My Happiness Project!

Gosh! I didn’t realise how long it’s been since my last post! Isn’t it always the way; just when you think all is plain sailing and you can finally relax, Life has a way  of creeping up and biting you … Continue reading

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Kalo Paska!

It was Mark Twain who said: “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” Well, that’s certainly true of this year ! I have never known such changeable … Continue reading

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Keeping Good Company…

Hello Everyone, Happy New Year or Xronia polla! Christmas at home in London is always such a busy and wonderful ‘family’ time and this year, thankfully, was no exception.  We had the added thrill of sharing the festivities with good … Continue reading

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Mourning, Miracles & Magic. Xristos Anesti!

Hello again! I don’t know about you (and if you’re very religious or a regular church go-er it’s unlikely you’ll be able to relate to this) but over the last few years, for me anyway, Easter has become a bit … Continue reading

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Back to basics and ‘KALO PASKA!!

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus HELLO EVERYONE, I’M BACK!! I returned to a freezing cold, windy and very wet Skiathos and unable to locate my key-holder … Continue reading

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Ευτυχές Πάσχα! ‘Happy (Greek Orthodox) Easter!’

So sorry not to be joining in the celebratons of this very special time on Skiathos but I’ve only just returned from Egypt, where I travelled high into the arid mountains of the Sinai Peninsula to visit the remotely-situated St. … Continue reading

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Red and Yellow and Pink and Green….

I’m back in Skiathos!  Exhausted and hungry from a long day’s traveling, I arrived this evening, slipping under a thick blanket of cloud, to land on an island showing none of the vibrant colours I usually associate with Skiathos, especially … Continue reading

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Don’t let it rain on the parade!

Here I am, still in London and I’ve just heard I couldn’t have timed it better; it seems that the weather has been awful ever since I left – I must have taken the good weather with me!

Oh dear, with all the pre-Easter preparations well underway for the annual kite-flying and picnic on ‘Clean Monday’ and the colourful Carnival and parades the following week, I hope the weather forecast is more promising………..
So, here’s a little distraction to remind my friends on the island that spring and warm sunny days lie just ahead, and to remind me to hurry back (all the flowers on this video were blooming in the garden when I photographed them – just before I left):

So near – yet oh so far!

Here we are, May 1st already(!) – Labour Day. Yet ANOTHER public holiday and that means (deep sigh) yet ANOTHER day without progress!
There have been so many delays this month, I’m beginning to wonder if the construction at Villa Nicara will ever reach completion!

With the first guest arriving on May 18th, I’m really anxious now to return to Skiathos and check the progress that’s been made (hopefully!) in my absence. I’ve re-furbished several properties over the years so I’ve plenty of experience of the seemingly-endless, slow progress that’s inevitable in the middle of any build. But now that we’re nearing the end, it should all fall into place pretty quickly (though with only 2 &1/2 weeks to go, it may be I’m being a bit optimistic!)
I arrive back next Tuesday (May 6th) so I’ll take new photos as soon as I can and keep you posted.

I hear the weather on Skiathos has begun to brighten up at last, after the rains and wind that wreaked havoc on the island over the Easter break. The Art Exhibition had to be moved to the other end of the old port for protection from the elements and although well-attended, I understand the sales and target of funds (being raised for charity) were disappointing.

As a result, an evening musical recital was arranged in the Bourtzi itself this week, the paintings went on display again and some were finally sold. I’ve heard the Bishop from the Evangelistra Monastery himself purchased both of my contributions so I’m absolutely delighted! It’s inspired me to complete a couple of paintings that I started before I left:

‘Fishing Boats in Skiathos Harbour’ (in progress)

‘Oxi Day – Oct. 27th’ (in progress)

After this break, my head is now so full of new ideas and inspiration that I can’t wait to return to my studio and pick up my brushes again. Surrounded by the noise and dust of a building site or not, peace and tranquility reign supreme inside the art studio and I can’t wait to get back to it (and some sunshine – it will be very welcome after the miserable downpours and grey skies we’ve been having here in London the last few days!). Ah, Roll on Tuesday!

Ευτυχές Πάσχα! ‘Happy Easter!’

Today is the Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday and, as I’m still in London, I’m so sorry not to be sharing it with all my dear friends In Skiathos. I’ve been watching events unfold on the live webcam but that’s no substitute for actually being there and witnessing the traditional festivities first-hand; following the processions, eating the ‘Avgolemono’ soup and sharing the traditional spit- roasted lamb feast & almond cakes – and making merry with the many families who are gathering together, all over the island, to celebrate this most important day in the Greek Orthodox calendar.

I’m anxious to hear how the Art exhibition went yesterday and see the photos taken on my behalf (I’ll be posting them on here for all to see as soon as I can).

