“So, what did you get us?” my two teenagers asked as I came through the door, pulling my suitcase behind me.  It was a bit of a running family joke as to how quick they could ask and what, indeed, I had actually brought back as a present from wherever I’d been.

“Well, I’ve got you some of your favourite Turkish delight and,” I paused for effect, “a penthouse apartment in North Cyprus!”

“What?” “Eh?” “A what?”

It was true.  Earlier that day, I’d put down a deposit, given power of attorney to my friend Chrissie and got on a flight home after a week’s holiday, the proud owner of the soon-to-be 8th floor apartment in a block of the upcoming Caesar’s Resort.  

And it felt right.  I’d lived abroad while serving with the British Foreign Office, and loved travelling, so to invest the little bit of spare capital I had in a holiday home just felt the right thing to do.  It helped that my good friends, Roger and Chrissie, who had just retired out there from Jersey, were enamoured with the place.  

Fast forward six years and I’m now in Leicestershire, at my desk, looking out from the front bedroom window over the rooftops of the bungalows.  The world is trying to come to terms with a virulent virus and life seems to have stopped.  My freelance work with the BBC local radio has all but dried up and I’m trying to keep mentally busy.  I miss the radio and I miss my friends and my apartment in North Cyprus – not knowing when I’ll be able to get back there.  I do jigsaws; I enrol in a travel journalism course; I walk the dog listening to podcasts.  

Podcasts – a seed of an idea forms.  Having presented my own radio show on the BBC in Jersey for 9 years, I’d say I can hold a conversation and ask a few questions.  I start to research how you go about having your own podcast – the equipment needed; who can host it, how you upload it.  I do a couple of webinars, listen to more podcasts and decide I want to do one.  But what about?  I’d like to do a travel podcast but there are loads out there – so what is my niche? What do I enjoy and think others might too?  North Cyprus, of course! And it would be fun to do it with someone else. 

My good friend Roger Bara immediately springs to mind.  He and I worked together on the radio for the BBC in Jersey for many years.  Even though he is supposed to be retired in N Cyprus he was still pretty busy writing blogs and articles for local and Jersey newspapers but I pitched the idea to him and well, Talking Round North Cyprus was born.  

I did the artwork, he composed the theme tune and here we are, exactly seven months later, just about to release our 21st episode.  We’ve chatted with so many great people who have made their home in N Cyprus from Conrad who felt persecuted in Namibia to Helen, from Romania, who fell in love with her tour guide and has just completed an epic journey with her six-year old son.  We’ve heard from authors; charity workers; restaurant workers, Iranians, Americans.  We’ve learnt about property and how the medical system works but mostly we’ve heard of the love that everyone has for North Cyprus.  

So, please do have a listen wherever you get your podcasts from - search “Talking Round North Cyprus” 

And, who knows, maybe you too will end up with more than Turkish Delight from your next holiday!