Life in Cyprus - May 2002

May 2nd:

The weather seems to have changed into early Summer at last - still actually very pleasant, no more than about 22C in the shade, and continuous sunshine after the wettest April in years. We even had more rain last week. The reservoirs are almost full, which is good news. No doubt it will get hotter and more humid before long, but in the meantime I'm enjoying it.

Marching on Good FridayThis is Eastern Easter weekend, and Daniel finally gets to march with the town band tomorrow for the first time. Until recently they didn't have uniforms for everyone, but they ordered some new ones, which at last have arrived. On Good Friday all the Orthodox Churches process around the town carrying flower-laden coffins, and the band play funeral marches. 

Now Daniel has a uniform there should be plenty of opportunities for marching, on the various national days. He should have marched last Saturday morning as it was St Lazarus' day, and there was an early morning parade, but he was in Paphos with the drama group as they had done a performance of 'Nuts" there last Friday night.

May 9th: 

Tim and I have been cutting the grass on Thursdays, other than when it's rained too much. Today it was too hot to start shortly after lunch, as we usually do. But by 4pm most of the garden was in shadow, and between us we managed to do most of it. It won't be long before it's too hot altogether. So I hope the grass and weeds will stop growing during the Summer. I'm attempting to do a bit of weeding most days, still, but it's never-ending and makes little difference. I've had to start watering the garden now, giving the trees and bushes thorough soakings. I'm reluctant to let the grass go brown, but then again if I water it, it will keep growing, and thus need cutting more often!

May 14th:

At the start of this week, I debated whether to wear shorts rather than jeans for the first time this year. But there was a slight chill in the air, so I decided against it. All too soon it will become hot and sticky, and then we'll live in shorts and tee shirts for several months. So I like to delay the change as long as possible.

Today, I realised it was a sensible decision. Although the day started sunny, and with the usual 20-21C by about 8am, the sky gradually clouded over, until at about 11am it actually started raining - and continued raining off and on for most of the day. 

May 17th:

Soft fruits are in the shops again.  Fruit is quite seasonal here, although there are imported apples and pears most of the year, and citrus fruits are generally available inexpensively. But peaches, plums and apricots are non-existent other than in the summer. The plums looked good but were extremely expensive; however we did buy a few apricots, as they looked good. 

Watermelons have been in the supermarket for the last few weeks, first at very high prices, but now they are much better value. Unfortunately there was only one left, and it didn't look a particularly good one. Perhaps next week. Before long grapes will appear too - usually the early ones are a little bitter, but as the season continues they become sweeter and sweeter.

May 22nd: 

Found the first cockroach of the year. Fortunately it lying on its back with just a faint leg-wiggling. Unfortunately it was in my study. I've no idea how it got in. I've been looking for the cockroach poison that we're supposed to pour down all the drains every three months, as I haven't done that since March - but the shops that sells it seems to have disappeared, or perhaps closed down. 

There are, of course, many hints online about keeping cockroaches down; wiping away every trace of water from the sink and emptying bins every night seem to be good preventative measures. I've been spraying the kitchen windowsills with biodegradable insecticide which isn't harmful to cats. I must remember to re-do that every month, as they sometimes squeeze in the cracks. 

I also read that a mixture of icing sugar and baking soda is lethal to cockroaches. I'm not sure why this would be, since they're quite difficult to kill, and this seems pretty innocuous. Still, I should maybe leave some out near the outside covers to the septic tanks, and see if it attracts and kills any wandering around the garden in the night.

Weather still isn't as hot as usual for this time of year. Last night, coming home from a meeting at 9pm, it actually felt chilly for a moment when I went out of someone's house. This morning when I opened the windows at about 7am it felt cool outside. A pleasant breeze seems to be blowing most of the time, and even at midday the temperature in the shade doesn't seem to get to more than about 27C - long may it last!

May 23rd: 

boungainvillea in MayThe day dawned rather grey and cloudy, with a gentle breeze. We all felt a bit headachey, and to our amazement by around 2pm we could hear thunder over the hills. The sky darkened, and it started to rain, for an hour or more - quite heavily, too. Almost unheard of for this time of year! The outside temperature reduced from 25 to just under 20C. So the grass didn't get cut.  The bougainvillea at the front of the house is looking stunning at this time of year. 

May 31st: 

We've been hearing the noise of motorbikes (with no silencers) whizzing up and down the streets with school-leavers celebrating. I don't know why they celebrate now, as they still have exams for the next fortnight. 

We're still plodding on with home education coursework - winding down so everything for this year should (we hope!) be finished by the end of June. July and August are no-coursework months for us; it's really too hot to do anything much by then. Besides that, we'll be going to the UK for the second week of July as Daniel's drama group are performing at the London National Theatre, and the week prior to that will be busy with rehearsals for Daniel. Also in the first week of July, our Church is having a holiday Bible club for under-11s, at which Tim's been asked to play the piano. So he'll probably stay and help out each morning.

Tomorrow Daniel takes the Guildhall drama grade 5 exam, with a group of others in his class. He doesn't think rehearsals for that have been going very well, particularly since one or two people have missed several of them. It doesn't help that all the rest of the group are in school, and so have been busy working towards their school exams.

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