Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Chrimbo Shopping with my Boo....

So today John and I were having our annual shopping expedition.  How times have changed since the Mall opened - previously we had to trek around Paphos desperate to find things sometimes in the sun, sometimes in the rain but now we can do what we want in the Mall in the dry and, as I am going to take Mum out when Dad goes for his eye check up with John in Limassol, I am going to have a look in the Old Town for the remainder of the gifts so a win-win situation all round!

I had organised to have my hair cut today - originally my appointment was 9.30am which is a little early for us to get up get ready and get to the Mall so I wasn't disappointed when they rang to ask if I could make it 11.30am - this is a much more reasonable hour and meant that John and I could do a few things together first and then he would mooch off for a coffee whilst I was coiffed.

We stopped for petrol in Stroumbi first and were given some 2 for 1 food vouchers for the foodhall in the Mall which was a winner as it included the Gyros place that we would normally choose for a snack lunch - this was a good start.  What was not so good was the ongoing saga we have with trying to return my faulty vacuum cleaner to Amazon.  We took it into the main post office in Paphos where they spied the label which states that there are lithium batteries inside and said that they would only send it by courier and it would cost around €250!!!  Blow that for a game of soldiers - that is more than the cost of the item.  I shall take it up with Amazon...

The Mall is looking lovely - there are great decorations in there this year and we had obviously chosen a good day to go as it was pretty quiet - well actually very quiet.

We got there early enough to do a sweep around Jumbos but as it happens we actually ended up going in there three times which must be some sort of record particularly where John's patience is concerned!!!

I didn't finish my shopping - why are men so bloody difficult to shop for and I wanted to find something nice for Mum but failed miserably so I am going to have to get my thinking cap on and probably have to be sneaky when we go out together which isn't going to be easy.

It was lovely to get my hair cut - I love going to the hairdressers and think I must be Lumi's dream as I never mind what she tries and after about 5 years I have managed to convince her she can never cut it too short for me - she is unconvinced but I remind her that the customer is always right.  She kindly puts a little colour in my fringe or what remains of it which I like - it takes the eye away from the rest of the hair which is getting rather grey!!  Happy with my bonce I returned up to the shopping floor to find John waiting for me.

We took advantage of the food vouchers and really enjoyed the pittas we had which together with a drink came to just about €6.00 which was the same price that John had paid for a coffee and a piece of flapjack in Costa Coffee!

We took a wander stopping for the obligatory selfie at the massive Christmas Bauble which is located on the ground floor.

I didn't find anything for John - he says he doesn't need anything but I reckon he needs a medal putting up with me!  It is difficult to buy him clothes without him trying them on because their sizing over here is snug to say the least so his gifts on Christmas Day are never a surprise.  It's a shame because he loves Christmas and I never have to ask him twiece about looking for decorations or trimming up the house - in fact he is the one that likes to get it done early.

We returned home mid afternoon buoyed by the prospect of leftover chicken casserole, hot coleslaw and wedgie potatoes for tea and John decided to light the fire so we were all cosy - so apologies for a photograph of Boris's bottom but everyone enjoys the woodburner being lit.

Toasty warm and nursing full bellies we slobbed out for a couple of hours watching some naff TV before deciding to have an early night.  Bassam is due early tomorrow and when he says early he means early - the only trouble is the weather forecast is really bad so we have to try and head him off at the pass if there is any likelihood of rain because he cannot do the job we want if it is raining.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Art for art's sake...

It's a new week and Monday's mean art - woo hoo - I love my art although I am thinking I may have bitten off more than I can chew with my latest project.  It was a bit of a panic choice and there are lots of flowers in the jam jar and believe it or not this is the result of two weeks' work!  You might assume that Sheila and I have been chit-chatting on those two mornings but NO we have been working hard - people ask if I sell my pictures - if someone wanted to buy one I would but I could never price it to cover the amount of hours it takes me to finish one and I am not what you would call prolific so to get half a dozen pictures together could take me a couple of years!

