Thursday, 19 July 2018

This is what sunrise looks like over Droushia at 5.10pm on a Monday morning - I know because I was up and about and left John sleeping to go and sit on the roof terrace to watch.  I had all sorts of things running through my mind keeping me from my slumbers, not least Mum's tax which will need sorting out as the HMRC have put her on some tax code reserved normally for Rockerfeller it would seem.  Dealing with government departments is bad enough but when you have to do it from abroad and when they really don't want to talk to you it can be more than trying.  I think that if we get no joy I will suggest that Mum goes through a tax expert and then they can take the strain.

It is Di's birthday today so before going off to Art at Sheila and Klaus's John and I went down with her card and little pressies to catch up with her and wish her all the best - we were going out this evening with them and with Sheila and Klaus.  We sat outside in the lovely morning sunshine and could have sat there for hours if there hadn't been somewhere else I needed to be!

I am working on a picture of beach huts in Australia for someone.  The original photograph is quite poor quality so I am having to improvise a bit and today I was putting in some greenery behind where the beach huts will appear.  I don't think I have had to tackle trees before so this is a challenge.  Can you believe that this little bit took me the best part of two and a half hours to complete!!

Struggling with my foliage and Sheila struggling with the face on her picture we wrapped up quite early and were grateful for the snack Klaus rustled up before I said my goodbyes, for a few hours because we would all be catching up again at Finnikas.

I went to the cemetery before going home.  Amazingly the flowers on Dad's grave are still going strong and it looks cheerful and colourful and loved.  I had planned to walk back but it was too blooming hot so quickly phoned John and he came and rescued me from the heat.

Everyone is beginning to wilt in the heat and we keep finding the cats in all sorts of places and positions.

Charlie has lost a lot of weight - or at least a lot of fur and is looking quite slim-line for him and he has taken to sleeping on his back, legs akimbo under the wake of the fan to get maximum air over his bits!

Boris had ousted Minnie-Mou out of her Eagle's Nest bed which enjoys the shade and a through draft in the afternoon - he isn't daft!

We got ready to go out - we had offered to drive and pick up Di and Rob so they didn't have to negotiate Cardiac Hill in the heat.  We then planned to leave Kenny at the Hotel carpark and pick him back up tomorrow.  This turned out to be a great plan as it was a wonderful evening when we came to walk home.  We enjoyed the cool and the stars.

We had the most fantasic meze at Finnikas last night - it was a perfect evening, good food and great company with a whole load of laughs thrown in, not least when a lemon fell and narrowly missed Klaus and then we all lost it when John was speaking to some tourists who had found the taverna from the Hotel - we were crying with laughter and it was so good to see Sheila and Klaus really really enjoying themselves.

We always think that the food here is good but last night it was exceptional and the piece de resistance was the stifado which was, I hate to admit, even better than I make!  Have to thank the Bobster for paying for the meal which was really kind.  I can't think of a better way to have celebrated Di's birthday.

We finished off the evening by strolling down to the hotel for a cocktail although Sheila and Klaus declined the invitation - clearly there had been too much excitement for them for one night!!!

It was the perfect end to a perfect evening.  A much needed evening of love and laughter for all concerned.  As we sat at the hotel looking across the starlit bay Rob and I looked at one another and spoke those immortal words "ain't we lucky?" and you know we are, we really are.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Sunday - one step closer to it coming home!!

So today was chapter 3 of the brolly saga - it would appear that my repairs are holding fast it is just the rest of the material that is disintegrating so I have visions that we will come home one day and that just my repairs will remain intact!!!

Yesterday the material around the top of the cover ripped so I needed to reinforce it and used up some of the material I had in my craft box - all very pretty and all very practical - whilst the sewing machine was out I took the opportunity to reinforce everything I could think of but this isn't easy as the cover is large and difficult to manouevre around the foot and needle.

Job completed we are only wanting the thing to survive whilst Hazel is here because it provides some very welcome shade outside the kitchen door and who knows we might even eat outside whilst she is here.  Even though we can we never do - we always eat at the dining table!!!

John took the opportunity to clean the PV and solar panels - it was about 8.30am and the skies were blue and it was undoubtedly going to be a very hot day today.  Today is quarter finals day in the World Cup today for the England team.  They are playing this afternoon at 5.00pm and we have decided to make a bit of a thing of the occasion and go out to watch the game and then have something to eat afterwards.

