So…after the events of the early part of the year, the heartbreak and devastation, here I am: in Elounda, in the sun, and alone.
Now don’t mistake me here! I have a myriad of friends both Ex-Pat and Cretan, but for me now I AM alone. My beloved John has gone and I have to open the shop and pick up the reigns of life…onward and upward!
Sitting in our apartment, listening to the strains of the music at Mario’s through the open doors, I doubted whether I could do it. I rang my eldest son Owen and told him of my doubts and my idea to sell up and return. His reply was priceless…’Mum, I love you but have you gone completely bloody insane?’ My boys would never normally speak to me in this way, so it took me by surprise to say the least! He went on to explain that I would in his opinion, become a little old hermit never leaving the house if I returned to the UK, and that what funds I had would rapidly disappear.
‘You have a life there mum – a life you and John built together – don’t give it up! Martin is coming out and he’ll be there to get things going’. And he was right! My youngest son WAS coming over and he WOULD give me the support I so greatly needed…onward and upward!
He’s going to kill me for this! Taken at Mario’s Bar in July
So, on 2nd May 2017 the new Eklektos opened its’ doors for the first time.
Usually, we have music and festivities, but not this year, so it was straight into the tourist season. I was amazed at the numbers we were getting through the doors, and was really hoping Martin would arrive soon – it was heaving in the shop! By July Martin was here and we began to look at how the shop could work…well, my son the businessman did anyway!
Together we began to tweak the layout and the look of the shop. Martin was a great influence, with ideas and training he had brought from his working life in Tourism and Leisure in UK, and he also recognised that the unique feel of the shop had to endure as this was the legacy of John – his dream for something Different and Quirky.
Support came flooding in. Many people in the locale were happy to stop, have a chat and make sure we were both doing OK, and Martin was there to do a lot of the leg work for me – bless! He found a ‘hook’ for his chat to customers in the early days while speaking to my best friend Ali Foran…she nicknamed me the Oracle, and told him! (Naturally being a mischievous monkey, he has used it TO DEATH this summer!)
I decided that living in our apartment was just too painful – the memories in the village were different – less raw – while in the house I was constantly overwhelmed with the sense of loss: I moved AGAIN! We were lucky to learn of an apartment in the village just being finished. It is opposite the church and was ideal for me (thanks Janice and Paul – good call guys!) So, Martin with the assistance of Ian and some of my friends packed up all my kit and caboodle and we took on the new place.
July and August are always a little strange at Eklektos…trade can be bitty…but we seemed to be doing OK. Then we had a visit from the lovely Yvonne Payne and INCO’s Barbara Kalinowska. They wanted to organise an event at the bookshop, and ABC was born.
So in September, on a balmy Sunday we had Yvonne Payne (Kritsatopoula), Beryl Darby Yannis Family saga), Patricia Wilson (Island of Secrets), Pete Smith (Adventures of Harry), Vanessa Westwell (Blogger and author), Richard Stevens (author ,Blogger and funny guy) at times through the shop.
It was the BEST day Eklektos ever had! The place was buzzing with people both new visitors and old friends. Martin made certain that everyone had a full glass, and chatted easily with all the age groups that came and went, we had a dozen entries for our Flash Fiction event, which was won by Vanessa and for which she received an audio copy of Patricia’s book. It was AMAZING! And then, to cap the day, after a toast to my John, a lovely man with an accordion walked up the steps and began to play…
This was just the spur that I think I needed to kick on once more with the bookshop. We are now looking at plans for at least 5 events next year with varied authors which I hope will include another visit from Patricia, Richard Clark, our beloved Beryl and Yvonne + many others (Richard get your finger out with the new novel!)
I’m sitting here writing this in October, gearing down for the Winter, and making plans that for 6 months won’t include Martin. For the Winter he is returning to the Lake District to work in Ulverston, Cumbria and then plans to come back for the Summer with Mum. I meanwhile will be open for some of the winter for the weekends, but also have plans to improve my Greek, visit Athens (finances allowing) nip here and there in UK (ditto funds!) and generally make an absolute nuisance of myself here in the village.
Life will never be the same without John, but he lives on here in Elounda with our friends and the shop. He would never thank me for sitting moping or being a little old lady in black who never lived again…we both loved life, loved music, good friends, funny stories and good company…his legacy will remain as long as there in s Butterfly on Crete…especially a blue one.
All the authors mentioned have pages on Facebook or you can find them through Amazon websites…if you want to know about any of them, just ask the Oracle!!