Sunday, 22 October 2017

Friday

A brief post today because it was a relatively normal Friday that is, if you consider a wake-up call in sub zero waters normal!

We really do want to try and keep going for as long as possible and over the last few days the temperature of the water has stabilized - and when we go in there is probably little difference between the outside early morning temperature (which often feels much cooler because of the damp from the condensation) and that of the water in the pool.  I am not brave enough to put my head under - I say it is because I don't want a reoccurence of my neuralgia but I never like putting my head under - John is not such a wimp and attacks the exercise with much gusto - the ensuing tsunami which can leave water fast approaching the conservatory is a project he is working on!  As the pool is so close to the conservatory anything movement in the pool can mean water making a bid for freedom and in the wrong direction.

We had our 'swim', a shower using whatever hot water was in the tank - it felt infinitely warmer than the pool so that was good and then went down to Emba via the recycling bins for our regular game of pickleball.  I smiled to myself the other day when Rob had done his recycling - he said that there must be someone else in Peyia who liked his real ale as there had been several in the recycling bin - I think that they were probably John's as I had done my recycling only just beforehand!

We had a good pickleball session, just five of us as Liselotte is away.  I have to take my hat off to Mum who plays a mean old game even at the tender age of 82 - what she may have lost in speed around the court she makes up for in sneaky shots!

We were having Aunty Joyce and Uncle David up with us again this weekend.  I had put our supper in the slow cooker and had chosen a Creamy Slow Cooked Pork recipe which was ok but I think I should have chosen a cut of pork with a higher fat content so make it a bit more succulent.  I had used a big old joint of pork loin which is probably better flash cooked rather than slow cooked - I thought it was a bit 'hard' but it got eaten all the same!  The star of the show was the vegan sticky toffee pudding which was just as good the next time round and I didn't know it but sticky toffee pudding is Uncle David's favourite.


We played a good natured game of Mexican Train dominoes after our dinner - god only knows Uncle David's logic because he never seems to have any system or plan as to how he is going to win the round but just occasionally, clearly by luck rather than judgment he does!  A wee dram seems to help - several wee drams don't seem to affect him either!


John has re-modeled the cat day-beds he made last year - for some reason the cats would always favour one cushion over the other even though they were bought from the same place at the same time.  We have put the blinkie Kaye knitted over the top of the cushions - this is the cats absolute favourite and as a result it is hitched to hell but neither Chivers nor Charlie seemed bothered as to which cushion was underneath.  The temperature outside is clearly dropping as the cats now tend to spend a lot more of the evening in with us - that and that fact that the other places that make them welcome on the estate no longer have their occupants - except we know that Persephone and Savvas came tonight as she sent me a photograph of Charlie's collar which he had left behind.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

on a mission...

Today turned out to be one of those unexpectedly nice days where we weren't expecting anything much out of it but in the end it turned out to be really rather lovely...

We started the day with our morning swim - to be honest this is getting more difficult to endure as the temperature is hovering just above 60 degrees Fahrenheit or about 14 degrees Celsius and whilst people keep asking me why I don't wait for the sun to warm things up a bit I prefer to get in and get out when the outside temperature is not so different from that of the pool - it doesn't seem such a shock to the system that way and then you get that lovely rush of blood to your digits which leaves you feeling clean and warm.

We had to get our swim in early today because we had an appointment at a new eating establishment which we are planning to visit next week as an early celebration for Liselotte's 50th and Rob and Di's wedding anniversary.  I had seen this place advertised in an email I receive from Cyprus Insider which sends information about some real hidden gems on the island.  Kika's sounded not dissimilar to Orexi in that you eat in the garden and you fresh, organic and mainly home-grown food in a rustic environment.

The article had said that an evening meal could be arranged if you were a party of six or more hence thinking of Liselotte and Di - as they both had something to celebrate they might be happy to try something a bit more 'exclusive' and thereby possibly more expensive than we would normally chose.

We were uncertain exactly where it was located save that it appeared to be somewhere off the main road near Kallepia so we wanted to do a recce to be sure and to decide upon a menu.

