Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Best laid plans...

Our house is currently filled with the heady fragrance of narcissi thanks to Tom from Pickleball who allowed Mum and I to go and pick as many as we wanted last week.  They look cheerful and smell incredible and bring a little bit of spring into the house.  As the clocks change at the weekend and 'spring' forward it is officially the beginning of the new season and although the weather currently is warm we are due another cold snap and there is even talk of snow here at Easter which would be unbelievable although looking at the weather in the UK at the moment if that cold snap were to sweep across the Mediterranean we could be in for some pretty chilly conditions.

We have our fingers crossed that it will remain dry for Wednesday when Bill and Wendy are bringing their visitors up to this end of the island and on Thursday when it is our next Drouseian Day out and being organised by Di and Rob this time.  It is always nicer to explore the island when the sun is shining and we were so lucky when we went to the Troodos last month.

I got up early to go to the bank and to collect a parcel from SCS and to investigate what second hand books the Charity book shop had hoping to find one that Dad might enjoy once he has recovered from his operation.

The bank was open but the parcel office and the charity book shop don't open until 10.00 so my early start didn't actually help very much and I had to go and while away an hour in Paps doing a bit of shopping until the other establishments opened.  The parcel was the bike maintenance stand that I had ordered for John so that he can keep our pushbikes up together and I got very excited in the book shop when I found a bargain 50cent book by Nelson Demille only to read the back and see that it was the one that Dad had just read and really enjoyed - so anyone looking he has read Up Country.

I plumped for a Ken Follett, apparently you can't go wrong with a Ken Follett although I hated Pillars of the Earth myself.  This time Eye of the Needle which is one of my all time favourite films starring Donald Sutherland and something called And All the Kings Men by Gordon Stevens which is a story a bit like the SS-GB series currently on UK TV about what it would have been like if the Nazis had won the war.  Hopefully he will be able to return to reading and when he does these will be waiting for him.

Whilst I was down in Polis John went on another glasses hunt but to no avail and now that the goats are being grazed in the area there is no hope as they will either get eaten or get trampled on - I have given up hope now and with new ones on order will only have to wait until Friday for replacements.  I am coping ok except when it comes to using my mobile which is proving to be a challenge!!!!

Anyway as I said the goats are back and I smile at how much we used to panic when Chivers was a little kitten as he would insist on jumping into the field with them and we were concerned he would get kicked.

The cats are interested in the goats but not overly bothered by them - Charlie would normally growl if there is a stranger about or someone in the field but he normally just watches from a distance - as does Boris who likes to have the security of an elevated position!!!

It is a good time for the goats as there is plenty for them to eat and we tend to supplement their diet by chucking into the field any cuttings or weeds as we know they will get eaten.  No little kids in the flock as yet and no goats that are limping which is good to see because they are walked for miles and we are always concerned when we see one dragging its foot as we know it will have to do that for a fair old distance.

Pickleball this afternoon for me and Badminton for John.  I was travelling down with Diana and John was coming down later.  Mum is changing her day from Tuesday to Thursday so that the numbers are evened out and so that she can be around today should Dad need anything.

I walked to the end of the road to meet Di - it was the most beautiful afternoon and the views from the village are outstanding.  Despite having every slow moving vehicle known to man in front of us we still managed to make the trip in time and had a good session playing.  Mum came to pick me up as Diana was going straight home today.  We spent the afternoon with Dad who says his eye is gradually improving and a visit to Mrs Metaxa today confirmed that the operation appears to have been a success - time will tell.

Monday, 27 March 2017

All things medical...

We were up early today because we were taking Dad to Limassol for his cataract operation.  Today, Monday 20th was to be a very important day medically for lots of friends and family and we had our fingers crossed for anyone we knew who was having a brush with a white coat today.  We also had our fingers, toes and anything else crossed that this time Dad's operation would prove more successful than his previous one.

We made good time to the Clinic, I couldn't drive as my glasses are languishing in a field somewhere and although my long sight is ok my short sight is poor and without my glasses my eyes and brain seem to be at odds with one another.  We got Dad into the clinic safe and sound and they were all ready for him, this does seem a rather more professional outfit than where he went previously but then his eye was lasered and today he is being fitted with a new lens.

