Tuesday, 21 November 2017

hot and cold

So here we are in a selfie competition before our early morning consitutional and I am thinking that my swimming costume is doing me quite a lot of favours - I actually look quite shapely - actually I think it is one that Mum used to leave up here when she still managed a swim so thanks mum!  Nothing to report except that the water temperature has risen by two degrees - I reckon John goes and sticks the thermometer in some hot water before I go and check it!!!

We had a fairly normal Friday with pickleball in the afternoon although only four of us this week as Liselotte and John are away - Liselotte celebrates her 50th birthday at the weekend.  Afterwards John and I took mum and dad to Choccos for a cuppa and a chat and a sit in their nice sofas in the sunshine - it was almost warm enough to be sitting outside even for mum and dad.  Interestingly though rain was forecast for tonight although there wasn't much evidence of it during the afternoon.

I had a trip to Fedex this afternoon to pick up a parcel which I could have had forwarded on up to Polis but as we were down that way we decided to go and pick it up.

I am super impressed by this company I have found called CarpetVista which is based in Sweden and which sends over to Cyprus with no delivery charges.  This is the second rug I have ordered - with no delivery charges I waited for the first one to check it out before going for a second and this one took only a couple of days to arrive.

I LOVE IT! as it is in the walkway to and from the kitchen it needed to be something that didn't show the dirt and the colours match the rest of the rugs and furniture perfectly - now we are thinking we might get a couple more.  This one is pure wool and if you look closely you will see that Charlie is at the very top of the picture giving it his own seal of approval.

Tonight Mike is staying over he is another Blades supporter for his sins and brought with him a really stylish SUFC polo shirt as a 50th birthday present for John which was so kind.  He asked if we could go to Finikas for a meze as we did when he was here about six months ago, we are always happy to go there but doubt that we will be sitting outside this time!

In fact I was conscious that it could be cold sitting inside at Finikas surrounded by all the stone so decided to err on the side of caution and wear layers and dig out my winter boots.

It is so strange to think that we were swimming in the morning, sitting out in the sunshine in the afternoon and then dresses like Nanook of the North to walk down to the village for a meal and then to cap it all the rain actually came before we left to go home - we managed to walk back in reasonable dryness but as we got to the front gate it was absolutely chucking it down.

Anyway back in Finikas the fire must have been lit this morning because it was roaring and kept well stoked throughout the entire meal and we were toasty warm - in fact I had to swap places with Diana at one point because I was beginning to boil.

It was a lovely evening - shame we were the only ones in there but actually secretly we quite like having the individual attention - we weren't disappointed by our food and were given a big old bag of shoushouko to take home with us.

I left John and Mike discussing all things football related and watching the England friendly and retired to bed.  We are meeting up with Dip and Karen tomorrow for lunch and don't have to panic now as they have found a plumber to sort out their water pressure issue on Monday.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Thursday and this evening we are having Mina and Claire over for a curry with Rob and Di.  The six of us have not been together since John's birthday and we actually only manage to socialise with Mina and Claire a couple of times a year because they both work and have a dog boarding kennels at their home so they are responsible for their care 24/7 and they take this very seriously.

The weather is good although the night times can be a tad chilly.  This morning at just after 8.00am it was a little over 18 degrees outside.

The pool temperature has dropped to 54 degrees which is about 10 shillings and sixpence in new money but with clear blue skies and sunshine the water looks inviting and apart from the fact that the non-slip tiles around the outside feel freezing on my feet I have yet to really feel I don't want to go in but I have to admit I am very happy when it is time to come out!

John clearly has a great pain threshold than I do and fully submerges himself - this is not my idea of fun!

We emerge glowing and squeaky clean - a welcome towel and the promise of something warming for breakfast before I get on with the task in hand of getting our meal ready for this evening.

I had done a lot of prep yesterday and had my list and timings all jotted down so I was fairly in control and not overly stressed, tonight was more about getting together as friends than a culinary masterpiece but I did want it to taste nice and for people to enjoy themselves.

It is amazing how easily I can be pleased these days - John came up with a great idea of putting a couple of washing lines up outside the kitchen where we get the early morning winter sunshine.  I suggested using the two old hanging basket brackets which were loafing in the shed and then I could pretty it up a bit with the two baskets I have been cultivating with succulents.

