perfect days & cat dramas

We managed to enjoy our first outings post lockdown. I had brunch with Zefi and a friend, took a long walk along the seafront and said hello to friends having drinks at cafes. Not everything is open of course. Still plenty of places closed till later in the season. Some may not open at all, like last year. Who knows. Still, it was lovely to get out and see people sitting and having drinks or food in public.

Of course, there were plenty of idiotic things people do: so many without masks and without any care for social distancing. Its natural I guess. People are frustrated after all this time in lockdown and need to ‘break free’… They might also be feeling like I do: that sooner or later we’ll pay for this with another lockdown so may as well enjoy it while it lasts.

Sure, vaccinations are going ahead, but I’m not sure how effective that will be in containing things short term. All we can do is wait and see.

Meanwhile its been a little cooler while still being pretty hot in the sun so swimming isn’t out of the question. I love the beaches when they’re quiet.

The cats outside are enjoying the warm weather. I brought my table and chairs up from the basement and Bob made herself very comfortable…

Selina, or Smalley as we call her, is much healthier. She will always have issues with her lungs after her chest infection but she’s full of beans these days, though she remains much smaller than a cat her age. She’s still not 100% trusting. Its a good indicator of her health in fact, when she’s not feeling well she will let me pick her up, if she’s feeling well I can’t catch her. I’ve booked her in to be spayed on Friday cause we’ve already got some unneutered strays hanging around her.

Meanwhile NMC (remember Not My Cat who adopted me when I first moved in?) is in my back courtyard recouperating. He was hit by a car a few days before I took Lainee to Syros and my neighbour and I took him to the vet thinking he would be put down. However the vet wanted to give him a chance so he operated on him and held him there and now he’s recouperating here with me.

Ok… I get the whole save a life thing. But NMC is not a pet cat. He’s an older stray who tolerates people cause they feed him. I’ve often been scratched by him for daring to pat him and make friends with him. Caring for him isn’t easy. Plus, after he’s well enough he has to go back out on the road. ie the neighbourhood. Technically I think he belongs to a couple who lives up the hill from here but he’s a stray they feed, not a house cat. He spends most of his time outside our building, no longer on my porch as the female cats chased him off it.

He had broken ribs, a broken jaw, a haematoma on his head and lots of cuts and scratches. He was in pitiful condition. The vet wired his jaw, it came loose and he had to put him under to rewire it again… I did think it would be kinder to put him down rather than let him face life in a compromised condition ‘out there’. But here I am now, caring for an unfriendly cat who can barely eat even when i mush and dilute his food with water. He gave me a good scratch when I removed 3 ticks I found on him (the vet said he’d removed some too but obviously didn’t treat him for them) so today I have to go buy more cat food, kitty litter and some topspot stuff for him.

I feel so sorry for him. He looks awful and seems to be in a lot of pain. I set up the cat carrier under my bench outside, with kitty litter next to it and put out sloppy wet food 3 times a day. He takes so long to lick some up and sleeps in the carrier all day. He’s obviously in pain. Yet I can’t put him down now, after all this, so we persist…

Poor boy.

Anyway, gotta get going. I have cat food and kitty litter to buy!


visible mending – lockdown 2 day 149

Yesterday when I put Lainee’s little blue jumper on I realised it had 3 holes in it. I have no idea where they came from but they were definitely there… And getting bigger. So something had to be done about it.

So this afternoon while watching Bold Type on Netflix (light hearted, fun, easy to watch while I work) I began mending with embroidery thread I had on hand. Lucky I had just enough in each colour to create a border around the holes to keep the jumper from totally unravelling.

Oh and for those who noticed, I did create 4 rings when I said there were 3 holes. That’s because I decided to make another hole so I can put Lainee’s harness on underneath the jacket and still clip on her lead through the hole.

Ok, so I’m not the neatest… I see mending by others on Pinterest and drool and want to emulate but mine always ends up looking like it was done by an sightless mole without opposing thumbs.

Still, Lainee isn’t complaining. She’s an easy girl to please.

