October in Crete

Crete 85 043 2It is always a good feeling for me when I find that it is the first week of October as it signals the start of celebration for my birthday. Now, you might think that there is not much to feel good about being 62 but my natural enthusiasm for birthdays remains undimished even after so many of them!  This years was particularly memorable. I have spent a number of years ‘downsizing’ and so small presents are particularly welcome.

Crete 85 056John gave me some lovely earrings and some nice stuff from the Ierapetra version of ‘the Body Shop’.  I did think the anti-ageing face cream had come a little late in the day but I am definitely going to give it a try! My Greek neighbour, Maria, baked me a lovely cake and gave me a pair of pink slippers (they are called pantouffles in Greek). I have admired hers for a long time. I was given books and videos and even received a few text messages and as usual facebook made me feel pretty special for the day.

On top of all that John treated me to a holiday for two nights at the Istron Bay Hotel which is about 15 minutes from where we live. So after our Greek lesson on the day of the birthday, we drove to the hotel and were given an upgrade to the ‘superior’ room that John had booked. It was a small apartment and very nice too. The hotel is situated above a lovely bay

Crete 85 042Crete 85 046and the weather was fantastic. I admired the wonderful clear water (see cover picture above) and we lay on the beach,

Crete 85 045we swam in the sea (this is the beginning of October!),

Crete 85 024drank nice wine and ate nice food. We even managed to take our first ‘selfie’!

Crete 85 057To show how posh the hotel was, I tasted some brussel sprouts!

Crete 85 019Never have I seen one in Crete till then. John and I even enjoyed a bit of Greek dancing.  On the Wednesday, we came back to our Greek class. What a wonderful break!

And being 62 for me is going to be particularly rewarding as I claim my state pension in the next year. For most of my working life, I expected this to happen on my 60th birthday and was unhappy to be told only a few years ago that it would be delayed. I am, however, luckier than many women, not much younger than me, who will wait till they are 66 to receive it. Given the comparatively short notice women were given in relation to this change, I still feel angry that a group of women who had expectations of state income at the age of 60 were given so little notice of the change. Rant over!

After we came back, Dave and Gunilla came at the end of the week for a long weekend.

Crete 85 068Dave is an old school friend of John’s and they spent some time going down memory lane with lots of photos, now happily here and not in a store in Dumfries. Dave and Gunilla live in Stockholm  and we used to visit them from Scotland for a weekend every so often with a Ryanair flight from Prestwick. We had a good time during their visit. The weather continued to be warm and sunny so it was possible to combine Minoan sites and short trips in the mountains and to Mochlos, a very pretty village, near us,

Crete 85 070with a bit of contemplation about swimming,

Crete 85 066lying on the beach and eating at local tavernas. It was really nice to see them both and I now have two Wallander books to read and a beautiful pewter on reindeer hide bracelet. John has a large bottle of whisky!

Our Greek classes continue. This is the building where we study in a pleasant environment only a few metres from the beach with the mountains behind.

Crete 85 012Our Greek text book has a series of themes. The theme for the past couple of weeks has been excursions and John and I have tried hard to increase our vocabulary and conversation on this topic as it is quite important for us in terms of travelling around the island.

Recently we have had a number of trips. At the beginning of October, we went for a beautiful walk with our friends, Hilde and Peter, in the hills near Anatoli which is about 15 km from Ierapetra. First there was the walk,

Crete 84 001then the view of Ierapetra (showing the huge area of green houses)

Crete 84 004and finally a rest beside the little church at the top.

Crete 84 006Then, our friends Brigitte and Walter, asked us if we would like to go with them to the small island of Chrisi. This is the major tourist excursion from Ierapetra and John and I had never been there because in the height of summer, it is either too hot or too busy …… But none of these reasons seemed valid last Friday so we made our way to the jetty. Unfortunately, we chose a day when the weather was to change and just as we were about to embark and the trip was cancelled for the day because of forecasted high winds! Instead we went to Tertsa along the coast and enjoyed the waves,

Crete 85 079books

Crete 85 077and a good lunch!

It is Halloween this month and we have already received two pumpkins from our neighbours. It doesn’t really seem appropriate to make a ‘tumshy’ lantern as I don’t think the neighbours would understand this celebration as an appropriate use of a pumpkin. So John has made excellent spicy pumpkin soup and stuffed pumpkin, also delicious. The problem with pumpkin though is they are so big and there are only two of us!

Crete 85 003You can tell by John’s expression that you can have too much of a good thing!!!! Now what are we eating tonight? Oh yes …….

Yesterday the weather changed again and it was pretty stormy on the north coast here.

Crete 85 008But there was also wonderful light on the hills behind our house.

Crete 85 010Crete 85 009We travelled to the south coast this morning and found it even windier than the north and there are signs that the tourist season is coming to an end. This is the beach in front of our Greek class hall with nobody there anymore. The sky looks beautiful but there was a howling gale!

Crete 85 011We now have new wood shed, in anticipation of some colder weather  soon.

Crete 85 013All we need now are the new doors and windows, being made by two brothers from Kavousi. Then we are set for the winter.

And on the theme of winter, we are beginning to consider Christmas. Graham, Emily and Rosie are joining us which is yet another treat. We have ordered some Christmas cards but then realised that most people, should they want to send us a card, have the wrong address as we moved here last year after we sent our Christmas letter. So our address is:

John Burt and Sheila Wood

GR 72200,

Kavousi,

Ierapetra

Crete

Greece

There are no street names in the village and the postman knows where we live!! And that is enough mention of Christmas in October!!!

Sheila

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4 thoughts on “October in Crete

  1. Mairi Marlborough

    Makes me feel the sunshine reading your posts Sheila … Wild and windy in Elie tonight and nice to reminisce that a year ago we were with you in Crete – seems no time at all. Xx

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    1. Veronica Willins

      Gt to see you looking so well in your 62nd.year- who would have guessed!! Fabulous account and lovely celebration for you both!! Super scenery and happy faces all round except John with the excess pumpkin!! We know the feeling- hope that you roasted the pumpkin seeds they are quite good!! and not too filling! beautiful blue lagoon in which to swim and in October!! Many happy returns, Sheila!! xxoo Tennis news to follow sometime soon!!

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