We are now running a sweep-stake as to how many times John or I hit our heads on the baskets - I have managed to do it three times already - but I reckon my brain has been frozen from being in the pool.


John did all the furniture rearranging and building (we needed to have the Big Top put onto our dining table to accommodate the people and the dishes) and even had time to make a sign for the 'pop up' Indian we were creating!  He just loves doing all this sort of stuff - although he would say he doesn't mind if we are just sitting down to beans on toast it would be the most beautifully presented beans on toast - he says that attention to detail is the key to everything - he is right of course!

I got on with the meal - today I was going to try making my own naan bread and had got a recipe off of the internet which said it was easy and fool-proof.

We like easy and fool-proof and we like the fact that it didn't require any special ingredients although I did get some fresh yeast as I think some that I have in the cupboard has been there since Adam was a boy.

It is now that my work surfaces come into their own as they are always cool (sometimes cold) to the touch so ideal for dough and pastry.  Interestingly you had to pile the dry goods onto the work surface and make a well and then pour in frothing yeast mixture, olive oil and yoghurt which all wanted to make a bid for freedom.  In my attempt to get it all under control I had three quarters of the dough stuck to my hands and just a little remaining on the side plus my sleeves started to fall down into the flour!!  Eventually it all came together and after the requisite amount of time proving we kneaded and rolled and cooked as a joint exercise and they came out looking fab and I can tell you that they tasted equally fab.


 We got everything ready - curry in the slow cooker, pickles and chutneys in the fridge, poppadums pre-cooked, naan breads pre-cooked, rice, Bombay potatoes and onion bhajis all in the oven, shit shaved and showered and all bar getting on our curry clothes we were ready to rumble.

It had been a lovely day and we wanted to catch the remainder of the sunshine so shot off up onto the roof terrace with a drink in hand - ain't we lucky?  We are now in the second week of November and still able to sit outside.

This time last year we had Sally and Tommy staying with us - I seem to remember we had a weekend of fine bright weather then too so maybe November isn't too bad a month for people to come visit.

John had his personalised Sheffield United pint pot to hand this evening - it was a birthday gift from Mina and Claire and it was made specifically with him in mind - on the back side of the glass are all the words of the Greasy Chip Butty song all painstakingly inscribed in free hand.  John has sole responsibility of this drinking vessel as God help us all if this ever gets broken.

John laid the table and our guests arrived dressed for the cold - but John will never have our house chilly if people are coming so he had lit the gas fire and had the panel heater on for a while and I had been cooking so it was toasty warm.

The table was laid, the lighting was ambient and the candles were lit, it was a warm and cosy atmosphere and it was lovely to all be together.

Claire and Mina had brought us all gifts of advent calendars bless them - I shall think of them every day when I open up the little window and see that John has already pinched my chocolate!!!

Di kindly brought her delicious sticky toffee pudding which she made the other week so I didn't have to worry about making one - it is not my forte to be fair.

It was a great evening - full of laughs - particularly when we played the 'who am I' game - we are all getting of an age or maybe it was the alcohol but we couldn't remember the questions we had asked half the time and Mina was cheating so she kept telling me who I was!

A really lovely evening, good food, good company and good laughs...

...until the next time!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

lovely day...

We had a lovely day today - the weather is good again - beautiful bright warm days which are followed by cool clear nights - it is November and we hope this weather will last well into December unlike last year when it was oh so wet and miserable.

I wont say very much about the start to the day because regular readers will know that we go into the pool albeit briefly but we are still going in.  It doesn't seem half as bad when you come out and the sun is shining!  More than anything I want a record of this so I can look back on it next year and marvel at our madness.

John dropped me down to Di's this morning as Di and I were going to Aunty Friday aka Aunty Paraskevi aka Aunty Vawy (?) to see her display of autumn Chrysanthemum's.  Aunty Friday is Elena's aunt who lives in the Big House which sits in splendid isolation in Droushia and which commands fabulous 360 degree views which may have been somewhat compromised by the construction of the Spa some years ago.

