Living in Cyprus - June 2000

24th June:

Not surpisingly, the weather has got much hotter in the past few weeks. We had a sudden heatwave about a fortnight ago, with temperatures shooting up. It went from around 25C (and pleasantly breezy) to sticky, humid mid-30s within about three days. We were most thankful for our air conditioning unit, so we're now using that for several hours most days.

I didn't do much cooking during the heatwave - our kitchen gets most uncomfortably hot when the oven is on in the Summer. However last weekend it cooled off again, and although it's now regularly in the high 20s, it's not back to the really hot temperatures which are more normal for August than June. Just as well since everything seems to take twice as long in the heat!

playing boule on one of the Cyprus beachesWe did have a walk on the beach with a friend, and played some beach boule, but we are not really beach-lovers and Richard works long hours.  Many people in the UK think of Cyprus as a holiday destination - but of course it's very different when actually living somewhere!

There were some terrible forest fires not far from here, about ten days ago. Nobody is quite sure what happened, but within the space of three days, forty separate fires started around the island. I don't think anybody was killed but vast areas of forest and scrubland were completely devastated. They're not saying definitely that it was arson, but it looks like too much of a coincidence to be anything else. With the hot dry weather, fire is always a risk, but people are usually very careful. 

We drove to Limassol, the next town, a few days ago and were horrified to see burnt out land by the motorway. One of the reservoirs had to be drained to get enough water to put the fire out, and with the greenery all being destroyed these areas will probably look like a desert this time next year.

drama by the Cyprus home educators group in LimassolStill, we enjoyed our afternoon with the Cyprus home educators.  It's so good to see the group get along remarkably well with each other despite being a wide variety of ages, and not seeing each other that often.  Some of them put together a scratch version of 'Twelfth Night' for us to watch.

Nevertheless, Cyprus continues to be a pleasant place on the whole, with the local people mostly very friendly, all speaking English extremely well. The boys and I have done some beginning Greek lessons on the Internet, and can at least understand the amounts asked for in shops, but it's a difficult language to learn. Since the locals usually speak to us in English, wanting opportunities to practise, there isn't much motivation to learn! We can at least read Greek and have a dictionary so that we can understand things which aren't translated, but the more European they become here, the more English is available.

Our cats have become almost completely nocturnal now that it's getting hotter. They all go out after their supper, and then arrive back around six o'clock in the morning - when I usually get up - for their breakfast. Then they flop down somewhere as cool as possible and sleep for most of the day. It can't be much fun having a thick fur coat in this kind of climate. 

This morning Sophia somehow managed to have been shut in the house - they usually go in and out via the bathroom window, but it had been pushed so she couldn't open it - so she woke me up by mewing loudly at about quarter past five! I got up and gave her some food and a drink, but she kept on mewing until I realised she had been shut in, and let her out. The other two came in at that stage. I suppose Sophia must have spent the night inside for once, or perhaps she came in earlier and the window somehow blew shut.

It looks as though the boys won't be starting their NCSC home education coursework until the Autumn now, but that's not a problem. They did the diagnostic tests - rather tedious and long-winded, but we took several days over them, and I went through the 'parent training' workbook and test. All that has been sent back, and we should shortly receive our first set of workbooks - or 'paces' as they call them. 

We've more-or-less stopped doing anything remotely formally educational since deciding to opt for the NCSC; there didn't seem much point in continuing with British text books and in the warmer weather it's hard to feel motivated anyway. Still, the boys are doing plenty of reading, writing, computer work of various sorts, music and so on, and the longer we continue with home education the less worried I am about academics at all.

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