Life in Cyprus - January 2005

January 3rd:

Jemima, one of our cats, on the steps out of the rainIt's cold and grey at the moment. It was reasonably warm at the end of last week, but the New Year seems to have brought winter with it - although looking around, a casual visitor would probably think it's Autumn. Most of the large-leaved trees seem to have shed their foliage in the last few days, so there are leaves just about everywhere: either soggy (when it's been raining) or crunchy underfoot.  The cats don't much like the rain, spending much of their time sitting at the window staring out gloomily, or perched on the steps under shelter. 

January 8th:

It still seems slightly incongrous to buy bedding plants in the middle of winter, but that's what we did today. Really I should have got some about a month ago or maybe even before then, but Richard was away in November and then, as usual, December was remarkably busy. We went to three plant shops before I found a reasonable collection of bedding plants, including some plugs - in the end we bought about 60 plants for the grand total of 12.50. There were quite a few petunias amongst them, as they always do well, and some new antirrhinums since our last ones seem to have died. I think they're biennials - they certainly last more than one year.

The sun has been shining all week although it's a bit chilly. I spent about an hour planting out some of the new plants, having to do quite a bit of weeding as I did. I put some in the front and some along the wall at the end of the back garden. We haven't put bedding plants there before and I don't suppose they'll survive at all once it starts to get hot as it's in full sun, but it should look nice in the spring. By the time it started getting dark I had only planted about half of what we had bought, but since each one probably took about five minutes that's not surprising!

Tim made our first batch of lemonade this week, and I'm squeezing oranges most morning for juice - the citrus trees are laden! The 'grass' is looking very green and lush, albeit full of weeds. But we cut it this week, over a couple of days, and it looks almost like lawn. It's certainly greener than it's ever been at this time of year.

January 15th:

Our patio, wet with all the Cyprus rain We should probably have cut the 'grass' again this weekend, as it's started to look more like weeds than lawn, but it's raining. I suppose I should have trusted the forecast, which predicted rain starting today and then continuing for the next ten days, but it's not always very reliable and it's been sunny (if cold) all week. I've done some weeding in the past few days but haven't put any more of the bedding plants out, although I watered the ones I planted last weekend and they seem to be doing well. At least I won't need to water today!

January 18th:

It's rained almost constantly now for three days. Sometimes like English drizzle, sometimes really heavy, tropical style. Tim's roof is leaking though nothing like as badly as it was last year. We have a plastic tablecloth over the floor and some buckets in useful positions. Richard wants a ladder long enough to get into the 'loft space' so he can check from inside if there are any holes; apparently nobody can go on the roof until it's been dry for at least a week since the tiles are prone to cracking if anybody steps on them when they're wet.

I had to do some laundry today, but there was no chance of hanging it outside. So I hung it over the airer. We turned the kerosene heater on at lunch-time, it was so cold and damp in the house, and now the airer full of clothes is standing in front of it. I hope everything will dry.

January 28th:

We're thinking about buying a couple of new sofas for the living room. The three-seater one we have is remarkably uncomfortable; we have a house group here every Friday evening, and although nobody complains it would be nice to have something a little more comfortable! I realised just how bad it was when I watched a DVD sitting there, and ended up with the most awful neckache.

So we've been visiting the thrift shop every Friday morning before doing our shopping; stock moves quite fast and sometimes there's very nice furniture there sometimes. Unfortunately we haven't found anything we like yet. I'm not even sure exactly what it is we want, although I expect I'll know when I see it! We did try looking round furniture shops to see if there was anything in the sales, but most of them were rather dreary. Perhaps we were looking in the wrong place, although we drove around for ages and visited several. Leather furniture seems to be in fashion at present: it looks very smart, but with four cats in the house it wouldn't stay that way for long, and scratched leather looks dreadful. Besides, with our cold winters and hot summers, we'd rather have them covered in fabric.

We did find one shop downtown which had quite nice suites, at not too great a price: they can do any combination of three-seater, two-seater or single chairs, and in a selection of coverings, so we may well decide to go for that. If we ever get around to it..!

The weather seems surprisingly warm for this time of year, though no doubt we'll have a cold spell before Spring begins. It's about 20C in the daytime - overcast but not wet. The citrus trees are packed with fruit; I'm squeezing oranges for juice every morning, and making lemonade weekly.

January 30th:

This morning we had a major service at church with the affirmation of two Elders; this is the result of about 18 months of discussion. Initially some folk wanted to call a Pastor - we've been without one for about eight years, run by a church council. So discussion forums were set up to talk about what we wanted of a pastor, what funding was available etc; they went pretty well but the consensus in the end was that a pastor from out of Cyprus would take a long time to adjust to the oddities of the island, and that the Scriptural principles are generally for God to call people from within a congregation rather than from outside, equipping people as necessary within each local church.

So then there were more discussions and prayer meetings, and nomination forms, and so on, with eventual agreement to form an eldership - which meant changing the constitution, and that had to be approved by the signed-up membership... all very lengthy and complicated with so much bureauocracy!

They had hoped to have three elders; four were nominated and agreed to stand, but in the end only two were chosen. So this morning they were officially accepted, and the church was absolutely packed. Tim wasn't there - he was playing the organ at St Helena's, the Anglican church over the road. The regular organist is away for a couple of months so he had agreed to play at all the evening services and then said he'd do some morning ones too. Apparently their church was also packed as the Synod for Cyprus and the Gulf is happening, so they were pleased to have Tim this morning.

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