Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Winter has arrived...


OMG what a storm last night - we had it all, gale force winds, driving rain, hail, thunder and lightning - and fingers firmly crossed that our flood defences would be working because John has done everything he can possibly do to prevent water coming in under the front door...  time would tell!!  We were so glad that it was a day when we would normally be at home and didn't have to go anywhere.



We ventured out of the warmth of our bed and checked the conservatory - RESULT no water at the front door and the water butt was coping with the rain gushing off of the roof.  All the cats were in which was good and the fire could be resurrected from last night so we just decided to batten down the hatches and have a duvet day at home.


We were just getting ourselves organised when the bloody power went - I don't know why I was surprised as this always happens when we have an electrical storm and we were having one hell of an electrical storm.  It was raining so hard that we decided to wait a little before getting the generator out.  It is at times like these I am glad I like to have plenty of candles dotted around the house!  We were ok without the generator for a while as the kettle was being heated on the wood-burner and we had enough to keep ourselves occupied.  In the end it was only off for a relatively short time although it came back on and then went off again but only momentarily.


The cats are more than happy to have us at home and to have the fire lit - apart from having to go out for a call of nature all four of them stayed around - when they did go out we had to be ready with a towel because they came back soaking.  Popsy has got used to this routine and now actively jumps up onto my craft box and waits to be dried.


It is a bit strange being in ALL day and there is only so much television I can watch in one go so for a little while I did a bit of craft - I had discovered some candles which used to be in the conservatory but which were now looking a bit worse for wear so I decided to pretty them up so that they could be out on show and used if we had another power cut.


John eventually managed to get me to chose a film which we both thought we would enjoy - the 2016 remake of Ben Hur.  Watching it I realise I never watched the Charlton Heston version save for the chariot racing scene because none of the rest of the film was familiar.  It was entertaining and passed away an hour or so - I hadn't realised that so many of the actors in the film were British - I had expected it to be all-American.


A day in together watching a film with something bubbling away on the stove and all four cats accounted for is John's idea of heaven and I have to say it was nice - with the weather as it was there was nothing for it but to stay put and enjoy!

We could never have known when the sun went over the yard arm today - we never saw the sun all day and just when we thought the storms had dome to an end we heard the familiar sound of rain on the conservatory roof still at least I wouldn't have to do any watering but looking at the garden I will have a shed load of tidying up to do when things have dried up!

Sean came round this evening braving the trip from 12b to 10b waiting for a break in the weather before running down!  I had prepared a Thai chicken curry for supper and then a chilli pineapple and ginger crumble for afters - it all seemed to go down very well with a little bottle of Agios and the warmth of the log fire - a nice end to a pretty miserable day.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The day started out brightly enough but the weather forecasters got it absolutely right about today - bad weather was on its way and bad weather is what we got - all over the island.


With Christmas fast approaching we seem to have a lot coming up which requires catering!  I took the opportunity this morning to get some done and thank god for slow cookers - yes I have two of them and I wouldn't be without them nor would I trade in my two pressure cookers (old fashioned types which never let me down).  We have Sean coming for tea tomorrow as Sharon is back in the UK and at the weekend we have Mark and Nicky coming to stay and I don't want to be slaving over the oven.  I had planned a Thai chicken curry for tomorrow night - but Paps let me down with water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and I have planned pulled pork for the weekend.


As the morning began to wear on the weather deteriorated - Mum text early to say they had some rain in Emba - at that point we had no rain but heavy winds.  On days like this the conservatory comes into its own as any little bit of sunshine is magnified leaving the room feeling much warmer than the lounge.  We have always had a problem with this room in that the natural lay of the land is for any rainwater to want to come in under the door and make its way across the room towards the pool.  Before we covered this area this is exactly what the rainwater did and should have done but once it became a conservatory that was a pain and as the door opens inwards there was very little we could do about it other than put down towels as flood defences - when the weather was particularly bad even the towels would not cope and we would be surrounded by cold damp towels desperately trying to dry them and keep the water under control.  The fact that the water butt is located just outside the front door didn't help either as periodically for whatever reason (usually an errant snail stuck in the water pipe) it would overflow and tip a deluge of water outside the front door.  This year John has addressed the problem by increasing the bore of the pipe which is the overflow from the water butt and tiling the conservatory and raising the floor level - there is nothing more that he can do so if the weather today turned out to be as bad as forecast we would soon know whether or not he had been successful.


