Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Inspiring Green

Bringing the great outdoors inside. . . 

I particularly like the greenhouse lamp and the dual function of growing herbs or seasonal plants whilst lighting an interior. A simple, but timeless glass shell with a constantly changing natural interior, filled with crops of herbs or decorative plants. 

Not enough herbs on your pizza? Why not take your own personal supply as a mini herb necklace and season your meal when the chef isn't looking!

The leaf t-shirts look funky, I think they would be too itchy-scratchy to wear - don't you?  

Love the design of the catnip table, but do you really want to encourage your cat to walk on the dinner table?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Berry Delight

Flashback to a cooling summer drink and my interpretation of a Strawberry Slush: Strawberries, pineapple juice, lemon juice, crushed ice.

Fruit &Veg

Take a look at Vicki Sawyer's wonderful website filled with animals. Portrayed with technical realism and with and with a personal sense of humour.

As a child, family members taught her the different species of plants and animals, which ultimately led to art college.

Work as a graphic artist has meant she has created hundreds of murals containing the beloved birds, insects, grasses, and wildflowers seen in her childhood.

Her animals with hats series popped up one day as a thought, when she was on a walk: "If birds could build nests, then they could make hats."

Garden Sheep

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Lost Tourist

Waking up to our last day, of a two week holiday on the sunny island of Crete and perturbingly the idea of going home actually appeals—shock horror!—never thought I'd hear myself say that.

I've eaten in every restaurant I wanted to re-visit and drunk every drink that appealed (with the odd early morning thick head afterwards. I've done the everything and the nothing I intended, as well as reached a total state of relaxation and calm, which is exactly what I was aiming for.

There are more signals that the time to go has arrived. Sitting by the pool has replaced any activity and conversation has become an effort... er... what was my name again? Also, I see worrying traits akin to the lost tourist beginning to emerge—god forbid and... the pigeons are closing in.

What on earth are you talking about!

Well... the lost tourist was first spotted in the old town, as he shot up a side street, alongside a souvlaki bar where my son and I were munching on gyros pita. He caught our attention because he didn't fit in with the usual relaxed flow, adopted by tourists in hot countries.

Before I could pop another chip into my mouth, he had reappeared from the side street looking shocked—wild white hair, protruding eyes—awash with the local firewater and long legs swinging forward in spasms. The increasing momentum propelling him off in an unstable manner in the opposite direction down the street.

The final time we saw him, it was cocktail time on the hotel terras. With the whole terras to choose from he plopped down in a cushioned, wicker arm chair right next to me.

Oh gawd—no!—but it's a free country—right? —So we ignored him.

Unfortunately, there are people you can ignore and those you won't let you... Gazing out to sea and in-between gulps from litre-sized, Mythos beers, he would laugh intermittently at nothing. Then, when the waiter shooed away the pigeons—advancing on the cheesy, starsign-shaped snacks accompanying our drinks—he positively roared with laughter. Why? Who knows—although it is said that laughter is good for the soul.

With no desire for contact, but feeling his eyes boring into my left shoulder—as I sketched—I decided on a furtive glance at our chuckling hyena. Through darkened sunglasses, I could see there was absolutely nothing to worry about. From his face, I could see that the lost tourist's flight to the planet, Zob had happily departed a long time ago.

[*Ooh, look a pigeon* . . . Ha ha ha!]

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Cretan Magic


Sitting in a lovely little restaurant, in the old town of Rethymnon, under the hanging strands of flowering bougainvillea, its blooms in variegated and intense pinks.

Our waiter arrives. With our meal I order a glass of white wine—the local krasĂ­—the waiter bobs a pony-tailed head and disappears into the restaurant. When the Cressi arrives, instead of a glass of white, it's an enormous glass of red.

'I didn't order red,' I say politely, 'I want white.'

From behind a bohemian moustache, he regards me with mild suspicion, as though I must be mistaken and then says bruesquely:

'I will change it.'

He returns a couple of minutes later with the desired glass of white Cressi - an equally enormous glass - generously filled. Depositing it demonstratively and without slowing his stride - to take the order from the next table—he places it on the table in front of me and says quite seriously:

'There—I painted it!'


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Friday, 18 July 2014

Stone Fortune

The wind set in around the island of Crete—whipping white foam edges on the crests of waves, pulling strands of hair from hairbands and blowing serviettes and paper notes into the air.

I spear olives from the Greek salad and I amuse myself with an old childhood rhyme—a seemingly female orientated superstition—to guess the status of a potential future marital partner:

Tinker Taylor Soldier Sailor —

Rich Man — Poor Man — Beggar Man — Thief

Spoken with a lilt, as I count the olive stones neatly arranged in a row on the side of my plate—this time I have eaten five. Although not in need of a 'Rich man,' the outcome is desirable—I smile. A charming superstition, but of course not wanting to tempt fate, I generally do make sure that I eat more than one and if necessary, I will continue to eat more than six olives—silly eh? ... And luckily—I love olives.

Holidaying in Greece at the moment, I'm sure this ritual would be greeted by puzzled looks from the Greeks, who are more fatalistic by nature. Life is what it is and you take the rough with the smooth—no point complaining—get on with it, or turn it around so that it fits the way you want.

When it comes to being 'rich' there are so many other facets to it than monetary richness alone. I have only to look around me at the beautiful island on which I find myself—Crete—I feel rich and privileged to be able to be here.

