Living in and out of Cyprus - August 2000

25th August: 

We've spent most of August in the UK this year. We flew out and back at the same time as some friends who were attending a conference in the UK and also taking a short holiday. One of the reasons for our going a second time in one year was so that Richard could attend the same conference.

watching chocolates being made at Cadbury World in BirminghamMostly the boys and I stayed with my parents in Birmingham where we were able to see various local friends, and the extended family. We spent one morning with my sister and her family visiting Cadbury World; we hadn't been there for some years so it was good to see the changes as well as doing the guided tour around the factory, and of course we very much enjoyed the chocolate we were given along the way! 

We also visited the Birmingham Nature Centre with some friends and were pleased to see that it too seemed to have improved over the years, and the animals all seemed very content. Highly recommended.

playing croquetWe played some croquet when the weather was good - and mostly it was. We also played some favourite family board games - mah-jong being the most popular. This is (approximately) the four-player game from China, not the solo matching game found on computers by the same name.

After our time in Birmingham we went down to Sussex to visit Richard's mother. Unfortunately Daniel wasn't too well - he was extremely tired and seemed to have some kind of low-key infection, perhaps a mild version of flu, so this rather put a damper on any outings. Still, we were able to rest and had a few days out.

We returned to Larnaka yesterday. Various local friends had been looking after the cats for us. We took a 'people-carrier' taxi to Heathrow - both easier and less expensive than going on the train to Gatwick and then the coach to Heathrow, which was the other option. We really had too much luggage to manhandle on the train anyway. We allowed over two hours thinking the M25 might be slow, but it was remarkably clear; I suppose the variable speed limit thing really does work. We were amazed how quickly we got to Heathrow - we were there by about 9.25 and had to wait an hour before our friends arrived. 

We had to check in all together since our luggage was way over the limit with some equipment Richard had bought for his work; but together with our friends' lighter load we didn't have to pay any excess charges. The flights were packed! As usual we were flying via Romania with a short stopover; this tends to be considerably cheaper than direct flights, particularly during the Summer.

Daniel had a nosebleed for the entire duration of the second flight (2 hours) although it stopped when we landed. It was about 10pm by the time we got back to our house. Our friends had parked their car outside the airport but we didn't have a car at that stage, and wouldn't really have wanted to risk it anyway. Our family had to have two taxis from Larnaka airport, just to fit all our luggage!! It's a good thing that the airport is fairly close to our house.

None of the cats were in the house when we arrived, but when Daniel called, Sophia (who loves him the best) came rushing in and was extremely affectionate, mewing and purring and rubbing around and sitting on the luggage. We didn't see anything of the other two but when I got up this morning they both arrived in for their breakfast and seemed pleased to see me.

31st August:

I seem to have been in a fog of jet-lag since we returned. It only seems to strike me coming in this direction, for some reason. I couldn't concentrate on anything much and was utterly exhausted by about 9pm each night. By the middle of the week I was feeling a lot better, but now I seem to have caught the Cyprus equivalent of flu - where one feels totally weak, with jelly-like limbs, for about 24 hours. Thankfully it's not usually very long-lasting and the only real symptom is this exhaustion and weakness. Perhaps I caught it from Daniel but am getting it Cyprus-style rather than British-style! He still has a bit of a sore throat and had has about two nose-bleeds every day since we've been back so he's not completely over it yet.

It wasn't too hot at all last week, thank goodness: about 30C in the shade, and not too humid. The nights seemed almost cool, down to 25C or so, although we still ran the fans and have only a sheet as cover in bed. Today it got a bit more humid again so we hope there won't be another heatwave. There have been a few clouds in the sky, and on Thursday it felt very heavy, but no rain as yet. Usually the first rain of the season is around the end of September, a few weeks after the clouds first appear.

On Thursday we went to Limassol for a 'home educators group' meeting with some friends who live in a lovely house by a reservoir. We were quite shocked to see just how low the water-level had fallen. There were two other families there, neither of whom we had met before, although the others we know of couldn't make it on Thursday. If we all managed to get together, there would be 14 adults and 21 children! As it was there were 8 adults and 12 children. The older ones (Tim and Daniel, three teenage girls and another teenage boy) spent the day discussing plays, playing games and generally talking, and the younger ones (a 2-year-old, 2 6-year- olds, a 7-year-old, and 2 9-year-olds) stayed more with the adults, playing outside and reading books.

The cats seem to have settled down and got used to us being here again. They're still mostly nocturnal although I usually find Sophia asleep on my legs when I wake up in the morning. As soon as I stir she meows and purrs and rubs against me until I get up and feed her. It seems that his is entirely cupboard love because she makes it clear that she's Daniel's cat the rest of the time.

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