Di did not need to be asked to come twice.  As Stavraki and Paraskevi's house is a mystery set in massive grounds behind electric gates it is not somewhere you can just stroll past for a nose!  It is by invitation only and I have an open invitation now which is rather nice.  Di and I left the boys deep in football conversation and discussing beer and comparing their nuts!!


Our trip to the Big House was no disappointment - the Chrysanthemums were outstanding and although not a favourite flower of mine you could not but marvel at their display.  At various times of the year Aunty Friday has vast swathes of flowers rambling around the grounds.  Last time I went it was the wild delphiniums which danced in the wind in colours of white, pale pink, lilac, deep mauve and blue and shortly there will be hundreds of narcissi adding welcome colour in the winter.

I suggested that maybe I should go along once a month and take a photograph and turn it into a calendar for her - she liked that idea so maybe I will start next month and then I can finish next November and have it ready for her for the following year.

She had, as anticipated, made one of her famous chiffon cakes and we sat down to join her two Vietnamese girls at breakfast on a table which had one of the largest lazy Susan's I have seen.  We were offered cake and/or cheese and preserves - we sat chatting for quite a while finding out about Aunty Friday's fascinating background - she came from Brunei via the UK to end up in Droushia.   At one point Stavraki was a doctor at Musgrove Park in the maxillofacial department where I was operated upon in 1988 when I had my jaw reconstructed.  She could tell me who the surgeons would have been even though Stavraki had left by then.  She even told us the story of how she came to have the name Vawy because when she met Stavraki it was by accident - she had been given tickets to go to a disco in London by a friend and had inadvertently gone to the wrong place and met Stavraki there - he was a student at Manchester University but was portering at a hospital in London during his holidays.  Not thinking she would see him again when asked her name she said Vanwy as she had been reading a book by a Welsh author whose name was Myvanwy - this was shortened over time to Vawy.  Great story but even though I asked what her real name is I still have no idea!!

Prior to doing our shopping in Paps in Polis for our curry night we are having on Thursday John was treated to a spot of lunch out at the Turtle Tavern - not a favourite venue as it is a bit of an ex-pat hangout but it does a good pint of Old Speckled Hen at a good price - John was ecstatic to find that today they had on top what used to be a local brew for us when we were in the UK.  Wadworth's 6X wooo hoooo and according to John it was a damn fine pint too - so damn fine he had to have a second!

We both had ham egg and chips before tackling Paps which is really no hardship as it is rarely busy.

We returned to start the prep for the food - I was going to tackle making naan breads this time - you can't find them here often and when you do they are expensive so I had found an 'easy' recipe and will report back.  I am doing starters and mains, Di is doing the pud and Claire and Mina are eating it all!  We haven't seen them since John's birthday nearly two months ago so it will be good to catch up.

Friday, 17 November 2017

not the day we anticipated...

The day did not pan out as anticipated thanks to Mr Boo...


I had remembered that Art was cancelled for this week and thought I would drag John out for the morning maybe down to Paphos if I could get a hair appointment and we could spend a Monday together which is a rare occurrence so it was decided that if I could get an appointment we would go off together after our early morning dip.  We had a number of odds and sods that were on the list for Jumbos, then we could have a leisurely coffee and a spot of lunch and then home for a chill before belly dancing.

In the early hours Mr Boo came onto the bed.  He sounded snuffly and kept sneezing which was odd so I put on the light and was horrified to see that the side of this face was swollen up to the size of a pomelo and he had cuts and bruises all around his face and blood coming from his nose and no collar.  He had clearly been in another fight and had come off less than second best.  To be fair the side of his face had started to swell yesterday and was in the same place as he had an abscess a couple of weeks ago but the nose thing was horrendous.  I woke John so he could take a look and we settled Boo down but although he didn't whinge at all he was clearly in distress and his nose must have been blocked because he kept trying to clear it and would nod off to sleep and then wake himself up because he couldn't breath.  Ideally we wanted to be able to get him to the vets in Polis because it isn't so far to take him but there is only a vet there in the afternoon and I was concerned about the state of his nose.

