Friday, 28 April 2017

A new week...

Well I don't know what happened at art today but it is safe to say that my progress looked to be non existent - Sheila has finished her picture of the elephant (yes that infamous elephant with a certain part of the anatomy that foxed her!) and is embarking on a picture of flowers herself.  She and Klaus have some wonderful roses in their garden and she is going to make a picture out of three blooms which she has photographed.  It will be interesting to see how she tackles this subject matter.

Today I was working on the large peony bloom which is to the left of the picture.  Now that I look at it from a distance I can see that it is taking shape but when you are working close up then it is difficult to see how you are doing.

It was a lovely morning - we had a chance to have a wander around the garden before a lovely lunch from Klaus - I wont need to eat again today after the roast chicken, roast potatoes and veggies!!!

One of their 'outdoor' cats has produced kittens - it would appear that there is only one surviving at it is about the size of a small rat at the moment - I caught a glimpse but didn't want to traumatise the mum by taking a photograph.

I am eternally grateful to Mum for letting me have permanent custody of her trusty Singer sewing machine and for our friend John Page for servicing it every time he comes over.

This afternoon I put it to good use this afternoon and attached some curtain header tape to the new curtains I have purchased for the lounge and for this I must thank Paula from our belly dancing group because she found a whole load of the tape and gave it to me.  It was just enough to do the two pairs.

I will need John to hang them because bar standing on the kitchen work surface there is no way I can reach the tracking.  I could tell the machine had been serviced because it stitched beautifully - to be fair it was only two straight lines on each panel but it all went swimmingly and they will look nice and will allow us to move the ones which are there to the conservatory as John has bought some curtain track and in the winter we think thick curtains at the sliding doors will make the room feel much warmer - it is worth a try and it will be nice to block out looking at the grey winter weather.

It was another nice day on the whole - just around lunchtime it came over a bit grey but all was well and looking at the PV generation today was a really good day.


After sewing I went outside to do a bit more gardening - the honeysuckle in Gregoris's garden was in danger of blocking our access to the gate so it got a bit of a pruning but as it will flower shortly I didn't want to go too mad because I love smell as you walk past and brush the blooms.  The asphodel in the garden has almost finished flowering and has become a haven for all the snails in Droushia.  That got a haircut too and I have left the one remaining bloom intact but that will go at the weekend.



My hot cross buns seemed to be enjoyed by all that sampled them so tonight, bored and with a glut of self-raising flour I decided to make some crumpets - the recipe I usually use calls for yeast so I thought this would be interesting to try because if successful would be easier to knock up.  The first few were a bit of a disaster as it takes time to get the pan to the right heat so that the bottoms don't burn and the bubbles break on the surface plus you need to get just about the right amount in the rings - I have learned that less is more in this respect.  Will see what they taste like...

And sorry for sporadic posts over the next few days - I have taken mum and dad to Dubai for their grandson's wedding - poor John is cat sitting in Droushia and I miss him xxx

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Getting ready for summer...


It is really time to think about getting the garden ready for summer although we have one more coptic storm to endure which is due at the end of April and which is 'sand laden' so leaves everything in a right old mess.

I am no interior designer nor do I have the disposable income to dress the house and garden exactly as I would chose but I do my best with what we have.  Part of me would like to have clean lines, rather more minimalist than we have but I like 'stuff' and pretty things and our house is filled with items which are of great sentimental value with memories attached.

Thank goodness for shops like Jumbo is all I can say as it allows me to indulge my passion but at a reasonable price.  Today I finished dressing the front seating area.  I put the curtains up on the gazebo which means one less bag of stuff we have temporarily stored at George's (with his permission).  The roof can wait until after the coptic - generally we have them up beforehand and regret the decision immediately as they never last and end up being ripped to shreds.  Apparently you can buy replacements at the SuperHome Centre but whenever we have been to do so they are out of stock or sold out.  If I am passing that way then I will call in and check and hope to be successful.  If the ones we have last another season then great I will have spare new ones for next year.


The front seating area gets the sun during the day and into the evening but is an area we tend not to use so much so when we saw some nice reasonably priced furniture the other day we decided to treat ourselves and Charlie has given it his seal of approval joining me this afternoon and checking out the chairs for their snoozability factor.  It seems to have got a 10 from him!