We toyed with the idea of watching the game in the village at O Stathmos but couldn't be sure whether the commentary would be in English so decided to go wild in the aisles and venture to the next village of Kathikas and go to the Village Square bar which is run by Savvas and Rachel that have the Farmyard Restaurant.  There is a large area to sit in and multiple screens. Initially John thought he would go with John from Arodes but Liselotte was keen to watch even though she is Danish and that team had been eliminated so it was decided we would all go and I would drive.

Blimey you can meet some dodgy people in these kinds of bars - when we arrived we were greeted by Mina and Claire and their visitor who were well up for the game!

As it turned out it was a good result even though the game was not that exciting.  I know nothing about football but really Sterling should not have a place on the pitch - I firmly believe he is going to be in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing as this can be the only explanation for his fannying around footwork in the six yard box - he is a bloody liability!!!

The semi final is on Wednesday and we are out with Nicky and Mark, Mum, Liz and Bill.  I said to Nicky I would start fainting around 8.00pm so that we could get away to watch - she misread and thought I said farting - on reflection this would probably be a better way to clear the restaurant and be asked to leave - actually we have nothing to worry about as the game doesn't start till 9.00pm.

I had the great pleasure of sitting next to a really nice guy for the England game and at the end he shouted 'well done England'.  It transpired that he was a Russian who had lived on the island for about 10 years but was originally from Moscow and his name was Igor!  He had come to watch the next game which was Russia v Croatia and sadly Russia lost on penalties.  He really was a smashing guy and we had such a nice chat.  He was completely right when he said that Russia hosting the World Cup had changed lots of peoples opinion of the country and the people.  Sport is a great leveler.

We went for something to eat somewhere we haven't been for about three years and that was To Stekki Tou Panai in Kathikas (aka Marias).  It was such a warm evening we sat outside on the balcony - not right on the road as others did and by the time we left the whole place was packed.  We had a lovely meal - I had something I haven't eaten in years and that was calimari and it was absolutely fabulous.

Such a lovely evening all round - in fact a good day.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Saturday - the end of June...

Today we were carrying out a village clean on our favourite hot spot the main road down from the Hotel to the Museum at the bottom and having passed by the other day it is pretty awful - we spotted quite a few plastic bottles and empty coffee cans - although sometimes they aren't even empty.  It was a cool start which was good for us as it can be hot and sticky work.

We took a car down to the bottom of the hill so that we could ferry the pickers back up the hill and then came home ans walked down to the hotel litter picking as we went.  As we passed Luscious Lindas there was little sign of life - we guessed she must have been out on a gin-fest the previous night and would be nursing a hangover rather than a bin-bag!!

We were joined by Klaus and were so pleased that Di and Rob were able to come today - the job isn't the same without them and I know it is disappointing that our efforts are not supported by the locals in a practical way but we agreed as we were working that if too many people pitched up it would be more difficult to organise.  As it is it is a bit of a social event and we have a laugh and a chat as we make our way round.

We were joined by Kim, she left Steve up at the Droushia Heights, and I donated her my mechanical pick up stick and between us we worked together sometimes I held the bag sometimes I wielded the stick!  I have to apologise for picking up one bottle which had been out in the sun and was full of dirty water (at least we hope that was all that was in it) and it ended up going down her leg!

People of a nervous disposition should look away now as this was the hoard of mucky DVDs which we collected - nearly all of them were found in the same spot.  These were new and mainly XXX rated apparently!  We are totally bemused as to why we find these everytime we do this particular route and why they are just thrown into the verge.

In the other picture is a view of the kind of crap we collect - plastic, plastic and more plastic and then fag packets and coffee cans, wet wipes (which never degrade) and tissues (probably in conjunction with the mucky DVDs).  Today the amount of rubbish was probably the worst it has been since the first time we did that route - what a shame - shame on everyone that just throws this stuff out of their window.

We finished at the bottom of the hill - I was propositioned by the Jehovah's Witnesses and invited to a film in Limassol in a couple of weeks' time - fortunately I have Hazel staying with me otherwise I would have to have declined - I am sure one of the cats will need washing or something similar.  This is a rare photograph of me but it does prove I was there.

We managed to squeeze all the team into the Pug and make our way back up to the village dropping off Rob and Di en route and Klaus then Kim, John and I caught up with Steve for a coffee before we went our separate ways.

Steve was sitting out on the terrace.  He is looking so much better than he was last week which is good news.  We enjoyed our coffees organising the next time we will meet up which will be later this week.

Once home I had to get organised for tomorrow when Mum will be coming up for lunch.  

