Life in and out of Cyprus - July 2002

5th July:

In the first week of July our church held a 'vacation Bible school' (what we call a 'holiday club' in the UK!) for children aged ten and below. Both our boys had volunteered as helpers, with Tim playing the piano each day for the songs. On the first day there were about 45 local children - by the end of the week, over 70! There were sessions in both English and Greek, craft activities, and Bible stories, all held in the church grounds since it was far too hot to use the church hall.

Meanwhile I had made a list of things I wanted to do before we fly to the UK, and tried to get one major task completed each day while they were out. I also gradually cut down on my email lists, and ensured the house was thoroughly clean - though perhaps a bit pointless since even with only 12 days away, it will be dusty again by the time we get back! Daniel had a rehearsal for 'Nuts' nearly every evening, and Tim relaxed with computer games and books.

19th July: 

Tim in London, July 2002We're now back in Cyprus after a very busy 12 days, which feel like at least a month! We flew on the night of July 6th/7th, arriving in London early on the Sunday morning. I really don't do well with night flights, so was glad that I didn't have to do any thinking once we got there! We all travelled into London by the Underground, although Richard, Tim and I changed to go to Euston before the drama group arrived. We then picked up our tickets, ordered a week before online, and waited for the train to Birmingham.

It was wonderful seeing my parents, and my siblings and their families, although I was so tired for the first couple of days that I wasn't able to have much conversation. Still, it was relaxing, and nice to be out of the heat of Cyprus for a few days. On Thursday 11th July we travelled by train back to London, to the National Theatre to see the performance of 'Nuts' - which was excellent, spoiled only by a very poor Irish 'comedian' who told disgusting anecdotes entirely unsuitable for the audience, and wasted 15 minutes before the performance started. 

The group had worked very hard, not just in their rehearsals prior to leaving Cyprus, but on the day of the performance, working with some National Theatre staff. Daniel as 'Buddy' and the rest of Antidote Theatre were superb - far, far better than they were in the premiere, and I had thought that was good!

We were less impressed with the second play, 'Illyria' - another political drama, but with less movement, and appalling bad language and imagery. There were some excellent characters in it, and some very good choreography, but two rape scenes (albeit off-stage) and the repetitious offensive language rather spoiled it.

Daniel jugglingAfterwards Tim and I went with Richard's mother down to Sussex to stay there for a few days. These started with rain, but by the time we left we had enjoyed some pleasant sunshine. Daniel and Richard joined us late Saturday night, since most of the theatre group were returning Sunday evening. Daniel had had a wonderful time with the group sight-seeing in London, and had bought considerable juggling equipment from a large toy shop. So he spent much of his time in Sussex working with the diabolo, and his juggling rings, and trying to teach the rest of us simple three-ball juggling.

We returned on Wednesday 17th July. We had a bit of excitement when we checked in at Heathrow, since they asked if we could volunteer to go on the following morning's flight, as they were somewhat overbooked, for which we would get a free night in a hotel, plus 125 each! We said we could do that, so they gave us a meal voucher for the airport, and said to come back an hour later to see if they needed us to go the following day or not. Sadly (!) the people who'd overbooked didn't turn up, so they didn't need our seats, and we had to go on the night-flight after all... which left an hour late, and although we had four seats together it wasn't very comfortable, they didn't have pillows, and none of us really got any sleep so I was *shattered* yesterday. I'd have much preferred a day-flight, and a night in a hotel, quite apart from the money!

Anyway, the one good thing about a night-flight is that it wasn't too hot and sticky when we arrived - only about 25C. It was 6am by the time we got home and our cats were very happy to see us :-) We found 8 dead cockroaches around the bathroom... there always seem to be more when we go away, though I'm not sure why. We do find about one a week normally, but 8 seemed rather excessive.

Last night I got 10 hours sleep and feel a lot better today, although it will probably take a week or two before I feel back to normal. We didn't bring back many books this year - about 15 we found at charity and second-hand shops, but not the usual 50 or 60. However I did have the large order of ACE workbooks for the boys' NCSC home education course which was delivered to my parents in the UK. Taking advantage of their summer discount, and the reduction in postage, I think I saved 50 in all, the only problem being 9kg worth of material to bring back to Cyprus with us. But we didn't take all that much with us so it wasn't a problem.

