Thursday, October 30, 2008

Aphrodite's Rock

Πετόυ τού Ρομείου, Petrou tou Romeiou. Arguably one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Cyprus. It lies about midway between Pafos and Limassol. Better known as Aphrodite's Rock, this is the birthplace of Aphrodite. Legend has it, if you're single, that if you swim three times round the central group of rocks you will meet your true love soon afterwards. I haven't done that but have plodged in the waters hereabouts and wished my wife was with me. Perhaps she'll come to Cyprus one day and I'll show her this place.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It seems a world away now...

I've only been back five days and already Cyprus seems to be a world away. Here, we were having a musical evening. The guitarist is Phil and the flautist his partner, Anna. They were my hosts. I rented a room in their spacious bungalow. Both of them are painters in their own right and I shall post examples of their work anon. The seated violinist is a Swedish professional player and has a versatile repetoire ranging from Fritz-Kreisler to Stefan Grapelli. He is a very talented musician. Phil and Anna compose folk songs from time to time, usually with a strong Cypriot theme to them.

Breakfast time in their household can be a good way to start the day; they rehearse in the music room. They play a very soothing form of music.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Live in a Northern Land

There is a song by Edward Elgar called "My Love Dwells in a Northern Land". In Cyprus one of my catchphrases for those whose experience of the English language is standard English as spoken in the Thames Valley/ Oxford areas is, "I come from a Northern Land," said in rather the same way as Blackadder's Baldric spoke of his "cunning plan". I must admit to having to moderate my Northern twang a bit when abroad, even for those English who come from anywhere south of the Manchester Ship Canal. Ee bah 'eck! S'reet, tha' knows.

Anyway, today I got a bleak and powerful reminder I am back in this Northern fastness as I walked into town on my way to the studio with an icy blast coming in across Morecambe Bay fit to take your face off. And with the ever present promise of wind-blown icy rain to boot, if not the threat of snow. Or so it felt. Before you click on the comments bit, yes I was wrapped up under four layers of clothing, (tee-shirt, shirt, sweater, fleece and wax-cotton raincoat.) No sandals this time but my fell boots and heavy jeans.

I think this so-called global warming has passed this bit of the world by.

Monday, October 20, 2008

and now, the end is near...

Shirley Bassey used to sing that in her song "I did it my way."
While out here in Cyprus I have been rather busy and there isn't much time for blogging on a shared computer. I have my slot and that's it. Anyway fly back to my cold Northern land on Friday. So once I am esconced in front of my own PC I can update the blog.
Lotsa photos and stuff as usual and for me, writing the blog post datal as it were means I am (virtually) reliving the scene.
Cyprus College of Art keeps me busy in my role as artist-in-residence. It is all very pleasant working in wall-to-wall sunshine, there's no denying that, but and actual holiday? Well not quite.
Having said that, I wouldn't be anywhere else. I'll very likely be back in the spring.

One by product of these trips to Cyprus is my Greek is getting a bit fluent even if it is the Cypriot dialect rather than mainland Greek. Kalimera folks.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

First day of term

I have a hangover this morning. I'm not surprised. Yesterday was the introductory day for the students. That didn't affect me much as I am not concerned with registers and all that admin stuff. I just got on a nd did my own thing.

In the evening we had a visiting lecturer fly out from London to give a lecture on The Francis Bacon exhibition currently running at Tate Modern. After that it was the introductory social for staff and students alike. Soon we all retired to Stoa's Taverna where we drank and discussed art, history, mythology, etc. far into the following morning. Many bottles of KEO, the Cypriot lager were consumed. Nobody got disgustingly drunk, - you get arrested for that in Cyprus, - but by next morning most of us had the distinct symptoms of dehydration, the hangover headache. A large glass of water and a good stiff μετριω (Greek coffee) had us ready to take on the day.

All the students went into town to take part in a mass "draw-in" after which we evaluated the results back at the college.

I read in the Cyprus News, the English language newspaper, that September was the wettest on record. This after a three year drought. The resevoir levels have now doubled. They are 6% full now. That's right, six percent. I wonder how the British water companies would cope?
But now a new heatwave has set in with temperatures back in the mid to upper thirties. Gets a bit chilly at nights now, dropping to around twenty. I'm not complaining you understand.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Nicosia (Λευκωσια)

Took a bus trip to Nicosia, the capital, yesterday. A journey of some 40 km along a quiet (by British standards) motorway. It only cost nine euros for the round trip. The bus station is close by the Pafos gate shown here. It is an ancient gateway to the walled part of the city.
The next place I visited was the famous Ledera Street which has one thing in common with Unter den Linden in Berlin but unlike the Berin street that no longer is blocked by the Berlin Wall, Ledera Street leads to the Green Line separating the Turkish occupied zone from the rest of Cyprus. Gladly the way has been opened up but restrictions still apply. I walked up as far as the line, well as far as the UN troops at the line. It is a stark reminder that Cyprus isn't entireley paradise.
The last picture here is of the Freedom monument. Originally built to commemorate the end of British rule in 1959 but now looks to the re-unification of Cyprus. North Cyprus has been occupied since 1974.
It is all a poignant reminder.

But on a happier note I spent a large chunk of the day in the National Museum viewing ancient and modern Cypriot art. Later I spent a leisurely couple of hours window shopping in the Laiki Getonia district. It is rather like a North African souk but full of tourist shops.

In a Cyprus Garden

You don't get gardens like this in England. The table and chairs are under an overhead trellis of grapes to provide cool shade. In the foreground, ripe pomnegranates, 'undreds of 'em. In the background a lemon tree. We sent a day lasst week harvesting some of this stuff. Figs, oranges, lemons, pomegranates and in a corner some of the largest aubergines I've ever seen.
This is the garden of a fellow artist who is permanently in Cyprus. I'm rentinf a room off him. The room is so big you could put the ground floor of my house in Lancaster in it.