Poor little darling is in the wars right now. You may remember she has a huge mammary tumour which I wanted removed a while ago but she’s got a heart murmur we’ve been treating meanwhile to make it safer to put her under… Well, she began licking the tumour while I was away in hospital and yesterday she made it bleed. Hence she’s swaddled in bandages and vet wrap around her middle now. I have her booked in for surgery to remove the tumour next Thursday… sigh.

At least she’s been a happy little girl, she loves the wind and goes bezerk when I take her out in it, and she’s playful every morning. So although its bothering her she’s been well in herself. That’s something.


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crazy farm life – lockdown 2 day 144

The ducks on our dam.

Again on the memories. This time its about how crazy life got on the farm… I do really miss it you know. I dream of my poodles all the time, I miss the smell of the Tasmanian countryside and the sound of our geese and ducks every morning, cuddling standard poodles… having a workshop to make things in.

I mentioned I bought a cabinet. I got it home yesterday and removed the glass on one side as the other was missing. I left the glass in front. I considered sanding it here, outside, but didn’t have the time so I moved it inside. Its light anyway, especially with less glass. Now I have a sore back.

Thats what months of not doing anything does to you.

I’m really getting frustrated on the whole no space to work thing. Every time I see a place which might suit its not for rent. No one has storage spaces here, and if they do they use them themselves. Garages are not common, and given most people don’t have space for sheds on their land and you need a permit to put up any kind of building on a property (the law limits the meterage of ‘building’ any land can have on it) when people do add on to their house its always living space, not workshop/spare space.

I really don’t know what to do. I’ve thought of a container on some land at the ‘family compound’… I’ve thought of asking to build a concrete slab and put up a pergola with a roof – but again… not allowed to put up more structures on the land I could do that on. Temporary things are allowed (with restrictions) like a container or a caravan, but not permanent structures… and a pergola is permanent. Sigh.

Realistically my options seem to be 1. rent a place and pay top $$ for it which I can’t afford. 2. find a place to rent to live in which has the potential space – very hard to find full year rentals here and its very expensive, plus i’m not sure I want to move. I like where I live. 3. find the money to build on our land – lots of money… or 4. give up.

Anyway… back to the memories of how chaotic life can be on a farm… click here to read the story.


10 dogs i’ve loved – lockdown 2 day 136

There was once a challenge on Facebook to post photos of 10 dogs you’ve loved in your life. Of course I’ve loved more than 10 dogs but not all were mine and a lot I no longer have photos of. I thought I’d share photos of the ones I posted on Facebook.

Its Greek Independence Day, 200 years since they won their freedom from the Turks so it was a quiet day. Unlike previous years when they have parades and celebrations everywhere. Flags still wave from balconies but its all very low key. I spent the afternoon with family and then did a little work on my nude sculptures. Nothing ready to share yet!

So here are my dogs in chronological order. Most of the photos are small as I don’t have the bigger versions any more.

Timmy, my first ever poodle. A pet shop toy poodle who turned out to be the best thing ever. He cost mose than I made in a month working in Athens at the time. I had to leave him in Greece with my parents when I moved back to Australia. He’s the reason I have a special place in my heart for white poodles.

Scooter, my first toy poodle in Australia. I had to wait years for him cause I couldn’t have a dog when I was a student and living in shared accommodation. Soon as I signed the dotted line to buy my first house I bought Scooter. He was tiny when I got him and such a big character.

Billybear. Originally I bought Billy to keep Scooter company, they were only 3 months apart in age. At the time I had no plans to show, but joined the poodle club and the rest is history. Billybear was my first show dog, first champion, winning against stiff competition, despite being silver beige (and a frowned upon colour). Billy was my heart dog. Well, my first heart dog. He was always by my side or on my lap.

Pagan, my first standard poodle. She started my love affair with standards. She wasn’t an easy dog but I learned a lot from her. She was my second show dog, second champion. She did me proud in the ring and gave birth to some beautiful puppies.

