Hi all, hope you are well and coping with the heat.
This month I want to remind you of a short story I published in 2015 and haven't given it the promotion that it deserves. It is a short book but an endearing story with a bit of excitement and escapism. It is about a father and son and their adventures. It is called, "Utopian Magic".
It is set in the 1800's, poor times, hungry times, very hard times.
Armed with a beautiful Shire horse called Dexter that pulled their amazing caravan and their dog Jack, Elliot and his son Nathan scratched a living roaming the countryside performing Magic shows.
Here is a short extract:
The Red glow of our camp fire’s embers shone onto my father’s face giving him an almost eerie look. I wondered what it was he was thinking about, but I had a good idea.
“Are you ok Dad?” I asked.
“Yes I’m fine son; I was just remembering your Mother.”
We had lost my Mother almost five years ago near my fifteenth birthday, but it was hard to come to terms with. She had suffered for too long. Maybe if we had conformed to the accepted system and been your average citizen, we could have got her more help, but we were Travelers’. We have been called some other names such as Pikies, Vagabonds, Vagrants even Romani’s, but we were simply Travelers’. No permanent address, not registered on any system, just us and the good Earth as it was meant to be. We didn’t feel that we were owed anything but at the same time we didn’t owe anything.
My father leaned over with the pot of coffee and offered to top me up, which I accepted.
“Shame to waste it,” said my father.
“Yeah but mind you, it’s a bit stewed by now Dad.”
Jack ran over and sat at my feet. Jack was our dog and part of the family. Mother had named him Jack because he was a Jack Russell and for no other reason, we didn’t have the heart to change it, and besides it suited him. He was a great dog and a very good hunter. He could out run a Rabbit much to its demise.
The other member of the family was ‘Dexter’. Dexter was the biggest and strongest Shire horse you would ever meet. He was Jet Black, so Black that he looked a deep Blue color in a certain light. He had a snow White chest and ankles. I was pretty tall but to mount Dexter, I had to take a run and jump at him. He pulled our caravan with ease and wherever we wanted to go.
Our caravan was our home but it was also our means of survival. It was large and it was colorful. On either side, painted in bold colors were the words ‘The Wizard of Wonder’ that is my father. My father is a Magician and a master at his art. This is how we earned our living as we roamed the country.
We would find a Town or Village and set up camp on its outskirts, perhaps a field. One side of the caravan was constructed such that you could lower the side and it would transform into a stage. This is where my father would perform his miracles with myself as his assistant. It used to be my mother’s role. She also used to read the Tarot cards and Palms, and this ability she handed down to me. My father would often joke about adding an ‘S’ on the word Wizard.
My father watched me as I made a small ball appear then disappear, change color then multiply.
“Keep practicing Nathan, you will earn that ‘S’ yet.”
“Thanks Dad, but I’m going to turn in now.”
I made sure Dexter was well tethered and had water. Jack was asleep under the caravan now. Dad threw some dirt onto the embers.
“I think I’ll join you son, we move on tomorrow.”
We had performed for three nights here on the edge of Timberly, and pickings were not very good. We had twenty audience members on our first night but it had diminished to five on our third night. We put it down to Timberly being a small village. We didn’t charge an entrance fee as such, but I passed my hat around at the end of a performance. Over the three nights we took £1.12pence, three buttons and a chewed bit of gum. It was hard but we were ok, we wouldn’t starve.
I hope you liked what you have read. If you did, you can buy it for the price of a Frappe. It is available in Paperback and Kindle formats here on my website. Just click on the 'BUY' button, and you will be directed to the purchase page on Amazon.
That's it for another month, enjoy the weather and peace to you all. xxx
Hi all, June already!
As I haven't used my blog to promote my books since January, this month I'm going to do just that.
This story comes in two parts and it is titled "Tony's World". The first part is called, 'Indoctrination' and the second, 'No Escape'.
