Friday, 21 October 2016


It is official our house has been visited by the man-flu monster and John is feeling worse again today - he probably shouldn't have gone out last night but he so wanted to meet Di and Rob's friends and we always like to go to Finikas for something to eat.

In the absence of any SNIPS he had resorted to Cold Relief Capsules which I am not sure are very effective so despite having developed a very sore throat myself I went down to Polis and the Chemists to stock up on some supplies.

John wanted Olbas Oil and do you know apparently it is out of stock across the whole of the island - our Karvol capsules have been hanging about in the cabinet since we moved here and no longer pack a nasal punch like they used to.  There must be an epidemic of snotty noses in Cyprus for there to be no Olbas Oil.  I thought I might have been being fobbed off but I went to four of the chemists in Polis (not sure if there are any more) and not one of them could help - they had mega expensive natural Eucalyptus Oil and I know there is no price on John's health but four people could have had a good meal out on the price they were asking!!! (I jest of course)

Whilst waiting for one of the chemists to open I got the opportunity to nose around the lovely old colonial building that is falling into ruin next door.  It must have been magnificent in its day but now is sadly neglected.  It would be a shame if all of these beautiful buildings wee allowed to disappear - they are the history and character of the island and if they go we will only be left with a sanitised version of the island.

All to often houses like these have been handed down through generations and are now owned in part shares by many people located all over the place so the chances of getting them to sit down and agree on its future is slim.  I wonder how many people say that they own a family house in Cyprus but have never seen it and do not realise it is nothing more than a crumbling pile of bricks?

John was confined to barracks for the day - we have a lot of things planned for tomorrow and want to be able to do them so rest was the order of the day.  This gave me a chance to get on with some things...
... do you know that there is a company called the Cambridge Distillery that tailors gin for clients?  Well we are tailoring our own!!!  Jackie and Stan brought us a bottle of gin and some dried lemon - Jackie says that you infuse the gin with the lemon and it makes for a wonderful drink with or without a mixer!  We have added some of the dried lemon, some of our limes and some juniper berries.  This will be agitated over the next few weeks so that the gin gets fully infused by the flavours and then we will have our own mix - I know exactly how much of the flavourings I have used so if it is good I will be able to recreate it.

John began to feel a little better and so got up for the afternoon and we took the opportunity to catch up on all the TV programmes that we have missed recently.  We watched the final part of National Treasure which was a very thought provoking programme and probably to near the mark for comfort.  We watched The Apprentice and then the most recent episode of the Great British Bake Off which saw the demise of Benjamina.  This year there is no outstanding knock-out baker so it is interesting as they all seem to make mistakes.

Midway through our lazy afternoon I decided to get out my 'showstopper' (as Paul Hollywood would call it) and produced a piece of Paps finest carrot cake - we never got round to eating it when Jackie and Stan visited and it seemed just right for a poorly boy with a poorly throat.

Seems like the various bits of medication, tablets and lozenges are beginning to do their trick - John declared that he was feeling better - well enough to try a Leon whilst we watched some England v Scotland Ladies Bowls match on the TV - boy we know how to live!!!  Early start tomorrow because all things being equal we are on our village clean.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

John is poorly boy...

John is officially a poorly boy - he is rarely ill but when he is, he is!!  He has a streaming head cold (aka man-flu) and is feeling very sorry for himself.  The jury is out as to whether he will make it out this evening to meet up with Diana and Rob and their visitors Jo and Neal.

Dosed up with whatever cold remedies we could find in our sadly lacking medicine cabinet John did get up and, having spotted that Bigfoot had walked round the tree to which she was tethered and so could no long reach the water, went out for a bit of fresh air and to make sure Bigfoot and her foal had access to water.  We know that the owners come daily but poor Bigfoot looks really thin and her feet are in a dreadful condition.  If we didn't think we might upset them we would try and get a farrier in to look at her - it is a difficult situation because when someone asked about it previously we were told that the injury was so old there was nothing that could be done.  We are not convinced so we do what we can when we can for her and her foal.

