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Archives for category: lifestyle

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At this time of year the village is quiet. Our village friends tend to stay indoors. It’s not at all surprising as the weather the last few days has been extremely wet. I felt the need to go back into my archives to remind myself of village life in June. Here are some of my friends. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet juicy mango’s fell from the trees.

EDIE & LIL-8

Away from the fires we were surrounded by beauty on Stradbroke Island. The beach at the bottom of the garden, stretched for miles. The pure white sand was littered sun-bleached driftwood and the ocean was clear and inviting. The girls, Lil and Eadie enjoyed the crystal water at the end of the day and ran in and out of it squealing with excitement. Thanks girls for allowing me into your beautiful world.

EDIE & LIL-6

Amity Point copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-26

Lil copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-74

Eadie copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-20

Lil copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-4

Driftwood copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-17

End of the day copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-46

Water baby Lil copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-3

Bare Trees copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-70

Crystal water copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-78

Bleached copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-51

Happy sisters copyright Claire Lloyd

EDIE & LIL-80

 Water and sand copyright Claire Lloyd

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY ROSES

Loving Sundays roses copyright Claire Lloyd

Matthew knows the small village streets on our GREEK ISLAND HOME like the back of his hand and I think he has now become familiar with every flowering rose bush too. I don’t know how people manage to grow fabulous roses but it seems we are the only people in the village incapable of it. Apparently they just grow there is nothing special we need to do and of course everyone has these flowering beauties in their garden. Everyone but us! But I need not fret as I am lucky enough to have  roses picked for me from someone else’s abundnt crop. We do have a small amount of fruit trees providing us with seasonal delights. A quince tree is the first tree growing as you enter our small garden and although our annual crop seems to be far less than others in the village there is still something that can be used in a chicken staffado . There is also a small plum tree, set in the middle of our yard and an olive, fig and an almond tree too. These were not planted by us and were well established when we arrived probably planted by the wife of the last inhabitant, a priest. She was said to have had green fingers. There is an abundance seasonal fruit and veggies in the village and we are very lucky to receive bags of goodies which we usually find hanging from our front gate. This is always tricky as you don’t know which one of our many generous village friends has left it. Recently we received a bag filled to the brim with persimmons a fruit I must admit to never have eaten before. I really enjoyed this fleshy fruit and found myself unable to stop eating them once I started. I also used them in salads a delicious addition, they taste divine and add wonderful colour. We still have not worked out who left this gift but we are once again truly greatful.

FLOWERS Beautiful delicate pink roses from someone else’s garden copyright CLAIRE LLOYD

FRUIT Persimmons a gift from a village friend copyright CLAIRE LLOYD

I woke early this morning to the most beautiful day here on My Greek Island Home. I was excited as I had been invited to join my friend Stratis on an expedition to pick mushrooms. It was  perfect mushroom picking weather, well perfect weather at least for this would be my first mushroom picking experience. Stratis would  show me how to identify  the edible ones. I wouldn’t trust myself  to choose, I’d choose the prettiest and probably end up having to have my stomach pumped or worse, dead. Anyway I was in safe hands with Stratis. My rescue dog Nellie and I met Stratis and his friend and we headed off into the pine forest. Stratis asked if  I had brought a knife and a plastic bag. Of course not but I had my camera. I found a stick to act as my knife and with a keen eye quickly picked up how to recognise them. The forest floor was covered in pine needles and the mushrooms hide underneath. I loved discovering them and getting my hands dirty pulling them out. It was wonderful being in nature and this city girl didn’t need a knife and a bag, she made use of a stick and her shawl. Can’t wait to go again only draw back is I have a mountain of mushrooms waiting for me in my kitchen to clean.                                                                                                                             MUSHROOM PICKING Stratis in the pine forest, I love the dappled light. Photographs copyright Claire Lloyd

MUSHROOM PICKING2 I am completely on love with the underside of the mushrooms, nature is the artist.  Photographs copyright Claire Lloyd

MUSHROOM PICKING3 Pine needles on the forest floor cover the mushrooms making them difficult to spot immediately.  Photographs copyright Claire Lloyd

MUSHROOM PICKING4 I can understand how mushrooms have inspired fashion designer Issey Miyake. Photographs copyright Claire Lloyd

MUSHROOM PICKING5 My rescue dog Nellie, not a big help, but enjoyed her morning in the pine forest. Photographs copyright Claire Lloyd

MUSHROOM PICKING6 This mushroom couldn’t keep hiding under the pine needles it was reaching for the light and easily spotted. Photographs copyright Claire Lloyd

MUSHROOM PICKING Stratis cuts the bottom of the stem, checking no small insects have made their way inside.  Photographs copyright Claire Lloyd

Yesterday was a full day on My Greek Island Home. Every one of my emotions and senses were touched and stimulated.

I was woken by the soft paw of my cat Sweetie. She dragged it across my face with only partly retracted claws hoping to raise me from my cosy bed. She then proceeded to lead me downstairs to her empty food bowl, in the kitchen. On my way through I open the door onto the garden where 3 tails wagged madly and there were hysterical sounds of excitement. It was as if I have been gone from the dog’s lives for days rather than hours.

I put on some music, Midnight Oil, and we danced, the three dogs and I. Dog number four was on a sleep over, integrating into the family that will be driving her across Europe to her new home in London. Even though living in a Greek village has many distractions and surprises there are still some routines that must be followed.

