Life in Cyprus - September 2004

1st September:

It's amazing how well we've acclimatised! Whereas back in October 1997 I found 25 degrees Celsius unpleasantly hot, I'm now considering it pleasantly cool when the temperatures are down to about 26C by late evening. Gardening is a pleasure again first thing in the morning when it's not much above 22C and again for an hour or so from 5.30pm, although as it's almost dark by 6.30pm I can't get a whole lot done.

I've noticed in the past week or so that the tumbledown house inhabited by a strange old lady, overlooking our garden, seems to have been empty. At least the window wasn't open and I didn't notice any new rubbish thrown out. I wondered if she had gone away. This morning as I was weeding, the window opened but instead of the old lady was someone my age, who spoke to me in English and asked why I didn't clear the weeds in front of the window! I explained that the old lady threw out paper (including used toilet roll) and other stuff, so we left the weeds to catch them. Also I didn't like her staring at me any time I came near. The woman in the house - who I assume is some kind of social worker - then said that they had been telling her not to throw things, but she has 'something wrong in her head', so they've moved her to the next room.

Apparently nobody is living in that room now, so this evening I finally set to work to start getting rid of some of the huge weeds in front of the window. Horrible to think that she's moved to an even less pleasant place, though. I thought the whole house was hers, but it sounds as if she only lives in one room. Perhaps she isn't mobile. There don't seem to be old people's homes here, or not state ones anyway.

The garden looking very brown in SeptemberI check the local weather forecast online every day; not that it's changed much in the past couple of months. It's still showing high of 33C and low of 20-23C overnight for the next ten days, but now they're predicting scattered thunderstorms on the 5th. I do hope we get our first rain then; the garden is looking so dry. Once it starts I think I might try watering it with the sprinkler in the hope of developing some grass, or at least general greenness. On the other hand as there's still a hole in the roof above Tim's ceiling, we hope it won't rain too much!

14th Sept:

No rain after all, and now constant sunshine is predicted for the next ten days. It's still getting up to 30-32C most days, but not for long; overnight it's a pleasantly cool 20C, so much so that I got out and washed all our thin quilts as we were needing more than sheets at night. Early in the mornings it almost feels chilly; such a pleasant sensation after three months of heat! I've done a lot of gardening, including going over the whole back area with the lawnmower. Some of it was very dusty but it got rid of the long weeds. I've cut down most of the couchgrass and prickly weeds outside the now abandoned old lady's window too.

We haven't used the air conditioning for about four days now. With the shorter days and lower humidy, we find that we don't need it, and the computers seem to be fine. There's a breeze, and while the outdoor temperature probably does peak at 32C, the house doesn't get above about 30.

Antidote Theatre has had a crazy three weeks, having taken on an old cinema they had to convert it into a useable theatre: building a stage, installing scaffolding poles and lighting, removing the screen, building a sound-and-lighting gallery. Richard and Tim got involved with wiring and other technical stuff, insisting it should at least be safe. Daniel helped with some of the stage building, but to add to the complexity a Danish director was visiting for just three weeks, so there were intensive daily rehearsals for one of their future productions. Oh, and Daniel has redesigned their web-site and has spent many hours working on updating the content.

30th Sept:

Still no rain, and the daytime temperatures have continued to reach 30-32. In the last couple of days the humidity has risen again too, up to about 75% by late afternoon. We've even used the air conditioning again a couple of times, it's felt so sticky. So much for acclimatising; whereas I was feeling cheered by the breezes and cooler temperatures four weeks ago, this month seems to have dragged by, an extention to summer rather than the start of Autumn. I feel quite jaded, in need of a season change.

My father has been staying for the past fortnight, but it's been too warm to do anything special. He's taken short walks each morning, read several books and enjoyed the sunshine and company of his grandsons, but it's not an ideal time for visitors. It doesn't help that Richard is snowed under with work, fighting various technical problems in the office, and in his spare time - such as it is! - continuing to help Theatre Antidote with their new lighting system and also a poster for their next production.

The pomegranate tree, heavy with fruit in SeptemberThe garden still looks dry and brown although the bougainvilleas are still doing quite well and most of the other plants have stayed alive. We've been eating pomegranates, which begin to ripen about mid-September. One of the trees has so many that the branches are bent right over; evidently they're not strong enough to support the weight of so many ripe fruit. We've given some away, but there's not much that can be done with them other than eating the seeds; already I can see that several on the trees are beginning to suffer insect damage. Ah well, they'll add to the compost heap.

I had hoped to be putting in some new bedding plants and spreading the oldest compost this month, but it's been too hot. I shall wait until it rains - if it ever does!

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