Friday, 31 October 2014

Green and Brown

Different micro climates on Cyprus support different forms of agriculture.

Down in the valleys there are serried ranks of citrus trees. Oranges and lemons are common here, and can be seen lying at the sides of rural roads. This is where you will find olive groves*

Up in the Troodos mountains you will find conifers and goats. 

Between these two zones, farmers appear to grow stones or luxury villas.

Why is it always a grove when olives are involved? Why is it not an olive forest.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Cliff and the Stones

Here's a mad piece of geology.

Folded and squashed like some mad Samurai sword, this mixture of Purbeck marble, chalk and whatever makes a spectacular sight at Stair Hole, near Lulworth Cove.

If you are a rockophile or a Dorset local and you are having problems with this image, please note I reversed it horizontally at some point in the past when I scanned the original negative. 

I apologise to Cliff.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Sky and rock

Here's an artificial rock cliff. These huge rocks keep the sea at bay in Latsi and are used to create an artificial harbour where there was none before.

The harbour wall doesn't need to be very big. The Mediterranean has a very small tidal range and acts more like an inland sea than an ocean. 

In fact tidal range is more to do with the shape of the land and the sea bed. The Severn estuary has a huge tidal range (a natural resource that we seem determined to ignore). The sea is trapped between Wales and Devon, and the sea bed shelves upwards forming a large underwater funnel. 

Tenerife does not have such a large tidal range despite being in the Atlantic, because the underwater topography doesn't cause it.

Now here is a completely natural cliff, complete with sea caves. Excellent.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Context and scale

I think it is always useful to put a picture into its context. It also helps to include something to add a sense of scale.

Here's an uncharacteristically stormy sunset from Cyprus. 

The sea and the shore need the mountain to establish the context of the picture. The ensemble also needs the single human figure to give a sense of scale. 

Ideally I would have liked a couple walking on the sand, but you have to work with what you have got.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Nothing changes

Here we are in historic Winchester. 

This is almost twenty five years ago, and I can report that the Pentice looks pretty much the same today as it did then. The covered walkway supports the overhanging buildings and provides a welcome respite when shopping in the rain.

I was surprised to see that the main street was already a pedestrian precinct when this picture was taken. It remains so today, and a great improvement it is too.

PS. Old fashioned black and white film, processed at home in the bathroom.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

This is the end

On the margin, where sea meets land, where life meets death and where the green line divides Cyprus at Pachiammos on the north west coast.

If you stray one hundred meters to the right you are at risk of creating an international incident, and that really could be the end.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Dark Skies

Dark skies over the Mediterranean. 

I was hoping I would get a spectacular Milky Way photo with my twenty second exposure. However I discovered that the 12mm wide angle lens was nowhere near wide enough. I also found the 20 seconds isn't really long enough, and it you expose for longer the stars start to streak. On the good side, my improvised lentil bag worked well and saved the weight and inconvenience of a tripod*

I also found that the sky isn't dark enough. You need to be up a mountain away from the damp air by the sea and miles from any sort of street light.

*Who takes a tripod on holiday anyway?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

I is awesome

It has been decided in various quarters that I is actually awesome, and therefore deserve some sort of public recognition. The powers that be have commissioned a Golden Crown for me, so I in turn ordered a new PhD from Thatcham University to complete the transformation.

I went for a crown fitting session recently. 

What do you think?

Excellent workmanship. I was a bit miffed to discover it is in fact second hand and a couple of millennia old.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Old Greek, old Orthodox church, old icons and an old microphone to spread the Word.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Green and pleasant

See this? 

We climbed this part of the Akemas range in scorching temperatures. We traversed this trackless wilderness, climbed over the boulder field and successfully reached the summit. We suspected we were the very first people to conquer this rugged mountain and rest on the thoughtfully provided seat at the top.

Afterwards we followed the little signs back to the car park, got back in our hire car, and drove to a bar for a beer and a pancake.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Wild pots

Over in Cyprus, pottery grows in the wild. This is a peculiar result of the geology and the weather. Some farmers have managed to grow wild pots in secluded orchards, but large ceramics are unpredictable and dangerous.

I risked this picture in the lazy heat of the day because the pots were asleep and hemmed in with loose stones.