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Monday, 14 July 2014


Early morning breakfast in the hotel. . .

'How are you today?' she asks.

'Ok—half asleep,' I answer, gulping down my tea in order to reply.

'You should say—I am beautiful—then you will feel good too.

'Ok,' I mumble. Then returning the sentiment, I ask: 'So . . . how are you?'

'Beautiful!' she says, with a sly smile over her shoulder—as she goes to relieve a table of its dirty crockery—from the other side of the marble-floored, dining room.

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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Rusty Inside

Today, a light lunch at the restaurant across the road from the hotel of Mezzes: calamari, Greek salad and taramasalata accompanied by crusty bread in a wicker basket. Fanta, a glass of the local Cressi and ice cold bottled water.
Our waiter—dark haired with silvered edges, deposits the bottled water with a glass on the table and says:
'Nero' (water), then he adds with a warning tone, 'but not too much, otherwise you will become rusty inside.'
Amused, I laugh and reply:
'Yes, too much and I will need some olive oil to move again.'
He pauses to take in what I said. Then comprehension slowly crosses his darkly tanned face. With a broad grin—revealing an assortment of teeth and a twinkle in his eye, he wanders off to serve another table tray on hand.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Airborne Folly

Have you noticed the increasingly peculiar baggage policies of airlines?

It first really came to my attention last Summer, when my brother and his family flew over for a visit from England to the Netherlands. On the flight out, at the airport, they were annoyingly told they had to pay for their baggage to accompany them.
'I thought an airfare included your baggage,' my brother said, as he walked through my front door. 'What a rip off!'

These days, unless you are signed up as a 'member' of some airline's club, any bags for the hold are not included in the airfare. Pretty stupid really, but ok, for a quiet life I signed up. But wait . . . after luring me in, recently I received an email and they had moved the goal posts again. Now my Ivory membership didn't include baggage. I had to have a gold encrusted bejewelled one with bells and whistles - plus have taken 15 flights with them to regain the privilege.


Logically, most people travel with a change of clothes and personal effects. Agreed? It goes without saying that some sort of bag, filled with a change of clothes and personal effects generally accompanies you on a trip and is included in the ticket price.

Obviously, the rules are changing and being replaced by quick money makers to cover the rising costs of fuel. Or is there really a weight issue in the aeroplane's hold? Or could we be, as I suspect being right and royally ripped off? I'm not going to blame this one on the aftermath of the economic downturn because let's face it that excuse has been worn ragged.

As far as flights to sunny destinations are concerned, this scenario is not entirely new. For the last couple of years, when flying to places like Crete, Greece. I have been paying for my baggage and did assume it was a weight issue. When you look at what other people at check-in are taking with them for two weeks in the sun, it's mind boggling and payment by weight then seems a fair solution. They're the ones who have arrived at the airport at six in the morning in 16 degrees celsius, already dressed for the beach. In flip-flops and beach attire they buzz around their candy coloured hard-shell cases; enjoyment is a prerequisite of the trip. Forgive my cynicism, but do you really need that many cases - it's only two weeks!

Charges are per kilo weight and you can choose your package! I'm not complaining (*sigh*) but the extras do mount up. This Summer, for our trip to Greece, I have chosen 20 kg per person, per bag. at a cost of 20,00 euros per person. Ok, that's an extra 40,00 euros and in the scheme of things doesn't break the bank. But wait . . . did I mention it's each way? That's a total of 80,00 euros!

When it comes to the validity of this baggage charge, on the outward journey they certainly take notice of the kilo allowances at check-in. On the way back, however, no one cares - it's far too hot and the Greeks don't seem to be bothered by the absurdities of kilo allowances, as they shovel tourists on and off planes. They probably wouldn't bat an eyelid, if along with the raki, honey, herbs, shot glasses, Metaxa, shells and jewellery . . . I had a donkey in my luggage!

And there's more . . .

Another newly implemented delight is that the pre flight seat reservation is also no longer free, unless it is 24 hours before the flight. To reserve an ordinary seat it will cost 7,50 euros per person, each way, unless of course you want to stretch your legs - in the special seats - over the plane's wing by the emergency exits. That will cost you 15.00 euros per person each way. Although I did buy into this option - because I want to travel with my son and not have to wave at him from the other end of the plane - I'm not keen on it because it as a potential to encourage the mob mentality of bagging seats.

At times like this, I wish I could sprout wings and avoid all this nonsense, or that teleportation had been perfected as the way to travel - as in Star Trek -  but until then . . .

I expect in the not too distant future, fuel and tickets prices will rise again and then they will have to dream up some other scheme - a charge for oxygen on the flight maybe:
'Do you want to breathe for the whole flight, madam. Or will a couple of hours be sufficient?'
'You're a blond? Oh dear, it's Thursday - I'm afraid only brunettes travel for free today.'
'If your child fits into this baggage frame, you'll be exempt from the new 'travelling children tax'.

As I post this, it's probably pouring with rain, in Holland. I've made it to the sun and I am lounging by the pool - in 32 degrees - sipping a cocktail. The pernickety baggage and seat issues are but a hazy memory . . .

Monday, 7 July 2014

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Midweek Eco chic

Absolutely love the way Ecochic has used reclaimed wood and up-cycled it to give it a new life as an easy chair and foot stool.

Source: One Green Planet

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Wednesday, 2 July 2014