Living a full life

Since the last blog post, things have been hotting up for me as the registrations for Cyprus Open Studios started coming in, resulting in intense concentration and sitting at the computer for long hours. But, it was all worthwhile as I’m quite happy with what we have achieved so far. For interest’s sake, here is the link to our website and, while you’re there, click on the BLOG button. We are, of course, also on Facebook – join us by liking the page.

But, as this is not a business posting, I better start telling you about the other things happening in my life.

Jo – Joey for many people – has settled in brilliantly. Oh, locally she is known as Johanna, which is the same as the Greek Ioanna.  She’s not looking back for one moment and is in the process of meeting new people and finding more enjoyment each day. Last evening, we watched the last two episodes of MasterChef Australia – something we’ve been watching once a week over many weeks! We’ve also been trying out new eating places each Wednesday – what fun! I’ve suddenly realised I will have to start sorting out images… there are plenty! However, I found a few… to whet your appetite.

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Wine with a view – each time!

And we mustn’t forget that the chickens need feeding and that we need to cook our own as well – the fresh produce is outstanding, especially if you can pick it in your own veranda garden!

My grandson, Schalk-Willem, has moved to the Netherlands at the beginning of this year to do his Masters Degree at Tilburg University. He is doing extremely well and will start his internship with a dream company called 3D Hubs in Amsterdam on 5 August. His girlfriend, Brittany, also moved to the Netherlands. She works for an advertising company very much involved with Facebook and lives in Haarlem, where the two of them now share accommodation and both work in Amsterdam – a short train ride away; apparently the rest of his curriculum is available online whilst he writes his thesis. We are overjoyed for them! They are really starting their own lives now.

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Schalk-Willem and Brittany – the new Dutchies, at home in Haarlem.

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Here he is part of the team that came second in a competition held in Berlin

a couple of months ago – big WOW!

Since I finished putting the COS catalogue together for the printers, I went a little bananas… I enrolled in 3 courses that I thought I’d do during the summer break. Oh, dear – it’s manic! The most important one, I think, is the Financial Freedom course, which is intense! The reason for taking this one is because in my previous life, Donald took care of all the financial dealings. Of course I was included in meetings and decisions, but I knew absolutely nothing about how the world of finance worked. That’s what I’m learning about now! And also to make your money work for you; I found out that I am termed as a ‘passive earner’ as other people earn my money for me… at a price, of course! An ‘active earner’ is one who works for a living – and long may they live!

Another course is one that was offered by the man who was – still is! – trying to teach me to do Impressionist painting. Yes, he offered an online course which, in a different way, is as intense as the financial one. I got quite stuck in the mud about The Method as it’s something I’m not happy with: other people’s methods – except when it comes to cooking! But, sometimes it helps to take a breath and stand back; during my little afternoon siesta yesterday, it dawned on me that I can do it MY way – not HIS way. As long as the end result is what it should be. As they say, the proof is in the pudding…

The third course I won’t tell you about, as it’s a little whoo-whoo, which is why I’ve decided to put it on the back burner until the winter; all about Shamanic healing methods… told you!

One thing I probably will never get my head around is the fact that my landlady and my one neighbour provide me with FOOD! Many days when I thought it was time to prepare something to eat, one of them stood at the front door – or in my kitchen – with a dish or two. I would say that 98% of their offerings have been extremely welcome; the other 2% was probably because I’m not a local, as they were acquired tastes. And I only had to say that I was vegetarian once – they remember!

Jo with my landlady, Fanula, and a few of the things that walked through my door…

We have also learned that it is REALLY bad form to object or refuse. Accept everything gracefully and if there is something that you truly don’t like, be honest. If you lie about it, you will get it again and again – and that’s a waste of good food for some!

Having moved into “the village” has been quite an experience. It is totally different from where I used to live – totally! I thought we had moved to Cyprus in 2001, but what we actually did was to move into an enclave of ex-pats who were/are isolated from the real Cyprus.

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Tala village square – the square is the life of every village worth its name!

