Life in Cyprus - June 2004

7th June:

We've seem to have had a very dry spring after an excessively wet winter. Everything is looking brown already, although I keep watering the trees and flowers. It was reasonably cool until the weekend - no more than about 26C in the daytime, and pleasantly breezy in the evenings. However on Sunday it suddenly felt hot as I walked home from church, and today it's been about 32C, still feeling very warm even by 9.30pm. 

So it looks as though summer has arrived, and will no doubt remain until about the end of September. We haven't used the air conditioning yet but I think we'll be switching it on in the next day or so, if only for the computers!

21st June:

The weather is now getting distinctly warmer, over 30C some days so we've started using the air conditioning for a few hours in the daytime. We had it serviced a couple of weeks ago. This was just as well since not only had some fluid leaked out (which is why we called the engineer) but some rather unpleasant mould was growing inside it. Anyway it's all flushed out and seems to be working better than it did last year. Prices are so good here: the engineer must have been here for about two hours, and he changed several parts as well as cleaning and filling up with new fluid, and the entire service cost was 30!

We had a pleasant day yesterday - after church two Chinese students were baptised at the beach, and then we had a fellowship barbecue at a really nice place slightly up in the hills out in Aradippou, which we'd never seen before. 

view over Larnaka from Aradippou picnic siteIt had a view right over Larnaka to the sea. Lots of young shrubs and trees had been planted; also there were little wooden tables with benches and sort of roofs attached so we could sit in the shade. There was a purpose-built barbecue area too - it worked really well.

Richard has a team of seven students from British Youth for Christ out here for two weeks, mainly decorating his offices, but also visiting some of the other missions locally - it's a scheme called 'summerserve'. They all came with us to the various things yesterday then Richard and Dan went with them to the beach for a couple of hours while Tim and I came home to collapse.

There's also a team out from another organisation in Northern Ireland who are organising activities all week for the youth group, before they all go off to camp in the mountains at the weekend.

The little plug plant courgettes and tomatoes I bought in February all did remarkably well at first, growing rapidly and producing huge plants that looked very healthy. Unfortunately all the courgettes rotted as soon as they reached about 5cm; eventually I discovered that probably meant that they hadn't been fertilised, but as bees had been buzzing around and the little courgettes did actually start, that hadn't occurred to me. Then shortly afterwards the weather must have become too warm for courgettes because all the plants suddenly gave up and died, which was most disappointing.

The tomatoes continue to look healthy, although they only seem to produce one tomato at a time. So far we've had about four, I think - quite tasty, but nothing special, and I can see a few more green ones coming along. I'm feeding them with Phostrogen as per instructions, and giving lots of water - so I've no idea why they're not loaded down with tomatoes. At least we don't have the 'glut' problem that most tomato-growers have!

30th June:

One of the typical Cyprus sounds is that of the cicadas - those strange flying insects who emerge from the soil en masse after an amazing 13 or even 17 years underground. They make a loud chattering noise which I gather is made by their wings, and we find little white shells from their cocoons affixed to various plants. Usually the cicada noise starts when the sun is fully out, around 7.30am perhaps, and lasts until it begins to get dark. However this year there seem to be some with a different time-scale, since they're beginning around 5.45am and stopping about 7.30am, only to start up again around 7.30pm when the sun is beginning to go down, and continuing until it's fully dark at about 8.30. Very strange.

Richard has been extremely busy in the past couple of weeks with the team from Northern Ireland redecorating his offices. Of course it hasn't all been hard slog; they've had a few days out to visit other mission agencies around the island, and one day when they went over the border to the North of the island. They've also been to the beach almost every afternoon to lie under parasols, or to swim. Some of them are developing quite a tan although others are worried about burning and have mostly stayed in the shade. Richard is very pleased with the amount of work they've achieved, and the offices are looking much smarter

Our patio in CyprusWe still seem to have mulberries on our trees, and it's been an almost daily chore sweeping the patio and then spraying it with a hose to get off the last of the mulberries that have fallen overnight. If I don't do that, we find ourselves treading in them and they make a terrible mess inside the house. Besides that ants crawl all over the patio looking for them. We've tried giving some away, but nobody seems all that keen on these fruits - a pity really as there are so many and it all seems such a waste. Still, quite a few have gone on the compost heap and will no doubt add to the garden's enrichment next year.

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