Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Spring...

It is amazing how much better everything looks and feels when you wake up to sunshine.  It may only be the third of February but I reckon we have had more sun this month than in the whole of January.  Hopefully this sort of weather will continue throughout the month as we need to start accruing some more electricity.

Mum was coming for lunch today but beforehand it was good to get out in the garden for a while to take stock of what has and what has not survived.  It is hard to tell at this time of year and in the past I have been too quick to ditch plants which seemed to have died so this year I will leave them longer to see if they will come back.  Two big casualties are the Crowns of Thorn plants which belonged to Wendy and which I had nurtured lovingly, sadly the hail has decimated them and I don't think they like the cold either - I maybe should have brought them indoors but thought they were in a reasonably sheltered position.  We also have two ficus trees, one variegated and one not although you couldn't tell as both look like they have come from Chernobyl - neither has a single leaf remaining, this could be terminal. 


It seems like a long time since we last swam although for John he did a quick dip on Christmas Day and putting my toe in the water it seems like it will be a long time before I get back in.  Worryingly Mr Boo pitched up this evening absolutely soaking having fallen in a pool somewhere - we cannot be sure how long he was in the water but he was freezing and so we were glad that we had lit the fire so we could towel him off and warm him up - he looked so bedraggled and was crying - I hope he will be ok and not have a chill or worse.


It is fabulous to be able to throw the shutters open and have good fresh air coming into the house.  We haven't actually gone so far as to have the mega duvet on our bed this year - we are still only using the 4.5tog and a thick throw and even then sometimes I find it too warm.   I like our bedroom - it may only be small but it is cosy.


It was a lovely day for mum to drive up and she arrived quicker than we anticipated - she said that she didn't see another car on the road the whole of the journey.  As you know if you read yesterday's entry I decided to cook Hunter's Chicken - this is new to me but a super easy recipe which turned out to be really delicious.  I served the chicken with coleslaw which is always a hit with mum and wedges which I did myself and which were absolutely top notch thanks to the 'old' potatoes I had managed to get from Paps and which seemed to be a bit on the limp side but cooked up a treat.


I suggested we went for a little walk down to the Cemetery as it was dry and fine and then we would return to have our pudding which was banana bread and cream - another hit with mum so it has featured on the menu two weeks running.  It is so lovely to cook something that I know she will enjoy and to be able to send her back home with a portion for in the week.  Anyway we went for our walk and passed the horse en route as we stopped to have a look at it we took our life in our hands as a small red 4x4 driven by a lad who looked about 12 flew past us at such speed we thought he might not make the next corner.  Thank goodness there was nothing actually walking on the road, cat, dog, child or adult as they would have been mown down in an instant.


We made our way down through the village and I took Mum to show her where they have started to dig up the road around the amphitheatre to cobble it.  This is all part of some massive renovation scheme which looks to be a bone of contention for some in the village - we aren't quite sure about all the politics but hope that once completed it will be a positive thing and everyone will be pleased with the result.  Certainly where this has been done in Kathikas and Inea I would think it is a great improvement.  I guess there will always be opinions on whether this is the best use of village funds.

John kindly came and picked us up from the Cemetery as it is all uphill on the way back and I know that mum struggles with hills - mind you I reckon with the promise of banana loaf at the end she might well have sprinted!  All in all I think this was probably one of my better lunch offerings with no complaints from any quarter!


We always breathe a sigh of relief when we get the message to say that mum has made it home safe and sound.  After that we can settle for the evening - my reward for a job well done was to have a little gin with the minted lemonade I had found in Paps yesterday.  John watched the footie and I continued with my crochet and we were just about to turn in when, as I have already said, we discovered Mr Boo had had his impromptu dip this evening.  Poor Mr Boo.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A bright day...


February seems to have bucked its ideas up on the weather front which is excellent news as I was beginning to get really really really fed up with the incessant rain.  Today we woke and there was no rain so it was on with the washing and out with the washing which is a great feeling - no more Chinese laundry, at least not for today.  It was still somewhat overcast and there was a chill in the air but it was dry!!!  We decided to shoot off down to Polis to do our shopping and then get back home and make the most of the weekend.  There were some important EFL matches this afternoon/evening and John wanted to enjoy.  I am most definitely a Chick Hick from the Sticks as I was wearing my woolly leggings and my 'Mug' boots just in case...


