Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Good friends...

Sorry this is late - visitors are disrupting the flow!!



We had a letter in the post today with the unmistakable handwriting of our lovely friend Sally Allan on the outside.  I thought it might have been an early birthday card for John because she never forgets our birthdays.

On opening she had sent me some advertising blurb for her business Sally's Fish Camp.  All the years we have known her she always had a dream to own her own business and now eventually she has fulfilled her dream and I am sure that it will be a fabulous success if I know anything about her!


I had to nip into the village this morning to see Philippos at the post office because he had asked me to help him getting information across to the non-Cypriot residents and holiday makers in the village. Fortunately there is a local lady on the organising committee who speaks really good English so I collected the paperwork from Philippos and then rang Stephani.to make sure I knew what was what.  There is going to be a Greek night up at the school and apparently they are planning a load of other things to try and get the people of the village together.  I have been given some raffle tickets to try and sell so I shall be tapping up all the people I know!  Anyway I am more than happy to try and help.


We were going down to Polis to do our shopping as it is my turn to cook tomorrow and called into John and Susan's to do the watering and today we had an encounter with a bit of wildlife which was much nicer than the viper we encountered the other week.  John went off to do check the pool and shouted for me to come and have a look.


Under their barbeque was a large Chameleon which was dark brown until John moved him out to put him in a safer place when he began to turn green.  I love to see the Chameleons they are like mini little dinosaurs and move so slowly with their big funny feet.  John managed to get it onto a stick and then placed him up in a tree.  I bet the poor little bugger was well pe'ed off - it had probably taken him a lifetime to get to the barbeque and now he had been taken away from it!!

We did the shopping and I got the ingredients to make Bobby some lemon pickle but I was well miffed that it didn't fill the pot - it isn't the best of times for lemons at the moment - when they are in season people can't give them away but that is later in the year.  Poor Bobby had eked out his pickle until there was nothing left and he does like a bit of pickle on his cheese!

John was watching his beloved Blades on the TV this evening so his choice was to have spicy pasta for tea which was a bit of fridge surprise as I used up some chorizo and pastourma which had been knocking about for a while.  That turned out to be the best bit of the evening as the Mighty Blades were robbed of a point when their additional time equaliser was ruled as being offside when it wasn't.  John was not impressed.


I quite like football but I can't bear watching John watching the Blades because he gets so worked up and screams at the screen so I used the opportunity to go and rescue my handbag which I had left at Philippos's earlier in the day and Andri had phoned to let me know it was safe.  It was also an opportunity to go down to the amphitheatre because they were screening a film made in the village and featuring Nicos who sadly died recently.  In English it is called Beloved Days.  As I walked through the village to get my bag I bumped into Nicos's sister Chrysoula who was so pleased I had made the effort to go.  It was lovely to see the amphitheatre being used although it was a tad chilly and there was the obligatory rolling mist!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Gardening...


Being nice neighbours we spent time this morning tidying and cleaning George and Pam's villa in readiness for their holiday - they arrive next week and although I know Pam will spend day's giving it a 'good bottoming' and swilling out in true Cypriot style we like to make sure it looks reasonably clean and tidy when they arrive.  Hopefully they won't get waylaid at the airport and miss their flight as they did one year!


I need to tackle the weeds where the sunbeds are - these are awful and sticky when you pull them up and are best left to get a reasonable length because it makes them easier to deal with.  We work through and are kept company by Charlie who is running around almost beside himself with excitement - he moves out when Pam and George are here.  He is confused as to why we are here and they are not so like a fool I sit him down and try and explain that they arrive next week and we are merely there cleaning up - like he understands!


We did not clock the fact that we shut him in when we left.  In fact it was some time afterwards when John realised that Charlie was absent - it didn't take much working out where to find him and as I put the key into the look I could hear his distinctive cry coming from indoors - not a cry of indignation for having been locked in, a cry to say that he was hungry.


