Living in Cyprus - April 2000

April 3rd: 

I'm extremely tired today, having been kept half awake for most of the night by a pesky mosquito. I don't think it bit me but it kept buzzing in my ear. It didn't wake me quite enough to get up and put on one of those electric repellant things, but sufficiently that it was disturbing; every time I'd just nodded off, back it came again.

It's got suddenly warmer here, we're no longer shivering when we get up and haven't used the kerosene furnace since Richard went away ten days ago. We're still in long trousers and light jumpers but notice lots of tourists in shorts and tee shirts. It felt quite heavy yesterday and we thought there would be a thunderstorm but no such luck. Water is still extremely low here, with the reservoirs in serious danger of running out.

April 9th: 

My sister and her family arrived safely, only a few minutes late, with both children wide awake and very excited. However they soon got to sleep, and the following morning didn't wake till 11am. We hope they'll adjust soon to Cyprus time. In the afternoon Tim took them for a walk to Larnaka beach (the sea front) as the children wanted to see the sea, while Richard and I did our major supermarket shop. We couldn't do it before as he only got in from Egypt late Thursday night.

At the beach in Cyprus Today we're going to take a picnic and go to our favourite, the rocky unspoilt one that's down a cliff at Kiti. We've been able to borrow a 9-seater minibus for the day. The weather about perfect, cool in evenings but 25C in the shade during daytime. Hot in middle of day but very pleasant in morning and late afternoon.

April 18th: 

mosaics at Kurium in  CyprusNearly a fortnight has rushed past! My nephew and niece have been enjoying the beach and the local park, which has swings, slides and various climbing frames for children under 10. We've had one or two days out in a borrowed car, including a day at the Kurium Amphitheatre where we saw the mosaics, but mostly they're happy to go out and about locally, or spend time at the house playing games or sitting in the garden.

We ran out of cold tank water on Sunday after all having showers on Saturday! We did have water bottles filled with mains water, and managed to eke out the hot water until yesterday (Monday) afternoon. I'd been taking note of the schedule of water which was on a 2-weekly cycle, and confidently expected mains water on again at 10pm last night.

Unfortunately, it still hadn't come on by this morning, so Richard rang the water board, who said, 'Oh, the schedule has changed this week. It will be on Wednesday morning!!'

We were horrified - if we'd known, we'd have been a lot more careful about flushing, and had showers at the beach etc. So we all went to the supermarket and brought back 12 bottles of drinking water as we'd even finished up our store of 25 bottles of mains water.

As we arrived back... the mains came on! I think they must have had a lot of complaints and decided to run it after all. It was on all day, and the tanks filled up, and we even did a load of laundry. Richard then came back at lunchtime with yet another 12 bottles of water from the supermarket, and two 10-litre containers of tank water from the office so we now have plenty. What a relief!

The weather has been about perfect really, up to 20-25 but some days a bit overcast so no danger of burning, other days sunny but not too hot. Only one day of rain but nothing unpleasantly hot or humid. The loquats are going to be ready in about a week but not in time to eat before they leave.

Timothy has decided to give up his art class as he's doing so many other activities - mainly musical! He's still having piano lessons and of course guitar lessons and playing in the church music group. He's in the adult Greek Evangelical church choir, and they've just started a handbell group with some strange chime-like bells, and Tim has joined them too! Also he's just old enough for the youth group which Daniel was in already, and which Richard helps to lead.

Richard is frantically busy this week editing some programmes that were shot in Egypt a couple of weeks ago. The person he works with has come over here for the week so they want to finish everything while he's here, although I suspect it's really two weeks' worth of work to get it done!

April 24th: 

Oddly enough after the last two ends-of-April being rather hot and mostly sunny, we've had nothing but rain since our visitors left in the early hours of Thursday. It was pretty dull and rained somewhat on Wednesday but that was OK as they'd been everywhere and weren't intending to go for a last trip to the beach anyway, so they could get packing without worrying about changes of clothing etc. But although Thursday was fine (after an early thunderstorm) it's been raining off and on ever since, with grey skies and a fair amount of thunder. I hope this will make a big difference to the reservoirs which are at a record low again (or were this time last week!)

Also we feel very sorry for the tourists who paid the extra inflated amount to come in British Easter holidays hoping for some good Cyprus sun. The ones on coach tours are OK - we see them every so often arriving at some spot like St Lazarus church for a guided tour - but the ones at hotels or apartments by the sea front who were intending to lie on sunbeds and swim are in for a big disappointment.

Anyway it means that the garden, which was reasonably neat before Easter, is now sprouting enormous weeds all over again. The petunias are doing wonderfully and the bougainvillea is just getting its new pinkish bracts - it really is a wonderful plant as the last pink blossoms lasted until about the end of March so there's really only a month without any blossom. But it's now getting a little bedraggled; I don't think it likes this amount of rain.

April 30th: 

We're eating our loquats at present: only a few are fully ripe and sweet but if we pick them at the almost-ripe stage they can be cooked just like plums or apricots. We had some stewed with yogurt, and I made some jam although it was really too sweet when I followed the plum recipe. Richard and the boys seem to like it nevertheless! Last night we had two families for supper (13 people in all including the children) so I made a dessert with loquats and a sort of oaty crumch topping, which seemed to go down well. 

Loquats have a very short season so we're trying to make the most of them. The next fruit will be the mulberries: they're green and quite small at present but I think by about the end of May we should be able to use them. The pomegranates are producing their amazing red flowers - sort of like hibiscus blossoms and quite stunning.

Today was the Eastern Easter - we celebrate both Easters at our church as there are half-Cypriots and Russians in the congregation, and it's nice to have two weeks when we sing Easter songs! Tim had to stay for the Greek service as well because the Greek choir was singing in it. At first they planned to sing only in the first ten minutes of the service, so those who didn't speak Greek could leave, but in the event they had several songs scattered through the service. 

Tim wanted me to stay with him so I did, while Richard cooked lunch. The service was quite long and of course I didn't understand much of the sermon as they didn't translate, but Tim and I were both pleased to find that we could understand a few phrases here and there, and that Greek does now sound like a language with distinct words rather than a string of gibberish!

The cats continue to be fit and healthy, with quite distinct characters and an interesting set of different sounds that seem much like human language at times. Sophia - who is very much Daniel's cat - is the most vocal, and also the best hunter. She has unfortunately caught at least six birds which she brings into the house and throws around the place before eating. We try to get her out but she always seems to get straight in again. At least she finishes off the carcass but it takes ages to vacuum up all the feathers afterwards! She still catches grasshoppers and lizards as well but doesn't bring them in so often. 

She seems to be trying to teach Jemima to hunt as she sometimes stalks something and puts her paw on it then lets Jemima take over. Yesterday I saw her watching Jemima and making encouraging mews as Jemima tried to catch some jumping insect. Jemima (who considers herself mainly my cat, although she now sometimes sleeps on Tim's bed) really prefers 'hunting' cooked food and is an absolute pest if we have chicken or sausages!

Previous (March 2000) | Next (May 2000)