The fields stretch out before me; there’s a smell of straw mingled with the faint sweetness of cattle manure. A warm breeze caresses my toes as I look out from my balcony. I hear pigeons cooing and the low rumble of a tractor. The grass sways in the breeze, and in the distance, the sea sparkles a cobalt blue. I’m in a tiny hamlet called Mandria on the island of Cyprus. In two days I’ll witness the marriage of my daughter and the man she loves, and all is well here on the first floor of the luxurious Aphrodite Sands Resort where I’m staying for a week.
Bottlebrush trees line the lane, which is bordered by neat, colourful gardens and whitewashed cottages. Dogs stretch and yawn as they laze in the sun, puppies tumble under gateways with children in hot pursuit, cats prowl arrogantly between dwarf palms and mauve and pink lantana bushes.
The melodic tones of an ancient language rise from the lane beneath me as a mother bends to propel a pushchair forwards towards the village whilst talking to her infant as she moves. I wonder if she’s saying words of love, or telling a story. The sound of her voice is soothing, relaxing, and I close my eyes to drift away for a short slumber.