Dirty Cars and Ostrich Eyes


Dear Mum,

Sorry I haven’t written for a while but it’s been bitterly cold and I got frostbite in my fingers and had to have them all amputated. It’s taken a couple of weeks for them to grow back!

I’m continuing to hibernate and have hardly been out at all during January. You wouldn’t believe a Mediterranean island that’s so hot during the summer could possibly be so very cold during the winter. But at least we haven’t had any of the severe weather which the UK enjoyed last month.

Actually I shouldn’t really say ‘at least’. Cyprus desperately needs lots of rain and snow up in the mountains. January is supposed to be the wettest month of the year in Cyprus. There was a little bit of rain on maybe two or three days during January. None of the torrential downpours that I was expecting, and that the island was hoping for in order to begin restocking the reservoirs. The water crisis must now be worse than ever.

There’s been a ban on the use of hose pipes for many months. It was in force all through last summer, but you never saw a dirty car. I remember mentioning this to a native Cypriot whose reply was simply,

What can you do? You have to keep your car clean.
No! No you don’t. When there’s a water shortage and a hose pipe ban, a dirty car should become a status symbol. The filthier it is, the more conscientious a citizen you are, and the prouder you should feel. People should be applauded for having dirty cars, and lambasted for having clean ones. Clean car owners should be ostracised by their neighbours.

And I’m glad to say that I’m now starting to see lots of dirty cars. At last! The islanders are starting to take it seriously. Maybe. Maybe they just can’t be bothered to get out there and wash their cars while it’s so cold!

Artist Scott Wade knows what to do with dirty cars. Draw pictures on them! And what fantastic pictures they are. Here’s just a couple of them. You can see more of his work at Dirty Car Art.

Wouldn’t it be great if every car in Cyprus was thus decorated…

Anyway, enough of that. I have a momentous decision to make this week.

I’ve known for some time that this day would arrive, and I’ve spent many sleepless nights pondering it. I want to do what’s right, but I can’t work out whether I should side with the UK because I’m British, or whether I should be loyal to Cyprus because that’s where I’m living at the moment. I’ve been procrastinating about it every day for quite some time, hoping that some sort of celestial inspiration will guide me towards making the correct choice.

But the time has come. I can put it off no longer. I must now decide.

The problem is that Easter in the UK and elsewhere doesn’t always coincide with Easter in Cyprus. And 2008 is such a year. Easter in the UK is on March 23rd this year. In Cyprus it’s on April 27th.

And I just don’t know what to do.

Should I wait until next month?

Or should I celebrate Shrove Tuesday along with the UK… and stuff myself with pancakes tomorrow?


©MPB 04/February/2008


3 Responses to Dirty Cars and Ostrich Eyes

  1. Sue says:

    Easy. We follow the traditions of both. Kind of. The Orthodox/Cypriots don’t celebrate Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. So there’s only one of those, and it’s next Tuesday. The Cypriots have Green Monday to celebrate the start of their Lent, when they clean the house from top to bottom and then have a picnic. We don’t always go for a picnic, as the roads are jammed with cars, but we do take the day as a holiday.

    We don’t fast during Cypriot/Orthodox Lent, but we try to be sensitive – no barbecues, for instance, in a period when they’re not supposed to be eating meat.

    And we enjoy hot cross buns on both Good Fridays, if we remember, and Easter chocolate on both Easters.

  2. Priapus says:

    I took your advice and shared a stack of pancakes last Tuesday with Cleopatra. We’ll have some more on Green Monday.

    I like the idea of two lots of Easter eggs too. And hot cross buns. Why not indeed enjoy the best of both worlds!

  3. yourmovecyprus says:

    I like your blog, and the car art is inspiring. I am proud to say that I have a dirty car most of the time!

    As for Easter, enjoy both every year, I do!

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