...in case of wall to wall blue skies and sunshine????  As we got down to the bottom of the hill at Droushia the clouds parted and it was fabulous and fortunately the weather was coming up from the coast and inland so it was only a matter of time before it would reach our dizzy heights.  It is amazing how much better the weather can make you feel and how much more energised - I was determined that once home I would finish the final part of my tidying and culling and actually tackle my wardrobe which once finished I knew would make me feel like I had really accomplished something.

You can find beauty in the strangest places.  Today we parked up in Paps car park just beyond the shack where the gas bottles and beer is housed and this is the view that greeted us.  Blue skies and spring flowers in the most unlikely spot.  In the past I would have said that February is our worst month but Mum maintains that if we have a bad January then February can be surprisingly nice.  I am hopeful that she is correct.  Certainly the first two days of this month have been encouraging.

Shopping was easy - not too busy in the supermarket and no queues at the checkout and everything bar some pigs liver available, the man on the butchers counter was super apologetic - if he said sorry once he said it three or four times.


Vegetables are very reasonably priced at the moment particularly as sweet potatoes were on offer so I got carrots, sweet potatoes, tromboncino squash, apples and garlic for less than three euros and came home and made a massive pot of what was called 'Fall in Bowl' soup (an American recipe clearly).  Basically everything got chucked into the pressure cooker along with honey, cinnamon and nutmeg and then instead of cream I put in the remains of a pot of hummus that had been in the fridge a while this was finished off with some salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.


For our main meal tomorrow I decided to try my hand at Hunters Chicken as I have seen Mum order that on a number of occasions.  It isn't something I have ever cooked before and I wasn't happy with the idea that you wrapped chicken breasts in bacon and covered them with cheese and barbeque sauce and then cooked them - to my mind that would have left the bacon slippery so I decided to poach the chicken breasts first, cook the streaky bacon and then wrap it round the poached breasts and then add the barbeque sauce and cheese so that it was all ready to warm through in the oven tomorrow.  It looked ok I guess - the proof will be in the tasting tomorrow.


I did my wardrobe tidy and cull and filled a bag for Mum's charity shop - it is a cathartic exercise and I keep going in and opening the wardrobe door and staring in wonderment as I can see exactly what I have in there.  I probably could do a little more as a couple of items I had earmarked as a maybe John chose to reprieve!  We then had a suitably chilled evening, supper was the final remains of the fridge surprise pasta which has fed us for three meals and substantial ones at that and then John watched the Mighty Blades win their game and then watched the two teams above (in the automatic promotion spots) Leeds and Norwich battle it out with Norwich cuffing Leeds.  I sat and did my crochet - I have finally unpicked two of the blankets Kaye knitted and which the cats had pulled to shreds and am crocheting a replacement as all the cats love that wool for some reason.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Friday...

Now I cannot be sure whether we had a late night or an early morning after our lovely night at the Veaseys - what I can tell you is that we were very very glad to have missed a damn good soaking as the heavens opened shortly after we got home and I can also tell you that as a result of the late night/early morning we were not too fussed about getting up early although no-one told Charlie that!  On the subject of Charlie his nasty sore at the base of his right ear is slowly beginning to heal but he will dig at it with his claws and clearly doesn't know that he is doing it to such an extent that it bleeds.  When we last took him to the vets she tested the reflexes, or lack of  them, on the right side of his face by poking a ball point pen in his ear, up his nose and towards his eye.  At that time there was no response and I want to see whether this has improved at all but whenever I approach him with a ball point pen or similar he looks at me as if to say "you have two hopes if you think you are going anywhere near me with that" or words to that effect!  He seems ok in himself although now, thankfully, he doesn't venture far from the house.


We had a bit of a tidy up before getting ready to go off down to play pickleball.  This bit of video is for Nicky.  When she and Mark came and we had a mini Christmas John won a 'build your own robot spider' kit in the present game which was one of the gifts that Nicky supplied and she had asked whether or not John had completed it and I can confirm that he has!!!  It drives the cats mad and so we are having to pack it away otherwise I can see them breaking it and trying to devour one of the small plastic pieces.

