Saturday, 25 February 2017

Sunday...

There are definite signs of spring all around and I am itching to get out in the garden and give it a good tidy particularly as we have visitors arriving on the island on Friday and we want them to see the place at its best but today we were having lunch down with Mum and Dad because Mum was going to the ballet this evening - normally we go down in the evening which leaves me the best part of the day to get on with some chores and we were going even earlier so that I could go and visit Sonia in hospital - I am pleased to report that she looked so much better than I had expected and am also pleased that her brother and sister had got over here safely and were at her bedside when I arrived.

Sonia seemed so pleased to see me but I did not want to monopolise her time with her family being there having flown over from England.  I agreed to go back and see her on Tuesday and bring her something to nice to eat because having looked at the food the hospital brought I wouldn't even feed that to my cats!!!  If you didn't know Sonia then you would think she was speaking quite normally and she appears to be untouched mentally and says she has intermittent feeling in her left hand and left foot which is good news.

No idea how long she will be in but we will all rally round her now and afterwards to make sure she is ok - what a shit thing to have happened - she only arrived her on January 17th and she is still waiting for her furniture to be released from the docks.  The phone call from Andrea really shocked me but it is a testament to Sonia that in her short time she has made some really good friends and so despite not having any family nearby she does have a network of people who will be there to support her and see her through this awful situation.  Apparently the stroke was brought on by exceptionally high blood pressure and it would appear that Sonia had recently stopped taking her medication so she has been lectured about her health and has taken on board what she has been told.

At Mum's it was lovely and warm in the sunroom.  I have been feeling like I have the beginnings of a cold - I had a funny throat last night and a tickly cough that kept me awake - I think it may be something to do with the dust in the atmosphere or hay fever as things are beginning to come into flower.  Fred is in heaven reclining on the bed that John made him.  He is looking really well and has almost got rid of his lopsided appearance.  He doesn't bolt for the door although he would probably still go for a wander outside if the opportunity arose.  He just craves affection and lots of it and food, lots of it!!!

Dad has had an issue with the android TV box or more specifically with the network extender - we never really found out what was wrong but we got it all back working eventually and set it up so that there was something for Dad to watch when Mum was out later.

Back home we found all the cats in enjoying the warmth of the conservatory.  Minnie Mou had been prevented from going into our bedroom so she had adopted the role of the Princess and the Pea as she was perched on the raised bed and snuggled down onto the heated blanket.  I say heated but not that you plug it in rather that it has an insert which absorbs and reflects back her body heat.  It will soon be far too warm for this and it will get a wash and be put away but at the moment the evenings are still very chilly and particularly so in the conservatory.

I leave today's post with a picture of Mr Boo - he is none the worse for his recent scuffle with a.n.other cat and that might even have been Charlie when he is in full on play mode.  We discovered the remains of a claw still stuck into his front leg which was obviously causing him discomfort and managed to remove it and he is now back to normal.

I have said it before but Mr Boo is a 'flopper' in that he just gets up on your lap and flops down in such a way that he is likely to fall off - he likes to sleep on his back with his head pointing down and then slowly slips further and further towards the floor at which point he makes a funny noise like he is covering up a trump - or maybe he is covering up a trump - and then stands up and shakes himself down and looks at you as if to say 'that didn't happen and if you said it did I will deny it'

Another eventful week comes to a close with another eventful week stretching ahead of us.


Friday, 24 February 2017

spring cleaning...


All this lovely sunny weather, a new hoover and the prospect of some visitors next week meant that today John and I gave the house, what is known in the trade as, a good bottoming which freaks the cats out as they don't like the noise nor the disruption when they have just got themselves settled after breakfast!!!  I am not overly keen on disturbing the dust myself as it generally disagrees with me and I am left feeling snuffly and like I am about to get a cold.


There is no getting away from the fact that when the house is clean it feels so much better and my Bissell 2-in-1 makes light work of the floors and upholstery - in fact I hate to admit that I whip it out nearly every day to keep on top of things - John is amazed!!!  We still have lots of plans for the house - we don't intend to move anywhere else in our lifetimes so we want to make it as comfortable and as easy to manage as possible.  Over the next couple of months the final piece of the outside fencing will be replaced with aluminium as will the gate which, although I love it, swells and shrinks according to the weather and causes all sorts of issues plus with everything aluminium there is no painting or staining to be done.  We also plan the refurb of the small toilet and then the lounge will need painting once the woodburner is put to bed for the season.

