John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Monday 28 November 2016

[Sunday 27 November 2016]

Return from Cyprus
The Annabelle, Λεωφόρος Ποσειδώνoς, Paphos, Cyprus
19:50–23:00 EZY1974 Paphos–Manchester Airport
Premier Inn, Runger Lane South

There was no reason to be up early, so we didn’t finish breakfast till after 10am. Janet packed the first case, and had everything laid out or ready to go in the second. Ca.11.30am we headed out. We went first to the Μπάνια bar, where again we sat on bar stools. I had a bottle of Erdinger dunkel Weißbier there and Janet pomegranate juice then a Sprite Zero. Then we walked on and at a large seafront kiosk bought postcards and stamps. We visited the Papantoniou supermarket, where Janet bought a couple of packets of dried figs and some carob syrup, and I a 20cl bottle of ζιβανία (12:58 on the till receipt). (There were shelves and shelves of ζιβανία, a bit reminiscent of the shelves and shelves of vodka in a Russian convenience store! I chose the one I did because the label was in Greek, and what’s more in Greek “joined-up” writing.)

Then we went to a nearby bar/restaurant to write the postcards. I had a glass of draught Keo and Janet a diet soda, Sprite Zero or 7 Up Free (13:38:50 on the till receipt). We both noticed how spotlessly clean the loos were. “Best toilets in Cyprus!” I commented to the proprietress or manageress. We regretted that the items on the menu were a bit “touristy” and not especially Cypriot, because if they’d been the latter we’d have stayed for lunch. As it was, after we found a yellow pillar-box to post the cards, we made our way to the Hondros Taverna for a huge, multi-course, “meat meze” lunch. I had 50cl red wine and Janet orange juice. On the photo is a salad with tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and feta, a dish with four dips, another salad of chopped cabbage and carrot, pita bread, and buttered boiled potatoes. Dish upon dish followed — so much that I couldn’t eat it all (the only item that I voluntarily didn’t touch was mushrooms, which I find nauseating, especially the odour): the course home-made sausage, dark purple, I guess, from using red wine as an ingredient, which I’d had as a starter the other day and enjoyed; grilled “squeaky” halloumi; roast potatoes; fried chicken; lamb şiş; another type of pork sausage; stuffed grape leaves; and meatballs in tomato sauce. 

Monday 28 November 2016 — 14:11:58
Hondros Taverna

Janet finished with coffee, and I had a shot of refrigerated ζιβανία followed by coffee. We had a brisk walk almost as far as the fort, then back to the hotel. We paid the bill (which agreed with Janet’s calculations). We noticed Fiona on one of the settees in the lobby talking to a woman on the opposite side of a coffee table. We were reluctant to approach, but the other woman reassured us, “I’m ‘Mercury’ too.” (“Hello, ‘Mercury’!”) We told Fiona how much we’d enjoyed our stay, and the trips, especially the “jeep safari”. As we were about to leave, I said “Tot ziens!” Back in the room, Janet finished the packing.

Monday 28 November 2016 — 16:31:50
Sunset view from our window

Just after 5pm the phone rang: the taxi was here. It was a small mini-bus. Luggage check-in at the airport was a bit slow, involving queuing, as was passport control, and security scanning. But we were through in good time. “Speedy boarding” were let through first; but “speedy”, as usual, it wasn’t, because we found ourselves standing before a locked door, waiting for several minutes. Indeed, there were people still getting off the aircraft. We were seated on Row 12, on the right side, by the forward one of the two over-wing emergency doors. We’d not been able to get aisle seats, so Janet was in the middle seat of the three, and I by the door. Janet wrote: “We were ‘hemmed in’ by a ‘little old man’ from Blackburn. I made the mistake of engaging him in conversation and he droned on about his holiday hotel, financial advisors, buying a new car, central heating boilers and cavity wall insulation. I almost lost the will to live!” I could add to the list: ballroom dancing; the excess of automated systems on modern cars, which dictate to drivers what they must do, and which cannot be turned off; and out-of-date sat-nav, which says there’s a roundabout ahead where none now exists, but which would be too expensive to update. Our Captain, “Hannah [Somebody]”, came on the intercom, saying that, despite head-winds and “weather” over Turkey, our flight was expected to be 4 hours 50 minutes. Later updates on our position and flight-plan, though, were given by the male First Officer. The cabin crew were introduced as “James”, “Lucy”, and two others. After taxiing we took off ca.19:55 (Eastern European time). When the catering trolley came by, I had sparkling water and Janet orange juice. It came by again, and I had some red wine and Pringles. The hours went by slowly, seemingly. We landed at ca.22:40 (GMT). The longish queue for passport control was swiftly dealt with; both of us got through the automated barriers without a problem. The baggage-claim carousel, though, didn’t start up till several minutes after we arrived at it (i.e. till ca.11.15pm). Men in black wearing black hats were coming from the adjacent carousel. “It must be a flight from Tel-Aviv,” I supposed; and when I looked at the screen, I found I was right. Always, it seems, when we say where we’re going — “Premier Inn, Runger Lane South” — the taxi-man summons another cab than the one at the front of the line; and that’s what happened on this occasion. We were checked in, up in our room (“211”) — the electronic key-card gave us no trouble (insert in slot; withdraw; see green light flash; turn handle; and push door open) — and were in bed, by about midnight. The room was warm; the air-conditioner/heater was already on.

The card issued to us, into which had been inserted the electronic key-card to our room

[Tuesday 29 November 2016]

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