I had another trip to the post office today - two parcels have arrived and this time I was sure one would be the vacuum cleaner that I have to refuse to accept so that it goes back to Amazon and I get reimbursed - the other was likely to be my new set of folding steps as John had stood on my old one and it had collapsed the other week!!!

Once again I explained to the girl with the lovely hair who does the parcels about my dilemma and once again she and I went into the room to look for the two parcels.  We were joined by a man who came to find the parcels which are stored in no particular order it would seem.  Anyway I spied both my parcels super quickly and the man jokingly asked the girl with the lovely hair if I could stay as clearly I was able to locate the items much quicker than either he or she had.  She asked me if I could return at 7.30am tomorrow!!!

Anyway the outcome was that the unwanted hoover had arrived and the girl with the lovely hair was going to send it back on the next available shipment and the other parcel was indeed my new and funky folding steps which come in two heights so I am now well sorted.  I cannot believe how much I have missed not being able to reach things, even on the lowest of the shelves.


We had a number of small items we wanted from Paphos Home Market like a new net for skimming the swimming pool which we got but also left having paid for some new garden furniture as they had some on offer which was very reasonable and is going to be delivered in the week.  The weather has taken its toll on our existing furniture but it was cheap and cheerful from Paps about 7 years ago!


Before going to pick up Mum we did a bit of research.  Just along the Emba by-pass next to where Dad used to get his hair cut a new coffee shop has opened.  Until recently Mum used to like to go to Choccos which is opposite Paps and would meet friends there or even go on her own as she felt comfortable there but now unfortunately Choccos has gone.  She has yet to find a replacement venue and so we though we would just go and see what this was like because it is quite near.  We met the owner called Lara and had a lovely chat and a great cup of coffee.  There is to be a new menu but there is quite a lot on offer like paninis and pizzas or just a piece of cake or a croissant.  Lara told us that the inside area is most definitely non-smoking as she wanted to create a nice comfortable place for people to come.  As we were leaving we bumped into Stelios the Barber who hugged and kissed me and offered his belated condolences about Dad.  Stelios used to be Mum and Dad's neighbour - he was about 5 years old at the time so he had known Dad a very long time.  Anyway we intend to take Mum next week for a cuppa so she can try the place for herself.

So we had a good session of pickleball even though there were only four of us - Liselotte and John have gone to the UK for a family wedding - we hope they make it because it seems that most of the UK is covered in a blanket of snow.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

This was to be a different sort of Thursday for me.  We always struggle around Christmas and the New Year with pickleball numbers and this year has been no exception - we either seem to have too many players or not enough.  The problem is that we are committed to paying for two sessions a week on a Tuesday and a Thursday irrespective of whether we do or not, our Friday sessions are pay if you play so not so desperate to fill this day.  Tom very kindly pays for any shortfall in the rent and over the course of the year we seem to make that up so that he can be refunded.  I had agreed to go down this afternoon to make up a four.  This enabled me to go to the Mall and get my hair cut and do some shopping, call in and see Mum for an extra visit and then play before returning home and then going out in the evening to Di and Rob's for supper.

It is the last day of January and this year barely a day has gone by this month without some rain - it has been grim and doesn't look like it is getting better any time soon.  I set off for Paphos having failed to pay our water bill as Marianna was not in the office.

I went down the Egyptian's road - I don't really know why we call it the Egyptian's road - we haven't seen an Egyptian there but it is the road where the shack is where a goat herder lives periodically.  It is a river - the water is coming off the fields and streaming down towards the main road.  There is a partially built house at the bottom of this road which has been ravaged by successive winters of wet.  We have never seen anyone there save for a couple of afternoons when there appeared to be a workman doing 'something' but not sure what.  This house will fall down soon and someone somewhere must have asked for it to be built.  We did hear that it was a local doctor but that could just have been rumour.

It was a grey and soggy journey down towards Paphos.  I opted to go Coral Bay way as I think it is a much nicer route.