My advice for anyone who wishes to change countries is to rent a property and get to know the place before committing yourself to buying or building; find the place that suits you. Many ex-pats move to countries where they try and change everything to suit them instead of living the local life. I’m not just talking about Cyprus – you get it in almost every other country. We were quite amused when we were on the Algarve in Portugal and just about every restaurant offered classic fish ‘n chips and Sunday Roasts… it’s the same here! I must say France is quite resistant!

Well, my well has dried up now – will have to wait for some inflow! Until the next time when I catch up with you all, have a wonderful life and enjoy whatever it is you are doing. Every now and then, stop and… smell the roses – or whatever is around! Just take a deep breath. Over here, we are staying cool…

S8A5200 One of the Venetian bridges in Cyprus – you didn’t know they have been here? Oh, yes, they were!

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Jo, me, Dave and Pauline – good friends!

P.S. The image at the top is the view from Jo’s home… to die for!

 

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IF YOU HAVE EVER WONDERED…

… what it would be like living with a whirlwind that could be likened to the cartooned Tasmanian Devil, I can now give you a detailed description! Lessons can be learned from my beloved daughter…

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On the day of her arrival, I was taking my time getting ready to go to the airport in the belief that she was landing between 11:00 and 12:00. Just to be sure, I checked the schedule of arrivals only to discover that she was due for touchdown at around 10:00! The airport is a good 90 minutes steady driving from me, if one is lucky. This day turned out to be a good-traffic-day. However, I was slightly thrown off balance by my stupidity not to have checked earlier.

Waiting at the barrier for her to emerge, she managed to surprise me by coming from a completely different direction! I never realised there was a third exit… Did I mention something about being thrown off balance?

Well, another surprise was waiting for me: she had arranged to view a rental property that afternoon at 14:30 … barely enough time to get home and have some lunch! The property turned out to be The One as it ticked all the boxes – the agreement was signed within a week.

47b5e0ed936e8cc42dce3fa39bc0e27fHere’s the funny part: it is located in the village that I have moved out of in October last year! No, not Kamares – Tala, which is the greater village. Up on the hill above the amphitheatre is where she will watch sunsets to her heart’s content. It’s a view to die for!

A view to die for

I knew Jo was a woman of action but I never realised that action looked quite like that! Fifteen days after landing in her adopted country, every duck is sitting in its allocated place in the row: water, electricity, poolman, immigration, bank, car, make-shift filming studio, and dining-room suite – all ticked. The inside of the villa will be painted before her furniture arrives from South Africa – unpacking that will be fun! My list probably skims the top of what she has achieved over this fortnight. Yes, I’m a very proud mother.

And speaking of ducks, she has really taken to Cyprus living like the proverbial duck to water. She and my landlady have a lot in common in that Fanula used to be a fashion designer and they talk needlework as if they have known each other for years! One of the miraculous things where I live is that as soon as you think you about preparing a meal, the food walks in the door… yes, almost daily! We have reciprocated a bit by inviting Fanula and her family to lunch last Sunday (‘our’ Easter) – dining on bobotie, yellow rice with raisins, bean stew (boontjie bredie) and cinnamon pumpkin, all straight from a South African kitchen! They loved it! And we didn’t take any photographs…

This weekend we will join them for their Easter Sunday lunch – the Orthodox Easter is a week later than the Latin one this year. This weekend is also the Flower Festival and Jo experienced it first-hand at the Geriskipou church. She was reprimanded for folding her legs in church! Apparently, it is a No-No as the Priest explained – crossing the legs in church is like making a mockery of the Cross. Or something like that!

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Well, she made friends as the Priest and his wife engaged in a long conversation when they heard she was from South Africa.

The days in Cyprus are lengthening and the temperatures rising – summer is coming! We are entering a strange ‘era’, my daughter and I. We have reached a stage where we do not have a single living thing depending on us for anything. Whatever we do and offer now is not out of duty or because we are responsible, but purely out of love and compassion. Isn’t that just wonderful? For the first time in our lives we could get in a car and drive off into the middle distance, go for walks in the forest or jump on a boat without looking or reporting back, or asking permission.  I still find it difficult to stretch a lunch or dinner out for five hours but I now remind myself that there is no reason not to… The Moment is everything!

