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
Hi everyone, hope you are all well and coping with what seems like an extended summer, well, here in Cyprus anyway. At the time of writing this, the end of September, we are still having temperatures of 30/35 degrees!
For those of you who actually read my blog, you may remember a feature I wrote, about a year ago, on my friend and local artist Theo Michael. I don’t mind saying that I am still totally in awe of his talents. A visit to my home, (and you would be welcome), you will see that there is not a wall that is not displaying Theo’s work. In fact, it looks like “Theo Michael Art Gallery 2”. J
My latest acquisition from Theo:
This photo does not do it justice therefore I urge you if you are in Larnaca you should pay him a visit. Anja, Theo’s wife, will greet you with a smile, and you will be offered a drink which you can enjoy whilst seated on one of their comfortable sofas or as you browse the walls at the amazing art work. You will also meet Theo himself busy at his work station and his latest masterpiece. Give him five minutes and he may even pull out a deck of cards from his back pocket, and show you one of his amazing magic tricks! It truly is a magical place. From the second you cross the threshold it feels like you are being transported to a bygone era, as your eyes fall upon paintings inspired by the “Film Noire” genre.
*WARNING REALITY ALERT*
Depending how you feel about it depends if you think this is good news or not. Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, there is less than 12 weeks to Christmas!! How about these items as potential gifts for friends and family?
These are just some of the items that are available at the gallery, or online. Top quality items all with Theo’s work professionally reproduced onto them. And how about cushions, scarves, postcards, calendars and so much more, too much to show you here. So visit the gallery, if you are not able, visit Theo’s great website.
5 Agias Elenis
I should also add that ALL items, including large canvases, can be shipped once securely packaged, to anywhere in the World absolutely FREE!!
Well that’s it for this month. Stay well and stay happy. xx
Hi all. Hope you have all been well. I'm shattered and fed up with washing, ironing and changing sheets, but someone has to do it :) I have Airbnb to thank for that, but without them and the income, I couldn't 'upgrade' my flat as I want. So thanks Airbnb.
This month's offering is another great piece of art by Theo Michaels and of course MY interpretation of it.....in verse. If you like the art, go to Theo's website here:
If you like MY verse, please tell me so. :)
Lady of the Lake
The air and Lake were calm and still
All you could hear was the birds high shrill
The Flamingos’ stood on their matchstick legs
They were feeding on Shrimps within the Lakes dregs.
Sit on the bank of the silvery lake
The beauty is there for your eyes to take
An excellent way for your time to employ
It’s a beautiful place for all to enjoy.
I lay on my back and look up at the sky
Black headed seagulls flying on high
The Pink Flamingo’s were down below
They were striking a pose, putting on a show.
I have set the scene for my story to tell
It was an amazing event that I befell.
So incredible you will think I dream
Once I tell you so it will seem.
The Sun was warm upon my face
As I rested my mind in another place
Then a vision I did see
A beautiful woman appeared to me.
She was tall and slim and scantily clad
My heart beat faster than it ever had
Her skin looked smooth and very fair
I tried my best not to stare.
She slowly moved toward the lake
I had to check if I was awake
She wasn’t walking as one would
She was floating...yes she could!
She stopped at the edge and just stared
Dropping her shawl so her shoulders were bared
She walked right in and with the Flamingos’ she stood
She was standing amongst them, she looked so good.
The Flamingos’ seemed to have no fear
They encircled her front and rear
With their long necks they nuzzled her arms
They appreciated her womanly charms.
Bending and swaying to her gentle touch
They obviously loved her very much
She stroked and she hugged as they stood still
As if hypnotised they did her will.
I was aghast at what I could see
They wouldn’t do that if it was me
Looking at me would have given them a fright
They most certainly would have taken flight.
But that’s not where my story ends
There is more to tell my reader friends
Where 3 Flamingos’ had once been
Now there were 4 that could be seen!!
No sign of the ‘Lady of the Lake’
Had it all been one big fake?
I stood and turned to walk away
That’s when I heard a Flamingo say....
I AM the Lady of the Lake
My Flamingos’ I will not forsake
I turned back and looked to see
Who it was that had spoken to me.
