It’s time for a splash of colour in these dark times…let’s go with red!

April is Poppy time in Cyprus.

This year, they will be growing gloriously undisturbed, outside our walls the flora and fauna are free to blossom and roam, but we humans are behind our doors, locked down….who would have thought this would have come to pass in our high tech world?

An unseen virus, devasting the world, movement restricted, leaving us in fear of our lives with no end in sight today… time to remember a carefree day last year when I stumbled into poppy heaven…

Last April, I had to take the OH back to Larnaca airport for an 8pm flight and we had fallen into a habit of taking a day trip to explore places at the other end of the island to make a day out, instead of an urgent 4-hour return journey for me.

This time we dropped down from Lefkara on a mountain road towards Nicosia, heading for the village of Agia Varvara, where I had seen, in other local photographer’s posts, that a poppy profusion would greet me.

I wasn’t disappointed, but sadly the weather wasn’t the best for photographs.

We had driven through a terrific hail storm, terrific to the extent of having to pull over and stop on the side of the road until the blinding hail passed over, so I did wonder whether there would be any petals left on the poppies…

I was lucky, the hail had missed Agia Varvara and the expectation I had of poppy profusion was fulfilled…

The Poppies in this area are mainly Papaver rhoeas, an annual, from 10-30cm high, flowering from March until June.

The hills are alive…

In Cyprus, during mid-Februry, for around two weeks, the hills are alive with Almond blossom.

It was fairly wet and windy at that time, so I took the opportunity to head up the road to a local village, Episkopi, where the hills surrounding the village and river valley take on an ethereal beauty.

Swathes of Almond blossom cover the hillsides. It is a glorious time to walk amongst the groves, small spring flowers popping through the undergrowth. 

As we are now under curfew on our small island, like many all over the world, it’s time to review my walks.

I hope you enjoy my Almond blossom photographs… stay safe, my friends… 

Almond blossom on a grey day….

According to the news, it has so far been the wettest five months since 1901 in Cyprus. I can vouch for the fact it has been very wet!

A planned day out today was deemed prudent to cancel, as the little cloud with raindrops on the weather app seemed to be rain-dropping all day at the destination.

But the rain was intermittent and I needed bread so went out, with my camera (just in case). I decided to turn right up the hill as there was a hint of blue between the clouds.

Bread be damned, but the grey clouds closed over the bit of blue just as I turned the corner to find an almond field in full blossom.

Oh well, too beautiful to be missed, even on a grey day.

I did buy bread, by the way. A handy little kiosk on the way down the hill had some. Not too sure it was fresh today, but it did well for toast with blue cheese snacks…

Finding anemones…

Cyprus has had a wet winter this year, but the island needs the water and the dams have reached record levels so I hope there will no water shortages during the summer.

Amidst all the rain, nature has been taking its course and one of my great pleasures is to head off to the hillsides and search for wildflowers that start to pop up in late January.

One of these is Anemone Coronaria  (Crown Anemone), family: Ranunculaceae, native to the Mediterranean region.

I’ve always seen them over the years, but now I’m actively looking, the profusion of these beautiful flowers amazes me. Popping up in moist meadows, in a range of colours, it’s a delight to find them.

So what did I do during my free time in the Summer of 2018…?

Well, I wasn’t blogging!

This year, after an India and Oman trip during April, I headed back to Cyprus for the summer.

Now I’m not working in the UAE, visiting the region during the summer months isn’t appealing but my home in Cyprus is.

Sorting the years of never sorted clutter (still an ongoing and tedious project) and fixing the house ( Luckily the OH does D-I-Y extremely well) were my priorities and working on the garden is my ultimate pleasure.

I was happy to be here enjoying my home at long last, but I want to learn new skills, my background has been leaning towards the arts forever and last year I started Mosaic classes with a local Mosaic artist, Sharen Taylor ( interesting links below) who is extremely talented and has her own unique take on the ancient art and is an established face within the Arts scene in Paphos.