It all started when I decided to write my autobiography, and as it progressed and I realised what exciting and dangerous things I had done in my life, it turned into a fictional crime thriller. I will leave it to the reader to decide which parts are true and which are fiction. :)
Here is a little taster:
I looked in my side view mirror as I sped down Commercial Street. I could see that the Police vehicles had only just started doing three point turns to come and investigate. I took a left down Whitechapel Road, almost tipping the van again. I joined the A11, the Mile End Road, and then turned into Globe road. There was no sign of the Police yet.
“Ok, I’m going down here, and we all get out and split up. I’ll come and see you tomorrow at the gym”.
We were only walking distance from the gym, about five minutes.
“Ok marn, see yo tomorrow” said Tyrone, looking a bit wobbly.
They all jumped out of the van and went in different directions. I drove on and went up Roman road, right into Cambridge Heath road and eventually got to the Queens Head, where I parked the van, got into my car and drove home.
“Fuck, woohoo, what a rush” I shouted out loud banging both hands on the steering wheel. As I drove slowly towards home, I saw the Police cars, sirens screaming, go past me. They had no reason to bother me; they were looking for a van.
Here is one of the reviews:
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced witty crime novella
7 December 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Forget Tony Montana, it's Mr Leonitou who is in the driver's seat now! (quite literally). I really enjoyed this fast paced novella which introduces Tony Leonitou and his journey from hard-working good Greek-Cypriot boy to career-criminal. The crime scenes were particularly well thought out and there was definitely an air of 'Layer Cake' mixed with 'Lock Stock' about the story. I read the book in one sitting and am very much looking forward to the sequel!
If you like what you have read, you can get them here on my website. Just click on the 'BUY' button and you will be directed to the AMAZON purchase page. You can buy them in Kindle or Paperback versions.
Until next time
Hi all, hope you all had a great Easter.
I would like to introduce you to a book, it is called "Every Wall Needs A Story". It is a book put together and published by a local artist, (Larnaca Cyprus), and friend of mine, Theo Michael, and his wife Anja. It is a book packed with original paintings and studies by Theo, but what makes this book even more interesting is that every original painting is accompanied by an original story or poem.
As well as the paintings, Theo contributed the bulk of the stories, but other contributors include, Neil Smith, Elizabeth Michael, Barbara Strain, and of course ME, Chris Christodoulou. I feel proud and honoured to have numerous stories and poems included in this great book, thank you Theo.
If this book has grabbed your interest, you can get it here: www.amazon.co.uk/Every-Wall-Needs-Story-Michael/dp/1537717723/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=Every+wall+needs+a+story.+Book+by+Theo+Michael&qid=1558168036&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull
I would like to include in this blog entry my particular favourite , (by me), to accompany Theo's painting, Blowing in the Wind.
"Blowing in the wind"
It's that time again
the time you went away
You were taken from me
even though I begged you stay.
It wasn't even your fault
as you cycled down the road
he was driving far too fast
no comprehension of the highway code.
It's that time again
your memory in my mind
it's that time again
life can be so unkind.
I wear your clothes you become part of me
and I slowly walk that street
Don't know what I'm hoping for
perhaps your spirit I will meet.
I know that could never happen
but I do it anyway
every year when it's that time again
and it's that time again today.
The rain is falling and the wind is blowing
as I walk the street with head hung low
I pass the spot where you lay in pain
Oh my Steven I do miss you so.
The rain has eased but the wind does blow
lifting debris, papers and the such
hands in pockets and deep in thought
then on my leg a gentle touch!
I look down and what do I see
a Black cat walking at the side of me
its head was also bowed down low
I wondered where it wanted to go.
I stopped in my tracks
and the cat stopped too
it looked up at me
as if he knew!
Hello cat, enjoying your walk?
How I wish that it could talk
My heart beat faster as the cat replied
"I will always walk by your side!"
Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did writing it. Until next time.
Just like it says in the title, I'm just thinking out loud. You do a lot of that when you are on your own.
I'm thinking, What's next? What's in store for me? I have done so much in my life, or so it seems, obvious things, diverse things, dangerous things, happy things, sad things, exciting things, boring things, and I wouldn't change any of it.
