‘Brass-necked’? I wish! ‘Brassed-off’, more like…..

Sorry folks – I didn’t mean to be silent for so long…but then I never intended to fall flat on my face (twice!) either –  and knock my 5th vertebrae out of alignment in the process!.

Yes, I’ve been in the wars again…Why is it, that falling down as an adult (and no, I know what you’re thinking but I was quite sober on both occasions, I assure you!) makes one feel so foolish?

Both times I picked myself up, checked for any broken bones and, feeling only a bit shaken up and bruised (well my ego at least) but otherwise OK, and in no pain, I continued on my way. It was only when my fingers and toes started to become increasingly numb that I became concerned enough to visit a orthodpaedist, several weeks later. He insisted I have some X-rays done and the results were, well,  not very encouraging – long-term, that is……Seems I should have been in a surgical neck brace for at least 8 weeks and, without it, I’ve done irreversible damage. Now, hearing that was a reason to feel really foolish! Neck injuries (i.e. whiplash) don’t always mean pain apparently – especially when nerve roots are trapped –  and should always be checked out immediately – but hey, who knew?

Now on a diet of physio’ and vitamin B, I’ve decided to head home soon as I’m anxious for a second opinion. Meanwhile, I’m limited to being on the computer no than 4 minutes at a time and, worse of all, I’m banned from all activity that involves the head looking down (which includes just about everything I do; drawing painting, writing, reading, gardening etc!) They are all strictly no go! Not much fun now that the season’s in full swing and the calendar is full from now till September not only with classes but an Exhibition looming (for the memorial celebrations of Papadiamantis) and the Special Olympic team arriving at the end of the month. But I’m determined to remain positive and, for the time being, just carry on as best I can….So if this post reads a bit disjointed (ouch! ‘scuse the pun!) it’s probably because I have to keep stopping and getting up. (I tell you, a bonus better be rapid weight loss, with all this extra activity ……)

After weeks of weather that couldn’t seem to make it’s mind up, no one on the island was really ready when the first tourists arrived. There was a mad rush of activity to get walls painted, grass cut, shelves stacked and rooms aired and ready  in between the intermittent downpours before  the sun eventually came out (hopefully, now,  to stay!). My first guests arrived and classes began while I still had so much still to do at Villa Nicara! Given the circumstances I could be nothing other than be totally relaxed about everything and now, by doing just as much as I can each day, it’s amazing how things have a way of falling into place all by themselves. No more rushing around like crazy for me! A friend suggested I ask myself WHY I fell in the first place? What lesson need to be learned?”

Well I guess I know the answer now…It’s time to stop always racing against time and trying to meet self-imposed deadlines. It’s time to fully embrace island life, slow down and just ‘Live in the moment’  which is something I always readily preach –  but seldom manage to live-by myself……..I guess I also have to finally admit I’m not 17 anymore (really? when did that happen?!!) and start taking things a bit easy – which, actually, is not going to be very easy for me at all!

“If the Creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out” ~ Arthur Koestler 1905 – 1938

Enough with this doom and gloom! Time for some happier thoughts:

With so much rainfall and many short spells of sunshine over the past few months we’ve had the most glorious spring ever!  Roses, in particular, have been absolutely spectacular this year! Vibrant colours and blooms of up to 10 inches across are a common sight:

More exotic blooms are flourishing too:

These stunning scarlet Alliums were spotted at Evangelistria Monastery:

Up in the hills, the meadows and olive groves have been a riot of colour. Carpets of daisies, poppies, white and pink cystus:

and the Skiathos wild bluebells have been a breathtaking sight to behold:

Thank Goodness for photography! Unable to get it all down on canvas yet, at least clicking away with head up is permitted……so I’ve been capturing it all with my camera, for painting at a later date. Not the same I know but better than nothing….

My camera’s become quite a constant companion lately. I was hired for a wedding shoot – a complete departure from my usual subject matter but I loved every single minute of it. My task was made all the easier by having such a charming and happy bride and groom and their delightful families and friends, many of whom had travelled from across the world and had instantly fallen in love with the island! Here are some of my favourite shots of the day:

My own first guests included my dear friend May from Saudi Arabia:

(eagle eyed ‘Skiathos Info Bulletin Board regulars will spot Al Okle & his wife Lyn, Townboy and Skiathian seated at the table behind)

and Nikki, a talented artist, a ‘plein air’ painter, from Austin Texas (see her work at: http://nikiparas.com/). She  visited with a view to bringing a painting group next year and I had the pleasure of her charming company for a few days, while I showed her around the island:

On her return home, she made a wonderful video of her experience here:


One of the things I really love about my ‘work’ is that I get the opportunity to meet such lovely people!