Montana. Pagan’s daughter from her first litter, my biggest winning dog ever. I had a strange relationship with Montana because despite picking her and loving her from day one, I didn’t begin to bond with her till she was over 1yr old. From then on she was my girl. Montana was special in every way and she had that famous poodle sense of humour.

Crash. I got Crash on loan from a friend to show but he hated the ring. He was the cheekiest most charming little man anywhere but put him in the ring and he froze. At the time I had him Montana was raising her one and only litter and Crash would run in amongst her puppies, under Montana… absolutely confident and fearless. I had to send him back to his breeder however since he wouldn’t show and I already had 2 toys and 2 standards at home.

Bonnard, Pagan’s son from her last (AI) litter. I kept him and showed him till he was 2yrs old but he began to jump high fences and I had a neighbour who loved to shoot things. Bonnard is the sweetest natured big dope of a boy – a real momma’s boy, afraid of the dark… Bonnard now lives in Adelaide with his new family.


Romeo, my second heart dog. Son of Montana. From day one he was mine. He chose me though I chose him too. He was the only puppy who preferred my company to playing with his siblings. Romeo never showed but he was so much my dog I gave up showing and kept him. Leaving him behind in Australia when I moved to Greece broke my heart. I still picture having him here with me.


Erik, the shortest love affair I’ve had with a dog. He was given to my by a good friend at 12mths of age and we only had him for 2 weeks before he was bitten by a snake and died. It was a horrible loss. We had fallen in love with him in those 2 weeks and his death left a huge hole in our hearts. He came into our lives and became part of them quickly, making everyone love him.

Lainee, my baby girl, my love. She’s my constant companion on Paros. I got her about 2 years ago at age 10. She is the sweetest, quietest girl you ever met, but she came out of her shell and now plays with me every morning to celebrate a new day. She’s my shadow.

As I said, these were only dogs which were mine, even for a short time, and who impacted my life. I’m not including dogs I’ve loved but who belonged to other people even if they lived with me as well. It would be a LONG list…

Each dog is special and each has a place in my heart and I thank them for being in my life.


tube free! lockdown 2 day 130

Today I made a trip to the Paros Health Centre. I haven’t been able to get in touch with the surgeon in Athens and I was worried cause the area around the tube was red and looked like I might be getting an infection.

While there I spoke with the surgeon on Syros (who answered his phone!) and told him what was going on. I’d been fully prepared for the health centre docs to look me over, give me antibiotics if necessary and plan a trip to Syros to remove the tube.

Well, the docs spoke on the phone and they removed the tube then and there! I was expecting a small tube, I don’t know, a few inches inside… but that sucker just kept coming and coming. Like a mile of tubing inside me. Ugh.

Its amazing. I no longer have a bag attached to my stomach. I feel free.

Of course, I still have a hole in my abdomen but I’m assured that if I cough my guts won’t fall out.

The doctor cleaned it up and put a dressing on it, saying I need to go back every couple of days to have it changed so they can keep an eye on it, that its healing ok, but once they’re satisfied its healing I can change the dressing myself. Sponge baths it is for a while. Small price to pay for that sense of freedom.

Though having a hole in my stomach is rather uncomfortable feeling. I do have some pain, not a lot, more like a stitch in that side when I breathe. Hopefully that will settle in a day or two.

Thats my big news. Enjoy some happy dog cuddle pics. I do love these girls.


back home, still in lockdown

I’m home, and I’m not. In fact I’ve been home for over a week now but at this very moment I’m house sitting/dog sitting with a couple of cuties I groom.

This is Lily, a Biewer Yorkshire Terrier who lost her sight when she was a pup and got her first vaccinations. My opinion: never do 4 or 5 in ones!!! She’s the sweetest, cuddly girl.

This is Amy, a Bichon x Poodle and a real character. Would you believe these girls LOVE cabbage? Raw cabbage is their favourite treat!

And this of course is a very furry Lainee enjoying her time dog sitting as well.

I’ve barely done anything creative since I’ve been back on Paros. First it was the need to rest and recouperate from the ordeal. Then it was just lack of motivation brought upon by a pain in my side due to the tube I still have sticking out of my abdomen to collect any bile still leaking from the site.

