A chance to visit a place probably/hopefully unique in the whole universe.

An old woman.


These ladies frequently are seen in the villages of Cyprus dressed in black and gossiping discretely and saying Panayia moo* repeatedly and with feeling whilst prodding the ground with their bastooneys** for emphasis.
They are slow moving, bent and frail looking but it is best not to be deceived.

Despite possessing a carrier bag full of prescription drugs from which they select a generous ration each day, they rise with the sun and have done a full days work, sometimes in the fields, by the time their more modern zoppo countrywomen have even finished leafing through Vogue in bed.
They walk at a stooped one mile an hour but nothing less dramatic than anti-tank mines will make them stop once they get started. These ladies were built for work and for endurance and they perform admirably.
The sun leaves then totally unperturbed at up to 42° in the shade plus by and large they have stopped counting their birthdays after 80.

Whilst exceptions do exist, they are hospitable, generous with the little they have, independent and borderline indestructible.

Ask them for a glass of water and they may well offer you lunch or at the very least a gliko (a traditional sweet).
It is permissible to refer to them as Thia or Yiayia (Auntie or Grandma, or dependant on your age relative to theirs) and to ponder why, with such ancestors, many modern Cypriots are as we find them today.


* E Panayia – The blessed virgin. Moo – My. You might say "Good Lord" in the same way.

** Walking sticks, usually home made from either a length of broom handle or the branch of a tree cut roughly to shape.