Life in Cyprus - January 2004

January 3rd:

We awoke at about 6am on New Year's morning to the sound of loud thunder, and torrential rain. It had been forecast, but after a week of sunshine (albeit chilly) it was still a little unexpected. Tim found his ceiling leaking again, so he put large buckets under the drips, and went back to sleep on a sofa. It rained off and on all day. In the evening, when Richard popped out to the office, he was surprised to see two kittens curled up together on our front doormat, with a larger cat (perhaps their mother) rushing off as she saw him. When he returned, the kittens were still there. A little deją vu, perhaps, since it's almost exactly three years since our fourth cat, Tessa, arrived on our doormat in similar circumstances.

The following morning they were still there. However they proved to be less 'tame' than Tessa, easily startled, and extremely noisy in their mewing. I did give them a few cat crunchies to eat, thinking they might be hungry, and they ate them eagerly. Later in the day we spotted them wandering around the local houses, still mewing - perhaps for their mother. They look about two months old. We have no intention of adopting any more cats, and these do seem to be semi-wild, but they're very pretty.

Today I found the kittens not on the mat, but curled up together on a pile of old leaves under our mespila tree, when I went out to photocopy the church bulletin. When I got back, ten minutes later, they had disappeared. I was glad I went out when I did, because half an hour later it started to rain heavily, once more.

Larnaka marinaWith cooler weather we like to go for the occasional walk; we don't live far from the sea-front, and Richard always likes to see the marina, although I'm not particularly interested in boats.

January 11th:

On Monday the kittens had vanished, and later on I saw one of them sitting on a wall washing as if it had just had some food. So we hope they've found another friendly home. Later that day we went to one of my favourite plant shops, as I hadn't got around to finding any bedding plants so far. There wasn't a whole lot of stock, but I managed to find some marigolds, some pansies, some petunias and some antirrhinums. They should brighten up the front garden and porch a little when they flower. 

We also bought a small bougainvillea and a couple of roses, to put at the far end of our back garden, in the hope of disguising a rather ugly wall. Really we need about five bougainvilleas and ten roses, but thought we'd try with just a few to see how they do. That area gets extremely hot in the summer as it's in full sun, and I've no idea if even drought-tolerant plants like these will survive.

The sun has been out for most of the week, although it's been extremely cold, no more than 5C overnight, and up to 16 or so during the day. We've been running the kerosene heater every evening, and a couple of times overnight as well as it's so bitterly cold first thing in the morning otherwise. Still, at least it was dry, so I managed to catch up with about ten loads of laundry, and also cut the 'grass' on Friday, knowing that rain was predicted for the weekend. Sure enough, we awoke to rain this morning, and it's rained continuously all day with leaks in Tim's ceiling when it's been at its heaviest. The forecast is for rain all week.

Last night one of the kittens was mewing loudly on our doorstep again, although we hadn't seen them since Monday. It seemed extremely hungry so Richard gave it a bit of cat food. But there's no sign of them today.

January 19th:

The rain that started last Sunday continued unabated for about 36 hours... sometimes heavy, sometimes drizzly, but without a break. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it! Since then it's been mostly sunny and slightly warmer, though not much. It's still dark by 5.30pm and distinctly chilly in the evenings.

The plants seem to be doing well so far. I'm putting coffee grounds around anything that might get eaten by snails or slugs, and it seems to be helping. Hard to tell, though.

One problem with all the rain we've been having is that it seems to be encouraging mosquitoes out of hibernation. We've never known so many as seem to be buzzing around, driving us wild in evenings and overnight. Not that they're stinging; they seem quite sleepy, and are easy enough to kill. But I really hate being woken by a mozzie in the middle of the night. We're also not sure if the unexpected number at this time of year means that there are going to be even more than usual in the spring (if they're breeding in the many puddles and new streams) or whether they're dying off rapidly and there will be less as a result.

January 30th:

The beach in Larnaka in January, covered in sea-weed We did have one or two dry days, and went for a walk along the sea-front one afternoon when the sun came up. The beach is covered with sea-weed, as always happens during the winter. Around March it gets put into large piles, then before the tourist season starts over Easter it's all taken away. We assume it's used as fertiliser for some of the local produce, although nobody seems to know for sure.

No sign of the kittens for a couple of weeks now. Just as well, since Tessa really doesn't like other cats, and four is quite enough for our family!

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