“I dare not move,” grinned the woman. “It would be a shame to disturb him!” The hound dog under her chair had curled himself into a comfort ball, using her large white handbag as a cushion. For most of the evening, he remained unperturbed by the music, the waiters and the chat all around him, loping off later to see if any other diner might like to scratch his old ears.
It’s not unusual for dogs and cats to make themselves at home around the outdoor restaurants and bars of North Cyprus. The canny creatures seem to know that the mainly European clientele are unlikely to object, providing they behave themselves. Mostly they do just that, the cats are welcomed as sentinels against mice and snakes, the dogs becoming front-of-house greeters.
This canine encounter came at a popular local rendezvous, the venue for Friday night pizzas and a bit of rock n roll from a versatile duo. At just £20 for two, with a decent bottle of wine, it was a fine way to spend one of the last evenings of the summer – though you wouldn’t know it, with a warm westerly breeze, everyone still in shorts and t-shirts.
Unlike the preceding month, there are few songs I can think of to celebrate October. (The rhyme with “remember,” has a lot to do with it, I imagine.) Yet, in North Cyprus, it’s a month worth singing about. There isn’t much of an autumn or fall here, as temperatures side gently from their oven-like summer peak, so, when planning one’s evening, you will still be thinking “outside.
Tonight it’s the Oktober Fest, the annual homage to the great Munich beer festival, staged by one of the top hotels. Get ready for pretzel, schnitzel and sausages, washed down with large glasses of beer, to the accompaniment of a classic Oompah band. This five-star establishment is going to be more expensive than pizza in the park – and no stray dogs. Prost!