Friday, December 31, 2010


Is there no end to the fun! It appears not. It is New Year's Eve and the bubbly is on ice.

Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing today, I want you to celebrate all the good things of 2010 and welcome in the new year with loving thoughts of peace to all mankind. Let a wave of love start with that first new year's kiss, let it surge out to your family, your friends, your neighbours, the politicians who work towards keeping a safe and healthy environment for you to live in, the workers of the world, who with their energy create beauty and maintain order, and to the spiritual leaders who keep the light of God blazing. And, let a great sunami of love warm the hearts of the sick, the poor, the bereaved, the hungry and the homeless. How does the song go? "It started with a kiss..." And remember to love yourself, nobody ever said you shouldn't do that. Let 2011 be full of love.

That's my new year's message, be happy, and have a wonderful New Year's Eve.

With love from Jane x

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


This was a lovely event, organized by the Cultural Committe of Sissi. An evening of live music, food, drink and Christmas magic. And, if you look at the pictures carefully, you may see Father Christmas being serenaded by his little helpers, Gillian, Julie, and yours truly. (Thanks to Dr Zacharias Fthenakis for supplying the photographs). I hope this will become an annual event, with gift stalls, home made produce maybe, and something for the children. All good Christmas fun!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cretan Carol Singers 2010


I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I sang, I swam, I played cello, and I shared a whole load of food and drink with my friends. Not quite a traditional Cretan Christmas, but the two merged together very well.

On Santa's trail in Rethymnon!

The 'switch on' of Sissi Christmas tree. Gillian, Julie and I did play, but as yet no photo.

Sissi boys enjoying the evening.

Christmas Eve, Julie and I played carols and all our friends sang along. We were outside the Oasis bar, which is opposite the big church in Neapolis. Later that night David and I had a few friends around for Christmas Eve drinks, and...

...then there was Christmas Day! First a chat with our family in England as they opened their presents. Then cosies on and off again. So few crazy people on the beach that day, but David and I didn't let the side down. Together with Mark and Jim, we took the cold plunge and enjoyed every minute.

Then it was back to Vrahassi for a lovely hot shower, and off to Ian and Diana's house for a wonderful Christmas dinner.

And now, David is back in his overalls working on our extension ready for Jo coming to stay this summer, meanwhile, I have just finished polishing and vaccuming, preparing yet more food and catching up with my e-mails. The dogs are sitting in the sunshine outside, and all is peace and quiet. A perfect re-charge day. I hope your Christmas time is as good as ours.
To all my blog readers, I wish you the very best for a wonderful New Year.
Oh, and that reminds me - Cosmos bar in Vrahassi, has been refurbished, new toilets, new tables and chairs, new most everything, and it is now open for drinks and nibbles. George, who runs the place, says it is a Raki Bar. We popped in on his first night. For sure it is a welcome addition to the night spots of Vrahassi.
Love and all things nice, Jane x

Sunday, December 19, 2010


OK, we are going to give it a go tomorrow, Monday. If anyone would like to join in the fun, come and sing along with us. We shall be on the pavement, just down from the bookshop on the main road for traffic, that leads to the sea. Listen for the music if you can't find us. Hope to see you there, starting at 11 a.m.

Love Jane x


The winter has brought another house down in Vrahassi. This time it has blocked the road up to my house. Hm... good job I bought some new wellies. If I have to spend the rest of the winter walking up and down the hill to my car, then I know I am going to need them. Is this God's way of making me exercise?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Our little student's concert went very well. What you would call, a very agreeable afternoon of music.

Our next venue is Agios Nikolaos on Thursday 16th December, when we shall be playing Christmas carols in the street. We invite as many people as possible to come along and sing along, at 11 a.m.. We shall be on the pavement on the road down to the lake. Hope to see you there.


