Hi fellow prisoners, hope you are all coping. I almost didn’t bother doing a blog entry this month, mainly because I couldn’t be arsed. (Well at least I’m honest). Another reason is because I couldn’t think of a subject to write about, and again, it’s because I couldn’t be arsed. I get like that, the less I do, the less I want to do. Not a good attitude I know.
So why have I lost the plot? TV ads are why. Obviously I’m watching much more TV lately. I have even got into things like “Coronation Street” and “Emmerdale”. I can tolerate those but the ads in between is another matter. Obviously I am less tolerant and irritable after 84 days of self-isolation or “shielding”, but honestly, some of those ads….. I might be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I find some of them really irritating. The condescending and patronising way they are portrayed, as if we are all imbeciles. If you want to sell ME something, at least make it believable. I understand that some are deliberately supposed to be humorous, but……
The latest ad that gets my goat is for “Magnum” ice cream. Now, I love Magnums, but because of this new ad, I will now not buy one!! How pedantic am I? It starts nice enough, showing you a futuristic and flamboyant process of this new Magnum being made for a glamourous model who is eagerly awaiting it. Eventually she is handed the finished Magnum which she slowly raises to her mouth. At this point, I must inform you that I suffer with “Misophonia”. This is an absolute hate for noisy eaters. Right, so those of us that have had a Magnum, know that as you bite into it the chocolate covering sort of crackles. When our model bites it…”CRUNCH!!!” Talk about exaggerated sound effects. It sounds like she is biting into a brick! When I bite a Magnum, 9 out of 10 times, the chocolate cracks and falls off onto my hands/floor.
Another favourite of mine, NOT, is the “Tampax” ad. Two ladies sitting on a settee, one asks, “Can you feel your tampon?” “Yes” replies the other lady. “Well you shouldn’t” exclaims the first lady. She then proceeds to demonstrate, using her hand as a fake vagina, how to insert your tampon! WTF!! Are you telling me that women don’t know how to insert their tampons? Tampons were invented for commercial sale in 1929! (Thank you Google), surely they have learnt by now?
Then there is toilet paper. First off, why do we need toilet paper adverts? I mean, who doesn’t use toilet paper? Also, I fail to see the connection between toilet paper and Labrador puppies! Is it because wiping your bum with Andrex, is like wiping your bum with a nice soft puppy? And if so, who tried that out?
What about those baths and showers made to assist people with mobility problems? I may need one myself one day, but why does it show a lady having a shower and she then walks out of the shower with a towel already wrapped around her. Keep it real!
Then there is those “bladder leak pants”(may need those too one day), Woman standing in front of a mirror showing us from all angles and she is banging on about how “pretty” they are”, REALLY?
Well hope you enjoyed my silliness. Please let me know in the comments bellow YOUR most irritating advert. Until next time, love and peace. xxx
Hi all, hope you are staying safe and staying home. A little something to make you smile. A short story that is included in my second "Only in Cyprus" book. You have time so have a chuckle.
Second only to the ‘Body Building Brigade’, Jini is the most macho thing a man can do in Cyprus….apparently. I must be a sissy because I do neither! Body building is a no no since my heart stopped me lifting even a cup of tea, and to kill animals for sport is just not my thing. I know it’s not my thing because I have tried it….twice! Why it’s deemed macho to walk around fields and valleys shooting at defenseless birds and rabbits is beyond me. Maybe it’s because they get to hold a GUN!? I will share with you my two Jini experiences and I think you will agree that I am right to leave it to the macho men.
Whilst having a cup of coffee with my neighbor Philipos, he said, “ELA NA BAME JINI AVRIO” (Come hunting tomorrow). I explained that I had never been before and besides I didn’t own a gun. “THEN BIRAZI EXO THIO EGO” (Doesn’t matter I have two), he exclaimed. He was most insistent and badgered me until I accepted his invitation. This is when I was to discover that there were two 3 o’clocks in a day! I was instructed to come to his house at this unearthly hour in the morning. He told me we would be driving up into the mountains where he knew of some great hunting grounds and that nobody else knew about them.
