When I was a child…

An article by Lina Ellina,

author of THE VENETIAN (listed for the European Book Prize 2012)

Anogyra has always formed an integral part of my childhood memories. Spending summer vacations in the village with giagia and pappous, my grandparents, was a time of freedom and a journey back to time.

Those were the days when you needed to light an oil lamp at night and go through the internal yard to reach the outside toilet or get up at four in the morning to fill the containers with water to serve the day’s needs, as tap water was available only a couple of hours a day.

Giagia would then boil the milk to make halloumi, and she would always make sure she would save some of the drosino for me, the first milk that is turned into soft cheese, that I loved so much.

Being a girl, I had to lend a helping hand to giagia and my aunt. I still remember how the village women would gather in one of the houses at a time to make trahanas. We would get the rolls of freshly-prepared sour milk with wheat and with the help of a utensil, made of a half-cracked piece of reed, we would shape it in finger-long stripes and set it on straw baskets to dry in the sun.

Those were the days when you could get together with the other kids when the day’s chores were done and wander off in search of new adventures. Remains of half-ruined houses and barns would serve as our head quarters in our imaginary WWII games. No one worried about us unless we were late for dinner, which was rarely the case. After all that running around, we were all famished.

The entire family would gather around the dinner table, eat, drink, and tease each other. At the end of the meal, pappous would never fail to tell us a story of the old days while savoring some ‘king’, that is halloumi, which pappous considered the best of all foods, hence the name.

Images from the reception organised by His Excellency the Ambassador of Italy and Mrs. Guido Cerboni for the presentation of the book “The Venetian” on the 12th of September, in Nicosia.


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