The little blond on the front row has started her Christmas by joining in with the Rainbow Choir at their annual carol concert. It was a last minute 'come and join us' but I put a bit of work in and hey presto, had a wonderful evening. We had a fantastic audience too, who turned out despite the freezing cold, snow, hailstones and high winds. Yes, it's winter! Great, I might get chance to wear my new wellies.

Love Jane x

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I have been going to Fourni for the past couple of Fridays, to play piano for a lovely flautist. What a surprise I had the first time I entered the village. Just on the very edge of Fourni is a field full of these panels which generate electricity from the sun. I was shocked at first, but then got to thinking how much better this was than the ugly power plant on the coast just outside Heraklion. If we are to embrace alternative technology to help sustain our need for electricity, then we have to accept new landscapes. I have to say, I do prefere the roof top variety, but then again, I have seen much uglier buildings than these panels. I wonder how long it will be before Vrahassi has a couple of fields full of the same.


Don't miss the Rainbow Choir's annual Christmas Carol Concert, to be held at the Hermes Hotel in Agios Nikolaos, on Saturday 11th December, at 8.00 p.m. There will be lots of mulled wine and food, and a raffle with fantastic prizes, like a trip to Santorini.

I will be playing the cello with fellow students, on the 12th December, at a private gathering of friends, and the week after going to the Christmas concert of the philharmonic at Rethymnon. In between all of that, I hope to take to the streets with Valentino and play carols. Anyone who would like to join me, listen out for a meeting in Sissi, to arrange a date.

Jingle Bells and Deck the Hall, Christmas is coming!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am so sorry for not posting anything for a while, but I have been proper poorly with a nasty bug that I can only imagine latched on to me when I went to England. I have still got a tickly cough, but it is getting better every day. I've gone through boxes of tissues, packets of paracetamol, taken hot raki, honey and lemon, even resorted to rubbing my chest with raki. In the end I decided to banish the bug from my body, so I told it in no uncertain terms to go away.

Well, a night out in Rethymnon on Friday, seems to have done the trick. There is nothing like sea air, a brandy and hot chocolate, followed by imbibing in a bar full of young people, bouncing with loud music, for clearing your head. Unfortunately I think the wine and raki which accompanied our food managed to dizzy me up again, but that's passed through the system now, and I'm feeling right as rain.

I've been practicing Valentino most of today, as tomorrow I am getting together with the Rainbow Choir in Agios Nikolaos, to see if I can add anything (hm...) to their Xmas programme. We'll see. I might even end up singing the odd carol or two. That is good, because on Tuesday I am getting together with a few carol singers in Sissi, to discuss a bit of a sing-song there, before Xmas.

So it is all systems go. Saturday December 11th, the Agios Nikolaos Christmas Carol concert, 8.00 at the Hermes Hotel (Change of venue this year), Our end of year concert on the 12th December, with all my fellow music students, Gillian's little band. And the Rethymnon Christmas Orchestral Concert on Tuesday 21st December. In between all of that watch out for the group of singers in Sissi (date to be set).

To think, I very nearly said humbug to it all. I might even get my old Christmas tree out, and the fairy lights, why not?

I wonder if there will be any sign of Christmas in the square this year. I hope so.

Other than that, now I am in the land of the living again, I can enjoy this very warm weather that we have had throughout November.

It is also a good sign that I am better, because I have my appetite back. David and I called in at the English Butcher at Vamos and came back laden with cumberland sausage, rump steak, brisket and gammon, so tonight it is steak and chips for dinner.

