A time to reflect

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It’s a pretty gruesome day weather wise, here in paradise, so perhaps time to do what we are supposed to do at New Year and reflect on the past year and think about the future.

Let’s deal with the latter topic first! Well, we have no plans to move anywhere so it is more than likely that we will be here in Kavousi for the next year. We have trips plans to Thessaloniki (my birthday present) and Berlin over the next two months and are beginning to plan a visit to the UK for late April/early May. Beyond that there are no actual plans but it is my 70th birthday later in the year and Africa and/or Australia/NZ have been mentioned as possible venues.

In fact, 2015 is shaping up to be a notable year, with a number of other anniversaries as well and Sheila getting her old age pension in May. We are also looking forward to welcoming new visitors to Crete, starting with my sister Bridget and her husband, Herb, later this month.

So what of the last year. Well, I started the new Blog while Sheila was away in South America visiting Rosie. We have a solid hard-core of regular readers and commentators but we have noted numbers falling off in recent times, so whether this reflects the demise of Bonnie, who was always a popular contributor or the fact that we now have less new and exciting matters to write about, we don’t know. Anyway, there needs to be an editorial meeting shortly to decide future direction. Watch this space!

It has been a busy year, what with settling into a new (well new for us) house, together with all that that entails; buying a flat in Kirkcudbright; dealing with Bonnie dying, selling the canal boat; as well as catering for any number of visitors. We have had lots of fun, met loads of new people, some of whom have become good friends, improved our Greek (slowly) and learned new skills. So all considered, 2014 was a really good year!

More immediately, since Sheila wrote the last Post, we have had Graham and Emily and Rosie here for Christmas.

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I think all would agree that we had a great time – lot’s of games;


an impossible ‘family’ jig-saw that took a whole week to complete;


a huge turkey cooked to perfection but not without much anxiety; a delicious ham which had no dog to devour it this year; my traditional Christmas COLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAake; yet another pumpkin and much, much more!

We had trips to tavernas, swimming at Tholos beach on Christmas Day, walks to archaeological sites and days out.

The trip to Vai and Itanos at the extreme east of the Island was memorable as much for the car breaking down as for the wonderful beaches and historic ruins. I wasn’t on that outing but understand that Graham coped admirably without reverse, second and fourth gear and nursed the car back to Kavousi.

He and Emily returned to London the following day and within 24 hours, our friendly garage in Ierapetra had sourced a new cable set and fitted it. 300 euros lighter, we were just happy to have the car back and working!


Rosie has been with us since but returns to the UK tomorrow. She has walked miles in the hills behind us, often on her own but yesterday in the company of Sheila. They whooshed up to Thripti and back in four hours while some of our new doors and windows were being fitted. She has been with us for nearly three weeks, has brightened our lives and we shall miss her.


On New Year’s Eve, we went to a party at the house of some new Dutch friends, Pauline and Chris, who live in the village. The other revellers were nearly all ex-pats but a good mixture of Irish, French, German and English. Everyone bought food and drink and after we had eaten and seen in the New Year, the floor was cleared and there was dancing – may be not Scottish but just general bopping and that was something new for Crete and a good end to the evening.

Finally, yesterday morning we were woken by an earthquake. Yes – the earth did move but thankfully not the bed and more important not the house. We had had some warning because there was also one on New Year’s Eve but more was to come. We were eating breakfast when there was another, much stronger quake. The house really did shake and a couple of things fell off shelves but no real damage. Later we discovered that the epicentre was only 3 km away at Tholos and it measured 4 on the Richter scale. Not huge perhaps but big enough for me!

IntensityMapI remember when we came here first, I was told the story of some English folk who moved into their new house and had the experience of quite a large quake soon after. The wife was so frightened that she went back to the UK and has never been back again!

I recall being somewhat surprised by this tale and thinking that I wouldn’t react in the same way. However, after spending yesterday, listening and feeling the after shocks, I found that I could not get to sleep last night – every little noise seemed to alert me to possible danger – so now I have a lot more sympathy with the unknown English woman, whoever she was!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo excitement returns to our mundane lives. What else will 2015 bring, I wonder?

Happy New Year!



10 thoughts on “A time to reflect

  1. Debbie Sluggett

    Happy New Year from Coldstream! We certainly hope you continue the blog…we enjoy hearing your stories and seeing pictures of your travels! Deb & Gord


  2. Mairi Marlborough

    Happy New Year – our first day back at work and it is colder inside the building than out – it has been very mild today. Love your blog – keep going – I especially like the photos and this time took particular note of a new fashion – sunbathing in socks – love it – much more iconic than the oh so passé ugg boots.


  3. Pauline Williamson

    Just loving your blog. Homed in on it after we got your Christmas card. Apologies for no card this year but very sadly we lost Robert, our eldest, at the young age of 44, at the end of November to the wretched cancer which had plagued him for three and half years, so christmas was very difficult with one member of the family missing. he did so much in his short life, so we have to hold on to that. Keep the blogs coming. so interesting to see what you are up to. a very happy New Year to you both. Pauline and Mike.


  4. Loni and Norm Funnell

    If there’s a vote, we’re for continuing your informative and entertaining blogs. After all, with keeping up with you all year it makes for a much easier time for you at Christmas wrt correspondence. Glad to hear your place weathered the quake and good to know that your windows and doors will be completed soon.
    Happy New Year!


  5. kritsayvonne

    I’ve only recently found your blog, and can already tell it will be one of my favourites as I love a sneaky peek into another ex pats life. We live part time in Kritsa with no thoughts of moving, but have always said that Kavousi for 2015 and Chronia Polla X


  6. kritsayvonne

    Blast, my fingers hit the wrong key. The above post was supposed to end with…
    But have always said that Kavousi is a place we could live. Best wishes for 2015 and Chronia Polla X


  7. Anne

    Happy New Year John and Sheila! I hope 2015 is a good one for you. Hope you keep the blog going. I love your photos and stories of life in Crete.


  8. Marsali

    We love your blog – the photos, the humour and especially the contrast between your laid back sun drenched lifestyle, and ours….hunched over the steering wheel in the dark peering through curtains of gale blown rain 10 times a week. Looks like a great family time.

    ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος !!


  9. Veronica Willins

    A Very Happy New Year to you both John & Sheila and lovely to see all your wonderful family photos and what a great time you are having over there with all the lovely weather and Swimming on New Years Day!! Glad that you survived the quake- it was reported over here and I did think about you but assumed that you were miles away.Some people just love to live dangerously!!!That would certainly have shaken but not stirred quite a few cocktails!!Wonder if James Bond has visited the island!!? Hope that you got the windows and doors fitted afterwards and that they are good and strong!! don’t mean to harp on so don’t dare cancel the Blog – where ever would we be without all your beautiful pictures, news and drama!! I really look forward to them all and to hearing of your future travels and endeavours. Much love to you both and the family. Take care and a safe and happy 2015.
    Veronica & Family xxxoooo



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