Nine days or so in Crete back at our house, Blue Heaven, in Gavalohori, and there’s time to return to my new novel and actually make some progress. Writing whilst looking out at the White Mountains in one direction, over the village and across to the coast in the other, somehow makes it far easier to focus then when trying to write at home with constant distractions of the phone ringing, an untidy house calling for my attention and the cats demanding to be fed! (although we do appear to have a Cretan cat who likes to attach himself to us whenever we are here …and he can be very particular about his feeding schedule …)I am now about three quarters of the way through my third novel- with constant re-drafts as I go along – and there will be far more drastic re-drafts once I’ve actually finished it, I know.
I wish I was one of those organised and efficient writers who plan every chapter before they even start writing the first page. But I’m not and I can’t. Also, I cannot resist revising constantly – I write a section one day and before I can go on to the next part the following day, I feel compelled to go back and revise again. This means that I write very slowly.
I love all the months in Crete and October has its own particular flavour: looking down over the village from our house and seeing the first bonfires after their absence during the hot months – hearing the sheep’s bells on the village land next to ours where they are brought to graze at this time of year – exchanging greetings of kalo himena (have a good winter) with everyone we meet.
I wish I was here to see the first snow fall over the White Mountains. By the time we are back again, there will be a thick layer over the range we see from the house.
There is, of course, nothing like the long, heat-soaked days of midsummer, my absolute favourite time of year. The sunsets from our balcony are always photo-worthy and the sun rising behind the mountains in the early morning, turning them from grey, to pink, then grey again is extraordinary.
But seeing the year turn into the shorter, cooler days also has its merits. There’s a sense of everything slowing down, taking stock, moving into a quieter mood. And a walk along a beach in Autumn is far more pleasant than when coping with burning sand on scalding feet in summer.
And it all provides a very good atmosphere in which to write – in fact, there’s absolutely no excuse not to be writing – to be getting on with the novel, when swimming is only for the brave and hardy and the sun lotion has been put away at the back of the bathroom cabinet until next year.