I also wrote a little poem for the kids, hope you like it:


Shush - Hear it? - Reindeer bells,
Santa’s in the air,
He’s travelling from his magic land
The other side of where,
If you look you’ll see his sleigh-lights,
There – See – Among the stars,
His house is several days away
The other side of mars,
You’ve got to look quite carefully
Deep into the night, for
He has to travel very fast
I’d say the speed of light,
See – there – a glowing vapor-trail,
Oh he’s moving very well,
He’ll be here very, very soon,
You’ll hear his jingling bells,
Look at the bright star near the moon,
That’s where he pulls the reigns,
And takes the highway down to earth,
With all his toys and games,
Shush – hear it – reindeer bells,
He’s somewhere in the sky,
We’d best get home as fast we can,
To make him a mince pie,
It won’t be long before he’s down,
We haven’t got much time,
Make sure you leave a tot of rum
Some brandy or some wine,
Then while you sleep he’ll creep inside
Your house, all fat and red,
And leave a heap of Christmas gifts
Right there beside your bed,
So watch for Santa in the sky,
A red man on a sleigh,
He’s up there now, approaching fast,
And jingling all the way

Enjoy your run up to Christmas, it really is a magical time.
Love and Best Wishes,
Jane x

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The circumstance made me laugh, but it is no laughing matter for village life. Is the cafeneo dying? Are village people happier in the comfort of their own homes, watching their own TV, warming themselves on their own fire, being able to go to their own loo (which I am sure has a toilet seat), being able to smoke if they so wish, and, saving money into the bargain.

Personally I miss the hub-bub of the cafeneo, cretan music playing and a film showing on TV at the same time, political arguements, tasty mezes, the priest always at a table, a haze of smoke, a working man's refuge, the odd tart encouraging a good twizzle of the cumboloy. How times change!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Now I grant you, this house is very small. But it does have road access both front and back, and would make an ideal first home for a young person wishing to live an independent life. Equally well, it would make an ideal holiday home.
It is fully equipped inside with a fitted living/kitchen downstairs and a bedroom and tiled bathroom upstairs. It is furnished and includes two televisions and a radio/cassette player. There is a double bed. So, the house is ready for occupation. The first floor balcony has a view of the Lassithioti mountains.
Let me explain that the house in question is the one with the pink surround. The house next door however is also for sale.
I am not acting as an Estate Agent, I am simply informing you of the availability of this property. Please ask any one of the Agents if you are interested.

This house is situated on the main through road and parking is available nearby.

Monday, November 8, 2010


The following information has been handed to me by Mr Manolis Petasis of Ierapetra, who has been put in charge of organising Greek Language lessons for all foreigners living in this area. That includes, Makrialos, Ierapetra, Agios Nikolaos, Sissi, Vrahassi and Milatos. If you would like to join the programme, you must obtain an application form either from Maurice, at INCO or from Manolis, his telephone number is below. Please read this information before you decide whether or not you would like to begin classes. If you have any further questions, you can also ring me: Jane 6945 872472

General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning - Ministry of National Education Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs- has planned the educational program “Education of Immigrants in the Greek language, history and culture-ODYSSEUS”. The program is been operated by the Institute for Continuing Adult Education.
The program “Education of immigrants in the Greek language, history and culture-ODYSSEUS’’ is referred to all immigrants, the European Union citizens and subjects of third countries independent of their origin. To people over the age of 16, without discriminations according to equal treatment and according to the equality of access participation in lifelong learning. The educational program emphasizes at the teaching of the Greek language as a second as well as the teaching of the greek history and culture. This will help the trainees to acquire linguistic and practical social skills as well as intercultural abilities necessary for their active social integration and the improvement of their family background.
This educational program has two levels, A1 (125 hours) and A2 (175 hours) More specifically:
A1 Level (Introductory level): this is a basic course comprised of lessons of the Greek language, History and Culture and everyday life practices. The trainees acquire linguistic skills and practical social skills in order to correspond to communicational situations of everyday life and to become familiar with social environment history and culture of the country.
A2 Level: the course comprises of two units: Greek language lessons (150 hours) and history and culture (25 hours). After having attended a course of A2 Level, trainees have the opportunity to take exams of the General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning in order to attain the status of long – term abiding in Greece according to the Greek legislation.
Candidates are classified to A1 or A2 Level after having completed a classification test. At the end of A1 or/and A2 Level vigorous assessment processes are put in place in order to evaluate learners’ abilities.
Certificate of Lifelong Training is granted upon successfully completion in both levels.
These courses are given free of cost in order to reassure access participation of target-groups in lifelong learning. Moreover, every trainee takes educational material (in printed and electronic form) in order to reinforce his / her skills and abilities.
Each group has 15-20 trainees. Groups take place in morning or afternoon hours according to the choice of the trainees. Lessons last 3 hours and take place 3 or 4 days per week.
Courses start every first fortnight from September to April every educational year.
Information: 6947206661 – email