A Flamingo stood tall and proud
It lifted its wings without a sound
“I’m the Lady of the Lake” it said once more
And into the sky it did soar...
Well there you have it. Hope you liked it and see you next month for more. Keep happy and healthy. xx
Hi all, sorry I'm later than usual but am really busy with my Airbnb bookings, which is great news, but also doesn't leave much time for anything else, but mustn't grumble. :)
Continuing with the art by Theo Michael and words by Chris Christodoulou theme, here is this months offering. If you like the art work or want to see more, go to Theos website here:
The air was calm and the water still
As I walked the beach for time to kill
I lay down my blanket and I took a seat
I looked past the rocks Oh what a treat.
I breathed in deep the fresh clean air
Looked up at the sky, didn’t have a care.
I sat on a rock and dangled my feet
In the cool water to ease the heat.
I sat until my head was clear
When suddenly, music I could hear
I looked around me for to see
But nothing was there, where could it be?
I listened harder feeling confused
Am I going mad? To myself I mused.
No, it’s definitely music I can hear
And I think it’s coming from over there.
I looked over the rocks and down at the sea
And what a sight confronted me
I was taken aback at what I saw
Such a sight I’ve never seen before.
Three ladies on the rocks below
With their instruments the music did flow
There were two violins and a cello
And the haunting music my mind did mellow.
I stared in awe at the scene before me
My eyes not believing what they could see
I sat in silence and took it all in
My heart they had managed to win.
One looked up, then the other two
They had seen me this I knew
I did not try to avert my gaze
But what followed is all a haze!
I shouted down, “What are you doing?
Apart from giving me a viewing”
“We are ‘Making Music’” they replied
This they surely couldn’t hide.
Then the most extraordinary thing
My heart to my mouth it did bring
The ladies they did turn around
And jumped into the sea as the waves did pound.
I watched as they swam away
Would I see them another day?
As I wondered, that’s when it occurred
I thought my mind had become blurred.
Do you believe in Mermaids?
No, neither did I
Until I saw their fishes tails
Pointing up to the sky!
Thanks for reading and see you next month.
Keep healthy. xx
Hi everyone. Hope you are coping with the heat. I hear it is as hot in the UK as it is here in Cyprus.
This month, another great painting by Theo Michael called "At the Station". If you like the painting, or want to see more of his amazing work go to his website here:
The story that goes with it, is my interpretation of what it says to me. I hope you enjoy it.
‘At the Station’
Patsy and Beth walked briskly away from the Police Station entrance. There was a light wind in the air, but not enough to play havoc with their eccentric taste in hats.
“Do you think they believed us Sis?” asked Patsy.
“Hard to tell Patsy, they weren’t giving anything away” answered Beth.
“Well they did, they gave us these cigarettes,” laughed Patsy.
“Is that my top you’re wearing?” asked Beth irritated that her sister had borrowed her clothes again.
“So! You borrowed my belt,” said Patsy also irritated.
Patsy and Beth were typical sisters, with typical sister arguments, but they loved each other...like sisters.
“So what do think Beth, were they taken in by our story?” asked Patsy again.
“What’s not to believe? Everything we told them was perfectly feasible,” insisted Beth.
“Well I think they had a bloody nerve questioning us like that,” said Patsy feeling quite angry.
“Is that my scarf you are wearing?” asked Beth only just noticing it around her sisters neck.
“Oh shut up! What does it matter? Anyway God help us if they find out we are lying,” continued Patsy.
“Course they’ll find out, it’s what they do,” said Beth.
“Well if they do, it will be your fault! I mean, fancy telling them we were going to a cookery class! Who goes to a cookery class dressed like us?” asked Patsy as she looked down at her knee length boots and her small crop top.
“You’re such a know all,” said Beth mockingly.
“Why couldn’t we have just told them the truth?” asked Patsy.
“Because they can’t handle the truth!” said Beth mimicking Jack Nicholson in the movie ‘A Few Good Men’ and laughing loudly.
Patsy and Beth had crossed the road and were headed for the car park, when suddenly they heard a loud voice:
“Hey! You two, come back here,” ordered the Sergeant as he stood at the Police Station entrance.
