Life in Cyprus - March 2002

March 3rd:

Daniel is involved in more activities than ever, and currently out six nights out of seven usually, as well as three or four afternoons. His drama group (Antidote Theatre) is rehearsing a major production ('Nuts') which will be shown in several locations around the island. He has quite a big part - not that any of the parts are small - and they are having three rehearsals per week at present. However he's enjoying it it, and doesn't mind walking there and back if Richard is busy or out. It's a good 15 minutes' walk across town, but Daniel enjoys the exercise.

Yesterday, some of the musical Christian home educators had an extra 'music' day in Limassol, with two other local musical couples. Various people played pieces for the rest of us to listen to, and then they had a lengthy period of 'jamming', hymns and other Christian music. Tim was on the keyboard most of the time, and did pretty well; Daniel played his clarinet. Tim now sight-reads almost anything in 'Songs of Fellowship' and similar books. We didn't get back till about 9pm.

It had been a busy weekend, since on Saturday there was an inter-church film, following a potluck tea. We saw 'Brother Sun, Sister Moon', the early life of St Francis: an excellent film. As their school in Birmingham was called St Francis, they'd heard quite a lot about him, but not the whole story of his early life and conversion, and how he started as a monk.

The garden looking neater in MarchMeanwhile, I've been working on the garden and it's beginning to look considerably tidier. Not that it will last - it will go brown once Summer starts, and no doubt become overgrown again in the autumn.  But for now, it's a great deal better.

March 24th:

My parents have been out for a fortnight that went by extremely fast. The weather stayed pretty good on the whole - not too hot, and only one day when it rained. About 18-20C during the daytime, most days, though a little chilly at night. As they've been here three times before they'd seen just about everything of interest, and really wanted to have a bit of time in the warmth/sunshine and to see the family.

One morning some men arrived to look at the rusty water tank. They talked a lot in Greek, then told me in faltering English that they would be back to give us a new white tank 'maybe tomorrow'. This was early March. Two weeks later, they still hadn't arrived! But then 'this is CyprusÉ'

We went to the little town of Lefkara one morning, home of the traditional table linen made with beautiful embroidery - they call it 'Lefkara lace'. It's expensive, but lasts a lifetime. My mother bought a table runner; my father opted out as it wasn't particularly warm in Larnaka, so we thought it might be colder still, and possibly raining in Lefkara, which is some way up in the mountains. In the event it was windy but reasonably sunny - by the time we had missed the turning, driven almost into Limassol, and turned back again!

One Saturday afternoon we drove into Ayia Napa, the seaside resort that's infamous for nightclubbing and singles in the Summer, but pretty much deserted at this time of year. We walked along the beach for a while, then stopped for a yogurt ice cream. One morning we went out to Kiti beach where my father and the boys built a huge fort in the sand, with a moat, as they do each year (so it's now a tradition!) and also did some kite-flying. That was a beautiful morning - probably the best weather in the whole fortnight.

Last night Daniel was playing in a band concert at the municipal theatre, in celebration of the two national days (25th March and 1st April, which celebrate various times that Cyprus threw out oppressors). Unfortunately for us, the first 40 minutes was taken up with speeches - all in Greek! After that the actual concert part was only half an hour or so, with three very good pieces by the band, and one or two where they were accompanied by the municipal choir. Then there were a couple of choir pieces without the band, one of which had a tenor soloist.

March 28th :

After two weeks of pleasant sunshine, we experienced one of the dramatic weather-changes that are becoming more familiar. On Sunday it was grey and windy by mid-morning. On Monday it was grey all day and distinctly chilly, to the extent we got our our fleeces again. I had put mine away for the summer, or so I thought! On Tuesday the sun came out for an hour or two, then it was grey again, and still chilly - no more than about 18C, I should think. On Wednesday it rained all day - the British-style rain that's very good for the gardens, but not very nice for our friends from the UK to arrive in! And then, for some reason, the mains water went off all day - for the first time in ages.

Then this morning it was sunny (though cold) until about 10.30am, then it came on to rain torrentially, with hail for about ten minutes - more than we'd ever seen here! The whole garden was covered in white. We stood outside and watched for a few minutes and it got cold enough that we could see our breath. There was thunder almost continually so we had to turn all the computers off.

By mid-afternoon it was still grey - most unusual, since usually when there's really heavy rain it's followed by sunshine, but not today. Thunder echoed distantly around the mountains long after it stopped raining. We were going to cut the grass this afternoon, having not done it for two weeks - but obviously couldn't! 

The 'hailman'Still, our friends exercised some creativity by building a snowman out of hail in the back garden; something that not many of our visitors get the opportunity to do! In the evening we even ran the kerosene heater to warm the house up a bit, although we hadn't used it since the end of February.

March 31st - Easter Sunday: 

Today dawned grey and damp again. Most depressing. We didn't go to the early morning sunrise service, but to the normal 9am service. The boys (and other teenagers from the church) did a puppet show for the younger children during the sermon, in the church hall, as there wasn't a proper Sunday School.

Then at 11am we all went to the theatre in Limassol where Daniel's drama group were staging the premiere of their play, 'Nuts'. Daniel went in a mini-bus with the group, and the rest of us followed their van in the car. It should have been easy, except that by 11.20am the mini-bus hadn't arrived. It turned out that the company had forgotten to change their clocks!!

Richard filmed the premiere, and set up the video projector, with help from the friend who is staying; the rest of us took of books to read and spent most of the day in the little lounge area by the lighting control panel. We ate lunch out at Goody's, not exactly our usual Easter lunch, and took various things for snacks for afternoon and evening. The play went extremely well although it was rather disappointing that there were only about 30 people in the audience.

It was very well done, with the only problem being at the beginning when the lighting operator - who had been there rehearsing with them all day - popped out to eat about an hour before the performance, and hadn't returned by the time it was due to start. When he was finally contacted on his mobile phone, it transpired that he too hadn't known about the clock change, and thought he had an extra hour! Where else could this happen but in Cyprus?!

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