the squirt bottle no longer works – lockdown 2 day 49

Eric is a very demanding kitten. Especially when I’m eating breakfast. I should never have let him sit on my lap when he was tiny, then never given him a taste of panettone. Now when I sit down to breakfast and coffee at the computer in the morning one hand is busy lifting him off my lap and plopping him on the ground constantly. Even when he has his own breakfast with a dab of butter on it. Even when I’m not having panettone. And the squire bottle doesn’t work any more. He takes it in the face and barely blinks. sigh.

I’ve created a monster.

Yesterday I tried the new WordPress feature of ‘Stories’. I was uploading the pics of the girls with their Christmas bandanas and thought “why not give it a try?” Turns out it didn’t let me add any text and you have to actually click on the one pic it shows to view the rest.

Not exactly what I thought it would be… Won’t be using that feature again.

So, Christmas has come and gone. New Years Eve has never been a big thing for me, and with lockdown, there won’t be much in the way of New Years Eve celebrations.

The greek tradition is families get together and play cards, dance, eat, etc, till midnight. Then they cut the Vasilopita which is a cake with a coin in it. Mom always made a walnut cake for NYE and it was delicious. Most cakes are plainer and often made like the Easter tsoureki (which I find to be a sort of boring version of Panettone. I’m sure Eric wouldn’t like it.)

At midnight dad would do the sign of the cross on the cake (to be honest until I read that bit on Wikipedia I thought he was dividing the cake into quarters in order to more easily slice it up!) and then cut a slice for Jesus, for our home, for our family in order of age, then for the rest of the visitors. There was a coin in the cake and whoever found it was meant to have good luck for the rest of the year. I got the coin for the first time ever in 2019 at a friend’s house. I took it to mean my move to Greece was the right one.

This year I anticipate some people will risk curfew and go to friends or family and have the celebration while most will stick at home in their own little family unit. Unless they lift curfew for that one night.

I’d say doubtful, but this is Greece so who knows.

Personally I’ll be home watching Netflix till I get sleepy. At least thats the plan.


my drying rack – lockdown 2 day 36

Eric has begun to leave little hairs on me when he’s on my lap.

The reason I never wanted a cat.

But its a trade off I guess. I have the cuddles, the cuteness, the purring… vs the hair! (oh and lets not forget the kitty litter!)

I better get back to brush training. Sigh.

Meanwhile what have I been doing? Not that much. Yesterday I had family related things to do in the early afternoon, so when I got home I started work on some more clay things. They’re all on my ‘drying rack’ (the shelf in front of and above the tv, under the air conditioner).

I saw this on FB this morning and I think it sums up my house:

I love it. In fact, I want this.

I need a studio. I’d like to be able to work with ‘real’ clay, not just the air dry stuff. That needs space and makes a mess.

(Everything I do makes a mess.)

I’d like to be able to redo furniture and make things…

I began dreaming of how/where I can find myself a workshop for cheap and went off on all kinds of tangents: a container fitted out as a workshop, a caravan gutted and used as a workshop…

My options are rather limited. Renting will cost more money than I have to spend unless I can find a garage or something cheap. Real cheap. Huh. A challenge on an island. I have land, but no power or other amenities to it, and to build is not only expensive, it also needs permits and the costs just escalate from there. So, back to something temporary like a container or caravan unless I can find a cheap rental space. If I’m not renting those are the only options since kit shed/home/office buildings are not allowed on the islands.

Something temporary still needs a site with access to power. I know I could use a generator, but generators are expensive to run and I hate the noise and the stench of fuel.

What do I do?

Not having the space to work is getting me down.

Last night I tossed and turned for quite a while, thoughts of how and where running through my head, ideas on what I could do with a container or a caravan, what I would need, what I could work on, how I’d gut a caravan, how to fit out a container, what type of clay I could get, what I could make, how to organise firing of my stuff, what kind of pottery I’d like to make, what kind of glazes I’d use…

I do love sculpture it turns out, so I’d enjoy doing more of it. But what happened to painting?