The garden is very overgrown. It always amazes me each year (though I should be used to it by now!) just how much will grow, and how fast, despite the lack of rain. There are some seeds which sprout into small trees with great rapity, and if not pulled or cut down, will reach three or four metres in height within a few months. I shall have to do some weeding and pruning, but not yet!

Today we went to see some friends in the afternoon, as they had some people Richard knew staying with them, and in the evening went to our favourite cheap restaurant as it's our 22nd wedding anniversary - we didn't really feel awake enough for a nice meal out, or anything special. We're hoping to have some days out during the summer to see some of the better beaches (ie not the ones covered in tourists!) but don't have any other plans... it's around 33C in the shade during the daytime so we won't be walking anywhere. We'll inevitably spend most of our time in our air conditioned living room. I have a load of jigsaws to do on our huge dining room table, Daniel has various web-site projects to do, and Tim seems to find lots to read and games to play. I hope they won't get bored.

28th July:

It seems hard to believe we've only been back ten days, so have only just finished the first full week of the 'summer break' where there are no music lessons etc. The first thing I was reminded of was that the boys really don't need activity all day every day. Just one thing to focus on is usually sufficient, then they use the rest of the time reading, or online, or playing games etc. It's only when there's no change at all, and nothing in particular to look forward to that they sometimes start to get bored or ask for things to do.

On Sunday a week ago the Antidote Theatre directors phoned to ask if Daniel would be interested in doing the lighting for a production they and two members of the group were doing at a hotel in the next town on Thursday. Daniel isn't actually all that interested in lighting, but Tim (who doesn't belong to the drama group) loves anything technical, and has been asking for ages to learn about lighting desks. So as Richard has some expertise in this, he said he'd help them sort out the lighting, which was in a bit of a muddle after a recent move anyway, with Tim helping, and that he'd start to teach Tim about lighting in general.

So on Monday they went along to a rehearsal of the production, as did Daniel (to be the audience). On Tuesday Richard and Tim spent a couple of hours fixing various problems in the lights and wiring etc, and Tim came home thrilled at having had such a wonderful time. On Thursday all three of them went to the next town - Richard supervised, Tim did the lights (not actually very complicated), and Daniel helped backstage. Yesterday Tim and Richard spent an hour or two trying to learn some more things about the lighting system, partly using the Internet for info. There are going to be two more productions of the same play at the same hotel at fortnightly intervals, apparently, so this will be ongoing - then in the Autumn when the drama group starts work on new productions, Tim will probably get more involved in the technical side. I think they like having home educated teens involved as of course our timetable is a lot more flexible than that of teens in schools!

Meanwhile earlier in the week Tim was asked if he would play the organ at the Anglican church (which we don't belong to!) for this evening's service, as the organist is away, and he's played there before, so he had to spend some extra time practising the hymns they wanted - in fact he's there at present. This morning he was asked to play piano for our service next Sunday morning so that too will mean extra practice this week.

Daniel has been sleeping very long hours every morning, often not getting up till 12.30 or so - I hope he's not having yet another growth spurt as he's 6 foot tall already! - and doing some games programming. Yesterday he sat down with Richard for a couple of hours to sort out an algorithm problem he was having. I think they fixed it! He has various web-sites he's planning to update this week, and a commercial one he needs to work on, as well as producing the Autumn publicity material for the drama group, which they need in the next week or so.

We've also played some family games of Rummikub, sat and chatted, and I've been reading quite a bit to the boys. I've started a very difficult jigsaw that someone gave us at Christmas (the main problem being a white border of about three pieces all around, and all the pieces much the same shape!) and of course we've all been keeping up on our email, reading, and finishing tidying up from our trip away.

Cooking has so far been very easy, since I remembered to label and freeze single or double portion leftovers of meals we had eaten in the three or four months previously. This took up two entire shelves of our freezer, but meant that preparing an evening meal was as simple as thawing and reheating, plus cooking some frozen vegetables or making a salad. If I hadn't done that, I've no idea what we would have eaten for our first week back when my mind was definitely not focussed enough to think about cooking.

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