This was about 6.00am and I knew I wouldn't be able to get an answer from the vets until later so there was nothing for it but to get ourselves organised and to go in for our morning dip whilst we are still able to do so.  We have now set ourselves a final milestone as our challenge but I am not saying what it is yet just in case we don't make it!  I thought I would don a different swimming costume today just so people don't think I only own one or that I am just posting the same old photos everyday because to be fair it is just a quick dip so the photos can't change much - except for the facial expressions I suppose!

I rang the main vets but couldn't get an appointment there until midday so the receptionist at Polis said she would treat him as an emergency and if we got to the clinic before afternoon surgery he would be seen straight away.  This meant keeping in for a few hours so that we would have him to hand to put in the basket when we needed to but meant shutting the cat-flaps and having to let the others in and out on demand which is a pain.

Once the appointment was settled I rang Lumi to get one for my hair and shot off without John who was on cat sitting duties and then went to help the old guy that the community office calls when there is a problem with water and water supplies.  He is about 104 and speaks little to no English and he had been called out to sort the water leak that had sprung outside Lakis and Argy's house which was nothing to do with their water supply but the water supply to the Hydrant which is there.  Between them they managed to sort it and it was just as well that John was there because Old Water Man was trying to join the pipes when the water was flowing through at full pressure so you can guess what was happening - as the pipes got close together he and the surrounding areas were getting a shower!

Mr Boo was so good and despite wandering from door to door and peering intently outside he stayed reasonably calm indoors - he must have been in such discomfort but he never moaned nor got spiteful (unlike Charlie).  We got him to the vets where she pulled off the fur on his cheek BY HAND!!! She then lanced the abscess and she, I, John and the rest of the examination room got splattered by thick gunky blood, then she injected the newly evacuated void with an antiseptic solution and gave him a jab, she then shoved her fingernail up his nose and a cotton bud and declared in her very deep and brusque Russian-English that his nose 'vud beee oak' - Mr Boo sat stoically on the table seemingly unconcerned by the whole episode - in fact he was so quiet on the way home that I made John stop the car to make sure he was still alive.  We realised him to the great outdoors on our return and he skipped away for some time but returned for food and a sleep later.



It is cool now in the evenings - in fact the temperature seems to drop sharply about 5.00pm but rise again later - we now draw the curtains in the conservatory to try and conserve the heat - it looks cosy if nothing else - the curtains aren't the best but they fit and I would dread to think what three pairs of full sized fully lined curtains for this room would cost over here so we are happy to make do!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Weekend...

The weekend was a bit of a write-off for us weatherwise - happily most of the rain/thunder/lightning happened during the night but it was quite chilly.


Saturday did not start well - the weather meant we got up far too early and it was only partially light in the kitchen when we went to feed the cats - it was my turn for food and John's turn for coffee.

I chopped up the liver for the cats and put the chopping board and knives in the sink, I turned back to put some other bits in the sink and then oh my days there was a bloody great tarantula doing a tap dance on my knives!!!

I don't mind them too much but I don't want them doing my washing up for me so John got a pint pot and managed to capture said spider and let him loose to live another day.

As the weather was none too nice and as I had everything I needed for the meals over the weekend we decided to stay in and kick about around the house and do some bits and pieces.

I love my new rug - it is exactly what I was looking for and didn't cost an arm and a leg.  I am mega impressed by the company which is located in Sweden for the price they charged and the time it took.  John likes it too, so much so that he wants to replace some of the other rugs in the conservatory with one long one.

We spent some time looking at the website for CarpetVista and its outlet website RugVista and found one we liked.  I shall be waiting for the sales again to try and find one for under the dining room table.  The conservatory is probably the some of the best money we have spent on this house, we use the space as much as we can before it gets too cold in the winter - we do have a new space heater which we got last year and which seemed pretty effective but our electricity production has been somewhat hit by the poor weather conditions so far in November!

Despite the poor weather we are continuing with the pool even though it is just a quick dip in and out - to be fair the thought of doing it is worse than actually doing it and then afterwards you feel fabulous - seriously - your skin glows and your circulation improves!  John says it would appear to give me perkier boobs cheeky sod!  but I have to admit I am sporting quite a fine pair in the photograph!  My chest might be looking good but my hair is a different matter - I can only put it down to the weather - it is like fine fluff and I can't do anything with it.


