February 5th, 2007
I arrived at Larnaca International Airport at about 1am on Monday October 9th 2006 with one small suitcase and one guitar. Steve met me at the airport and drove me to his place near a small village called Anglisedes, about 20 minutes from Larnaca. It’s about a third of the way up on the left hand side of this map, although you may need a magnifying glass to see it!:
We turned off the motorway onto a very minor road which we again turned off after a couple of kilometres onto a dirt track. The track twisted and turned for a while until we arrived at some wrought iron gates which were the entrance to his villa. It’s pretty isolated to put it mildly. So much so that it doesn’t actually have an address! Well, I imagine that it does, as a few other people also live up there. But if it does have an address, Steve doesn’t have a clue what it is! All correspondence goes to his parents’ address in Larnaca.
It was very dark of course, so Steve turned on the lights on the terrace and we sat talking for a couple of hours, looking out over the floodlit swimming pool, drinking beer and marvelling at the fact that I was actually here!
Steve had only been back in Cyprus for a couple of weeks himself, but he’d already taken on the role of provider to a family of cats that had taken up residence. Six of them, to be precise: the mother (who’d lost half her tail) and her five offspring who I would guess were about a year old. They all dropped in one by one in the hopes of scrounging some food, which was duly provided.
So there I was. A few hours previously I was in Hastings. Now I was in Cyprus, sitting outdoors in October on a warm summer’s night, sharing a beer with my old friend Steve – and six cats! It was a bit surreal!
When I got up the following morning and opened the front door, this was the sight that greeted me. I thought ‘This’ll do nicely!’
Calling it a villa is a bit of a misnomer really. Up-market garden shed might be more appropriate! In fact I think that’s what it was officially described as in the original planning application. Probably why it doesn’t have an official address! Suffice it to say that it’s a very small one-storey dwelling with two small bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom/toilet/shower area. There is no living room as such. It’s all very basic but perfectly habitable. Planning has been applied for to build a house in the grounds and I’m sure it’ll happen eventually. But one thing I’ve already learned is that nothing happens in a hurry in Cyprus where bureaucracy is concerned!
It stands in a few acres of ground, the most prominent feature of which is the swimming pool, with it’s statues, fountains, changing rooms and barbecue area. Fantastic! The whole thing is surrounded on three sides by an olive grove, the dirt track making up the fourth side. Rather than waste time on a lengthy description which wouldn’t do it justice, I’ll take some more photos sometime.
Anyway. I’ve been here in Cyprus for nearly four months now. There seems little point in backtracking and writing about everything that’s happened since then. I’m sure I’ll fill you in about anything pertinent as and when the need arises.
In brief, we stayed at Steve’s place for a few weeks, driving into Larnaca every day, until it became too impractical to stay there any longer. It’s very much a summer residence. So Steve moved in to the self-contained apartment above his parents’ house, also in Larnaca, where he stayed until December 8th when he returned to Hastings for three or four weeks, for Christmas and the New Year. That was nearly nine weeks ago, and as far as I know he’s still there! Although I’m sure he’ll be back any day now.
As for me, progress with my plans has been very slow and very frustrating, to say the least (for a number of reasons which I won’t bore you with) but it’s all finally coming together! I found myself a two-bedroomed apartment in the centre of Larnaca at the beginning of November, where I’m currently living with a real bitch called Cleopatra.
And that’s where I’ll leave it for now. More about Cleopatra in my next letter…
Stamp courtesy of the US Postal Service
No idea where I found the map