Monday, 16 July 2018

Friday - Scorchio

There is only one word to describe the weather at the moment - SCORCHIO.  We shouldn't be surprised this is much more like we would expect in June but rather than a gradual increase in temperatures it has just gone off the scale seemingly overnight.  I am glad that much of the garden is established and therefore doesn't get a water but the pots are desperate by the end of the day and I can see how much water evaporation there has been because I fill the cat bowls which are dotted around the garden every night and by the afternoon they are less than half full.

Mum rang this morning - she had been having some issues with her phone and TV which sounded like it might have been the internet but then after running a few tests that wasn't the problem.  She had phoned Richard her TV guy and he was coming around today to sort things for her which was good as it meant she wouldn't be without TV for the weekend.  The phone turned out to be just the fact that the Wi-Fi had been switched off so nothing too major.

This was the temperature as we set off from Droushia to Paphos this morning - and because we were travelling in that direction there was only one way the thermometer was going to go!!!  We had several errands to run today before playing pickleball and I had rearranged our game to start earlier at 12.30 and finish later at 3.30pm this was to accommodate Liselotte who wanted to play but leave for badminton at 2.00pm and our visitor Bill because otherwise we would have had an odd number.  As it turned out Bill decided not to come so some of us played the whole three hours - kidding ourselves it was good for us!!!  Actually we had some great games today and Mum joined at 1.00pm and played until 3.00pm like she normally does so for a while we had more opportunity to sit out and get our breath back!

We had tea and stickies back at Mum's.  Her TV was sorted, her phone was sorted and eventually I have managed to get the bank keypad to access her UK bank account up and working so a successful day all round.  Mum and her friends Sue and Fran were going up to Fitos for a meal tonight quite early so we didn't hang around giving her time to get ready.  We have subsequently heard that they really enjoyed their evening - this is good news as it is always difficult recommending somewhere to eat particularly when there is a bit of a journey involved getting there but we were pretty certain that Fitos would not let them down.

I am still in search of a table lamp for the conservatory but having no luck so I persuaded John to stop on the way back up the Mesoghi Avenue and take a look in Steptoes which has this fabulous Tuk-Tuk outside.  John was well taken by it as we have fond memories of racing around Bangkok in these when we were on holiday all those years ago with the Welshers, Glenn and Rachel.  John rather fancies getting one of these to nip into the village and back in our dotage!

It was a quiet evening for us as tomorrow is a big day in terms of World Cup Football as England will be playing Sweden for a place in the semi finals.  We watched the two matches today which saw the South American teams of Uruguay and Brazil exit the competition and France and Belgium go through which means that ultimately the final will be an all European affair.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Thursday - Limassol phew...

This is what early morning looks like here at Villa 10b.  It has become Summer all of a sudden and the temperatures are pushing 40 degrees so my morning routine is to get up, feed the cats, take the cover off the pool and get rid of any unwelcome visitors and then GET IN.  It is bliss and makes up for all those days when we consider the pool to be a drain on our income.

John was going to physio today and I had arranged to meet my friend Gillian at the Art Cafe in Polis.  She makes skin products using her aromatherapy knowledge and now that Kate has sold her salon I prefer to get the little that I use from Gillian.  I have had her moisturiser before and really liked it.

So I dropped John off at Marios's and went across to the Art Cafe which is lovely and now there is more shade in the courtyard it is so pleasant just to sit and while away an hour or so.  We only had a drink and a chat but before I knew it John was texting to say he was ready and so I had to say goodbye.  Gillian is such a nice person and has had more than her fair share of bad times but is always calm and positive and understanding.

When I got back in the car it was 43 degrees even though I had parked in the shade - this is a swing of around 15 degrees from last week.  We are wilting!!!  As we were going out tonight with Steve and Kim when John and I got home I spent an hour or so just lazing on the bed with the fan on trying to keep cool and snoozing.  We had arranged that we would meet them at 5.45 at the petrol station in Stroumbi then all travel in one car to eat at a taverna that they used to frequent 26 years ago when they were based in Limassol!

Steve is looking more like his old self thank goodness and he was happy to drive us this evening - our first stop was Avdimou Jetty - which used to be simply a wooden jetty going out into the sea with a shack at one end which did food - in fact Dad used to say it did the best home made steak and kidney pie!

This was Kim's choice as she was in search of a traditional and well-made Brandy Sour which used to be THE Cypriot drink but which now is hard to find, in fact we have been to several establishments where the Eastern European staff just look at us blankly when we ask for one.

