Newsletter: Christmas 1998

Christmas greetings from a sunny, but chilly Cyprus! 

After several dry years leading to almost no water in the reservoirs, we have finally had much wetter weather in the past few weeks, with several rain storms and a series of dull, grey days. Everyone is hoping and praying that this will continue for the next few months; at present we are restricted to mains water filling our tanks just two days per week. No matter how careful we are, we seem to run out of water one day each week, although we keep a good supply of drinking water in bottles.

Richard’s work continues to be enjoyable and busy. He is planning for a series of programmes to be filmed in January; this involved a recent visit to Jordan although the main filming will happen in Cyprus. The team at VTV work well together although more people are always needed! They recently finished production of the catalogue of video and literature resources, in both English and Arabic; this has been well received around the region. 

Richard has also been involved in helping to redesign one of the publicity leaflets, and in continued email and general computer support for the staff at the main international office of MECO. In addition, he helps to lead the inter-church youth group, which Daniel was able to join in the Autumn.

Sue continues to teach the boys at home; she also produces the weekly bulletin/order of service for the Larnaca Community Church, and has just started teaching the 3-5 year old Sunday School class twice per month. She has recently joined the MECO publicity committee, which meets every few weeks, and of course keeps in touch with friends and acquaintances around the world by letter and email.

Sue and the boys were glad to be able to spend six weeks of the Summer in the UK, away from the excessive heat of Larnaka. We visited family and friends and particularly enjoyed meeting Sue’s new niece Joey (daughter of Judy and Steve) who had a series of health problems and spent most of her first few months in hospital. We are glad to hear that she is now much stronger and healthier. 

The boys returned to St Francis school for three weeks, where they were made very welcome and joined in all the end-of-term activities. We were only sorry we couldn’t get to see more friends while we were there. We went out with minimum luggage, and returned with our cases full of books, after Sue had visited every second-hand or charity shop she could find! With almost no such shops here, and the only library being stocked mainly with Greek books, we were feeling the lack of general fiction and other reading matter.

The hot, humid summer lasted until around mid-September when the temperatures dropped and we found we had a little more energy. A series of visitors from the UK cheered us all up, and Richard took some days off work so we could go a little further afield than normal and see a bit more of the island. We hope to have more visitors in 1999 - please come and stay if you possibly can!

Sue and the boys started back properly with home education work towards the end of October. We enjoy the flexibility of designing our own timetable, and the ability to spend much longer on topics of interest than would be possible in a school. The boys are roughly following UK National Curriculum work in maths and English, and working together on other topics. They are using both Greek and French Linguaphone courses, supplemented by various books and computer CD-Roms. Daniel has continued teaching himself a variety of programming languages, and to design cartoons and posters in a computer drawing package.

Music continues to be important to both boys; a colleague gives them piano lessons each week, and they are both singing in the inter-church Christmas choir again, preparing for a concert in the town hall. Daniel is still learning the clarinet with the town band leader, and is also playing weekly in a newly formed ‘worship group’ which leads the singing in our church. He is the youngest in this band by about 25 years but enjoys the challenge of playing five or six different songs each Sunday. 

Timothy has started guitar lessons, which he finds tiring but very enjoyable. We have also found them a wonderful ‘art workshop’ class that meets on Saturday mornings for two hours, with a teacher who encourages and inspires and gives help where necessary, providing different materials for a variety of artistic techniques.

In June we found an abandoned kitten which we adopted; unfortunately it was never very strong, it wouldn’t eat much, and it died in July. In August some friends found us another abandoned kitten, Cleo. We had to bottle feed her at first, but she is growing up fast, and now eats like a teenager! She is lively, healthy, and extremely energetic. She explores further and further afield every day; a week ago we had to rescue her from the roof of our house.

Richard, Sue, Daniel and Timothy