Life in Cyprus - June 2003

Sunday 1st June:

we said goodbye to our visitors last night, after a good evening out seeing 'MacBeth - the comedy' (by Theatre Antidote). Richard drove them to the airport in the middle of the night... then had to get up again at 7am to collect two Egyptian men who will be spending the next two weeks at his office, learning some advanced web-site management. They didn't get back in time for church. I was teaching Sunday School, and then organising the coffee/biscuits after the service, feeling rather tired as Sophia (one of our cats) woke me at about 5am, something she's been doing recently. Perhaps she thinks that when it gets light outside it's time for us to get up.

In the evening we had a kind of concert at church, 'Singspiration', with 25 items in all. Daniel was in several, and Tim in over half of them, alternating between piano, keyboard and guitar. He was very tired by the end! One good thing is that it hasn't yet been too hot - despite a heatwave mid-May, it's now back to about 26C at most during the daytime, and not yet humid. It was lovely and breezy today - very pleasant.

3rd June

Despite some rain, the garden starts to look brown by JuneThe most surprising thing about this weekend has been the weather - yesterday it poured with rain for about half an hour from 12.30am… quite amazing for June. Still only about 26C at most. Apparently there was major flooding in Nicosia and elsewhere. I guess we don't need to water the garden at present! But it will definitely need cutting again soon. I thought about doing it today, but then it spat with rain a bit mid-afternoon.

6th June

It's getting warmer now. I suppose it was inevitable. One good thing about it is that there are far fewer mosquitoes about, but the bad thing is that the cockroaches get more active. We seem to find one or two each morning now - mostly dead, or lying on their backs almost dead, but the occasional one still crawling about on the walls. Yuck. I've been spraying 'biokill' all round the edges of the house - it's supposed to last a month but seems to need doing more often. I put out some baking soda mixed with icing sugar last night (which I read is lethal to roaches) near where they come out of the septic tank overnight, but didn't see any dead ones there this morning. I've no idea if it actually works.

23rd June

It's getting gradually hotter, and now we're using the a/c most days from about 10am. Today Sophia gave us a temporary shock: she came racing into the room, leaping about the place, shaking her head and looking as if she was running away from something. I thought at first she was hurt, then I realised she seemed to have something in her mouth. I wondered if she was eating some small lizard or bird (as she does) but she seemed too disturbed for that. Then I wondered if she's just brought up a hairball and hadn't quite got rid of it.

As I got closer, I realised there were bubbles around her mouth. My heart pounded... oh no. Foaming at the mouth... surely not rabies....? I reminded myself that Cyprus, like the UK, doesn't have rabies, and she hasn't seemed at all ill recently. Daniel commented, worriedly, that she smelled 'chemically', which indeed she did. My heart pounded again... around here it's not unknown for some people to put poison down for cats. But I realised, poison acts quickly; she would be looking a lot worse if that was the problem. However our neighbour had been doing some painting... could she have tried drinking some paint stripper? Surely a cat wouldn't be so stupid...?

I wiped the foam from her mouth, and she had something to eat, then sat on a windowsill with her tail twitching, not wanting to be touched. I was very worried. Then I went into the bathroom. We have a small bathroom window with bars across it, which we keep permanently open as a 'cat door' (we live in a bungalow). Right in the middle of the windowsill was a tube of face-wash, which had leaked. It smelled 'chemically'. It looked as if it had been trodden in. I went back to Sophia, and sure enough there was the same smell on her back paw. Obviously she'd trodden in it and tried to wash it off. So all was well and she was none the worse!

In the evening, I noticed there were some ants crawling around in the study. I sprayed them with biokill, then got out the vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dead ones - there were more than I thought at first, and when I moved the bedside table, there were hundreds behind it. So I sprayed some more. I think they were flying ants of some sort, like we had in Colorado, but at least they hadn't got much beyond there and they seemed to disappear aftet being sprayed and vacuumed.

21st June 

Today two people from our church got married - a lovely occasion, with almost 200 people squashed into our church (which only really seats about 120 comfortably). the pews were moved forward, the music group (including Daniel and Tim) on the 'stage' at the front, people sitting 6 or 7 to a pew, and a few standing at the back. In the morning we managed to find some summery smartiish clothes for the boys in olive/cream colours at Orphanides and Chris - then I cut up hundreds of cucumbers, carrots, peppers etc and made some dips to get to the Sam Remo hotel, since the congregation were providing food. The reception was held by the pool in the evening, very relaxing and enjoyable...This was the first wedding we've been to in Cyprus.

30th June

The weather is now hot and humid - not actually unbearably so, but enough to have the a/c on for most of the day. I've just had four days to myself - Richard in Malaga, the boys at youth group camp. To try and conquer the roach problem, I've been spraying everywhere with biokill inside, and the rather more drastic Aroxil outside. However the biggest difference seems to have come from the simplest idea - keeping the bathroom light on overnight! One morning we had five dead roaches. The next night with the light on, there were none.

the sun sets over McKenzy beach after an inter-church picnicWe went to an inter-church picnic on McKenzy beach; this seems to be an annual thing now.  Daniel, along with various other young people, took part in some sketches and we had an excellent potluck meal.

The garden is getting very messy - it really needs cutting but even in the evenings it's too hot for me to use the lawnmower. We tried using the sprinkler attachment to the hose for several weeks in May and early June, but all that's happened is that the weeds have got bigger! All the grass has died anyway. So I'm back to just watering the trees a couple of evenings a week and not bothering about the 'lawn'. No doubt once it starts raining it will all come back. I think it must be a different kind of grass in places (like the cenrtal reservations on the roads near the airport) which manages to stay green all summer. Or perhaps they water every day.

Our cold water tank was leaking when it was full, for about two weeks, then suddenly stopped one evening after the boys and I all had showers in the evening. Perhaps some lever had got stuck, but taking out a lot of water at once released it? We may never know. The mains water tap in the kitchen is still leaking - the plumber promised to come 'on Tuesday' a couple of weeks ago but hasn't been yet. When Richard's back I hope he'll go and speak to him again. I don't want the tap to fall to pieces completely. There's still a problem with water leaking from the septic tank into the bottom step to the basement - not as bad as it was, but pretty smelly, attracting flies etc. We may ask the plumber if he can give any advice about that too.

This morning I noticed the sound that typifies Summer in Cyprus - the crickets (or maybe cicadas) chirping, starting as the sun comes up, going on all day long until dusk. It's not an unpleasant noise - indeed we get so accustomed to it that we barely notice it after a week or two.

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