Three in the morning and I gently tapped on Philipos door so as not to wake the whole household. Philipos slowly opened the door and he was in full battle dress! That is to say, starting from his head to his toes; On his head was one of those stupid looking hats with the floppy bits coming down over his ears, I think they are called ‘Deerstalkers’, but under that he wore a Green Balaclava! He wore a three quarter length jacket with a special belt for hanging your dead animals on, and on top of that, a waistcoat that had hundreds of little pockets for putting your cartridges in. Then there were those baggy trousers, ‘Combats’ I believe, and all finished off with a pair of fur lined willies! ALL this attire was in the customary camouflage colors of Green and Brown. I would have to keep a very close eye on him or he would just become invisible amongst all the foliage. Me? Well I was wearing my Levi Jeans and a light Grey jumper! He insisted that I wear one of his jackets because I would frighten off all the wildlife…seriously? He gave me a crash course on how to open, load and close the gun and we jumped into the pickup and set off for the mountains and the secret hunting grounds.
We had been driving for about 30mins. Which equates to a fair distance in Cyprus considering you could drive from one end of the Island to the other in about 4 hours. Suddenly, Philipos made a sharp turn Left taking us off the main road and onto a dusty track. We drove a further 5mins through Woods and Vales and there in the middle of nowhere was a building…..it was a Taverna!
“BROYEVMA” (Breakfast), he said.
WHAT! at this hour? I rarely eat breakfast, well maybe a couple of slices of toast about 10am when I’m fully awake, but at 4am? Philipos explained that it was a traditional thing to do, it was part of the ‘Hunting trip experience’. We parked and went into the Taverna. I couldn’t help but point out that it was surprisingly busy considering nobody knew the place we were going to.
“THEN EFTASAME AGOMA!” (We haven’t got there yet!) , he retorted.
I asked him where the menu was, which sent him into fits of laughter.
“No menu”, he answered, beaming from ear to ear because he had answered in English.
I looked around me at the surrounding tables and noticed they were all eating the same thing…SOUP!
“Soup for breakfast?” I said.
“NE, SOUPA TRAXANA! IS GOOD FOR YOU ENE KIP YOU HOT!”
I think he meant it warms you up. Anyway, ‘TRAXANA’ is made with Wheat and Yoghurt. It is mixed together and then rolled out into strands and then put out into the Sun where it is left to dry until it is rock hard. When you want to make TRAXANA, you add water and boil it and voila soup! Sometimes they cut up little cubes of Halloumi cheese and drop it into the mix like you would croutons.
Now, I am ok with Wheat and I love Halloumi, but if there is anything that turns my stomach it’s Yoghurt! Put all these ingredients together and you have, in my opinion, a plate full of baby PUKE! No really, it looks like puke and it smells like puke and it tastes like two day old puke! I would rather bang a blunt rusty nail into the end of my knob than eat it! …….Sorry, I had to make my point J I explained that I wasn’t hungry and that I was going outside for a fag, I smoked then.
Philipos eventually finished his pu … sorry breakfast, and came out so we could continue our journey. We drove for a further 30mins but we were going upwards now over some very rough terrain. There were lots of mountains, well little hills. The pickup was almost at 90 degrees it was so steep, then suddenly it leveled out and we were on top of the hill on a plateau which is where Philipos parked. I have to admit that it was stunning up there. The scenery was amazing. I wished that I had a camera and not a gun. I looked around and realized that there were four other pickup trucks there! I quickly pointed this out.
‘THEN BIRAZI’ (Doesn’t matter), said Philipos. So much for his ‘secret’ place!
Philipos handed me a side by side double barreled shotgun and six cartridges. He instructed me to keep the gun loaded but open whilst we walked.
‘ELA BERBATOUME’ (Come let’s walk).
I dutifully followed Philipos. Now, considering this was a secret place, the wide dusty track we were following looked like the Chinese Army had marched through on one of their field exercises! It was trodden flat and clear of all undergrowth.
Suddenly, Philipos turned to face me with his finger to his lips gesturing for me to be quiet, he had seen something! He slowly lay down flat onto his stomach and had me follow suit. I lay by his side. He then slowly crawled up the track Commando style, so I followed his lead. He stopped and did that gesture they do in war films and pointed directly in front of us. I looked and yes indeed I saw in the distance a pair of Rabbit ears twitching like they do. It was sat in the middle of the track and was a sitting Duck….well Rabbit. I watched as Philipos took careful aim and BANG he fired. The dust settled and the Rabbit was still there!
‘GAMMO TA!!’ (Fuck it!) said Philipos irritated as he fired his second cartridge. I couldn’t believe it the Rabbit was STILL there! Philipos bashed me on the back.
‘BEXE TON GAMMO SHISTI!’ (Shoot the f***ing ***t).
