The Ladies that Lunch

Today I’m trying an internet cafe in sunny, hot Polis to do a short post sadly without any of the new photos I have to show you…they will have to wait until I get back to the UK.

Last week  was busy catching up with relatives in Nicosia and there were couple of places I wanted to visit including the lovely Inga’s veggie Heaven, where I met two cousins to sit and chat and enjoy the beautifully tasty food, I had a wonderful cold rice pudding for afters. Later this week I have a couple of different kind of lunches but hopefully equally as tasty in their own ways. On Friday the wonderful Elena Savvides is hosting an author’s lunch for me and the guests will sample some of her fabulous cooking, hopefully I’ll also be able to sell some more books. On Saturday I’m winding my way to Pegyia over the  hills from Polis with fantastic dramatic scenery of the kind that I love about this Westerly side of the island . The road drops at a giddying rate to Peyia close to the coast where Sue of Hearn’s bookshop is also holding a lunch and she has invited me to attend and do a bit of signing of the book variety if requested, let’s hope there will be several opportunities.

Sunday will see a slightly different pace but again food is still involved, it is Cyprus after all! This time it will be at a farmer’s market held the first Sunday of every month when local suppliers and growers sell their wares at the very beautiful Pano Akourdalia herb garden.This one will also be a crafters market. Elena will be attending with a stall groaning under the weight of some delicious cooked morsels as well as  jams and chutneys that she makes. There may be more sales opportunities who knows but I surely will be busy looking and tasting  what is on offer.Landscape near Kritou Terra

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Signing or Talking?

Before I made my visit to Cyprus I arranged with the lovely Inga of Inga’s Veggie Heaven fame, to do a small book signing event at her cafe. Inga very kindly notified people and posted on Facebook as I did . I wasn’t sure how it would turn out as it’s an unusual event for Cyprus and this part of Lefkosia where the cafe is situated, doesn’t have a very heavy footfall of passers-by or tourists, the clientelle knows of the cafe and makes a special journey to frequent it.

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But I liked the place as it’s situated on the corner of a small craft centre with workshops scattered around a courtyard, also the food is delicious. It is open mainly for lunch and I arrived at 1pm so that I could enjoy a relaxed meal before the ‘crowds’ arrived!

I started with a refreshing glass of chilled home-made lemonade and a chunk of home-made bread served with houmous. For my main meal I ate a fragrant plate of vegetarian lasagna and delicious fresh salad. The whole cafe has a gorgeous aroma of bread, herbs and general deliciousness that I wish I could bottle and take home with me.

Needless to say we were not rushed off our feet with the onslaught but I will say that quality is better than quantity. I spent a delightful few hours chatting to Inga and her Italian second in command Itale, a friend of Inga’s turned up to buy a book and have it signed and stayed to chat with us. Then an American man wandered in with a cleverly designed fold up bike to sit and have lunch and straightaway bought two copies of the book. Inga’s had been recommended to him some time ago and he had promised himself a visit at some point then he was told about the book signing and decided Tuesday would be the day. He lingered over his meal savouring the food and reading the book, occasionally joining in the conversation. He will certainly return with his wife who is a vegan.

Tuesday was a day of visits and I passed by some of the places that stock the book to say hello, my last being Mouflon bookshop, where I was given further information to follow-up and told the good news that they had sold all the copies of ‘Androula’s Kitchen’ that they had in stock and needed some more. So I ended up feeling fulfilled and content.

 

Book Signing Event 9th April at Inga’s

My  trip to Cyprus is fast approaching and in the last few days I have now added a book signing event to my itinerary!

As soon as I’d published Androula’s Kitchen people would ask me if I was doing any book signing events. For authors with agents and publishers behind them this is all part of the marketing machine but  I couldn’t think how I was going to organise it on my own a complete unknown with no connections or any idea how you go about such a thing. It would involve advertising and a venue and payment of some kind surely?

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When I had decided to make the trip to Cyprus I thought this might present an opportunity to organise something; what I needed  was a place where I could sit and have a coffee and a chat while I wait for punters to ask for a book and a signature. Preferably it needed to be somewhere with a relevance to the book. I mention a fabulous vegetarian cafe called Inga’s Veggie Heaven that is in the Chrysaloniotissa area of Lefkosia, an area that has seen a lot of regeneration in recent years. Many of the interesting old houses are being lovingly restored and this is turning into an area that is truly a delight to wander through and which  has attracted a lot of artists. I’d happened on it almost by chance on my first visit to this district, it’s the corner building of a craft centre where several artists and craftsmen have workshops set around  a courtyard with a  small garden in the middle. The owner Inga Hadjipanayi is from Iceland married to a Cypriot. She makes her own bread every day and  her food is a truly delicious vegetarian mixture of combined cuisines.

When I returned a couple of years ago for a coffee she remembered me from my previous trip, which I have to say I was truly surprised by as I’d only been there once; we had a nice chat as she was having a lull after the lunchtime rush. My cousin Androula had taken some copies of Androula’s Kitchen there on a sale or return basis so it was a gradual thought process that led me to think this might be the perfect place to have an informal book signing event. Thankfully Inga likes the idea and with a bit of combined networking maybe we can do some good for both of us. I’ll certainly spread the word as much as I can.

In these difficult times where the structure of establishment seems to be crumbling around us it is good to keep planning ahead and focusing on making good things happen together. If you’re in Lefkosia on the 9th April  why not come and say hello and have a coffee and a bite at Inga’s 2 Dimonaktos St. Chrysaliniotissa Craft Center, 1017 Nicosia, Cyprus. The signing will take place between 2 – 4 pm