I awoke this morning to bird song outside and sun streaming through the windows, and it just reminded me once again how lucky I am to be here. To be given this opportunity is amazing, and I feel so privileged to be able to do this, to make this change in my life.
I’m not trying to be modest here, I do realise that some people might have the same opportunities and fail to grasp them, but I couldn’t have done this without my parents’ support. Not only emotionally, but practically too. They have provided me with free accommodation in what has to be one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I’ve known. And because this house has been in the family for more than fifteen years, it also feels comfortable and safe.
So I thought I would describe a typical Cretan day for me.
Every morning I have breakfast of homemade Greek yoghurt and fresh apricots, sometimes accompanied by freshly squeezed orange juice, sometimes just water. I sit and eat it on the balcony looking out over the village of Pitsidia and the hills behind. To my left are the mountains that are home to Zeus’ cave, which you can just about see on a clear day. Some days I will read, some days I will just sit and watch life go on around me.
After breakfast I normally do a bit of housekeeping, which could be a bit of admin, cleaning, gardening, shopping, a short walk or sometimes writing my blog. Generally my soundtrack to this is the Michel Thomas Speak Greek course on my iPhone. I am getting slightly better at speaking Greek, honest!
Mid-morning is coffee time, and if I’m out that will be my new discovery (thanks again to Mum and Dad) of a Freddo Cappuccino, but if I’m at home it will be a normal cup of instant. And only then do I sit down and start work – if everybody’s morning was as relaxed as mine, I think people would be a lot more productive during working hours.
I write (or sometimes just stare out the window, but I feel that quiet contemplation is an essential part of the writing process) until I am hungry, usually about 1pm.
Lunch generally consists of Greek salad: 1 tomato roughly chopped; 1 small Greek cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped; a good handful of feta, crumbled; 6 black olives; juice of half a lemon (grown in the garden); and a large pinch of oregano. Sometimes I’ll be brave and add a few thin slices of onion, but generally I leave that out. But today, I didn’t actually have Greek salad, I made my delicious Dakos instead.
I eat on the patio in the sunshine, usually reading a book, with a nice cold drink to accompany my salad.
After lunch it’s back to work, and I will finish up for the day any time between 5pm and 7pm. It depends on where I’m at with my writing, and I try and make sure I don’t finish at a point where it will be difficult to pick up from the next day.
Dinner is almost always home cooked: I rarely eat out unless I have visitors. And generally the menu is decided by what was available at the shops. It’s really nice to be challenged with my cooking for a change as I was stuck in a routine in the UK with my meal planning. I like the challenge of having to be spontaneous and let the ingredients dictate the meals instead of the other way round.
Most meals I cook are Greek – either from recipes in Vefa’s kitchen, online or occasionally made up dishes inspired by flavours from another meal I’ve made. Once dinner is ready, I’ll pour myself a glass of wine (substituted for a glass of sparkling water on non-alcohol days), plop in a couple of ice cubes, turn on the TV and sit and eat in the living room in front of the French doors, with the view of Pitsidia beyond.
And then it’s time for bed, happy and relaxed.