a note

Here's where to look if you want to know what I'm up to. You'll find photographs, sketches, anecdotes, ideas and updates, including - hopefully - book publishing news. I can't promise to post regularly while I'm travelling - and I can't promise to be witty or clever, but I will promise to be honest. No fake news here.

I spoke to my sister yesterday and she asked me what’s it like in Greece, so I thought it was about time I shared a post for those of you who are interested - and as much for me to remember what it was like when we move on.

Where to begin?

I suppose I should begin by saying we (that’s my partner, the great Gordon, and I) are staying on an island called Aegina, midway up a hill in a little town named Agia Marina.

Aegina is in the Saronic gulf, only an hour or so by ferry from Athens and yet it seems a world away. I was struck when we first arrived by how quiet it is. It is the off-season now – posters taped to electricity poles still advertise full moon and cocktail parties in August – and many of the hotels are closed, their windows shuttered. There’s hardly any traffic noise (and coming from Newcastle, living near a main road I had got used to the near constant background sound of traffic and sirens). The roosters are noisiest, and they don’t just crow at dawn.

And dawn! The sunrises over the sea are divine. I’ve been getting up each morning eager to see them, though, in saying that sunrise now occurs about 7.30am and is creeping up later each day, so it’s not exactly early…

Our days consist of writing, exploring, swimming, siestas (I am in favour of the siesta), trying new foods – and the various types of Greek coffee – playing cards and catching up on reading all the books I’ve been putting off until I finished writing mine.

We have seen the ruins of the Temple of Aphaia, a great Doric temple dedicated to the mother-goddess Aphaia – apparently this is the only site Aphaia was worshipped at. The ruins date from c.500 BC and from the site you can see back across to Athens. After wandering around the site we decided walking back along the road would be too easy, so we cut down the mountain, through a forest of pine trees where cyclamens were growing wild (and another flower with the fantastic name of “Sea squill”, though more properly Urginea maritima), and managed to make it back with only a few scrapes from some prickly shrub I don’t know the name of, but boy was it thriving…

Other things of note – and quite different to home: the stray cats – so many cats!; the tap water is salty – you have to drink bottled water; people are so laid back – Greek time is good time, nobody is in a rush to get things done!; you cannot flush toilet paper; the sea is flat except when the wind blows it – but the waves I’ve seen are nothing like in Australia; the roads are narrow and most are imprinted with paw marks where cats have walked through the setting concrete; there are black water tanks on every roof; there are mosquitoes (grrr, we didn’t realise until they buzzed around our heads while we were sleeping – and bit us); the ground is rocky and lantana is a popular garden plant; and, finally, there are quite a few half-finished abandoned buildings dotted around the island. We saw an owl in one.

I was hoping to go out today to take some more photos – but the day was overcast and hazy, so we spent the afternoon forming a vague travel plan for after we leave the island.

I’m still getting in the headspace for drawing…and trying to find my style. I’ll post drawings when I’m ready to share, but in the meantime I’ve posted a few of my favourite photos I’ve taken in a separate post.

A companion to my “Adventures in Agia Marina” blog post – but in pictures! This is a selection of photographs I’ve taken on my iPhone 7 while we’ve been walking around. Planning to take my Canon out and do some serious exploring in the next week.

Hope you enjoy!

Updated: Nov 24, 2018

Wait! What?! Yep I finally did it! It’s an upper middle grade fantasy adventure, the kind of book I‘d have loved to read when I was that age - and still love reading! What’s it about? Well...

Who would think reading a book could be such a risky activity? Siblings Sami and Jay certainly didn’t, until they were sucked into a story, into a world where arts have been outlawed and M.O.N.Stars reign. Their quest: to find a way out.

FYI it’s 86,600 words and 19 chapters!

What a better way to celebrate than by eating cake and drawing while watching the sunrise over the sea? Greece is amazing!

And now it's 11 o'clock here, the sun is shining (but the sky is hazy) and I think it's time for a swim followed by some catch up reading. I’m working my way through the following books:

1. Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds by Jeremy Lachlan

2. Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs (I know - I’m behind the times!)

3. His Name Was Walter by Emily Rodda

4. Wakestone Hall by Judith Rossell (no.3 in the fantastic Stella Montgomery series)

5. Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

and in books for adults:

1. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

2. The Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot (that’s a reread!)

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

And you know what? Most of those children’s books are by Australian authors! I’m always on the lookout for new stories by fellow Aussies, especially as I may not be back for a year!

I’m also getting ready for novel writing round 2. I’m planning to smash out a first draft of the second book in this series as part of NaNoWriMo while bouncing around Greece and Albania!