Sheila and Klaus have a jigsaw on the go - I love a jigsaw - we always used to have one to complete over Christmas when Mum and Dad used to come and stay - we had to have it on one of the tables and then cover it up when we needed to use the table which wasn't really ideal!  In the intervening years all our eyesight has deteriorated so a difficult jigsaw then has become even more so now.  I couldn't resist but to put in a couple of pieces!

My walk back home was very pleasant - the weather today was lovely and the sun was shining - it is hard to believe that we are in December and really bad cold weather is forecast for later in the week.  I managed to find the source of the sound that seems to come from a peacock which I hear periodically in the distance - it comes from a peacock!  it is part of Savvas the Tyre-man's menagerie!

My afternoon was one of ironing having got the washing done before I went to Sheila's and then got it dried.  We have visitors at the weekend and I have some nice bedding which I set aside for them the only trouble is that the last time they went in the wash they were inadvertently tumble dried to within an inch of their lives so even though they have been rewashed they were so creased and so difficult to iron.

This happened because strangers were in my kitchen - they kindly wiped down the top of the washing machine and managed to flick the tumble dryer dial around to super dry and I hadn't realised when I put on a load and once it is on unless you realise you cannot stop the drying cycle so you just watch the euros going out of the window and your washing getting crispy!!!  Now you know why I like to keep the kitchen as my sole domain then any issues are down to me!

So Nicky and Mark if you mark me down on my TripAdvisor review for your crinkly bedsheets I apologise now in advance but it wasn't really my fault!

Belly dancing tonight - the house is now so lovely and festive and toasty warm (as John won't have it any other way) that it had to steal myself way but once I am there shaking my satellite I really enjoy myself.

Sadly we gyrating ladies which make up the Monday night class are all useless at remembering the routine and that includes our teacher Sofi!  We are ok on the first half and then the second half just becomes a blur - not helped by the fact that Sofi goes off-piste and adds different steps.

This week we did a lot of 'snake' movement and this has highlighted that my left hip is a bit dodgy - oh the joys of getting older!  I really struggled to do the left rotations this evening - still we all had a right old laugh and doubtless next week the routine will change anyway!

Back home for the remainder of the beef and orange curry which seemed even hotter the second time round!

Monday, 11 December 2017

It was the most beautiful morning - sunny and warm with clear blue skies, just right for a pre-Christmas, Christmas!!!

It was my turn to cook today and I thought that as we had most of the decorations in place and my festive play-list on the I-Pod we should make the most of the day and make it special for Mum and Dad.  The conservatory was toasty warm but the lounge wasn't so we lit the gas fire so it looked cosy and inviting.

I was trying out a new recipe today and had a chicken dish in the slow cooker and Cypriot roast potatoes on the go which I was going to serve with green beans and hot coleslaw (carrot, cabbage and leek sauted in butter and then finished off with fresh cream).

The conservatory looks lovely and it is a great place to sit for a pre-dinner drinkie.

Today I thought I would go the whole hog and do some mulled wine and get to use my new insulated glasses.  Last year when I went to Kate's (Beauty by Kate) before Christmas she served her mulled wine in these glasses - they are fabulous because they keep the drink hot but the outside of the glass remains cool.  I ordered some straight away and think John's Mum must have brought them out with her or John did when he went back for his reunion so today was the first time I got to use them.

We had a lovely lunch, the house was warm and cosy and the food was good even if I do say so myself - I have added the recipe to my food page here as I shall definitely do it again but I did have a disaster with the pudding when I put it in the oven to warm and forgot about it and the top went beyond caramelised to burnt!

The gas fire has been behaving itself and after all the problems we had with it initially John persevered to get it sorted and I am so glad that he did - it is a lovely look and it warms the room - a win-win!