Thankfully the leak has reduced to only enough to dirty the bag… I change it every 2nd day as per the instructions… I could do it once a day if I wanted, but the guy said once every second was fine and to be honest, its not a pleasant task so I tend to put it off.

I’m trying to get in touch with the doctor in Athens but doctors are notoriously hard to get a hold of. Last week I sent him and email then left a voicemail alerting him to the email. That worked. Hopefully it will work this time too. I basically need to know when I should fly to Athens to get the tube removed. I could go to Syros on the ferry, its closer and cheaper, but either place necessitates at least one night away from home. In Athens I can stay with a cousin, on Syros I’d need a hotel. But if I go to Athens its a better hospital so my first choice is Athens.

Naturally its a public holiday this coming Thursday so flights are expensive and seats are scarce… and this despite ‘strict restrictions’ on travel outside your own council!!!! People are still travelling for a quick holiday!

Oh the idiocy of these restrictions. The greek government has been playing fast and loose with the whole thing. One minute everything is closed, curfews in place etc. Next minute junior schools are open but not universities or high schools. Next some retail is allowed to open with restrictions on customers allowed inside a shop, then a local coffee shop and customers get fined cause 2 people bought coffee and stood outside to drink it. Then they tighten restrictions: you can only shop within 2klms of your house, ie within your council… but Zefi and I flew to Paros and not a single person asked us where we going, why we were travelling and did we have paperwork to show we had an acceptable reason to travel or even if we had a current clear COVID test. We had all the necessary paperwork, but it didn’t matter. hmph. Greece is open for business in May, an early start to tourism we’re told, islanders are being given vaccines as a priority to keep the islands safe, yet there isn’t enough time to vaccinate the residents of the islands, nor the available vaccinations as far as anyone knows, so… again… its all bull—-.


So, here I am. Back home, with two trips to Athens (or Syros) in my future to remove the tube then the stent. I want to be creative again but that’s sort of playing on my mind and not allowing me to really get on with it. I’m even finding it hard to blog… but I’m going to make an effort to do post regularly and get back into the rhythm I had before. It gives me a purpose and inspires me to be more creative. I hope it inspires others too.

Meanwhile I’ve started grooming again, slowly, getting others to do the heavy lifting where possible. Learned that the hard way: had to lift a naughty dog back onto the table 3 times the first time I groomed and was sore the next day. Rested a few days and back at it, more carefully now…

I’ve also done what I told myself I must do while in hospital hating Greece and the health system here: I’m sticking to a healthy eating plan, starting meditation and will start yoga soon as I’m able to do that, then also pilates soon as I’m strong enough to start that.

The new improved Zefi.

Gotta see it to believe it!


dog (& cat) day – lockdown 2 day 66

Lainee is not impressed with the cat invasion.

Today has been an interesting day. Another friend’s dog to groom. Artist friend so I got to see her studio and her work. Wonderful.

I also took Lainee to the vet for a quick check up. Her heart meds seem to be making her coughing worse but she’s fine in herself, still happy and playful as she’s been since the weather cooled down. Today I picked up another medication for her, something that has the possible effect of shrinking mammary tumours. Next week she’ll have them removed… Good but scary. I’ve never been nervous about one of my dogs undergoing surgery before but for some reason this time people are making me wary…

I also took Selina (below) and Eric to the vet. Eric needed his second vaccination but I have to wait another two months to get him neutered. He’s growing so fast! He’s already bigger than Selina.

Selina is fine. Her lungs are pretty much cactus due to her having had a respiratory infection as a kitten. She will apparently always breath short and shallow breaths and not be a very active cat. The vet said this is a sort of instinct, knowing she will have a meltdown if she expends too much energy. Poor girl. She always is so quiet and looks so sad. So different from the kitten who first appeared in the neighbourhood last summer who was too fast to catch. I bought her an insulated kennel where she sleeps at night to keep her warm. I will begin allowing her in the house, but she’s a bit nervous inside. And Eric is being a monster to her. She really needs a quiet life.