As I said we were due to go out tonight and Diana's friend Jo had asked if I could make a birthday card - not sure if this was for her Dad or for Neal's - not that it makes any difference.  I find making men's cards really difficult unless you know the person but apparently Stan Target (yes that is his real name) is the other Charlton Athletic supporter so that gave me something to go on.

I trolled around the internet and found a great poem entitled "The Long Suffering Supporter" (most apt for Charlton supporters at the moment) and but the wording on the inside.

I hoped that they would like it and, when I handed it over later this evening they were thrilled to bits - that's what we like to see happy customers!!!

Could never make a living out of doing this - it takes me too long to decide what to do and then longer to actually complete the card!!!

I got the card making out of the way and then decided to have a potter around the garden whilst John lay on the sofa with a fit of the vapours!

I am pleased to report that the long and boring saga of our silver wedding anniversary gift to ourselves has finally been put to rest! We have the water feature we had hoped for and it is up and running.

I have always wanted a water feature - in fact I have coveted the one which Rob and Di have at the back of their house!  When our respective parents gave us money for our anniversary we decided that this would be spent on a water feature.  Electricity supply in the garden is limited so we wanted a solar feature which was quite structural and had a reasonable sized water reservoir (so it didn't run dry) and I couldn't find anywhere here that did anything like so I found one on the internet in the UK and decided to have it shipped over - we have never had any shipped over to us in this way before so I did a lot of research and decided to use a company that flies the goods over so it would arrive in about 3 working days which it did.  Only trouble was that through poor packing either initially or when shipped the box was severely damaged in transit and we refused to accept it.  There then ensued a longish battle to get our money back which was dealt with by the agent we had chosen so we didn't have any issues with them but when we had received our refund and asked them about trying to ship it over again they said that they would probably ask us to sign a waiver based on the issues they had encountered which sort of defeated the object of using a company with good insurance so we shelved the idea and then we went to Di and Rob's house and they had their water feature running and I knew I still wanted one so after a lot of investigation I found exactly the same water feature available from a company in Germany who shipped it over via DHL and it arrived after about a week in perfect condition and cheaper than previously so we were well chuffed!  We have positioned it in the garden but need to sort out the passage of the sun to ensure the solar panel is in the best place.  I am happy - I like it!

I decided to tackle the corner where the moon flowers have overtaken - John thinks it looks messy - I have to agree although the white moon flowers have the most fabulous scent the plant gets bigger and bigger and leggier and leggier.  I shall retain the purple moon flower that dad grew as that looks like it can be a shrubbier more compact plant.

I cleared out the corner of old moon flower plants and Morning Glory which is going bananas and replaced them with the two plants I purchased Tuesday when out with Mum and Aunty Joyce.  I bought a very unusual multicoloured leaf hibiscus which is called Red Hot - not entirely sure if it will survive up here - it is in a sheltered spot and I will try and protect it in the winter.  Infront of it I have planted a white solanum - more tricky to keep than the standard purple but I want to keep it as a small mound shaped specimen so have cut it back and will wait for the new leaves to come.  During my gardening I disturbed one of the beautiful tree frogs we get here.  Don't see too many of them in the garden because of the cats but this one has made its home near the manhole cover in the corner.

I had a very quick catch up with Sonia this afternoon before she leaves tomorrow.  Her house-hunting holiday has come to an end and although not entirely 100% successful it has reinforced her desire to come back to the island to live at least for a while.  She has found somewhere she could rent when her house is sold and from there can decide at leisure what her next move is going to be.  She has begun to build a little life for herself already in Neo Chorio and thinks that she could be very happy there - fingers crossed for a quick house sale Sonia so you will be back with us soon.