I took aim as if I had done this a hundred times before and pulled the trigger but….being a novice at this, I had pulled the trigger all the way back instead of one click! This resulted in both cartridges firing at once! Not only that, but as I didn’t have the butt of the gun pressed tightly against my shoulder as instructed, the gun shot backwards and landed on my back. Philipos just looked at me in disbelief and disgust at my pitiful efforts. We got to our feet and would you believe it, the Rabbit was still there! We walked toward the invincible one and as we got closer I started to laugh. We had been shooting at two long blades of wild grass that had grown in the middle of the track having survived the Chinese army and now us. Should have gone to Specsavers!
After some aimless wandering about without seeing a living thing, we were heading back to the truck. There on the Plateau were at least six other men smoking, drinking Tzivania and chatting. I looked around again at the beautiful location. Opposite us was another hill and on that plateau there were a few men milling about. Separating us was a deep valley. As we all stood around exchanging stories about the ones that got away, a huge flock of birds were spotted and they were flying towards us. You have never seen so many men load their weapons so quickly. The guys on the other side of the valley had spotted them too. The birds got closer and closer swooping down into the valley between the hills. All the shotgun barrels went up at once like some sort of synchronized event, and the firing began with a vengeance, they needed a kill!! I stood back and two things crossed my mind. If by some slim chance any of these crazed so called marksmen should actually hit anything, it would just drop deep down into the valley where they had next to zero chance of retrieving it! The second and most scary thought was that there were two sets of trigger happy men on either side of a valley firing guns across it in each other’s direction! Many deaths are recorded during hunting season and I didn’t want to be a statistic so I went and sat in the pickup. ‘Health and Safety’ what’s that?
My second experience of Jini just a few weeks later wasn’t nearly as eventful, but nonetheless it was the deciding factor that hunting was not for me.
Again, over a cup of Cypriot coffee with another neighbor, Georgios, having heard that our mutual neighbor Philipos had taken me hunting, decided that he was not to be outdone and that he was going to take this ‘Charlie’, that’s me, hunting also. I protested the fact that I hadn’t enjoyed my first outing but Georgios was insistent. The thing that tipped the scales was the fact that we wouldn’t be going miles away. The hunting grounds were quite local just about five miles away. Also we wouldn’t be leaving at 3am in the morning but at 5pm in the evening. It wasn’t going to be so much a hunting trip but a life’s lesson for his two little boys one was 11 years old and the other just 9 years old! They start them young over here.
So that evening we all piled into Georgios pickup and set off for ‘TROULI’. We drove for about five minutes up the ‘B’ road that joined us to the neighboring village and then turned off into some fields and the wilderness. Georgios parked in an Olive grove and opposite the grove grew some very tall Bamboos. This is where we were going to loiter as apparently a certain type of bird nests in the Bamboo.
Georgios took his super duper €2000 up and under double barreled shotgun out of its case. It was gleaming and it was his ‘Baby’, nobody but nobody was allowed to touch it! Banikos, the eldest son, had a high powered air rifle with telescopic sights, he was ordered to share it with me. The youngest son, Matheos, had the job of picking up the mass of birds we were going to massacre. His other job was to go into the Bamboo growth and disturb it so the birds would fly out and to their deaths!
We stood at the edge of the Bamboo growth as Matheos disappeared into it. After just a few minutes the birds came charging out….all ONE of them! I’m sure it waved as it flew past us. Georgios fired at it twice and missed followed by Banikos who also missed.
Banikos handed me the air rifle, it was my turn to have a go at the next opportune moment. We stood around rolling fags and chatting for what seemed like hours and there was not a bird in sight. I was enjoying the tranquility of the country side when suddenly a bird came into sight heading directly for us.
‘GRIGORA BEXE TO!’ (Quickly shoot it!).
I looked down the telescopic sight and took careful aim just in front of it as I was instructed. I fired! With a swerve and a fluttering of wings the bird plummeted earthwards and came crashing down about a hundred yards ahead of us. Two emotions went through my mind at that moment;
“Wow I hit it!” and “Oh no, I hit it!”
The two boys went running toward it so I joined them. I looked down at the most beautiful bird I had ever seen close up, it was a ‘Kingfisher’ I was told. The poor thing was writhing and fluttering in agony! I was overcome with sadness, what had I done?
‘EN SONTANO AGOMA’ (It’s still alive), exclaimed Georgios.
No shit Sherlock! I thought, almost in tears. I gave the gun to Banikos and got down on my knees next to the poor bird. I don’t know what I expected to do because this bird was way past mouth to mouth and before I could do anything ‘SMASH’ Banikos had brought the butt of the gun crashing down on the defenseless birds head! That was it, no more bird and no more hunting for me!
