Photo gallery index, 2004

Here are a few photos showing our family, our house, and life here in Cyprus in 2004. You should be able to click on any of them to get bigger pictures.

Larnaka beach in January

Larnaka beach in January January can be surprisingly chilly, but on many days the sun shines and it's pleasant to go for a walk. One afternoon we went down to Larnaka sea-front and walked along the beach. Whereas in the summer it's packed with tourists and beach umbrellas, it's almost deserted at this time of year. Sea-weed covers most of the sand although later on in the year it will be gathered into piles and then taken away, probably to be used as fertiliser.

Boats in the Larnaka marina

Boats in the Larnaka marina Richard always likes to wander along the wooden pier to see the various yachts and other vessels in the marina. They seem to be predominantly white and blue, and many of them empty during the winter. I suppose it would be very cold to live on a ship when the night-time temperatures are well under 10C.

Larnaka Carnival in February

Larnaka Carnival in February Like much of Europe, Cyprus celebrates 'Carnival' week prior to the start of the Lenten fast. This year it came in February. At the weekend there was music and dancing on the sea-front, and booths selling various sweets and toys. Children dress up in costumes of all varities which can be bought inexpensively in many shops. This picture shows some of the colourful balloons which were on sale during Carnival weekend.

Cyprus Almond blossom

 Cyprus Almond blossom Although the winters aren't particularly long here, they're wet and chilly; in a house without central heating the evenings can feel extremely cold. So we're always glad of the first signs of spring: the almond blossom. We don't have any almond trees, but our neighbour does. The white patch in the centre of the photo shows the blossom looking over the wall outside our kitchen.

Marching in March

Marching in March March is always 'marching season' here - the pun only occurs accidentally in English. The blob or red walking down the street are the Municipal Town Band, parading for one of the many national days during this month. Daniel was in there somewhere playing his clarinet. Following them were dozens of groups from various schools, Scouting organisations and so on. The streets are always lined with people cheering their offspring, and we usually go to see the start of at least one parade.

A lovely bunch of lemons

A lovely bunch of lemons I don't know if it was the vast amounts of rain we had this spring, or the compost I heaped around our trees back in the Autumn, but we seemed to have more lemons than ever this year. Rather than one or two on a branch, there were some bunches such as the one in this photo. I made lemonade at least once a week for many months, as well as lemon curd and lemon cakes, and was pleased to see that the trees started blossoming and producing tiny new green fruit before we had even finished picking the large ripe yellow ones.

Silver-makers in Lefkara in April

silver makers in Lefkara We were delighted to have my brother and his wife staying in April, over Easter. One morning we took them to Lefkara where they bought some of the traditional lace tablecloths, and also watched the talented silver-makers at their trade. Here is someone creating the little indentations in silver pots that will eventually turn into beautiful candlesticks or incense-holders for churches.

Kiti beach

Kiti beach We also took our visitors to our favourite beach at Kiti. Despite this being the Easter holidays, it was almost completely empty. It wasn't cold although it was quite windy, but we're acclimatised enough that we did feel a little chilly. Here's Daniel engrossed in a book, with a sunhat and shorts in recognition of the sunshine, and a thick fleece to keep out the wind!

Fireworks in May

Fireworks in May May 1st was a historic day for Cyprus, when we were finally admitted into the European Union along with several other countries. At midnight the Municipal Town Band played the EU national anthem, 'Ode to Joy', followed by the Cyprus national anthem, and the EU flag was raised on the sea-front. Following that was a firework display. We had some friends staying so we went to see the ceremony which had an almost carnival-like atmosphere.


Bougainvillea Each year our bougainvillea seems more and more spectacular! Here it is, now almost completely covering the area in front of our porch. It's only really from April to June that the bracts are such a stunning colour, but the whole plant helps to cut out some of the heat in the summer. I tried making some cuttings but they didn't do very well; it may be better to try in the Autumn.

View over Larnaka in June

View over Larnaka In June our church had a barbecue lunch at a new picnic site in Aradippou, a few miles out of Larnaka. It was a lovely place with wooden picnic tables and benches, and roofs to keep out the sun. The view over Larnaka was quite amazing. We looked for our tall Cypress tree which is quite a landmark, but couldn't wsee it. Perhaps a factory was in the way.

Our patio

Our patio This year the rain seemed to stop in March so the garden had become very dry and brown by June. Still, there are plenty of trees which manage to stay green even without being watered, and our mulberry tree continued producing fruit for most of May as well as June. A pity that nobody seems to like mulberries very much! This photo shows our patio one morning, with the mulberries and leaves that have fallen overnight.