John rallied sufficiently to make this evenings' meal - starting with a drink at the Droushia Heights Hotel (my second visit of the day having been there with Sonia) followed by another brilliant meze with Marina and Philippos at Finikas.  Unbelievably for mid-October in Droushia is was such a warm and balmy evening that we sat outside for our meal - everyone really enjoyed themselves and it was great to meet Di and Rob's friends.  Only trouble was I started with a sore throat on our walk home and that can only mean one thing....
....John has kindly shared his bugs with me.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

We have been adopted

Today we were becoming ambassadors for Cyprus and in particular our little corner of the island as we were meeting up with John's Mum and Stepdad's best friends Stan and Jackie who are over for a week with family.  Staying at the Helios Bay Hotel Apartments with family, as they have done previously, family like to lounge around the pool and sunbathe, Stan and Jackie like to explore so today we were their tour guides.  Pick-up was at 10.00am sharp for a whirlwind tour.

Our opening gambit was morning coffee at Baracas Lounge Bar which is walking distance from where they are staying - we had thought about Green Hills but it didn't look open as we drove past.  I don't think I have met Jackie before although Stan looked familiar and they were easy company - happy to go anywhere we suggested.

Baracas was a good choice as they plan to walk there again whilst they are here.  It is a little more expensive than some places but our morning drinks came with lovely little crispy croissants and a view to die for.  It was clear it was going to be a hot day - it was scorching at 10.00am - at least it would be a little cooler up our neck of the woods.

After breakfast we stopped at ours for a look around and a sit down.  Charlie could be found asleep hugging my solanum!!!  We were unprepared for Stan's reaction to our home - he just LOVED it and kept on saying that if he won the lottery he would make us an offer we couldn't refuse.  That is so satisfying when you have put blood, sweat and tears into the last almost 6 years turning a holiday home into a quirky home.

Next stop was Latchi and a walk from La Plage along to the Marina which suited Stan as he loves boats.  They were really taken by Latchi - they couldn't get over how peaceful it was and loved the sea walk and the marina area.  They had told us that the six of them had been out for a very nice Steak in Coral Bay last night but their bill worked out at around €50 per person so they were gobsmacked to have lunch on the marina with a drink and for the bill to be less for the four of us than they paid each last night!

We had chosen to eat in Molos because we know that the food is good and very reasonably priced particularly if you chose from the specials board.  They loved it - nice freshly prepared baguettes and wraps were the order of the day and we had a very pleasant couple of hours on the harbour-side.

We slowly walked back along the path to La Plage stopping for a photograph opportunity at the old boat which is now looking very shabby indeed but has become a landmark in its own right.

There were a few people in the sea swimming and a few people catching rays on the sunbeds but actually it is very quiet now - just how we like it!!!  The weather for October has been fantastic and I felt somewhat overdressed in the linen frock I had chosen to wear!

Next stop was the Hotel and a drink on the terrace and an opportunity for them to take in the view.

They were well impressed by the hotel, in fact they were impressed by the whole day so far and there was still more to come.  We had an hour or so sat in our garden just chatting away before we went to our final destination.

We decided to catch the sunset from the terrace of the Vasilikon Winery but chose an evening when there seemed to be a lot of dust in the atmosphere so the sunset was not as spectacular as it could have been.

It didn't really matter because it was a lovely evening sat drinking a little wine and eating meats and cheeses from the sharing platter and it didn't even feel cool once the sun had gone although I had been prepared and put a couple of throws in my handbag!

We delivered them back safe and sound to their apartment and made our way back home with John suddenly developing a head cold, sneezing like a good 'un and with a hanky pressed to his nose - he couldn't wait to get into bed so I knew he was feeling poorly.

Tuesday - Missing Collars...

This morning I was up early and got the opportunity to view a spectacular sunrise.  I was up and out and walking around the estate in search of cat collars - Boris, Charlie and Chivers have all lost one over the past couple of days and my spares are running low.  Generally when we take a stroll around our house we find one lying about - Boris likes to remove his with his teeth whilst Charlie and Chivers will have been fighting and dragged them off of one another.