It is quite weird… just Being. I bit like being a Hippy…

 

Of course, we do have things to do… I still do my Cyprus Open Studios organising and Jo will continue her online teaching business; filming will resume shortly!

For interest’s sake, please have a look at www.cyprusopenstudios.com and www.sewfabulous.co.za

Until next time, stay safe!

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A Tribal Gathering

This has been coming for a while… First, my computer crashed so badly that I lost some precious images and then the Oz ‘flu virus struck, smacking me so hard I had no energy! However, here we are… at last!

In July 2016, I travelled with my small and intimate tribe on the Canal Du Midi in France as well as to a few other places. It was an unforgettable experience during which we got to know each other like never before. Remember, guys?

Plans for the future were moulded and over the following year, those plans were honed and polished.

One of those plans was to visit my extended tribe in South Africa for Christmas 2017. Goodness, I never realised just how extended the tribe has become! What a marvellous experience to see little ones who are growing up fast, young ones who have chosen their life partners and the elders imparting wisdom and offering support where necessary. I am so proud to be a part of my own tribe as well as my adopted tribes, the Mountany and Erasmus clans. Long may we all live!

The Christmas gathering happened over three days and my own and I encamped at a country lodge and spa called Leeuwenhof, travelling to the different family farms on the three days. What a marvellous experience! The Bush was lush and green and rain fell in abundance for which every farmer and his wife were enormously grateful. And we all got to know each other even better! How blessed I am.

Next on the agenda was the gathering of the Volschenk clan with extended families on New Year ’s Day with another opportunity to see family members growing up, growing strong and growing old. My niece and her husband decided to treat us all to a little taste of the Cape with a Snoek BBQ – called a ‘braai’ in South Africa. I’ve never been keen on Snoek because of all those bones, but this time Denis taught me how to eat the fish: with fingers!

On New Year’s Day we had a really good lunch at a Greek Taverna in Pretoria… yes, had to keep the Greek/Cypriot tradition going! And the company was invigorating as well. It was with a tear or two that we said our farewells; I was to return to my adopted country two days later.

Back in Cyprus, winter was in full force… actually still is! However, spring is entering the stage with the most fabulous display of wild flowers you can imagine. Just have a look at this one:

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Somehow, 2017 and all its trials and tribulations suddenly caught up with me about a month ago… started feeling off colour and listless. All that studio space and no energy to paint! The listlessness developed into bronchitis… the third time since I came to Cyprus! However, good medical attention has got me to the point where I can actually catch up with this blog! The previous time I got bronchitis was when I was exposed to radiation pollution in Phuket and thanks to my wonderful homeopathic genius friend, I shook it off quite quickly. Jennifer, we need to talk!

Some of you might know that my passion (and purpose!) in life is to promote art and artists – been doing that since the early 1990s. My baby now is Cyprus Open Studios (COS) and registration for this year’s October event opens in just a few days… 1 March! We are entering our third year and officially, I am a volunteer! They say no one puts more into a project than those who are passionate about it! Well, that’s me…

The next Big Thing I am looking forward to is my beloved daughter joining me here in Cyprus on a permanent basis! Yesss! It looks like late-March will be A Day:  Arrival – yippee!

Going to try something here – hope it works: click here for some Cyprus therapy… I stole it from her…

Until next time, best wishes for a fabulous 2018.

Maria.

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SEARCHING NO MORE…

Ever since I can remember, I have always had this feeling of searching for something that is just out of reach, just around the next corner, almost in touching distance but not quite there… Very often I would get this feeling of being on the brink of a huge discovery, accompanied by an inexplicable sense of excitement.  If only I knew what it was that I was looking for!

