Life in Cyprus - November 2003

2nd November:

Weather is still lovely here, but I can remember that happening last year in the first week of November. Having put the clocks back an hour, of course, it's darker much earlier in the evenings now, and that somehow makes it feel cooler, but the sun is mostly shining, and it's still around 20-25C during the daytime. Rain is forecast within the next ten days but there's no guarantee of it.

refurbished house in LarnakaWe've been watching with great interest as a rather tumbledown house just around the corner from ours has been stripped down completely, and then refurbished and painted. It's taken well over a year, but at last seems to be finished. It looks as though someone has moved in now. All too often old houses get knocked down to make way for modern blocks of flats, so we're always glad to see a house modernised while keeping the traditional style.

November always seems like an in-between month here; we go from the end of Summer to the beginning of Winter within just a few weeks. The boys are busy, as ever, with their various activities - and with Tim practising for the inter-church Christmas concert, we're all getting a bit fed up of Christmas carols already! Daniel is having drama practices for 'The Dancing Bear' two or three mornings per week, so he's not getting much of his NCSC coursework done - however there's no hurry. He's given up some of the activities he used to do, as he was really getting far too busy, but Tim seems to be thriving on activity.

Fridays are Tim's busiest day: he has church band practice at noon, for about an hour and a half, then helps at the church afternoon club for under-11s from 3.30pm till about 5pm. He rushes home for something to eat, then is back at church (for the third time!) for youth group by 6.00pm. Youth group doesn't actually start till 6.30, but the youth band Narrow Gate have to be there early to set up their instruments and equipment, and to have an extra brief practice. 

Youth group goes on till about 8.30, but after that the older ones go down to the sea-front to buy milkshakes or soft drinks, and hang out. Daniel has been doing this for the past couple of years, and Tim has decided to join them this year - so it's often 11pm before they're both home. Thankfully Larnaka is a reasonably safe place, and we've finally had keys cut for both the boys, so we don't have to worry about staying up for them.

16th November

We said goodbye, yesterday, to someone who had been in our church for thirteen years. He's retiring, and going back to Australia where his family are, so is unlikely to be visiting. He's been a good friend, and we'll all miss him. We went to a party for his friends a week ago, then at church yesterday there was a huge cake, and a card and gift which we'd all contributed to.

23rd November

Yesterday we had a home educators' meeting at our home, the first one since our camp in July. It was a lovely sunny day, and we were able to spend most of our time outside. There were five families in all, and we said goodbye to one of them - a family who have been living at the Dhekelia army base, and who are moving to Germany. We're going to miss them. But inevitably, it seems, families come and go here. There was another new family who have only been here a few months, and it was good to meet them. During the afternoon Daniel and one of the other teenagers demonstrated their skill with Daniel's home-made 'poi', even creating their own dance routines, and doing some joint poi swinging, which was quite amusing.

Today it was much colder, and it rained; it's beginning to feel as if winter is on its way. The trees don't all change colour here - indeed, if we relied on the trees it would be hard to know what season it is! The oranges and lemons are still partly green, but turning orange and yellow rapidly. The leaves are green and healthy. The pomegranates are finished - there are still rotting ones on the trees, gradually falling off. The leaves are yellowish, and get blown down when it's windy, but nowhere near the stunning colours they had in the spring.

27th November

It's still mostly warmish in the daytime here (16-20C) although now getting dark much earlier, about 5.30, and distinctly colder overnight. We haven't yet got to extra blankets and double-thickness quilts, but it won't be long. 

Cleo and Tessie sleeping on the same sofaThe cats are adjusting to their winter timetable of sleeping in the house during the night, and going out far less than they do normally. Cleo and Tessie seem to be establishing some kind of truce - they sometimes even sleep on the same sofa, albeit facing in opposite directions!

One of the cats managed to catch a bat earlier today. Tim found both Tessa and Jemima in the bathroom staring at it, then Tessa trying to toss it up and down, perhaps in the hope of getting it to play some more. I think one of them must have eaten it as we can't find any traces of it now.

In a couple of days the ship MV Doulos will be arriving in Larnaka. This is the oldest passenger ship in the world; apparently it's even in the Guiness Book of Records. It has a large bookshop, with a mixture of Christian, educational and children's books, as well as a selection of CDs, all at remarkably low prices. Daniel is going to be helping at the bookshop for most of the time they're here.

A team of three from the Doulos has been based in Larnaka, working in one of the room's at Richard's office for the past six weeks. There's always a small team to come early, to organise publicity, and speak at local churches. They're hoping for lots of visitors. They had asked for full-time volunteers from the churches aged between 18 and 35, since they usually do a kind of training course, as well as using local people to help around the ship, but had no applicants at all.  

I don't think they had realised that most people in that age-group around here are either working full-time (there's very little unemployment) or looking after small children, or possibly in college. However they were happy to have Daniel, and another home educating friend of his who lives in Limassol, even though they are not yet 18 and Daniel couldn't manage full-time. I think they might have had more offers if they had asked for volunteers over 50 as there are so many retired folk living here.

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