Every year the Cyprus Handicrafts Association offer courses in the village so that people can learn traditional crafts and keep them from becoming extinct. Because our village is in the Akamas these courses are completely free of charge which is a bonus.
Last year I learned the art of Gourd Decorating with Sheila and Kelly - this year Sheila, Kelly, Diana, Janice and I had put in for basket weaving and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and negotiation we were all going to be in the morning sessions. The instructor Eleni can only manage to get round a class of five people.
Unfortunately Sheila has been having some problems with her joints and so she reluctantly decided that this was not going to be good for her and dropped out which meant that Maroulla could come along with Kelly. Poor Maroulla has to put up with us all jabbering along in English but it is probably for the best as she is by far and away better than any of the rest of us and that is probably because she isn't getting distracted by the conversations.
The lessons are taking place at the Palates Hotel in the village again. It is actually quite charming there but I remember last time that the room we used got no sunlight so was on the chilly side plus the back door didn't seem to want to close and definitely didn't after Kelly gave it a shove!
Our teacher Eleni is from Lefkara but lived for many years in England - near Chesterfield in fact so her English is good and she has quite a British sense of humour. She has the patience of a saint which is just as well as we were all very confused by the initial stages of basket making!
By lunchtime we all agreed that once you had grasped the principals of what you were trying to achieve it began to get a bit easier but let's just say our baskets after three hours weaving were only about two inches in diameter because we either had to keep unpicking them because we had got the pattern wrong or the reeds kept splitting. By lunchtime our hands looked like rigor mortis had set in. Sheila made a wise decision!
When we were filling in our forms I had suggested to Kelly that we should try the normal weaving particularly as Droushia has its own weaving museum but she thought we would be sitting around just watching someone demonstrate the art - we never for one minute realised that they would bring four full-sized traditional looms and erect them in the hotel and that each student would be making a rug - two by the looks of the progress some of them had made. We are now keen to see whether we can get on that course next time! I don't mind that or the traditional mosaic but definitely not the pictures made out of silk worm casts - I just don't like them and they are dust collectors in my book.
My niece Elena had asked if Mum and Dad or John and I had any pictures or information about my sister's working career as she will be retiring at the end of the week. Her retirement will come with very mixed emotions as she has so much unfinished business with the children that were under her care but Richard's untimely death left her feeling that she was emotionally unable to give the children the care and attention they deserved - it was all too close to home too soon. She was an incredible nurse - she wanted to be a nurse for as long as I could remember.
She began her training at Treliske Hospital in Truro and then moved up to London when she married. Mum and Dad were able to find this aging newspaper cutting from our local paper the Western Gazette in 1979 which reported the fact that Kaye had won the Westminster Children's Hospital Nurses League Trophy. Sadly this hospital closed in 1995 to become the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust so this award is no more.
Hopefully Elena will be able to find some more information from friends and old colleagues and that the retirement do goes well.
We had an early evening shower - this always helps to warm you up and as the sun has heated the water this is free but as we were having guests we decided we needed to push the boat out and have the gas fire lit for a while - at least until I did some cooking so that the room would warm up. It is a bit of a dilemma at this time of year as to what to wear and particularly if you are invited to someone's home because you can never be too sure how warm it will be.
John will NOT under any circumstance have anyone here feeling cold - in fact he would burn the furniture rather than have someone say that our house was chilly. So anyone coming to visit can be reasonably confident that they will be warm! Charlie thoroughly approved and made himself well at home in front of the fire.
The red wall may not be exactly what John was hoping for but it certainly added to the warm glow created by the candles and fire. With most of the preparation done yesterday we were ready for a very pleasant evening.
Menu tonight was Carrot and Peanut Soup taster followed by Thai Fishcakes then prime Fillet Steak with a honey and mustard sauce, hasselback potatoes and salad finished off with an Orange Cake with chocolate chilli shavings and vanilla ice-cream - all washed down with lashings and lashings of Agios Onoufrios! mmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm