I learned the truth of this motto by watching my good friends the turtles from Turtle Bridge in Skala Eressos. The more I studied these strange little creatures, the more I realized we had many things in common. Like a turtle I withdraw inside my shell at the slightest hint of danger and, as they find solace from the hard outer layer that surrounds their fragile bodies, I take comfort from the four walls that become my home. Home has always been incredibly important to me and now, in my twilight years and alone in the World, home is everything – it is a place of safety and also gives me happiness and a feeling of wellbeing. However, perversely, that very same haven can sometimes prove to be a handicap in disguise, just as the tentative turtle tucks itself away, I stay within, whilst I watch the World and all its wonders pass me by. I determined that this would not happen now that I had familiar surroundings. I would stick my neck out, pace proudly forward and progress.

The flat that I moved in to in December 2017 was purely a temporary arrangement. Whilst I loved its situation, it was very small and quite dark and cold. I made myself comfortable but kept a constant eye on all the relevant internet sites hoping to find something larger, brighter and more cheerful. In March of this year I found what I had been searching for. It was in the same complex as my temporary flat, but it faced the southerly garden, had a door onto its own patio and was much larger. I pulled out every stop that I could think of and a few that I didn’t even know existed in order to achieve the transfer that I wanted and on March 11th I moved yet again.

I found an odd job man who would carry my bed, sofa and a few other items of furniture for me, the rest of my home I literally packed on my back and walked from one end of the building to the other. Once again, I shoved everything into black sacks, shopping bags and even a neighbour’s zimmer frame that had a basket attached to it. Some of the elderly residents in the block watched in awe, whilst others looked distastefully as I paraded my belongings along the corridors. I am certain they had never seen quite such a display and they observed the proceedings with dismay. They were particularly shocked at the sight of my loo brush and holder as it passed their doorways. It took me two days of constant marching to and fro before I could finally hand the keys of my temporary flat back to the complex Manager and collapse gratefully in a heap in my sunny garden apartment. This had been the sixty seventh house move I had experienced in my sixty five years of life. I made a mental note NOT to do it again in a hurry, although the constant marching up and down with heavy loads was an excellent way of shedding some more unwanted pounds!

In many Eastern cultures turtles are symbolic of strength, stability and creation. They are revered for their tireless perseverance and endurance despite their slow pace. There are many myths and legends in which a humble turtle is the hero and they are often believed to bring good luck and guidance. I was given a beautiful little bronze turtle by my dear friend who used to sit next to me at Zorba the Buddha. She gave it to me as a good luck talisman when I left Greece and told me of their symbolism and importance. I was very touched at her thoughtfulness and have kept it by my side from that day to this. I have another equally splendid little fellow carved out of some sort of stone or rock which was given to me by Dear France when I arrived back in England. This will remain close to my heart for ever, reminding me of the incredible journey I have made throughout the last ten years. To add to my turtle collection, of course, I have my own seven turtle designs which were sold as paintings in Greece. Four of these designs have now been created as Greetings Cards and mounted prints and are available to purchase from my website or from the nine retail outlets that stock my work. They represent a very valuable addition to my SWANSONG CREATIONS range and are loved for their bold colours and whacky character.

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