As I took the road along Banana Bay the sea was so rough that I decided to stop and take a bit of video - you cannot really tell just how stormy it was and it started to spit with rain so I didn't hang around too long!

I did a quick run round Jumbos and then got my hair cut at the Mall - Lumi has recently been back to Romania to see her parents and she is hoping that they might come to visit her here in Cyprus in the summer if they are both well enough.  As time was going on I decided to grab something to eat before heading to Mum's and for a change I decided to have a bargain meal from Taco Bell where the chicken is moulded to make the taco casing.

I really should have learned that anything that is that shape and size probably doesn't taste anything much like chicken and I was right it was somewhat rubbery and tasteless - the salad was nice - it had a bit of a kick to it with some chili salsa hiding inside and the chips were good - we don't have chips very often so it is a bit of a treat.

It filled a gap - I can't say more than that - it certainly isn't something I will have again - actually I really like the chinese there but it is far to big a meal to run around on when you are playing pickleball.  So all sorted with what I wanted from the Mall I shot off to Lemba Bazaar for a couple of things and then went and saw Mum before playing pickleball.


I quite enjoyed my pickleball session - Tom was so glad I had made the effort to make up the numbers he fair rugby tackled me in order to give me a kiss in gratitude.  Carol's game is coming on leaps and bounds now that she is playing twice and week and newbie Mike will make a decent player given time - he has some cracking ground strokes but just lacks a little confidence and mobility but I am not entirely sure he has some sort of minor disability.  Anyway the weather was brighter as I made my way back to Droushia where John had not seen the sun all day.


Rob came and picked us up early doors to go down to theirs for a meal.  It was dry when we got there and I have to say their front garden looked lovely all lit up - you can't see the lights of Polis in the distance but they were there.  Their next door neighbour Nick died recently and was buried on Monday next door but one from Dad.  Sadly Nick was a difficult man to live next door to so his passing was kept from Di and Rob and us by association.  As John says - there's nowt so queer as folk and cutting of noses to spite faces also springs to mind.  Nick leaves a widow who is now, through his behaviour and her behaviour and her brother in laws behaviour, isolated from people who could and would have provided her with support.


Anyway back to this evening and we had a lovely time.  It was good to sit round the table and chat and eat lovely food and then listen to some great music.  It was the end of the transfer window so there was a great deal of interest in the incoming and outgoing players for Charlton and the Mighty Blades.  Big thanks to Di and Rob for their tremendous hospitality.  I managed to negotiate cardiac hill with only one stop and we managed to make it all the way home in the dry - bloody good job as shortly afterwards the rain came down in torrents and I mean torrents!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Doing DIY

We were supposed to be going out tonight but we ended up going last night instead which is probably just as well because I woke this morning feeling under the weather for some reason - I reckon I might have caught a bit of a chill or something so apart from a quick trip down to Polis we planned to do nothing, nada, zip, τίποτα!


We started off by going to the woodyard.  John wants to make a bigger duckboard for the shower room and he needed wood.  We had planned to get it earlier in the week but forgot.  This is going to be his job tomorrow if the weather is fine - he made a small one to see if it was going to be a good idea and it has been successful so now we are having the full sized version!!!

My lovely friend Laura lost her granddad recently and she had a fabulous Memory Bear made out of his pyjamas.  I didn't really have anything personal of Dad's save his ancient Old Spice Shaving Mug and thought it was a lovely idea but sadly we no longer had any of Dad's clothes remaining however Mum did manage to find a few handkerchiefs although not really enough to do anything substantial with.  Dad always always always had a clean ironed hankie in his pocket in case of emergencies.  I contacted a lady who displays her craft in the shop where Sheila works - she makes small bears but had never been asked to make a Memory Bear and she was conscious that I only had a small amount of material and when it was gone it was gone.  She was waiting for a new pattern but I was in no hurry so just left it with her and she contacted me yesterday to say it was ready.  Here is Mr Ron my Memory Bear made in Dad's Memory with his handkies and one in particular around his neck which sports his initial.  I was absolutely blown away by the finished article and it exceeded by expectations in every respect - in fact it brought tears to my eyes.  So a big big big Thank You to Chrissy Soden for making my day and my bear.

