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Birmingham Blogger

An internet diary by a member of the colourful and active Birmingham community.

Thursday, March 28, 2002
On Friday Andy and myself went to Varsity for a drink. They now have two big screens so you can watch the football and rugby. They also show the Grand Prix. I had a look at the menu and on the back discovered that The Varsity belongs to a chain of pubs . There are about 20 of them all over the country all situated near local universities. The music is great - The Verve, U2, Travis - a pub with great music, how unusual. I thought about going there on Saturday to watch the rugby. Instead I stayed in and watched England hammer Wales and win the triple crown. On Monday evening I went to the cinema at Tyburn Road and watched A Beautiful Mind about the mathematician John Nash who won a nobel prize for his work. It was an excellent film with a great twist half way through which really throws you. It turns out that he had schizophrenia which had developed and gone unoticed since his college days. They gave him electric shock treatment. Very savage. And powerful drugs. Thank goodness things have improved nowadays. On Tuesday, Andy and myself popped into Stratford where we had a drink a The Cox's Yard and sat down by the river. We watched on as two adult ducks knocked the hell out of a baby duckling which had a strange beige colouring. At one stage I feared for the duckling's life, but at the last minute, its mother intervened and put an end to the fight. We then went to the Deli cafe where I had banoffee pie, I have had a craving for that dessert for a long time now. To finish off the afternoon we had a coffee in the RSC Theatre and watched the rowing boats and speed boats passing up and down the River Avon. The sun was shining and it turned out to be a pleasent day. Howver, as we both agreed, it would have been a lot better if we had a girlfriend to share it with, but what the hell, life goes on I guess. On Wednesday we went to the Jug of Ale to watch a friend of Andy's play with his band Special Needs. The place was packed, it was Student Night, £1 to get in and £1 a pint, and on top of that England v Italy was on. We had to wait outside a few minutes before we were allowed in. The support band were technically proficient but ultimately a little boring. Steve's band were pretty good and they got the audience rocking. The gig was arranged by The Catapult Club which arranges gigs at different venues in Birmingham. I think today will be a quite day. I will probably stay in and watch Neighbours and later on watch Eastenders.

Saturday, March 23, 2002
I have just returned from Cyprus having spent two weeks in Cyprus at my mum's home in Argaka near Polis. I had a very nice time and visited many interesting places and ate out at some very nice restaurants. I arrived on the Wednesday and had Lounza (smoked ham) and salad at Mousikali's in Polis. On Thursday we went upto Aphrodite's Baths near the Argama peninsula. We had coffee at a restaurant in the area and the goats climbed onto the balcony eating leaves off the trees. Later on, we went for lunch in Latchi and had a fish meze which involves seven different dishes including squid and swordfish - highly recommended. On Friday we had an evening meal out at Mystery's in Polis which is 6km from Argaka village. I had a greek meze which includes about 12 dishes including to start with a salad with feta cheese and garlic bread with olive oil - delicious. You also get some kind of spicy sausage which was lovely. On Saturday we had a barbecus which started at 12pm and went on till 10pm. Much wine was drunk and the mousaka was delicious. The fruit salad was soaked in Zivania, the local strong liquer - very potent. Christmas big band music was played in the evening - very strange and bizzare. Some local Cypriot kids came around dressed in masks looking for money and treats as the start of the carnival season arrived. On Sunday we went up to Pyrgos which is near the border with the Turkish territory in Cyprus. Its a long drive through the mountains. On Monday we had a quiet day eating in. On the Tuesday we went to Paphos and had a pleasant iced coffee (frappe) near the harbour. We went to Finikas in Polis in the evening and had pate for starters - very tasty. On the Wednesday we visted a winery in Kathikas and bought a box of wine, the head honcho was a good salesman and he persuaded quite a few English people to part with their cash. We then drove around Coral Bay and witnessed how much development had taken place in the last 8 years. To start with there was nothing there, now it is full of hotels retaurants and holiday villas. For lunch we went to Kyparissos which serverd the most delightful white wine in clay carafes which were beautifully designed. On Thursday we went to Nicandros in Latchi where I had a delicious fish soup for starters followed by steak, coffee, and filfar (a delicious orange liquer). On the Friday we returned to Mystery's and had a local dish cooked in a stone pot, I think its called kleftali or something similar. It was very tasty. On Saturday I picked up a car from Stafis at Fontana Travel in Polis so I could spend the weekend in Limassol and enjoy the carnival. On the way, between Pathos and Limassol the car broke down. The radiator overheated and the cap came off. I was stranded. Fortunately , and Englishman and a Scotsman arrived ten minutes later to pick me up and take me to my hotel in Limassol, The Appolonia Beach, via a detour around an industrial estate. It turned out that the English guy, David Topsfield, was involved in breaking the speed sailing record which stands at about 46knots. They have a website www.ussc.co.uk. The record attempt will take place in September I think. I wish them the best of luck. Dave and Jim were very kind and their help was much appreciated. I sorted out the problem with the car and headed of to Challengers to watch Man Utd hammer West Ham in a very exciting match. I then popped into the coffee house next door which was full of Cypriots drinking coffee and eating lovely crepes and genrerally chatting and hanging out. On Sunday my replacement car was delivered. I drove around Limassol and saw how much things had changed soince my last visit 7 years ago. On the Cypriot coffee house near my hotel I had a chicken tikka baguette and a bailey's frappe. I then headed off for the carnival at Makarios Avenue which was full of cafes occupied by cypriots and serving very expensive coffee and orange juice. There was well over 700 people there all looking really cool in their dark tops and sun glasses. The carnival started at 3pm and included nearly 60 floats, it lasted well over an hour and when it finished it started to rain - good timing. I had egg and chips and Big Bens and then had a keo beer at the Ship Inn. I then headed for Challengers to watch Arsenal play and close the gap on Man Utd. On Monday we went to visit Mike and Hilary in Neo Chorio for a quick five minutes. We stayed there for 9 hours getting very drung drinking red Island Wine and eating quiche and fruitcake. On Tuesday we went up into the mountains near Argaka village, very scary, but the villages were nice. In the evening we went to Carousa's where we had a tast starter of toasted feta cheese, peppers and tomatoes. Hilary and myself appeared very foolish cos' we tried to eat the plates the meal was served on (very embarrassing but easily done - believe me). I was also able to watch Liverpool beat Roma 2-0 and qualify for the next round off the Champions League. Wednesday arrived and I prepared to leave. I had a great time. I packed my case and headed home. On arriving in Birmingham, Cyprus seemed a very long way from home. Quite sad.

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