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.


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!




… as Sherlock told Watson.

You will notice that a bit of refurbishing has taken place since your last visit and still further developments will follow. I started this blog way back when Donald and I were considering relocating to the UK and then things went awry and I’m still here in my beloved Cyprus … Since the dust had settled, I have been contemplating my art and writing career – yes, career as I have been receiving royalty cheques, you know! Not that I would ever be able to get rich on that, but it is rewarding to say the least.

And that brings me to my art business. I accepted WordPress’ invitation to create a website and … got this blog … which I already had! However, in the process I changed the name and it is now a dot com – and that’s where the further development will take place: customising the homepage but I am still learning!

I have also started getting my studio up and running as it would befit a proper artist and soon I shall be showing you what happens in there. During the clearing and tidying phase, I came across quite a few half-finished pieces which, upon further consideration, could become something if developed further. That is what I am doing right now and so far, three pieces have been completed. I don’t use the word ‘finished’ as my instructor in Italy said that no piece of art is ever really finished but it reaches a stage when you may feel that it is complete. In fact, he said, a piece should be judged as ‘complete’ at various stages of its creation! But that’s another story. Here are two of them:

Fun on the beach  I’m gonna get you What's in the bucket  What’s in the bucket?


They were originally done in watercolour with which I was not at all happy and now they have been brought to life by adding pastels and thus have become ‘mixed media’! They are only small pieces but fun pieces.

So, in order not to break continuity I shall retain what has gone before and take it from there. I shall, however, use this website/blog now in a more creative way and will probably start another blog specifically for communication with friends and family. I just wanted to update you on where we stand right now.

I feel enthusiastic about the stage I have reached and look forward to getting stuck in and create loads of art in preparation for an Open Studio weekend or three during the summer/autumn months. Yes, I am using the phrase Open Studio even though the name has been officially registered as an NGO which only served to hamstring us as far as opening our studios to the public is concerned. However, I have decided that it will be used as it describes exactly what I do when I invite the public into my sanctum sanctorum.

Watch this space … lots and lots will happen soon as the game is truly afoot!


Note: To see larger images, just click on the picture.

Following on from the last posting, I made the decision to continue with the home decoration process and the whole inside was done as well. Once that was completed, I realised just how badly it had been needed!

Also, some years ago we had a water leak from the roof which took a bit of doing to fix but eventually they did. However, when they started painting the ceiling of the stairwell, great chunks of plaster fell off … oh, dear, I thought – loads of lolly to be spent here … But, I was wrong! The contractor included the repair job in the original price and didn’t blink. That man and his team really need medals! It’s great to find honest people.

023  Stairwell ceiling

039All that stuff standing around everywhere … and needing putting back again …

Once that was all done – what a job! – it was time to spend the last bit of money that I had set aside on very necessary protection for the newly decorated wooden shutters. I was lucky again to find the right people and the awnings look awesome!

Awnings up
Now I’m ready to sit out the summer and stay cool. It’s amazing the difference these awnings actually make to the house as I can now leave everything wide open and let the breezes flow through. So much more comfortable in 30ᵒC+ temperatures.

Unfortunately, not everything is rosy in my life at present.

You may recall that one of my gorgeous dogs, Katie, contracted Leischmaniosis a year ago. Well, thanks to an expert vet, it was brought under control and Katie’s life returned to normal. Or so I thought …

As I was preparing to take my summer break in the UK, the Sunday before departure I noticed a sore place on the back of Katie’s neck that had bled. I discovered it was a lump of sorts and took her to the vet on the Monday. It turned out that there were three lumps that needed removal and they were found to be malignant. The operation(s) took place the next day and it appeared to have been successful as it was surface lumps in the skin only. If you are squeamish, don’t look at the next ones!

Behind the left ear on the neck On the back
Once again, thanks to my dear friend, the brilliant homeopath, Katie’s recovery was quick and good. I felt confident enough to leave Katie in her care as she was house- and dog-sitting for me while I was away. She is also crazy about Jessie! Katie’s staples were to be removed some 10 days later and everything seemed to be nicely under control.

I had ten days of blissful communing with family members in London and on the Isle of Wight. Next stop was with my step-daughter, Nikki, and her husband, Stuart, in Holt in Wiltshire. They collected me from the ferry port and we went to lunch at Stuart’s mom’s place which was nearby. It was really good to see her again.

Unfortunately, I got a phone call from the vet to tell me that the results had come back from the laboratory and that Katie had been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Suffice it to say that the prognosis was a lifespan of perhaps two months before I will have to send her to Valhalla where I hope she will join Donald and hunt to their hearts’ content! Not that either of them ever were hunters but what else would they do there other than hunting and feasting?