I was off to pickleball this afternoon - and finally getting my hair cut - woo hoo.  Mum and Dad were out for lunch and John is resting his limbs from sport for a few more days.  As I got my sports gear on the cats were bedding down for the day  they seemed to sense that the weather was going to get worse and bagged their favourite spots.  Minzer-Mou didn't look to impressed to be sharing the bed with Fatso but in fairness Fatso was there first.

video

As I walked out to the car we still didn't have any rain but the wind was really picking up - this was going to leave a right old mess as all the plants that are dying back in the garden will shed their leaves and most of them will end up in the pool.

I had to drive carefully down to Paphos as there were strong gusts of winds and where it had already been raining the roads were a bit slippy.

Winter has arrived with a bang - two days ago sunshine, short sleeves and shorts, today more like Nanook of the North!


Along the Tombs of the Kings road it was pretty deserted today - generally you see some hardy tourists wandering around but no-one today.  The sky was getting very grey and cars had their lights on and it was lunchtime!


On my travels I was pleased to find an oriental supermarket which was open and where I was able to get the water chestnuts and the bamboo shoots and a million other things if I had wanted and the woman told me that they are going to open another one near Kolios in the New Year which is good.


On the way home the weather really got bad and because of the lack of soakaways and drains there was a terrific amount of standing water on the road.  I was really glad to get home where John was waiting with the fire lit.  So far so good with regard to the conservatory - no incoming water at this stage and the rain was getting heavier and heavier.


This was the view of the remainder of my day - battened down, fire lit and TV on.  The weather did indeed get worse with gale force winds, driving rain, hail, thunder and lightning which went on for most of the night.  If we thought we had it bad then think of poor old Wendy and Bill - this link shows flood water passing right by their shop!!! Flood water in Pissouri

Monday, 5 December 2016

Monday


Today we were to enjoy the last settled day of warm weather before the storms come tomorrow.  It is most definitely cooler in the mornings and the evenings.  I have relented today and put the 9.4 tog duvet on the bed - I no longer have a problem about being cold in bed - it is one of the few advantages of being a woman of a certain age but John has been suffering with only the wafer-thin 4.5 tog to keep him warm.  Charlie approves - so much so that he made himself well comfy and once again I had to make the bed around him.

I start my mornings now with porridge - it sets me up for the day and I like it - today however I didn't have my glasses on when I started to make it and put in a generous slug of ground pepper rather than the normal salt.  Oh well maybe it would be the start of something new?  To be fair it didn't really affect the flavour, if anything it gave it a bit of heat.  I am not sure I will be doing it again but I ate what I had made and it wasn't disgusting!

As the weather forecast for the rest of the week isn't good John and Sean were going to go out on a bike ride today instead of later in the week and when I left to go to Art John was getting himself sorted for his trip to Fitos and back.   We had a bit of a discussion about the best way to go to avoid the main road as much as possible - all routes have a bit of a hill to negotiate but there is no shame in getting off and pushing if the going gets tough - this is supposed to be enjoyable rather than a beasting.

I didn't walk to Sheila's today because I wanted to call round and check Diana and Rob's garden to see what needed watering - this is bound to change the weather - guaranteed that if I went and watered today it would rain tomorrow!

So a good morning's work at Sheila and Klaus's - Sheila has finished her picture of the oriental woman and is now deciding upon her next project - it was great to hear that she has sold a couple of her pictures recently - they are at That Nice Shop in Polis if anyone wants to see them.  Klaus is also doing well with his gourd lights and was thrilled today when Kelly pitched up with some old gourds for him to work on.  They were all those nice bulbous shapes which people seem to prefer. 

I carried on with my picture of the hydrangeas.  It doesn't look like I achieved very much today but I can assure you that blending the colour on the leaves takes forever.  Still as I keep telling myself I am in no rush to finish this picture so I can take my time unless someone decides they want it.  If not I shall probably replace one of the pictures in the lounge which are the first two I did under Sheila's beady eye and my work has improved quite a bit since then.

I called into Chateau Veasey to check it out.  Their garden is looking lovely and one or two things did need a spot of water.  I am not sure what is going on with the white solanum I gave Diana as a present - she says it seems to thrive and look healthy and then all of a sudden something happens and new leaves seem to wither and drop off.   I have done a bit of investigation and it would appear that it could be a virus which you would normally see in Tomato plants as they are from the same family - not sure how you treat it but I expect one of then nurseries here would be able to help. 