I visited a hardware store that has the Dulux colour charts and can mix up any Dulux colour I want. Only problem is, I can’t find Antique White USA anywhere on their colour swatches. It seems to be they only use codes here, not names… Its been my go-to white forever. I googled the code so I will call them and ask if they can mix it up for me…

I also wanted to buy some sanding paper for my belt sander, but of course I can’t get it here. They have to order them in, IF they are standard size. My sander is an Ozito, a brand made for Bunnings in Australia. If it was a universal brand I may have been able to order the paper in easily… so now I await news from the hardware store.

I did buy some pieces of sanding paper for my finishing sander, the one you clip the paper into. Its not a sander I use much, prefering the orbital sander for most jobs.

I also got some timber strips to make some display boxes. I should have gotten more, wider ones too for doll display boxes. I need to make some for my barbies.

I can’t get over how expensive things are here. I paid 2e each for some plain unfinished pine knobs for the kitchen cabinet I’m painting. That’s almost AU$4 each . And these are the cheapest knobs you can get. I thought I’d try custom painting them instead of buying fancy (expensive) ones.

The timber cost me almost $AU30 for 9 metres of skinny pine.

And some liquid nails. The cheapest ‘type’ of liquid nails (cause of course they don’t have ‘LIQUID NAILS’ here, was 5e a tube. Thats almost AU$10. For a tube of liquid nails/glue anything style glue. Unbelievable.

Man I miss Australia…


exercising with a cat – lockdown 2 day 59

Exercising with a cat is possible, in fact it increases the intensity level of some of the exercises. Just remember to move slowly and with control when reaching down to scoop a cat out of the way in the middle of a stretch, to pluck him off your legs when doing squats, and to not jump up suddenly when you return a body part to the groud and hear a yowling sound from beneath it.

I’ve tried putting him outside for the duration of exerise (or breakfast which is like ‘sip coffee, put cat on floor, bite of toast, put cat on floor, repeat’) but the racket he makes interferes with keeping a clear mind.

I left him outside for most of the day today. Not intentionally. Well, sort of intentionally. I was getting ready to go out and he slipped out the door and evaded being caught like a egg white in an egg separator.

So, I drove off and left him outside. After all, he goes out for short periods all the time… and he needs to learn to be out for longer periods… and the weather was fine. So I left.

When I got home I remembered I’d left him outside and had been gone for hours. Yikes. He was nowhere to be seen so I had to go looking for him, calling his name and picturing a squashed kitten on the main road below us. Thankfully he was up the top of the hill where we walk daily and came running at the sound of my voice. He was so worn out that he cuddled and slept like a baby for the rest of the day.

(Note to self: put Eric outside most of the day every day…)

My day was derailed yesterday but I did achieve something. I didn’t realise it was a public holiday so even the ‘partly opened’ shops were closed. Even supermarkets. I did find a few things I wanted in a deli however. And I did go see my aunts to drop off and pick up stuff for mom (naturally).

Then I went to my uncle’s garage to find him and his pet Albanian working in there so I left. I went down to my aunts place and worked out a deal. I’ll use the tiny unit I lived in for a couple of months when I arrived on Paros 2 years ago, with its outdoor area, to work. The unit is undergoing renovation so its not all pretty and precious right now. The outdoor area is not waterproof but I can store my stuff inside, paint furniture inside and work outside when the weather is good. There is an outdoor table I can use as a work table and a built in bench I can put my drop saw on. Yipee. I’ve got a place to work! FOr a while at least.

In return I’m also painting a few things for my aunt. Good swap.

I’ve taken the tools I had at my uncle’s down to the unit and need to begin sorting and collecting stuff from around the house that I’ll need in order to set up a proper work space down there.

I’m so excited!


now panic – lockdown 2 day 45 & 46

Its the day before the day before Christmas.

And I planned to do tons today.

I was going to bake shortbread cookies, work on my sculptures and make a little bag for my mom to carry her phone and flashlight in for her Christmas present. But somewhere along the line I got sidetracked and now its panic time.