And then one day, it happened!  I stumbled over the pot of gold without first realising what it was, blinded by the light of the rainbow…

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Since March 2001, I have lived a contented life up in the hills of Tala. Ups and downs abounded, but we were where we wanted to be and we had each other. In 2012, when Thor and Freya fetched Donald to Valhalla, paradise was lost for me. Day after day I wondered what my next move should be, until February 2017 when I decided it was time to tidy up my affairs and come to terms with a new lifestyle. The property was sold and in mid-October I moved to the real Cyprus, amongst real Cypriots in a place called Anavargos, a ‘suburb’ of the greater Paphos. Most of the ‘suburbs’ these days used to be proper villages before they merged into one big metropolis over time. However, the spirit of the villages prevailed and I was one of the luckiest people to have landed amongst terrific neighbours, with a landlady who has wings. Apparently, her name, Fanula, means ‘light’ or ‘lamp’…

The move went well and the unpacking took weeks… It was only yesterday afternoon that the last piece of furniture was stood in its allocated place. I still need soft furnishings and a few finishing touches like lamps and lampshades, curtains and blinds… but, it is done!

Oh, I also have a flat roof where real chilling can be done in summer… when the time comes, I shall update with images.

I now have a studio space that I don’t want to leave; every evening, I spend the last few minutes before going to bed in that space, just staring at the lights of the city stretching out in front of me. Waking up in the morning, my view is of the sea beyond my studio – what more can I ask for?

Drawbacks? The water tanks on the roofs between me and the sea! Unfortunately, it is ‘a thing’ we all have to live with. I still do not see the purpose of these storage tanks as we have a perfectly good mains water supply.

The other thing that I could call a drawback is the very tight space of my undercover parking; centimetre by centimetre reversing into it is the only way – and then you have to remember to be able to open your door! However, the other night when we had a hailstorm, I was grateful that my precious chariot was protected.

 

But speaking of my searching… It was a few days ago whilst sipping a cuppa in my new paradise, that I suddenly realised that I HAD ARRIVED.  I have found that very elusive thing that was always out of my reach, around the next corner, or somewhere… That pot of gold comes down to a single word: ENOUGH.

I have become the person I have always wanted to be – maintenance continuing! But, I am enough.  My needs are small – I have enough.

And here’s the funny thing:  My neighbours keep on feeding me! Apparently, this is also a very Cypriot thing of which I was not aware… However, I have not yet given enough! I need to cook and bake and share as it feels rotten to give back empty containers…

As soon as I have posted this, I shall get on with it and become a good neighbour myself!

 

I do feel as if I need to make a real effort to integrate. I live in a cul-de-sac and everyone knows everyone else. The one problem – for me – is that they all speak Greek! I have already registered with the people who give free online lessons and this will be put to full use early in 2018! Meanwhile, I can learn the basics (again) such as the alphabet and learning to count. I started a course on Rosetta Stone ages ago, but when we were planning to move to the UK in the beginning of 2012, that came to an abrupt end… duh! Now I have to start all over again.

The plan is to have one giant street party outside my house sometime in April-ish and invite the whole street! I should count the houses… but my one neighbour feeds 10 people every day!!! It’s also a Cypriot thing to feed your children and look after your grandchildren when the parents go to work.

Until we meet again in my next post, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all Peace, Love, Health and Happiness over this Festive Season and for the future.

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Merry Christmas!

Here are a few images of my “Paradise Found”  –   that little pot of gold, which is quite enough!

A place to chill, a place to work and panels to divide the space in two…

Watch this space as the work that will be done here, will be awesome! I know enough… Well, perhaps not – learning never stops!

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THE DUSTY CAVE … Aladdin’s/Maria’s

Someone told me the other day that when she looked at the contents of the removals van that transported her ‘stuff’, the thought that occurred was, ‘How obscene for one person to own so much!’. Well, that is exactly how I feel right now about the ‘stuff’ in my home – it is obscene for one person to own this much!

Funny thing is, the packers included bags of rubbish that were intended to be binned! Lesson: be careful with instructions – saying that ‘everything in this room must be packed’ was taken literally!

