Craving Colour

The weather threw a tantrum here in Scotland last week  – snow, sleet, hailstones and sunshine – but I decided to celebrate spring in my living room anyway. I’m a bit of a cushion addict, but changing cushions and throws with the seasons and adding a few supermarket flowers is a simple pleasure that makes me ridiculously happy. The patchwork cushion is one I did with wool left over from a blanket I crocheted last year. It lives on my sofa, and every stitch, every stripe marks a victory against the low grade depression that took me away from blogging, from photography and from myself for too long.

I crocheted it for the campervan I plan on owning some day, and a few days after I finished it, we got the chance to rent a tiny van; the blanket not only took pride of place, but manifested a few colourful companions. Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed, I crave the simplicity of driftwood and a sea breeze; last year, as I dreaded the empty nest I’d be left with when my son joined my daughter at university, some wise deep instinct told me to rediscover my love of colour and build an alternative nest. I was in charge of packing for our few days away in the rented van; my husband laughed when he saw what my packing priorities were!

Van colours

Have you ever grappled with low grade, chronic depression? How did you deal with it? What helped you find your way home to yourself?

A Glimpse of Greece

for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves that we find in the sea ~ e.e.cummings

As promised, here are a few photos from last summer’s surprise bargain holiday to Greece. It’s taken me a ridiculous amount of time to retrieve, resize and upload them – my troubled relationship with technology and social media will probably end my pathetic journey as a blogger – but even though they’re not technically that brilliant (I visit photography blogs with jaw droppingly stunning photos!) I took them so I could share a wee heart journey with you.

As I clicked away on a small, borrowed digital camera, like a child shrieking Wow! every time I saw something new, these little hymns of gratitude organised themselves into stories and journeys: my first day, discovering the stunning views from our windows and balconies; the glorious flower beds that bordered the many steps down to the restaurant and tiny, private beaches; the deserted, secluded swimming pool which we had all to ourselves for a week; the day trips to favourite hidden coves, as empty now as they were thirty years ago when I first discovered them…

We opened the shutters when we arrived and found this… a little bit of heaven on earth…

It took me five minutes to walk down to the café, pool and beach as I kept stopping to take photos on the way down…

I love organic design and glimpses of the sea!…

glimpse of the sea

Then there’s my obsession with flowers…

 

On our search for the swimming pool, I discovered a wee bit of heaven – a tiny cove, thirty seconds from the pool, two minutes from the café restaurant…

..then this gate… leading to my son‘s idea of heaven!…

We then went exploring and discovered the private beach next to the café…

…and stopped off at the restaurant itself for a beer before tackling the thirty million steps back up to our wee apartment! (There’s a reason our balconies had the best views!)

This is the view from the restaurant one lunch time…

…and at dusk…

The rest of the week, we were happy to stay close to home, occasionally visiting old friends or taking trips along the coast, showing my son old haunts he’d been to as a child but couldn’t remember…

He couldn’t believe he had his pick of deserted beaches. My daughter and I used to find amazing heart shaped stones here…

heart stone beach 2

We had iced coffees and ice creams in local cafés…

…and I was allowed to indulge my obession for photographing doors and windows…

One night, as we sat on the balcony, simply enjoying a beer till the last smudge of light disappeared over the horizon, I said a quiet prayer of gratitude for it all and for my husband, who understands me and makes it all possible. The things I’ve spent my life doing – parenting, homemaking, caring for my elderly dad since his heart attack, writing, translating, teaching, painting, singing, songwriting, photography, homelife coaching – all require intense presence, focus, engagement… an ability to love details and just enjoy being. Greece is where I refuel my soul when life has left me depleted.

I’m glad you visited today; I really did take these with you in mind.

 

Home from Home

Where we love is home. Home that our feet may leave but not our hearts. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Last June, my husband surprised us with a bargain holiday to the part of Greece where I used to live and work. We still have friends and godfamily there, and this is one of our favourite restaurants, a place that always whispers Welcome home… whenever I arrive.

I love listening to the waves lapping – sometimes crashing – against the rocks below. When my son was a wee boy, one of the waiters showed him how to scatter breadcrumbs to attract shoals of fish and catch them with a simple line.

That same evening, he carried my son’s only ‘catch’ out to us on a platter, fried, garnished and served with salad; it made a wee boy beam with pride.

From baby food to beer, crayoning books to iPhones, those rickety wooden tables have seen our lives unfold…

We ate there with close friends last summer, and our tall, handsome sons, once babies sleeping in pushchairs, were drinking beer, talking politics and swapping tales of university. As the sun set coral pink and mauve and a warm breeze stirred, I sat for a moment, smiling, just taking it all in, the memories ebbing and flowing like the waves below.

The restaurant has changed over the years, but the view stays the same, wrapping thirty two years of friendship, love and family in its eternal embrace.

Do you have a special place that always makes you feel like you’ve come home, no matter how long you’ve been away?

*I finally managed to retrieve and upload photos from the holiday, so, as promised last year, I’ll post a few this week. Better late than never!