It’s a cold, cloudy and windy February day here in Pano Arodhes and I decided today I would just stay put and catch up with myself and get some chores done in spite of a very tempting offer of a Lebanese breakfast from Elena in the morning, with the prospect of a pleasant walk around the village to familiarise myself with the layout later on. As I set off it started to spit with rain but it didn’t come to anything. I didn’t meet a soul needless to say as they were all tucked up indoors, there was a strong smell of wood smoke on the breeze. I thought I would say hello at the Kafeneon and get myself a coffee it was sure to be cosy and warm in there. Indeed it was, a very attractive Kafeneon. However as most of you know village Kafeneons, indeed any Kafeneons in Cyprus are the domain of the male of the species and they are not quite the same as a Cafe Nero or Starbucks. But I was assured by my hosts that they would be interested to meet me as they were curious and would be happy to get to know me. I didn’t get further than a few steps inside the door. It was fairly full of men and they all were very curious, the owner came to open the door but for all the welcome on his lips, I didn’t see any welcoming smile in his eyes or feel they were very keen for me to stay or was that me feeling rather intimidated in that alien environment among that mass of older Cypriot men? I introduced myself and asked for the mail as it also doubles as the post office and left rather swiftly as I lost my bottle to go inside and ask for the ‘cafe skerto’ that I had been looking forward to. I will return and have another go when my courage returns…maybe.
I took a turn around the village and took some photos of the rather wintry landscape with a few signs of the promise of Spring around the corner. I decided that it definitely was a day to get the fire lit, the music on and get cooking. I planned to make colocassi, a recipe that’s in my book which my cousin Christina had given me. I danced around the kitchen to the music as I went from sink to cooker, then the fire then back again, it was a very jolly affair and while I was at it I got a bit of chicken stock on the go to make some soup tomorrow. Just like being back in Blighty.
Author’s lunch at Orexi garden
Pano Akourdalia herb Garden Farmer’s Market
Elena WITH THE LAST OF HER GOODIES FOR SALE, THEY GO LIKE HOT CAKES….
Caroline collecting olive leaves
Well I am returned and have had to throw myself into the garden with force and grit as soon as I was able, as everything has grown to jungle proportions in my absence. I’ve hacked and chopped, cut and pulled and I think I can relax a bit now to catch my breath before I have to start again down at the community garden where my patch there also needs attention. Then it will be back to a bit of house maintenance, ahh I wish I were back in Cyprus already!!
In Cyprus also gardens of a different variety featured quite often. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the few I managed to write while away, I was in for a few lunches al fresco. The weather was little strange for this time of year in Cyprus, usually by late May June the weather has settled into a steady pattern with the temperature rising steadily. Instead it was a little cooler than usual with some strong warm winds and more cloud than is normal. The winter has been drier as well and rain is badly needed as the reservoirs are only 75% full at the moment.
My author’s lunch at Elena’s Orexi garden was a delightful experience and I met some new people. A friend of mine was able to come with her husband as well as two friends and we spent a pleasant time together. Unnervingly Elena asked me to talk a little about the book after I had circulated to introduce myself. It was brief as I hadn’t really prepared anything but I sold eight books so that wasn’t bad out of 20 people. They all loved it as well which was encouraging. Hopefully we can do a bigger better event next time and I’ll come better prepared.
The lunch in Peyia was not so much fun for me. There was a crooner of sorts singing along to backing tracks of oldies, the food, mostly the usual English fare you get at parties, pork pies, Scotch eggs etc. and drink were offered free, very generously I thought. Sadly for me and the shop owners, that is all the audience was interested in as I had no enquiries or interest shown. I did however get introduced to a very lovely lady Yve Brookes and we had a really good chat which passed the time beautifully. Originally from Oxford she has been a traveller all her life living a few years here and there until she gets the seven year itch and then moves on. She has been in Cyprus seven years now and the familiar urge has descended again. She has eventually come to live in a house in Argaka which she now calls home and has made her mark restoring the surrounding area to one of calmness and order after it was neglected for ten years by the owners. The house has an intriguing story; the original owner built the house himself and a few months after he finally moved in after all his labours, he died and the family who inherited it closed it up and left it. After many attempts to rent it out the grandson, who now owns it, was resigned to it not being suitable for anyone until Yve took a liking to it and feels it only right to honour the man who built the house by caring for it and the surrounding land. I would love to see the work she has done here but I just could not find the time this trip.
The following day it was the Farmer’s market at the Pano Akoudalia herb garden run by the very talented herbalist Caroline Evans http://www.heavenonearthherbals.com/. On my way to the garden I passed many cars lining the approach roads, it turned out to be a very popular event as well as celebrating its first anniversary. There were crafters as well as food producers there this month. Another delightful spot and I passed several hours chatting to people, making new friends and enjoying a delicious slice of raw carrot cake and herb tea. A truly relaxing atmosphere and one I was sad to leave but I departed with a bag of goodies bought from Elena which I took great pleasure in eating for my meal later. The olive bread was to die for.
I came back from my trip this time with a yearning to stay a lot longer. Over my last few trips I have made friends and uncovered rare delights that tug at my heart and call to me to return.