It just got too complicated. In the end I think I fell asleep cause I was too exhausted thinking.


summer days continue

It’s been the best October ever. Like September used to be. Warm weather, not too hot, no wind at all most days. The sea is still warm and the beaches are no longer crowded. We still have more people on the island than is usual for this time of year, partly cause a lot of people who have houses here and no jobs to rush back to are chosing to remain rather than return to a big city rife with COVID 19 risks. There are also still tourists on the island, though not tons.

My routine continues much as it has all summer. I wake up, walk Lainee, take her to work with me, come home, change into my swim suit and go for a swim. Spend the afternoon doing something while watching Netflix or else doing nothing and watching Netflix.

Twice a week I bring mom up to my place for a visit. Twice a week or so I have lunch or dinner at mom’s. Every now and then I meet friends for a coffee somewhere. This last week Lainee and I had breakfast at an outdoor cafe and on Sunday I went to Alyki with mom for a swim and lunch. Its a little custom mom and I started a few years ago: lunch, just the two of us, at Alyki. A taverna right on the water. Just the way I like to eat: tzatziki, taramosalata, fried potatoes and fried zucchini. Yum.

There is so much uncertainty about almost everything right now. I have work till the end of October for sure, but if we get another big order maybe longer. I just keep turning up till I’m told there’s no more work for me. Then I wait till they’re ready for me to start work again some time next year…

Mom and my aunts are all still here, thinking of staying at least till the end of October. Why go back to Athens and lock themselves up in houses or apartments? Looks like at least half of them will winter on Paros this year. Puts a bit of a crimp on my workshop at my uncle’s place if he’s using his garage…

I’m really hanging out to use my power tools again. I’ve missed them all these months. I have some pallets I want to pull apart and make my shoe storage and the cupboard to keep linen in. Itching to get to work on the antique wooden couch too… at least paint it so its ready whenever I am to finish it off.

Travel is also iffy… my plans to visit my friends in Denmark and Norway keep getting put off to some vague date in the future. First it was to be March, then October, now… Christmas? Christmas in Germany for the markets with my dutch friend was cancelled for this year. Maybe next year… Who knows? If we get hit with another lockdown (entirely possible) I doubt I’ll be going anywhere. I mean, I might be willing to risk myself, taking all precautions while travelling etc, but what about mom and the others once I return? It really sucks.

Anyway, you know I love being on Paros and in my own home, surrounded by my own work, projects and hobbies. The problem isn’t there. Its that I have no idea what the future holds – with things the way they are its impossible to make plans in advance. Everthing is up in the air. And I really don’t like so much lack of direction in my life.

So I’ve made one goal for myself: soon as I stop working for someone else I will start working on my own projects full time. I’ll go back to painting on marble, making mixed media art, making art from trash, sculpture, and whatever else takes my fancy. I might even make a few new dolls. I’ll find a place to work and I’ll start working on projects which require space and power tools.

I might even start cooking for myself on a regular basis again! I made thai green curry last night. Its been so long!

And next summer I’ll plan an exhibition of my work, all the different kinds of things I like to do.

But first I need to find out if I need a registered business to exhibit.


Greek bureaucracy.



summer in october

Its been seriously wonderful here for the last two weeks.

The weather has been perfect. A bit hot some days, a bit humid on the odd occasion, but generally its been just perfect.

When there’s been any wind its been from the south which means the sea on this side of the island is flat as a pancake, though most days we have no wind at all.

Swimming in the sea is like swimming in a pool… still, warm, and clear.

Its the kind of weather where you really can’t justify NOT going for a swim. It feels like a sin against life to stay home and watch Netflix or have a nap. In fact, I think it should be made illegal. Its October and the beaches are lovelier than they were in summer.

I continue to work at the ceramic workshop and every day I think I’m so lucky to have a job where I can paint all day. I love the atmosphere of the place, I enjoy being there even when I have days where time drags, my back hurts and I feel uninspired. Its more me than any other job I’ve ever had. Well, except for dog grooming, cause I just adore dogs and love meeting new dogs all day.