Our last stop was at Glykkis where John wanted some screws - not many so Maria just gave them to him and I got some chalk paint because once the weather it dry I intend to take the two old village chairs that are in the front garden and turn them into planters.  John has already removed the seats and they do a blue pot filled with geraniums in them but they need painting so I splashed out on some chalk finish paint in duck egg blue to finish them off properly.  I was so impressed by the furniture that Hazel had upcycled using chalk paint that I can't wait to have a go.


As I said the remainder of the day was quiet save for the fact that I made another banana loaf and some little banana loaf muffins which I intend to drop off for Mum tomorrow.  We had fridge surprise tea - tonight it was carbonara with bacon, ham and chorizo with a proper homemade carbonara sauce as I had eggs, cheese and cream to use up.  It was absolutely delicious.


We rounded off the evening watching a few episodes of Season Three of The Man in the High Castle.  We had watched the two other seasons some time ago so we had to refresh ourselves with the story line which is basically about the world had the Germans and Japanese won World War II - it has the most haunting version of Edelweiss as its theme tune.  Its a brilliant series if not a little difficult t0 follow in places but Rufus Sewell plays a baddie so well.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Chilly chilly chilly...

Our long, drawn out, cold, wet and miserable Winter continues - not on the scale of Mid-West America where it is colder than Antarctica tomorrow but certainly very unpleasant.  We had big plans as to how we were going to spend our time today - some involved outdoor tasks but when we got up it was bitterly cold and grey so that got knocked on the head.  Indoor tasks were the order of the day and we heated up the conservatory which is the easiest room to do so and spent the majority of the day in there.


One job we were able to complete was to put the handles on the boxes which are on the top shelf of the TV cabinet.  Originally this would have housed a video recorder and/or DVD player but we have neither but we do have 'stuff' which needs a home and which we do not want on view.  We got the boxes in Jumbos and we used some handles which were originally on our fitted wardrobe doors.  In normal daylight there isn't such a difference in colour and we are quite pleased with the end result.


I had planned to sort the 'glory-hole' which is the cupboard in the kitchen which houses more 'stuff' which we do not want on display and managed to get that done because I was of the view that movement would prevent hypothermia!!!!

When we have friends and family come over on holiday they generally leave us the leftover toiletries that they do not wish to take home so we have boxes of partially used shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, hand soap and suntan lotions/after sun which is very kind of them but they have to be stored somewhere and this is that somewhere and having had a lot of visitors last year we have loads.

I do love having tidy drawers and cupboards but I am just not very good at keeping them that way!  I shall just have to strive to do better in future.

We have another day at home tomorrow save for shooting down to Polis first thing so we have fingers crossed that the weather will be better so that we can get on with some of those outside jobs.

I had a parcel delivered yesterday - well almost, the driver struggles to find our house so when he rang whilst I was at Art I arranged for John to go and meet him.  He was delivering a new rug for the conservatory.  One of the ones we had got damaged in the shed over winter and had started to disintegrate - to be fair it had only cost us 10 euros so it owed us nothing but as it was beginning to fray the cats and in particular Charlie was having a field day with the resulting bits.

The newbie is yet another rug from Carpet Vista that delivers to Cyprus free of charge.  This is a Kilim Patchwork rug and was cheap.  It will be hard wearing and not show the dirt which is exactly what we wanted.  The 'spotting' in the colour is as a result of the production method in that it is hand knotted so those knots show through the weave.  Phew glad about that because originally I had thought that Miss Minnie had been sharpening her claws on it already.

We had arranged to go out with Mum, Nicky, Mark, Liz and Bill this week.  Originally we had planned to go to Darcy's on Wednesday night but when Nicky came to book having managed to pick an evening when we were all available it transpired that Darcy's was hosting a private party that night so couldn't accommodate us.  We then chose tonight striking whilst the iron was hot.  John and I were going to pick up Liz and Bill on our way through Peyia and Nicky and Mark were picking up Mum on their way from Emba.