It tickles me that the random play on the Ipod which contains thousands of songs always manages to hit a Christmas tune every time!!!  This is our original Ipod which contains the tracks of our years and sadly it has become detached from its Itunes library and the software I bought to back it up didn't work so we have to nurture this Ipod or else we will lose the majority of our music.

We are also desperately trying to find a replacement for our Griffin Evolve Speaker system which had detachable speakers which we could place around the garden - it was a fanastic piece of kit but the speakers no longer hold their charge and the batteries cannot be replaced - it would appear that we are hankering after old technology as everything now seems to be all blue toothed up.   Perhaps someone reading this can come up with a suggestion for a nice little Ipod docking station that will take the Ipod classic and with detachable speakers which we can cart around the house and/or garden - answers on a postcard please!!!

I am busy sourcing all the things I can from Amazon before Brexit and the inevitable duty charges that will be incurred if we purchase anything from a non EU country.

John was busy doing fire cleaning and DIY projects and came in and commented that there was a strange smell in the house which was an oh so funny sarcastic comment because the smell was in fact polish - my argument was that I had to wait until Mum could get me some polish because I didn't like the smell of the one I bought in Paps which could be mistaken for fly spray and was called Rokil which sounded like fly spray.

Don't faint but everything got a clean - probably for the first time since Claire the Cleaner came for our anniversary (I jest of course) everything except the mantlepiece which got forgotten and I only realised when I ran my finger across the top later on in the day and ended up with sooty dust all over it - that area was John's domain so he will be having some remedial dusting lessons over the next few days!!!


House all lovely and clean (apart from said mantlepiece) for a few hours at least wooooo hooooo that feels GOOD!!!

Update on villa-search - we recommended that Janice and Mick went for the one in Latchi and I have contacted the owner who has acknowledged my text but not as yet confirmed the deposit figure.  Once that is done and paid the family will book their flights and plan their trip.

As you know we are currently being well supplied with Pomelo fruit courtesy of Mum's neighbour Effie.  They are a thicker skinned and sweeter version of a grapefruit and if you can be bothered to extricate the fruit segments it is well worth it.

I don't like to throw anything away but haven't got round to making glyko with the skins yet - I thought that was all that people did with them until I searched the internet and now my mind is racing...

...the cats are keeping a safe distance from me and if I look in their direction to measure up the size of their heads they are shooting off!!!  Don't you think that Charlie would look lovely in a Biggles hat?????

Apparently boiled pomelo skin is good for treating frostbite which could come in very handy in the winter.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Visitors...


It would appear that this is the year for people to be visiting Cyprus as we had an urgent email last night from our old neighbours Pete and Helen to check if we would be around next week as they were taking advantage of a cheap deal at the Pioneer Beach Hotel.  We used to live next door to one another when we were in Glenthorne Avenue and we left there in 2001.  Shortly after we purchased Villa 10b and at that time it was rented out during the summer by the Droushia Heights Hotel.  One summer a couple of year's later Helen and Pete asked if they could stay at the villa which we were more than happy for them to do but we reckon that must have been about 2005 or 2006 - they might remember better than we do.  Anyway this is a photograph of our then palatial dining area!!!!


When we had the wood burner installed we changed that area to our lounge - you can tell from the two small windows!!!  Just goes to show how much the villa has changed since Helen and Pete were here - can't wait to show them the rest of the work even though the garden will not be looking at its best.



On the subject of visitors we shot off this morning to go and check out another villa for Janice and Mick - this time in Latchi which we think would be the best location as they will have Nathan and Alicia with them who, being teenagers, might just want a bit more life than we do!!!  This villa is located next door to the Eliofos Centre where our friends Matthew and Sarah have been for two years and absolutely love because it is on the edge of Latchi so quieter but in walking distance to all amenities.


We always reckon if somewhere looks nice in February well out of visitor season then by the time visitors come it should look fabulous so we weren't surprised to find the garden a bit untidy and the pool looking a bit green.  The location is great - a small cul-de-sac of just six villas with the one they are interested in set well back from the road and with and established garden - we think it will be just right for them and have told them so.

Diana came to Pickleball today - Friday is a much harder session and with Liselotte away we would have only had four and we worry that sometimes we forget Mum is in her 80s and push her too far or she pushes herself too far so the introduction of another player makes sitting out and getting your breath back easier.  I think she did really well and enjoyed the session - she would be more than welcome to join us on a Friday any time!

We went to the Mall afterwards as Mum was trying to get the tickets for the ballett which is being beamed from the Bolshoi on Sunday.  We had a cuppa at La Croissantarie before a quick trip around Jumbos where it is currently full of costumes for carnival.

