Tuesday 19 June 2012

...St Edmund's, the russian motorcycle, and the Turkish invasion...

Friday morning, 7.45am - stepping into Downham 's sunlit Town Hall, the steaming tea urn (yeah, I know - How much does a greek earn?...), the steaming, gurgling tea urn told me I was in the right place.
I quickly set up shop across a generous expanse of two tables by the stage, and was promptly informed that my free cup of tea - courtesy of St Edmund's - was ready whenever I was. Which happened to be precisely at that selfsame instant in time, what a coincidence? 

BMW R750 - Pen & Ink sketch

Father Alan Davies appeared at my table and purchased a copy of my greeting card featuring the BMW motor bike pictured above. He explained that he owned such a motorcycle and fancied a card of the same.  
I in turned explained that the owner of this bike pulled up beside my stall on the Town Square a couple of years ago.  Already with sketchbook and pen in hand, I simply altered my point of view, and with the bike in my sights - sketched away.  
I found the lustrous chrome and liquid black fascinating and added mudguards to spoked tyres, petrol tank to headlamp, and carburetor to alternator. Metal and rubber puzzle almost complete, the rider reappeared - errand completed - and he and his bike vanished as if by divine intervention - or rather in a puff of smoke up Bridge Street toward the Castle Hotel. 
All well and good since I just reached the edge of my paper...
BMW R750  – Chinese Replica
In the 1930’s to overcome the terms of the ‘Treaty of Versailles’ which prohibited Germany from engaging in the production of any form of military vehicle, the BMW Corporation licensed the Russian company Uralmoto Zamod to manufacture large capacity motorcycles and sidecars. 
In the 1950’s the Russians exchanged the blueprints and production line of the R71 and R750 with fellow communist state China in exchange for apples and eggs.

Auntie Vassilou's tava (oven bowl) - pen & ink and watercolour

I later spoke with Maurice and Dave about their time spent in the forces in Cyprus during the 60s and 70s, and found many common memories of the island. Whenever I display the drawing of my grandmother's courtyard home in Cyprus , it ellicits comments and stories from possibly the most unlikely people around, some of whom I have known for several years. 
Maurice said it was unlikely that any members of the British forces serving during the 50s, 60s and 70s - 1974 being the year of the Turkish invasion - would not have served at one time or another at either of the British bases such as Akrotiri or Dhekelia in Cyprus. 
So the answer to the question "How much does a greek earn?'' is 'not much this morning' - but enough to pay for my table and spend some time talking to good people and sharing great memories. 
And -'Eureka!' - I got some enquiries for commissions to boot.
So a big 'efkharisto boli' to Florence for inviting me along to take part in this year's St Edmund's Summer Fayre!
That's 'thank you very much' for you civilians... 

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