The strange thing is, I feel there is so much more that I have yet to do. I feel that the best is yet to come, which is a positive thing, but I also worry that time is running out. I know I shouldn't think like that because there is only so much you can squeeze into a life time, but I just do.
Most of us have a sort of plan for ourselves, our lives, or how we think we would like things to happen, but in my case, that plan went tits up when I allowed my arrogance and sometimes self pity to destroy it. So now what? Well, you make another plan, don't you? I sort of have, and obviously if I had my health it would be a breeze, but I'm not dead! So onward and upward!
I have really progressed, honestly, I have cut out all negative people from my life, I have stopped saying things like, "Why me?" and "Woe is me" and "life's so unfair", and now it's, "Can't wait for the next episode" and "Life is good".
I have gone from, "Who would have time for an old geezer like me?" and "I'm destined to be alone until the end", to, "Hmm, she seems to like me" and "So does she", there is hope yet :)
After reading all that back, I should have called it, "Ramblings of a mad man" , but no, I am pleased to share my thoughts, I am pleased to be thinking more positive, I am pleased to report that life is definitely worth living.
Love you all xxxx
Hi all, hope everyone is well. I'm cheating a bit this month as I am extremely busy with life at the moment, or perhaps I'm just being lazy. I'm just going to share with you a poem I wrote for my daughter Lucy on her 15th birthday a couple of months ago. Hope you like it.
I've watched you grow year by year
like a tree straight, strong, and tall,
I want you to know without any fear
that I'll be there should you fall.
I will always love you come what may
through the hard times and the good
I think of you each and every day
just like a father should.
You are easy to love that's for sure
with your beautiful face and your demure
so gentle and calm most of the time
I'm really proud to say you're mine.
So my Lucy stay as you are
kind and innocent and you'll go far
I'll always be there by your side
as my love for you I cannot hide.
Have a great birthday and the rest of your life
without too much trouble and strife
enjoy being young, single, and free
and save all your love for mum and me.
Love you darling xxxx
Well short and sweet this month. Hopefully more next month. Be well everybody. xxxx
Hi all. Happy Valentines to all those that care.
Here is a story I wrote a while ago, to compliment a painting by my friend and artist Theo Michael. I hope you enjoy it.
Scent of a Rose
Have you ever met someone and been so totally in love and in awe of them it almost hurts? Marios had. He would only have to look into her big Green eyes and he swore that his heart would literally explode with love. Every move she made every sound she made just left him breathless. His every waking and sleeping thought was of Anna. He was so lucky to have found such a special person.
That was an eternity ago, and he still felt the same. Today Marios was alone sitting on the veranda of their home and staring out over the ocean in front of him and remembering their life together. He recalled her little idiosyncrasies like whenever he leant towards her to kiss her, she would also lean forward but at the last second she would stick out her tongue and lick the end of his nose with it and laugh. He remembered how he once bought her a dozen Red Roses for no reason other than that he loved her. She loved Roses. She had taken them in both hands and lifted them up to her nose and breathed in deeply savouring their strong scent. She adored them. Marios would bring her Roses for her Birthday, their Anniversary, Christmas and of course Valentines day. Valentine’s day was the day they had met for the first time all those years ago on this very beach.
Marios had been test driving the old Zundapp motorbike he had lovingly restored. The beach was pretty deserted and rarely used by the tourists. Anna had been sitting on a rock by the waters’ edge with her feet in the water. She was holding a single Rose to her nose. It was scenes like this that made Marios wish he had talent and could paint. What a picture that would have made. Marios couldn’t resist so he approached her.
“Gift from a secret admirer?” he asked.
Anna had chuckled and with her big Green eyes burrowing into his she answered.
“No, but it’s a gift from me to me, it is Valentine’s day.”
They chatted for a while but now it was time for Anna to go.
“I would love to see you again.” Marios half asked half stated.
“I go back to the UK tomorrow, but I will be back next Valentine’s day.”
“It’s a date!” said Marios, disappointed but happy all mixed together.
“But why Valentine’s day?” Marios asked as his curiosity got the better of him.
