Present Past Times

 

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It has been a long gap since my last post, the longest I think, since I started this blog.Since my return from my  long stay in Cyprus I have spent much time lately in reflection. Being back after six months, I realised how much I loved my home and the area in which I live. Strange that while I was away I gave it hardly any thought and didn’t really miss it? A puzzle I can’t quite explain- except that  it is best to focus all your awareness on the present moment and not regret or anticipate too much of past or future, this way the present is more fully experienced and appreciated. While away I was contemplating how it would be to live permanently in Cyprus, an idea I had always eschewed. So much has changed there recently, the thing that most appeals is that the artistic,cultural side of Cyprus is blossoming at a rapid rate which I find very exciting. I came back to the UK and committed myself to the idea by telling all my friends that I would certainly like to try living there for a trial period of two years at least and see how I felt after that. As the days have passed and I have settled back into my UK life, visiting friends and family, I am thinking more about the reality of giving up my life here. I have lived in my present house for 25 years, that is a long time, the house and garden bear testament to the energy and commitment I have given to it. But maybe now is the time to make a change onto the next chapter of my life. I am working my way through all the permutations of possibilities and   perception of my glass veers from half empty to half full on a daily basis.

I have set the wheels in motion towards some change as I have been sifting and sorting and clearing my way through,cupboards, garage, shed and loft.Trips to the tip, charity shops and much time spent on eBay with the rest have been a pattern over the past few weeks. Naturally during this process I have re-visited my past through the  papers and things I have been sorting, with memories particularly of the many years I worked in my workshop wielding paintbrush and paint, coming to the fore. I have still many brushes and minor tools and materials of my trade which  still occasionally come in handy for the odd job here and there. But also there are many things I have acquired over the years which still have use in them and need careful thought as how to dispose of them.It all takes a lot of time but I am in no hurry.

My reflections have also been dwelling on this blog as I feel it has come to a point where maybe I have written most of what I want to say about Cyprus at present. The blog was initially a way of advertising the book of the same name and to present a varied selection of information on maybe some obscure subjects connected with Cyprus. The information of course remains here but I may move over to my sister blog to continue musing.  It was started at the same time but I haven’t contributed anything to it.Its title, Present Past Times is very apt to my state of mind at the moment and it only seems fitting that I use it now to ponder things past present and future. So please check it out in a few weeks if you want to follow my progress and thank you for following me so far, if you have been.presentpasttimes.wordpress.com/

Goats and Gardenias

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.