Steni

On Sunday I made a trip to Steni, a well placed village that claws its way up the hillside on the road from Polis Chrysochous to Lysos and beyond to Stavros tis Psokas. The countryside up here is breathtaking, the village is pretty large with a good sized population. Recently the village centre has had some money spent on it like many others in Cyprus since the joining of the EU, with newly made and repaired stone walls and a new village centre with a large communal open square where a brand new museum also stands. I was very impressed by this small museum because of the variety of artefacts on display and how well laid out it is. I suppose because it is new it also lacked that dusty unkempt look that many small museums seem to convey. I have a sneaky feeling that some of the wooden items have been cleaned up and sanded down( sharp intake of breath) but hey I guess that is how they would have looked when new, right? They seemed to have lost a bit of patina in the process ‘though.

The main appeal for me was that they had  really good examples of traditional hand woven textiles. The beautiful example of sheeting  used for the hangings on the bed, reminded me of the sheets my Aunt used to weave on her loom in the village of Yerolakkos. These looked like they had silk woven in to them, very common back then as most villagers kept their own silk worms. On display was a huge cross section of implements used in every day domestic life as well as farming. Well worth a visit if you are in the area and it’s totally free. The mayor Elias Lambidis was very helpful and has taken some of my books to put on sale, so if you haven’t already got a copy here is a chance to get your hands on one. There is a list of other outlets where you can get a copy in Cyprus, on the page About the book.  

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Wild and Wonderful

It’s been a busy time since I last posted.  The weather has been gradually getting warmer, today it was 23 degrees in Paphos so several layers of clothing have been shed in the daytime and thinner layers are called for. Today being International Women’s Day there was an event my friend Elena of Orexi was catering for in a Anasa community Wellness centre in Paphos run by Annelie Roux. I went along to lend a hand and took some books just in case. There was a whole programme of taster sessions of about 20 minutes duration including self-defence and Chi Gong, It was a beautiful day.

I have been taking advantage of the lovely weather to get out and enjoy the glorious countryside that is around the area in which I am staying near the Akamas. Early in the week I met Elena to visit Koula at the goat farm and buy some fresh anari the delicious soft cheese made from goats milk that is very like ricotta. A favourite way of eating this is taking a slice and pouring some carob syrup over it. On the way we passed some almond blossom in full bloom and a field filled with mustard and dotted with poppies. This lush growth of Spring is exceptional this year as there has been an abundance of rain. I spent the lunchtime with a group of ladies that lunch at Droushia Heights hotel, perched high on the hill with magnificent views overlooking the sea,

On Thursday my cousin Androula came down from Treis Elies to walk the Aphrodite Trail and we set off at an easy pace stopping to admire the wild flowers, cyclamen were everywhere and as we climbed ever higher like the proverbial goats ,the panoramic scenery became more and more breath-taking and the orchids became larger, dotted about with yellow anemones, the smell of the gorse was heady. The combination of the exercise, scenery. and the fresh scented air was both invigorating and relaxing. We chose to climb up the steepest side and it seemed we would never reach the top, once the plateau was reached the scenery changed again with a lush covering on the ground and a different species of tree intermingled with the grey skeletons of dead bushes either ravaged by the harsh winter or just past their natural life span. Whereas the ascent was on a gravelly soil, the descent was on stoney ground, many in large slabs with almost natural steps  taking you down in a gentler slope. Areas where many travellers had passed were dotted with their creations of stones stacked in natural sculptures. We passed the goats feasting on the fresh lush vegetation, hearing the tinkling of their bells before coming into view looking very sleek and proud. This walk takes about three hours if you are sturdy walkers but as we stopped for various breaks and admired the scenery we took nearer four hours. It is one of the many trails you can take in this area some less strenuous and shorter, some longer.

On the Friday I did another foray into the wild, this time more of an amble along the country roads of Droushia with Elena’s foraging group. I had been looking forward to this for a long time. Elena supplied a very tasty breakfast before we set off in search of wild food to cook for lunch. The most prized food being wild asparagus which we found very difficult to find as the harsh weather had sadly brought this delicate vegetable to an early end but some of the group were successful in claiming the odd shoot. We gathered the succulent centres of wild artichoke, mallow leaves, mustard flowers, nettles, vetch and wild pea shoots along with a few other wild leaves. These Elena turned into a wonderful risotto with gorgonzola cheese and garlic, the mallow leaves were cooked with onion dressed with lemon and had a wonderful fresh flavour while the artichoke stalks were cooked with fresh louvi (a black eye bean that is a Cypriot favourite and eaten often) and dressed with oil and salt. The rare asparagus was cooked with scrambled egg. The mustard flowers and various shoots and leaves were made into a delicious salad. We sat in the garden under the mish mish tree and ate our flavoursome lunch washed down with a glass of chilled white wine. A truly relaxing and inspiring morning with good company.