We thought that Diana looked particularly fetching in a pair of bright pink deeley-boppers!!!  She took a photograph of me in Minnie Mouse ears that I have yet to see!!!

John was back from Badminton and chatting with Dad when we got back from the Mall and so we set off back to Droushia and had a cuppa with Roberto on our return.

We had a second Valentine's evening as I had put the remainder of the pork dish John had cooked in the slow cooker so it would be waiting for us on our return.  It was even better the second time round as John wanted to improve on the sauce with the addition of some cream and mustard which proved to be a good move.

For our big Friday night in we accompanied our meal and a couple of episodes of First Dates Hotel with a bottle of wine which Roberto had brought for us to try the other week.  This cheeky little Chilean number was delicious so we will be adding this one to the list - so far Roberto has scored three out of three with the different wines he has brought for us to try - he obviously knows our tastes well!!!


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Visiting friends

Today we were visiting friends, our original stalkers Wendy and Bill who live in Pissouri and who we haven't seen for ages.  In the intervening period lots of things have happened and this was going to be an opportunity to catch-up.


We decided to take the old road to Pissouri which gave us an opportunity to check out the new Chinese on the dual carriageway - called the Ancient City which is a bit of a misnomer as it is one of the newest buildings along there!!!  Anyway this one is most definitely catering to the increasing Chinese population here on the island as the first person I encountered spoke no English at all - he simply yelled for one of the chefs whose command of English stretched to about half a dozen words but enough for me to ascertain that they did not have a menu I could take away but I was invited to sit down and check out the restaurant menus.  I fancy trying this for my birthday with Mum and Dad but I needed to make sure they did something like Lemon Chicken to suit Mum's palate - fortunately they do - my suggestion to John was that he asked one of the Chinese badminton players at his club to make the booking for us so that there was no confusion.


It was a bright cold day and the old road to Pissouri was empty - the sea was an incredible colour and the surrounding countryside is relatively lush and green by Cyprus standards!  It never takes as long as you think to get to Pissouri from Paphos and so we made good time even with the stop at Paps to pick up a couple of soft drinks as Bill had text to ask us to get some.

Like us, Wendy and Bill are taking time to turn their 'holiday' home into a proper 'forever' home and after a lot of thought and discussion have had their kitchen remodeled and Wendy won the battle of the serving hatch by having a feature window installed between the kitchen and the lounge area complete with shutters which is a really nice touch and now floods the kitchen with light and gives Wendy a fabulous view of the coastline.


The kitchen now looks so much bigger than it used to and Wendy has chosen a nice grey and cream colour scheme and everything is sparkly and new.  On the kitchen blind she has even added her own owl motif to add a bit of interest.  The downstairs now looks so very different with the addition of their lovely furniture from England.


The 'jewel' of their home is most definitely the large balcony area they have which has commanding views of the coastline and on days like today when it is crystal clear they can see for miles and for all their concerns about lack of outside space they have learned that gardens are lovely but they are hard work and a tie if you wish to go away and come back to find it still alive.


They have been adopted by a neighbour's cat Rocco - who is a stunner and who spends most of his time with the Bailey's - lucky fella because I bet Bill and Wendy spoil him rotten.  Wendy unceremoniously removed him so that we could sit down!!

It was lovely to catch up with them although sadly I received a phonecall from Andrea informing me that Sonia was in hospital having suffered a stroke the day before.  That slightly put a dampener on the day as Sonia has only just moved out to the Island.  Apparently visiting times are only half an hour at 12.30 - 1.00 and again 5.30-6.00 - I shall go and see her on Sunday when we will be down in Paphos.


We returned home via Crystalla's where we picked up the toilet, sink, cabinet and replacement tap for the shower room ready for when John refurbs the 'downstairs' toilet.  It was a beautiful evening with a stunning sunset which looks like it will herald another lovely day tomorrow.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

A trip to Limassol


It was a very cold start for us this morning - a heady 5 degrees when we left Droushia to go down to Emba and pick up Mum and Dad.  Dad was going to a specialist eye hospital in Limassol to investigate the pressure and cataract problem that he has on his good eye.  Some years ago he had a cataract removed from his other eye and it was unsuccessful because, as we have now learned,  his heart attack caused damage to the optic nerve and he should have been warned at the time that the removal of the cataract may not have resulted in improved sight.