I was truly shocked to discover the cache of videos (tapes!) that we collected over many years. In fact, I thought I had sorted all the ones I didn’t want to keep years ago! I think I did, but never got rid of them… and they came along for the ride. And I don’t even have a VCR player anymore… what does one do with these things now that DVDs and other media players are available? There are quite a few I wish to convert and have been told that I can buy a machine that would do that, but what about the ones I do not want to keep or convert? Suggestions?

 20171028_100206  Insane, right?

The other side of abundance may well become a problem… My landlady is kindness personified and this is expressed, mainly, through the need to feed me! She was devastated when she found out that I was a pechatarian – could not understand why! (I’m a seafood-eating vegetarian). The problem that I foresee is that, over the last year due to all kinds of influences, my weight has gone up a bit, especially around the tum and bum areas. How does one say no to kindness? When does kindness become intrusive? I certainly need to eat less rather than more! Wasted food is a sin and if I gave it away – and she found out – how awful would that be!

Not only my landlady, but also my neighbour on the other side threatens over-abundance too! The third evening here, at 9.30 pm she knocked on my kitchen window to bring me oranges and lemons from her garden… and that was her way to have a chat about family matters! And that tells you that closed doors do not make a difference.

It is interesting to see a completely different side of Cyprus. And it occurred to me that, since we moved here in 2001, we have lived in Cyprus but we have not live IN Cyprus. Now that I have moved out of the expat enclave where we were seduced to buy our custom-built villa – which I loved! – I am seeing a whole new side of this Island of Love. This has also reinforced the fact that I need to speak Greek in order to truly integrate; it is one of the richest languages on the planet… and also one of the most difficult to learn! One thing I do know: if I have lived in this kind of environment from the beginning, I would have been fluent in Greek by now.

The other thing that I have a ‘newness’ about is the closeness of neighbours, in distance and in presence. This is a very Cypriot residential area where I live in a cul-de-sac and children play ball in the street. Afternoons can be noisy, but it’s ‘good noise’! About 150 yards from me is a lovely little park where I have noticed children play fearlessly. I walked through it when they were all at school… And right next-door is the sweetest little church where candles burn almost all the time.

 

20171027_102957-1   candles

Backing onto the end of my cul-de-sac is the General Hospital and at the other end, the main post office. Next to the post office is one of the best bakeries in Paphos! Oh, what have I done!

When I was younger, there was a time when my first husband and I bought, restored and sold properties and whilst we were doing the work – part-time – we lived in the houses. That meant a lot of moving which, somehow, I took in my stride.

This time, however, it feels like I’ve only started on the foothills of Mount Everest… age has a lot to do with it and I’m not talking about the age of that mountain!

In the course of this last year’s activities of putting my home on the market, being ‘inspected’ by potential buyers, eventually making the decision to sell and then the Big Move PLUS organising the Cyprus Open Studios event which takes place each October, things got a bit out of hand… I’m not even mentioning the financial side of things!

However, a friend asked me the other day how my meditation practice was going. Ha! That shook the foundations of my Being! I have SO lost the plot. But, it is strange how The Force speaks to you when you need it… Amongst many, many, many magazines which I was going to turf out but then decided against, I came across a few issues of “Namasté” from around 2003/2004. Well, say no more… As from today, I am back on track as my journey continues. I have forgotten how to breathe but my memory has been jogged and things will change from now on.

New beginnings, new everything… with a few antiques thrown in, courtesy of my Donald!

I was fortunate to spend time with my brother and his wife, Vollie and Rita, who came visiting and we spent one morning dancing on the waves… Dankie vir julle kuier!!!

This was just a little catch-up as I haven’t been active on my blog for yonks. From now on, I’m going to attempt a weekly – says she – contribution to tell you a little more about ‘real’ life in Cyprus!

Incidentally, weekends for Cypriots mean one thing: Family! We will seriously have to rethink our open studios policy…

Until next time, Namasté!

f6e73401a1430c9d71cca63768707dad--namaste-art-namaste-yogaThis old artist is not moving for a while…

How things change…

In my last blog post I said I was hoping to report back before Christmas… Well, I have a few moments now to reflect and share and Christmas is still 4 months away. Oh, I will be spending Christmas and New Year’s in South Africa – might just see you around!