After the preliminary checks we left Dad to go and grab a coffee and a cake and made our way to the nearby Debenhams where there is also a Peacocks and a Next all of which were having a sale although John thought that someone must have mixed the labels up in Peacocks with Next prices - back in the UK Peacocks is one of the cheaper shops but over here blimey it is extortionate.  It was a quick flick around those two shops before going into Debenhams and heading for the coffee shop.

Whilst we were all taking advantage of the all day offer of a cup of tea or filter coffee with muffin Dad rang to say his operation would be at 12.00 and then he would have to recuperate for about 2 hours so we were to go back for him at 2.00pm.  We didn't rush over our coffees as we had plenty of time to kill and once finished we went to have a look around the clothes items and John managed to get some really nice casual trousers - thanks Mum for his early birthday present even though we now realise you have already given him his birthday present!!!!

When we had exhausted all the delights of Debenhams we went off in search of somewhere to get a sandwich made for Dad because Mum knew he would be starving once he was released by the hospital.  This is not as easy as you might think particularly as this area of Limassol is totally unfamiliar to us.  There are probably loads of great places to get a sandwich if you are in the know!!!

We had got dressed early this morning in the chill of a Droushia morning and were now getting rather hot in Limassol where the temperatures are infinitely higher - I so looked like a hick from the sticks!!!!!  We passed some rather trendy boutiques with rather trendy mannequins but didn't venture in - no prices displayed normally equates to unaffordable prices!!

I had noticed a very small very traditional looking grill house opposite Debenhams which is where we ended up for lunch in amongst the ecclesiastical lamps with roofs made from pasta!!!!  This was called the Brighton Rock cafe and was run by a London Cypriot and was where we were able to get a sandwich made for Dad.

Dad appeared at 2.00pm and was allowed to go home - we have to take him back for a check up in two weeks and have to be there for 9.00am which will mean a really early start that day!  Apparently the surgeon said everything had gone well and so now it will only be a matter of time to see.

We dropped Mum and Dad off and felt reasonably happy that this time things had gone as well as could be expected.  I rushed round to the opticians to order a replacement pair of glasses taking John with me to help me chose a new pair and to persuade him that he should have his eyes tested at the same time which he did and his long sight is fine but at some point in the future he is going to need glasses for reading.

I eventually found some frames that we all seemed to agree on.  My Optician keeps telling me that the frames I had were old fashioned and nowadays the trend is for bigger frames but I had those years ago and didn't like them then so we settled on a compromise which I hope I wont regret!!!

The new glasses wont be ready until Friday so I will have to struggle on until then - I think that is the longest I have been without glasses for ages.  I am so peed off because in 53 years I have never lost or broken a pair of specs.

So we got home in one piece and were greeted by four ravenous felines who weren't in the least bit interested as to why we had been out all day they just wanted their little tummies filled and quickly!!!

Once again belly dancing was cancelled which was a shame as Diana and I do enjoy the exercise but to cheer ourselves up (like we needed it) we decided to go eat at Fitos.  I have to say that the last time we went together it was just after Fitos had reopened after its Winter break and we didn't have the best of meals that night.  Tonight however was possibly the best meal I have ever had there.  We had all sorts of dishes brought to the table before and after we were served our main meals including ironically some fresh wild asparagus (but no glasses with them).  On the specials list there were some new additions including beef stroganoff which I chose and it was absolutely fabulous.  Our meal was rounded off with cake and coffee and brandies and a very small bill so we were all really pleased.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

John is going to shout at me...

We woke to a beautiful dry fine morning with sunshine streaming in and the house feeling warm - much more spring-like than of late.  We had taken the time to clear up last night before going to bed so there were no horrible surprises to greet me when I got up, fed the cats, got the coffees and returned to bed to ease ourselves into the day.

We were going to have lunch at Mum and Dad's today because Mum was going to the cinema this evening to see the ballet being beamed there.  Tomorrow is a big day for various family members on the medical front including Dad who is going to have a cataract removed so we have to be up early and down to Emba to pick him and Mum up to get him to the clinic in Limassol for 10.00am.

