Notes from Lockdown: Alex Petsetakis

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, stylist and art director Alex Petsetakis shares her experiences from the small town of Nicosia

I live in the medieval walled city of Nicosia, Cyprus, and life here after more than a decade in London is quite rural and village-like. The last 45 days of quarantined confinement have only heightened that feeling.

A stray rooster dominates the neighbouring alley like some fierce mobster crowing at passers-by. Nature prevails and boasts in full technicolour as there are no spectators to admire it. The street stray cats rumble and laze openly in the streets, eyeballing you confidently as you are intruding in their territories now.

The call-to-prayer megaphoned from the mosque and the bells and sermons from the neighbouring Orthodox Church echo the narrow streets often in overlapping symphony. A walk amongst the abandoned limestone manor houses feels similar to roaming through a desolate movie set as the spring swallows shriek and dive over the roof tops.

The walled city of Nicosia “The last divided capital of Europe” shut the borders between North and South in the early days of the pandemic. I live a mere 100m from the UN buffer zone and there is an eerie feeling of united confinement now with my neighbours across the No Man’s Land.

Once busy streets have been replaced with patrolling siren lights cascading through closed windows. You Zoom, Skype, House Party, stay proactive, creative, bake bread, repot plants, tie dye, mend, update, archive, commentate on where the days have gone and what our release might look like until an awkward inevitable truth hits and you no longer feel like saying anything further.

Someone recently quoted Socrates and it has resonated with me these last few weeks and with slight pretence I end these musings with this: ‘The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.’