En route home I stopped at Despina's coffee shop to catch up with Elena's Aunty Maura who returns to South Africa next week - she is such a character - larger than life in every sense.  She is also the neighbour of Despina and Chriso and probably related as well.  Chriso was busy putting heating into the room - courtesy of a woodburner and a gas patio heater.  He is a character as well and normally life and soul of the party but with no-one other than me and Aunty Maura to entertain was quiet and actually quite interesting to talk to as we set the village if not the world to rights.

Back home I am quite excited that my new hibiscus is in flower.  Nothing too exciting because I think this plant is mainly grown for its exceptional folliage and I have no idea whether it will survive up here over winter so I may need to try and protect it a bit.  There are plenty of buds waiting to open and the flowers are a deep blood red colour.  

This plant fills a nice gap near the back door of the guest bedroom and is where I have removed the old white moon flower - the blue one remains there and where I cut it back a couple of weeks ago I see that all new growth has come back - it will be in for a shock later this week when the bad weather comes - there has been talk of snow up in the hills and I expect if there is some we will get it.

iI finished my day with a trip to Paps to do some shopping as we seem to have forgotten a few things when we went previously and then my weekly session at Belly Dancing.

We were a reduced group this evening as both Diana and Paula are in the UK but the six of us who did turn up were worked hard this week with lots of movements concentrating on our core and the muscles that would, given time, probably lead to a six pack if worked often enough.  I shall pay for this tomorrow when I am trying to run round on the pickleball court!!!

Another week begins - we have one or two things organised and Di and Rob return on Friday.  Nicky and Mark are coming to stay on Saturday which will be great - I hope it doesn't rain too much otherwise watching the Mighty ENAD will be more like watching a damp squib and may affect Nicky and my cocktail drinking at Latchi Harbour!








Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday


Sunday at home during the day and then down to Mum and Dad's for dinner this evening.  We are enjoying the last of the autumn weather - rain is forecast on the island next week and we desperately need it.  There is still colour in the garden - you could be forgiven for thinking that November would be a little boring but the bougainvillea is blooming, the clockvine continues to flower and some of the gazanias that looked done for in the Summer have come back to life so that there are splashes of vibrant yellow and orange dotted around.  I am loathe to cut things back now and, as we have Nicky and Mark staying next weekend, will leave things until after they have been - weather permitting of course.


The cats still enjoy finding a sunny spot in the garden so that they feel some heat on their bones.  Minnie was enjoying the morning on one of the steamers, so much so that she didn't realise the sun had moved and she would have been better sitting on the other chair.  She, along with the others, had got her winter coat so she looks chunky and from a distance can almost be mistaken for Charlie even Mr Boo looks less Siamese-like and they spend more time indoors now - this is good because today was a hunting day and some numpties were shooting far too close to the house so that the conservatory roof got peppered with shot - we probably should go and shout at them but that may not be the most sensible thing to do when they are waving shotguns around.

My focus for today was to get the ironing basket under control and, hopefully, empty which would please Charlie no end as he likes to sleep in it when it is empty.

There was a mountain of ironing - my fault as I had left it for too long.  Visitors concentrate the mind and the effort.  On sorting through I realised that poor John must be scouring his wardrobe trying to find something clean to wear - the basket was full of his shirts!!

I stuck with it and worked my way through and got it empty - I did it all even the horrid bits that I tend to return to the basket because I cannot face tackling them.  For a day at least, and longer if it does rain, there will be no more laundry in that there basket!!

It is now most definitely warmer to sit in the conservatory during the day - this is not the case at night as the temperature drops outside the glass structure gets exceptionally cold and we only have a kerosene heater in there which is good but a bit smelly.

We want to use the conservatory to entertain more and so we have doubled the voiles that cover the windows on the pool side - the double layer does help but it is still a bit cool that side.

I want to get John to sit out there more and so I wanted to get our old android box to work on the TV which is there - it hasn't been on for months and so needed something of a rebuild to get the apps working again.

At one point I thought I had blown away the whole box but slowly managed to piece it together so we have live TV, some sport and some box sets which is all we will need.  That is a good TV - even though it is a bit old now - we brought it with us from the UK but it does the job.

Whilst we were out in the conservatory John decided we should have a sort through the Christmas decorations as we want to trim up the house shortly and we have such an eclectic mix of things.  No themes for Christmas in this house it's just bring out all the old stuff and pick up a couple of bits of new stuff and then hope for the best!!!  Some of the ornaments go back years and have memories, not all good ones as we sadly lost my brother-in-law at Christmas two years ago.

This year we will have Jane and John with us this Christmas along with Mum and Dad which will be nice and Christmas Eve we will be joined by Sheila and Klaus for a meal and a get together.   Penciled in over the festive season are a number of other lunches or dinners so we have a few things to look forward to which is good.