We pottered this morning before meeting Christos from the village and showing him where John and Liselotte live so that he could deliver them a load of wood for their fire.  This was quite convenient as it was en route to Emba.  Christos was not a happy man because last night someone had taken parts off of one of his trucks which was parked opposite his house.  To be fair the truck did look like it had been abandoned but nevertheless it was his truck and now it is minus lights, bumpers, wind mirrors etc etc.  Not a nice thing to have happened and not a nice thing to have happened here in Droushia - he did make me laugh because he said he was informing the police and hopefully they would come and dust for fingerprints - that truck was about 100 years old (slight exaggeration) so I am guessing they will have their work cut out.  Anyway we drove cross country with him hot on our tail through some pretty stunning scenery - the island is so green at the moment and so full of spring flowers it is beautiful.

We continued on our way and drove to Emba via Lemba so that we could stop and take a look at the Cyprus College of Art which is such an unusual building and like Topsy grows and grows.  I would like to spend longer looking at it but John was keen to get to Mum and Dad's so we had time to play a game of cards before lunch.  Even though we had had a good meal last night I was feeling rather peckish!!!!

We had a lovely lunchtime - Mum and Dad were on good form and we enjoyed a good meal and a good game of cards and a few laughs and we left in good time to get home and feed the cats.  We planned to have a reasonably early night before our early start in the morning.

Mum and Dad's garden is far in advance being down in Emba and currently they have quite a few plants in flower.  For a short period of time they have the lovely irises out which are so pretty.  They don't last too long but are lovely whilst they are out.

We got home in good time and I decided I would go out for a walk to enjoy the remaining sunshine and John was watching the football and I wasn't too bothered so I picked up the camera and went for a wander across the road where I had picked some asparagus previously as John had asked whether there was still some around.

Take a long hard look at these few insignificant spears of wild asparagus - they have just cost me the best part of €500 because when I went out to pick some I was wearing my new glasses which I had asked to be made with Transition lenses because I thought I would benefit from having some sort of sunglasses as I never wear them.  I couldn't get on with the Transitions so every time it was a sort of half-light they would go black and I would be unable to see.  This happened last evening so I tucked the glasses into my sweatshirt and then having tramped around two fields suddenly realised they had gone and I had absolutely no idea where.  I ran home knowing that John's immediate reaction would be to shout at me and then he calmed down and helped me look but no joy so, as I cannot manage without them I am going to have to go and buy another pair. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT - just when we didn't need any extra expenditure.  I shall see whether the household insurance will cover me but I am not hopeful and having just claimed for my old pair the medical insurance isn't going to pay up again.  Very expensive asparagus...

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A bumper day...

It was village clean up day today and the forecast was not good so we weren't surprised to have a cloudy start.  It was maybe not the best day to schedule a clean as Linda and Christine had been out celebrating St Patrick's Day at the Farmyard last night and had wimped out due to excessive river dancing and a hangover!!!!

Norma and Malcolm were away so it was just the five of us who assembled today at the Droushia Heights at 9.00am!!  Thanks Klaus for coming and thanks Diana and Rob as today was going to be a very important day in their football calendar because today the Mighty Blades host Charlton Athletic in what was going to be a pretty crucial game for both teams.

Anyway I digress, the Famous Five assembled as planned and we were cleaning the good old Mucky DVD route which takes us down the main road out of the village to the museum at the bottom.  The first time we did this route we filled many many bags with plastic bottles, cans, paper and the said mucky DVDs but today we were really surprised at how little had accumulated and we were quite pleased that there had only been the five of us otherwise we might have struggled to keep ourselves occupied!!!  Anyway a grey day turned into a glorious day (although the wind was nippy) and we were able to enjoy our walk and take in the beauty of our surroundings.  It is a good time to come and discover the wild flowers of Cyprus.

No killer breakfast for us this time as we had a date with destiny this afternoon - John was picking up Rob and Di at around 4.30pm to listen to the game and watch it if it was being streamed and follow on Twitter and any other method available to enjoy the experience so we finished our clean, took our obligatory photograph so the Mukhtar could see we had been using the blue bags he provides and then shot back home to prepare for THE MATCH.