Meet Yanni and Alexandra Souladaki who are very prominent politicians of the PASOK party (this is equivelent to English Labour Party). I met them both yesterday and immediatedly warmed to them. They are very professional. Alexandra Souladaki is hoping for a place on the new Council of Agio Nikolaos, representing Vrahassi - I wish her well. Of course I must say I was swayed a little when I found out that Alexandra lists poetry as one of her creative pastimes.

Voting took place in the Doctor's surgery above Plateia cafeneion, for the local election, and in the Council offices for the Government election.
Vrahassi was extremely busy all day. I was told today that it was 4.30 a.m. before all the votes had been counted. As far as I can understand (and I may have got it wrong) but I think Michaelis Petselakis and George Fthanakis (Taxi Driver) were elected. There seems to be some confusion about whether or not Alexandra Souladakis has made it and there may be a re-count or a re-vote on that one. I will try to find out more later.
Meanwhile will you please read my next post concerning FREE GREEK LESSONS.
Thanks, Jane x

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Take a look at this link if you are looking for a piece of the action in Vrahassi. This property is going to make a brilliant pad for someone. Renovate it yourself, or get a quote for someone to do the work. Buy now because when the recession is over house prices will rise again.

What with the new solar powered street lights in the square, and our newly paved streets and mended roads, Vrahassi is on the up at last. And, it is only 10 minutes to the sea at Sissi. I love Vrahassi!

Jane x

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I am very sad to have just heard the news that Abe (of Abe and Elaine) two people from Ireland who have lived in Vrahassi for quite a few years now, is seriously ill in Venezelo hospital. Elain has asked me to send this message, to ask anyone who possible can to give blood. The process is very simple, just turn up at the hospital and say that you want to give blood for Mr Albert Glenholme.
I am sorry to have to give you this news, but Abe has Leukiemia (excuse my spelling). He is very ill. Elaine is with him.

That is all the news I have at the moment.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010




According to the new law of Kallikratis, Vrahassi/Sissi/Milatos will belong to the new Town Hall of Agios Nikolaos as from 1st January 2011. The Mayor of this council will be Dimitris Kounenakis. Representatives for the Vrahassi area will be voted in at the elections which are to take place on November 7 2010.

The candidates for the central town council are as follows:
1. Alexandra Souladaki - Assistant architect
2. George Datseris - Doctor
3. George Neratzakis - D.E.I. staff

The candidates for the local council of Vrahassi/Sissi/Milatos are:
1. Michalis Petsalakis - Seaman/Farmer
2. George Fthenakis - Taxi driver/owner
3. Maria Lebidaki - Owner of 'Traditional House' museum
4. Daterina Androulaki - Taverna owner, Milatos

So, out with the old and in with the new. I look forward to seeing you all on voting day. I know who I shall be voting for, do you?

(I was very kindly handed this information for my blog by Michalis Petsalakis, who also included a very kind note, directed at ex-pats, which read: 'We consider you equall members of our society and we hope with your vote and assistance to win a better future for our area.')

Jane x

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


This short video is only part of the wonderful pictures I took today of KK8, an 18 month old vulture which was found grounded, and looked after by the Animal Welfare people of Malia, until strong enough to be released. It was duly allowed to fly away yesterday but seems to have got so used to human company, and fresh meat, that it came back for more. You will find a full report in the Animal Welfare newsletter.

