Sitting and Knitting

Once upon a time, on a cold and clear Christmas night way up north, two sisters were sitting and knitting. It rhymes and that is a wonderful thing.

These two sisters had grown up in this house, then left it and braved embarrassments and breakups and other painful things, but now all was well and they were smiling and guffawing. For it was Christmas night and they had been drinking a bit, and to top it all off, there were two hunky men lounging by their side. One, the artist, was drawing and the other one, in elf slippers with jingle bells at the toes, was eating and tweeting.

Now, the sisters were confiding in each other about painful things that adult life had brought their way, things too raw to share with anyone else, and this is what they said:

‘I felt a pick-pocket’s hand in my backpack’, recounted the younger one. ‘Turned around and said in Spanish, ‘They call me the police!” She hung her head over her craft and continued, in a barely audible whisper: ‘He froze because my Spanish was so bad.’

The shared hurt of saying a ridiculous thing in a foreign language gripped the elder sister’s heart, for she too had blurted out outrageous stupidities in foreign tongues. (The hunky men at this point admitted nothing.)

The elder sister contemplated the gravity of what she was about to confess to, then began: ‘I was going to a procedure and was given a hospital gown to wear. I didn’t know if I should remove my underwear or not, why don’t they tell you? I didn’t remember the French word for bra. Instead I boomed through the curtain: Qu’est-ce que je fais avec la brasserie? What do I do with the restaurant?’

With this, the hunky artist ran out for an e-ciggie and the hunky tweeter ran for a long gin drink.

Upon the artist’s return, he surprised everyone with his own sad story. ‘I was out partying in Leeds’ he recounted gloomily, ‘and asked a guy, ‘Can I bum you for a cigarette?’

At this moment the hunk in the jingle bells elf slippers strode back into the room, which was good because all needed cheering up. En route from the kitchen he had heard this poor chap confess his spectacular cock-up and in a sudden surge of solidarity, he went for it, too:

‘I was hosting some Ukranian officials and some Cypriot ones, and thought I knew how to say cheers in Ukranian’, he wailed, ‘So I lead everyone to say that all evening – only to learn it means let’s f**k.’

At this, the sisters fainted and the artist ran for the bus station. The elf slippered hunk went back to tweeting, and the night was again peaceful and bright.

Sweet silence reigned over all lands where during daytime, so many people screw up so badly, and still live to tell the tale. And that, my dearly beloved, is also quite the Christmas miracle, innit?

Something Borrowed

His name is Bruno and he was home alone today.

So we could borrow him!

The park was a lush green paradise of birdsong and sunshine filtered through a million leaves.

Bruno enjoyed the smell aspects of it.

And some womanising. Oh dear!

Cyprus is so gorgeous!

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And apparently, smells fabulous too.

Writing for a Living

I write for money! Yes I do.

Nope, not for the Cyprus Mail. It’s there for breakfast and lunch companionship only!

I receive blueprints and pour over them like a woman possessed. Then begin frantic area research and note taking. In challenging cases, enlist a music streaming service.

What’s near the development?

What will the views be like?

How does one get anyplace?

Notes.

Start typing: architecture, design. Landscaping, layouts.

And all the practical stuff, try to be a bit more brief for goodness’ sake, it isn’t a bleeding novel!

Selling points? Hmm.

Introduction. (This is everything.)

Title options. Usually too long, grimace.

Chop! Mourn.

Okay? Off it goes.

Burst through school gates. Panting, so late, so disheveled and not bearing snacks it seems actually.

Usher people to Greek tutoring.

Sit in the car a bit cold. Fantasize of writing for fun maybe tonight.

Like lock my door, turn up the music?

Then, for goodness’ sake, write like there’s no tomorrow?

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Yes! Yes!!

Maybe tomorrow?

The Last World

After the café and the swings you said, ”Mummy, is this the last world? After this one, will there ever be another one?”

Your innocent wondering may have been Super Mario inspired, but it stopped me cold in my tracks. All my guilty plane tickets, all my kilometres driven and all the plastic items I ever bought came over me right there, like a huge dirty tidal wave.

Of regret.

I am sorry I haven’t done more to save your last world, love. I don’t know how, or I do I guess, but it seems next to impossible as a choice. You don’t have to but I hope you can forgive me one day. I haven’t tried hard enough.

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There’s no other world for you honey, this is it. This is what I’m leaving you. It looks beautiful and peaceful today, but it’s going to become harder to live in.

I hope you’ll be strong enough, I hope you can stay kind and caring if things get difficult. I hope after it gets worse, it gets better. A lot better, better than we could ever design or plan for, or indeed make happen.

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We are not a great generation that saves you and your world. We are the bad guys: the selfish, the stubbornly ignorant and the lazy. The image-anxious. The corrupt and the power hungry.