We made good time to Limassol and found the Pantheo Clinic easily.  I had been there before with Mum when we took Frank their - in fact that was the day that John first met Charlie in the cage up at Sean and Sharon's when Irene had rescued him from Latchi so that must have been over four years ago.  Anyway it is on the same street as George's famous material shop so if anyone wants directions to there I can give them to you!!!  We were early so we carried on to the little Debenhams which is about 5 minutes away for a coffee before Dad's appointment.


John was relieved that we didn't have time to investigate the blue cross sale that was on in the shop - to be fair it isn't like we need anything and we are trying to be good at the moment because we have several things we want to do to the house which will be using any extra cash we might have.  Anyway it was all excitement in the coffee shop as some poor man had taken a funny turn and was surrounded by people including a fully stethoscoped up Doctor and then the para medics arrived to take him away.  Poor Dad, not sure that was what he wanted to witness before going into a hospital!!!


The clinic was heaving with people but was very professional and they saw Dad quickly and he went through a whole load of tests before being told that he would be having his cataract removed on March 20th and that with any luck the pressure issue was only being caused by the cataract and not early onset glaucoma which is great news.  They were also the ones which explained why the previous operation was unsuccessful.  We were all much more confident about the approach taken this time and if all goes well Dad may well no longer need to wear glasses which would be amazing.  Fingers crossed!!!

We returned home having dropped Mum and Dad off - when we got up this morning Boo was limping badly and we found that he had an injury to his front paw.  He squealed like mad when John picked him up and I did manage to get some gel on the wound but we know there are a couple of unneutered males trying to assert their authority in the neighbourhood so we needed to check he was ok and didn't need to go to the vets for a jab.


We are still on the lookout for a holiday villa for Janice, Mick and the kids and they had a list of one or two that we decided we would go and find.  One we thought we recognised in Inea - John thought it was next door to our friends Gregory and Eleni and he was right!!!


We had a quick look around but were a bit concerned about how overlooked you could be from the big white house behind.  We then went next door to see if Gregory and Eleni were in which they were so we were invited for tea and cake!!!  They were kind enough to ring a friend of theirs in the village who has a different place to rent but sadly it wasn't available.  We have seen worse places, the one John shot down to see in Kritou Terra was dreadful - there is all sorts of creative photography going on.  The villas themselves might be ok but some are in dreadful places and you can't change the surroundings.  We are still looking but think there may be something promising in Latchi!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Valentine's Day....

Today is Valentine's Day and the Cyprus Electricity Board tried to thwart John's best efforts at a romantic evening as we had a power outage just as John was in the shower getting ready for the meal he had cooked!!!!  Still it wasn't long - we got the generator out for a while which proved it worked but then normal service was resumed!!!


Anyway before all that we had a normal Tuesday with pickleball in the afternoon for Di and I and badminton for John.  There were only five of us for pickleball as Liz's brother is unwell so not too much time to sit down and rest between games which was just as well because it was bloody freezing in the hall today.  The temperatures have really dipped hence you can see the players still in their fleeces!!!

We called into Chocco's for coffee afterwards and then went for a mooch around the Clothing Lounge opposite.  Chocco's is nice for a coffee - friendly, warm, light and reasonably priced and they look after Mum and Dad there.

Diana was impressed with the Clothing Lounge - I think the one in Chloraka is better than the one in Peyia for the full priced items - they have some nice Italian layered clothing like I used to buy from the shopping centre near Kaye in Solihull and I think that they are even cheaper over here when you convert the euros back to pounds.

John didn't stay too long at badminton - he had been up early this morning busy preparing a romantic evening meal for Valentine's - we don't normally celebrate but he was keen to do something and as I am normally the one that does the cooking I was more than happy to let him get on with it but he was rather secretive about the whole thing so I didn't know what we were having to eat - except I had seen him put some jacket potatoes in the remaining embers of the fire this morning.

He was even more secretive when we came to dropping Diana off at home as he insisted she had to remain in the car until after he had been to see Bobby - was there some sort of Bromance going on I wonder?????

No Bromance at all as it turns out - Bobby and John had surprised us both - whilst John was down in Paphos he had picked up flowers for Diana from Rob and flowers for me from him which was a real surprise because normally he gets all Northern and complains that they charge a premium for flowers at Valentines.  Diana's bouquet was stunning - the carnations were such a vibrant shade of red - and what a lovely photograph of the two of them!!

What a lovely surprise - thanks John so much for making me feel special and the roses were absolutely beautiful.  In fact I am hoping they will last as long as that one flower we were given last year when we went to Molos for my birthday and it was international Ladies Day and that one lasted five weeks!!!  I know we don't 'do' all that romantic malarky but it does make it extra special when we do!!!

