Life in Cyprus - December 2002

2nd December:

Our car (see November for what happened...) should have been ready at the weekend, but now is going to be some time at the end of this week, so we're carless for a while. The person who kindly lent us a car for the week needed it back for someone else at the weekend. Unfortunately the breakdown was caused by a fairly major problem - apparently an oil seal had gone, which leaked into a belt and snapped it - and that meant that all the valves in the engine broke. It was at least a week's worth of work to get it done, then on Saturday when Richard went to talk to the mechanic they said there was more damage they hadn't found initially. The engine will get fully serviced and all the oil seals replaced as well, so it's like they're reconditioning the whole engine - and thankfully, as labour is cheap here, the cost is only a quarter of what it would be in the UK, or so we're told! But it's all rather a hassle.

The septic tank leaking has been getting worse, with water (and whatever it contains..) pouring into the basement room. There's nothing important there other than the lawnmower, which I've lifted onto an old stool to keep it out of the way. We phoned our landlady again, and her husband came with the builder on Saturday morning. They discussed what to do, and the builder said he would put in new pipework and close the old small tank which is leaking. He said he would be here perhaps on Monday, and at any rate by the end of the week. We shall see...!

Daniel is doing Frog Prince rehearsals just about every day now, as the première is on December 7th, then there are about four more performances in December, around 12 in January and three or four in February. He's finding it quite hard work now, feeling a bit burnt-out with so much rehearsing, but once they start the actual performances it should be more fun and less effort. Tim will be doing the sound and probably helping with the lighting too.

Daniel's been having a lot of pain in his right arm, which started in July, possibly after going bowling with the youth group, and then got worse when he was working on a commercial web-site in the summer. We replaced their old, smallish mouse with a larger roller-ball thing that was going at half-price, since his hand was getting cramped around the mouse, and Richard also made a new top for their computer table that gave a lot more space. But although those helped, the arm has been getting worse any time Daniel touches the computer, and recently it's been painful even when he plays clarinet, although he has days when it's fine, if he doesn't touch the computer or clarinet! We've made an appointment with the chiropracter (the only one in Larnaka) who come highly recommended by various people. Apparently he trained in Australia. I don't know much about chiropractors, but several people have said he's the best person to see first for any kind of arm problem.

And as if the car and Daniel's various stresses weren't enough, the lady who usually plays the piano in our church broke her arm on Wednesday after a bad fall... so Tim will be playing piano in church for the next few weeks, and perhaps even at the inter-church Christmas concert. Hem played on Sunday and did very well - every time he plays he seems to gain in confidence. But it means he's quite stressed too, with that responsibility, and also doing the sound for the play.

8th December:

Daniel in The Frog Prince with Antidote Theatre, December 2002The première of 'The Frog Prince' went superbly last night. A big relief to all concerned, since he had been so tired and stressed earlier in the week that I began to wonder if he would be fit enough to take part. He had to back out of at least two rehearsals during the week. His part is pretty energetic, with a lot of leaping about, so it's not surprising it makes him tired; but we think now he had a touch of 'Cyprus flu' a few days ago, that made him so very lacking in energy.

However it's one thing after another.. Richard now has a nasty ear infection, so much so that he can hardly hear, and is taking paracetamol and aspirin in maximum doses alternately. He'll go and see the ENT doctor tomorrow morning. The car is supposed to be ready on Tuesday - we hope it will be, since someone is coming to stay for a few days on Tuesday evening, and Richard has to meet him at the airport. Oh, and the builder hasn't yet come to sort out the septic tank. The flooding in the basement is getting worse but there's nothing we can do about it.

12th December:

We got the car back, and it seems to run very well. It was rather more expensive than we'd been quoted, but the mechanic apologised; apparently several parts had to be imported and cost a lot more than he had expected. However he didn't charge us anything for labour, and was happy to be paid in two installments.

Also, just to add to this rather depressing month, it's gone very cold, suddenly - no more than about 12C today even though it was sunny, with a definite chill in the air even around lunchtime. Because it was so sunny and clear, it's been VERY cold overnight, down to about 6C. Without central heating, and with our high ceilings and marble floors, that's no fun! We're piling on the blankets and quilts, and running the kerosene heater, but still sitting around wearing fleeces on top of jumpers and feeling chilly. It's not usually this cold till January, so we're hoping it won't be even colder then!

16th December:

The builders finally came to fix the septic tank. They left some pipe and tools in the driveway on Saturday evening, and did the work yesterday morning when we were at church. They left everything looking very tidy, and explained to Richard that they had closed off the old, leaking tank, and put in a new pipe to the bigger 'pit' which drains underneath the garden. We couldn't use the bathroom until the afternoon, since the concrete needed to set... but we hope that will be the end of those problems.

Daniel has now had three visits to the chiropractor, and been declared all right again - he had his neck and back manipulated and was told to be careful of posture, and not sprawl on sofas. Each time he's felt in some pain for a few hours after the visit, but much better on subsequent days. He's even been using the roller-ball mouse on the computer again without discomfort, which is encouraging. Today he's got some kind of migraine and is excessively tired, as well as having some pain after the last visit, so he's cancelled his Greek and clarinet lessons. 

It continues to be very cold, although we had some rain at the weekends, which left overnight cloud cover, meaning it's not QUITE so bitter in the daytime. Rather depressing, though. In the Summer we sit in the air conditioning unable to do much else... in the winter we sit in the same room, running the air conditioning on 'heat' to supplement the slight warmth we get from the kerosene heater! At least cooking isn't a problem since the warmth from the oven makes the kitchen pleasantly warm, and we can pile on covers at night.

30th December:

Two of the cats on Christmas DayWe've just had rather a busy weekend. Daniel had a rehearsal of a slightly changed Frog Prince on Saturday morning, then we went to a party in the evening; Sunday was hectic with Tim playing piano in church at 9am (and Daniel playing clarinet as usual) then Frog Prince performance at the Municipal Theatre at 11am. Richard had to miss church so he could be at the theatre setting up lights and sound for 8am, but although Tim would usually have gone with him they needed him to play piano. Also his cold was making him quite tired by then, so by the time he got back from doing the sound at the performance (which I went to see) he was shattered.

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