I’ve recently been working with a professional book designer on “Androula’s Kitchen – Cyprus on a Plate” getting it ready to self-publish as an e-book, should I be unsuccessful in finding a publisher to produce a print version. Last week the designer asked me to provide some more photos to illustrate the introduction. So it set me rummaging among my old photo albums.
It was 1965 when I made my first visit to Cyprus with my parents at the age of 17 and I took a Kodak Instamatic with me to record my holiday. The photos were all in black and white and not very high quality but just looking at the photo above is enough to evoke strong memories of that first trip to my Dad’s homeland. It was taken in my Dad’s village Yerolakkos and my Uncle and cousin are discreetly keeping to the side as I was more interested in capturing the door!
It was the month of August and the heat was intense. I can feel the heat and dust and catch the unfamiliar scents and smells of gardenias and goats every time I look at it.
I have just read and article on Armida Books in which the author is talking about a beach of her childhood that set me thinking. Whenever I visit Cyprus I am subconsciously searching for that Cyprus of 1965 that I hold in my memory, I will never be able to visit that place again as that way of life is long gone. Yerolakkos is now in the Turkish sector and very different apparently. I don’t even know if my relatives’ houses are still standing and I have no inclination to find out. why would I – when they are forever encapsulated in my memory?
The photographs act like a pebble thrown into the pool of my mind and the memories ripple out. The Cyprus of today is very familiar and yet there is something I feel I am missing, like a glimpse of an image in the corner of your eye and yet when you turn your head to look – it has gone!
The place might be different but the smells are just the same, all I have to do is close my eyes and breathe deeply. There are the goats, the souvlakia and the gardenias just as I remember them.