Wednesday, 11 May 2016 17:50

Open? Closed? You figure it out

Last weekend was lovely and long and... confusing. As always I could not quite figure out what the shops would be doing. It’s less out of necessity that I wonder - after all, with flexible working hours, a 24/7 kiosk and a 24/7 bakery nearby, I will always be able to keep myself and my cat fed. I just find it curious.

In fact Good Friday was so busy I considered calling into work to make sure they did not want me there. Was the office closed? Was it public holiday? I had prepared to ride along quiet streets, but instead engaged in the usual battle against the cars. Oh well.

I did not even follow the whole trading hours debate (or shall we say debacle) with much passion. It does not really impact my life. Especially since here again I am lucky as one of my neighbourhood vegetable shops decided long ago, to stay open on Wednesday afternoons and open on Sundays.

And yet, after almost 6 years on the island, I will still forget regularly and go off to one particular shop or the pharmacy on a Wednesday afternoon to find myself in front of closed doors - because I missed the necessary hint of the empty roads on the way.  Again, no drama will ensue as I am blessed with a flexible lifestyle, teaching evenings, writing weekends, freelancing the rest of the time.

In fact, Wednesdays will often bring back childhood memories. Growing up in an Austrian village our shops also closed on Wednesdays. Austria modified its law on trading hours in 2008 allowing stores to be open until 9p.m. on weekdays and until 6p.m. on Saturdays. Mind you, we still have our shops closed on Sundays.

Back in the UK the first restricting ‘Shops Act’ came into force in 1912 bringing shop staff’s working weeks down to 5½ days for the first time. One opinion piece I read online read “But the trend is dying out - just last year, my town decided to stop closing on Wednesday afternoon, although a lot  of small towns appear to maintain their half-day closing traditions”.

Maybe in Cyprus this ‘Wednesday thing’ is about maintaining traditions? I now find shops being closed old-fashioned, almost quaint. I read that in Cyprus the law not allowing shops to work on Sundays or Wednesday was put into place in 2006 and am not even sure what ‘the deal’ is now. I just know that on Wednesday afternoons Limassol feels ‘dead’ - with or without childhood memories and regardless of that hint of quaintness.

With summer coming, Limassol’s Wednesdays will soon have that touch of sleepy Italian village to them, calling for a siesta or at least a little snooze on the terrace. But maybe that’s a good thing.


Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of May 6, 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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