Clearly nearing the end of October being able to eat an evening meal outside up in the Hills is unlikely and maybe even unwise so it was with some relief that when we found our destination there were guys glassing in a terrace (with fabulous views across to Tsada) and talking about a woodburner being installed.

We sat outside under a grape vine drinking fresh coffee and eating homemade brioche and pumpkin bread getting to know one another before deciding upon the menu.  We did not plump for the delicious sounding salad and souvla combo in the end because when conversation turned to Kika's time in the UK spent in Wolverhampton where she was taught to cook proper curries by her Indian neighbour we thought of Rob and plumped for that.  We hope we made the right decision.

We could have stayed at Kika's all day, she and her daughter Marlay were charming and once we got onto the subject of art there was no stopping us!  We left armed with brioche, pumpkin bread and a pot of home-made wild plum jam and in return we promised to send various recipes for Kika to recreate.  If our evening turns out to be half as good as this morning was then it will be fab.


From Kika's I persuaded John to take me up to Minthis Hills golf course for a nosey.  The last time I was there it was called Tsada golf course and was just getting its first batch of buggies delivered and I reckon that was about 25 years ago!

It has clearly changed a lot since those days when the clubhouse was a tin shack - it is now a stylish, modern and expensive establishment with some fabulous landscaping.

We decided a coffee here would probably cost more than lunch in the establishment we had earmarked in Polis so we slowly made our way down in that direction.

We have passed this tiny brightly coloured grillhouse on numerous occasions and said we should try it so today was the day.  We parked up in the car park opposite with the lovely old but crumbling building and crossed over thinking it would be a good idea to sit outside and make the place look busy but we had forgot how much warmer it is down near the coast!  We were invited to dine inside which might have been more sensible but it was rather dark so we endured the rising temperatures to enjoy a drink and a kebab with chips.  It was cheap and cheerful and we have promised to return at some point to have the coffee which we declined today.  I have to say this set us up nicely for or shopping trip to Paps and a lazy afternoon thereafter.


Friday, 20 October 2017

Mid Week...


So we know that my sister got home safely and in good time which is good news and it was a successful visit and we are looking forward to the next one whenever that will be.  How fabulous that my parents got to see their great-grandson and that he interacted with them with no fear whatsoever, in fact nothing phased him at all during his holiday which was filled with so many new experiences.

video

We were somewhat confined to barracks today as we were awaiting the guy to come and clean and service the woodburner ready for the winter.  We started the day as we have been doing with a dip in the pool - brief though it may be we are still going in - I am increasingly more grateful that our pool is a small one as the shock of swimming a couple of lengths is getting more intense!  I am nearing my limit now although the pleasure pain thing is quite nice - the rush of blood around your system as you get out is great!

The man arrived to do the fire somewhat later than we had anticipated which sort of threw the whole day out as we had planned to go shopping in the afternoon to stock up for the weekend.  As it turned out there were no smoke bomb leak things on the van so he had to go back to Paphos and get some which meant we couldn't risk nipping down to Polis and missing his return.

We also had a visit from Soteris today to resolve the conundrum posed by us changing our Cyta router for the most modern sort.  In so doing the monitoring system for the photovoltaics no longer spoke to the router and we were unable to record the electricity production which John likes to do.  Apparently this was because the box which records the PV production is an old sort where you cannot change the IP details to talk to the new router.  We needed a switch in between and Soteris kindly went and got us one and gave it to us - it was a simple plug and play resolution once we got the right piece of kit - much easier than the hours we had spent changing IP addresses, subnet masks and default gateways only for it to fail!!  For a minute I felt like I was back at work and I have to say I really didn't like that feeling at all - I don't miss all that troubleshooting.  Still tick in the box this is now all working perfectly and John is happy that he has the information to hand - that way he knows whether we have an issue with one of the panels and a big thank-you to Soteris for sorting it so quickly for us.