We set off down to Mum and Dad's aiming to arrive around 5.00pm - we were a little later than planned as we went via Peyia and for some reason it just took a bit longer.  We are mindful that the police are out doing spot checks and speeding fines at the moment so even though it was Sunday we didn't want to take any risks as my two current speeding offences were collected in consecutive Novembers - although I do think they could now be removed from my record - bearing in mind one of them was John's in the first place I shall be glad to see it go.


Mum and Dad were snuggly warm in the sun room which has been a great addition for them - it means they can sit in there and heat it easily rather than be in the cavernous lounge.  I tested out my latest new best friend of a panoramic shot on them - Dad looks confused.com!

It got cold on the way home - as we approached Stroumbi the temperature on the car showed 5 degrees! that's bloody cold in any language - it was about double that in Droushia but that is still chilly - 9.5 tog duvet required.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

November and we go to the beach...

Saturday and no ENAD but much more important a crunch match between Sheffield United and Charlton Athletic.  John didn't mind what he did today just so long as he was sitting down at 5.00pm with a beer and some nuts and listening to the game whilst keeping in touch with Di and Rob who would be at the match proper.


It is yet another glorious day here on the island and we woke early and got on with some chores.  I needed to get our tea in the slow cooker and tidy up a bit and look at my overflowing laundry basket!!  My housekeeping efforts are constantly thwarted by the cats who find the most awkward places to settle.  Bed making is a battle and today both Chivers and Boris decided to take advantage of the sunshine streaming in through our bedroom window.  Chivers got the blinkie - he is, or at least should be, alpha cat but he is a lover not a fighter although just occasionally he likes to assert his authority and today was that day, no blinkie for Boris.


Just to underline how lovely it was today (outside and in the sunshine) I was wearing shorts and flipflops and feeling the heat.  Indoors it is cooler and in the shade cooler still but it is the end of November.  Down on the coast it is considerably warmer - this we know all too well but at least we get the option living where we do and we never feel guilty putting on heating or lighting the fire in the evening if it is chilly.


We did all our jobs and then went down to Polis - we had decided to go and have a stroll on the beach but stopped at the Herb Garden for a coffee first.  This is a lovely venue and it is amazing how much the herbs have grown since it was originally planted up.




So playing around with my new favourite feature on my phone here are some photographs of the beach - empty just how we like it and beautiful.  It was warm down there - glad of the shorts and the flipflops!!!  John has a project in mind which requires some little pebbles and some large pebbles so we had a stroll along and picked up some likely pieces.



John was settled by 5.00pm, actually settled before that and in contact with the Veaseys who kept in touch with texts and photos and little audio clips of the crowd singing.  It sounded like the Blades were in total control for the majority of the game and John was a happy bunny as Scunthorpe were drawing and so the Blades looked likely to close the gap at the top of the table - that was until Charlton scored an equaliser in time added on after the 90 minutes.


John was gutted, the Veaseys were delighted and at the end of the day honours were even so we wont fall out with them (not that we would anyway!!!).  It was an opportunity missed but hopefully wont affect the current unbeaten run that the Mighty Blades are enjoying.  I thought I would add this picture - a rare sight this - Robert Veasey in close proximity to a Sheffield United flag!!!


One bit of good news for John after the disappointment of the football - Boris and Charlie both checking out the delux cat bed - Charlie didn't stay too long - not sure there was enough room for him and Boris together!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Friday




I have been playing around with the camera on my phone ever since I found out it did panoramic shots - it takes a bit of practise to get a good one and the longer the panorama the thinner the finished picture but at the top you can see the view of our back wall with the completed aluminium panelling and then in the middle is a shot of the decked eating area at the back of the kitchen with the guest gazebo in the background and the barbeque on the right and then the final picture is the view beyond the wall looking down to the coast.  Thank you Tommy for showing me what your phone could do so that I could do the same with my own!!

We are being abandoned over the next few days - Diana and Rob are nipping back to the UK before Christmas just for a week and Sharon goes at the weekend just for a few days then John and Susan are going for several weeks and we will feed Millie their cat - Susan always says we can go down every other day but we like to make sure we have seen her and she is so sweet and gets lonely so we go every day - it's ok if we go and we see her because if we don't then John will want to go again later in the day to see if she is around - it's a bit of a trip down the hill and back which is ok if it is dry but if it is tipping down I am less than enthusiastic about leaving the house!  Still if we were ever to ask someone to feed our cats (very unlikely) we would expect them to do the same.