Generally, I love being on Paros even if things can be hard financially here – partly cause of COVID 19 and partly cause its Greece with all its strange enterprise-strangling ways.

I have been working on another sea rope basket, just needs a couple of finishing touches and it will be ready to share. Tomorrow I hope.

Surely the weather will change soon and I will feel more like staying in and doing something!


its good to be home

So, as you know, I’m back home now. It feels great to be back in my own place and back on Paros. I’ve been swimming twice and have been sorting and cleaning the house.

Before I’d left for Athens and the shows I’d ordered some cubbies/drawers from Jumbo and I have already put them to use, putting small things in them. The project isn’t finished yet, but here they are in their places in the house.

In the bathroom…
In the bedroom…
In the living room above the sewing machine table, next to the old hotel reception cubbies…
On the bookcase to hold office stuff…

When I say I’m not finished yet I mean I haven’t filled them all yet, plus I’m not sure if I’ll keep them all as they are or paint over the patterns, even just to fade the colours a bit. We will see. For now I think I’ll just make some simple labels so I dont have to open every single cubby when I’m looking for something.

Meanwhile, I’ve checked my plants, they’re all still alive. I do need to get some potting mix to pot up some more cuttings and repot some things. I found a stash of mixed colour and size rectangular pots in the trash before leaving so I want to use them for some of my succulents. I’d rather they were all one colour so I might try painting them… will see how that goes before I pot stuff in them.

I have tons of projects lying around taking up space in my living room but I managed to get rid of a few things…

For instance: the crocs I bought which arrived in the wrong size are now living on a friend’s feet. The foam for the antique Parian couch is now living on my neighbour’s outdoor couch (since the couch frame is still to be painted and will be put into storage till I have space for it). I’ve moved my storage suitcases (which were stacked next to my bed) to the now empty underbed space making them easier to get to and less bulky in the bedroom. I took some stuff to the rubbish cause I won’t use it, don’t need it. And I gave away some succulents I didn’t want…

I haven’t done a ton, but just those few things have made me feel better. I hate clutter and yet I live in a constant state of it given I only have a small place. Back in the old days of four bedroom houses with garages and sheds I could stash my stuff somewhere out of the way and close the door: instant neat and tidy home. Now I have to live with my clutter.

So… I better get to work on finishing some projects I’ve had on the wait list so I can rid of more clutter.


adventures in holistic care

Back in Athens again. Only for a couple of days this time… in theory. But I have to be back at work on Paros on Monday so I can’t stay long anyway.

So, today I went to get swabs/tests done to finally get a definitive answer to what the spots I had were. They’re gone now… just scars remain, but I wanted answers. Lainee’s tests came back positive for ringworm, the kitten had ringworm, I was sure mine were ringworm too given the situation… but they cleared up with antibiotics, non antifungals… so… I wanted answers.

Got to the hospital 20 min before my appointment with my mask on. The guard at the gate said come back 10 min before your appointment. I made some calls and went back. He let me in and told me to walk all the way around the building to the back.

I went round the back and followed the signs up two flights of stairs to exam room 8 where my appointment was. I was told to go down 2 flights of stairs and a ramp to the main office to check in, then go across to another desk to get a printout to confirm I was there.

Back up the ramp and 2 flights of stairs to the office and was taken in immediately. Three doctors looked at my spots, which had healed, and said ‘well, they’re better, we can’t test them’ (!!!!) which kind of made my entire trip unnecessary* but they agreed, it wasn’t ringworm, it had been some kind of infection. If it came back, go on antibiotics again… thank you for coming.

Go downstairs to the main office and follow the red line to the end, then up the stairs to another office and give them this paperwork. I followed the red line for about a mile to the office. They gave me another paper and said go up the first staircase to the end to another office to get a stamp, then go down the second staircase to the bottom to pay.