KK8 flew away, but apparently did not go far. Later in the day she was found in the church yard and was picked up and transported to safety. If KK8 or any other vulture lands in your back yard, the advice is, please do not give food, and after a short while the bird should fly away. If there is any concern then telephone your nearest Animal Welfare organisation.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Meet Michaelis, the young, bi-lingual and very professional owner of The Taverna Paradosiaki in Kounali. He told me that the premise was a present from his Grandfather. To honour his heritage, Michaelis, together with his mother and father, Alex and Maria have developed what used to be a small cafeneo, into a thriving taverna. With a menu of traditional Cretan food including meat and potatoes cooked in the big outside oven, no wonder that locals and tourists pack the place. Sunday lunch is a special 'eating out' day for all - why not head for the hills this Sunday and have a real Cretan experience? Take the back road out of Latsida, (a small village just out of Neapolis) and follow the sign for Agios Antonios.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Hard to believe we slept 72 nights in this little tent, February, March, April 1992.
It is mid October and very humid, sweaty weather, with lots of sand in the sky and south winds. It doesn't feel right to be wearing sun dresses, the light has gone, and it feels like Autumn, but too hot to wrap up. I keep forgetting that there are still tourists here, and they want the warm weather for sure. A shepherd grazing his flock on the mountain, assures me that rain is on its way for the weekend. I don't want to be a killjoy but I hope he is right. How wonderful it will be to wear woolies when I go to England at the end of the month! The Cretan winter is mild, except for a couple of really cold spells. It will rain in December, a bit, but it is olive picking time and plenty of clear days. January too has sunny days, but cooler nights. February through to April is the rainy season. Hm... I suppose it wasn't too bad in that tent, very cosy!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


There I was enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate after my Saturday talk in Hersonissos, when all hell broke loose. Aspasia's car was on fire! Yiorgos Kiverniti came into the cafeneo to ask Yannis to called the fire engine, Georgia went for help. There were a couple of explosions. I was quite afraid that the church would be damaged, but before long there was a hosepipe dowsing the flames. The firebrigade arrived just as the fire was put out, but a trusty fireman hot footed it to the scene and using a hand extinquisher he sprayed all parts of the burnt out engine. The pictures I took of the car were too dark to be any good, but I can tell you the whole of the front of Aspasia's motor is a molten mess; she was next to tears but thank God nobody was hurt. Vrahassi life eh! Sweet dreams, Jane x

Friday, October 8, 2010


Some streets are a bit of a mess at the moment. This weekend it is the turn of the area known as Platanos. It will look really good when its finished.

I hope all my readers can access the video pictures, if you are having trouble and would prefer stills, please leave a comment. I know that there is not much excitement in my life at the moment, but I think I had enough over the last few years to last me a while. Anyway I'm having to be a bit reclusive to do my writing, and learning to play the cello is quite demanding.

The rain seems to have passed over, better weather on the way but tonight we have lit our first fire of the winter, it's so cosy, I love it! Have a good weekend everyone. Love Jane x


I was just on my way to the shop, when I spotted this little fellow on the road. He has beautiful markings. I picked him up and put him at the side of the road, he didn't move much but when I returned he had gone. I hope he regained his strength, but I fear my neighbour may have scooped him up with her brush and put an end to him. You should see the way she slaughters her chickens with pruning shears!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


When the lid of my box, outside the door,
Stands sentinel to my journeying soul,
And sunlight throws a prismic-cross across
The name plate of my chest, think then of the
Day we scrambled up the knoll through thicket
Only fit for a girded Prince to brave,
In attempt to raise his Sleeping Beauty.
And remember the apex of rock which
Gave us solitude;it was a place to
Sense parameters wider than the world.
We were drip-fed by threads of lurex-light,
Until so large had we become, and yet
So small, so much a part of the strata
That all below seemed, as from a magic
Carpet, to flow upstream, and we remained
Unseen observers perched on a warm rock.
Go there now, or top some other apogee,
And say goodbye, for I am already
Out of reach on Charon's ferry, and can
See your words unfurl like almond blossom
In the ether: soft whispered curls of sound
That becomes the hush-dance of the ocean.
And when you light a candle think of me,
Put a kiss on your fingertips and blow
It to the winds of Africa, for I
Am in each speck of the Sahara, my
Life but a memory that is flashing
Across the universe, a shooting star,
Death a mirror fractured by blinding light.

