Living in Cyprus - September 1999

16th September: 

It’s starting to get a little cooler at last, not much above 30C during the daytimes and down to 20 or so during the night. When I get up early to do the weeding it’s a pleasant 22 or so. The kittens come out and help me, usually! The garden actually looks clear at last - although of course new weeds are popping up, despite the lack of rain. I’m managing to keep them down so far. After our first unexpected rainfall a month ago, we had no more until yesterday when the sky turned grey and thunder rolled around, and then we had all of ten minutes of rain! Afterwards everywhere smelled very dusty again but the ground looked as dry as ever.

summer jigsaw puzzlesWe did several jigsaws on the dining room table, during the summer, and took a photo before packing them all away again for the Autumn. We simply spread a cloth over them when we want to eat - it seemed to work well, and gave us something to focus on in the days when we were far too hot to do anything energetic.

Richard has been extremely busy the last couple of weeks, trying desperately to get the video training course finished. His colleague was on holiday for the past fortnight, and is back this week before going off to Egypt next Monday, so this week has to be the very final editing with the ‘colour balancing’. Last week Richard did a complete almost-final edit on his own - he was at the office for about twelve hours every day to get it done. There are six programmes in the series, each half an hour long, so it was a lot of work. They didn’t get going till Monday lunchtime this week due to some equipment problems, but seem to have been getting along fairly quickly since then. It will be a relief to have it finished and able to be distributed.

This weekend the organisation he's been working with are having a fellowship retreat in the mountains. It will be nice to get away, although I think Richard will want to sleep more than anything! He seems to have developed a bit of a cold and sore throat - nothing serious but enough to stop him sleeping well, and to be a bit annoying. There’s nothing too heavy planned for the weekend, it’s mainly supposed to be social.

The kittens Sophia and Jemima are going in for their operations to be spayed at last - we were able to book them in for tomorrow, and they stay in over the weekend (they keep them three days afterwards, usually) so we won’t have to worry about them while we’re away. A friend will pop in and ensure Cleo has plenty of food, and she can leap in and out of the bathroom window. It has strong bars over it, and is impossible for anyone wider than a cat to get in, so it’s perfectly safe to leave open for her. We had wondered what to do about a cat-door, not wanting to make a hole in the back door since it's not actually our house - but Cleo solved the problem herself by discovering this bathroom window exit! It’s good that the cats all eat dried food and drink water, since we can leave a complete day’s supply out for Cleo without worrying about it going bad.

Our pomegranates are ready now, so we’ve eaten a few and given away as many as possible. They’re not the kind of fruit that can be frozen or used for cooking, really, so most of them will go to waste. Still, they’re attractive on the trees and it’s nice to eat one or two. It looks as if we’re going to have a good supply of oranges, but those will mostly be in January, when we plan to be in the UK, although we hope there will be some left on the tree by the time we return. There are lots of little lemons starting this year too - perhaps they’re biennial, as we had almost none last Spring.

A few months ago we started getting an American magazine for young writers called ‘My Little Magazine’. They gave Daniel a prize for his ‘football’ story earlier in the year, and he’s recently heard that he’s won another short story competition in it! Tim was delighted to find that he too has won a competition in the same magazine - his was supposed to be a piece on ‘If I could do anything this Summer...’. 

I thought most of the competitors might imagine wild and wonderful things like going to the moon or a Safari in Africa, and that Tim’s was a bit too prosaic, but apparently the editors liked it. They wrote me an email too to let me know unofficially that Tim’s entry in another competition (‘Critique the editor’ - pointing out grammar and other mistakes in a short piece) came 5th in their shortlist, and that all those ahead of him were from children aged 15 or 16!

Daniel is spending a lot of time working with a three dimensional graphics program called Blender, that he got from the Internet. I can’t make head or tail of it, but he builds up objects and then turns them into amazing pictures. He’s managed to create a 3D image of the inside of an outside broadcast truck from some diagrams Richard drew, and it looks most impressive. Richard says that with a bit of practice this will be a very marketable skill and that Daniel should be able to make a lot of money out of this sort of graphic art. What with that and his short stories he should have plenty of scope for a career already!

Tim playing with LegoHowever, we're not really worried that the boys are growing up too fast.  They still enjoy having friends over for playing outside (if it's not horrendously hot) or working on a huge Lego town they have built together, and which we keep on top of Tim's wardrobe. Lego seems to have infinite uses.

23rd September: 

We had a pleasant time in the mountains, on the whole; I must have been quite stressed before we left, or perhaps reacting to the altitute, because the first morning we were there I developed a migraine. Most of the others went out for a walk and I stayed inside, feeling much better by lunchtime. The meals were good, and the hotel reasonably comfortable, although the room we were in had no windows so felt a little oppressive. There wasn't really a meeting room for everyone, but we were able to set up board games in the dining room one evening, and have a communion service on the Sunday morning.

On Tim’s 11th birthday yesterday he had quite clear ideas what he wanted to do: no party, but a Pizza Hut outing with one family. At lunchtime on Wednesdays another friend usually comes to eat with us, and she had a friend staying who came too - so Tim baked a chocolate cake for that. We went out in the evening, then the family came back for some of the rest of the cake. 'Teenage' type birthday celebrations like this are a great deal easier than those for small children!

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