We had a very pleasant drink there and the brandy sour was worth the journey - Dad used to make a fabulous one - I shall definitely miss him for that.

We moved on to find Lefteris Taverna in Germasogeia which is on the far side of Limassol.  Steve and Kim used to go there many years ago and they wondered if it was still there, if it would still be the same sort of simple grill house place and whether the same people would be running it.

The place does still exist, it is almost exactly as Kim and Steve remembered it and the same people run it, Barbara, the wife declaring that she recognised Kim even though we reckon it was 26 years since she had eaten there last.

We sat outside because it was so warm even though the inside is absolutely charming.  We opted for meze and local wine and it was delicious - the meze was plentiful, fresh and well cooked - so much so that we had to ask them to stop.  The pilafi and the green eggs were fabulous, nearly as good as Marina produces here in the village.  It was a lovely evening and we really loved going somewhere different - just a shame it isn't a bit closer to us because it is definitely one to revisit - maybe on a Droushia Discovery Day.

Big big big thanks to Kim and Steve for taking us there - it really was a great evening.

Saturday, 14 July 2018


The weather has ramped up - the temperatures are in the high 30's even here in Droushia.  This means that shade is imperative so this morning I embarked on make do and mend part 2 as the velcro we had attached to the big brolly cover had given up the ghost as the sticky had got hot and melted so the velcro wasn't secured.  Today I sacrificed a skirt that I rarely wear because it had a working short plastic zip.  John was happy to give up a pair of shorts but the zip was metal and I pointed out that (a) it would get exceptionally hot in the sun and (b) would rust with the overnight condensation.  I managed to put the zip in but didn't have a zipper foot which made it a bit more difficult but once finished John actually said I had done a good job and all that without a SAMCO (which is a naval term for a pre-exercise briefing and display!).

We are in the middle of tarting up the pathway to our front gate and John has built some stone pillars which look fabulous.  The plan was to paint all the walls and between the pillars put some terracotta pots or something.

I had in the garden a large 'plate' which was made from fiberglass and was grey so we decided to try and paint it so it looked like terracotta.  I did this by covering it with some terracotta external paint and then antiquing the exterior with some brown wax which seemed to do the trick.

It was ladies lunch today at O Stathmos in the village and I walked down because it was such a beautiful day - I decided to cut through the churchyard and come in the back way so that I could avoid turning Despina down for a coffee.

Our village church is lovely and as I passed by the back door I could see that the lights were on - I didn't check the door simply taking this photograph through the glass panes.

We didn't know what we were having for our lunch today - Sheila had been to discuss with Bambos and he had got her to agree that he would just sort it out!!!  Food at the taverna has always been infinitely better than when we were persuaded to eat up at his hotel Palates when everything went terribly wrong and Sylvia had a melt-down - sadly this was one of the occasions when John's mum and my mum came along.  We had chicken you could have used as cornerstones in a building and service provided by Mrs Overall of Acorn Antiques!  Bambos did redeem the situation by inviting us back to eat at the taverna and then the food was fabulous.

It being summer and hot Sheila had asked for a 'light' lunch - what we got was fabulous but by no means light!

We started with village salad and tzatziki with village bread toasted and oiled, then came fresh moussaka, aubergines baked in the oven with tomato and fetta, toasted pitta filled with village halloumi, chips, stifado and rice, water and honeydew melon and baklava.  It was absolutely delicious but there was so much food we hardly did it any justice.  It was a lovely lunch, Diana kept me up-to-date with camera-gate which has been going on down their road and Clare was back from Hong Kong for the summer holidays.

I walked back home - it was searingly hot so I didn't hang about.  I had left John with a packed lunch in the fridge and he was being sensible and keeping out of the heat of the sun.  When it began to cool we went out to do some more work on the alley-way - the 'plate' is up, the last bits of stones have been chosen, shaped and put into place ready to be stuck.

John and I painted all the remaining surfaces that needed painting save for the very end underneath where the honeysuckle grows.

We had a surprise visitor - Elaine had been up in the village seeing someone about cleaning their villa and rang to see if we were in so that she could catch up.  We haven't seen her for a few months.  She regaled us with stories of what had been happening to her since we last met.

As she left John and I went across the road to take photographs of the progress that had been made today on Lakis and Argy's property - at long last it is nearing completion.  We have a bit of a mystery on our hands - there has been no sign of Mohammed and his wife and children nor the other Syrian family round the corner.  We don't know if they have gone away on holiday or gone away for good.


