Friday, 24 September 2010

Best Friends, Bicycles and Bee Eaters

It has been a while since I have had the time and peace of mind to sit and write a blog. For the first week of the month I had my dear friend T here, she had flown all the way from Bermuda to spend 5 days with us. I felt very honoured. We have known each other since we were 12 years old. We were frineds at school and her Mum used to own a hairdressing salon in Bristol. I used to have sleep overs at her house and on a Saturday we would go with her mother to the salon and help sweep floors and serve coffee. We were probably more of a hindrance than a help but it was there in my young teenege years that I discovered my passion for hairdressing. T and I went to different salons to do our apprenticship and since then even though our lives have taken us in very different directions, we have always kept in touch and our lives remained somewhat paralell in many ways and she too is now about to make a big change in her life and is looking to leave the place she has been in for 16 years and move to Europe. We whized her around the island, and this begun in Nicosia for lunch, when we met with her family who came over from Kyrenia.

What a hoot that was. They were staying in a hotel over there, they got a taxi to the border, and texted to say they were there. In the meantime we are still at least 45 mins drive away from them in Larnaca. We rushed up the motorway, got stuck in traffic, got lost trying to find the Ledra Palace border crossing, which I thought was the only border crossing in Nicosia. When we finally reached the border, we parked the car as you are not allowed to take hire cars across as they are not insured in the North, and then we made our way to the police post and got our piece of paper stamped to allow us into Northern Cyprus. Ok ... where are the family then???? We are desperatley texting but getting no response, then finally we get a phone call, their credit had run out, hence no reply to the text, so they had borrowed someones phone to call us to say that they have already crossed over to the South, 'where we say as we cannot see you????' 'at the Lidras street crossing' they respond................................ it transpires that there are two crossings in Nicosia, one at Ledra Palace and one at Lidras Street, ( both pronounced very similar)we were at the wrong one AHHHHHHHHHH. So we hop into a taxi and drive to the other one, que up at the police post and get stamped out of the North and enter back into Southern Cyprus, mindlessly passing her uncle on the way.......... phew there, on the other side at the end of the entry que is a lady looking rather hot and stressed whith her friend under an umbrella in the midday heat of summer in Nicosia. It was her Aunt! Finally reunited after 6 years, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch over looking the city and the mountains of the North. That was my introduction to border crossing in Cyprus.

We showed T lots of other places too and in all, I think she had an enjoyable time before flying to Malta to check that out possibilities there for her future. Good luck T.

Since here visit there has been much to do around the house, the usual cleaning and tidying of the garden. TBH spent one Saturday cutting back palm leafs and neatening up teh bouganvillia along the back wall. The veggie box is not doing much at the moment. The meelies are coming through but no cucumbers and no tomatos yet, I am begining to loos faith, but keep watering anyway in the hope that at some point we will get fruit for our labour.

my green wheels

On Saturday we drove to Paphos to collect a second hand bike that I managed to find on anglo info Cyprus. So ha ha.. I finally have wheels again, and they are green, not in colour but echo friendly,all be it that I have to use my own energy to rotate them and when I tried that on Saturday evening when we returned home after a very lovely relaxed lunch at Pissouri Bay, well I didn't get very far.................................. it has been a long time since I rode a bike and I think it will take some practice.

Swallows on the wire outside the house.

The swallows appear to have moved and the Bee Eaters are back hovering over the ridge at sunset catching insects on the wing. I thought that this change in birdlife would have coensided with a change of weather and that the cooler nights were going to start setting in, but no such luck, it is still very hot and very humid. Tired of it now.

Bee Eater on the wire.

The next few weeks will be busy too, we have guests coming for lunch tomorrow, and TBH'S ( the better half) parents will soon be with us for a few weeks. So I am once again frantically cleaning, the fridge was done this morning, with teh mopping of the patio this afternoons task.
During this time we also have some friends from Aussie arriving on the island whom we hope to catch up with on a couple of ocassions and we have a 50th birthday party to attend in the village.
Who said life in Cyprus would be quiet?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Phyllis Greene 90 yr old Blogger

Wow.....What an inspiration this woman is. We can all aspire to be like her and to share our wisdom in the Autumn yeasr of life.
It just goes to prove that it is never too late to learn and it is never too late to make new friends.
By reaching out in a very ordinary everyday way Phyliss has managed to touch a lot of peoples hearts and now has a big following of supporters who will be in touch with her through her blog.

Thank you Phyllis for inspiring my world.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

There's No Place Like Home

You put the key into your front door, turn the lock and walk in, kick of your shoes and sit down on your compfy sofa. Ahh..... it is good to be home, do you know, so many of us take that moment for granted.

Many people are displaced in this world, often due to conflicts that have risen around them and engulfed their every day lives, conflicts generaly caused by a bigger power pulling the strings much further away than the fields they plough and land they nuture.

Though thankfully as yet, I have never had to endure the attrocities of war, I do know what it feels like to yearn every single day for that place that you know deap in your heart is home and for this reason I have always had an empathy with displaced people.
At age 11 having lived blissfully in the same house all my life,surrounded by the same friends, going to the same school and knowing the land and nature around me, I was put on a plane to England for what I thought was another annual holiday to see the grandparents. I was wrong.

My family abruptly left Kenya.

I was lucky, there was no barbed wire fencing, no guns and no tanks preventing me from the land of my birth, just years of inner turmoil and constant travel trying to find a place I could call home.

25 years later I made it back and there is no place like home.

In my travels around the world, I have met displaced people, heard their stories of how their mothers still hold the keys to a house they were dragged from kicking and screaming as a child, the only possesion they had was the teddy bear they had slept with, before the soliders, tanks and guns took away their lives and destroyed their dreams.

Last Sunday whilst on a day trip on the island, we accidently found ourselves on the UN buffer zone between Southern and Nothern Cyprus, and we looked across the fields to Famagusta, a city which due to the conflict of 1974 has been left ghost town for 36 years, with 45 thousand Greek and Turkish Cypriots displaced. It really hit me and sunk in how absoloutely awful it must be to loose everything you own, everything you have ever known and to see it all there but not be allowed through the barbed wire fence that some other force has put in place to keep you out. It must be totally and utterly soul destroying.

I whept....................... I whept for every innocent broken heart, shattered in a conflict they don't belong.

Standing there and seeing the empty desolate buildings of what was once a vibrant, buzzing tourist resort, slowly rotting in the sizzling shimmering heat, with the grass and foliage it's only life source, the cranes still in the same place that they where left, building new hotels, back in August 1974 ....... quite frankly it was a SHOCKING realisation that this seemingly tranquill idylic island has seen some horrific, horrendous times.

May all the worlds displaced people one day feel the soil between their toes and smell the earth from which they came. May the red tape of bureaucracy and the barbed wire fences of armies one day be removed so that everyone has the freedom to go home.