Phil, a  regular reader of my blog is a fellow artist I’d often communicated with but never met. (http://www.meltemiart.com/page6.htm) He and his wife just happened to be passing through Skiathos (en route to Skopelos for a holiday) and we arranged to meet up. Making new friends, sharing a glass of wine and putting the world to rights with  like-minded souls was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Thank you so much for suggesting it, Paul! It was a real pleasure to meet you both and I look forward to your next visit.

Another surprise was a lady, on holiday, who popped in to see the studio the other day. After a brief chat we discovered we had not only attended the same primary school, at the same time, in Bahrain, many, many moons ago but our fathers had worked in the same office together there, at RAF Muhurraq, and we had many friends and childhood experiences in common. What a small world! It was wonderful to meet you Jackie! The memories just keep flooding back……..
Another of my painting holiday guests was  the delightful Lisa from London who completed both an impressive still life in water-colour:

and a beautiful icon in her first week – her first paintings for 14 years!


Fantastic! Well Done Lisa!

And through it all I had the pleasure of welcoming my father back to his beloved Skiathos for a short break. Here he is arriving at the airport armed, as usual, with a beautiful bunch of roses for me – as always, the perfect Gentleman!:

Thank you Dad!

Together with Lisa we took a day-trip on board the Aghios Nicholas to the neighbouring islands of Skopelos and Alonnissos, passing the famous ‘Mamma Mia! church on the way:

and enjoying the colourful change of scenery.

Exploring the narrow back streets of Skopelos Town, munching on juicy apricots as I went, I came across a wonderful craftsman, Babis Kohili, in his workshop:

A skilled carpenter, he was in the process of carving a beautiful icon panel for a local church:

following his intricate and detailed plan:

I look forward to returning later in the year to see it finished and in situ!

Just one of many events, visitors and adventures to look forward to this year –  all being well that is…….

Have a good summer everyone! Kalo Kalokairi!

10 thoughts on “‘Brass-necked’? I wish! ‘Brassed-off’, more like…..

  1. Hi Yvonne,
    I just read your last few posts!!! I am thrilled that I made it into your blog!!!! I really enjoyed our time together on your beautiful island paradise. It was such a relaxing time for me….just what the doctor ordered!!! Can’t wait to welcome you to Nice next month 🙂
    Take care and enjoy your peaceful island now that all the noise has stopped!!!
    Big hugs,



    • Hi May! Lovely to hear from you! Yes, ‘all’s quiet on the western front’ again…..but really looking forward to seeing you all. Keep the sun shining! Much love, Y xx


  2. Oh I am so sorry to hear of your fall. Take it easy and rest. Thank you so much for this lovely post. It is so special that you let us into your amazing life in Skiathos! Much love x x


  3. I loved reading this surprise post Yvonne – just wishing you some recovery asap. And I finally met your Dad, whose pictures here put a smile a mile wide on my face! Take care, and yes – SLOW DOWN!


    • Thanks, Steve – I’ll try! It was lovely to see you and I really enjoyed our chats – Dad really enjoyed your company too – I’m looking forward to the next time……Yvonne.


  4. Drat a neck brace…Again a real treat to meet you. luv’ Phil & Barbie.
    A wonderful walking holiday on Skopelos sort of 13Km for 13days and 500 images captured. Now back home studio up and running again.


  5. Hi Yvonne……What beautiful wedding photography and stunning work also by Babis and Lisa.
    As for the rest, as you know I wish you well and very much hope that you get some signs of improvement with your injuries ~ I also know how long it can take. I smiled at your thoughts of slowing down! I understand the mixed feelings that come with this. Yes, it does sound as though you needed to …………but, it is also very frustrating when you are unable to do the things you love. It is probably easy for me a year after my injuries to say that my life is probably better for it. I used to rush to work, dash home, drive hundreds of miles for meetings, try to fit some art in, try to fit in some nature and photography…a little housework, catch up with parents, child, blogging, emails….the list goes on and on! As my knee injury affected my driving, I now work from home occasionally and give it a rest. I attend meetings via VTC, my general pace has slowed down, I prioritise my life better…and you know most of the things that I don’t do any more, I don’t miss them one bit! So, I can see from your photo’s that you have started to smell the roses …and I hope you enjoy the scent. But, I also send you a big bunch of virtual ones because I also know that the uncertainty is a scary feeling. Much love ~ ChrissyX


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