Photo gallery index, 1997-1998

Here are a few photos showing our family, our house, and life here in Cyprus from the time we moved here in October 1997 until the end of 1998. You should be able to click on any of them to get bigger pictures, in the main photo gallery pages.

View over the Larnaka rooftops

View over Larnaka rooftops in Cyprus We arrived in Cyprus from the UK in the last week of October 1997 and stayed for a couple of weeks in a furnished flat. My initial impression was of somewhere too hot, and surprisingly Middle Eastern with flat roofs and white buildings everywhere. This is the view over Larnaka from the flat - quite a contrast to leafy Bournville where we had lived in Birmingham.

Empty house

empty house that we rented in Cyprus After checking various other options we decided to move into a large house with gigantic garden - needing some of work done on it, but the rent is very reasonable. The entrance hall is a huge octagonal room with all the other rooms going off it - rather echoey and depressing before being furnished.

Cape Greco beach in November

Cape Greco beach In the UK, November is usually grey and rainy, so despite my homesickness and general overwhelm at the new situation, I did appreciate a pleasant day on a beautiful beach at the start of the month. The temperature was about 25C, and there was a gentle breeze making it a perfect day for a picnic.

Our house

the house we rented in Larnaka All Richard's colleagues turned up to help, and with mostly borrowed furniture we moved in to the house we had chosen on November 8th. It's a bungalow with four bedrooms, one of which will be our guest room, doubling as a study. There's only one bathroom but the grounds are enormous! We definitely want some outside space even though we had not envisaged quite this amount.

Cycling in the Salt Lake Park in Larnaka

cycling in the Salt Lake Park in Cyprus One of the first things we bought after arrival was some reasonably quality bikes for Richard and the boys. Most of his colleagues cycle around Larnaka; it's a small enough place that there doesn't seem to be any need for cars. I said I would rather walk, so we didn't get a bike for me! Tim isn't yet a great cyclist so we spent some time during December driving to the Salt Lake Park where there are some wide paths ideal for learning.

Tim singing a solo

Tim singing a solo in the Christmas concert The local Protestant churches always organise a concert about a week before Christmas, with an inter-church choir singing some special songs, and congregational carols for all. It seems to be extremely popular locally. The boys were pleased to find a choir they could join as they both enjoy singing, and Tim was asked to sing the first verse of 'Once in Royal David's city' as a solo - which he did with confidence.

Our dining room

dining room of our rental house in Larnaka We borrowed a sofa and chairs, bought a table and acquired a gas heater making our dining room a much pleasanter place for guests. We tend to eat in the kitchen when we're on our own - for one thing it's warmer in January, which is quite a chilly time of year, and for another it seems like quite a hassle carrying food and plates to and fro since they're at opposite sides of the house. But we set the boys' computer up in the dining room, so they spend quite a bit of time there.

Our 'Atrium'

atrium of our rental home The central room became much pleasanter when we had put down large rugs (left behind by our landlady) and installed some borrowed furniture. The echo has reduced to acceptable levels, and we enjoy using the kerosene-based heater that manages to reduce the chill factor quite significantly. High ceilings and marble floors are not ideal for these cold winter temperatures!

Lemon trees in our back garden

lemon trees in our garden in Cyprus The garden is far too big, really, but we do appreciate the citrus trees. Picking oranges still seems like quite a novelty, and now it's February we're working our way through the lemons! We could not understand why anyone would plant four large lemon trees at first, but having discovered how to make lemonade we're finding we get through them rapidly.

Tim cooking

Tim doing some cooking
Tim has always enjoyed helping in the kitchen; at nine he's quite responsible now and enjoys assisting with meals or even making them himself from scratch. Here he is in our kitchen carefully stirring something in a saucepan.

Kiti beach

Kiti beach in Cyprus Sometimes we borrow a vehicle from Richard's work and drove a little way out of Larnaka to explore. One of the nicest beaches is the unspoilt Kiti. We went there one Sunday afternoon in March for a walk with a friend when the weather was fairly warm, but the sky was grey, and the usually smooth surface of the sea was beginning to develop definite waves with white horse peaks.

Rain at Kiti

Rain at Kiti beach in Larnaka Already we're getting used to the quick changes of weather in Cyprus - our pleasant afternoon's walk was interrupted by a sudden downpour, although unfortunately we forgot to take kagoules. Fortunately there were some beach parasols still remaining from last summer, so we were able to take shelter until the rain stopped and we were able to get back to the car.

Larnaka beach in April

Larnaka beach in April Friends came out to stay during the Easter break in April, and the weather was mostly very good. Here is Daniel (now acclimatised quite well, wearing long trousers and a sweatshirt) with our friend's daughter. They were creating something in sand at our local beach which is about ten minutes' walk from our house.

Kition

Ancient Kition in Cyprus At the end of the month my parents came to visit us. By then the weather was gettng distinctly hot at times, but we still managed to do some more exploring. We looked at part of the ancient site of Kition, the town which was supposedly built by one of Noah's grandsons and is mostly now underneath Larnaka. Some sections have been excavated and are open to the public although we were surprised to find no protection against rain or sunshine.