Our very lazy day involved some ham egg and chips at home - John had contemplated going to the Turtle Tavern like he did the other week for a pint and some lunch but I promised him that I would rustle some up at home and he didn't take much persuading!  Our lazy day was rounded off by snuggling down to watch some TV and then have a spot of 'picky' tea.

Saturday night's weather was appalling - we woke at around 3.30am as it sounded like someone was throwing grit at the windows and then everytime there was a glitch in the electric the phone makes a noise and the pump goes off.  We gave Mum and Dad the option to cancel coming up for lunch if the weather didn't improve as nothing I was cooking would spoil.

Even though it looked like the middle of winter outside I was determined to still go into the pool - John thought I was bonkers but having gone in - in a different swimsuit just in case people think that I am recyling the same photos every day - he wasn't to be outdone and went in as well.  We had thought ahead and put the immersion on so that we could have a lovely hot shower when we got out followed by some hot buttery crumpets whilst we waited for Mum and Dad to arrive.

We had a nice lunch - everyone seemed to enjoy the sausage casserole and mashed potato with veggies - just the right comfort food for this type of weather.  This was followed by a spiced pear and ginger crumble with custard. 

I was surprised it didn't snow this evening as I won the Noms challenge!!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Friday


Not much to report on this Friday except to say that we are continuing with the pool - it just seems like a normal part of our waking up routine these days!!  The plus side to our rude awakening is the thought of, and then the reality of, a good old bacon sarnie to get the blood flowing - well the blood which can squeeze through our cholesterol laden arteries courtesy of the said bacon butties!  Actually I am reliably informed that submerging your body in freezing water is very good for you in all sorts of ways so it obviously negates any less healthy aspects of our lifestyle!

I had a quick trip down to the Tritonia bungalows where Di and Rob live to help out their neighbour Judy who has some questions regarding her computer.  I did what I could manage for her but she is going to have to go to the bank in Polis to sort out using her bank card for on-line bill payments.  She plans to do this later today and then I can go and finish helping her tomorrow all being well.  I tried to convince her that once it is all set up it really is an easy way for her to make payments to suppliers like the gas company who often deliver when she is not around and so she can deal with their invoice at her leisure rather than panic about having the cash in the house.  She remains unconvinced!


This afternoon after pickleball Mum and I had a trip to the old town as we wanted to go to the Marks and Sparks food outlet and the top floor houses Marks clothing sale items at good prices.  Dad is in need of a new pair of brown trousers and it would appear that this colour is most definitely NOT in fashion on the island as we cannot locate any at all.  Access to that part of the town is a nightmare as roads are still being completed and those which are open and those which are closed change on a daily basis.  We ended up going all round the houses, encountering a complete pillock in a soft-top Renault Megane who decided to squeeze past us on a single lane bit of road where our two cars passed with only a fag paper's width between us, before we managed to find a rough old bit of carpark by the Agapinor Hotel.  Poor mum had to struggle up a slope on a par with Cardiac Hill in the village and at this point we couldn't tell whether or not the shop was actually open.  You really have to feel for the businesses located in the Old Town - during all these extensive works it is a miracle that any of them have survived.  I can understand why tourists are not venturing up that way.

Anyway the shop was open but again NO BROWN TROUSERS which was a bugger.  It was nice to have a look at the food items - some of which are so extraordinarily expensive you wonder who buys them (die-hard M&S devotees obviously) and others which are reasonable to say the least.  Worth a trip if you are in the area and want a taste of something different.


Whilst we were navigating our way around the centre of Paphos John went off in search of the FEDEX office as I had ordered a new rug for the conservatory and had received a phonecall to say it had arrived.  I was a little skeptical about my order to a company in Sweden who didn't charge delivery and who had a fine selection of rugs at very reasonably prices (in their sale).  So here it is in situ - a wool Kilim in lovely Autumn shades which I think looks lovely.  So lovely that we are going to take another look at what they have to offer and try and get something for under the dining table.  We got rid of the red rug that was there - it looked ok but was horrible to try and keep clean - having a long shaggy pile when the cats brought in an offering and disemboweled it there, body parts used to get stuck in the pile or lost.  It was donated to Polis cat park - it hadn't cost us much and owed us nothing.