So, sending Best Wishes to all my wonderful Skiathos friends, too numerous to mention all by name here but especially: Theo & Ireni Kandarakis, Despina Mtselou & Gail Stathakis (and all my fellow artists), Nikos Kondylis (my very patient builder), Elias Stamelos & Sam, Maria from ‘Maria’s Pizza’, Kostas & Giorgos from ‘Infinity Blue’ restaurant, Magda from ‘Alexandros’, Elizabeth and Steve from ‘Stathis Taverna’, Rosemary & George from ‘Varelli Taverna’, the Papas brothers from ”Victoria Cars’, all the girls in the ‘Saturday Morning Hiking’ group (you know who you are!) and last but not least, my wonderful friends & neighbours; Geoff & Lida from ‘Zorbades’, Geoff H, Richard R, Matt & Keys and Maggie & Ken.

‘Ευτυχές Πάσχα!’ ‘Happy Easter’ to all! and see you soon!

Easter Art Exhibition & Skiathos TV

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I got through the most frustrating moments of the building project by retreating into the art studio to lose myself in painting. I had to complete 2 canvasses before I left, for the forthcoming Art Exhibition which (weather permitting!) will be held on the Bourtzi on (Greek) Easter Saturday; April 26th. The theme is ‘On the Wing’ and more than 20 local artists are donating their paintings of birds. Here are my contributions:

Peacock at Evangelistra

‘Peacock at Evangelistra’

‘Guinea Fowl’

There will also be a wonderful display of decorative eggs (including several beautiful antique ones) and many of the islanders and their children have been busily decorating eggs to sell on the day. There will be an introductory talk of the significance of the egg and its history in this, the most important date in the Greek Orthodox calendar. All proceeds this year will go to charity for local children with special needs. I was delighted to be invited onto the Art Committee that was set up to organize the event and along with all the usual wonderful traditional Easter festivities, that draw so many visitors to the island each year, all in all it promises to be a wonderful occasion. I’m only sorry to be missing the celebrations myself this year.


One of the highlights of this trip was when I was invited to appear on Skiathos TV again – this time to give a demonstration on FLOWER PAINTING, as a guest of my friend, fellow artist Despina Mtselou. With my command of the Greek language still being so poor (but improving all the time!!), she kindly translated for me as I showed various techniques using acrylics and water colour. During the 45 minute programme, I painted several spring flowers including poppies, tulips and pansies that are abundant all over the island at this time of year. As soon as I can figure out how to do it, I will add a short clip from the DVD.

This was the final and largest painting, in acrylics on canvas, of irises. It now hangs in the foyer of the TV studio!

Καθαρή Δευτέρα: ‘Clean Monday’

On the first day of Lent, Καθαρή Δευτέρα ‘Clean Monday’ (March 10th), the Mayor hosted a party at Koukounaries beach to which more islanders turned out than ever before. We all took along our picnics and with much laughter, free-flowing wine, music and dancing, a great time was had by all. Following local tradition, the local children flew their kites and the weather was perfect with just the required amount of sunshine and wind to make it a successful, colourful and memorable occasion.

Springtime on Skiathos

Arriving in Skiathos in mid February, I felt I’d caught the tail end of winter. Although apparently, it been a relatively mild one with only one or two really fierce wind and rain storms (and none of the heavy snows that Skiathos can experience) there was still a distinct chill in the air, the days were short and the nights were bitterly cold. The air, still thick with the pungent smell of woodsmoke, the island was completely still and incredibly peaceful. But It wasn’t long before I felt Spring was on its way. I awoke one morning to find that suddenly the island had sprung to life. The dormant meadows and olive groves had suddenly become carpeteted in spring flowers; seas of delicate lilac anemones everywhere! These were soon followed by banks of tall graceful asphodels, marguerites and wild and flag irises and still later, when the fields of bright red poppies appeared, and the swifts began their arial ballets , darting in and out of the koukounaries pines and twittering their bird-song in the Koumara bushes, I knew that Spring had indeed arrived. Up in the hills, the mists were receding to reveal the mauve Judas trees and lime-green euphorbias bursting into bloom. I think It really is my favourite time of year on the island. Not only because of the breath-taking beauty that is all around but that first rush of excitement, after the long sleep of winter, before the island really springs into action to make ready for the first influx of tourists, at Easter, is truly a wonder to behold.

The air suddenly becomes filled with the other sounds of Spring; countless strimmers and chain-saws buzzing in the valleys, cement mixers churning away in the distance, over-size lorries begin dashing all over the place, maneuvering up mule tracks to deliver their loads of sand and cement. Hammering and banging as yet more construction and renovation begins.

Skiathos town sheds its sleepy village winter persona and, seemingly overnight turns into a busy hive of activity as shop-keepers, returning from the mainland, open-up their stores, and set to sprucing-up, re-stocking their wares and make ready for a new season. Huge ferries begin to arrive in the port and empty their holds, depositing vast trucks and countless cars, laden with everything from supermarket supplies to building materials, onto the crowded quay-sides. Cafe’s open and soon fill up, brighly-coloured awnings appear, taverna chairs & tables are set out and the empty old port begins to fill up with the fishing caiques again, all brightly and newly painted after spending their winter shored-up in the boatyards.

Yes, a new season has definitely arrived and the annual circus begins…..