Cyprus Mail
Life & Style

A minute with Michael Owen Painter


Where do you live?
Lania village since 1973, having arrived in Cyprus in 1971, with my wife Jacqueline, four cats and six goldfish and our hut in the Akamas set in seven acres of wild land and rocks.

Best childhood memory?
I was about 7 when I travelled, with my mother, along Hadrian’s Roman Wall in northern England until we entered the lake district with its wide vistas of snow-covered fells.

Most frequented restaurant and absolute favourite dish?
Perhaps Lophou Taverna across the valley for its wild tsipoura, boiled potatoes, spinach.

What food would you really turn your nose up to?

What did you have for breakfast?
Toasted brown bread from Mesogi, Paphos, olive oil, marmite, peanut butter, tomato.

Would you class yourself as a day or night person?
Night person. He only sunrises I ever saw were during national service in Malaya.

What’s your idea of the perfect night/day out?
Picnic on a deserted beach during the summer with full moon, a bottle of red and my wife.

Best book ever read…
Difficult. I probably finish a book a week. Perhaps the Aussie Tim Winton’s Dirt Music. You’re completely immersed in sand and sea off the north west of Australia. I’m looking forward to reading his new book Island Home; a Landscape Memoire.

Favourite film of all time?
The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergmann because of its strangeness, powerful photography of Gunnar Fischer with, of course, the magnificent Max von Sydow. I saw it on a dark, snowy winter’s evening in Stockholm, which reinforced its atmosphere.

Favourite holiday destination?
Aland islands in the Baltic for simplicity of rock, sea and light.

Best holiday ever taken?
Taking a one month Eurail pass, first class, validating in Vienna and reaching Uppsala, getting off when and where we wanted.

What’s your dream trip?
Galapagos islands

What music are you listening to in the car at the moment?
Nothing. I could enjoy playing something big – say Verdi’s Requiem, but it would be too dangerous.

What is always in your fridge?
Full fat milk for making semolina and tapioca puddings.

Dream house: rural retreat or urban dwelling? Where would it be, what would it be like?
Kare Kare on the wild West coast of New Zealand, high in the bush but within walking distance of a long, deserted beach, the surf, and checking the fishing lines.

If you could pick anyone at all (alive or dead) to go out for the evening with, who would it be?
Franz Schubert who died at the age of 31 in 1828. I’d like to walk around the dark alleys of Vienna with him at night, to savour his warmth of nature and to wonder at his outpouring of exquisite music.

If the world is ending in 24 hours what would you do?
Enjoy a fine bottle of wine with my wife, cats and fish.

What is your greatest fear?

Tell me a joke…
Why do most people forget jokes?
Especially me.

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