After all our decorating we decided that we, and in particular John's poorly knee, should have a rest so we spent a quiet afternoon chilling out before getting ready as we were unexpectedly going to the Winery to watch the sun go down with our neighbours who have been there to purchase wine but not ventured any further than the reception.  They were mega impressed because although it was a slightly cloudy night the sun went down beautifully and they couldn't get over what a fabulous place the winery is although they are well familiar with the quality of the wines.


Initially there were only three wines produced by the Vasilikon winery but now they have added two heavyweight reds and a new white.  These are more expensive and produced in fewer numbers so are not available to sample.  I have to say that I am not normally a white wine drinker because the acidity gives me chronic heartburn but the latest offering of the standard white Vasilikon is 2016 and so smooth I could be tempted to have some.  We stuck with the red - you cannot go wrong with the Agios Onoufrios - some years are better than others but those better years are exceptional.

The initial chill when the rolling mist was passing through soon dissipated and whilst cool was very pleasant the sunset was stunning and the halloumi and lounza pittas with a cheese and charcuterie board to accompany the wine were perfect.

It was good to see several other tables filled with people enjoying the wonderful surroundings.  We want the place to survive but we like it when it is pretty empty - it feels like our place and we were sat at our table.  In fact I think I prefer it in the winter when the log fire is burning and we sit in the sofas.

We were saying last night that, whilst we don't decry anyone who takes their holiday in one of the all inclusive hotels in Paphos and sees only that tiny part of the island, there are so many beautiful hidden treasures that many holidaymakers simply never get the chance to experience.

Ain't we lucky? you bet your bottom dollar we are and I am happy that every week we seem to uncover something or somewhere new on the island to experience.  It may only be small but there is still so much more for us to see - from the ultra modern to the traditional and we intend to try and find it all and sample it just because we can!

Monday, 21 August 2017

The heat is on...


We were up early this morning as we had a lot we wanted to do before we took Kenny down to have his radiator flushed and then we were going to drag Mum and Dad down to the Mall for lunch and a mooch.  The decorating is a priority - more than anything we want to get it done so we can sit down and watch the TV in peace because at the moment all the furniture is pushed to one side and covered up so it doesn't get paint on it.  Although the main wall had been a coffee colour it is covering reasonably well but the light in the room is poor and are cast all over the place so we cannot be sure what has been missed and what is a shadow.  We are hopeful that a coat this morning and another after that will be sufficient for the time being at least.

We both drive down to Paphos so that Kenny can be left and we can go on to Mum and Dads.  Mum has been to the hospital to get an injection in her trigger finger.  If this doesn't work then she will have to have an operation if she wishes to continue to play pickleball so fingers crossed this works.

Before going out we did a bit of rearranging in their house and swapped over the computer station with the ironing board so the ironing room has now become Dad's office.  This is because we have the devil's own job to get stable internet in the den and in the sunroom and the new office is much nearer the router so wifi signal is pretty good.

We go to the Mall once everything has been moved and we are sure that it is working properly - Dad is on quality control so we had to wait for his thumbs up.  We head straight for the food court where I share a Chinese with Dad and John shares a Kentucky with Mum - that way we are all happy.  The Chinese was excellent - we had one portion of Hong Kong Style Chicken which came with egg fried rice for €7.95 and it was more than enough for the two of us especially as I added some chicken satay as a starter.  I haven't had Chinese since we went to that weird place on the dual carriageway for my birthday and this was a million times better.

John took Dad to Costa Coffee whilst Mum and I took a spin around Jumbos which is obligatory if you are in the Mall and then we returned them home as we had arranged to pick up Kenny at 2.00pm.  As it turned out the fan belt needed replacing - we weren't surprised as we had heard the familiar squeal a couple of times recently so we had to kill a little time whilst that was done.  We headed on down to the Cynthiana where we wanted to check out what had been the location for the Undersea Walking that we enjoyed when it was Mark's 50th birthday.