I plan to use this section of the garden for afternoon tea and for Dad to go and check his eyelids for pinholes after Sunday Lunch!  Having said that Mum and Dad haven't been up here for weeks for one reason or another but next Sunday it is most definitely my turn and we can have our lunch and maybe (if the sun is shining) have a little drinky there beforehand.

video

I was able to do a little gardening today between delivering some of my hot cross buns to friends and neighbours and staying for a cuppa and a chat.  I was amazed by how many bees we have in the garden at the moment - normal ones not just the masonry type and then I realised that they were swarming outside the guest bedroom door - it would appear that they are trying to nest in one of or near one of the plants there.  I shall have to call in Bassam and see if he can capture them for one of his hives.  They don't bother me but they just might bother any guests we have who try and relax in the steamer chairs which are adjacent!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Easter


We are in the midst of the Easter weekend and my plans were likely to be weather dependent and after last night's rolling mists and cool temperatures I did not hold out much hope of doing much else than just slobbing around the house but I woke really early for some reason and when I did I could see a clear bright sun coming up over the hills which looked like it was going to herald a nice day and it did so that meant I could really do whatever I wanted because the weather wasn't going to hold me back.
  Today is not a bank holiday but for many it is part of their long holiday weekend so it is good that the sun is shining.  My early start means I will most likely have an early end to my day as I am sure my batteries will run out as the evening progresses.

Good job I don't have neighbours because I think I was hoovering around 5.30am but it was nice to have the house looking clean before I sat down for breakfast.

One of the pluses of having parents that live in a house with a big garden and one which produces beautiful roses is that I get to take some home with me and yesterday I cut a selection and they look beautiful on the lounge coffee table with the early morning sun catching the petals.

Cleaning done I stuck the washing on safe in the knowledge that if I put it out it would dry and add to the ironing pile.  At this rate Minnie Mou's nose will be touching the ceiling but she likes to sleep in the laundry basket (I cover the laundry first obviously) and she is a nervy little thing so once she is settled I like to leave her alone.

On the subject to the cats I am having trouble finding something that both she and Boris will eat consistently - I have liver and chickens liver in the fridge, both of which they normally wolf down but for some reason neither would eat either even though they were fresh!

I decided to spend time in the garden but not before I had done something with the second canvass I had loafing around.  The jury is out on this one as it is quite different from the one I did of the Allium heads so will let John decide whether they should be found a permanent home in our bedroom - they are just propped up on the side at the moment - John doesn't need to worry that I have tried to put up a picture hook.

When I went out to tackle the gardening I realised that the pool pump was on - a recent powercut had meant the timer was out and although I could find it, I wasn't sure exactly how it got set so I turned it a bit hoping it was in the right direction - I now know that it comes on mid morning at least and if it comes on then it must come on again later.  I took the opportunity to slowly brush down the tiles and encourage the dust that had settled towards the drain at the bottom so that it could be sucked away whilst the pump was on.  So far the pool isn't looking too bad - it isn't green which is the main thing but I wish the bloody woodlice would stop committing hari cari in the deep end - even with the net I am finding it a bit deep to scoop the buggers up.

I cut back the things I wanted to cut back, did some weeding, tried to do a bit of sitting in the sun but Charlie put paid to that as he insisted on sitting on my lap and was (a) too heavy and (b) too hot.


This afternoon whilst still awake I made Hot Cross Buns for the very first time - on a whim really because they are best eaten fresh and there is only me here at the moment so I may just have to make a complete pig of myself.  I just about had the ingredients but the yeast has been in the cupboard since the year dot so I wasn't sure whether it was still active and my oven is fierce so I wasn't sure whether they were cooked inside but their bottoms were brown.  The two that I have eaten so far (for quality control purposes only) have been lovely and the centres are cooked.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Spring has sprung

We are now enjoying much warmer days followed by cool nights and cool nights means that there is a lot of condensation around in the morning - the windows of the conservatory are obscured in the morning - on the outside thank goodness and not the inside, in fact we have had very little problem with internal condensation this winter with is a bonus.  John's thinks it is the new little space heater that I purchased which has made the difference, certainly it warms the room quickly and circulates the air which is good.

The damp conditions mean that we have plenty of visitors in the garden not all of which are welcome although I don't mind snails too much and the one which was making its progress down the conservatory door was tiny but I bet it has a voracious appetite and I will rue my decision not to pick it off and sling it over the wall into the field beyond which must be a snail's heaven - a veritable smorgasbord to a mollusc except they run the risk of getting trampled to death by a herd of marauding goats or worse eaten alive!!!


