Pictured is Maria - standing in the sunshine outside her recently opened souvenir shop, right next to her ice cream parlour and taverna.
Maria has had the shop tastefully fitted, and offers traditional memorabilia of Cyprus, plus bottled preserves, oils and sauces. There is an excellent range of ' gifts to take home' - to suit every pocket, and postcards.
The shop gives an additional dimension to Kouklia, which can boast a temple, a museum, church, many tavernas and a very inviting and uniquely traditional village square, however, now there is somewhere also to stop and 'browse' for a while.
As a ' more recent' in -comer to Kouklia, I still retain clear memory of my first delight at passing through the square - a large contributor to our reason for investing in property here.
There are plans to 'refurbish' the area, which are in fact, very welcome, however will cost a lot of money and due to economic constraints take some time to begin. - This of course is entirely understandable given recent economic events, and recent huge investment in a 'state of the art' football stadium - ????
however In my opinion such a shame, as Kouklia has so much to offer as a real visitor attraction in it's own right. - I see coaches of visitors coming to the temple car park which is only yards from the square, but who don't have time on their tour to venture in, or who ' just don't know what theyr'e missing', so drive away without stopping to enjoy this precious environment.
Maria's initiative is great - ok, clearly - it is her ' business' - but the spin off of this type of venture is to add an additional layer of colour to the picture of Kouklia. Unfortunately at present the Courtyard shop is closed, but to add to the attraction of Kouklia can only be beneficial to all.
Being linked with the Warwickshire and Cotswold villages of UK I have experience of villages such as ' Bourtton on the Water, Stow on the Wold, Moreton in the Marsh, Warwick and Stratford on Avon - - which realise their own worth in tourism currency, market their quaint ' Englishness' and in doing so provide employment, opportunities for local industry and a flowing river of tourists from all over the world. If businesses work together there should be plenty to go around!!
Yes I have ' gone on' a bit about all this, but as I have said, I AM passionate about the placeI don't believe it's my gift to come into other people's cultures and tell them what to do, - I'm here because I enjoy the traditional Cypriot life, but I do applaud Maria's type of initiative - which I wish every success.
6.30 this morning saw myself and my husband wrestling our back wall cat Squeeky into a small cage ( not easy) prior to good neighbour Pam riding shotgun with me to take the cat to Paphiakos animal sanctuary.
Now and again Paphiakos offer days where any ferrel cal or stray dog can be taken there to be nutered for free. - They also offer microchipping for 20 euros.
This is a great service - our village has many ' roaming' cats and kittens, and this is an opportunity to help stop unwanted animals being born.
When we arrived we were lucky to be ahead of a long line of mewing cats in baskets, all waiting for 'the treatment' - I understand that Paphiakos also loan baskets for this purpose, which is great! They advertise these days on their website, and on radio. Website link:firstname.lastname@example.org
So inspired were we by this service, that we intend to repeat the exercise with other village cats when opportunity arises (assuming of course that we can catch them and get them into baskets!)
Squeeky is now sleeping it off in his basket in the back of our car - and wi
Now switching to the Autism side of my life, and a plug for awareness of Autism in Cyprus.
For some years I have been working with Limassol based AASP - ( Autism Assessment Support and Practice centre) - joining forces with Stola and Nefi - who are both Autism specialists, and training professionals and parents who live and work in Cyprus.
The centre mainly supports children, however, we have received two referrals recently for adults. - both well into adulthood, and one of whom, although meeting all the cryteria for Autism has no diagnosis. The other, having diagnosis of Fragile X and Autism, are being supported within his family - who are under considerable strain, with little autism specific support.
We are working with both families, and for the lady with ' high functioning Autism' - (Aspergers Syndrome) we are able to deliver training to the family, and put systems and processes in place from her home, with a view to developing her independence and abilities.
My experience in UK is that these people have ready (Funded) access to appropriate support services - here it is different - there is a long way to go - and much frustration, however, due to pure family commitment we will be running the first appropriate and individualised Asperger programme very soon.
This is a positive step - and I feel privileged to be able to help.
Last week in Kouklia was a very special Cyprus night. One of our esteemed taxi drivers, Kostas introduced his lovely Bride to us all.
Resplendent in their wonderful bridal outfits, the Bride looked every inch like a fairy Princess, and the wedding party had the best position, outside Maria's Taverna, to enjoy and join in with the traditional Cypriot dancing and music.
As on many occasions when there is music in the square, the atmosphere was wonderful, and we all enjoyed Maria's Souvla and plenty to drink.
We wish the happy couple well for the future.
I am passionate about Cyprus, and the village of Kouklia in particular. I'm lucky enough to live and work in the area
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