November 22, 2003, 6:05 p.m.

Cypriotica, Anglica

back & forth

The two things I simply had to do as soon as I got home from my holiday were play my darling harpsichord again and write a very long entry about my travels. I got home exactly a week ago. I tuned my harpsichord last night (Kirnberger III).

I had already (at least) put up two new posters: the Mérode Altarpiece reproduction I bought in N*w Y*rk (vide supra) and an icon of St Michael from the Holy See of Paphos Byzantine museum. Mum and Dad and I stayed one week in Paphos, with side trips to the Avacas gorge, the Unesco-listed painted monasteries and churches of the Troödos mountains, and the rock where the pink-bottomed Aphrodite first rose from the foam.

Best things about Cyprus: Cheap but nice local wine (like a cluster from the vines of Engadi). Byzantine frescoes. Late Roman mosaics. Grilled Challoumi cheese. Olives. Hotel breakfasts. Sunlight. Palm-trees. The mediterranean. Ruins. Seeing mum and dad for a good stretch of time without fighting or feeling too stressed out.

Less pleasant things about my time Cyprus: Not enough time to be lazy. I had a terrible sinus infection. Mum both self-imposedly martyred by and insistent on having to drive everywhere on windy little roads in a poky rented car.

After Cyprus, a week in Southern *ng*nd with my family: most of the time with Auntie *l*x in T*nbr*dg* W*lls, but also two days with Uncle M*k* the vicar near Ch*lt*nh*m. That was more fun, in some ways, since it meant a house full of my cousins -- none of whom I'd seen in six years, and all of whom have gone on to do tremendous things. I am once again the dumb slacker in the family. The Twins (I may have mentioned) went one to *xf*rd, one to C*mbr*dg*, with their standard divide-and-conquer panache. My 'Coz' C*t**, nearest to me in age, has bought a house and is living with boyfriend of four years and teaching. Cousin *l*st**r and his girlfriend D*wn (who has just written a children's book) are living in L*w*s, one of my favourite small towns anywhere. I, on the other hand, had just very impressively resigned from a job I hated, and, broke and drifting, was hanging around with my parents and not saying much. I'll show them!

It's been Brit-Nostalgia week in Riatsaland; last night I made toad in the hole with Boca italian-style veggie sausage. Later this week I'll be making Stilton soup. You're all invited any time you like. And of course you know that I can fix a mean cup of tea.