Once we decided not to go down to Polis but to stay at home and await the return of said man with said smoke bombs we went next door to prune the olive tree that would otherwise have soon been in danger of messing with our electric cables.  Gregoris and Theodora were more than happy that we reduce the size of it by about half and we cleaned up any cut branches and piled them up for them so that if they do come and want to use it in their kleftiko oven it would be there for them in the future - having said that it is going to take quite some time to dry out!

We got the job done and their courtyard cleaned up and then smoke bomb man returned and tested our woodburner for leaks having replaced the ropes and resealed bits that needed resealing and swept the chimney - pleased to report that it all worked beautifully so we are good to go which means that John will be itching to light it now - this normally does not occur until much nearer December but the last few nights have felt really chilly so it could be much sooner than that - we really must be getting acclimatised - I can't believe that the first winter we were here which was the wettest and coldest for 40 years we had nothing more than a gas fire and had to run between the buildings when we wanted to go to bed.


Anticipating a trip to the supermarket I had sorted out the fridge and earmarked some items which needed using up - namely the soya milk and non dairy spread which we got in for Jack.  I had recently been given some fresh dates by my neighbour Galatia and so I had found a vegan recipe for a sticky toffee pudding which I thought I would try - I have to say I wasn't expecting it to be very good but it was absolutely delicious and definitely one for the future so I will add it to the food page of this blog.

Tea was store cupboard and freezer surprise - I managed to cobble together a chicken curry which turned out to be a winner - thank god for a jar of red thai curry paste and some cashews!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Bye Bye...


Today we said goodbye to my sister, her daughter Ellie, son-in-law Andy and their son Jack having left at the weekend.  Kaye was an ex-Monarch, flight only, non ATOL protected, traveler but she was repatriated on the same day and at the same time as her original booking but the flight was covered by British Airways instead.

Despite not being able to check in beforehand she said the flight was fabulous as she had a row of seats to herself and it being the red-eye flight which arrived in Birmingham in the wee small hours she was grateful for the opportunity to be able to lie-down (there are benefits in only being a short-arse) and she was even more grateful that the flight arrived super early so she was home and tucked up in bed quicker than she had anticipated.


I cannot begin to imagine what a difficult visit this must have been for her returning on her own having spent many holidays here with her husband Richard and it being here where she realised that something was seriously wrong with him.  It is nearly three years since we lost Richard to a brain tumour, he didn't get to meet his wonderful grandson Jack of whom he would have been very proud.   So if you are reading this Kaye I know that Mum and Dad were really appreciative of your visit and the opportunity to meet Jack and we thoroughly enjoyed having you and the Cockerill's here with us and then you on your own and you and your family are always welcome to come and stay even if it is a bit of a squash!!


It would be wonderful if the family return next year, who knows how fascinating Jack will have become a year older but as we know only too well a year is a very long time and anything could happen but we have our fingers crossed that it wont be too long before we are all back in one another's company once again.

A short post today - things returning to normal slowly, we just have Aunty Joyce and Uncle David staying at the weekend, then they return to the UK and then....
....no visitors that we are aware of!



And for those of you who are interested we are still having an early morning dip/wake up call in the pool - we have revised the cut off point downwards and are thinking that 60 degrees F/15.5 degrees C will be the limit and that is fast approaching!!  Charlie clearly thinks we are nutters!!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A new week...


There is a distinct nip in the air at night and in the early mornings up here in Droushia and over the weekend we had our first autumnal rains and today was changeable.  We have resorted to a heavy throw on the bed as a compromise because John would prefer a lightweight duvet by my internal thermometer she says NOOOOOOOO!!!!!  The cats have given the throw the once over and it has got the seal of approval although it smells different from the 'blinkie' (knitted by my sister Kaye) which is normally on our bed.  Part of me covets the additional 5-6 degrees of warmth down by the coast and part of me is secretly looking forward to the time when we can unashamedly light the wood burner and snuggle up on the sofa.  On that subject we are having the wood burner serviced tomorrow and chimney swept in readiness and anticipation of its first light which is not normally until much nearer Christmas!