My little flower bed in July

 My little flower bed Each year I've experimentd with various flowers, mostly bought as plugs or little plants from a local shop. Geraniums always do well, and petunias are stunning from October until about May, then they usually seem to die down. However this little bed at the front of the house kept going with a lovely display of colour, to my surprise, right through July. All the other petunias had died, but there were several in this bed which still bloomed.

Two frappés

 Two frappes In the hot weather Daniel and I like drinking frappés rather than coffee after lunch. These are a form of iced coffee, made by shaking instant coffee with refrigerated water and ice cubes, then topped up with milk. There's quite a head on the top if they're well-shaken and Daniel is something of an expert. He set up a backdrop one day for a photograph of two frappés just waiting to be drunk.

Plants at the far end of the garden

Plants at the far end of the garden For the first time this year I cleared most of the end of the garden, where there's a long patch of earth with some rocks and stones in front (collected from the rest of the garden over the years). We bought a little bougainvillea back in the Spring, and a couple of roses; I also planted some ornamental peppers that had self-seeded and some geraniums I had propagated from other plants. Despite being in a very sunny part of the garden these all seemed to have survived to the August with a couple of watering-cans of water over them each week.

Dan in Troodos

 Dan in Troodos We spent a couple of days in the mountains towards the end of August, where we enjoyed cooler temperatures and low humidity. We went for a walk one morning - and although we didn't reach our destination, we saw a rather pretty stream. Here's Daniel who had nimbly leaped over to the other side for a while.

The garden looking brown

The garden looking brown I felt quite enthusiastic about gardening early in the month, and we even cut the 'grass' (mostly weed, of course) to make it neater after removing most of the weeds. I was looking forward to the weather cooling down a bit so I could spread the latest batch of compost and buy some bedding plants but the weather stayed hot and quite humid all month. Here's the back garden looking tidy but very brown towards the end of September.

Pomegranate branch

Pomegranate branch We have about six pomegranate trees in our garden, with at least two different varieties. They're rather strange fruit: inside the hard skin are seeds surrounded by a sort of jelly, and that's what is supposed to be eaten. There's also some rather bitter yellow pith. We discovered that the easiest way to eat them is to separate the pith from the seeds in water, since the seed sink and the pith floats, but it's still rather a hassle for a fairly bland fruit. The trees can't support the weight of the fruit; here's one branch bent right down to the ground.

The bougainvillea thriving in the back

The bougainvillea thriving
 Look above a few pictures to see the new bougainvillea in August, surviving but not very colourful. I kept watering it every week, and suddenly it burst into bloom! Here it is in mid-October. It's not the same as the one in the front, so rather than the bracts going brown after a while they simply fall off, meaning it doesn't need to any maintenance at all. This sunny wall is evidently a good place for bougainvillea; perhaps we'll plant some more when it starts to rain.

Salt Lake crust

Salt Lake crust The Salt Lake Park, a couple of miles or so from our house, is a natural reserve of sorts, full of salty water in the winter and usually drying out in the summer leaving a salty crust. This year, despite the long dry summer, it kept a bit of water right up to the first rains, but most of it dried slowly. Daniel went cycling with a friend near the end of October and took this rather stunning photo of some stalacmite-like formations of salt that had formed.

Dramatic clouds

 Dramatic clouds In November we usually get a short and pleasant Autumn followed by much colder weather and a fair amount of rain. Daniel was going out one day when he spotted these dramatic clouds shortly before it started to pour. When we've had plain blue skies all summer, it's quite exciting to see clouds of any sort!

Laden orange tree

Laden orange tree Last year we didn't have all that many oranges, but in the spring I gave the tree some compost and then Richard gave it a fairly drastic pruning. There were no hailstorms, and I watered thoroughly throughout the summer - and the result is a hefty crop of oranges which we look forward to eating in a few weeks. They're usually quite bitter at this time of year but by the end of the year they should be sweet and excellent for eating or squeezing for juice.

Green garden again

Green garden again Despite the long dry spell in the Summer and Autumn, the rains started the grass and other vegetation growing rapidly in our back garden during December. A week before Christmas I chose a dry day to mow it all to approximately the same length, and then spread our latest batch of compost around the fruit trees to encourage growth. They seem to be fruiting heavily this year although I'm not sure if this is due to my extensive watering in the summer or the compost we spread in the Spring!

Larnaka Christmas down-town Display

Larnaka Christmas down-town Display The week after Christmas is always rather quiet - the excitement and busyness are over, and all activities are closed until after Epiphany. We went for a walk to the sea-front one afternoon when the sun was out, and noticed amongst the festive displays this rather bizarre combination: on the right of the picture is a glass-fronted Nativity scene - unfortunately with the fence reflected strongly in the glass - and on the left is Santa Claus in his sleigh pulled by a reindeer - and apparently reading a book, unless of course he is supposed to be consulting a map for directions.