Carribbean Crete

16 – 22 May 2015

“Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right! “

Rise up this mornin’,
Smile with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, “This is my message to you-ou-ou: “

It’s not the Carribbean, but it certainly felt like it with Bob’s familiar and reassuring voice playing in the background as we relaxed to an evening meal with a glass or three of locally produced krasi at a beachside restaurant in Ligres. To shake off the cobwebs, recharge the batteries and forget life’s worries, trials and tribulations the perfect answer is to escape to Crete and see what a week of sunshine and wine in a country with a radical left-wing government does for you.

Thanks to our very good chums Peter & Monica we were able to do just that by returning to our version of Shangri-La, or more accurately Agia Pelagia in the centre of the island. Having the opportunity to work in my ‘Cretan Studio’ again was tonic for the soul. With seven days of wall to wall sunshine time stood still, the conveyor belt switched off and life was lived at a more relaxed pace in a landscape lush and green following an unusually wet winter. Travelling on empty roads there is so much to view, driving through deep and imposing gorges which lead to idyllic and isolated retreats such as the aforementioned beach and restaurant at Ligres, the Agia Fotia Taverna and the rich red abandoned village at Aradena.

Add to this the opportunity to work en plein air in the dappled shade of an olive grove, accompanied by the chirruppy and happy whistling of busy Cretan birdlife and the fleeting company of delicate dancing butterflies, listening to the breeze blowing harmoniously through viridian and silver leaves, the occasional sound of an inquisitive and magnificent black carpenter bee making its conspicuous hum as it flies ponderously from flower to flower, the fleeting scampering feet of green and brown lizards, the scream of a peacock, the shrill stridulating vibrations of grasshopper bodyparts, the occasional spontaneous peal of distant sheep and goat bells – dare I suggest it’s even more relaxing than listening to Sarah Walker presenting Essential Classics on Radio 3.

Adopting Bob as the soundtrack for the week, the combination of good company, krasi and contemplation has been restorative, refreshing and stimulating, very much like a life-affirming cocktail. Had Bob been with us he may have added a stimulant or two of his own but the change of pace and sense of place was enough, the only vaguely hallucinagenic moment for me was the sight of multi-coloured ants walking across my feet while working in the seclusion of the olive grove.

Aristotle or Plato (or was it Lynyrd Skynyrd?) must surely have said something very similar so apologies to them if I’m stealing their wise and philosophical words, but to put it simply………..it’s been Bloody Orea!

   Having a Bad Trip?

    A misconception?
    A visual deception?
    Confused perception?

    Rainbow transcending
    Colours mixing and blending
    My palette amending

    Tints, shades and pure hues
    Animated reds and blues
    Total spectrum forming queues

    Cobalt figurines
    Pebble dashed ultramarines
    Crawling aubergines

    Army of orange blots
    Trampllng over coloured pots
    Invading yellow polka dots

    Sun filled fields of green
    Poppy splatter unforeseen
    Marching marks intervene

    Tan, rust, milit’ry brown
    In ‘No Man’s Land’ puddle moiré drown
    Somme-like, faces down

    Bad trip? All is fine!
    Psychedelic dream is mine
    A paint mixers dotted line
    
    Small chromatic flecks
    Stippling, swimming insect specks
    Nothing anymore complex
        – I’ve Aints in my Paints!