Daniel plays the clarinet

Daniel plays the clarinet Daniel had learned to play the clarinet in his school in Birmingham, and passed the RSM grade 3 exam after just a year. He was very eager to continue to learn when we moved to Cyprus but we found it surprisingly difficult to discover a teacher. Schools don't offer music at all (other than basic recorder at secondary level!) and while there are several small music schools, they mostly seem to focus on stringed instruments. Still, Daniel played his clarinet in the church music group and eventually we discovered that the Municipal Band leader would give lessons, so long as Daniel was prepared to join the band when he is old enough.

Tim plays the piano

Tim plays the piano Before we left the UK, Daniel had also been learning the piano for two years and Timothy for one year. Both were keen to continue so we were delighted that one of Richard's colleagues was able to teach them. We were given, on long-term loan a lovely old piano which was considerably nicer than the one we had in England!

Cats in our kitchen

cats in our kitchen in Cyprus In June we half-adopted a kitten which we called Felix (or Felikos) since his mother kept trying to abandon him. As the weather was warm and he was a feral cat, we didn't encourage him in the house... however he and his mother kept making their way in, so we gave them bits of cat food and some milk.

Tim in Cyprus Cub uniform

Tim in his Cyprus cubs uniform Tim had enjoyed being part of the Greek Cub Scout pack for a few months, despite knowing very little Greek. There was a big end-of-year show one evening towards the end of June, in which he was taking part with some songs. We (the boys and I) were going to the UK for July, and found it much better value to fly before the end of June before 'high season' started, but we timed it so that we could go to the show before we left - not that we understood very much since all the lengthy speeches were in Greek!

Baby Cleo

our baby kitten Cleo Back in August, Felikos had sadly died while we were away despite Richard's best efforts to look after him. Perhaps he was never going to survive, and that's why his mother tried to abandon him. So we adopted another stray kitten, found in Nicosia by a friend. This kitten was small and straggly, very hungry and rather suspicious... but soon adjusted to being bottle-fed regularly. Here she is with Tim feeding her. Our friend named her Cleopatra since she was discovered in a box containing chocolate milk - but it was far too long a name for such a small kitten, so it was quickly abbreviated to Cleo.

Cleo outside

Cleo exploring outside Later in the month Cleo started exploring outside - here she is trying to hide amongst the leaves of the bougainvillea in our front garden. The bougainvillea was bought by my parents in April and grew rapidly during the hotter months. Cleo liked climbing although she still seemed a straggly little thing.

Monopoly

playing monopoly Tim had his tenth birthday in September 1998. Since we're home educating we could take a day off from our normal work; I asked what he would like to do best, and he said he would like a family game of Monopoly! None of the rest of us much like this game but Tim loves it, and with my educators' hat on I suppose it could even be considered maths - not quite Numeracy Hour, but definitely related to business and finance.

Archictecture at Kiti

Daniel building on Kiti beach At tne end of the month my brother came to stay, so we took more time off to do some outings. One day we went to Kiti beach - we usually take our visitors to the beach far more often than we go on our own!  The boys enjoy the freedom of large expanses of sand, and usually build complex and interesting towns or cities.  Here is Daniel with an Egyptian style settlement he created, complete with pyramids, ziggurat and (by his right hand) a Sphinx.

Lefkara

Lefkara in Cyprus In the mountains of Cyprus there are still some old towns which have changed little over the centuries.  Lefkara, about half an hour's drive from our house, is famous for a particular kind of lace-making. We sometimes take visitors to see the demonstration and hear how this traditional craft is carried on. Richard's mother came to stay in October, and we all went to Lefkara for the morning.

Roller-hockey (approximately)

creative roller-hockey A creative way of getting some exercise here: Daniel and Timothy, on roller blades, are playing something roughly related to roller-hockey on our patio.  They're using large brooms for the sticks, and the puck was a tennis ball.

Cleo and the K'nex dinosaur

Cleo and the K'nex dinosaur By November Cleo had become an attractive and elegant-looking cat. She was still very nervous, though. When Daniel made a K'nex vehicle which moved along the floor when switched on, poor Cleo was very puzzled but not brave enough to attack!

Bougainvillea

bougainvillea in Cyprus By the end of the month, the bougainvillea which my parents bought me seven months previously had grown to the top of the pillars outside our house, and was blooming in gorgeous deep pink bracts. These are not flowers - it's the leaves themselves which change colour, apparently, but the effect is of wonderful flowers which seem to last most of the year.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day in Larnaka The year seemed to have rushed past and before we knew where we were it was December again. The boys took part in the annual concert in the town hall again, and we put up the same Christmas tree. Presents arrived from relatives in the UK, and since we were going out for lunch we opened the gifts first thing in the morning before church.

Cleo and the wrappings

Cleo and the Christmas wrappings It was Cleo's first Christmas, and we were particularly pleased that she was wish us since she had disappeared for several hours on Christmas Eve. Here she is investigating some of the wrapping paper after we had opened all the presents.

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