Well hope you enjoyed that, and all being well, see you next month.
Hi everyone, hope you are all coping under these extraordinary circumstances.
Once again, I struggled with what to write about for my monthly blog and just couldn’t get my mind off the obvious, COVID-19. It wasn’t that long ago when the media in every form was banging on about BREXIT, now this.
I haven’t left my home for 18 days now! I am petrified of getting this killer disease. I am a high risk candidate because of my underlying health issues. I have Heart disease, chronic Lung disorder and Kidney problems yes I have hit the jackpot!! The staying home bit I don’t find so difficult because having lived alone now for a few years, and not going out much anyway, it’s nothing new, but isn’t it strange that when you are told you CAN’T go out, you want to even more. I’ve felt lonely before but now I feel lonelier. What I am finding hard is not being able to hug my daughter Lucy. It is hard not hugging all of my children, but they all live in the UK, Lucy lives here in Cyprus. The other day she came with her mum Sarah to bring me some food, (thank you), they had to leave it outside the door. We chatted at the required distance apart and I found it heart breaking.
Another strange thing, with all this time on my hands, which I had anyway Lol, when I could be doing stuff, I’m doing nothing!! This is the first writing I’ve done in ages. Now, if you want to know how many lengths of laminate I have on my floors, or how many seeds were in the Pomegranate I had yesterday, but anything constructive? NO!
My son Nick and his fiancé Katie were due to get married in May, and I was all booked up for a trip to the UK, but now it has been postponed until next May. Another lost opportunity to see all my children.
A little verse I wrote recently:
Oh Corona Corona
What is it with you?
You came out of nowhere
What are we to do?
Like we haven’t got enough problems
To deal with every day
Why don’t you do one and fuck off away
Or are you trying to kill us oldies
With already enough disease and ills
Who merely survive not by washing hands
But by taking a ton of pills.
Well hopefully this will soon be over and we can go back to some sort of normality. Until then people, follow the rules, stay safe, stay home and stay alive.
Hi all, hope you are well.
I was just wondering, apart from a reason to show your love and affection, (if you need a reason), spend money, and generally get drawn in to the commercialism of “Valentines Day”, are you aware as to where it all started? No? No nor did I but after much research and finding many answers, this is the one that appealed to me.
St. Valentine was a priest in Rome in the 3rd century AD. At the time, Emperor Claudius 2nd, decided to ban marriage. He believed that married men made bad soldiers. (I wonder why?). Valentine opposed this so he decided that he would carry out marriages in secret to those that wanted it. Eventually Emperor Claudius found out about this and jailed Valentine with a death sentence to follow.
Whilst in jail, Valentine fell in love with the jailers daughter who brought him food every day. On February 14th, Valentines execution day, he sent his lady a love letter and at the bottom he signed it:
“From your Valentine”
Thus the special day was born.
I said I liked this explanation but don’t necessarily believe it. What I believe is that “Hallmark”, the big greeting card and manufacturer invented it!! Lol!
Either way, I agree with us all showing that we care. Personally, I won’t be sending or receiving any Valentine cards, but I do wish you all a very happy Valentines day full of love and peace.
See you next time. xxxxx
I hope everyone enjoyed the festive period, and hope this year gives you all you want. Myself? Well I’m looking forward to better things and I thank the Universe that I am still breathing.
This month I thought I would share with you a tried and tested recipe for “Bourgouri”, (Bulgar wheat). It is a staple Cypriot food that can be served with almost everything or as a standalone meal. With preparation, it takes less than 30mins to make and to your plate. Ideal for vegetarians/vegans, but also great served with meat. I like to cook a couple of “Louganiga”, (Cypriot sausage), and cut them up to bite size pieces and mix them into my plate of Bourgouri….Yum!
3 Tablespoons of olive oil.
1 cup bourgouri
1 finely diced onion.
⅓ cup vermicelli.
300mls vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tomato puree
½ teaspoon cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste.
For my Mum
We all have a mother
And of course she is the best
That she is like no other
She is better than the rest.
Well I am no exception mum
I believe all the above
Yes of course I am bias mum
You taught us how to love.
You have gone to a better place
well that is what they say
what I do know in any case
is that you have gone away.
To never see your face again
Or see your lovely smile
To never watch you knitting again
Whilst humming all the while.
Are you with my brother now?
I would take comfort in that fact
I want to believe somehow
And keep my dreams intact.
I just want you to know mum
Wherever you may be
I love you very much and some
You meant the world to me.