We have been to Liz and Bill's once but some years ago so we had some instructions from Nicky.  We arrived at Peyia rather earlier than anticipated so took the opportunity to take a quick look around Old Phillipos Supermarket - I needed a couple of bits and pieces and John was interested to see whether this shop had any bottled beers on offer or any at all - they had only one 'real ale' Hobgoblin and that was quite expensive.  I can see with Brexit and importing that John and Rob's choices with regard to real ale is going to be very limited in the future.  Yes there is a brewery on the island and it isn't located too far from us but the prices have rocketed as they have become more popular and some of the original brews which John really liked are no longer made.


We found Liz and Bill's fairly easily and we all assembled at Darcy's which was pretty warm even though we were sitting in what is a glassed in verandah area - they had two large gas fires belting out the heat.  We had a nice evening all together - we have all known each other a very long time so conversation is easy and plentiful.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their meals - in my opinion this is a good place for a light lunch or an evening meal but not Sunday lunch based on our experience the other week.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Work starts in downtown Droushia...


This morning was bright and sunny but chilly - at least it was not raining although having got up early and done washing it would have been just my luck to get a downpour just as it was drying.  John took me down to Sheila's for Art stopping at the cemetery first.  There has been a new grave dug next door but one from Dad's - the style of the digging would indicate that it was not a Cypriot's grave as all the soil removed has been carefully put into dustbins.  I learned later in the day that this was likely to be the grave of Di and Rob's next door neighbour who they had thought had been unwell recently.  Klaus would let me know in due course or we will see when we next go visit Dad as the temporary cross will bear the name of the deceased.


It is hard to tell exactly what I managed to achieve today on my picture but I finished the pomegranate seeds on the bottom of the cut half.  It is slow progress!!  The rate of progress is no problem as there is no home for this particular picture at the moment at least.  John came to pick me up after lunch conscious of the fact that there was likely to be a funeral taking place and we didn't want to get caught up in the middle of it.

Slowly but surely we are working our way through the To-Do list as time, money and weather allows.  As I said the majority are outside tasks which can only be done when we have a settled few days or in some cases even weeks.

We went down to Polis to do some shopping and stopped at Glykkis on route to try and find some handles for the storage boxes we are going to put on the top shelf of the new TV cabinet.  We totally forgot that John needed some screws for another project and we totally forgot that we wanted some wood from the woodyard!!!

We did our shopping and the cats will be happy that there were pigs' livers available today well Minnie at least because that is just about all she likes to eat - chickens' livers at a push but then only if that is all there is on offer!

It was fairly quiet in Paps so shopping was easy and we had a nice little chat with Elena on the till as we were paying and the lady in front of us congratulated me on my Greek when I gave our bonus card number - she told me my accent was excellent!

We came back through the village and stopped to check the post.  I took the opportunity to take some photographs of the 'centre' as it currently looks because work has started on the renovation project which is going to result in the main road through the village and some of the arterial roads being cobbled.  This is hopefully the start of something good - if you look at what they have done in the neighbouring village of Inea it looks so lovely with the cobbled streets and the natural stone walls

There has been talk for some time of creating a better centre to the village with parking - currently people pass through because they cannot find anywhere to park unless they do so at the Hotel and then walk up.


The work that has started is around the amphitheatre where hopefully they will now also renovate the public toilets and the wells which are at the back and whose ownership caused issues when trying to get work done to them in the past.  You can see from this photograph that the whole project is major if this little section is anything to go by.


It clouded over as the afternoon went on but luckily I managed to get my washing reasonably dry.  On driving back through the village we can see that the horse is back - this time in the field opposite the portakabin holiday home - it looks pretty well and will have plenty to eat at the moment which is good and the other day it was on the opposite side of the road behind the Peyiotis's house so the boys obviously come and see to it regularly.

We had a quiet evening in and managed to watch the last episode of Strangers which I enjoyed.  It was set in Hong Kong and it is strange to see characters walking down streets which I have also walked down.  I am guessing it has changed quite a bit since I went which was in 1998 I think.  John actually took place in the Hong Kong handover ceremony in 1997 - marching in the pouring rain in front of Price Charles and Chris Patten.