Life in Cyprus - December 2004

3rd December:

Richard got back last night after four weeks in the UK. He was laden with baggage - 35kg in all, apparently, but thankfully there was no problem taking it on the airline. Most of the excess was equipment for his office. Today it isn't as cold as it has been, and of course it's quite a lot warmer than the UK has been!

10th December:

Tim managed two batches of mince pies (36 per batch) using last year's mincemeat, and then I made a new load of mincemeat using the standard family recipe. Somehow we manage to get through a vast number of mince pies in our family!

17th December:

I had hoped to get our Christmas cards and newsletters printed and sent out at least a week ago, but as so often I kept putting it off... then realised last Saturday that the colour cartridge for my printer had run out, so I took it to the Nu-Ink shop for them to refill. They said it should be ready Monday morning... I went there on Monday mid-morning and they said it hadn't yet arrived but should be there later in the day. On Tuesday Richard went there, and they said it was lost! However they hoped to find it...

On Wednesday they phoned and said the cartridge had turned up: it had somehow ended up in Limassol! So at last I got going on getting organised. I always forget how long it takes to print, and then to address 70-odd envelopes, write in cards, fold newsletters and tick the list. But at last they all got in the post Friday morning early. It's at least two weeks after the 'official' last posting date for the UK to arrive in time for Christmas, but experience tells me that they'll probably be there about next Thursday.

18th December:

Last night was the annual Christmas carol concert, with the inter-church choir, two junior school choirs, the youth band Narrow Gate, and Rev Robin Brookes as guest speaker (from Ayia Napa). It was in Antidote Theatre for the first time, and went extremely well. Richard had spent most of the week organising what was necessary for the PA, and despite Tim developing a stress headache shortly before the concert, he kept going and played well, and it was much appreciated. The theatre was packed!

our Cyprus back garden in December, looking greenToday was reasonably warm but cloudy; evidently it's going to rain soon, so I decided to mow the grass and weeds in the back garden properly for the first time since the summer ended. It really has become surprisingly green in just a few weeks. After that I spread some of our newest batch of compost around all the fruit trees - which, if nothing else, made them all look rather tidier with the rich brown colour!

20th December:

I was very glad I had done the gardening when I did, since it rained on Sunday, and then last night it absolutely poured. For the first time this season Tim's roof started leaking, although not as badly as it did last year. I hoped it was just a glitch - perhaps the wind in the wrong direction - since the leaking stopped when the rain lessened. But this morning it began pelting down again, the kind of rain we had never seen before coming here, and his roof began leaking once more. By that stage he had gone out carol-singing (or rather, playing the keyboard for other carol-singers) at local rest homes for the elderly, so I found buckets to place under the drips to catch the worst of them.

I decided to use up the rest of my mincemeat today, so spent a couple of hours making mince pies. There was rather more than I had thought so I ended up making 78... which, Richard thinks, should last us about a week! I also put the marzipan on the Christmas cake.

24th December:

The cake is iced, the house is reasonably clean, the presents are wrapped, and we even managed to put the tree up yesterday. I'm relieved to learn from some email messages that at least some of our Christmas cards and newsletters did arrive in time - some yesterday, some today. Perhaps the postal service is particularly efficient at this time of year!

This afternoon I shall be switching the computer off for the weekend: the boys are going carol-singing with the inter-church choir around local hotels this afternoon and evening (Tim playing keyboard as ever, and Daniel playing clarinet) and may well then go to the Midnight Communion service at the Anglican Church. Richard and I have been asked out to friends for drinks and mince pies.

30th December:

We had a very pleasant Christmas in a low-key way. We were all up late on Christmas Eve so quite tired by the morning, and glad to be spending the day with friends in Limassol. We all took food - none of it traditional Christmas fare! - then some went for a walk, some did some music, and later on we started on a remarkably difficult jigsaw puzzle.

On Boxing Day we hosted a party here for Richard's ex-colleagues - again it was relaxing and low-key rather than energetic, starting with lunch. Another walk was taken in the afternoon for those who felt the need to get out, and we gathered together again for a light tea before a group of the younger ones went to play board games somewhere else.

Since then we haven't done very much - catching up on email, pottering round the house, that kind of thing. The week between Christmas and New Year is always a bit strange with no activities, nobody really wanting to do anything. 

mixture of sacred and secular in Cyprus Christmas decorationsOne afternoon Richard and I went for a walk along the sea-front and were a bit surprised to see one of the festive displays, fenced in to stop children knocking things over: amongst several small pine trees there was a glass-fronted manger scene with the large caricatured Nativity figures we've come to expect in Cyprus - but right next to it was a model of Santa Claus in his sleigh pulled by a reindeer! What a mixture of East and West; secular and sacred.

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