The Gallery in Tala village, where I was hoping to move to from here, has fallen flat on its face. The owner did not want to sign an agreement, nor have my name on the utility bills. But the cherry on top was when he asked for a year’s rent in advance… Nuts I am not!

So, my gorgeous home – villa, as they are called here – is now sold although I’m still waiting for the money to come forth.

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The hold-up is a tax clearance certificate which is a story I shall not bore you with. It’s all under control between my lawyer and accountant, which means I have to wait; a non-activity which drives me just a little crazy. However, taking all things into consideration, they are slotting into place, albeit slower than expected. August is of course holiday month in Europe and just about every business closes… including people at the tax office taking their annual breaks! Patience is not one of my strong points but I’m sure learning how to take a deep breath.

I managed to find alternative accommodation as from October and will make the big move on the 17th. It is also a 4-bedroomed home, this time on one level – bungalow, as they are called in Europe – with the possibility to create a stunning roof garden as the garden itself is miniscule! I love rooftop gardens and this one has a sea-view!!

Anavargos     The roof garden to be  It looks small from the outside but it’s actually rather spacious. The rooftop is ready to be transformed…

There is also a studio space to die for, newly renovated… and the rental is much less than The Gallery wanted. This new place is in a village called Anavargos; these days villages are more like suburbs as “progress” has caused a building explosion over the years. My landlady is also an artist as well as a retired fashion designer… she paints icons at present, and beautiful they are too.

My daughter, Jo, has decided to relocate to Cyprus early in 2018, but we will not be sharing accommodation. I will keep you updated as long as you click on the FOLLOW button so that you get automatic notifications when I post again.

She has fallen in love with a particular area called Geroskipou and intends to rent a small apartment near the beach as she is a sun and water baby extraordinaire! She’s just not very keen on European winters, but we all adapt. She has just spent the hottest July we’ve had in 30 years over here and loved every minute, thanks to the pool and the sea…

Marvellous news is that my beloved brother and his wife will be spending almost 3 weeks with me in September! Can’t wait to show them around. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, have a look at a few things Cyprus has to offer:

http://www.visitcyprus.com/index.php/en/discovercyprus/routes

The organising of Cyprus Open Studios is progressing well and the catalogue is almost ready to go to  the printers. What a lot of work – but I think it’s worth every effort. We’re in our second year now and we are planning on expanding the scope next year. Have a look at our website to see what it’s all about: www.cyprusopenstudios.com 

Yes, I will be turning 73 in September but that doesn’t mean I have to sit on my porch and twiddle my thumbs – there is still so much I want to do in this lifetime! Oh, the new place has a lovely porch… and it’s in a cul-de-sac, which means no through traffic! Great!

The porch

You can just imagine a swing-seat on that porch, can’t you! Oh, the possibilities…

My beloved Jessica is almost 12 years old and is beginning to show signs of aging.

JessHere she is, enjoying a chicken supper while her right leg is resting on an ice-pack; inflammation of the elbow joint… starting medication in the morning. Poor baby!

Well, I think that has brought you all up to date with the happenings in Cyprus. We are also recording record tourist figures and by the end of the season, we will have catered for some 10-million visitors! The population of the island is less than that! This is, of course, due to the other choice places around the Mediterranean becoming unsafe to visit… I must say, the hospitality and catering people are doing a wonderful job!

Till next time, take care and may your God be with you.

Namasté!

Just to give you a taste of what our summer is about:  http://in-cyprus.com/hot-holiday-weather-to-continue-over-the-weekend/

P.S. I always remember, after posting, the things I should have included…

 

 

 

Into the Village…

It’s a long time since I last posted on my blog. I’m not going to apologise although I know you missed me… I’ve missed you too!

I have been extremely busy since returning from France where I travelled with my tribe in July 2016. It feels like a lifetime ago! Yet, the memories are so vivid, and the many images  we all captured, revive precious moments.