By the time I reached the office to pay I was out of breath and said this isn’t just a hospital, its a gym as well. The lady there laughed and said, “Yes, we take a holistic approach to health”.

I didn’t have to pay, which was welcome.

All up it took 1 hour. 5 minute consult and 55 minutes of exercise.

So… back in Athens.

The house is still not entirely finished. The tiler came back today to finish the shitty job he’d done and put in the fly screens he ordered for me.

The plumber is coming back on Saturday morning to put a tray under the water heater in the loft so that if it leaks it wont ruin the ceiling in the bathroom. And put in a shelf over the sink.

The electrician is coming tomorrow to adjust the position of the light.

The painter is coming back tomorrow to finish up the lasts of his touchups and collect his stuff.

I didn’t tell you about the shoddy work that was done by the tiler. I was too upset. It was a mess. There were tiles which weren’t flat/lined up on the walls in places. I did ask when I saw him putting tiles on a wall that was uneven and rough… surely the wall has to be even before you tile…? I mean, I only know what I’ve seen and done in Australia where you put up cement sheeting and waterproof it… but he said that’s not how its done here where the walls are brick… what do I know? There were gaps in the grout, he trimmed the bathroom door with what looked like an axe. The cornice quad looked like it had been done by a three year old. There was cement hard grout and stucco or whatever everywhere. He hadn’t centred the mirror over the sink and put it so high the light had to go even higher… it was ugly.

The poor painter had damage to fix in places he’d already painted. He had to fix up the really badly cut and placed quad cornice. Its not perfect but it will have to do. I’m shit at cutting 45 degree angles but I would have done a much better job of it. The tiler said ‘its the painter’s job but I can put it up for you.” Wish he’d left it alone!

Anyway, once those last things are finished, the cleaner can come clean up the place and its ready to let.

I’ve had people enquire. Mom has vetoed most of them. We’ll see. People are asking so there’s no shortage of interest at least. If I dont find the right people before I leave I’m putting it in the hands of a real estate agent. Its a nightmare I really dont want to deal with.

I really don’t want to have to come back to Athens again till after summer. I’m over the trips.


brown soap and other things to beware

I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought a handmade bar of soap in BROWN. With bits in it. I mean, it smelled nice… a kind of hippie/patchouli kind of smell. But brown? Really? At best after using it it looks like I have rust stains in the bathtub. At worst it looks like I rinsed a diaper in there and didn’t clean up afterwards.


And its one of those last forever bars… I swear I’ve been using it since early this year and it just won’t wear out! I don’t think I’ll be buying brown soap again, no matter how nice it smells. Learn from me people.

I’ve learned a lot of things about plants in the last couple of days. It all started with me wanting to identify a plant that grows all over Paros (and Greece) despite the summer heat and dryness. Turns out its oleander. Who knew? Mom calls it by the greek name ‘pikrodafni’ which suggests its a daphne, but its not. Its everywhere and comes in tons of colours from a pale butter yellowy-creamy-white through different shades of pink to red. And its poisonous.

Oleander, lantana, rhododendrons and azaleas are all part of the dogbane family which includes hemlock.

There is tons of this stuff growing on roadsides on Paros and it looks a lot like hemlock:

Luckily, I’m pretty sure its Queen Anne’s Lace or carrotweed and not poisonous. Apparently ‘Queen Anne has hairy legs’ so I have to get up close and personal to see if the stems are hairy or smooth. If it was hemlock I think we’d be seeing a lot more deaths on the island, especially during lockdown…

I knew rhododendrons, azaleas and foxgloves are poisonous and I’ve had those in my garden before, but for those who don’t know the most deadly plants here is a webpage you can read about them. You’ll want to know if you have pets or little kids who like to eat plants.

Anyway, I’ve upgraded my WordPress account to premium which will allow me to put a Simple Payment button on a page so I can sell my creations through my blog. The only problem is I’m not quite sure how it works. Apparently you have to mark things sold manually so I need to run a test to see what happens after an item there is only one of sells… Does the button remain? Does it simply stop working after an item is sold? Does it disappear? Who knows… I will I guess, once I put something online and buy it myself to see what happens.