This hotel has been here for years and is right on a rugged bit of coastline where it has fashioned a swimming pool right in the sea which is protected by rocks - it is a lovely place and an unusual setting.  When it was Mark's birthday we assembled here and went on our undersea walk before having lunch.  We walked all the way along the jetty to take a look but the undersea walking has gone - we had heard that it had but have no idea why save that the old jetty which used to have the sheds with the equipment looks to be breaking up so maybe it was no longer safe.  We walked all the way along and back before settling at the beachside bar to invest in shares in a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice - I know the location is lovely but really €3.50?


John got his money's worth by sucking the life out of the orange garnish - that was probably a euro's worth on its own!!!  At this rate the cheap visit to the garage for Kenny was going to turn out to be rather more expensive when you tot up lunch in the Mall, Jumbos, Buy-rite or whatever it is called now and the Cynthiana!  The good news was that Kenny was given a clean bill of health and with it a small bill of works.


Back in Droushia we cracked on and by the end of the evening had given the wall another coat and once dry had pushed the furniture roughly back into place.  We will need to see how it looks in good daylight - either that or always have the lamp on because that casts all sorts of shadows so no-one would notice if we had missed a bit!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Polis


John had his regular session with Marios this morning and so I took the opportunity to have a little wander around Polis before we returned to the painting of the Sistine Chapel.  I usually only nip into Paps and then go straight home so it was nice to see what is occurring in our local town.  I came across an eatery John and I have yet to sample.  It is clearly simply al-fresco Kelftiko but hey John and I have tried street food all around the world and never had an problem!


Next to the eatery there is a new shop being fitted out which is going to be a Russian Market - it seems to be a rather large shop so I am not sure how much caviar and bliny they intend to sell!  It will be interesting to go in and have a look and it demonstrates the increasing Russian population in this neck of the woods.  There has always been a large Russian presence on the island but it was centred around the larger towns previously.


I went and had a mooch around Festival Shoes which is an Aladdin's cave of all things for the feet but sadly in Cyprus the fashion seems to be dead flat flip flops or break your ankles sky-scrapers like the ones in the picture which do not even have a heel!  The poor fashion victims which wear these sorts of things totter around looking like some sort of half person half faun.  We saw a few of these when we were at the wedding reception the other week.


John's session was a shorter one this week because Marios had upped the weights he had to lift and so therefore he wasn't expected to do so many reps. We returned to Sistine and got on with it.  I seriously doubt that Michaelangelo had so many issues with cutting in and patchy walls!!  The wall we are tackling is the biggest and highest so is blooming hard work and as it was previously painted in a sort of mocha colour will take several coats.   I did what I could but being a short arse that isn't too much and with John's dodgy knee he has to be careful going up and down the ladder.


I had received a phonecall earlier in the week from the Paphos General Hospital explaining that they were desperate for my blood group and telling me that they would be attending the new community office in Droushia this evening so I was ore than happy to go and persuaded John to come with me.  He has given blood when requested when he was in the navy but never as a 'blood donor' like this.


Last year I gave blood in the village but it was held in the old Doctors rooms next to the school and I remember that Lola came and held my hand along with all the other kids in the village who were fascinated by the whole process.  Holding the sessions in the new community building is a much nicer experience all round and I hope that the village supported it - although as usual we had such little notice!

We rewarded ourselves with a beer in Cafe Vrisi sitting with Andri and her yiayia who is 90 and a very sprightly 90 at that for someone who has probably had a very hard life.  Between us we managed a little conversation and she told Andri that we were delightful company.  It is times like this when I really really wish I could speak more than I do.  Once home we took our evening meal outside - it was cool and lovely and we really should do it more often the trouble is when you can you don't!!

Friday, 18 August 2017

painting stones...

Preparations for the state visit continue and we tackle a second wall in the lounge with some enthusiasm even though it is hot and sticky.  The paint dries so much better than it looks like it is going to, so the walls which had already been magnolia previously need only a single coat, the brown wall is going to need several and we have yet to decide on the raspberry pink one although we are kicking ideas around including wall paper but John is worried that it might scorch where it would run behind the stack pipe.