This morning I cleaned the house and baked cookies and ate lunch then watched a Christmas movie and fell asleep on the couch and worked on my fish sculpture and started a new dog and cooked Lainee’s food and tomorrow I have errands to run for mom in town and Lainee and Rosie and Spitha to wash and dinner to eat with the family and now its 9pm and I haven’t even started the bag!!!!

And I don’t even remember if this is yesterday’s post or today’s… Is it day 45 or day 46 today? I think its day 46 and yesterday was day 45… I think I’m one day behind cause most days I leave it too late to post so I post the next morning and sometimes morning turns into afternoon and right now its night…

So… in the spirit of posting about every day during lockdown, yesterday I pretty much did the same thing, except I worked on the fish and dogs and made chicken and corn chowder and invited my cousin over for dinner. And I didn’t clean the house. I’m not crazy enough to do that every day. So maybe not exactly the same…

Lainee is not impressed with this ‘ignore Lainee streak cause I’m too busy’ streak I’m going through.

Eric is way more pushy. He’ll jump onto my lap as often as he likes and will sit in my chair if I get off it for a second.

Here is a preview of the newest dog…


I got stuff to do. I can’t sit here blogging all night!


life gets in the way – day 41 & 42

I’ve had a busy few days and its not over yet. This week I begin painting some furniture for my cousin so that means I’ll spend mornings over at her house working. That will cut into my ‘at home’ productive time, but thats ok. I’ll still be doing something creative.

Plus it’ll give me a chance to see what I’ve left up at my uncle’s house in terms of wood scraps and see what I can make of them…

I’m still trying to sort out some kind of work space somewhere…

Meanwhile Lainee had a playdate with Morty yesterday and Eric discovered the washing machine…

I read an article yesterday which has got me thinking the big questions again, so beware… another big question post is coming soon.

I’ve got two more dog sculptures on the way and one almost finished. I made myself a new batch of paper pulp clay that didn’t turn out as good as the first but I think I fixed it.

I also received the new clay I bought so I can get on with things again.

There is talk that lockdown will be lifted on January 7 for a week, then back to lockdown. To be honest I’m not really sure and not even sure I see the point of it.

However, I’ve been trying to evict my aunt 1’s tenant for months now and can’t do it due to lockdown. I want it over with. The guy has been living in that house for 30 years and paying the same rent the entire time. When my aunt increased it for a few months years ago, the economic crisis struck and he talked her back down to the original rent. He also got my poor aunt to sign a new contract for 10 years at the same rent!!!!

My aunt always had to chase him for the rent and his share of fuel costs, which he apparently always paid eventually, but never on time. He made demands of her and mom but never let anyone in to fix the flat when there was a leak or something so the house has not been maintained since he moved in. He never opens a window, only one window of the 4 gets opened at all, and even then, only a crack. How do people live like that?

The law is on my side. We have a court order to evict him but of course with lockdown no one is enforcing it. Soon as lockdown is over he is out on his ear. He’s had plenty of warning but uses COVID as the excuse for why he can’t move out. At this point he again owes us 6 months rent and is using fuel to heat the place that mom paid for and isn’t paying for it. So he’s costing us every day he’s in there.

I have half a mind to shut off the fuel to his flat.

I want the place for mom. She needs it. She’s 89 next month and with her dizzy spells and mini strokes I do not want her going up and down flights of stairs to her house. I want her on the ground floor. So the tenant from hell MUST GO.

Sigh. I’m not the kind of person who puts people on the street, but he looks like he’s making no effort at all to move out and it will force me to do it. I was always prepared to fight this with him in court, but the court has decided in our favour. Now I just have to enforce it. As it is, mom wont be able to move in for ages since the house is probably a mould-fest right now and everything will need knocking down and rebuilding and replacing. Sheesh.

It will be a huge and expensive job to fix that place…

Anyone have any friends with violin cases who can make him an offer he can’t refuse?

I really hope he leaves voluntarily.