The arrival of Autumn seems early - either that or we are now too acclimatised and our blood suitably thinned.  It has not stopped us in our quest to continue to use the pool as long as possible.  Our benchmark was that when we first moved over here our friends Laura and Mark came for Mark's birthday (which falls later this week) and I distinctly remember we swam when they were here, in the pool, without thinking it was cold or brave to do so.


John went in and removed the bar stool so that he could give the bottom of the pool a good clean.  Google Photos created a photograph by stitching together two others so that you cannot even see the join and so I ended up with a rather spooky photograph of two John's in the pool at the same time!  After yesterday's rain things have been left looking a bit messy but the rain has warmed up the pool water just a tad.

I went to Art today having missed it last week as we had visitors.  It isn't a problem as I am in no rush to complete this picture but I do miss it and so it was nice to get back to the job in hand.

Progress is slow - the picture on the top was where I got to today and the picture below shows where I started - who would have thought that a bit of colouring could take so long!!!

Sheila has finished her picture of the Madonna holding a lamb and now has to find a new subject matter - I am considering maybe doing a picture of a belly dancer next time and giving it to our teacher Sofi because she makes our Monday evening sessions such fun.  I am going to start looking around to see if I can find something suitable.  It is going to take me a while to get this current picture finished because once the flowers and butterfly are completed I have the glass bowl with water and pebbles to challenge me and I think the table upon which the vase sits is going to need a bit of work as I did the left hand side ages ago.

The remainder of the afternoon we didn't do too much as I was off to belly dancing with Diana and then she and Rob were coming up to eat up some of the food we had leftover from the weekend.  As they have only just returned from a soggy trip to Malta to see Di's parents I thought they might appreciate a bit of home cooking and the remains of the stifado and carrot cake from yesterday.

What was just going to be a bit of a quiet supper turned into a really nice evening as I dug out my favourite play-list on the old i-Pod and challenged the Robster to 'name that tune' or 'name the artist' which he managed to do nearly 100% of the time!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Sunday together


We are continuing with our personal challenge to keep going into the pool for as long as possible.  Charlie clearly thinks John is a nutter!  This is the same Charlie who shlepped his way along to our neighbours' Persephone and Savvas last night to avail himself of some souvla and then we had a message from Persephone saying that Savvas (retired doctor) considered Charlie's collar was too tight - probably because he is such a glutton!  I duly changed said collar and he now has a looser white one.


It was a rather grey and chilly start to the morning but we still ate our breakfast outside and were lucky to do so because the weather deteriorated and we had thunder and rain although unusually for Droushia not anything like as bad here as in other places nearby.  In fact when Mum rang me when they had returned to Paphos after lunch she said they passed through some really terrible weather including some hail.


Kaye and I managed to dodge the showers and get in a walk after breakfast, returning just before the heavens opened.  We walked around the edge of the village and out towards the mast but cut across to the right which brings you out near Palates.  En route we came across some very pretty restored cottages which are now visible because either a building or some trees or something have been removed.  The selection of plants in pots look lovely outside with the terracotta complementing the lovely soft stone of the building.  I like the small trees in the pots and think I might have a go at trying to strike an olive tree to so something similar.


Mum and Dad arrived and were happy to be able to sit in the conservatory where what little sun we had had this morning had made it feel warm and comfortable plus I was cooking so there was warmth coming from the kitchen.  As we were going to be confined to barracks John had taken down the big family table top and was busy re-erecting it in the dining area so we could all have a place to sit in comfort.


John created the big family table top last Christmas and it really comes into its own on occasions like this and actually doesn't swamp our dining area.  It's nice to dress up the table - just a shame my crockery is blue!  We were having the magnum bottle of Tsangarides wine which Angelos from the winery presented to John for his birthday after his celebrations - on that subject when Kaye and I were out walking in Droushia we came across the bus which we went in under cover in a shed up by the Muhktar - no idea why it should be there unless it is something to do with the accident it had before we went out in it.


So here we are Dad, Mum, Kaye, John, Aunty Joyce and Uncle David around the big family table top ready to tuck into my signature dish - Stifado which I served with some Jimmy Floyd Hasselback potatoes, carrots, peas and spiced white cabbage and we finished the meal with some generous slices of Paps best carrot cake.  Uncle David and Dad enjoyed an after dinner snooze and then before we knew it they were ready to go so Mum and Dad could get back to feed Fred.  So glad they didn't leave it too late as the weather was so bad on the way home.