Everything is getting a clean - the curtains have been washed and John has kindly ironed them.  We have not as yet got onto painting the stones white nor have we installed a virginal toilet as they used to have to do if Her Madge came to visit RNAS Yeovilton or some other similar establishment.  We do not decorate to the Bobster's standard - he has ensured that the blank canvas that he starts with is silky smooth and imperfection free - the sort of peachy skin of a young teenager unaffected by the ravages of time, sun and alcohol, ours on the other hand is more like that of an acne'd lager swilling youth (if you get my drift) anyway in the winter when the nights are long and we have ambient lighting who is to know - the only trouble is our state visitors will be coming in August!!!

We are happy to break up our day with a trip to Fitos's for lunch.  There is no pickleball in August and John is still nursing his knee injury so we are not going down to Emba for sport on Tuesdays and Fridays.  So that we continue to see Mum and Dad (other than our not-to-be-rearranged Sundays) we try and organise other things on those days and will continue to try and do so during the state visits.  Today we had organised lunch at Fitos and this was also an opportunity for us to catch up with Angela and Richard who are the reason why Mum and Dad and John and I now live here - I have told this story so many times before but briefly we all used to live in Keinton Mandeville and about 30 years ago Richard and Angela had an apartment near the Land of the Kings which Mum and Dad used - bearing in mind what a different Island it was at that time they fell in love with the place, bought their maisonette in Mediterranean Valley and the rest is history.

We all go back a long way and so it is a real joy to get together and reminisce and I am so glad that Angela and Richard forgave me for my senior moment the last time they were here when I forgot that we had made a lunch arrangement.  Apparently the blog post I had put up the other night regarding my previous career as an ironing expert for Mr Heaver was an episode in my life that Mum and Dad had completely forgotten.

This jogged my memory about other jobs I had had in the village like looking after the children of a woman who had to go for dialysis twice a week and who lived at the top of Barton Road whose name I could not remember, or the fact that I was working in the village store when the invasion took place in the North of the island and as it was such a strategic  island in the Med there were concerns that the whole  situation might escalate into something much bigger.  I was 14 years old at the time and would never ever have believed that I would end up living on this island which remains divided even to this day.

About the best job I had was on a Sunday serving in the restaurant of the now defunct Lydford Hotel with my great friend Sally Tait.  There are a million stories I could tell you about that place but I shall have to reserve them for what they term a 'slow news day'.  Who knew that saving money for my big adventure to Canada when I was 16 could have been such fun!!

We have so many friends and relatives arriving in August we will barely have time to breathe but it is lovely seeing them all and once they have gone we will feel a little flat for a while until we get back in the swing.  Winter no longer fills me with dread - in fact I look forward to dark days with the woodburner lit, the slow cooker on and John, me and the cats snuggled up on the sofa.

Life is good and for that I am very grateful.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

art

Finishing my last picture was like saying goodbye to an old friend - or finishing a good book - or coming to the end of a good TV box set - it's quite sad and somehow embarking on something new fills me with a little bit of anti-climax.  I enjoyed doing my picture of the bird and the glass balls and I have chopped and changed my mind about what to do next.  At the eleventh hour this morning, before I went to Sheila's I finally settled on something which again will challenge my capabilities - it includes wood and glass and flowers and a butterfly!!!


Ok so my morning's creativity looks like a child has been scribbling - the process is that you take your original picture and then with the help of some carbon paper you trace out key features so that you can get positioning, shape and perspective correct and then you start, generally working top to bottom so that you are not leaning over an area you have already worked on as the pastel pencils are soft and easily smudged.  My picture is of flowers in a glass bowl sat on a wooden surface and should ultimately look something like the picture underneath my effort - I think the wood is going to test my patience!


I was well impressed with my lunch today - courtesy of Klaus - it was a meal in a packet and it was delicious and has given me a load of ideas for reproducing in the future.  Basically the meat (a piece of pork loin) was placed in the bottom of the package and then the vegetables (uncooked) were placed on top with a little soup to provide some liquid and then wrapped up and left to cook for an hour at 180 degrees and it was delicious.

