“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” So goes the proverbial phrase, as found on that essential guide to life, the internet.
Actually, the line predates the digital age, having been coined by American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard back in 1915. We don’t know how fond of lemonade Mr Hubbard might have been, but had he spent his life in North Cyprus, rather than Illinois and New York, he would have found enough to last him a lifetime, for there’s no shortage of the fragrant yellow fruit, especially at this time of year.
Then, as we were driving slowly along a village road, an old chap with a round face and curious expression drove forward in some sort of mini jeep or people carrier. I steered to the side to allow him to pass, when to my surprise, moved closer and pulled in.
“Silly old so-and-so,” I thought, “he’s got plenty of room. Why doesn’t he just drive past?” That’s what living in London for most of your life does to you. In fact, the kindly stranger had waved us down to hand over … another giant bag of lemons! He had too many, he explained, was happy to give them away and no, he didn’t want anything for them.
We’ve certainly got more than we really need In our kitchen right now. First, some friends kindly gave us a carrier bag bursting with them, some of the excess from the trees in their garden.
Lemonade all round then? Actually, we prefer to turn them into lemon curd, that sticky, eggy and very English treat, to be spread on hot toast … even better when enjoyed while breakfasting on a sunny North Cyprus balcony.
As we parked outside the house on our return, another man stopped and got out of his car. We know his face as someone who lives nearby, although we don’t know his name. Occasionally he greets us in an exaggerated “posh” English accent: “Good afternoon,” and so on. So what did he want?
Turns out it was just another random act of kindness. He explained that he had noticed a scratch on the side of our car as he drove past and wanted to fix it for us. Without further ado, he produced a rag and some car body liquid and did just that. That’s life in North Cyprus – not as we know it.