So the hazy start this morning gave an ethereal look to the view the other side of our wall - the foal was grazing and the mist was clearing as the sun began to rise.  The horses are moved gradually around the field to ensure they get fresh grazing each day - this is a good time for the horses - soon they will be moved around fields with very little to offer by way of nourishment, often with little shade and a water container that they manage to kick over.

I love this time of year - everything is beginning to take off in the garden and we are preparing for visitors and getting our seating areas sorted out.

For the first time this year I have freesias flowering, the bulbs which I must have planted around the base of the 'lime' tree (I say lime because it smells like lime and the fruits are the size of miniature limes but the colour of lemons) have sent out shoots and I look to have about half a dozen flower stems ready to burst open.  These are John's mum's favourite flowers so I hope she gets to see this picture because whenever I see freesias they remind me of her.  My osteospurmum which is purple on one side and yellow on the underside has been nibbled - it was probably that teeny tiny snail which ended up on the conservatory door!!



John was keen to get the cushions out for all the various seating areas - we have a couple of coptic storms left so will need to bring them in during that time but as we keep them stored in George's during the winter (with his permission) like to remove them as soon as we can just in case he decides to come out for Easter (which is unlikely) or someone else from his family comes.  The roof terrace has benefited so much from being tiled and is a nice space - we may well have to replace the material panels which are only there to afford a little privacy but they came from Jumbo so weren't expensive.
The steamers have had their cushions put back and that area is ready for visitors - it can be accessed from the guest bedroom via the side door and benefits from the early morning sun.

As we learned today that it looks like we are to have some unexpected visitors (which is really exciting) we need to ensure that this area is looking at its best - I don't suppose there is any chance of my natural stone outside shower surround being done by then is there John?

Anyway we are very excited that my bessie UK friend Hazel's son plans to visit the island with his girlfriend and we have invited them to come and stay with us if they would like to.  Fingers crossed they can sort out the flights etc.  John has such fond memories of Jordan as a very small boy kicking the shit out of his shins when John carted him unceremoniously off to his bedroom because he was being naughty and trying Hazel's patience to the absolute absolute limit.  In those days we wouldn't have been surprised to have found three sixes tattooed somewhere on his scalp but now he is a fine upstanding member of the community and a doctor to boot - all testament to the upbringing Hazel gave him.  As much as she is proud of him and his achievements he is proud of her and everything she managed to do for him whilst a single parent.  I am proud of her too and whilst I am sorry she will not be accompanying them I really hope that she will come on her own soon and we can spend quality time together - we have so many random memories of our years together that we always end up in fits of laughter remembering the scrapes we used to get into.



We managed to get Dad to come out with Mum and I this afternoon after pickleball - Tala Monastery cafe or the Tala amphitheatre cafe is always a winner as you can sit inside and as the wind this afternoon was cool that was not a bad thing.  There were lots of cars at the monastery but the occupants must have been inside the grounds as there were only a couple of people having a cuppa.


We called into Chocco's to get a copy of their new sandwich menu because we are planning on ordering sandwiches fresh for our return from Limassol on Tuesday when Dad has his check up.  It would appear that the operation on this eye has been successful - at least he has not been left with worse sight which is such a blessing and given time and the right prescription he should be able to go back to reading - he has found an old pair of glasses which is helping him in that respect so he is able to do a sudoku if he wants.

John and I had a fair few errands to run before going home - this included a trip to Paphos Home Market which turned out to be an expensive one!!!!  We had discussed replacing the old table and chairs which is on the front patio because it is getting rusty - we just went for a little walk around the outside furniture to find they had a lovely little set for only €99 it was so lovely that we decided we would buy it because it was only going to be on offer until Friday plus the girl managed to wangle delivery for only €15 sometime in the next couple of days.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Something in the house...


I suspect that once again we have something living in the house that should not be here as the cats have been going mad behind furniture and taking great interest in the spaces underneath...  Something has clearly spooked Boris and I had suspected it might be one of the un-neutered toms that we have hanging about on the estate but now I am not so sure.  This afternoon Di and I managed to up-tip the heavy sofa bed in the lounge but there was nothing there except dust and tumble-weed so the search continues.

Only the other morning John was Skyping his mum and the cats were going bananas in the lounge - which could only mean one thing - we had a visitor, probably an unwelcome one and possibly still alive as its remains were not strewn under the dining table which is what normally happens when something meets its untimely end thanks to the cats.

That time John had to tip the large sofa up and I had to make sure the cats did not get trapped underneath.  I was expecting to find a lizard but instead there was a live mouse which shot out straight into the welcoming jaws of Charlie - to be fair it was in his mouth but Charlie hadn't pierced its skin with his fangs - he was probably trying to decide what to do with it next, eat it or play with it?

