Saturday, September 29

How my heart sings

I hold her in my arms
As delicate as the glass at her neck
She trembles like a butterfly landing on a flower
The night is coming
And I cannot hold it
Nothing can make the pain less
I just hold her 'til the light returns
We are the sum of those we love
They are our true art
Our finest journey
And our ultimate destination

Feeling Old - Part N

Today The Boy and I are in mourning - Peppers of Jericho has CLOSED DOWN (I assume Luther wanted to retire).

"The best burger in the world - and I'm American" Anna-Elise Price 1989

I had my first Peppers when I came up for college intereviews in 1988 and didn't look back. Part of my youth has gone forever, and I thought it was bad when Munchy, Munchy closed.

Northern Cyprus - St Hilarion

St Hilarion castle is a truely amazing place - and pics really don't do it justice.

It's perched on the top of a massive mountian. Most of the apparoach is a restricted military area with lots of signs up saying "Stop and we'll shoot you" (however, it has to be said that the soldiers we saw yodelled out "Hello" and waved - must the the legendary Traves charm).

The castle just appears to grow out of the rock rather than having been built. Stunning, stunning, stunning.

Walt Disney was very impressed by it apparently, and it's claimed that the castle in either 'Snow White' or 'Fantasia' was based on St Hilarion.

Monday, September 24

Northern Cyprus - Bellapais Abbey

Lawrence Durrell immortalised the village of Bellapais in his book Bitter Lemons. Our 10 year old travel guide proved to be just as out of date as Durrell's. The island is no longer 'hardly touched by tourism' - as this view to the sea shows. The golf course we had come to see is part of it of course.

Bellapais Abbey was built between 1158 and 1205 and enlarged later. It is one of the best examples of Lusignan period Gothic architecture in the Near East (we went in through the wrong entrance and gate crashed a wedding reception).

The local sandstone weathers in a really interesting way. The Boy likened it to honeycomb.

A little bit of the fresco is left.

The refectory had this lovely rose window...

...and other lovely shadows.

I guess this inscription is graffiti but I loved the script.

No idea who this saint is, but I like the way she is dealing with the child-like demon with a toffee hammer. One would have been handy on the flight home which was full of fractious children.

Fantastic teeth on this chair arm!

Cloisters are always lovely and peaceful. My dream house would have a cloister

This restaurant was just outside. I loved the greenery and the gourds.

Northern Cyprus - Korineum Golf Club

As well as being a WAG, I was also in Cyprus on assignment - to take pics of the Korineum Golf Club for Golf Course Architecture magazine. I won't include those shots here, these are the ones I took for myself :-).

Here is the magnificent Five Finger mountain which dominates the course. So called because it looks like the knuckles on a hand.

I was very taken by the way these carts were waiting patiently like wallflowers at a dance.

And the shadows were wonderful too!

This shape is fantastic. I was glad to see that the course developers had kept a lot of the old trees.

Here is Adam looking for his ball the lazy way...the extreme off-road carting he indulged in made me about as uncomfortable as the time we went off-road biking in Scotland. I was sure my bosoms were going to meet up round the back! However, I did get to drive some of the time which was fun..

Yummy olives...they really do look like grapes here Naomi!

Man in unison with nature.

We found the ball here. I guess it must have been placed there...but it made me laugh.

Northern Cyprus - The Mosque at Night

You may have to enlarge this to get the full impact, but here is the view from our hotel window of the local mosque at night. The lights on the minaret were beautiful.

I took this with flash as I didn't have my tripod and could keep still enough for a long exposure.

Northern Cyprus - Kyrenia Castle and Shipwreck Museum

The castle was built to protect the town against Arab raids. In this shot you can see the annoying couple who kept getting in my shots (he shouldn't wear tiny denim shorts at his age!).

Inside the castle - no idea who this chap is, but he turned up at just the right time.

Inside St George's chapel.

Outside the chapel - look at that sky!

I thought that the shape of this palm was fantastic.

Here is the obligatory flower photo!

I wonder who this lady was? I love the drapery across her chest.

This is the remains of a what they think was a Syrian (or possibly Phoenician) ship that went down in a storm ~300 BC. All the literature claims that this is the oldest shipwreck recovered in the world, but Selin the guide says that there is an older on in Turkey (but as my driver said "why is she guide? She from bloody Turkey".

I felt quite moved looking at the detail of the boat. Thinking of the hands that had made it. I'd better stop or I'll come over all whimsical.

The cargo was in pretty good shape. As well as fig pips and other bits and pieces they recovered 9,000 almonds.

I'm really pleased that they didn't totally clean this one up.

Here is the view from the lower Lusignan tower. I wanted to capture the contrast between the light outside and the dark within.

PS Many thanks to my eagle eyed reader who realised that this photo was the WRONG WAY UP. Now corrected 8-).

Sunday, September 23

Northern Cyrus - Kyrenia (Girne) Harbour

On our first day while The Boy was playing golf/working - I took a little jaunt out on my own to the nearest town Kyrenia. As part of the trip, our hosts had arranged a historical and cultural briefing from a lovely lady called Selin (it turns out that she did her O levels and A levels in Oxford, and spent a lot of time in a nightclub called Scamps!). So I am able to tell you that the town was founded the 10th C BC by Achaens.

The Byzantines built the castle in the 7th C and it was expanded by the Lusignans and Venetians.

As you can see it was very sunny - ~34 degrees C. The brightness and heat haze made it quite difficult to take a decent pic.

This is part of the horseshoe shaped harbour built by the British. I rather like this couple - she was one of the few women I saw with a headscarf. I've seen more on a Saturday trip to Oxford.

You could go on day and evening trips on these lovely boats. Such a shame we didn't have time.

Apart from New Zealand, this trip was the furthest east I've ever been, and the first Muslim country (albeit a secular one). The call to prayer was very beautiful, but I was diasppointed to see loud speakers on the minarets. I was worried that the call to prayer was a recording, but it seems that the muezzin is usually using a mic in the prayer hall.

Thursday, September 20

Sssh don't tell Maisie!

We arrived in Northern Cyprus yesterday. While The Boy and Jemma have been doing business at the golf club, I have been 'soaking up the culture'. I was going to share some of this mornings pics with you, but as it's taken an age to upload the cruising ones - and the swimming pool beckons, I'll tease you with a snap of my 'holiday romance'. Görüşürüz!

Lechlade to Eynsham aboard the Milly M

Off from Lechlade with Maffi and Dr Bones.

We were aboard the Milly M, which amongst other things has a DECENT LOO!

And an interesting collection of fishing floats.

Dr Bones did some cleaning which was rather odd behaviour.

Here is the obligatory flower photo 8-)

Was it something I said?

The river makes people behave in really odd ways!

No comment needed really...!

Dr Bones showing off again!

The end to a blissful day. Great company, sunshine, bacon sarnies, champagne and the river. Thank you Dr Bones, thank you Maffi. Please can I come along again?