Life in Cyprus - November 2002

7th November:

Daniel's baptism at McKenzy beach, LarnakaRichard's mother is visiting us this week, and so far the weather has been extremely pleasant - about 25-28C in the sunshine during the day, down to about 15-18C overnight. There have been a few clouds but no rain as yet. The sea is definitely warmer, not that we've been swimming! But it's apparently 20C still. This was good news for Daniel, who decided to have a full Baptist style baptism by immersion in the sea on November 3rd. After the normal morning service at church, the congregation drove to McKenzy beach, and had a mini-service there - it all went very well and was a lovely morning.

On Tuesday Richard took the day off and we all drove to Paphos, something we've not done before (though Richard's been once or twice for meetings, and Daniel and he went with the drama group for one of the Nuts performances a few months ago). Now the motorways are all built, and in good condition, it's less than two hours from Larnaka to Paphos. We left here about 9am and were there before 11am. 

Sitting by the sea in PaphosWe walked along the sea-front for a while and looked at the harbour, and looked at various of the shops, then we had lunch at a sandwich bar sort of place, which was very good. After that we went to look at the open- air museum that has the house of Dionysus, Theseus, etc. The mosaics were quite stunning, so we were all glad we went. We didn't go to the 'tombs of the kings', since we didn't want to be too late back, so we had quite a leisurely day, really. 

We left shortly before 4pm since Daniel had to be at a band rehearsal by 8pm, and it took a good two hours to get back, but that was partly because the traffic at the Limassol roundabouts was terrible, so we took a detour through Limassol and along its sea-front, which wasn't actually any quicker but did avoid lots of stopping and starting. Then there was apparently some accident on the motorway that stopped all traffic entirely for about ten minutes - but once it got going again it was fine. It didn't seem like too bad an accident - there was just one car, not smashed up or anything, just with a broken windscreen. So it may have been that the police simply had to clear away all the broken glass to avoid more accidents.

Yesterday morning we went to Lefkara - we thought it might be chilly there but it was very pleasant. And in the afternoon we went for a short walk by the Salt Lake. Richard's working the rest of the week but as he's been so busy lately he was able to take a couple of days off... although in fact yesterday he spent most of the afternoon and evening doing some sorting out computer problems for a friend who's had trouble with one of his employees.

Daniel is keeping busy as ever, with increasing numbers of 'Frog Prince' rehearsals as well as the band, music group etc. Tim is getting involved in sound and lighting for the drama group, since he thoroughly enjoys the technical side, as well as more and more music things. Playing piano and guitar seem to be particularly useful skills - so he uses his guitar in church, usually, and sometimes takes it out to Sunday School. Last Sunday night we sang 25 old hymns - I made the words booklet (all out of copyright so easy to download from the 'cyberhymnal', which saved typing) and Tim was playing a keyboard to supplement the piano, since they weren't really appropriate for guitar.

14th November:

The weather seemed to 'break' on Sunday - a few spots of rain in the morning; grey skies and a rather chilly wind for much of the day. On Monday we then had quite heavy rain for a couple of hours, and it felt a lot cooler afterwards. Since then the daytimes have been sunny, but with a bit of a chill in the air, and the nights distinctly colder, down to about 12C or even less.

On Tuesday someone came to clean the bathroom septic tank, which was over-full and flowing out into the bottom step down to our basement (see Oct 02). He cleared it with a length pipe around the side of the house, then explained in broken English that the problem was that the tank is in two parts, with a pipe between them: the bit right outside the bathroom fills first, then should flow through the pipe to the larger tank, whose contents should gradually seep out. However he found that the second tank was empty, and the pipe blocked: when he tried to unblock it, he found it was full of tree roots, so he thinks that the trees at the side of the patio have grown through the pipe, which is probably old and made of metal which has most likely rusted through. He said we need a new plastic pipe, but this isn't something he can do. Then he phoned our landlady on his mobile phone, and spent about ten minutes telling her in Greek what had happened - with frequent gestures to the trees, the patio, and the septic tank covers as he spoke!

When he had left, I flushed the toilet once, only to find water appearing again on the bottom step down to the basement. Uh-oh. Perhaps in addition to the pipe being blocked, there's a hole at the bottom of the tank. In the evening our landlady phoned, so I told her about this; she said she would talk to the builders who mended the roof in September, since they did such a very good job and obviously cared about what they were doing. In the meantime we need to continue to be careful with water usage in the bathroom.

Yesterday the man to clean/service the kerosene heater came, as he does every year around this time. He spent about an hour working at it, then lit it to show it was working! It felt very pleasant, although I didn't leave it on for long as the sun was shining. But it won't be long before we're using it in the evenings regularly. The weather here can go from almost too warm to wintry within just a couple of days.

17th November:

This weekend we repainted the 'atrium', the central entrance room to our house. Although it seemed a daunting task, there wasn't all that much to take out of the room, and we actually completed all the painting in one day. We'd thought about a dark blue for the lower part, to go with the carpet and furniture, but couldn't find one we liked, so we opted for a pleasant gold-brown called 'Tapestry thread', which has made the room look warmer. The whole place looks brighter and so much cleaner too. The next task will be to gloss-paint all the doors in magnolia - a lengthy job which I'll do a little at a time early in the mornings, so we won't have too much of a problem with the fumes while sleeping at night.

24th November:

This week we had the bumper and driver's wing-mirror replaced on the car. The bumper broke in May after a little bump, and has been held together with parcel tape ever since. The wing-mirror disappeared about two months ago. We had been told they would be very expensive to replace new, but that there was a possibility of second-hand parts. The garage aged to find some second-hand, and fitted them in one morning - to our amazement they looked 'as new'.

Yesterday we were on the motorway on our way to a home educators' meeting in Limassol, when our car broke down. It simply lost power as Richard was driving, then when he pulled over to the hard shoulder and stopped, it refused to start at all. Thankfully we're members of the Cyprus AA (Automobile Association) although we had not used their services before. Richard called them on his mobile phone, and they said they would arrive in about twenty-five minutes. He then called the people whose house we were visiting, and they offered to come and collect us, take us to their home, and then lend us their guest car. 

The AA arrived when they said they would, and agreed to take the car back to a good garage in Larnaka. It was a good thing our friend was coming to collect us, since the AA truck had only space for one passenger! So Richard went with him in the truck to the nearby junction, and unloaded all our bags, food for lunch, and so on, while the rest of us walked 250 metres to the junction, along the grassy dip which is littered with rubbish and very uneven, but nevertheless possible to use in emergencies. As we arrived where Richard was, our friend's car drew up to collect us. While it's not much fun to break down, the timing and circumstances could hardly have been better.

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