John is so happy to have found someone local to us who enjoys his football as much as John does.  There was a huge amount of preparation taking place and attention to detail.  Villa 10b became a homage to Bramall Lane and even the SUFC flag got an airing.  John chose the replica shirt which was sponsored by Visit Malta in Di's honour as her parents are Maltese.

I was providing the after match meal and Di had kindly offered to make the pudding which is good because I don't have a great pudding repertoire - I was doing a little salad starter with rocket, pomelo, bacon bits and halloumi and then we were having bbq beef ribs, coleslaw and jacket potatoes.  John was in charge of the bar and had stocked up with some real ales as a special treat for the afternoon.

Indoors we had the BBC red button for the scores - this is Roberts preferred method of watching the information coming through so we had prepared my little notebook to deliver this service.  John had his Blades Player so he could broadcast the commentary and we had the laptop showing the game being streamed whilst Di was following on Twitter which, as it happens, is realtime and all the other methods are seconds behind so she is in the know before anyone else but has to keep schtum which is quite amusing.

There was great excitement when Charlton scored in the first three minutes - Di and I already knew but had to pretend otherwise!!!  Bobby was ecstatic and John was not!!!!  From a Blades Supporters point of view the balance was restored very shortly afterwards.

The Mighty Blades scored again and won the game 2-1 keeping a firm hold on top place of League 1 and one step closer to automatic promotion.  Rob and Di took the loss with good grace - sadly they say that this season they are getting used to it.  Game over the rivalry was forgotten as we settled down to our supper.   I have got to say that the ribs were superb and the lemon meringue pie afterwards absolutely delicious - in fact I can go so far as saying I rather regretted eating such a large slice!!!  Many many many thanks to the Veasey's for making today such fun and glad to say that we are still friends even after the result.

Friday, 24 March 2017


We are very close to completing the toilet project and I think we are both pleased with the result.  We have just got to get some more of the moulded wooden edging to finish off round the paneling, rehang the picture of Portholland and wait for my retro soap dispenser to arrive.

I have my heart set on one of those old fashioned swivel types which simply tip up to dispense - these are not so easy to find but when I did I was shocked by the price!!!!  Eventually I found one which was rather more reasonable than some and came to the conclusion that it would be better to get exactly what I want because otherwise I will buy two or three other ones trying the find the right thing and spend the same amount if not more and still not be happy.    My only fear is that it will be too big when it arrives.  I hope not.

We left early for pickleball today as we needed to quickly shoot into Super Home Centre to get a few bits.  We take this sort of DIY shop for granted now - it is the Paphos equivalent to B&Q and sells everything from a gizmo to a widget.  How different it was when Mum and Dad first came here over 25 years ago when these sorts of shops did not exist, in those days there appeared to be a supplier for every single item so you would get one item from one place and then have to traipse across town to get something else from a different place.   I can remember trying to get curtain hooks and expecting to get them from a curtain shop only to be told to go elsewhere!!!  Although the likes of Super Home Centre make shopping easier it does sanitise the charm of a traditional Cypriot shopping experience where purchasing a bag of curtain hooks from the curtain hooks supplier would inevitably involve stopping for a coffee in the shop!!

I needed some vegetables today and chose to nip into the local supplier near Mum's rather than to to Paps.  I have no idea whether these are reasonably priced but I do know that they only supply what is fresh and locally grown - indeed I have known them go out and cut a lettuce straight from the field and give it to you earth, bugs and all!!!  My cabbage, onions and carrots for the coleslaw that I will make tomorrow for the BIG footie match cost me €1.

We had an excellent pickleball session this afternoon - no requirement to move hundreds of terracotta pots beforehand thank goodness!!!  I had pre-prepared a playing list which always helps and ensured that we didn't knacker Mrs Veasey out too much as she had a tight hamstring or Achilles on Tuesday.  She sat out with Mum who prefers to play every other game on a Friday which is sensible and having constructed the list so that the four girlies got to play regularly Diana will get to learn all sorts of tips and tricks from the very different playing styles of Liselotte - fast and hard and Mum slower, more controlled and downright sneaky at times with her killer spin!!

