Life in Cyprus - May 2004

May 4th:

There was great excitement here at the weekend when South Cyprus finally joined the EU. It was a pity they didn't vote for the island to be reunified, but unfortunately that didn't happen for various reasons. I think they may end up regretting it... on the other hand, the official UN plan wasn't very fair or tactful, as it seemed to give far more to the North than to the South, so I'm not all that surprised.

Still, there were lots of celebrations with ongoing entertainment at the sea-front bandstand on Friday afternoon and evening. The town band had to be there at 11pm (!) because at 11.30 they had to play Beethoven's'Ode to Joy', the EU anthem, after which an EU flag was raised to join the Cyprus flag, and then they also played the national anthem. 

fireworks to celebrate Cyprus joining the EUI'm usually fast asleep well before 11pm, but as it was a once-off historic occasion I went with Richard and our guests down to the sea-front, and it was certainly quite moving. After the Cyprus anthem they had a rather impressive firework display, which Tim could hear from our house, so I would probably have been woken up by that if I had gone to sleep.

On Saturday we were having a bit of a lie-in when we heard drum bands and a loud and not very tuneful horn - it was the traditional May-day marches and communist rally, which goes right down our street - terrifying poor Cleo almost out of her mind. 

Then on Sunday there was a big performance of 'The Musicians', the play Daniel's been in recently, at the British High Commission in Nicosia. Richard and Tim both went to help with the sound and lights, and our guests went to watch; I might have gone along as well, but there was a special church meeting to make a decision about whether or not to look for a pastor outside the church, so I thought I'd better go to that to represent the family. It was quite a warm day and the play was outside, so it was just as well I didn't go as it would probably have been too hot and sunny for me in the middle of the day.

The weather has been lovely in the past few days. We had more guests last week - people who are considering moving out here to work with Richard in the Autumn - and they loved the temperature. Sunny, about 25C in the daytime, down to around 12C overnight. Today it's a bit cooler and quite windy, but the sky is still blue and the sun is out.

My tomato and courgette 'plug' plants, bought about six weeks ago, have grown like nothing I've ever seen before! I did use a fair amount of compost with them, and they're almost growing visibly. There are three or four tiny courgettes, one of which is at least 5cm long, and several little green tomatoes. The tomato plants appear to have some kind of black flies on them - I don't know if this is blackfly as such, or something local; they don't look very attractive but don't appear to be doing any harm. I don't really want to spray them since the only sprays we can get here are fairly drastic.

My geranium cuttings all 'took', so I now have lots of little plants, and about four of my bougainvillea cuttings also seem to have survived although they're still very small and I don't want to plant them out just yet. I might keep them in pots until the Autumn. 

Cyprus bougainvillea in MayThe main bougainvillea in the front garden looks stunning this month, covered in the deep pink bracts that form at the end of each branch.

May 20th:

Our mespila (loquats) have been fruiting since late April, so I've made several pots of jam using my recipe for apricot jam. Once they're really ripe, which they are now, they're delicious to eat but even though we've given away loads there are far too many with our two trees. So jam seems like a good way of using them up, particularly the early ones which are quite tart.

Strawberries have been in the shops quite inexpensively too, so I've also made quite a bit of strawberry jam. Also to our great surprise and delight, there were some apricots. We haven't seen any for about three years, other than the dried ones, but they suddenly appeared in the supermarket one Friday so I bought a few kilograms and made jam of the ones we didn't eat. I'm hoping to make enough jam to last the whole year since it seems so silly to buy jam. Richard's the only one who eats it regularly.

The mulberries are ripe too after several weeks of dropping the outside fuzz all over the patio. Our two trees seem to get bigger every year, and they're absolutely loaded with fruit even though I haven't given them any compost or fertiliser. The white mulberries drop all over the patio which is a real nuisance; if I don't sweep them up every morning they get trodden in the house and make a terrible mess. The purple mulberry tree is near the end of the garden, so not such a problem.

I've made a few jars of mulberry and apple jam, which Richard quite likes, but he prefers other types and none of the rest of us like it much. We gave some away too, but they're not very popular. I think we could have people picking almost continually for the whole month and there would still be mulberries left to fall.

Previous (April 2004) | Next (June 2004)