On the subject of internet shopping when my sister was here she noticed dad struggling a bit sometimes to read when the light was poor so she asked me to order him a reading light from Amazon.

I ordered it and it was supposed to be delivered to our home by DHL - normally we have no problem with Amazon deliveries but this time when I tracked it the webpage showed that it should have been delivered some time ago but when I punched in the DHL tracking number on the DHL site it didn't recognise it and then when I looked on the supplier website it said it hadn't been despatched.  I contacted the supplier and Amazon to cancel the order which they accepted and refunded me the money.

Several days later I got a text from the Post Office asking me to go and collect a parcel.  As I didn't expect the lamp to be arriving at the Post Office I didn't really know what I was collecting but there it was large as life and twice as ugly!

I have now had to contact Amazon to explain that it has arrived - I am guessing they will want their money back now!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

more madness

Yep I know people are now getting bored with the swimming story but it continues and this is how we start our day.  To be honest we keep staring at the thermometer in disbelief as the temperature is dropping but really slowly - sometimes in the summer it will plunge 2 degrees overnight and that is with the cover on but it doesn't seem to have moved 2 degrees in about the last month and this is without the cover, rain and very cool night-time temperatures.  So we continue and will continue to continue for a little while yet.

We are still concerned about Boris.  The place on his cheek which housed the abscess and where the vet so deftly pulled off his fur is almost unnoticeable but his breathing is still poor and he does this odd head twitch almost like he has forgotten he needs to breath through his mouth and tries to breath through his nose.   All cats got flea, tick, earmite and worm treatment today and we escaped relatively unscathed for once.

It was a badminton and pickleball day and we had some prospective newbies playing and sod's law the traffic from Droushia was dreadful so I was a little bit later arriving than planned but needn't have worried as Mum was a gem and made them feel welcome.  We are good for numbers at the moment which is great and means we don't have to worry about covering the rent.


I dragged mum off to Swanky Wags after pickleball - it has moved from the Coral Bay area to just along from where we play pickleball and is a much nicer shop than it was previously and has all sorts of nice 'things' in it and I wanted some little gifts for Christmas.  Our ladies lunch group has a secret santa and we limit the cost of the item to no more than 5 euros.  It is amazing what you can find for that money if you look.


John finished badminton early we went down to the Universal Area to find his cousin Karen and her partner Dip who had picked up the keys to their newly acquired apartment yesterday.  Karen was up to her ears in bleach when we arrived as she was giving everything a good 'bottoming' and making a note of all the things she wasn't planning on keeping - for which read just about everything!  Looks like she and Dip are going to have a busy couple of weeks!


They brought a couple of things out for us which included the photobook of John's 50th birthday bash which I was really excited about and dead chuffed with the end result - the creation of it nearly caused a divorce between John and I but I finished it off and sent it away to be printed without him knowing.  He loves it - he really loves it and it is a great record of a great day.  I had one made after our silver anniversary afternoon tea party and I look at it quite often - we rarely look at photographs so these coffee table books are a brilliant idea.

We are going to introduce Karen and Dip to the delights of the shops on the Mesoghi Avenue on Saturday and thereafter have a spot of bargain lunch at Tavernaki.  We decided we should stop and book a table there as it is always busy.  I bumped into Angela and Richard who were dining there - which was fortuitous as they return to the UK soon and we wont have time to catch up with them.

I am pleased to report that if any one is taken poorly chez-nous in the future that John has been certified!  He recently attended a course on CPR and use of an automated external defibrillator which is great - we just need to get an external defibrillator and we will be sorted.

I had put the leftover sausage casserole in the slow cooker in readiness for our return home.  You have to love a slow cooker and we enjoyed the casserole with some nuclear hot mashed potato, carrots and peas.

We might have both burned our tongues eating our tea but we were toasty warm for the remainder of the evening - we haven't really had to have any heating on yet which is good but we have people coming for a meal on Thursday and I don't have enough crocheted blankets to go round!! Fortunately the weather has improved so we are making a reasonable amount of electricity each day at the moment.