As I walked down out of the estate and then turned right and made my way to the layby where the boys have their sneaky fags and then up the 'new road' (now five years old and beginning to show its age!) the sun was beginning to sneak up and over Andreas' house and bathing everything in a warm orange glow.

Bigfoot and her foal have been moved into the field next to our house.  We have been concerned about how thin Bigfoot is looking as she nurses her offspring but her owners do come daily and bring food and water and move her to where there should be more to eat - the only trouble is that at this time of year there is so little in the fields for nourishment.

I left John working on his latest project as I went down to Polis with a list of things that needed doing.  John has been trying to find a suitable and aesthetically pleasing way of hiding the pipe that runs down our path to take excess water away from the water butt.

We have seen the front garden under inches of water in a very short period of time and water is so destructive.  Having said that the island is desperate for rain.  The reservoirs are down by about 80% and I have witnessed this for myself - they are scarily low - just a muddy puddle in places which is awful.

Anyway John has found that if he chips away a channel in the terracotta bricks that you can get here they make a good bridge over the pipe and look quite good but it is a slow and messy process - there is red brick dust everywhere and the work is back-breaking but he ws keen to get as much as he could done today as we have visitors tomorrow and we don't want them wading through the red dust to get to our house and we don't want the cats bringing it in on their paws as they are bound to do!

I worked my way through my list of things to do.  I took my curtains into the lovely Anastasie to get her to join then, match the pattern and make one long curtain for the guest bedroom - all for an estimated 10 euros!  I picked up John's chainsaw which has been fixed for no charge for which many thanks and then dropped off some old throws for June and the cat shelter at the Polis vets and then got some stuff to go on the back of Minnie's neck to deal with her ear mite problem.  I did the shopping in Paps and then called into Bambos the butcher to get some pork liver for the cats - in Paps you just get the liver, in Bambos' you get liver, heart, lungs, windpipe the lot - it looks like something from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre!

When I returned home it was clear that Boris had been somewhere he shouldn't as he had come home covered in some sort of gunk - god knows what it was, John had made a good attempt at cleaning him up with a towel but he was still in a mess and I had to wash his paws and legs.  We don't know if he got into one of the abandoned pools which are no more than a scummy mud at the moment but whatever it was it wasn't very pleasant and we don't know whether it was Boris that was sick whilst we were out later in the day but one of the cats regurgitated what appeared to be a small rat in the conservatory.

We were down in Paphos this afternoon - John went to talk to the aluminium people about replacing the wooden fence between us and Paul's with a more permanent and more attractive solution and for breaching the gaps between the turrets of the wall.  I went to play pickleball and then took Mum and Aunty Joyce down to Baracas beach bar to enjoy the afternoon sun and a cup of tea.  It was lovely down there - very peaceful and it occurred to me it might be a good place to take Stan and Jackie tomorrow for coffee before we set off back up the hill to show them where we live.  They may have already been as they are staying at the Helios which is in walking distance.

A welcome night in for John and I and as we had a busy day ahead of us tomorrow we retired early - I forgot to post my blog - Diana and Louise will be very cross with me.

Monday, 17 October 2016

A new week begins

So another new week begins.  We are most definitely into the Autumn as every morning we are greeted by everything covered in condensation and dripping wet.  Sadly it is time to start packing things away so they don't get damaged.  We have one more set of visitors staying with us but not till mid November so we will just get any cushions out we need at the time.  I went round the garden today collecting up cushions and rugs and throws which we will store in George and Pam's having asked their permission to do so.  It seems a bit sad really packing up for the Winter particularly as the days are so lovely - it is just the nights that are cooling down dramatically.  We just hope that mid November we will have some sunshine for Sally and Tommy to enjoy although whatever happens I know we are going to have a great weekend together.