Since then there were chaotic preparations for the Cyprus Open Studios event in October of which I am the primary organiser. Silly, isn’t it? I could be sitting in the sun, reading or painting or gardening or just do another nothing… but those who know me better, will testify that I’m not a thumb-roller. The grey cells always need something to keep them on their toes!

Here are a few shots of happy faces in my home during open studios last year:

My two partners and I then had our review meeting in November and what blew our socks off was that there wasn’t a single complaint! It was just that little bit spooky as it felt unreal… We are hoping to repeat the process in October 2017, but it really is hard work.

We’ve sent the website for plastic surgery and it came back with a brand new face – much improved from the old one! The lucky thing was I didn’t need to learn many new tricks and the logistics from last year worked just beautifully. So, with everything in place, we are now nearing the deadline for this year’s registration: 30 April which we will probably extend for a month… knowing how the Cypriot mind works! However, registration is a bit slow this year…

Besides all the above, last February I had decided to put my gorgeous villa on the market. It was a difficult decision to make as we planned every tile in the house and every plant in the garden long before we moved in during March 2001. Many, many memories were made here and we mixed a load of good with some shitty bad – and in the end, it was still hard to Let Go. However, the market was very slow and over the year I had only 5 or 6 viewings! I reconciled myself with the fact that whenever the time was right, things would happen…  BUT, in my heart of hearts, I just hadn’t reached the stage where I truly could let go.

Something I had/have to get over:

Then, about three weeks ago, I came to realise that it was time to move forward and the thought that popped up was that I could honestly be happy anywhere I lived. It didn’t depend on a piece of earth and what was created on it. But oh, the knowledge that if I moved away from here, I wouldn’t be able to say hello to fellow dog-walkers every evening, wave at passers-by as they wave hello from their cars, everyone knowing everyone else. It is something I never really had in South Africa; on the farm where I grew up, yes – everyone knew everyone’s business! But in Johannesburg, you cowered behind your high walls and in the end, dared not walk your dog in the streets in case you were being watched… Anyway, water under that bridge.

On Monday, the 3rd of April I signed an Agreement of Sale and on Friday received the non-refundable deposit. The strangest thing is that the developers bought the property back at just under the asking price. Just before the offer came in, I was actually contemplating whether to bring the price down… but then it happened all by itself.

If you have ever heard of the Law of Attraction, you will know that this is how it works.

When I first put the house on the market, I approached the owner of a property in the heart of our village of Tala to see if he would perchance consider letting to me once I had sold mine. Their home had been on the market for yonks! I explained that I couldn’t give any solid dates as it all depended on the sale of this one. This place in the village is well-known and has been used as a gallery and wine bar for years – I exhibited there one year. I fell in love with the feel and the look of the place – it’s an old village house, 4-bedroomed with a magical garden. It is about 50 yards off the village square which has just now been refurbished and is rather stunning.

Long story short – the day I signed the agreement of sale, I telephoned Andreas to find out if the property would still be available for rent. He needed time to think, he said. I was not in a hurry as the developers are letting me stay on here until 31 October – after the open studios event. But, I still fancied that property! And Andreas phoned back a couple of days later and we orally agreed that I would move in effectively on 1 October 2017… Told you I know how the Cypriot mind works; they need leeway in case of “unexpected delays”. In Cyprus, those are abundant!

Crazy old woman, am I?  I’m trying to down-size and here I’m going to rent a property with 4 bedrooms, gallery space and a built-in bar! It used to operate as a restaurant/gallery/wine bar so the kitchen has a magnificent gas cooker, which I don’t think I’ll be using much… on the square there are many excellent eating places!

The one thing that would perhaps get me down is the church bell… it’s CLOSE! Just across the square… but I’m signing for 2 years only with an option to extend. The idea is to host small events such as poetry readings, musical soirees, art discussions, and so forth in the fabulous space available. Yes, at 72.5 I might be regarded as a crazy old woman… but I feel good about it, crazy or not. They say 70 is the new 50…

And a few shots taken over several years of The Gallery:

I think that will keep you happy for a while… this last batch is where I’m (hopefully) going to live for a while as from October… je ne regrette rien!

I hope to update you by Christmas!

Namasté