I got up and off early this morning because I needed to take mum to CYTA to get the sim card from her trusty old steam driven mobile phone put into her all singing all dancing new smart phone.  Good old CYTA they sorted it all out and did so free of charge even though when they handed back the old steam driven we managed to lock the SIM and they then unlocked it for us.

Anyway prior to that I was travelling down to Paphos via Stroumbi and was caught behind a very very slow moving lorry on a stretch of winding road where it is very difficult to overtake safely.  I was keeping an eye out for a safe place but there were signs warning of roadworks being carried out 'on the' shoulder although I couldn't actually see any.  One minute I looked in my rear view mirror and saw nothing and the next there was one of those ubiquitous 'Cyprus' cars behind me - a silver saloon of some description, probably a Mitsubishi of unknown pedigree or age.  This one had been 'zooped' up with the addition of an incredibly massive rear fin and an exhaust which sounded like it was missing a section.  Said car was being driven by a guy who I will refer to only as Dick (as in Head).  He was desperate to pass - I wondered why, if he was in such a rush, he hadn't left a little earlier on his journey - and he weaved side to side until on a blind left hand bend he went for it - only to encounter the roadworks which meant he had to brake viciously and swerve to avoid the men putting bollards out into the road.  I let him get on with it and remained behind the lorry which, on the Kathikas-Stroumbi T-Junction kindly let me pass in safety - for which many thanks Mr Lorry Driver.  As I went by the Stroumbi petrol station Mr Head shot out in his zooped up Mitz only to be located directly behind me once again.  This clearly pissed him off big style and he spent the remainder of the journey to Paphos dangerously weaving his way in and out of the traffic - where are the police when you need them?  The trouble with people like Dick is that they leave a trail of destruction behind them oblivious of any accident or incident their erratic driving might have caused.  I was glad to arrive in Emba in one piece although I half expected to find Dick wrapped round a tree at some point.

I am in search of a table lamp for the conservatory - something in a neutral colour with a squat base so the cats cannot knock it over when they hare having a mad five minutes but have yet to find anything.  I took the opportunity to have a quick look in some of the charity and second hand shops on the Chloraka Road but didn't see anything that fitted the bill.  At one of the second hand shops there was a sweet little chair that had been upcycled (or is it now repurposed?) by being distressed in a lovely Mediterranean blue colour and with the addition of a plastic washing up bowl where the seat would have been had been turned into a planter.  No there's an idea!!!!  Sadly my nice little Cypriot chair disintegrated otherwise I could have given that a make-over for the garden.

Anyway as I said I failed to find a lamp and am still searching!

Having got Mum's phone sorted we played pickleball this afternoon and it was exceptionally hot on court.  Last week we might have anticipated playing through the summer as it had been much cooler than normal but the temperature has ramped up and looks set to get even hotter so I guess we will be grateful for our summer break in August.

It is Di's birthday on Monday and we have bought her something from Claire's gallery at the Aliathon which I hope she likes.  We had to do a furtive handover when we all met at Yiallos last week so I hope Di didn't guess that something was going on!!!  I had seen these these cute little handmade boat ornaments which I thought would look nice somewhere in Di and Rob's home.

I wanted something to go with it and so decided to stop off at the London Road garden centre where I chose a Euphorbia Milii Crown of Thorns plant which they now produce in a host of beautiful colours - they only ever used to be red.  I opted for one with peachy coloured flowers and put it in a pale blue bucket container.  I don't really like the London Road - I find the woman in there most unhelpful but it was on my way home and I wanted to make sure I got something nice.  The parrot is still at London Road, they had him in his cage sitting in the shade - poor thing I don't like to see caged birds but I am guessing he doesn't know any different.

When I got home John had been busy - he had used up most of the remainder of our stone to put a second bit on the wall as you approach our front gate.  The plan is that we will paint the walls all along in the same colour as we did the outside of the house.  These walls aren't in a brilliant condition and we aren't even sure if they are ours or not - listening to Lakis it would appear that we own one side and the house next door owns the other which is a bit odd anyway as that house is empty and owned by the bank we are just going to make our side look nice.

The plan is to have something like a couple of terracotta pots hanging between the stone 'pillars' which should look nice.

John was knackered and so I cooked up some spicy meatballs with spaghetti to have before we sat down to endure the England Colombia match.  I couldn't stand it so went to bed and kept track of the score on my tablet.

Everyone will know by now that England secured a win on penalties - based on the performance tonight John doesn't reckon 'it's coming home' more likely that the team will be coming home after it is defeated by Sweden in the next round!