The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Winter Is …

… grey clouds, heavy rain and unexpected hailstorms.
… red cheeks and cold noses.
… scarves and beanies and boots.
… cuddles on the couch.
… fleece blankets and flannel sheets.
… Christmas.
Christmas Day 002
… glasses of hot, mulled wine.
… popcorn and movie nights.
… pastel sunsets.
Sunset in February '09 (4)
… fierce northerly winds.
… apple-cinnamon scented candles.
… deserted beaches.
Golden Bay 07.02.10 045
… my favourite time of year.
Now I know that not everyone fancies winter but it is hard not to love a season that provides a respite from the blazing heat of the sun. I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and I continue to wish you the very best during the rest of this festive season. May all your winters be mild, with bursts of sunshine and plenty of rainbows.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

From The Grinch To You At Christmas

I did not mean to be away from here for quite so long but I am always busy at this time. Every year I make the same mistake of leaving everything till the last minute. Then it’s a whirlwind of shopping, cleaning, baking, card-writing and gift-wrapping until I am ready to fall off of my feet. I find it hard to get into the proper spirit until work wraps up for the holidays. But it doesn’t have to be like this, it really doesn’t, because Christmas isn’t really about things is it? Christmas is about something so much simpler, something so fundamental, that many of us just miss it. I will not go into a lengthy discussion about what Christmas really means to me on this blog. You can read my thoughts in this article that I wrote some years ago.
I want to wish all my readers many, many beautiful memories this Christmas but, above all, I wish you joy in your hearts, peace in your souls and your nearest and dearest close to you. Since I am sure that you are all as busy as I am, I will leave you to ponder the immortal words of the Grinch.
More Ornaments (3)-001
I am sure you are all familiar with this quote. If not, you can find the book here.
And, because Christmas won’t be Christmas without traditional carols, here is a new version of a much-loved classic.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Remembering A Friend

I’ve been debating for the past 5 days whether to write this or not. It’s close to Christmas and not the best time to share a sad story. But I do believe that we do not always consciously choose what to write about. There are moments in our life that just beg to be shared.
The fact is, that many years ago, when I was seventeen, I lost a friend in a traffic accident. He was just eighteen. There is much that I have forgotten about that day but some details are still extraordinarily clear. It was a cold and wet night when the accident happened and the wind ripped through the island, uprooting centuries-old trees and leaving a trail of damage in its path. It was a time when news travelled slowly, much more slowly. I only got to know about it the next morning. I remember the surreal feeling in the air at school; groups of friends huddled together in shocked silence. Tears fell freely. Gone were the teenage swagger and bravado. All around me were stricken, incredulous looks.  In one day we went from being careless, carefree teenagers to suddenly being confronted by our own mortality; our vulnerability. Death had claimed one of us and we were powerless. With that came the sobering realization that it could have been any one of us. Life offered no guarantees.
It would be an over-simplification to say that we grew up that day. We didn’t. But life had dealt us a blow and taught us a bitter lesson. That was twenty-five years ago. We have moved on. There is grey in our hair now and laughter lines around our eyes. We have loved. We have lost. We have had our fair measure of success and of failure. But I like to think that we each carry the memory of our friend in our hearts. It’s been many long years, a quarter of a century is a long time, and time has blurred so much. There are countless things about my friend that I cannot remember – like his height, the timbre of his voice, the exact colour of his eyes. But I do remember one thing - his warm smile; and perhaps, after all these years, it is what matters most. I think it is what the majority of us remember and, knowing him, I know it is a legacy of which he would be proud.
USA 2013 569


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