Life in Cyprus - July 2003

2nd July:

I'm thinking of making a new summer evening menu with simpler things - no long stove-top cooking, minimal oven. The kitchen gets so hot in the evening that it's no fun at all to cook, or to be in there for long periods. Besides which it's not really the weather for casseroles!

Despite most activities closing down for the next two months, the boys seem to be as busy as I ever was in my teens during the holidays, so far. Last week Daniel had the Antitote trip away, then a couple of days staying with friends, then a long weekend in the mountains camping with the inter-church youth group. This week is the church Bible club for under-12s, where they're both helping - Tim playing piano for the music - then sometimes they do something afterwards such as swimming (at least today), and later on an evening Bible study and meeting with a team of young people who have come from the USA to work in the local churches for a few weeks. It seems as if they've barely been home!

With the warmer weather we're running the air-conditioning in the living/dining room for about 10 hours each day. It's great to be able to cool down and de-humidify, but equally it means I spent most of my time in here. Inevitably I read a lot more in the Summer than I do most of the rest of the year, and I'm also trying to do some web-site maintenance. I've added further pages to my home education site, making the total now about 175. The only problem with a site that size is the time it takes to check broken links and do any major changes to the design!

Monday 14th July

We just had a very pleasant weekend camping in the mountains, theoretically with the home education group - unfortunately at the last moment three or four families cancelled, so the only people actually camping were us, one other family, and two young girls whose parents were unable to come. 

playing recorders with the home educators in TroodosOn the Friday a recorder-playing friend came up for the day, and spent several hours working on some medieval and other pieces with the other recorder players in the group! On the Saturday, two other families came for the day. 

water balloon volleyball in troodosAs well as this, we did some country dancing, and someone organised water-balloon volleyball.  Then there was an alphabet scavenger hunt for the under-11s, while the teenagers were playing games and doing some music 'jamming'. 

It was great to be somewhere dry, after the humidity of Larnaka, although the actual temperature in Troodos was not much cooler.

We left the bathroom light on the whole time we were away (asking the people who came to feed our cats to leave it on) - and to our delight, there were no roaches at all in the bathroom when we got back yesterday evening! Admittedly there were three or four elsewhere in the house (dead) but it does seem that leaving on the light is a simple way of keeping most of the out.

Good office chairs are on offer at the Kleima furniture shop for 30; Richard bought two of them for his office not long ago and we decided to buy one for the boys to use at their computer, since Daniel has still been having some arm and neck pain. Not knowing what time it closed, we went to look this evening, only to find it was closed. However we did pass a fruit and veg market offering good prices on some summer fruit, so stopped instead to buy a quantity of grapes and apricots, far cheaper than the supermarkets. So it wasn't a wasted trip!

Friday 18th July

The days pass slowly, with little change really. It's actually not as hot as it is sometimes - only 32C in the shade for most of the day. Apparently it was hotter in the UK on a couple of days this week, when they had a heatwave! The boys are still finishing off a bit of their ACE home education work for the NCSC qualification; Daniel is very close to completing level 1, the equivalent of GCSEs (the exams which he would have been taking a couple of months ago if he were still in school in the UK).

On Wednesday morning I decided we were never going to manage to eat all the apricots we bought (two kilograms - for the price of 1!) so I used just under half of them tomake some jam. I used the same recipe which was so successful for loquat jam in May, but it didn't turn out nearly so well, unfortunately. I kept boiling it, but it refused to 'wrinkle'. Eventually I had to stop and pot it, because the fruit was beginning to burn on the bottom of the pan, and the resultant jam looks much darker than usual, although Richard assures me it tastes fine, and it seems to have set extremely well so obviously it had reached setting point. I wonder now if the kitchen temperature was simply too warm for the wrinkle test to work.

Yesterday we found ants in the biscuit tin, so Tim sorted that out, and I found a trail of them coming down the wall towards the box where I keep unopened packets of biscuits. So I wiped them all and sprayed biokill around the walls. No doubt they'll appear somewhere else. I made sure I sprayed just under all the cupboards as well, although they should be all right as I cleaned and sprayed them in May.

Richard is now away in Egypt for two weeks, building an Internet radio studio there, and also doing some training. He went expecting to train twelve people, and ended up with thirty-eight! So he's having to do more sessions than he expected, dividing into groups. He'll probably be exhausted when he gets home as Cairo is noisy, and everyone is so busy that he never seems to get enough sleep when he's there.

Saturday 19th July

Today some ants got at the bread in the dining room. It was in a bag in the bread basket. So we threw that out and went to buy some more, and I sprayed the wall where they were coming down in a steady stream. They really are a nuisance.

This evening a couple who were married in a civil ceremony a few weeks ago had a service of blessing at our church. They were supposedly organising some musicians from Limassol, but in the end Tim had to go and play the piano for them. We didn't know them, so Daniel and I didn't go to the service. Tim was invited to the reception afterwards, but as it was at a restaurant and not starting until 9pm he decided not to go as it was likely to finish very late, and he's playing the piano in church tomorrow morning so he doesn't want to be up late.

Thursday 31st July

Although we had a couple of days when it seemed extra-hot (36C in the shade) July really hasn't been as bad as previous summers. The evenings are humid, and the days are hot and sunny, but 30-32C is somehow bearable, and running the aircon at 28 feels pleasantly cool. The end of July is the half-way mark for the summer here; it feels like the end is in sight. The garden looks brown - sprinkling the 'grass' only made the weeds grow faster, so now I'm just watering the trees.

We've had three or four more ant attacks - one in the boxes of dried cat food, one in a drawer where I keep various kitchen tools! The ants must be getting desperate. Each time I've cleaned out the relevant area and sprayed with biokill, and it seems to have stopped the problem immediately.

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