Newman’s Farm, Kyrenia
Memories of Evelyn Newman – Part 5
This is the last part of the intriguing story of the Newman family in Cyprus written by Evelyn Newman in 1962. We hope you enjoyed Parts 1 to 4. As in previous instalments, notations by members of the later Newman family are highlighted in blue, as are any notations I have made based on research. If you missed the previous parts these can be located by clicking the following links. Part 1 – click here, Part 2 – click here, Part 3 – click here, Part 4 – click here.
EVELYN’S MEMOIRS – Part 5
Written by Evelyn Newman in 1962
It was about this time that a most extraordinary thing happened to Pansy, one of the cows. We noticed a small sort of wart on her back, just near her lower ribs by one of her hind legs. It grew almost daily until it became a large rough patch. We treated it ourselves but it did not seem to get any better. It looked ugly and we made a kind of saddlecloth to cover it. We sent for the vet, and Michael Peters came out. He was always so prompt and helpful if we needed his services. He said the trouble was entirely external, but certainly very unattractive. He tried various remedies and finally brought the CVO, Mr Nenve, to see her. By this time Pansy was due to calve, and Mr Nenve thought, on the whole, we should get rid of her. That evening our Turkish maid, who had been with us for many years, came to me and said ‘Would you like me to get your cow cured?’ ‘Of course,’ I said. ‘That is what we really want. We shall be unhappy to sell her.’ ‘Very well,’ said Lutfia, ‘I will tell Sablia to come to see you here tomorrow.’
The next day Sablia came, a big jolly Turkish woman in a dark blue yashmak. She asked me to show her Pansy. Then she beckoned me to follow her down the garden and finally stopped by a fir tree. She hunted on the ground and chose three small cones, which she put carefully into her handkerchief, and carried them to a clump of bushes. There she stooped down and dug a shallow hole in the ground. In this she placed the three cones and covered them carefully with fine earth. She stood up and looked around for something, and in doing so saw a little old tin lying near. She filled this with water at the tank, and carried it back to where she had buried the cones. She looked at me and said ‘What was your father’s name?’ ‘Henry’ I replied. ‘And your mother?’ ‘Ada,’ I answered. ‘And yours and your husband’s?’ Again I gave the desired information. All this time she was very slowly pouring the water from the tin onto the place where the cones lay. Then she turned to me. ‘Keep the cones damp,’ she said, ‘and as they dissolve bit by bit, so will Pansy’s wart get smaller and smaller.’ I thanked her and crossed her hand, gypsy fashion, with a 2 piastre bit. I gave her refreshment, and she then set off again for the town. Perhaps it may seem odd that I should do so, but I did keep those little cones damp. Did I really believe in her cure? I don’t know. But a cure is was, for slowly at first, but then every day more rapidly, the enormous wart began to diminish, and her hair grew back brown and silky. In two or three weeks time her back was completely without blemish. We called the vets and showed them the miracle. They could not believe their eyes – they thought we were pulling their legs! They said they would write a report for the Vet Journal. I wonder if they did.
These were very busy days for us. By now we had electric milking machines and we were up very early in the morning to milk the cows, so that Charlie could do the milk round and get back before it was too hot.
We were busy, too, because it was now that we invited anyone who liked, among the Services, to spend his leave at the farm. In summer they liked to sleep outside, but in the colder winter weather this was not possible. We turned the stillroom into sleeping accommodation. We arranged to borrow ten iron beds from the Army. F.G. lent us blankets from the Welfare Department. I think the stillroom was always full, and every morning there was breakfast to get: a pint of milk, cornflakes and cream, eggs, bread, butter, marmalade or jam. For this we charged two shillings – it was the only charge we made for their visits. They usually had other meals out or cooked for themselves on little campfires somewhere down in the field. I rather think one or two men cooked chickens which used to stray onto our land from neighbours flocks, but of course, nobody really knew!
But it was not only boys we knew, who came. One day a local bus running from Nicosia to Karavas stopped at our gate and out came four big hefty Scots, gay in their kilts, and each with a kit bag. They were from Egypt. They had asked the driver to drop them at some nice hotel in Kyrenia. ‘No,’ he had said,’ I will drop you at Newmans; that is the nicest place.’ They stayed several days with us and we were delighted.
Outside the stillroom was an open shed where we stored the deck chairs in bad weather. The stillroom was full, so some boys elected to sleep in the shed, and made room among the chairs. But alas, somebody decided to have his last cigarette after they were settled down for the night, and instead of the stub going well outside onto the path, it fell among a pile of chairs. They slept so soundly they did not realise, but coming out to milk in the early morning we smelt burning material and traced the smell to the stack of burnt chairs. Needless to say we were presented with four nice new deckchairs, soon afterwards.
Tuesdays and Thursdays were especially busy, for on those days the ladies of the WVS brought bus loads of men from the Garrison Club in Nicosia and from Carols Camp in Famagusta – or Golden Sands as it became known to the troops. I used to greet them by standing on the steps of the porch and making little speeches of welcome. I hope they liked them!
As time went on we needed more help with our growing herd. We found it worked best to have one or two from each of the two races that made up the communities of the island – the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. If the Greeks got annoyed and walked out, we had the Turks. If the Turks became difficult, we had the Greeks. It worked well for holidays, too. The Greeks wanted their Church Festivals, the Turks, their Islamic ones.
We needed help with the Milk Bar, too. By now we were really well known. We needed help in serving the milkshakes, the banana splits, the tea and coffee and the rock buns. We gathered together an array of boys and girls from among our neighbours in the nearby villages – both Greek and Turk. On the whole they were good and well behaved, especially Soli Savakes (? spelling) our nearest neighbour’s youngest son. He must have been with us six or seven years from the age of ten onwards, always cool and spick and span. His glasses always shone. Now he stays with his elder brother in London, studying electronics.
Then there was Hunbi – I don’t believe we ever managed to train him. To the very end, he would take a flying leap from the porch steps, swinging on the upright of the pergola and landing with a crash on the gravel, from where he would go to some table to take an order.
There was Ali. Ali must have thought it a wonderful place to have a job. Sometimes when he came to bring in the trays he had taken out, there was money on them. It was very difficult, almost impossible, to make him believe that people had probably been in a hurry and put what they owed on the tray instead of bringing it to the little table by the porch where one or other of us sat. No, he thought it must be for him, so it all went in his pocket.
Husseif was surely our star turn. He once fell from high up in a palm tree, right down onto rough stones beneath. But back he came the next day with his hand wrapped in a huge white bandage. He certainly was very eager and willing, but we often heaved a sigh of relief when we observed a tray arrive at a table safely with the milkshakes the right way up. For, apart from the palm tree incident, he had an unpredictable habit of capsizing himself at any moment. Poor Husseif! We heard he went to London to find a living – I do hope he keeps himself the right way up when crossing a street!
One day Bill came to stay. We did not know who he was or that he was coming – he just turned up out of the blue. He certainly looked tired when he walked up the drive. He had a few days leave, he said, so thought he would walk over the mountains and on to us. His feet were sore, and he was very tired. We bathed his feet and gave him fresh socks and easy shoes. We cooked him a meal – I remember the big dish of scrambled eggs. He said he would give us a hand with the trays going out from the milk bar. He carried them out with a napkin over his arm – most professional. He often played with the grandchildren: he taught little Philip how to hold his cricket bat, chased them in and out of the cowsheds, around the garden and in and out of the house. It was great fun. But we noticed after a day or two that he always disappeared when men from the Army or Air Force came in. He was nowhere to be seen. This puzzled us a bit, so one day we asked him about it. He told us he was not really on leave, but just could not bear Army life any longer, so had walked out and come to us. Charlie was quite distressed at this, and had long talks with him, the outcome being that Bill was persuaded to go back to his unit and give himself up. Poor Bill, he got quite a stretch of C.B. and I suppose he deserved it. He often came to see us afterwards, and used to say that his few days at the farm had been worth the resulting punishment..
These were the days when the Motor Cyclist trials were held in the mountains, teams coming from various stations in the Middle East. They did the most perilous rides over mountain tracks, across rough stony riverbeds, around dangerous bends and curves, all at top speed. Newmans was always a stop for milk when the route lay past the farm. They used to come roaring in, upwards of a hundred, and the car park was a mass of motorcycles while we dished out milk as quick as lightning. It was great fun – they would swallow their drinks and dash off again with the same roaring sound.
But clouds were gathering over Cyprus. We had lived there well over thirty years. We knew about Enosis, the union with Greece desired by so many Cypriots.
And here, Evelyn’s script ends …………………………………………………………………..
This is the final part of Evelyn’s memoirs, I have so enjoyed reading this story many times myself and pleased to be able to publish it for others to read and enjoy. It is sad that when the Newmans left the island the farm started to deteriorate. I had an interesting comment from a lady who remembers going there, this is what she said.
“My father Capper (Bill) Parlby went to work for the RAF Cinema Corporation at Nicosia in January 1960, initially for just a few months. The Cinema Corporation provided the Astra cinemas for the RAF so he was not in the forces although we enjoyed many of their concessions (for example use of the camp facilities, officer status & I was able to attend the RAF St Michaels school on the camp). After a few months my father was asked if he would do a 3 year tour in Cyprus so my mother, Joan, and myself Carrie (Carolyn) joined him in the September of 1960. My father had a regular favourite swimming bay just west of and outside Kyrenia so of course he took us there when we arrived and Newmans Farm was a favourite stop off afterwards. I think the Newmans had actually left by then but it was still running. In the summer we would get lovely home-made ice-creams and in the cooler weather they sold the most delicious drop scones, served piping hot and dripping with butter. We left Cyprus in the summer of 1963, then spent nearly 4 years in Aden (interesting but not as picturesque as Cyprus!). Towards the end of our stay Newman’s Farm became very run down and we stopped visiting.”
This photograph was taken by one of the family and I have been given permission to use it, you will note that it shows the glorious bougainvillea which Evelyn mentioned in one of the earlier chapters of her story.
I came across a picture of the farmhouse at a time when it had presumably been abandoned, I have no idea when it was taken, I should think many years later, but what a sad ending for what had been a lovely place which so many people visited and enjoyed.
Eventually, the building was restored and I am told had many different uses but some 18 years ago Hűseyin Kanbur turned it into a restaurant called The Chinese House. It doesn’t resemble the original building now but the lower floor of the farmhouse is in fact the original building and although it is very different it is now maintained with care by the current owner, Hűseyin, and is a lovely place to have an authentic Chinese meal. You can read more of the Chinese House which is included in one of the following articles.
To see the previous articles written about Newman’s Farm and the Chinese House, these are listed below:-
Newman’s Farm, Kyrenia, North Cyprus (August 2012) click here
Newman’s Farm, Kyrenia (September 2012) click here
North Cyprus – In Town Tonight – Lara Newman (January 2014) click here
North Cyprus – Newman’s Farm, Kyrenia (Revised Edition) (February 2014) click here