I had to then make a decision whether to complete my summer holidays as planned or return home to be with my beloved animals. I returned and I’m really glad that I did – there are things I can do to make life easier for them both as Jessie will suffer when Katie goes away. They are really fond of each other.

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But, I don’t give up that easily. I consulted with the same vet as well as another one I’ve been using since we got to Cyprus. They both felt the decision was mine and that whatever cocktail of drugs they could prescribe would not cure the problem.
However, some time ago I read an article about cannabis oil that was used on a very young leukaemia patient with amazing results. This morning, I sent off the order and I can only hope the product will arrive soon so as to make a difference. Who knows? Is this the miracle cure for cancer that we have been waiting for?

Of course, the pharmaceutical companies and health authorities do not wish this to be so and cannabis has a ‘bad name’ because of its misuse. But this is the oil from the plant which is completely safe, non-invasive, non-addictive and … not expensive. It will drive the drug companies nuts to lose out on all that boodle should this turn out to be The Cure.

I’m not going to hold my breath but there is nothing more important in life than HOPE – a neck-to-neck race with LOVE.

So, for the foreseeable future, I shall be spending time at home, catching up on all sorts of things like sorting out drawers, cupboards and the filing cabinet … a long-overdue job!

Other pleasant past-times will be writing, painting, gardening in the early morning and late evenings, watching television and listening to the radio. And, of course, reading!! The pool is another great attraction and I am so very grateful for having friends around.

The art website is also now LIVE and running so lots to do to promote that and build up for the next exhibition that will take place in mid-November. Have a look at the new site: – it still needs work and it is a on-going project.

Till next time, May your God be with you. ~Dave Allen~


16.6.2014  Gorgeous Katie!

  Room service     Jessie ordered room service

The Villa … putting on the Ritz …

The story of redecorating the outside of the house – or VILLA as it’s known here – started a while ago. But before I get to it, I have to backtrack even a bit further into the past.

Donald and I had given notice to redeem a certain investment some 3½ years ago and last year, I was told that this would now be happening but in small chunks. The first bit came through in the beginning of this year and amounted to €3890. I thought I would put that aside for the redecorating. And then I started getting quotations …

The first one came in at €5500 for the walls only plus about €20 per hour to do the woodwork. There is a lot of wood! I thought the guy must be nuts. The second quotation came in at €2800 for the walls and they wanted to replace the wooden shutters with alunimium ones that look like wood. I warned about price as we considered doing that about 5 years ago and the price was ferocious. As it turned out, they had to rethink and the man who was supposed to be doing the woodwork was really not interested in taking on the job of badly deteriorated shutters.

The day that Jennifer and I went to the herb garden, we were waiting for some Happiness Tea to be mixed and were discussing the quotations. A young man came up and apologised for ‘eavesdropping’ but he happened to be a painter. I thought he was referring to artistic painting and asked what kind of painting he did. “House painting,” he said. He also happened to have a South African accent … as he was born there of Cypriot parents.

Long story short : he came to the house with his Syrian sidekick who, incidentally almost slavered at the prospect of working on the wood! He sent the quotation through and it came to … €3800 – all inclusive! And as the advertisement says, there is more! He happened to have gone to school in Greenside – primary and high school – which was about 5 minutes’ drive from where we used to live in Randburg.

Was this man sent to me, or what?

They started on the job on Monday, 14 April and COMPLETED it on Thursday, 24 April – 10 days from start to finish and they had taken the shutters down and completely overhauled and reinforced them. Previously, they used to scrape on the ground when opening and shutting, and now they don’t … AND they affixed bolts onto the inside of the middle section so that one can now keep them in place for part shade. They also fixed and oiled the loungers, the patio seat and … the doghouse for no extra charge! Am I blessed, or what!

Here are a few pictures of how it was done.

Ahmed - the happy Syrian  ComparisonsHe's got a long one  The carport - wood!  The front entrance doneMinas on the right - shutters rehungLooks like a villa

And that’s the story of the villa’s facelift. At some stage I will have to give her an internal overhaul as the walls are in need of TLC – but I’m afraid that will have to wait a little while longer.

Meanwhile, I have started a new venture and if you have a look at – that’s my baby!  I’ve decided to have it upgraded to give it a more professional look and this is underway. This coming Thursday sees the inaugural exhibition by 20 of its members and if you are willing to work your way through it, the story is on my other blog: – yes, I’m a busy little bee and it keeps the old grey cells chugging along nicely.

Just in case you haven’t seen the old mug lately, this is it:

At the herb garden   Until next time, stay safe, healthy and happy!