Tag Archives: Greek isles

Islands of Inspiration (2) ~ Tinos 2022

Two ferries from Sifnos, via Mykanos, and we arrived on Tinos; our second island in the Cyclades, chosen because it didn’t have an airport. Yet again we had no idea what to expect. We were self catering this time and our host suggested we pause our taxi to stock up in Tinos town; valuable advice because the next day was Sunday.

There was another good reason, which dawned on us as we zig-zagged from Isternia down to Ormos Bay and our delightful accommodation.

The nearest shop now, was a mile away, winding back up the cliff!

We were relieved that our fridge was now full and our host reassured us that there were three tavernas and also a sandy beach in the bay.

How the island helped me in mind, body and spirit

With no car this could have been a frustrating location, but we soon relaxed, with the certainty that we were meant to be here, to unwind, to heal from the trauma of the last two years and learn ‘to be’ once more.

Ormos Bay

Most days we wandered down to the beach, had a swim, sat and absorbed the view, enjoyed a light lunch before an afternoon siesta in the shade of the veranda. This gave us time to read, to talk and think of life. What a relief it was to be on holiday in the sunshine.

Most evenings we enjoyed supper at one of the three tavernas, where we were welcomed and treated to mouth watering Greek cuisine.

It was a press the pause button on life; refreshing, calming and just wonderful!

How was I inspired by our visit to Tinos?

Ormos Bay

We only had two trips out ~ one to be dropped off at the top of the hill to enjoy the breathtaking views, an ice-cream and to wander down the winding path back to the bay The path was an amazing feat of engineering from between the world wars. Although I am sometimes scared of heights (why do I live in Scotland you may ask?), the path was wide enough so that I could breath easily. The men who built it were truly inspiring and I’m sure there are stories to tell of those times.

The second trip out was to visit the lovely village of Pyrgos, where carving in marble, a treasure still mined on Tinos, could be observed in awe.

I spoke to one of the craftsman and asked him how much one of the small seahorses on the wall cost. 45 euros was his reply and then he showed me a block of rock he would carve another from, the template and one partially carved. ‘Do you know how many hours one of these takes to make?’ he asked.

I had no idea.

About 80 hours,’ he said.

Wow, I thought and then I compared it to my craft of writing a novel.

  • Loosely planning ideas, beginning, middle and end
  • Several months to write the first draft
  • A couple of months for edits, beta readers and revisions.
  • Working with an editor until the manuscript is ready for publication.

Typically that’s at least six months.

Does the reader appreciate this hard graft?

Would I have appreciated the carver if I hadn’t watched him at work? If I had bought that seahorse in a gift shop?

By a craftsman in Pyrgos, Tinos

I gained much inspiration from Tinos; a beautiful island. I relaxed and felt ready to face the world again, but the greatest lesson I learnt was to value the work I do and to feel proud of it, as the master carver I met certainly does.

How much do you value your writing?


Filed under Inspiration, Inspirational and Motivational Series, Writing, Writing a novel

Islands of Inspiration (1) ~ Sifnos 2022

We chose two less well known Greek islands for our trip this May. (In fact, like many we have rebooked it three times since 2019) Our main stipulation was that there would not be an airport, but that we would take ferries from Pireaus, Athens.

Kamares, Sifnos

Our stay on the Island of Sifnos in the Cyclades

After an early 6am start we arrived at the port of Kamaras and the ferry journey was trouble free, sailing into Sifnos harbour in time for breakfast around 9.30. We chose to stay at the harbour because we reasoned that, although it might be busier, we would have access to public transport for getting about. We needn’t have worried. As you can see it was really quiet and peaceful.

From the moment we landed, I realised that this was just what we needed to shake off the pandemic blues, relax, unwind and begin to take steps towards preparing for the next stage in our lives. I don’t know about you, but after an extremely stressful and emotionally traumatic two years, we needed a circuit breaker, and Sifnos turned out to be not only perfect for this, but extremely beautiful too.

We ambled passed the small beachside tavernas in a bit of a daze. It was extremely quiet ~ and the sun was shining down on us. Pausing for breakfast and coffee we could not help but fall in love with this sleepy harbour of Kamaras. Yes, there are several ferries which call in throughout the day, and the lovely setting and sheltered bay is a lure for folks sailing, looking for a place to put down anchor, but it was so laid back and … just lovely.

Our hotel was wonderful too, making us feel welcome from the start. The sun shone. Pathways and the sandy shores beckoned, not to mention the swimming pool.

Apollonia, Sifnos

We walked around taking the paths to visit the bayside churches and just absorbed the atmosphere and views. We took the bus on two occasions up to Apollonia, the main village on the island which boasts a handful of shops, backstreet alleys and steps to wander up and down. It was the beginning of their season and they were only just opening up. Masks were still expected inside shops and cafes, but there were plenty tavernas to eat outside. We even hired a car for two days, reaching the beautiful sites further afield, although we were sure to take time out in our two days to walk cliff paths and along the shore lines. Sifnos welcomes and encourages walkers with a maze of paths all over the island. If we ever go again we must take our walking boots.

How the visit helped both mentally and physically

  • I felt as if life was finally moving towards a new normal.
  • Yes, tragedy was behind me but life is a gift, there to be lived.
  • Walking and swimming, the fresh air and sunshine were like a balm to the body and soul.
  • As we laughed and relaxed, tension began its slow pace towards evaporation.
  • There was something childlike in being able to mooch about and explore a new place once more.

It was just wonderful and was just what we needed.

How was I inspired by our visit to Sifnos?

I can’t say that I am now inspired to rush and write a novel set on Sifnos, but it was that overall calmness of the mind, following Covid and bereavement, that will live with me throughout the coming months. I defy anyone not to be inspired, surrounded as we were, by such stunning views and soaking up the sunshine and warmth for the first major holiday in three years.

A time of reflection


Filed under Events, Inspirational and Motivational Series

Reading and Travelling for Inspiration and Renewal


This summer and autumn are all about having a refreshing pause for healing and renewal of mind, body and spirit. My two main interests in life are writing and gardening and I found myself with a strained wrist back in the spring ~ possibly RSI ( but who can see a doctor these days?)

What did I need? A break from the garden and sitting at my PC.

What better way to do it than to read and to travel now the world has opened up a bit and while it is safe to do so?

The Extraordinary Island of Iona

In my next blog posts I will share with you posts about my journeys and book reviews of those I’ve picked up and enjoyed along the way.

Book Reviews

I’ve read some gripping and sometimes unusual yarns this summer including:

  • Songbirds by Christy Lefteri
  • The Stationery Shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali
  • The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
  • Interleaved Lives by Roderick Hart
  • Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein

I will share reviews of these books with you over the coming weeks. As I have often said, ‘in order to enrich the quality of your own writing it is vital to read a variety of books, helping you to hone your own skills. Meanwhile you will also enjoy being absorbed in the literary world in which you hope to share just a small part when you publish your own novels.

Islands of Inspiration

It may be a coincidence, but we have been visiting some new and some very familiar islands this summer:

  • Sifnos and Tinos ~ beautiful Greek islands.
  • Iona ~ a favourite of mine over the years for spiritual renewal and refreshment. An extra special place.
  • The Island of May ~ A fortunate recent trip to an island in the Forth estuary, renowned for its seabirds, especially puffins at this time of the year.
  • Alderney, Channel Islands UK ~ An island close to my heart and the original inspiration for my writing novels.
  • Guernsey and Jersey

There may be more.

My aim is to share the experiences with you and how they have inspired me in my life and more particularly in my writing.

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Filed under Alderney, Book reading, Book reviews, Channel Islands, Fife, Scotland, Writing