon, in the summer this beach is covered with bodies, you can't see the sand!! Sadly, Malia is a honeypot in the summer for young people who, on the whole drink far too much and wear far too little. There's always stories of fights, stabbings, robberies, drugs, you name it!! A friend of mine was driving through the main town at lunch time last summer and saw 2 girls walking towards her completely naked.
Malia has a history going back to Minoan time with the Palace of Malia being an important site.The area is and always has been very important agriculturally, growingpotatoes and the famous Malia bananas. The mass tourism developed in the mid 60s.
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Friday, 13 February 2009

A Sunny Day. Part 1

Some flowery photos to start, the first is Anemone Hortensis, this is an awful photogragh of them, they are tiny things, simple but beautiful and are endemic to Crete and Karpathos.
I've shown you these iris before but forgot to name them, Iris Cretensis. The hedgerows are full of them at the moment. They have short stems and a delicate perfume.
This is another awful photo, this time it's of Nikithiano in the foreground, a small village near us.If you look carefully you will see a row of 3 windmills at the top ofthe village. I took this photo to show the other rows of windmills on the hillsides beyond. I think you can just make them out, little white dots? Most of them have been left derelect but one in Nikithiano is an arts and crafts shop.
Looks rather drastic, this is a well pruned olive tree! Takes some guts to do it to your trees but nothing seems to kill them and in a couple of years they will be covered in new growth.
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A Sunny Day. Part 2 again

We are surrounded by crumbling old buildings here but I am drawn to some more than others. There's something about this little building that caught my eye. It probably was used as a dwelling for both the family's donkey, downstairs, and the family would live upstairs in one room.
It would have once been ripe for renovation but today things have changed and there's not much being sold. It's a combination of things, one of them being that so many people have tried to get on the bandwagon but have now raised the prices, even for this tiny property, to silly heights. So,it will be left to collapse like it's neighbours.

Here's a courtyard of a renovated house just around the corner from the building above. The bouganvillea and geraniums looking healthy potted in the famous Cretan pots

Our local taverna doubles as a mini market too, selling everything from pots and pans to equipment used for olive picking, nets, knives, boots..... At the back of the building is a large balcony which overlooks the olive groves. A stunning place to sit and eat on warm summer evenings. Yiorgos and his wife Nikki run the taverna with help from their daughters and extended family. It's very 'local', no menu, you eat what has been cooked that day. That could be freshly harvested snails, picked from the hedgerows that morning, horta, (greens)which could be dandilion leaves or any of the hundreds of green plants that grow wild here. A friend enjoys the boiled sheeps head. While I relish the lamb chops cooked on the open fire and the kalimari, lightly battered. At the end of the evening Yiorgos will scribble some numbers on the paper table cloth and that's what you pay!

And look at this little thing scuttling down the lane, so brazen. He stopped to have his photo taken, then off he went!
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Monday, 9 February 2009

On My Walk Today......

...................I saw this beautiful rainbow. As you can see from the dark and ominous sky, we had a spot of rain! And thunder. The temperature has plummeted and the forecast is rather gloomy for the rest of the week.
The slow cooker is on and when I've finished all my chores later I will be able to tuck into a yummy casserole. ( I love the slow cooker, it's like magic to me, pop everything in and forget about it, then hours later, voila! a meal! And very little washing up!

This cheeky chap loves his perch. Must be able to see much more from up there.
Hmm, what shall I cook in the slow cooker tomorrow................
p.s My excerise regeme is working, I've lost a whole stone (14lbs) already... yeah!
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Thursday, 5 February 2009


I've been spending my spare moments knitting recently. I couldn't resist this gorgeous wool it reminded me of the colour of the sea here.
We're still being enveloped in wonderful warm days, chilly when the sun sets but by then we're snuggling up around our wood stove.
Finally, look at this little gem, tucked away in a hedge row. The hill sides are now covered in a variety of wonderful wild flowers, anenomes, orchids, jonquille. Think I'll have to take my camera fora walk.......
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