John managed to encourage Charlie to release his grip and had the mouse in his hands when it shot off and disappeared behind the cat bowls!!!  Eventually we managed to get to it and it was still alive - seemingly uninjured but probably having a heart attack.   John picked it up and let it free to live another day and probably return to the house!!  Charlie was bemused and kept running round the house trying to find his new play-thing.

He soon lost interest in his missing mouse and retreated to the warmth and comfort of the conservatory.  He looks like an earless cat in this picture and at one point got so comfortable and was sleeping so deeply that his eyes opened and his eyeballs had rolled back into his eyes - this is freaky as he looks like he has popped his clogs - this makes me think he has a bit of a thyroid problem as my lovely friend Hazel (whose son is coming to visit) used to be able to sleep with her eyes open when she had her thyroid problem - indeed her friend Jackie would get so freaked out she would check Hazel with a mirror to check she was still breathing!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Easter

The island is celebrating Easter.  It is the most important religious celebration for the Cypriots although commercially I suspect Christmas is fast overtaking it.  I like that, as a country, it remains steadfast in its beliefs and practices its religion without apology even though it is more cosmopolitan now than ever before.

So far the weather has been less than kind - today, Good Friday, has brought dipping temperatures this evening with rain and rolling mists as witnessed by Lou, H and I in Kathikas where we went to sample the delights of the Pizza Box - not the same without John but needs must.  

Through the course of this evening and later on tonight there will be Easter celebrations happening across all the towns and villages especially at midnight when I will be safely tucked up in bed.  

This is usually accompanied by a cacophony of explosions from the sometimes lethal home made bangers which the youths seem to relish, although this normally starts weeks before and continues weeks afterwards so far they have been conspicuous by their absence thank goodness.

Soon it will be time for the traditional dyed red eggs.  On the first hours of Easter Sunday and right after "Christ has risen" Greek Orthodox crack red eggs during dinner.  This tradition has the symbolism of resurrection and new life.  The egg is seen by the followers of Christianity as a symbol of resurrection because whilst being dormant it contains a new life sealed within it.  The eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, shed on the Cross, and the hard shell symbolizes the sealed Tomb of Christ, the cracking of which symbolizes his resurrection from the dead.


Followers of Eastern Christianity says that Mary Magdalene was bringing cooked eggs to share with the other women at the tomb of Jesus and the eggs in her basket turned brilliant red when she saw the risen Christ.

I am ashamed to admit that previously I had never questioned the relevance of chocolate eggs as a gift at Easter.  I think I had just assumed they were commercially created to provide a nice treat for t those who had given up something for Lent but now I know how symbolic they are to those of a Christian faith.  Isn't it strange how many traditions we just take for granted without actually questioning why or how they have become such?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Nice in Droushia...


Today was a rare day indeed when it was warmer up here in Droushia than down on the coast.  Normally I get up, feel the chill and wrap myself in layers looking not dissimilar to an onion.  Then I wander down to Polis and feel the warmth.  I look like the hick from the sticks and have to peel away the layers!

Today after a miserable start the sun broke through and I donned my shorts, sandals and vest top for my shopping trip, negotiating the delight that is Paps prior to a bank holiday when the Cypriots finish their pre-Easter fast and go wild in the aisles.

It was grey down on the coast and windy and seriously cooler than up at home so I was rather glad that in the depths of Kenny's boot I found myself a cardi to keep me warm.  We are not sure whether this is the final copic of the season come early.  Due on 29th April they are supposed to be warm and sand laden but there was little evidence of sand in the atmosphere.  The coptics are pretty accurate and rarely deviate by more than a week so this would be just a little early.


Being out and about in a happily purring Kenny now that his exhaust has been looked at and repaired I decided to wend my way along the coast and ended up in Pomos.  John and I can't have taken that route for months as there are now two petrol stations in Argaka and a footpath all the way along the coast side.  Blimey how that area has changed since we first started coming to the Island, then it really was the back of beyond and now it looks really rather cosmopolitan with a variety of eateries and bars and much more manicured and less wild than it used to be.


I didn't stop long - it felt like it was going to rain but it was nice to get out and let the wind blow through my newly coiffed hair - trip to the hairdressers has banished my grey or rather blended it in with something which Lumi referred to as Nordic blonde!  Have to thank Rob and Diana Veasey for the voucher they gave me for my birthday which enabled me to have more than a cut this time.