On my return to Villa 10b John suddenly decided that the time was right to redecorate the lounge!!!  I think this is (a) because his mum is coming to stay and (b) it is considerably cooler.  Actually having Janet to stay has galvanized us into action so that we are tackling things we have just been talking about and putting off.

The lounge was in desperate need of a freshen up - the woodburner is great but it seems to cover everything in a fine layering of sooty dust which is unnoticeable if left untouched which is my general approach but once touched makes everything look filthy.

John had sorted out the paint so we knew exactly what we had available to us - I think we had purchased a shed-load (literally) of magnolia in the sale in readiness for this very moment.  The plan is to freshen up the two magnolia walls, paint over the coffee coloured wall with magnolia and then tackle the raspberry pink wall which John doesn't like but which I don't mind as it matches the sofas.  If we run out of time then the red wall will remain as it was only recently painted.  I have a feeling that it is going to take a bit of covering up!  It may be cooler but you wouldn't think so when you are painting inside but we cracked on and decided to do a wall at a time and got the easy one between the lounge and the kitchen finished first.


With us both in the cats remain around the house within shouting distance but they seem to find the most inappropriate places to snooze.  This afternoon we had to remove Charlie from on top of John's newly ironed clothes and then found Boo in my towel basket.  I had left the cat blanket thrown over the top and he saw this as an invitation to make himself at home.


It was a blood moon and partial eclipse this evening.  The eclipse was supposed to happen sometime around 9.30 and earlier I had seen the moon clear, big and red but I didn't take a photograph.  By the time it came to the eclipse it was very very cloudy so I was lucky to grab a very quick photograph when the moon momentarily appeared from behind the clouds.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

rain...


So whilst the rest of the Mediterranean roast and suffer under the grip of heatwave Lucifer the story is somewhat different here in Cyprus and not just up here in the hills of Droushia.  I woke to see leadened skies and a stiff breeze.  The cats are all in indicating that it is cooler indoors which isn't normally the case.  John was snoozing so I got up to deal with them and to enjoy the freshness on my skin.  It may rain but one thing is for sure - it wont last long and we will be back to sunshine soon - we had better be because we have four lots of visitors all coming out at the same time - the law of Sod - you wait ages for friends and family to come and then they all come at once!


I went up onto the roof terrace to take in the early morning view.  If you have ever questioned the damage that the sun can do take a look at my Jumbo cushions which started out in life as white writing on a dark grey background and the sun has bleached them to pink!  I shall leave them there until they rot - they only cost a couple of euros and I can replace them next year.

The impending rain will do wonders for the garden.  Everything benefits from having a natural watering - I try not to water too much but certain things really need it.  Our grapevine which we brought from the UK has produced fruit, it is sparse but then we don't use any chemicals on the vine and in the early days I didn't water it at all - the ones in the field don't get watered but recently I have and the fruit is better for it - the vine produces sweet black grapes, very sweet with a lot of pips!

The skies got progressively blacker and blacker and it was clear that we would definitely get some rain.  Rain yes but HAIL in August??????  We had showers on and off all day - this was reflected in the electricity generation for the day which was less than half what we would have expected but even though it had been pretty overcast the water from the new solar panels was bouncing hot so it would appear that it was money well spent having them replaced.

video

The rain was heavy when it came but oh so refreshing although it dropped the pool temperature quite dramatically.  The cats were confused by the noise as the hail hit the glass of the conservatory roof!  All plans for gardening went out of the window - it was a day for being indoors and chilling before going down to Mum and Dads for our supper.


John decided to go for a swim in the rain complete with a cup of coffee to keep him warm!  Actually he said it was really nice in there and reminded him of swimming in the rain when we were in Thailand - actually once the rain had gone and the sun came back out it felt very tropical indeed.  No watering required tonight when we return from Emba - just as well as our return was delayed due to an issue with Mum and Dad's internet and repeaters - we had to leave defeated and hope that the local PC store can shed some light on the problem in the morning.