Next week sees a complete contrast as I’m off to walk the mean streets of Nicosia.

 

New Year New Horizons

Happy 2015 to one and all and may it bring you joy.

Now that Christmas and New year are out of the way I am getting nervous about my arrangements for “The Big Trip” so forgive me readers if I seem a little distracted in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile my friend and fellow community gardener Rosemary Moon, has been busy recording podcasts for her new website Rosemary Moon featuring whiskey and food. She invited me to taste a dram with her over a kolokoppitta which she made for the first time from “Androula’s Kitchen-Cyprus on a Plate”. The whiskey she chose to go with it was called Monkey Shoulder, an unusual name for a whiskey, at least it wasn’t monkey’s armpit??? A blended whiskey it was light and fruity and went down well with the crispy little pies. Rosemary is lucky enough to have an Aga cooker so the cooked results are a little closer to a wood fired oven than say cooking with gas or electric.

We talked about cooking and food of course but the main drift of conversation tended towards the process of self publishing. This idea has set me thinking of doing a few podcasts while I’m away so watch out in future. Here is a link to the podcast.

downloadhttp://www.rosemarymoon.com/moonbeams/2015/he-kolokopittas 

The Proof is in the Printing

website ideas

website ideas (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Well things are gathering apace and the proofs of “Androula’s Kichen- Cyprus on a Plate” landed on my mat last week. Tweeking has been in progress and butterflies are rumbling in my stomach as I think of my next steps to world domination. Ooops sorry wrong agenda…. I mean of course selling myself and my book to the WORLD.

I have loved using my blog to connect but now it is time for a proper web site where I can use buttons and things to allow accessibility to the book. I have no idea about building a web site but as with so many other things on this road, I am having to learn my HTML from my flash. (what am I talking about?)

There are quite a few options and quite a few sites that allow you to rustle up a bespoke website in a jiffy, well that’s what they would have you believe. In my experience of anything computer related and new it takes me several days if not weeks to rustle up anything. But it’s another challenge and once I get my teeth stuck in I’m sure it will be fine (of course that’s why I’m writing this blog instead of getting on with it no!)

So I’d better get on with it and I’ll keep you posted as to where I’m going to pop up next.

 

The Roller Coaster Ride of Life

English: The Kraken roller coaster ride at Sea...

English: The Kraken roller coaster ride at Seaworld in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well it’s been a funny old couple of weeks that’s for sure, which is why I have been a bit tardy in writing my blog. But better late than never eh?

 

A few weeks ago I had a phone call from my cousin which set me thinking about the possibility of publishing my book with the help of some sponsorship. At first I dismissed the idea as I thought the cost would be prohibitive. Last year I did get a quote and it was way out in the stratosphere of possibility so I dismissed it. But the phone call set me thinking maybe it would be worth getting some more quotes. Where to begin..of course I Googled away until I came across a couple of likely printers not too far away, at least they are down near the south coast. The reply I got to my request for a quote was quite a surprise and made the possibility of getting into print seem within reach. I even got a thumbs up in request from a sponsor and I was off down the path like a hare on the starter gun.

Thinking Styles

Thinking Styles (Photo credit: Adam Crowe)

My head was full of sums and prices and marketing. I’d worked out a plan (always a good idea), I was virtually good to go, just a few tweaks and some paperwork and I could be in print. I was in touching distance.  I was eagerly telling a friend when the rug was pulled from under me, the sponsor had had second thoughts and backed out.

When I got over the disappointment it made me all the more determined to see the project through and find a way to make it happen. It comes down to belief, always, faith in yourself and your project. When so much time and effort is invested it is difficult to let it just gather dust especially as it’s looking so good now. The internet is a wonderful tool and it shows you a world of possibility. Through the labyrinths of social media I discovered a site that set me thinking that anything is possible.

 

I had already a plan of action which I thought might work but this site gave me a better model to work with. I won’t give away too much at the moment but over the next week or so watch out for news. The light at the end of the tunnel might be blinding!