Life in Cyprus - February 2004

February 18th:

After yet more rain (I can't remember a wetter Cyprus winter!) the sun came out for a few days, so I did some much-needed gardening. The compost heaps, started a year ago, needed some digging, and of course there were plenty of weeds. When it's dry enough we cut the 'lawn' (such as it is) about once a week. At least the bedding plants are appreciating the rain, and the lemon trees look laden with fruit. There weren't many oranges this year but we've had a few. Maybe next year will be better.

February 23rd:

Carnival balloons in Cyprus Lent is a very important season in Cyprus, with the Greek Orthodox taking it very seriously. Many people give up meat for the six weeks prior to Easter, and spend more time in church and praying. Before Lent starts there is a week of carnival, as in much of mainland Europe, where children dress up in costumes and there is music and dancing on the sea-front. 

The town band played on the Sunday of Carnival weekend, so we went down to hear them, and enjoyed seeing some dancing too. There were booths and stalls selling everything from local sweets to expensive toys, and of course plenty of balloons.

almond tree blossom signals the start of spring in CyprusLent is also traditionally the start of spring, and we were pleased to note that almond blossom is starting to appear. We don't have the wealth of blossom that can be found in the UK around this time of year - or a little later - but the almond tree does give encouragement that the cold weather is on its way out.

February 29th:

Richard is in Egypt, something he's been putting off for a while, but with some expected visitors having had to cancel their trip, he thought he might as well go. He flew out last night and I'm assuming arrived safely. It's rare that he gets in touch when he's in the Middle East - for one thing he seems to work at least 16-hour days and collapses shattered into bed when he's finished! He gets back next Sunday morning and will probably be exhausted as usual. Then he has a week here before going to spend three weeks in Northern Iraq - a somewhat more worrying trip, although from what I gather the place he's going to is pretty safe.

The boys are busy as ever - yesterday Tim was playing keyboard most of the day for the Alpha Course which the local churches are sponsoring and running together - apparently there's always one special day together in the middle, and this was it. Daniel meanwhile was operating the sound and lighting for a Theatre Antidote production in Episkopi.

Today they both played in church as usual, then Daniel went straight to Antidote for a rehearsal of the current teenage play, 'The Musicians', which has its premiere in two weeks. Then he was back to church for 12.30 where we had a short communion service combined with the Greek Evangelical church where Tim was playing piano again. After that there is usually a potluck 'bring and share' type lunch in the church hall so we stayed for that too.

Afterwards both the boys went for a long walk with some of their youth group friends who were also at the potluck, returning for 4.30 when Tim had to be at St Helena's Anglican church. There was a rehearsal for the inter-church choir which will be singing some Easter songs on Easter Day, probably on the sea-front. Tim will be accompanying them on his keyboard. Following the rehearsal, Narrow Gate (the youth band, where Tim also plays keyboard) were providing music for the evening service at St Helena's.

Meanwhile Daniel came home briefly to pick up his latest acquisition - an electric guitar which he bought with his Christmas and birthday money, as he's been teaching himself some basic guitar techniques recently. He went to play the guitar in our church with the amps there this afternoon, then went over the road to St Helena's for the evening service.

I'm very glad that Larnaka is a small town and that everything is within walking distance, as the boys' schedule seems to get busier and busier all the time.

The weather has continued to be fairly miserable. Still, at least we haven't had any snow, which I gather has hit the UK this week. But it's been overcast and quite chilly until today. For the first time this year I actually felt over-warm when I walked to church wearing a warm jumper and a thick jacket, and the sun came out for a few hours - just right for the boys' walk in the afternoon.

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