1)On the flight from London to Larnaca I realised for the first time just how close Nicosia is to Aleppo, 224 miles by air, 369 miles by land.
2)Standing on the balcony of the Nicosia Master Plan office you look straight onto a vast Turkish flag drawn on the face of the mountain overlooking Nicosia. It’s visible from lots of places throughout the city but in particular in the hours of darkness when a second moon and star are illuminated.
3)There’s a set of steps, isolated from any other architectural feature, rising out of the dry earth, surrounded by open views in the deserted village of Agios Sozomenos. The date 14/9/1959 has been inscribed by hand in what was wet plaster, on the second step up from the ground.*
4)In the car journey from Nicosia to Famagusta (Gazimagusa), Yiorgos re- told the story of his family’s exile from his mother’s village Engomi (Tuzla in Turkish), a site of Bronze Age settlement, once called Alasia. He remembered the exact time and date of their departure, 15th August 1974.*
5)On a, soft, white, sandy beach in Famagusta, empty, bombed-out buildings provide the backdrop for holidaymakers and sunbathers. A ramshackle, buckled, low, metal, fence separates us from the Forbidden Zone, drawing a dividing line over the sand, down into the clear blue sea.
6)We laughed for forty-five minutes, belly aching laughter, whilst having our future read in a Café next to the beach at Famagusta. Leaving behind seven cups and saucers on a red and white gingham tablecloth, each containing the residue of our coffee and the key to our future.
7)A soft, green, see-through, torn, draping, mesh, net defines and denies areas of the city.
8)Walking along the edge of the ghost city we listened to roars and cheers spilling out from the Athletic Association of Gazimagusa Stadium as a penalty was taken in a game between two teams we didn’t know.*
9)The white lines woven into the red carpet in The Selimiye Mosque, once the Cathedral of Saint Sophia in North Nicosia, run at a 45 degree angle to the architecture, orientating the mosque towards Mecca and making everything inside seem at a slight slant.*
10)Maria, Angela and their students spoke about how the material from destroyed, collapsed and bombed buildings has the potential to create new ground, and as a consequence new topographies.
11)Sharing Yiorgos’s Kukicha, Japanese twig tea I was reminded of the present Tanya gave me 10 years ago, in Glasgow, of the same tea. I realize now that I never knew how to brew it properly.
12)Driving back in the pitch dark, from Famagusta to Larnaca, taking Duncan to the airport, we couldn’t find the checkpoint. Three dead ends, before we got through.*
13)I finished the last page of Rebecca Solnit’s A Book of Migrations8 as the plane touched down in London at 16.05pm on Sunday 13th Nov.