“It’s my grandfathers’ memorial day. His name was Valentino and oddly enough he died on Valentine’s day, so I come and remember him at his grave.”
“Oh, sorry about your loss.” Said Marios, not knowing what else to say.
“Oh it’s ok, he was very old.”
Anna gently slid off the rock. Marios didn’t want her to go.
“See you next year then,” she said giving Marios a smile that he is yet to forget.
“Er, er, yeah ok, I’ll be here.”
He watched as Anna walked up off the beach and disappeared into the distance.
The year passed very slowly for Marios, but it eventually passed. Marios was beside himself with excitement, he had bought a bunch of Red Roses for Anna. He couldn’t wait to see her. He got on his Zundapp and slowly drove towards the rock and yes, there she was sitting on it with her feet kicking in the water. Marios couldn’t get there soon enough.
“Hi!” he said excitedly as he dismounted the bike and let it fall to the sand. He held out the bunch of Roses and handed them to Anna.
“Happy Valentines!” he said grinning from ear to ear.
“Oh they are lovely, thank you so much. I have something for you too I thought it would look great on your motorbike.”
Anna leant back and pulled out an oblong box from behind her and handed it to Marios.
“What is it?”
“Open it and see.”
Marios hurriedly opened the box and inside was a number plate. Not an ordinary number plate, a custom one. It read ‘FEB 14’
“Wow must have cost a fortune!” said Marios as he admired the plate.
“Not really. Originally it was ‘FE – 814, but I had the ‘8’ moved closer to the’ E’ so now at a glance it looks like ‘FEB 14’ “
Marios stood in silence for a moment then he blurted it out.
“Will you marry me?” He had no idea where that had come from he just knew he couldn’t be without her.
“I thought you would never ask!” she screamed with laughter.
They were married within the week.
That was 55 years ago. Marios was grateful that they had grown old together but he wished he had gone first. Anna had passed away 5 years ago now and he still missed her like crazy. For 5 years now every Valentine’s day Marios would buy a dozen Red Roses and take them to the rock where they had met. He would lay them down at the base of the rock and talk to Anna as if she was still sat on it. The fact that a stray cat was always there made him feel less foolish about talking to an empty space. As he talked to Anna he stroked the cat that would always plonk itself down on top of the Roses. The cat would smell them first one at a time then just sit on them. It had been there every year. Marios picked up the cat and looked into its eyes. They were huge and Green, just like Annas’. He held the cat closer to his chest. The cat lifted its head and looked up at Marios. It then did something very strange it stuck its tongue out and licked the tip of Marios nose......
If you like the painting, go here to find it and much more:
Well that's it for another month so until then, Yia sas!! xx
Hope you all are having a great New Year and peace comes to this battered Planet and all its inhabitants. Meanwhile in Cyprus, life is good, well let’s say it could be a lot worse. I am thankful to still be breathing as my health issues seem to be under control. I have a home, I have food to eat and clothes to wear.
I want to make you aware that my third book in the ‘Only in Cyprus’ series is now available. I would like to thank my Mum for her help when I was researching for this book, I couldn’t have done it without her help. Love you Mum xx (even though she won’t see this).
The new book is called,
‘Only in Cyprus 3, Yiayias myths, legends and other stuff’
Or you can get it here on my website,
Thank you for your support, and once again, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Bye for now xx
Christmas is upon us, and also the end of another year. As far as Christmas is concerned, it has meant nothing to me for the past few years. Christmas, in my opinion, is a time for family. I will be spending it alone! I’m not looking for the sympathy vote it is just my own personal circumstances. For you all, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a great new year.
This year for me has been a helter skelter ride with both good and bad times. Airbnb has been a life saver both financially and for my mental health and I hope it continues into the New Year. I also managed to squeeze in a trip to the UK to witness my son Matt win his first boxing match! Well done Matt, you made us proud.
