So….another year begins. Another chapter starts and, as many would agree, a difficult one closes.

Moving to Rhodes from London has been an incredible experience and if London was my Bachelor’s degree then Rhodes is my Master’s.

It’s stating the obvious to discuss the difference between the lifestyles and expectations in the two places. What has been really insightful is the capacity with which this island, and those who dwell here, has to stretch and surprise me. Both in the manner of events and in my reaction to each one.

So 2021 brought several lockdowns accompanied by fear and uncertainties particularly as the island relies so heavily on tourism.

For me, as a professional musician, it was pretty tough but it did allow me to focus on my dog work and prepare some new ideas while things were quiet.

Since arriving in Greece I’ve attempted to reach out to various charities and institutions here to ask for collaborations and inspiration. To say the response has been muted would be an exaggeration! There is often a suspiciousness about my motivations despite the fact most of my work here is voluntary.

On the positive side these responses have led me down some interesting creative pathways. The book I wrote, now part of the national curriculum was a result of constant disappointment upon reaching out to companies and charities here.

This year I found myself inspired to co-write a piece of music with two fabulous Greek musicians based around the idea of speaking on behalf of our canine friends. When I idea first hit me I thought my musician friends would think the idea ridiculous but thankfully they embraced it and created something really special in their amazing natural language with me howling a bit in the background!

This winter also found my school project finally getting off the ground coupled with the municipal shelter here on the island finally allowing me to help them with my experience rather than pushing me away.

This was timed nicely as I managed to incorporate the shelter and one of it’s volunteers into the project and I think it made a big impression on the kids and teachers that we met four weeks in a row with role play, power point presentations and dogs being brought to meet the children.

Sadly the Ministry, whilst approving my book, offers no help whatsoever in terms of support or funding. This makes the physical prospect of me bringing the project nationwide almost impossible. I have, however, submitted a grant application to one of Greece’s large philanthropic organisations so watch this space…….

Wishing you lots of peace, positivity and prosperity in 2022

Jon and the PPP team ❤️