My sister asked me if I could get a frame together with a collage of photographs of Jack that she could give Mum as a gift - as it happened I had a suitable frame which we had used for our Silver Wedding Anniversary last year and which I had kept being loathe to get rid of it and good job too.  I took ages going through the photographs we had taken whilst Jack had been here and hopefully chose a selection which they will like.  I so love the one of Jack when he first met Dad at the airport and the one of Jack giving Mum a kiss goodbye when they left.  It had been such a successful trip - all we need now is to know that Kaye will be repatriated as planned on Tuesday although to be fair she isn't too bothered as long as she is back by Friday.

Sadly Kaye's mother-in-law Hilary passed away last night, she was nearly 90 and had been suffering with dementia for quite some time but even so this would make the end of an era for Kaye.  So thoughts with her and all the other members of the family who will have been affected by this.


Monday, 16 October 2017

All together now...


Even though we have visitors it has not stopped us in our quest to use the pool for as long as we can, although we couldn't tempt my sister into joining us.  It was a rather grey and uninspiring start to the day - exactly as the forecasters had forecast and if they are right then we are to have rain and a thunder storm tomorrow - deep joy as we had planned for the seven of us to eat outside lunchtime - we will need to go into winter contingency mode and get the temporary 'large party' table top down for the dining table.


Our plans were to chase the sun today if we had to and Kaye wanted to go down to Latchi anyway so we had our breakfast outside and then took a trip down to the coast where although the sky was heavy with cloud it was still warm.  We took a stroll along the coast path from La Plage all the way to the end of the now extended harbour side.


For all the current furore about the new hotel that has been built in Latchi which is apparently far bigger and longer than the plans submitted, Latchi remains one of my most favourite spots on the island.  Personally I think more effort should be expended on tidying up the horrendous half built shell of 'shops' which took away some of the parking spaces and which has never been completed rather than complain about the new hotel or making something of the old Rumours nightclub or prettying up the row of souvenir shops.  How about providing a chemist or a bank or something useful which residents and tourists alike would benefit from?


Anyway enough of that rant - I am just going to have a bit of a go about something else I witnessed which was a truck which had a small crate on the back and about 10 poor hunting dogs crammed inside.  I am sorry but I cannot get used to this - I like to think that when they are being transported they are safer by being in a small space so they cant jump out or fall about inside and injure themselves I hope I am right but probably not - anyway I hope these are good hunters otherwise they may well end up being left somewhere to add to the increasing number of abandoned dogs which are on the island and which the shelters are struggling to cope with.


We decided to stop for coffee at Molos before returning home for a bite to eat and a laze around the house for the afternoon as we were going out this evening in the village.  By the time we returned home the weather had improved considerably and so our guests were able to take advantage of the sunshine - Kaye using the roof terrace to get maximum rays and a quiet snooze!


Our big night out in Droushia started with a gentle stroll down through the village to the Droushia Heights Hotel where we were to enjoy a carafe of Kolios wine in some refined surroundings before going to Finikas for a meze.  The lovely staff at the hotel brought us nibbles and a big platter of fruit which we tried to make a dent in - bearing in mind we had a huge meal ahead of us - we don't like to leave any freebies otherwise they just might stop giving them out!


Our meze in Finikas was, as always, excellent and it was good to see that we were not the only people dining there even though it is quite late in the season for visitors in Droushia (due to the cooler temperatures) and due to the cooler temperatures we sat inside.  The amount of food which was brought to our table was vast - it really could have fed an extra two or three people and I know Uncle David was concerned by the amount of 'waste' but it is always thus and to be fair we really needed the Bobster there to take full advantage.  We went home with a doggie box the size of a small suitcase and a box of the wine must stuff that they cover the almonds with for soujoukos but which when served as a sweet is softer and called palouzes.  This is a great honour as this stuff is very expensive.