In between looking after my Airbnb guests, I have managed to finish my third book in the “Only in Cyprus” series. I am in the process of editing and preparing it for publication by Christmas, but a more realistic time would be in the early New Year. I’m hoping you will make it as successful as the previous two. Its title will be “Only in Cyprus 3, Yiayia’s myths, legends and other stuff”. In this little book, I look into old sayings that Yiayia’s and generations before her used to say and believe. My research was mostly with my 87 year old mum, so thank you mum.
Another chapter deals with “Cypriot slang” Words that I know not from whence they came but I list a few with the proper word/explanation by its side. An example:
CHUGMAJI = CIGARETTE LIGHTER.
Then I deal with “Gringlish”. A language mostly used by “Charlies”, that is English born Cypriots. Again an example.
AMBULANCE = UMBOULA = ASTHENOFORO
It’s all written very much tongue in cheek as were the previous two. Your support is appreciated.
So until the New Year, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and do drink too much. xxx
Where are the months going? Already November! It's an amazing 29 degrees here in Cyprus, and there were people swimming in the sea this morning at 8.30.
Anyway, I want to introduce you to "Johnnie Walker", another excellent painting by Theo Michael, and inspired by this, a story by me. Hope you enjoy both.
www.artbytheomichael.com Go here for more of Theo's amazing work and much more.
‘Meet Johnnie Walker’
It was the weekend. Not that it was any different to any other day for me, but somehow the word ‘weekend’ seemed to lift the spirits. For the average Joe who has a job of work to go to every day, the weekend conjures up a sense of freedom, elation and relaxation, but for me it was literally lifting a glass of spirits, whiskey in my case!
Every Friday night without fail, Nic and I would meet at ‘Toni’s Bar’ for our ongoing battle, the battle of the Backgammon board. Backgammon, the game of the rich and famous, Omar Sharif was known for his skill at Backgammon. Neither Nic nor I were rich or famous but we loved to compete. We would play Backgammon all night into the early hours of Saturday morning, which was about how long it took us to get too drunk to play.
We would arrive at Toni’s Bar about 8 o’clock and take our seats at our usual corner table. The Backgammon board would already be in place and so would two glasses, an ice bucket full of ice and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red label whiskey. To make our games more interesting and give us extra incentive, the loser would pay for next week’s bottle. I have to be honest and say that it was Nic who did most of the paying. I regularly complained that Chivas Regal was my choice of whiskey, so why couldn’t we have Chivas?
“I’m not paying that sort of dough for a scotch!” Nic had retorted.
“Well don’t lose then Nic”, was my response.
“As if you can tell the bloody difference anyway!” said Nic smirking.
“I reckon I could.”
We had this argument week after week, same argument, same words, over and over, but still Johnnie Walker won the day. Perhaps I should lose deliberately so I would have to buy the scotch.
The weekend soon came round again. As I passed the hallway mirror I adjusted my hat one more time, it had to be just so. I set off for Toni’s Bar. Nic was already there and when he saw me come in the door, he poured two whiskeys out of the Johnnie Walker bottle.
“There you go Steve.”
I sat and picked up my glass.
We chinked glasses and I said nothing about my disappointment that Johnnie Walker was man of the match....again.
It was 2.30am and there was only vapours left in our bottle, and Nic had lost yet again.
“Can’t you try a little harder?” I asked Nic.
“Bit harder for what?”
“Bit harder to win a bloody game!” I said abruptly and nearly sliding off my chair.
“Itshh only a game mate.”
“Yeah, but I want shum shhhivers!”
Nic started to laugh hysterically.
“What’s so fecking funny?” I asked beginning to lose my cool.
“Come with me Steve, jusht come with me.”
Nic struggled to get up and he grabbed me by the arm and led me to the bar where Toni was standing polishing glasses.
“Show thish whishkey connoisseur, go on show him.”
Toni reached under the bar and took out 3 empty bottles of Chivas Regal 12 year old and lined them up on the bar, followed by a......funnel!
“For the pasht 3 weeks connoisseur, thatsh what you’ve been drinking......!”
Until next month lovely people. Keep well. xx
Well you know I'm an Author, so you keep reading, and I will keep writing :)