Life in Cyprus - January 2003

5th January:

It's been a strange week. We all caught the cold that was going around - not a bad one, but it made us feel tired and headachey. We decided not to go to the church New Year's Eve party - in fact I fell asleep at about 8.30pm, although I was rudely awakened by fireworks going off at midnight. It's been a miserable week weather-wise, rain every day, punctuated by grey dry spells when I've been trying to get washing dry, mostly in vain. In the end we moved the indoor rack thing to in front of the kerosene heater and finished off the drying that way but it's a slow process. If we had rain more regularly, I suppose we'd have to look at getting a tumble drier (though I've no idea where we'd put one!) or perhaps installing some kind of cover to go over an outdoor line, but of course usually we just have rain on one day then sunshine the next so it's not a problem.

Richard's taken some time off work and has been trying to sort through the various bits of video we've taken over the years, sporadically, getting them onto Video CD which makes a good digital master, apparently. Today the regular pianist was back playing in church, her arm considerably better, and Tim was quite glad to be playing his guitar again. One of the boys' friends came over this afternoon and as the sun came out for the first time in about a week, they spent some time outside as well as on the inevitable computer racing games.

Tomorrow is another bank holiday here, for Epiphany, but I think the boys will start back with their home education coursework, as it got rather neglected during December with the various drama and music rehearsals taking up so much time and energy. Richard will be in the office trying to finish off the documentary he was making about the drama group in London last summer... twice now he's got part way through and then had a major computer crash, but we're hoping he actually gets it finished this time.

12th January:

country dancing with the home educators in LimassolYesterday the island-wide home educators' group had the first gathering of 2003. We met in Limassol, on a day which wasn't nearly as cold as it had been. We were able to do some country dancing outside, and played some games. In the evening several of us went to a performance of 'The Frog Prince', the Christmas production by Antidote Theatre, which was taking place in Limassol. Our family was invited to supper afterwards with yet more friends, so in all it was a very pleasant day, though rather busy.

15th January:

In Cyprus, as in the USA, people use stainless steel tea-kettles on the gas cookers rather than electric kettles. The reason here is that electricity is a great deal more expensive than gas. We had an old one which we had bought at the thrift store; it was getting covered with scale on the inside, since the water here is fairly hard, and - worse - the coating seemed to be peeling away. After several cups of coffee with rather unpleasant dregs, we decided to spend a few pounds on a new kettle. Surprisingly there was only one type available in our local Metro supermarket; we could have it plain 'metal' coloured, or dull green. We chose the former!

For the first week, the new kettle worked well, with a gentle whistle alerting us when the water was boiling. Then, to my surprise, when I flipped open the spout one day, the whistling mechanism fell out. Richard managed to replace it, once the kettle had cooled, snapping it back in place. Next time I used it, it fell out again. I tried to replace it while the kettle was still warm, using an oven glove, and found it would not stay in. All became clear: the hard plastic part of the spout expanded differently from the metal part when steam went through it, meaning that the (metal) whistling section became loose until it had cooled down again. We shook our heads in amazement at the thought of such a design-fault in a kettle, which after all is designed to get hot! No point returning it, however. For one thing when it's cold, the mechanism fits perfectly. For another, we've thrown away the old kettle and there doesn't seem to be an alternative. Anyway... 'this is Cyprus'!

22nd January:

Another miserable day today; cold, grey and cloudy. When I went out of the front door to go to buy some bread from the local Perseus bakery at lunch-time, I was rather surprised to find a lady's shoe on the doormat. In fairly good condition, too. It hasn't been windy so it can't have blown there - I can only assume it was put there by some of the teenagers who walk up our street every day to and from school, making a great deal of noise, and often running into people's front gardens to open or close gates, or drop litter. Perhaps it was someone's idea of a joke. I moved it to the road, just outside one of our gates, just in case someone had lost it and came back to search for it.

29th January:

It's been quite mild for the past week, up to about 18C several days, punctuated with heavy rain and cooler evenings, but not the bitter cold we had in December. There may still be a colder patch before Summer arrives of course, and we do still need the rain.. but it's nice to feel the sun, and not to have to run heating during the daytime just to take the extreme chill off the house. My parents are coming to visit mid-February, so we're hoping it won't be too cold and wet while they're here. In previous years they've come late March or April, when it's generally a lot warmer.

Daniel in the Frog PrinceToday was the last public performance of 'Frog Prince', in Nicosia. Richard has been in Bahrain all week, at a conference, so Tim had to be responsible for the lighting and sound himself. I gather it went pretty well - there was a technician there to help, and to advise him about the lighting desk, but Tim was 'in charge'. He did the sound, and talked someone else through doing the lights. There are about three more peformances in schools during February, but those usually seem to be more straightforward than the public ones.

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Family Books

Sue's home ed book:

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Sue's father's memoirs: