What I Saw

19 Sep 2022

After Malta, Ms Gladys Peto, followed her husband, who worked for the British medical administration, to Cyprus in 1926-1929. She wrote a book titled Malta and Cyprus, where she reports her experiences on the island

There are shops to be found in Nicosia. You may, for example, buy silver finger bowls. Nicosia possesses one magnificent provision shop where you may buy the dainties of every country and where the proprietor will receive you himself with a polite handshake and call your attention to the newly opened barrel of caviar. He will give you a chair and a glass of iced lemonade or a chocolate, according to the temperature. His sons and daughters and numerous skylla will all come forth and converse with you. His dogs will have very grand collars and English names. They are nearly always called Bobbie or Fox. These grand provision dealers keep some curious glutinous substance called Turkish delight, instead of the delectable loukoum of the bazaars, and they will sell you French preserved fruit instead of the local candied apricots.

Shoemakers will make you an admirable pair of brogues, hand sewn for about a pound, but you cannot buy silk stockings, only knitted excellent socks for your husband. You may get beautiful embroidery. The draper’s shop sells rolls of material, linoleum, plush curtains and iron bedsteads. Pink and mauve ribbons with silver and gold edges but do not expect to buy plain white or rose ribbon and do not ask for darning wool. Do not ask for tape and above all needles, these are utterly unobtainable. I have never heard of anyone buying a hat but once I saw some rather pretty straw hats for sale at a watchmaker’s. In the Turkish bazaar you may buy camel bells, donkey bags, bangles, silk, muslin, face towels etc.

You can buy even antiquities and home-made delicacies like candied walnuts and caishia.

The 'What I saw...' series is made possible with the support of OPAP Cyprus.

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