I see you get to know the world around us, I can see how exciting and beautiful it is for you. I see you study the stars and I want to see them through your eyes. I want to see them through your kids’ eyes, and their kids’. I want them to study and stand on the rooftop and look at stars, because everything down here is fine, and they can – why couldn’t they?

‘There’s no other planet where people can live, dear’, I say gently, squeezing your little hand a bit tighter. But of course, your busy little mind has already moved on.

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After Cyprus, Where Would You Go?

‘When the man loves the woman more, they have sons’, declared the Ukrainian grandma at the head of the table, nodding at our kids. ‘Da’ attested my gentlemanly husband, giving my thigh a gentle little pat.

We are not this slim, it’s my friend’s camera:)

We were seated around a solid wood table with flowers in the middle, this is Cyprus after all. Outside the air was restlessly shifting under November rain. It was just about to hit these cobbled alleys and mountain pines, and the village dog running up and down the main street barking at cars.

He wouldn’t mind. He had a job to do. So many funny looking Nicosiades to chase!

On the table there were glasses of red, white and water, hot plates of veg and lamb and a salad with fresh bread softening in sweet olive oil. I was tasting something with a difficult name, something quite heavenly when my friend asked of our plans after Cyprus.

‘Where would we go after Cyprus?’ I wondered, looking from plate to plate desperately trying to decide what to try next. ‘What would we eat?’

There was pleasant agreement over the impossibility of eating anything in other countries. We continued the meal surrounded by the old stone walls and happily lunching kids. My other half who has been so absent-minded lately seemed to be quite content too, amidst steaming little plates being entertained by our friend the walking library of… romantic jokes.

I can imagine someone leaving Cyprus for New York maybe. Lots of good stuff to eat there!

But right now I really can’t see where else anyone would like to go after Cyprus, nor indeed why!

And I think grandma might just agree with me! She is clearly a very wise lady.

Space Tag

Tonight we got some takeaway. It’s Sunday night and we are both a bit worse for wear.

One has muscle pain after running around in the cold evening breeze thinking they were 17.

The other has her usual number of worries, just because!

This week was the last week one unlucky stray kitten got to live. His short story ended under a heat lamp at the vet’s.

Next door to him three little former strays slept in a warm and cosy heap. To wake up again soon, curious and playful, for another lovely day.

This was the week when French Conversation was cancelled and we didn’t know that. Waiting, we covered everything from space travel to Cyprus problem.

This week our building shook violently with the pitter patter of four Darth Vaders playing some kind of a beastly space tag. One of the Darths had previously soothed a fading kitten but was now full of cheery fight again.

Like you want your kids to be, a while  after a disappointment.

It was when I woke up on Saturday and decided to contribute my five cents to the Cyprus question debate. My overture was met with a surprised and a tad exasperated look from the neighbouring pillow.

This one by my spouse who is a patient type

It was the week we froze in bed. Not so much because of the CyProb pillow talk but because it seems

summer is gone.

Foundling

Cyprus is a wealthy country. There are no homeless or beggars visible in the streets (although I’m sure there are some homeless and paperless hiding away in mosque courtyards and abandoned houses). But one certain kind of misery is very plain to see on this lovely island every day. Animal misery.

Yesterday it suddenly got too much. Pulled over, left my kid in the car kind of misery, devastating and impossible to drive by anymore. A sick kitten in the street was so weak he didn’t even try to get out of the cars’ way. Filthy, hopeless, tiny figure in the street.

Now he’s at the vet’s. Medicated and special fed, next door to three other kitten foundlings and a fluffy house dog. He’s warm. We hope tomorrow when I visit he’ll be better.

My name is on his cage which feels strange. I’m not his momma am I? We can’t adopt him or soon I’ll be the one sick and suffering (I have asthma).
But he surely made a mark.

When my son talked to him, the kitten kept talking back. Lifted his little paw towards him against the side of the cardboard box. Then began to nod off exhausted, mid-thought. His paw still towards a friendly face and a warm voice, someone.

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First morning at the clinic. All shaggy from flea spray and very sleepy too.

Summer Clothes

Yeah so I came in summer clothes.

Without an umbrella.

Hideous weather, fun hideous pics. (Everybody in this picture is gorgeous – just the photo is bad!)

‘Tis wet.

‘Tis freezin’.

Most puddly.

Yesterday it was lovely and sunny and balmy. Because we were at the conference. Fun as it was, and it was, the event gobbled up the entire sunny day and today I the wind and rain goes into my back and my neck and oh why!

Why am I standing here mugged by the elements?

Where is my umbrella? Woolly hat and shawl? Woolly nosewarmer, waterproof brainhat? Someone give me some friggin’ wool or a sheep and shears or what are them wool scissors and let me live!

London in summer clothes – a delightful October weekend escape from the Mediterranean! Buy your tickets and your shears now at Smart Dresser Autumn Travels Inc.

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