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A Business Proposal of Marriage
by Jilliana Ranicar-Breese

I was working at The Sunday Times in London and went around with a Cypriot Greek girl called Elena. It was the first time I had any Cypriot connections and was thrilled when I was invited with her to a wedding in Camden Town the Greek area. I recall the guests pinning money onto the bride's wedding dress and people dancing after copious plates of food had been eaten.

Not long after I was on the underground going somewhere when an elderly gentleman started to talk to me with a strong foreign accent. He was from Limassol  Cyprus. Excitedly I told him about my friend and the enchanting wedding. One day I said I would go back telling him that I had in fact been there for the day with Epotiki lines en route to Haifa a few years earlier.

I was surprised when he asked for my name and address. When he saw my Jewish surname thoughts must have come into his opportunist mind. Not long after I received an aero gramme from him telling me that he had spoken to an elderly David Davide, a Jewish businessman in Limassol who wanted to meet me in the flesh. He wanted my photo which he promised to return, would like to invite me to stay for a week to get to know me (no mention of sending an airline ticket) .

As he was 70 I would be on an allowance of X a month and in the event of his demise after one year, an allowance of X thousand. Obviously the marriage broker I had met would be on a commission. I didn't understand these matters and thought it all a big joke. I put the letter away and kept it for years bringing it out from time to time for a laugh.

I never replied. Never went to Cyprus and today wonder how I would have handled this proposal differently.