We went down to Polis this morning before going off to play pickleball.  We had a number of errands we needed to run which involved going to the Alpha Bank, which is a joy, and the Co-op Bank which is a bit more of a challenge simply because the staff do not speak such good English there - our fault at not being able to communicate more effectively in the native tongue.


We had a little shopping we needed to do in Paps - it is now looking like a right old Winter Wonderland even though the temperatures outside were in the mid 20s and we were shopping in t-shirt and shorts like holidaymakers!  I like our local Paps supermarket - the staff are great and I particularly like Valentin the Romanian butcher who is more than helpful.  He always goes to see if there are any pigs livers available rather than just say no.  The cats love pigs liver and at €1.24 a liver it is a bargain even if it is a bit messy to prepare and this is generally my job.


Back home Fatso seemed to have been able to sniff out the pigs liver from a million miles and woke from his slumbers and was waiting at the door for it to be unpacked and served to him.  This was the cue for all the others to come mithering - they all love a bit of liver!!


Mum did not play pickleball today - she has aggravated an injury to her shoulder and we have persuaded her to give it a little rest otherwise she may have to retire for good and we know she would hate that.  John played and then tested out his iffy knee at badminton although not for very long.  Whilst he was playing Mum and I ventured over to Gerouskipou because Mum wanted to go to Euromania.  There is a funny looking clothes shop a couple of doors down - from the outside it looks a bit tatty but inside it is a right old Aladdin's cave and there is probably something in there to suit every taste.  I said to Mum if she found something she liked I would get it for her for Christmas and we managed to find a really nice outfit.  It won't be a surprise for her but I would so much rather she got something she wanted.


We finished off the afternoon with a visit to see Fred who is still at the vets - not a good photograph because he wouldn't keep still he was so excited to see Mum and she had only been there in the morning.  Still recovering from the horrendous abscess he had on his neck his personality is changing from a terrified feral who lashed out to a loving cat wanting cuddles - the vet is amazed and so are we - we are now hopeful that he will settle when he finally returns.  His wound is open but looks clean and is healing slowly and he is eating well - his castration caused him no issues at all.  I know Mum and Dad are happy they did the right thing and however much he costs it will be worth it because they miss him dearly.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A day of beds...


It was a day of beds for us today - particularly as John had been asked to dismantle a four-poster for a friend this afternoon!  But it started this morning when I woke feeling like James Caan in Misery - Boris had gone to sleep like a dead weight over my ankles pinning me to the bed and leaving me feeling most uncomfortable and then to add insult to injury Charlie hauled his bulk onto the bed to tap dance on my bladder and no amount of persuasion would get him to stop - the only way out was to get up and get them fed.


I needed to get up because today I was going to give the house a damn good bottoming whilst John was busy on his project.  Charlie had already made acquaintance with the new cushions - they seem to have met with his approval - him and his strange white spots which are appearing in his fur.  These spots do not seem to bother him and I can't find anything much about them on the internet save that they might be some form of vitiligo but that seems to be more prevalent in black cats.



The new delux double bed was duly completed and the first visitor was Chivers who viewed it with some suspicion had a scratch, probably deposited half a dozen fleas (joke) and then wandered off suitably unimpressed by John's handiwork.


I know I keep saying it but November is glorious - today it was 26 degrees at mid-day in the sun - too hot really for cleaning but I wanted to get on with it - things got cleaned today I don't normally bother with - why is it that when I moved the red rug in the dining area that underneath was what looked like a ton of sand - where the hell had that come from?  I am not overly keen on that rug anyway - it never looks very clean even when I have given it a damn good hoover.


 Minnie wasn't interested in the new bed either - she has found the old bed which is tucked away in a quiet corner - right up her street and she has now commandeered it for herself.  We should have christened her Greta Garbo as she likes to be alone except for half an hour at night before she goes to sleep when she likes to have a cuddle with John and half an hour after she has had her breakfast when she likes her other cuddle with John.  I don't get a look in!!


Boris didn't come in to inspect the new accommodation but eventually Fatso decided to give it a go and got himself well comfy.  The underside of the cushions is a sort of faux sheepskin fabric which the cats would probably love but being white will get dirty far too quickly and it doesn't look like the covers come off so I would have to put the whole thing in the washing machine.


Di and Rob kindly called round with our post - a parcel from Amazon is always exciting and we are making the most of it whilst we can until Brexit kicks in and we have to pay so much more to get things from the UK.  Today's little gem was a 50 led solar light with motion sensor which is going in the garden somewhere to light the pathways so we don't have anyone falling over in the dark.