So until we can party again
At some future date
Rest in peace without pain
And I’ll see you at “The Gate”
Love you mum. xxx
Hi all hope you are well. I can’t believe how quick the months go by. It feels like the older you get, the quicker time flies. Note to self: I must stop seeing it as a sort of countdown to my end of days.
On a lighter note, like it or not, it will soon be Christmas. Buying gifts for family and friends is the tradition at this time of year, but what do you buy for that person who seems to have everything? You can buy BOOKS, you can buy MY BOOKS! Allow me to suggest some. My “Only in Cyprus” series. There are three books in this series, and yes they are short books, but all three can be bought for under £10. They are written very much tongue in cheek, (but true), and are worth every penny for the laughs and insight into Cyprus living.
My next suggestion is one I wrote in memory of my brother. It’s mostly about us growing up in a Cypriot environment/mentality, but in the UK. Very funny. Love you Bro’, gone but never forgotten.
This next one speaks for itself. Yes, you can probably read it all whilst waiting for your Christmas dinner, but I guarantee you at least one belly laugh, and better than your Christmas cracker jokes.
All the above books are very reasonably priced and are ideal as stocking fillers. They can all be found, (and others), here on my website under the “My Books” heading, or you can go directly to Amazon and search. That’s it for another month so stay happy and healthy.
Hope you are all well. My request for suggestions on subject matter to write about wasn’t forthcoming, so you will have to put up with my offering. Just curious, is there anybody out there?
Ok, so this month, after another successful season Airbnbing, I’ll write about my closing down…..for this year! I choose to close down end of October every year. I take November and December as my time to do any maintenance that might be needed, to find my brain again, to find my privacy again, and to relax a little. My last guests left a few days ago and guess what? I am already feeling lonely! I know, sad. I have been looking forward to being alone for the past ten months of this year, and now I am….. L. The only plans I have for my two months of freedom, is to take one room at a time and have a deep clean. Actually that is not quite true, I am planning on going to the UK end of November to see my very sick Mother. I hate travelling lately, but more so at the thought of seeing my Dementia ridden mum who may not even know who I am. This is Mum…..
Another thing I have noticed since having all this time on my hands, is that my drinks cabinet gets opened earlier and earlier every day. I have had many bottles of strange alcoholic beverages gifted to me by thoughtful guests, some drinks I have never heard of! It would be rude not to try them, so the other day I had had one too many of a particular “falling down” water, I had to have a nap! It was a gift from a Polish couple that had stayed with me. This is the culprit…….
Well I think that is enough drivel for this month. Again, if you have any suggestions for subject matter that you would like me to write about, please leave it in the “comments” section below.
Bye for now, stay well and Peace to you all. xxx
Hi everyone, hope you are all well. I really struggled to think of a subject to write about this month, does this mean I had an uneventful month?.......Probably . Anyway, I got there in the end, but I would very much appreciate that if you have any suggestions of subjects for future blog entries, that you pop them down in the comments for me. Thanks.
So this month, after 3 or was it 4 very large Chivas, I wrote this:
My fears are many, not just a few
Some will be the same as you.
As I get older, my fears multiply
More and more as the years go by.
I’m not talking Spiders, bugs and the like
Although they ARE things I don’t like
I’m talking about things deeper and from the heart
I really don’t know where to start.
It’s definitely an age thing and as I’ve got older
These fears I’ve taken upon my shoulder.
It’s one thing mainly that’s bothering me
And as I write you will see.
My health is not at its best
My heart, lungs, kidneys and the rest
But there are people out there so much worse
So I thank the universe for being my nurse.
No, my fear is this, at long last
It’s all connected to my past
I brought six children into this world
So here is where my fear unfurls.
Before that day comes, when I’m pronounced dead
I want to see them all get wed!!!
To walk my daughters down the aisle
Then I’ll die with a smile….
There you have it, well I was under the influence .
Until next month
Hi all, hope you are well.
This month I would like to remind you of my "Flora" books. Flora is a beautiful little Mini - Pinscher that came into our lives about seven years ago. She wrote these three little books in the first three years of her life, with a little help from me :) . They were written with children in mind, but they will also appeal to adults. They make great bedtime reading, also perfect as stocking fillers for this soon to be here Christmas.
If you wish to purchase any of these books, or all of them, you can do so here on my website by going to the "My Books" page and clicking the "BUY" button under the relevant book. You will be directed to the Amazon purchase page.
Thanks for your support as always, so until next month I wish you all Peace, Health and Happiness.. xxx
Well you know I'm an Author, so you keep reading, and I will keep writing :)