Stay tuned and then you’ll know too!


a walk on the other side

I had my first swim of the year yesterday. As it turned out, I’d missed the heatwave last week cause I was in Athens, but yesterday was warm enough to swim and I never can resist the water when its flat and calm like that.

Its been an adventurous couple of days. On Thursday my cousin was arriving so I went by her house to open it up and air it out a bit, leave her the marble paintings she’d bought off me and found her bedroom was under water.

Turns out the dehumidifier she had running (standard and very necessary piece of equipment when you live on a Greek island) had lost its hose and filled the room with water. If there wasn’t a rubber strip at the bottom of the door for the flyscreen it would have flooded the whole house.

There was so much water in there Turkish fighter planes were flying over Greek waters just to stir up trouble.

There were hoons on jetskis zooming around under her bed.

The good news was there were no dead cockroaches floating around. Apparently they’d called in a natural disaster and the coast guard went in and got them out.

Seriously though. It was pretty bad. Took me over 1.5hrs to mop it up. My poor cousin has had her wooden furniture out in the sun drying the last couple of days. Ugh.

So, what do you do? You take a drive to Naousa to see what’s going on there. First thing we saw was the geese that live on the streets there have babies! Unlike when we (on the farm in Tassie) had baby geese, these guys had two. Only. I’d have to steal eggs, boil eggs and replace eggs just to keep the population down around our place. Seriously. One nest would easily hold 20 eggs! If I didn’t replace stolen eggs they just lay more. Maybe the stray cats got hundry enough to risk angry geese this year…

Naousa looks lovely when its quiet. Its the only time I like to go there actually. Before it fills up with crowds of people.

The most iconic greek scene: boats and drying octopus.

The most beautiful bar in Naousa with its bright pink bougainvilleas and doors… Turns out the flowers are fake! I sure didn’t know that. But still… it works. Its gorgeous.

Anyway, life goes on at its normally slow ‘getting back to normal’ pace. I’ve gotten my paperwork underway to start working for myself (the greek equivalent of getting an ABN – Australian Business Number, only a lot more costly in perpetuity) as I see its my only choice. I can’t do anything as a hobby here in Greece. Every cent you earn must be declared and taxed and people WILL dob you in if they see you selling or working without a permit. People really are awful. There was the story in the paper about 1-2 years ago when the tax department busted an old lady who sold hand knitted booties on her stoop to supplement her pathetic pension (cause the government has cut, trimmed and taxed the pension so no one can live on it alone). How low is that?

So, I’m not fighting it. I’m going to try to work within the system. Hell, if all else fails I’ll just return to Oz!

But I said I’d give it a chance and I will. Keep your fingers crossed that I actually make enough to pay the taxes and still afford to live.


island colours

Home at last. That’s my place above… the junky looking one with the millions of pots on the wall. It will soon (hopefully) be an oasis of flowers. Meanwhile, the poodle in residence was complaining that she wasn’t getting enough blog-time so today she got a clip and tidy in order to face her fans:

Being back home is great. Just the sea airm the quiet and the view makes it worth it. Not to mention being in my own space. Although things are way busier here than they were before I left for Athens. Here are some pics of my neighbourhood:

Sorry some of the pics are out of focus. When its bright out its hard to see what kind of pics I’ve taken…

A walk in Parikia produced these gems this morning:

That last is the best colourwise I think, though I do love old crumbly buildings…

So, what have I done since getting back? Some grooming, some catching up with people (that’s an ongoing thing!) some tidying around the house, some plant care (dead-heading, repotting etc), some washing, some general laziness.

I really felt quite wiped out by the whole Athens thing so I’m allowing myself a couple of days of taking it easy in order to get back into things. Well, sort of… I’m still following up on Aunt 1’s application to the local nursing home, getting the paperwork ready, sorting some legal/tax stuff for myself, basically all boring stuff. But after doing a bit of all that I spend the rest of the days immitating a lump. On the couch. In front of Netflix. I’m almost at Olympic competition level at that now!

