Life in Cyprus - December 2000

12th Dec:

flying kites at one of the Larnaka beachesWe had an excellent week with my brother and his wife. Despite a much rainier Autumn than we've had before, the start of December was mostly dry and sunny. Richard took a couple of days off and we went out to various places: Lefkara, some of our favourite beaches, and Kurium. 

It was warm enough to enjoy some yogurt ice-cream and in the evenings we played computer games, talked, read, or did jigsaws. It was only on their last day that we had an absolute downpour of rain, so heavy that it burst through the dining room ceiling and all over the floor. We managed to mop it all up but unfortunately one of the jigsaws was ruined.

30th Dec:

Now we've been here three years, we're used to the fact that December, while chilly at times, is usually sunny during the day. It felt most 'unChristmassy' at first, but of course this kind of weather is a lot more like the weather around Bethlehem at this time of year than the cold, grey dampness of the UK in December. How conditioned we are, to think of Christmas as going with snow and robins and so on!

In fact we did have more rain than usual, including the day before Christmas when Daniel was supposed to be playing carols with the Municipal Band in town. So the concert was cancelled, which was a pity - but it would not have been much fun playing in the rain.

Christmas Day with the tree and giftsChristmas Day, which we thought would be quiet, with just one friend coming to lunch, turned out to be hectic, and most enjoyable. Tim's guitar teacher and his family (they have four young children) had been expecting some guests for lunch, but at the last moment the guests cancelled. So as we'd previously invited them, they suggested we get together, and combine resources. 

It worked extremely well, and is probably the first time we've ever sat down to Christmas lunch with two large turkeys! In the afternoon some other friends from Church came over for some cake and mince pies, and stayed till after 11.00pm, playing one of our favourite games 'Tabloid Teasers'.

On Boxing Day we went to a party arranged by the organisation Richard used to work with, and the day after that were out to dinner with friends... then we had a couple of days of relaxing at home, and doing almost nothing - just getting up late, reading, playing new computer games and so on.

Perhaps it was a silly thing to say in our newsletter that we had no intention of adopting any more cats, since another cat has arrived and looks as though she wants to adopt us! This is not a feral cat, but very clearly a house cat who loves children. She arrived on our doorstep on Christmas Eve, purring affectionately but not making any noise. We assumed she belonged to someone else locally, and ignored her. On Christmas Day, when the boys were outside playing with the young children, this cat joined in. Most unlike our three cats, who generally hide under beds when small children are visiting! So we guessed that she belonged to a family with small children, possibly even the next-door neighbours.

After a day or two, when she was still there on the doormat all the time, I gave her some 'crunchies', thinking she might be hungry. She ate them delicately like a family cat, not greedily like a feral cat. We've tried taking her down the road, to see if she recognises anywhere - we even left her at the other end of the street one evening, hoping she'd find her way home. By morning she was back on our doormat. We're beginning to wonder if she was deliberately abandoned... yet what a horrible thing to do at Christmas.

We seem to have had more rain in the past couple of months than in the previous three years put together - and the leakages in our roof seem to be getting worse, but the landlady is getting a builder in to fix the problem later this week, thank goodness. Tim has been without lights in his room for about ten days now. He has one of the old-style chandeliers, and one of the bad leaks comes through his roof and down the light cord, blowing all the lights. Richard fixed them and the wiring once, then they blew again. It's not an easy thing to fix, and seems silly to do it again when they blow every time it rains now.

The most exciting news here this month is that the water shortage has temporarily eased!! From a week before Christmas we've had mains water on constantly, and the papers tell us this will continue until at least January 18th. This is because we've had so much rain that the reservoirs are fuller than they have been for a long time. 

As a desalination plant is being built, and should be ready during the Spring, this may mean the end of our rationed water. It's amazing how exciting it seems to be able to put the washing machine on whenever we want to, rather than rushing to complete four loads of laundry in one day. But no doubt if we do have continual mains water long-term, we'll start to take it all for granted like we do in the UK.

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