We are anticipating World War III to break out today as Minnie has stolen a march on Charlie and found the laundry basket.  She has her earmite problem back - John just can't understand why vets and pharmaceutical companies cannot find a permanent solution to this problem.  We use the Frontline back of the neck stuff and it works for a short while and then they are back with a vengeance.  Boo and Chivers have each lost collars today - we are going to have to ask people to send some out so anyone reading this if you go near a pound shop then can you get me some of the quick release collars to replenish my stocks.  THANKS xx

Up early this morning before art - how great is it that I can get two loads of washing done and out on the line and know it will dry and, as I have done the bedding on both the guest bed and our own bed that if I play my cards right they can go back on the bed without any ironing!  Fresh Hay tonight - always makes for a better night's sleep!

So art today and I am very close to finishing my picture - Lola will be pleased as she cannot wait to have her own little work of art and I am really happy with this picture and know that it will be going to a good home.  I have just got the butterfly to finish and then it will be framed and I will face the daunting task of starting a new picture.  I have chosen the subject matter but in case anyone reading would like something done for them I am open to suggestions!!

My walk home was an exceptionally pleasant one as it was such a glorious day - I chose the route which takes me down out of the village and along the main road then up past where the fires were last weekend.  I did this route last week not realising that John had taken it upon himself to come and pick me up and so we missed each other completely.

A lot of the villages are being 'prettied up' with natural stone walls which have alcoves which house pretty little mosaics.  Although to my mind the mosaic on the right seems to be upside down - I would have thought it was supposed to be a vase but what do I know!!!.  Anyway this year I am going to be doing traditional mosaic work when they send the handicraft people down from Nicosia.  I decided to change from weaving even though I was keen to get my hands on the looms and make a couple of rugs but the teacher apparently spoke no English and it was three full days!  Anyway we are now in the throws of trying to organise the six half days when we will be making our mosaic fish.  It will fall around the time that Sally and Tommy are here so I will miss some of the lessons but Eleni seems to think I will be able to make it up.

Diana had picked up a parcel for me today and I was pleased that inside were the two belly dancing coined belts that I had ordered - one for her and one for me.  It is amazing how having a good belt can make such a difference as the jangling of the coins lets you know whether you are 'tacking' in the right places!

A good crowd tonight - Diana brought her visitor Jo and it was lovely to see Paula back after her very traumatic last few weeks.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Lazy Sunday

We were all a bit tired this morning after a lovely day yesterday.  Charlie had found himself a nice bed on the sofa with his feet resting on the foot stool I gave my Aunt yesterday when she was reading in the conservatory.  We had anticipated a long power cut today and I was doing lunch so I had got a lot of it sorted just in case my oven was unavailable.

Breakfast was taken outside and my Aunt and Uncle took themselves off to the gazebo for a read whilst we awaited the arrival of mum and dad.  The morning started out beautifully but cloud soon started to bubble up from the direction of Lara and pretty soon it was getting cloudier and cloudier and you could feel the temperature dropping.

We remember the first October we were here and Mark and Laura came to visit and we went ot Lara for Mark's birthday and drove home hotly pursued by a storm which eventually caught up with us and we experienced thunder and lightning and heavy rain so weather like this is not unusual in October.

I sorted out the outside table in preparation for a game of doms and then lunch but had the dining table indoors as a back up if Mum and/or Dad felt they were cold.

Charlie moved from the conservatory but only as far as the sofa in the lounge and contorted himself into what looked like a very uncomfortable position but he was as happy as Larry!  He kept me company with his snoring whilst I got the remainder of the lunch prepared and we waited for mum and dad to arrive.  Their cat has been really in the wars - he won't stop going out and getting into a vicious fight and he has no teeth so he comes off the worse - yesterday he went missing after a particularly nasty fight and was badly injured.  Fortunately he returned this morning and allowed Mum to give him a bit of a clean.  They were then happy to come up to us having seen him.