This domestic example in Trimiklini has clearly caused trouble in the past and is now restrained with wood and iron. I took my picture from a considerable distance.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Opposite ends

Here are two opposite ends of Greek Orthodox architecture:

A simple monastic chapel at Agios Georgios. One door. One tiny window. No decoration:

And here is a preserved Orthodox church. This has more or less everything you could want: Icons, huge chandeliers, wall paintings, ornate furnishings.

Friday, 17 October 2014


Take a break. Have a Cyprus coffee metrio.

Sip it and watch the world go by. Don't add sugar, there is some already in it, and don't stir it whatever you do. There's a glass of water provided to make it a longer experience. Quite useful if you are using your metrio as an excuse to sit in the cool shade and do nothing.

Alternatively, you could collapse in a gutter outside a bar. Maybe the waiter will bring you a low table and some wine.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Back in a mo..

The Edro 3 has been moored in Lara Bay for a year or more now. Actually, it would be more accurate to say it has been parked on Lara bay.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The wide view

Here are a couple of panorama shots from Cyprus. Click on the picture for the full size view.

The first is the restored jetty at Limni. Copper and gold ore were mined and shipped from this jetty for years. In fact some of the mines on Cyprus pre-date the Romans.

In this case the shift in global markets made the mining uneconomic, and the land is being developed as a new resort with golf courses. For myself, I hope the development fails, like the mines.

And here from an earlier era is a Greco-Roman amphitheater. You could still use this today. Awesome, as they say on da street.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Typical October afternoon

Here we are, well into Autumn and as you see from the picture below, the weather is turning chilly. It is late afternoon and the temperature is only 29 degrees.

O cruel and unforgiving Equinox: Why do you arrive so soon and ruin our lives?

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Available. A small lock up premises in sought after Omodos, Cyprus. Probably needs some slight attention. Not currently used.

Available. Village centre property in sleepy Kathikas. In need of considerable attention, and has been empty for at least ten years. May need a new roof.

Available. Large and imposing property in northern Cyprus overlooking an enemy town. In need of considerable attention. The property has been unoccupied for about three thousand years. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Stone clean

When you see a private dwelling in Cyprus it often seems shabby and unfinished by UK standards. They certainly have their share of part completed public projects. 

I gather that you don't pay the full building tax until the house is complete, so you submit plans for a three floor house and stop after the first two floors are complete, leaving the place with no roof and a forest of reinforcing rods pointing to the sky.

By contrast, the churches all seem like they were just finished yesterday. The stonework is always crisp, and a beautiful clean golden colour. 

By comparison UK stonework is blackened by centuries of coal burning and eroded by years of rain and wind. I guess coal, rain and wind are in short supply in the Mediterranean, so stonework stays clean for longer.

PS: A fact we learned while on Cyprus. Have you heard of St Mamas? No, nor had I. 

Apparently he is the patron saint of tax avoiders...

Friday, 10 October 2014

Kathikas visitor centre

We like Kathikas. 

There is a sense that time has stopped in this corner of Cyprus. The men of the village can be found each day sitting in the shade at the traditional village coffee shop watching the world go by.

It is common to see Cypriot men drinking coffee and chatting. It is quite unusual to see Cypriot women at all. I wonder were they all are?

Anyway, the high point of our visits to Kathikas have always been the tiny visitor centre. There is always something to see there. This year I note they have added a modest electrical hazard.

Thursday, 9 October 2014


My apologies dear reader, but we have been away at the foreign for a while. Never fear for I am back with a box of photo snaps to share and a pocketful of grumbles and observations to air.

So: Here we have a meeting of cultures. A Greek Orthodox priest speaking to a young bar owner in Cyprus. She in fact is Russian.

It turned out that many of the visitors to Omodos were Russian when we were there. 

I wonder why Russians are attracted to the island, apart from the year round sunshine, the friendly locals, the relaxed lifestyle and the hard currency. Is it perhaps because the two languages share proportions of their alphabet? (Nice one Kyril)

Anyway, It would certainly help to be able to read the signs in Cyprus* I took a dictionary for my smartphone, but the written word remained all Greek to me.

*Politicians have been trying to read the signs in Cyprus for centuries.