A Caress of Cretan Calm

26 March – 4 April 2018

“Seems I got to have a change of scene
‘Cause every night I have the strangest dreams…….
.”

I’ve recently written a catch-up Crete visit blog and used a track by Jittery Joe as its title, so why not use him again, he was really in his prime in 1969. In any case, it’s a good excuse to make a link to another of his youtube movies.

Every time we make a visit to this Shangri-La island we seem to arrive dead on our feet, but thanks to a little help from our friends P&M, we’re always feelin’ alright by the time we leave.

This time around our habitual busy work schedule had once again caused us both to be running on empty during the weeks before departing from Luton to fly eastward into a welcoming evening sky. P&M’s welcoming open arms were there to greet us at Heraklion airport and we were instantly immersed into another world. One that’s lived at a more relaxed pace, filled with happy smiling faces speaking a language and employing typography we can’t understand, but where our ignorance is bliss. And what’s more, despite the tragic state of the Greek economy, roads in better condition than the UK!!!

Arriving in the peaceful tranquility of moonlit Agia Pelagia near Spili, the only sounds to fill the air were the distant occasional clangs of wandering goatbells. The following morning, breakfast on the terrace in warm morning sunshine. Immediately we were enshrouded in relaxation mode. We just drank it all in. It was impossible to resist.

The next ten days drifted by in typically leisurely Cretan pace. We explored Rethymno and the grounds and fortifications of the Fortezza; had a guided tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete; drew and painted on a different scale for a change in my Olive Grove Studio; explored the narrow streets and harbour of Venetian flavoured Chania and the hillside village calm of Ancient Lappa; found aged and decaying murals in lonely hillside chapels; walked isolated mountain tracks with my trusty Cretan guide; enjoyed the beachside community haven of Matala, with the Mermaid Cafe, mentioned by Joni Mitchell in her song ‘Carey‘, a track on the album ‘Blue‘; witnessed sunsets and starry skies to die for; ate good Cretan food, drank excellent ‘Karydia Brother’ wine.

A relaxing, unwinding, de-stressing, calming and thoroughly restful visit……………..however………………there was one occasion potentially detrimental and harmful to my health.

What began as a normal Friday evening spent in a bar in Plakias quickly evolved into a particularly stressful nail biting one. As any lifelong follower of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club would confirm, supporting this team is a roller coaster ride. This year has been a good one, but it’s still had its share of ‘moments’. Having found a bar with a TV and a Skysports football channel available, I endured one of the most traumatic games of my life. The season has ended well, but watching my team hang on with 9 men to beat Middlesbrough can only be described as an absolutely nerve shredding experience. The following week it felt like history repeating itself as WWFC survived two penalties in added-on time to beat Cardiff. Only a Wolves supporter knows what having unyielding loyalty to the old gold and black really feels like.

However, even having said that, this was an isolated anxiety-associated episode. As far as stress is concerned, Crete is the perfect antidote!

“You feelin’ alright?
I’m not feelin’ too good myself…….
.”