Patsy and Beth turned to look at each other both wide eyed and mouths open.
“Shit! They have worked it out” said Patsy with a croak in her voice.
They slowly turned around and walked back towards the Station. The Sergeant stood at the entrance with his hands behind his back rocking to and fro. Then he spoke:
“In your rush to get to your cookery class, you left these behind,” said the Sergeant sarcastically and with a big grin on his face. He brought his hands forward and in each hand he held a handbag.
“Er, er, thanks!” said Beth snatching her bag from his hand.
“Yeah, thanks,” said Patsy taking the other.
They both turned in unison and slowly walked away.
“Enjoy your class!” shouted the Sergeant.
The girls lifted their hands in acknowledgement and walked quickly on.
“Blimey, that was close!” said Beth catching her breath.
They walked in silence for a few yards then Patsy spoke.
“Just realised how smart and important your Paul looks in his uniform and all them stripes,” said Patsy.
“Yeah, he is handsome, and your Adam doesn’t look bad either,” said Beth giggling.
“Yeah we are lucky to have them. Come on or we’ll be late for the party!” said Patsy laughing loudly.
There you have it. Stay tuned for next months offering. Until then stay well and safe. xx
Hi all. Summer has arrived here in Cyprus, so suddenly everyone becomes very busy, but not to busy to post this months blog entry. It is another superb painting by Theo Michael, with my written interpretation of it …..in verse! If you love this painting, go to Theo's website where you will find it plus many other equally stunning paintings. Theo ships all over the World......FREE!! Theo's website: www.artbytheomichael.com
The Last Dance
The Sun was beating down
On my neck and on my arms
He stood there watching eagerly
at my feet and feminine charms.
I was having my weekly lesson
As always on the beach
He said it was quiet here
making it easier to teach.
He watched as I danced
Whilst telling me what to do
“Lift your arms up higher” he said
“Don’t forget to follow through”
I danced to the front of him
And I danced to his side
His hands were behind his back
Did he have something to hide?
“No, no, no,” he shouted
“You are doing it all wrong,
Point your toe further forward
Try to make your leg look long”.
I did as he asked of me
I stretched and pointed away
But still I kept on stumbling
This was not my day!
He looked at me angrily
His forehead in a frown
“Do you WANT this to be your ‘last dance’
You are dancing like a clown!”
I knew he was right
I wasn’t doing well
At one point as I danced
I very nearly fell.
Then suddenly I saw it
He was holding a knife!
WAS this to be my ‘last dance’
Was he going to take my life?
He stepped closer to me
He told me to keep still
I froze on the spot
And gave in to his will.
He came even closer
We stood face to face
Then he knelt down at my feet
And with his hand my leg he traced.
Slowly he ran his hand up my leg
Until it was up quite high
Then with his knife my dress he slit
All the way to my thigh.
“There, that’ll do it!”
He exclaimed as he took a step back
“Try it now from the top” he said
Giving his side whack.
I started to dance once again
I began to do my moves
Now my legs moved freely
Not like my feet were hooves!
So, there you have it friends
Around and round him I did prance
He was smiling broadly
It wasn’t to be my ‘last dance’.
Hope you enjoyed that, and until next month, stay well. xx
Hi all. Continuing my 'Art plus story theme' This month we have yet another superb painting by the artist Theo Michael called 'The Sure Bet'. Along with it is my short story, my interpretation, my inspiration as I look at the painting. If you like this painting, go to Theo's website: www.artbytheomichael.com where you will find it plus many other master pieces. I hope you enjoy.
The Sure Bet
Mark Stanton is one of societies unfortunates. His disabilities, i.e. Heart disease and Lung disease from many years of smoking, has left him incapable of working for a living. He can’t do any physical work and academically he was stunted. And although he collected a small allowance from the state, it was never enough to give him the freedom he so desired.
Mark sat at his kitchen table with his cup of coffee and flicked through his newspaper. He eventually came to the sports pages and the horse racing section. A large headline caught his eye: ‘THE SURE BET’. It was a column written by a Donald Bevan and it was simply his pick of the day that in his opinion was a sure bet. Today’s horse was “RADISH” in the 2.30 at Gloucester. The odds were 2 to 1 in your favour. As far as Donald was concerned, you could do a lot worse than have a flutter on this horse.
