VOX POP tête-à-tête –
4th December 2013 – Colin &
By Engin Dervişağa
I had the pleasure of catching up with a couple I have known since 2002, this is Colin and Josephine Mulcahy, who now live high up in Bellapais and I first met them when they came on holiday to North Cyprus and stayed at my family’s Paradise Resort in Ҫatalköy.
I first of all talked to Colin and asked him about what he had done in his life. He told me that he was born in the UK and when the time came to decide on a career he was not sure what he wanted to do, he had thought about being an artist or perhaps going to sea as a sailor, but he had entered a competition being run by the Diplomatic Service and he was offered a place so this was the career he then followed.
Colin said he was assigned to many countries during his career, all of which showed himself and his wife Josephine a very different way of life, among which were Freetown – West Africa, Mumbai (then called Bombay), New Delhi, New Zealand, Pakistan and many others. Colin said that all of the places they lived in over the years they had found to be fascinating and interesting. Of course there were troubled times in a lot of the countries which resulted in them being quite dangerous places to live.
At one point in 1963 Colin and Jo returned to the UK where he spent around 2 years back in London being assigned to the Cyprus Emergency Unit, this was his first introduction to Cyprus although he never visited the island until 2002.
It was while Colin and Jo were in Pakistan that they decided they needed a holiday and a friend suggested North Cyprus so in 2002 they had their first visit to North Cyprus and after a few more visits they decided to make their home here, bought some land and built a house. Colin worked for a while at the British High Commission in Lefkoşa but now he and Jo are retired and enjoying life.
I asked Colin if he had met any famous people and he said there were many and mentioned Jack Straw who was his boss at one time and who was a great supporter of the TRNC. There was also Bianca Jagger who had problems with her passport at one time and he was able to resolve this for her.
Finally, my question to Colin was with regard to a special event in his life and he said there was one which he doesn’t really like to talk about. He and Jo went back to India for a second time and with a team he had to sort out a very serious matter, following this he and Jo were doing a world trip and he kept getting messages which he ignored because he was on holiday. Eventually he received a message of congratulations from one of his sons and it transpired that he had been awarded the OBE which he then received from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, He said it was a very special and memorable occasion.
On a final note Colin wanted to bring people’s attention to the fact that a lot of expatriates are using the services offered by Help Those with Cancer Association (Tulips) which has been mainly funded by Turkish Cypriots and he stressed the importance of the expatriates giving something back to Tulips who need a huge amount of funding to keep going. A recent campaign to try and encourage a regular donation through a bank mandate resulted in only 5 people signing up to do this. So Colin’s message is to please put something back into this charity.
I then had a chat with Josephine Mulcahy who told me that she and Colin had been married for 43 years. They lived very little in the UK as adults and they met at their place of work. A couple of years after they were married they started travelling to their various postings. Both of their sons were born in India and as well as the countries Colin had already mentioned they had spent time in Canada and Khartoum in the Sudan which is one place Jo would really like to return to and also Pakistan to see what these places are like now. She said she would also like to visit Nepal where Colin had visited when they were in India but she hadn’t been able to accompany him.
I asked Jo what she liked about North Cyprus and she said it is such a beautiful place but she feels the people do not value it as they should with the continuous building going on in every available space, it is important that the environment is not spoiled, the countryside needs to be preserved.
Hobbies are another thing I asked Jo about and she said she likes walking, sewing, gardening and at one stage she took up drawing and would have liked to have progressed to painting to capture the wonderful colours we see all around us. Maybe I will take it up again she said.
Colin and Jo don’t travel back to the UK often but the birth of their first grand-child, a girl, warranted a trip back by Jo and she was able to hold the baby very soon after its birth. Both Jo and Colin are thrilled with this addition to their family.
Jo agreed with Colin’s remark about helping Tulips and also felt that cancer research should be supported in view of the high cancer rate in North Cyprus.
This was a very pleasant interview sitting high up over Bellapais with my cameraman filming the wonderful view from the terrace of Colin and Jo’s home.