So as I said earlier when we got back home the electricity board nearly scuppered John's best laid plans and just as he was showering and we were getting the table laid and the wine opened the electricity went off - luckily only for about 20 minutes so that was ok and nothing was spoiled.


Our starter was a pomelo and halloumi stack on a bed of rocket with some sweet chilli sauce and a little balsamic reduction - it was lovely - pomelo is our new favourite citrus fruit - very much like a grapefruit but not so refined and not so tart - a perfect partner to the soft and creamy local halloumi which was just gently grilled to give it a bit of colour.

Main course was a slow cooked casserole of pork with apples and onions in a cider and spice jus.  This was served with carrots and peas and the beautifully baked jacket potatoes which had been in the wood burner all day.  It was delicious and there was loads left over for us to have on another evening.

To go with the main course we had a very special bottle of the new Vasillikon red wine made from the Maratheftiko grape and called Aion - this is a bit more pricey than we would normally go for but is a limited edition and sometimes you need to try something new - was it three times better than Agios Onoufrious as it was three times the price?  Well probably not to our untrained palettes!!  It was nice but one bottle was enough!


Our delicious dinner was completed by a slice of red velvet cake - not made by John because, let's face it when it is as good as it is from Paps and at the price they charge why bother to try and make one yourself?

All in all a lovely way to round off our special evening.  Thank you John - LHKC always xx

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A new week...


Monday morning and John and Readie John were off out playing lumberjacks - albeit unsuccessfully as it turned out because they had hoped to ascertain from the forestry where they might be able to go and get some wood to supplement their delivery from Christos and the man from the forestry he say 'no' so they gave it up as a bad job!!!

I walked down to Sheila and Klaus's for my regular art session.  I took the road which meant I passed by Cataract Val's and Lady Val's houses - it was a bright start to the day and I was glad to be out walking - John was going to pick me up later so we could do a bit of shopping in Polis.   This is the scenic route which means I avoid walking down through the village.

There is a for sale sign opposite CV's house - it is a tad confusing because the position makes it look like the tree is for sale - in fact it is the plot of land - the sign appears to be a new addition - I don't remember seeing it before.

At the time of the elections I had heard that this bit of road was going to be finished off properly so that it was an official through road without the rough bit at the end opposite the Clampetts house but now according to Lynda that seems to be up in the air again.  The people who live in the Clampetts house are very friendly - Mrs Clampett always waves and I remember bumping into Mr Clampett one evening on our way home from the Hotel and having a talk with him but the state of their house and the garden never seems to improve!!  Today it was as messy as ever!!


Droushia is nowhere near the thriving community which Elena used to tell me about when the main road through was thronged with shops and eating establishments - like many villages people have had to move farther afield for work but in the few years since we have been living here we have seen an improvement in what is available for tourists by way of places to stay and places to eat although it can still be a bit hit and miss as to what is open in the winter.  We have heard a whisper (no more than that at this stage) that the old building with the sign that warns you not to park under the verandah in case it gives way is being considered as a restaurant which would be nice - it would also be nice if the proposed carpark in the centre came to fruition.  We only want small changes but positive ones as we quite like the sleepy nature of the village as it stands.

I was greeted on my walk by local pets - the little puppy which is in the house next to the holiday apartments has grown into a small dog, a small dog with a loud bark which started off Charlie and Benji who were out in the garden at Sheila and Klaus's and had obviously spied me walking up the road. The black dog is a feisty little thing but has a cute little face but sadly appears to spend most of its days chained in the garden.

Once I settle in at Sheila and Klaus's Charlie normally comes and greets me but Benji is not so bothered!!  They are both looking neat and tidy as they were recently groomed by Lou - Charlie and Benji that is and not Sheila and Klaus!!

So we had a good session this morning - Sheila is busy working on her picture of the barn owl and I am still working on my picture of the peonies in a glass vase - my progress is slow but I am in no rush!!!

John picked me up after lunch and we went down to do some shopping in Paps which is our normal Monday routine and then I called into Beauty by Kate as Kate had very kindly got some dirhams for me left over from a recent visit to Dubai for her 40th birthday.

In fact she had an envelope with lots of useful bits and pieces including maps and information about where to change your money and then some small notes which she thought would be useful for me to use as tips.  It was so kind of her as it means I will at least have something in my purse when we arrive in the early hours of the morning.

I don't know if it is the amount of dust we have had in the atmosphere recently but I started to feel like I was going to go down with a cold and felt a bit off so I didn't manage to go to belly dancing this week.