After pickleball Mum and I went to Tom's house to pick narcissi.  I seem to remember we did that last year - he has hundreds in bloom in his front garden and rather than see them go to waste he invites us to take what we want.  I love the smell although in a confined space it can become rather heady but will fill our house with a lovely aroma and look pretty on the dining table as we have Rob and Diana eating with us after the big match tomorrow which is Sheffield United v Charlton - Rob was back in the UK for the previous fixture and Charlton snuck a draw - we are almost hoping for the same result tomorrow so that both boys will be happy (or not as the case may be).

Mum had bought me a present - in fact two presents!!!  These are a thank-you for taking her and Dad to Limassol on Monday when Dad will have his second cataract operation which we hope will be infinitely more successful than the first one.

My gift was two antique style lanterns which have 'candles' inside which are fitted with flickering LED lights.  I have decided to put them in the conservatory as I think they are probably designed to be indoors and I would hate to ruin them but putting them outside and the weather getting to them.

I have placed one on each window ledge and they look very nice - in keeping with the style and colour scheme of our conservatory so thanks Mum and Dad for the present.

On the subject of presents and flowers tomorrow is our lovely friend Sally Allan's birthday and I sent her some flowers using the Bunches company that I have used for years.  When you order through them you flowers get sent with a nice card and some chocolates included in the price.  I have always assumed that what gets sent is nice although have rarely seen the end result so it was lovely that Sally sent a photograph of her flowers and a note to say that each individual stem of the oriental orchids had been put into a little plastic water filled holder.  They look stunning and I am so pleased with them.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

D-Day part 2....

I am surprised I am around to type this blog - John has been sooooooo bloody stressed today with the toilet project that bear and sore head doesn't come anywhere close!!!!

I was treating myself today - I had an appointment at Beauty by Kate in Polis for a little bit of me time - a facial for my poor old skin!  John was doing the shopping and getting some DIY bits for the project whilst I was cocooning myself in a bit of peace and quiet.

Kate's salon is an oasis of calm in an otherwise tense and tetchy environment and I would visit more often if I could afford to do so but I have to satisfy myself with a treatment about every six weeks or so.  Not having been blessed with good skin, having had terrible acne from about the age of 11 I never considered skin care to be important and how I rue that decision - my skin has been ravaged by sebum, sun and seniority!!!

Today I realised that fashions just turn full circle as I was treated to a black mask which is all the rage at the moment, when I asked what made it black Kate told me that the basis of the mask was Fullers' Earth and in my early teens I remember making my own face masks using Fullers' Earth although today the mask had a flexible quality so it could be peeled off and the crap it removed viewed sticking to the surface - nice!!!!

I thought when I was a youngster that I would be tall, and have lovely thick hair and clear, clear skin - I was clearly deluded as I am or have none of the above.

Whilst waiting for me John sat in the cafe which is attached to the old Fish Market and saw that they were selling freshly prepared Pecans which is one of our favourites.  A huge bag cost €10 and we couldn't resist - I dont expect they will reside in the cupboard for long but oh how we will enjoy eating them whilst they are fresh and juicy.

Once home and armed with a new diamond tipped cutting disk John cracked on with the tiling in the bathroom and there wasn't much I could do to help except to stay close at hand in case I was needed to do something even if it were only to make a coffee.

I found out the teak oil and gave the kitchen cupboards a good feed and polish and they looked ab-fab afterwards.   I did it properly this time using a toothbrush to get into all the little grooves - John had to admit I had done a good job so I must have done an outstanding job as his praise is very hard to come by!!

The tiling went ok - not 100% to John's satisfacation but then nothing ever is and the toilet appeared to go in ok but we did have a bit of a water leak afterwards but we think that was from the cistern bit and not the actual toilet.

I tidied up the walls - where John has needed to take the door off of its hinges and put it outside for easier access there were some marks on the wall and he had done such a good job painting them it was a shame not to just touch them up.

So the job is about 90% complete - we have the wooden edges to replace which sit on the top of the wood panels and we have the door to sand down and the door frame to repair at the bottom and then the frame needs to be repainted - we also need to find a suitable soap dispenser and I have my eye on one of the old fashioned tipping types but they are very difficult to find at a price we want to pay but it seems a shame to spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar so they say!!!  I found the one I wanted but it wasn't available to be delivered over here so I will send it to John's mum and at some point it will find it's way over here.  I am so pleased with the way this has turned out - I daren't tell John but it is better than I had expected and it all looks nice and clean.  I love the tiles at the back and now that we have a nice small neat toilet there seems to be more space.