I finished watching Homeland (love that show, can’t wait for it to come back!), rewatched the last few episodes of The Walking Dead (when is that coming back?) and the latest Outlander episodes. I’m now watching The Tiger King cause people kept saying it was great… not sure… the jury’s still out on that one.

So far lets say its so out there American reality TV/documentary that I’m not particularly into it. However I can see both sides of the arguement: the rescue side that claims they’re ‘saving’ the big cats from being bred and sold as pets or to private collectors and zoos (- but the saved cats are still being kept in a private ‘zoo-like’ place…) and the collectors and breeders side that claims they are doing the world a favour by not letting species die out as they are in the wild, and that by letting people get up close and personal with them brings the reality of their plight into people’s lives in a way that makes where reading about it or seeing it on TV doesn’t.

I know that playing with 6 month old white lion cubs in Tasmania was an experience of a lifetime and I will never forget how it made me feel to be able to touch, cuddle and play with them. I can see why young women would work in a place like that for next to nothing just to be able to spend time with them. I would have done it in a flash!

At the end of the day I believe wild animals should be free, living as nature intended… but not when their habitats are being destroyed and they are being hunted and killed for trophies or fur or tusks or whatever. And I don’t believe that every idiot should own a wild animal, knowing nothing about caring for them properly… So many animals (domestic as well as wild) are abused all over the world daily… the idea of big cats or other wild animals being bred and sold for ‘canned hunts’ and stuff like that makes me sick. I’d rather see a wild animal in a good zoo, with the right space and environment and cared for by people who love them than in any situation like that.

Anyway. Off the soap box now…

I hope to get back to art tomorrow. I’m itching to but time really does fly!


on my way home

The good news is Aunt 1 has settled in the nursing home. I haven’t visited cause they don’t allow visitors due to coronavirus, for another I didn’t want to set her off. However, I called daily and once her COVID19 tests came back clear and she was allowed into the lounge area she calmed right down. I knew the company would be exactly what she wanted and needed. She sounds ok there. Thank goodness.

… Cause I really had had enough of aunts and every Tom Dick and Harry calling to say ‘its criminal to put her in a nursing home. Couldn’t you just get a carer at home?’ Obviously NO, but even those who know my aunt really well gave me and mom a hard time over it. I’ve been telling people off quite severely over the last few days. I never expected to become like a bear protecting her cub over my mom! But here I am…

Now Aunt 1 has settled and is no longer threatening suicide or a jailbreak and is seeing the private ‘clinic’ she’s in as a kind of holiday with carers at her beck and call all day, things will hopefully calm down with all the do-gooders.

The best news is that I’m on the fery on my way back home!

Of course, its chaos on the ferry with the new rules… 1 person per 2 meters unless you’re travelling together, that means that most tables have 1 person on them even if they seat 4. Tempers are flaring. Greeks… ya’ know… There is still only one ferry a day to Paros and back, and now that they’re allowing travel within Greece people have started moving around. A lot. Even at 50% capacity, the ferry feels full. Masks must be worn at all times, but that makes it hard to drink a coffee or eat… hm…

Anyway, I’m so looking forward to being back on Paros and in my own home! Lainee looks like a beddraggled orphan… A disgrace to her groomer mother! Time for a good groom! (Me too before I can wear a bathing suit again!)

This summer is going to be a challenge, though. I expect quite a bit of back and forthing to Athens. First trip back will be in about 3-4 weeks to take mom to her next doctor’s appointment and then hopefully to Paros. I have to oversee the renovation work on Aunt 1’s house. And of course I have to take care of all Aunt 1’s affairs and go back to Athens to pick her up if and when they accept her in the Paros nursing home.

Not exactly how I saw this year unfolding. Then again, none of us saw COVID19 coming either.