Next on the agenda was a dog walk via our guesthouse. We call the guesthouse Ken’s Spiti. Spiti, being the word for house in Greek and Ken being the name of my father. It’s a bit mad really but I like it, as it’s a constant reminder of my lovely Dad. Before reaching Ken’s Spiti we were greeted by 7 cats of varying sizes, colours and ages all thrilled to see the dogs and I. The cats purred, everyone rubbed noses, legs and whatever else that can be rubbed and we moved on to the final destination, the guesthouse. I fed the cats on the wall, some others joined in. High walls surround the house and there is a metal gate at the entrance. You cannot see into the small stone garden. I opened the gate and there in front of me is the most enormous shaggy goat with very long, curly horns. Shocked and amused to find this lone and oversized creature out of context, I laughed and laughed, I could not stop laughing. What has happened, what has my life become? After corralling the goat out of the garden I headed off along the track for my daily dog walk.

A Greek lesson was next and I needed to be in Molyvos, 30 minutes away by 10.30am. At 12pm I had organised to meet a family from Istanbul in the harbour. Several days ago I had an email from a gentleman who lived in Istanbul. He had seen my blog and enjoyed it. He and his family were visiting the island and he asked if we could meet. I was happy to. The meeting was delightful, my newfound friends are very interesting people and we spent a couple of hours together, chatting away. It was relaxing and I really enjoyed it. At the end of our time they presented me with a gift. The most beautiful book called Dance of Fire, Iznil tiles and ceramics from the Sadberk Hanim Museum. I was completely touched by this gesture. I left them feeling so full of joy. Looking at the book has inspired me to pick up a brush and start painting.

I was home about 4pm just in time for another dog walk. Walking through the village I came across a kitten that was unable to walk and was incredibly weak. I picked it up as gently as possible and took it home where I wrapped it in a warm towel and fed it watered down evaporated milk through an eyedropper. It took a little milk and I let it rest.

Alexandra my Albanian cleaners daughter is learning English and I am helping her a couple of times a week with her work. She arrived at 5pm I checked on the kitten and thought I heard a faint purr when I stroked it. After Alexander had left I went into the bathroom and found the kitten had lost its fight. Its little body was limp in my hands and I was so, so sad. I hate it, I hate seeing it, and I hate being so powerless.

The day had almost come to an end a day with life and death, laughter and tears, joy and sorrow. Out of the blue came an email from an Australian friend. She had been moved to send the email by the previous post I had put up on my blog called Turkish faces. She said the photos had reminded her of a radio programme she had listened to recently with Hugh Mackay (click to listen), about life and happiness. She thought I should listen to it. Quote, because it’s all about living the ‘good life’ and what he was saying is exactly what you are doing!This morning I lay in bed and listened to the program, it absolutely hit the spot with me, the timing was perfect. It’s an inspiring interview and really worth setting some time aside to listen. Thank you artist Susan Hipgrave for your perfectly timed email. Thank you Phillip Adams and Hugh Mackay for an intelligent, thought provoking programme. And YES I am living the good life.

walking dogs My Greek Island Home

Living the good life! Walking the dogs, late afternoon on the Greek Island of Lesvos. Photograph Matthew Usmar Lauder

Last night I was interviewed by Serene  Mastrianni from RADIO 2 WOMAN in America. Thanks Serene. Although the telephone line from here was not great , I struggled a bit to hear the questions however, I enjoyed speaking with Serene about My Greek Island Home, very much. You can hear the interview by clicking here RADIO 2 WOMAN. My Greek Island Home is available in America from amazon.com, Antropologie US, amazon.co.uk.  This shot was taken in Kithira by Vittorio Mariani. Thanks Vittorio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As promised some more photographs of Guy and Talena’s beautiful wedding in Whistable. A fantastic day!

 

 

CLAIRE , PAU,, MONICA AND SOOTY AT THE ENTRANCE Every January my parents would pack the car with beach chairs, umbrellas, clothes, food, cricket balls, bats, monopoly and other games, and my father would drive the over loaded vehicle which also included, my Mum, brother Paul, sister Monica, Grandmother and I, north of Sydney. Yes, this was our annual holiday, 2 weeks in a house at The Entrance. We loved it, 2 weeks of being spoilt by our jolly Grandmother, 2 weeks of swimming and building sand castles and playing cricket, going roller skateing and fishing and having our Dad all to ourselves. Two weeks of what we saw as freedom. It was a chance for all of us play lots of games and to enjoy each others company. We ate meat pies and cakes and ice cream, it was heaven! One year we took our new kitten, Sooty with us. We children had no intention of leaving Sooty behind and thinking about this now I wonder just how traumatised Sooty must have been. We didn’t have a cat box so she fitted into the car where she could and as I remember, was quite vocal for the full length of our journey. At one point she vomited, car sickness, something Sooty and I had in common. We had our regular toilet stop about halfway to the Entrance and let Sooty out. She did a runner and we all had to do what we could to corral her back into the car, even Grandma joined in. We loved Sooty, she was our first pet. It was decided after that trip that it was probably best to leave Sooty at home and get a neighbour to feed her rather than to relive another traumatic trip. A photo of, my brother Paul, my sister Monica, me and Sooty from the 70’s, outside the holiday house at The Entrance.

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