If our Christmas Day proper is as good as this then I will be well happy - we shall have the addition of a Christmas drink at the hotel (if we made that two then no-one will probably care what my cooking is like!) and our already selected Christmas Film plus a few presents thrown in - we will be together, warm, fed and safe - what more could we want?

Ain't we lucky?  yes we are and we should remember that!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Christmas is coming...

I made a school-boy error today - I got up, looked at the weather and seeing it was a lovely day, pulled on my scruffers and went gardening looking like Worzel Gummidge or worse thinking that we wouldn't be seeing anyone today only to have our post delivered by Di and Rob who thought it highly amusing that I was looking so scruffy!!!  Anyway thanks (I think) for bringing our very first Christmas Card of the season from Helen and Pete in Yeovil.

The garden still has colour in it - this year the hydrangea has bloomed much longer and I am loathe to cut it back whilst it is still doing so.  The mystery pink plant is looking fabulous - I do hope that it survives the winter but at only €2.50 it wont be a huge loss except that I don't know what it is called to go back and ask for another one and Mrs Very Helpful - NOT at the London Road didn't know what it was called either which I find amazing for someone who runs a garden centre.

Whilst weeding under the olive tree I noticed that the early flowering narcissi have buds so if I am lucky I may have some blooms for Christmas to fill the house with their fabulous scent.

In under the olive tree I have hundreds and hundreds of baby purslaine seedlings - I know that George values this plant as an addition to his salads and feels blessed when he pitches up in the Summer to have some growing in his front garden but left to its own devices it takes over so with the aid of Chivers who loves to come and check out what you are doing when you are weeding I cleared as much as I could - we don't eat it - yet but given time and the demise of the pound who knows we might just well have to!!

Today in my strappy top it was hard to believe that the forecast is for plummeting temperatures mid week which may well bring a ground frost up here in the hills.  That will sort the plants out which will then look like they have been attacked by a flame thrower and so I am relishing today where it all looks tidy, fresh and healthy - I just wish I had taken a little more care with my appearance before getting stuck in and my hands dirty!!

Having said that Boris was all tickety-boo the other day I had spoken too soon and this morning he was very out of sorts and didn't come for breakfast which is a sure sign that something is wrong.

I picked him up and put him on our bed for a snooze because if there was something wrong I didn't want him to wander too far.  It soon became clear what was causing him angst as he vomited up the remains of something quite furry - either a small rodent or a bat.  Sadly he vomited all over our quilted bedspread but I managed to get it in the wash and out on the line in the sunshine and it dried thank goodness.

John and I have decided to sleep in the other bedroom in the Winter - this room is right next to the pool and only gets a little sunshine during the day and is like an ice-block so we have decided to keep it well heated to prevent any problems with damp and if we are heating it then we just as well get the benefit from doing so.  Our normal bedroom gets sunshine (if there is some) nearly all day so is always a few degrees warmer anyway.

We changed our bedding over complete with the newly laundered bedspread and confused the hell out of cats!  We will move back into our normal bedroom next weekend when we have Nicky and Mark visiting and they can have the pleasure of a nicely warmed room when they go to bed.

We decided that as we have visitors next weekend we might as well get the Christmas decorations down and make the house look festive - we wouldn't have time to do it next weekend and after that it would be a bit late.

We have had most of our decorations for years but recently Mum and Dad gave us their old outside tree - we don't have it outside but place it in the conservatory and decorate it.

We have an eclectic mix of decorations collected over the years so there isn't much of a theme going on - nothing tasteful here just memories of Christmas's past - we have too much really and don't always put the same things out so this year we will ring the changes a bit.

It will be nice because it will look all festive for Mum and Dad when they come for lunch tomorrow - I have chosen a chicken dish which is always a safe bet.  I haven't cooked it before so if it turns out OK I will post up the recipe - it is called Italian Lemon Chicken.