Mum and Dad arrived safe and sound but they the time they did it had begun to cloud over - having lived over here for so long they are much more conscious of the cold and we are always a good 6 degrees cooler up here than in Emba.  It's fine in the conservatory but outside is a bit of a different matter.

We managed to have the first half of our doms game outside but it did begin to get cooler and cooler so we thought it would be better if we sat inside to eat our lunch.  It is good to have the three members of the September 16th club all together once again.  We have been talking to Joyce and David about them returning again next year if they are feeling fit and healthy enough and it would be lovely if they were able to manage it - bless them for even considering it at their ages!

My meal seemed to go down well.  I had prepared a coq au vin in advance and then tweaked the recipe and added the black eyed beans which I picked from next to mum and dad's earlier in the week.  The coq au vin was served with hasselback potatoes and carrots and leaks in cream and garden peas.  I had made basil and lime infused pannacotta which was served with poached raspberries.  It was better to eat it indoors although it is a bit of a squeeze!  We will have to sort out seating arrangements over the Christmas period when we have eight at one point!!

Finally news on Bigfoot and her foal - Sharon was very concerned about her yesterday as she was tethered in the field opposite Sharon and Sean with what appeared to be very little to eat and she has her foal to support.  Bigfoot was looking exceptionally thin and Sharon was thinking about getting some hay for them both but the good news is that they have been moved into the field behind where they appear to have more to eat and they are obviously being looked after as the owners were there feeding and watering them.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Saturday with visitors

We have visitors this weekend and so our Saturday started in a leisurely way with breakfast outside under the gazebo making the most of the autumn sunshine.  It was a beautiful morning and we had decided that we would have breakfast and then go for a late lunch down at Latchi and then come back via the hotel for a cocktail or something and then have a quiet evening in with a 'picky tea' after a game of doms or cards or something.

We had everything in for full English but our guests preferred to opt for the fresh fruit platter, yoghurt and honey followed by toast.  I actually baked some figs for my aunty because she loves them and wont have any when she returns to the UK.  John has found a tree which has plenty of super figs nd so she was thrilled to be sampling some of them.

 After a leisurely morning sitting round reading we set off for Latchi - what a day it was still 30 degrees according to the car thermometer!

We parked up at Psarapoulis and then walked along the coast path heading for Molos and a late lunch.

My aunt and uncle are good company even though they are in their 80s.  They are happy to walk for a bit providing that it is relatively flat and are happy to eat just about anything and like to relax with a good book when they are back at the house, plus Uncle David likes football (being a Reading supporter) so he is happy to discuss that with John and was looking forward to watching a bit of the England match later this evening if we could fit it in.

We had a lovely walk and settled down at one of the outside tables at Molos for our lunch.  Both being fish eaters they plumped for the sea bream special whilst John had the steak baguette and I had the chicken Caesar wrap.  It was a lovely meal and they thoroughly enjoyed it - we wasted a pleasant couple of hours there chatting and people watching before walking slowly back to the car and our next destination.

Next stop was the Droushia Heights Hotel where we opted to share a carafe of the house wine which we know is Kolios so eminently drinkable!  We sat out on the terrace amusing ourselves watching two girls who were staying at the hotel trying to get into the swimming pool - it was bound to be cool but probably not as cool as they had anticipated!  It took them a while with a lot of grimacing and sharp intakes of breath but they made it in the end - I take my hat off to them as there is no way I would fancy going into the Hotel pool now - I thought it was cold in July when we stayed for our anniversary!

So we rounded off our day with an amiable game of doms, the England v Malta football match and 'picky tea'.  Uncle David is hysterical at playing doms because he has no strategy whatsoever and it takes him half of the game to realise what exactly he is supposed to be doing!  Aunty Joyce sits very patiently next too him guiding him along and pointing out the error of his ways and he just laughs all the way through!