OK so this is what satisfaction looks like - at the end of a hard day a bottle of beer was the reward and John said it was a very nice bottle of beer too.  Add to that a nice slow cooked pork casserole with jacket potatoes and hot coleslaw and that is how our day was completed.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

D Day (decorating day)...

The downside of John doing the shopping on Monday is that my fridge and cupboards are full of things I didn't have on the list - I have a fridge full of bacon but apparently Back Bacon was on offer so Back Bacon came home to Droushia.  The plus-side is that our breakfast this morning (which was designed to fill us up and negate the need for lunch) was big fat bacon butties filled with really lovely back bacon.  This set us up for the remainder of the day and the remainder of the beef spare ribs.

Today was the day that the tiling was going to happen in the toilet and I was going to be John's gofer which is a recipe for disaster if not divorce.  It is no easy task being apprentice to Mr Perfectionist I can tell you!!!

Although John had taken most of the tiles to be professionally cut the wall is not square - surprise surprise and something got a bit lost in translation so some of the tiles needed to be shaved slightly and some needed to be completely re-cut and sadly the new blade that John had purchased in readiness gave up the ghost part of the way through so he didn't get quite as far with the tiling as he had hoped.  Tomorrow he will have to get a new blade so that the job can be finished to his satisfaction - I am going to Polis tomorrow morning anyway so he can come down with me.

I didn't dare wander too far from the decorating zone just in case I was needed so I had to lurk in the kitchen but heyho whilst I was in there I took the old bananas and made a banana loaf which could act as a peace offering if I managed to really pee John off by deserting my station which was bound to happen at some point today.  We were a bit naughty and had a slice of the cake straight out of the oven just to check it was edible as it seemed to brown on top a tad quicker than I had anticipated - probably because I had used brown sugar instead of white.

I had a lot of hanging around to do which I hate - the weather was changeable and when it was cold it was bloody cold and when the sun shone it was lovely.

The garden is confused - around Christmas I had some narcissi out in bloom and it looks like I am about to get some again but I have no idea why they should be flowering three months' apart.

I did managed to get washing out and reasonably dry and have the luxury of being able to ensure it dries by hanging it in the conservatory - I don't like having washing hanging around but needs must and we weren't expecting any visitors!!!

During lulls in the tiling I was allowed to pull up a few weeds and do a bit of sweeping up - the recent storm had brought down a load of leaves and we have finally burnt all the logs we had stored under the covered walkway but there was a lot of debris left behind so it was a good opportunity to get it tidied up.

My main job was washing the tiles ready to go up onto the wall and to make sure I gave the tiles in the correct order and to facilitate this I had them all laid out on the garden table - just had to ensure Boris didn't send them crashing as he tends to run along the shed onto the wall and jumps down into the garden via the table.

The day did not go without hitches and it is such a small room for John to be working in so nigh on impossible when there are the two of us in there.  By the end of work today John had got most of the back wall tiled but couldn't go any further because of the tiles that needed to be cut.

We are really pleased with the tiles.  Even though we really like the original ones we purchased which were a much softer colour and a much softer tile as it turned out, the shades in those we ended up with go so well with the colours in the kitchen and as they are right next door that is good although I don't intend to leave the door open we sometimes do to allow the warm air in the lounge into the toilet which is a bit like a morgue at times.

Our reward tonight was to devour the remainder of the beef ribs which we did with relish or more particularly with coleslaw and a jacket potato.  This was washed down with a small glass of wine from a cheeky little bottle that John had picked up when he was allowed to go wild in the aisles.

We completed the meal with a warmed slice of banana loaf and a smidgen of cream before settling down to watch a little TV before retiring to bed - we finished watching Taboo and then started watching The Replacement - woah if the first episode is anything to go by this is going to be a corker - the main character feels she is having her job, friends and life slowly taken away from her by the person who replaces her when she goes on maternity leave.  It is devastating when someone works really hard to create a life only for someone else to walk in and take it all away without any effort- it will be interesting to see how this pans out.