I shall tell Nicky and Mark to bring their Christmas Jumpers with them to add to the occasion - who said Christmas was for kids?  Oh that was me wasn't it - yesterday!

A snuggly night in catching up on Love Lies and Records with a rather tasty beef and orange curry in side us - bliss.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

December 1st

OMG we are on a countdown to Christmas - how did that happen???

First of all we must thank the lovely Mina and Claire for our advent calendars which we have been looking at and relishing the moment when we open the doors and that moment happens today - wooo hooo chocolate here we come!

Christmas is most definitely for children so each year for us it becomes more difficult to get into the spirit.  Last year was a difficult time as we lost our great friend Elena on 23rd December and we have the sad reminder of my brother in law's passing on Boxing Day and many years ago my grandfather passed on Christmas Eve.  Not that we would ever forget but when this happens at such a significant time it is impossible to do so.

Last year we marked Christmas Eve with Mum and Dad, Jane and John and Klaus and Sheila - prompting John to find a solution to seating 8 at our house for a meal.  He made a temporary table top - which we still use today if we need.  This year there will be no Jane and John although they will be back on the island in the spring and there will be no Sheila and Klaus but we have roped in Diana and Rob and this year we will have a lunch rather than an evening meal.

November has been very changeable and the last few days have been chilly but what a difference a day makes and today was beautiful with clear blue skies and long periods of sunshine.  I could almost be tempted to go back into the pool - the temperature hasn't changed from the 50 degree milestone we reached last week.

We were down to pickleball this afternoon so I took the opportunity to spend a little time in the garden this morning trying to get on top of the weeks.  I know that my neighbour George prizes the Lysteria that grows without any hesitation and which he includes in salads but I don't want it growing in my garden - nor do I want the wild Asparagus!

There was no Liselotte at pickleball - she is still recovering from whatever she did at badminton earlier in the week that caused her back to go into spasm.  She needs to get sorted and is apparently a very impatient patient!  We made up the numbers with newbie Kyle who is young and enthusiastic and will make a great addition to a Friday when we are short of players.

We had a good natured session - I know that Mum enjoys Friday games and the challenges bring out the best in her game - she did an absolutely wicked round the net shot today which was an absolute winner - what she might lack in speed she makes up for in skill and dogged determination - watching the rallies where Arodes John picks on her is classic and she can often fox him with her dinky shots!

As we returned to Droushia the sun was setting - casting beautiful shards of colour over our estate - this is as good a sunset as we can experience being the wrong side of the mountains to catch it slipping into the sea.

This is not a good photograph but our lounge looked so cozy tonight with the lights down, candles lit and the gas fire flickering away.  We had a bit of a catch up on some programmes we have missed, a nice supper of chili and that lovely feeling that comes when you know that there is nothing specific you have to get up for the next day.  

Friday, 8 December 2017

The first winter burning...

We were supposed to be going out today with friends but it got postponed because someone had to be stretchered off of the Badminton court on Tuesday and ended up being taken to hospital.  That someone was not John but it is a salutary lesson to us all that we need to make sure we don't overdo things particularly if we are nursing an injury - hope you are listening JOHN!!!

We had some shopping to do - the cupboards and fridges at home are the barest I have ever seen them - no hope of any sort of fridge surprise coming from that direction and we needed to get some money - having had Bassam here last week and having him back next week for another job means that our ready cash has been seriously depleted to the point of nothingness!

We called into the post office and picked up post for Sheila and Klaus, Rob and Di and John and Susan.  We had hoped to grab a coffee with Rob and Di or John and Susan but neither couple were in.  We have only seen John and Susan once since John's 50th birthday although we did pass Susan on our way down to Polis today as she was doing her regular cycle ride up the hill.  Sadly we don't have Millie to feed when they go away now and subsequently we rarely see them socially now that John no longer goes to watch ENAD play and their interests mean they move in different social circles to us.