Mark wasn’t a gambling man particularly, but this had caught his interest. “Hmm, could be a way to supplement my income”, he thought to himself. This is how gamblers are born! Mark dug deep into his pockets and fished out the princely sum of 9.25 Euros. This is all he had until his benefit arrived tomorrow. He finished his coffee and set off to his local betting shop with paper in hand. On arrival, the man at the counter helped him fill out a betting slip.
“So you want 4 Euros on RADISH to win?” he confirmed.
“Yes please,” answered Mark.
RADISH flew home giving Mark a profit of 8 Euros. He was elated!
Mark put all his trust in Donald Bevan’s ‘Sure Bets’ for a further four days and before he knew it he was 130 Euros ahead. On the fifth day Mark had decided that the whole lot was going on today’s ‘Sure Bet’ ‘HOLY SMOKE’. He had convinced himself that he would win. “After all I had nothing in the first place” he had thought. HOLY SMOKE romped home! Mark was now 500 Euros richer. That was it, a gambler was born!
Today Mark was going to Newmarket race course and he was taking his 500 Euros with him. He had never been to a race course before. He felt the atmosphere, the smells and the bustling of excited people. He stood and watched a couple of races with interest and was in awe of all around him. He got chatting to a young man that was standing by the side of him. He told him that it was his first time and that he didn’t know where to place a bet. The young man explained that he could go into the course building and bet at the counter or place a bet with one of the independent bookies around the track. Mark had come to specifically bet on Donald Bevan’s ‘Sure Bet’, the horse was called FEDORA, but he wasn’t running just yet. Mark was getting very excited at placing a bet so he asked the young man what he was betting on in this next race.
“BLUE PEARL” he answered positively. “Can’t lose!” he added.
So Mark put 250 Euros on BLUE PEARL.....it won!! Mark was now holding nearly a 1000 Euros and it was all going on FEDORA.
The young man asked Mark what he fancied in this next race, the one FEDORA was running in.
“FEDORA! It’s a sure bet” said Mark smiling.
“Yes I fancy that one too, but I’m going inside to place my bet they seem to be offering better odds” said the young man. “Want me to put yours on?” he asked Mark.
“Yeah sure, here all of it on the nose FEDORA to win” said Mark as he handed over the money.
The man disappeared into the crowd and into the building. Meanwhile the race had started and Mark watched with great anticipation and enthusiasm as FEDORA ran a full two lengths in front. The horses were approaching the finish line and as they did, a horse called DIAMOND GEEZER passed FEDORA and won by a head!
Mark was devastated! He propped himself up by leaning on the fence and held his head with both hands. He was experiencing for the first time what it felt like to lose. Suddenly he realised that the young man had not returned! “He has run off with my money”, thought Mark. A double dose of disappointment, he had lost either way. Mark slowly walked away from the track and into the crowd heading for the exit. He walked straight into the young man who was running towards him. Out of breath he stopped in front of Mark.
“Sorry mate, I couldn’t place our bets on time, too many people. Did he win, did he win?” asked the young man.
Mark grinned from ear to ear and sighed with relief.
“No he didn’t!”
“So much for your ‘sure bet’ then, said the young man almost mocking him.
“Looks like the only sure bet is that eventually you are certain to lose!”
Mark retrieved his money from the young man and went home cured!!
Until next month, stay well and be happy. xxx
Another great painting from my friend and artist Theo Michael, and my story in VERSE!
Hope you enjoy them both.
Visit Theo's website for this and many other masterpieces: www.artbytheomichael.com
Man with bicycle
I look up at the tower rising so high
It looks like it’s touching the sky
Standing so proud putting on a show
stunting the buildings down below.
I also stand proud, bicycle in hand
‘What have they done to this beautiful land?’
Not a tree or blade of grass in sight
a concrete jungle, so contrite.
I remember cycling in the park
I would often hear the occasional Lark
Now it’s all concrete and cars
restaurants and some seedy bars.
They call it progress if you will
But it’s all just money in the till
Lining the pockets of the rich
Not even room for a tent to pitch.