This year I moved onto the intermediate level and joined a course where we were to make a table.

My choice was to make one for outside, I have a lovely seating area in the shade, but, no table for the morning frappe or glass of vino that perfects a Cyprus summer’s eve.

Measurements taken, 60cm x 120cm, 50cm high, a perfect fit.

Then I drew a blank on the design, vague notions of vine leaves, grapes, olives, and pomegranates swirled around in my head but wouldn’t flow on paper. So, I left the designing, feeling inspiration would eventually arrive.

Teacher messaged to advise to have our design expanded to the actual size.

Hmm, panic, this was my project, I had to do something, I only had a head vision which wasn’t coming together.

I spent the evening cobbling together a little design ( you will note this has nothing to do with the aforementioned head plan of grapes, vines or pomegranates, but leans towards lemons, oranges and almond blossom, such are the vagaries of head art, but it’s all relevant to Cyprus life).

Scrabbling around in cupboards for pencils, crayons, old geometry sets, observant folks will note the ruler in the pictures and understand just how old that is!

I like precision and it started to take shape. Enlarged the next day with some blank parts (To be decided), working on the principle that the design would flow as it evolved.

Head thoughts, to be worked on in progress…

This was quite a big project and I was going to be living with the end result, so I needed to do what I wanted to do, break a few rules if there are any and go with my art heart!

Once it started, it became my nightly pleasure. “Darling” son who lives with me, is working in the hospitality industry, late nights are the norm, there was no one who needed my cooking skills and I can live quite happily on cheese and biscuits, bread and cheese, biscuits and cheese, cheese and… well, you get the picture!

Work in progress…

July mosaiced into August, my daughter arrived for three weeks holiday so I put my tile nippers and glue away and became social again, but there was a deadline to the final session ticking away so whilst she was out clubbing away some evenings, I was snipping, cutting and gluing, racing towards completion day.

Grouting day appeared, a messy time, plus apprehension as to whether I’d done it right, had I used the right amount  of water and grout, had I stood on the tiles hard enough to make it level ( Yes, one way of ensuring a big piece is glued down evenly, I didn’t think of that either! Thank you, Teacher!)

Finished-pre-grout…

Luckily the OH had appeared for a D-I-Y visit, he helped me and we brought it home. Horror, there were cracks appearing, panic built, but Teacher passed by on her way home and taught me the grout fixes.

The mosaic panel was inserted into the table frame.

The result for me was the pleasure of the whole project.

I’d enjoyed the creation and the finished table was something I’d completed, finally!

A very satisfying summer and a new table!

Finished, post-grout…

I did mention I’d only be doing this once, but, well, I’ve now joined into another glass and mosaic workshop and guess what, I’m doing another table! The table journey to be continued…

And I need to catch up on rather a lot blog-wise. Hmmm…

My excellent teacher:

http://www.sharentaylor.com

www.facebook.com/SharenTaylorMosaics

Weekly Photo Challenge: Story…

It’s early Spring in Cyprus at the moment.

20/3/18 is the official date for the start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, ( I checked, just to make sure) but the hillsides in Cyprus are already in full Spring bloom.

The trees are bursting out into blossom, the ground is full of wild iris, orchids, and field gladioli, not to mention the numerous other small flowers that pop up through the undergrowth and the weather is glorious.

It’s a time for walks in the hills with a camera in hand…

My story starts with an Almond tree, in full blossom…

 

and then I spot a bee…

 

Let’s follow the bee…

 

Oh, that nectar is so worth a deep dive…

 

And it’s so good I’m going in for more…

 

Finished! Time to go home…

 

Now, where’s my hive?

 

 

Story

Weekly Photo Challenge, Silence…

The Daily Post photo challenge this week asks us what Silence looks like in a photo.

This was the one for me.

A January trip up to the Troodos mountains in Cyprus, choosing a little used road, we came across a view point high up in the mountains with a perfectly placed bench looking across this view.

No sounds, remote from anyone else, this is my take on Silence.

The view from my seat was totally silent……

Silence