Polis was a veritable hive of activity, we had a fruitless visit to the post office to return my Amazon parcel as it was supposed to be a 'drop off' and they wanted to charge around €35 and a fruitless visit to CYTA to see whether it was worth dropping our landline at home - it wasn't! But our shopping trip in Paps was good and we bumped into all sorts of people we know which rarely happens.

Although it was a bright day I was feeling a bit under par - I wasn't too upset that our trip out was postponed to be honest and because it had been we decided to light the woodburner as it would give John and opportunity to check it was working properly after we had had it serviced the other week. The bright day led to a cool evening so the fire was very welcome even though eventually we were too hot and had to have windows and doors opened.

Boris was most appreciative - he got snuggled down on John's lap and made himself comfortable.  Boris is currently scratch free and injury free and has managed to keep his collar on for at least a couple of days - he is such a sweetie that I hate it when he is poorly.

Just to show you what I mean about the temperature at 6.00pm it was 12 degrees out but 21 degrees in and rising - Charlie wandered in and made himself comfy too which left the bed free for Chivers and Minnie - Minnie has the hump with us at the moment as we have had to treat her ears again - she suffers with earmites and we seem to get them under control and then they reappear.  It is always a battle to get hold of her and get the stuff in her ears and I failed miserably today to squirt it in and then squidge it round so she managed to get a massive head shake in and the majority of the gunk covered me and covered John who was less than amused by my inefficiency - no change there then!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Food glorious food...

A day at home today before going out this evening to meet up with Jackie and Costas (Tea for Two).

I had planned a tidy up in the garden and some weeding but as John went out to put some stuff into the bin we decided to tackle the wall which we had had plastered a couple of years ago but which had blown - it had blown in a small area seemingly but when we started picking at it, it appeared that the plaster was only hanging on by a wing and a prayer and having disturbed it most of it ended up on the path.  Bugger, pay peanuts and you get monkeys apparently.  However having removed 90% of the plaster it didn't look much different then it had before so we will probably just paint it the next time whilst we decide what to do with it - we aren't really sure whether that wall belongs to us or the house next door or if we one one side of it.

I have suggested that I do some sort of mural on it - John isn't convinced but as an entrance way to our property it is all a bit ramshackle.

As you can see it has been wet - we have had a lot of rain over the last couple of days and it is cold - relatively cold obviously - not cold like it is currently in the UK.

We have Bassam coming again next week - we want some tiles put up on the top of the kitchen where there is a flat roof and where the rain seems to pour off and leaves it looking all mucky.

We needed to take the clock-vine down - I had removed some of it previously as it had grown right the way along the railings but now we have cut it right down to the ground - it is amazing to see it grow the way it does when it gets going in around May.  It has just about stopped flowering so now is a good time to chop it down but that particular corner of the garden now looks bare!

It was nice to be able to get out and do some weeding but I have to be careful because at the moment it is pretty difficult to tell the difference between an unwanted weed and a seedling!

We thought we had a problem with the water flow out of the water butt so we needed to empty it and then blast the hose down the orifices to make sure that they were all clear.

It took a while but eventually John managed to evacuate all the snails that had made their homes in the pipework.  We don't need to worry now that the next time it rains the butt will overflow.

We got quite a few jobs sorted outside before retiring indoors and chilling before we went off out to Paphos for dinner with Mum and Dad and Jackie and Costas.

We had decided to go to Tavernaki (not Acropolis nearby which is where Jackie and Costas pitched up originally).  Amazingly Costas had never eating in Tavernaki nor did he know the owner which is normally the case when we go out together.  We had been lucky to get an evening when we could all get together as they are so busy and with the run up to Christmas guess they will have a lot to do with the three Tea for Two restaurants that they own.

Tavernaki was busy and it was lovely and warm inside.  We had a lovely evening - we always do with that company - we have all known one another now for nearly 30 years!  Amazingly Jackie and Costas' daughter was 24 last week - blimey that makes me feel old!