You may be wondering why I care
Standing here and in despair
Well you see my reader friend
This is where I met my end!
I was cycling amongst this tangled mess
It helped to relieve my stress
Then from nowhere it did appear
The truck reversing...yes it’s how you fear.
It ran over me and my bike
The handlebars pierced me like a spike
The pain was real but over soon
as my Soul rose up to the Moon.
So once again here I stand
With my bicycle in my hand
Dreaming of a time gone by
As I let out a silent sigh....
That's it until next month folks. Stay well xx
Continuing the theme from last month, this months offering is called 'The Times Music Bar' another great painting from Theo Michael and my slant on it in story form. If you like the painting or any other of his work, you can get them here:
The Times Music Bar
“Feels hot tonight,” said Phil mumbling as he was trying to light a cigarette that was hanging from his lips.
“They are hotter!” said Les looking over Phil’s shoulder.
“They who?” asked Phil, a bit slow on the uptake.
“Behind yo...” but before Les could finish, Phil had turned around to see what the fuss was about.
“Talk about being obvious!” said Les, “You could have looked with a little finesse now they know we have clocked them!” he continued.
“So? Not against the law to look at people is it?”
“You know nothing about women do you Phil?” said Les tutting.
Phil and Les were childhood friends. From Kinder garden right through to University, they were inseparable. There was a special bond between them that went much further than just friends, they were in fact partners! Yes they were lovers! They still appreciated and respected the female of the species but were just not attracted to them physically.
The Times Music Bar was primarily a bar, but what separated it from the rest is the fact that local musicians and vocalists would congregate there and have jamming sessions or sing a song. It was always unpaid but always willingly. The clientele would enjoy a drink and perhaps a bistro type meal and be entertained by the musicians and singers it was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This is where Phil and Les would come to play their game!
Les glanced over Phil’s shoulder once again.
“They are looking at us Phil,” stated Les.
“Hmm, what do you think Les, shall we?”
“Shouldn’t we wait until they go in?” asked Les.
“They might not go in!” said Phil abruptly.
“I suppose we could take them in,” suggested Les.
“What and their scooter?” said Phil frowning.
“Ok, let’s just play it by ear.” said Les as he plucked a flower from one of the planters that lined the promenade and started to walk towards the girls.
Phil and Les loved to play this game. The idea was to woo females to the point that they would give in to their whims just to prove they could. They would take it in turns to do the wooing and keep score of their successes. It was Les’s turn to try out his charms.
“Good evening ladies,” was his opening line to which he got a positive response and a smile. “Thought you should have this it matches the colour of your scooter,” continued Les as he handed the Red Carnation that he had stolen to the Brunette.
“Oh, thank you so much but it’s not my scooter, just using it as a foot rest, but I’ll keep the flower,” she said giggling.
“Are you ladies going in to the ‘Times’?” asked Les.
“No, but we could be persuaded,” answered the Blonde.
“And what does one do to persuade you?” said Les giving her a broad smile.
“You have already done it,” said the Brunette standing up and putting her arm through Les’s. Her friend followed suit by grabbing Phil’s arm.
“Oh, big muscles,” she said giving his arm a squeeze.
They had conquered!! They had a great night with plenty to drink, too much probably, but the game didn’t end until they had got the girls in question back to their apartment. This they did with ease. Phil and the Blonde known as July were sitting at one end of the large L shaped settee, and Les and the Brunette known as Linda, were at the other end. They had opened a bottle of wine and the merriment continued. Between the slapping and tickling and giggling, Linda spoke.
“I hope you have TWO bedrooms!”
Phil and Les looked at each other. Now was the time to confess.
“Er, er, we have a confession to make,” said Les.
“What?” asked July looking worried.
“You see, Phil and I are gay! We are not into women!”
There was stunned silence. The girls stood up slowly and linked arms.
“Guess what Casanovas’” said July turning to Linda and kissing her full on the lips! “We aren’t into men!!” she continued as they both bent over double with hysterical laughter.
Hope you enjoyed this months offering and until next month, keep well. xx
Well you know I'm an Author, so you keep reading, and I will keep writing :)