Jane Sharp


Do you remember my ex friend, George? Well his brother, Manolis, sadly lost his life to cancer and the funeral was today at 4.00 p.m. I send my condolensces to all the family.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Now I am sure that you have all been having sleepless nights wondering what happened between Littlelegs and me. Well, apart from never speaking to him again, after he brought the police on me, whilst trying to get into the bar he locked me out of, way back in 2008, I have had to suffer the indignity of court proceedings. To cut a very long story short, last year I was absolved of owing him anything. Today's court appearance was a formality which was instantly dealt with, with a verdict of 'Innocent'. I thought you may like to see what the halls of justice in Neapolis look like. So, no more sleepless nights over that one. I love my wonderful solicitor, who was a tower of strength throughout the whole proceedings. And of course David, as always, was my anchor. I'll tell you what though, when I do decide to write my memoirs, there'll be one hot mama bursting at the seams, and the film of 'The Island' will seem like a load of mushed grapes in a barrel.

Monday, September 27, 2010


OK everyone, Christmas must have crossed your minds! How about giving one of your friends or relatives a copy of my book? It is a unique gift which gives an insight into Cretan life. Not only that but it will brighten up those dark winter nights. Here is the trailer to remind you what the book is all about. Happy reading, and a Happy Christmas! (bet I'm the first to wish you that). Love Jane x

Oh, and by the way, you can also order a copy from your local library, just quote the ISBN number on the advert opposite. And for all further details see my website:


If you missed last night's performance of Aeschylos' Seven Against Thebes, then you missed a real treat. Members of INCO together with members of the Municipal Cultural Organisation of Agios Nikolaos staged an English translation of the play. The translator was Mr Nigel Radcliffe-Springall of Kritsa.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I love this poem by Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933). Hope you like it too. Happy Sunday, love Jane x

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


It was my granddaughter Jade's birthday on Sunday, how wonderful it was to speak with her on the telephone, what a joy she is. It was also my sister's birthday on Saturday, another wonderful family chat. Jack has gone up into the 'Juniors', quite a little man, and I did a little cello practice. I also gave my talk at the Belvadere Hotel in Hersonissoss. All the energy I used this week was renewed when I got to hug the big plane tree at Krasi. All in all it has been a most wonderful summer, and now it's back to work. Hm... I feel a book coming on! Don't forget the full moon on Wednesday, a very inspirational time. I have a feeling that the weather may change, time to think about buying a pair of jeans.


David's sister Nan, and her husband Lawrence, came to stay for a week. We had lots of fun, ate lots of icecream, and got to see some interesting places. The boat in the photo is called the Stella Nan, and as David's grandmother was called Stella, and his sister, Nan, we thought the boat was very special. Our visit to Talos gemstone shop in Agios Nikolaos was another highlight of the trip, and the Minoan palace at Malia was so worth the visit, even on such a hot day. Finally we said goodbye to our visitors today, hoping that the holiday did not tire them too much.

A big hug to take home to the rest of the family.


What more can you ask of life? Good friends, good conversation, good food, and good music!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I met these two happy holidaymakers, Nick and Emma, at the Angela Hotel in Sissi. Yamass you two!


Nan and Lawrence checking in at the Angela Hotel, Sissi. It's a beautiful place with a super pool!
No doubt we shall all be in there before the week is out.

We had a relaxing day at home in Vrahassi today, and tomorrow after my cello lesson we shall all be together again.