Friday, 25 May 2018

Stormy


Two posts today so read this one and then the one below - just trying to catch up after being away...



Woah woah woah sweet child of mine where the hell did that storm come from???  John and I reckon that last night was the worst storm we have experienced here on the island or anywhere ever to be exact.  We had high winds, thunder, lightening and hail the size of golf balls and it lasted all  night, coming and going.  The electric was on and off, on and off and everytime it happened the pump went in the cupboard in our bedroom waking us up.

The cats were terrified.  Initially Charlie and Minnie were in and Chivers and Boris must have got caught in the middle of it so had sheltered somewhere but then they shot through the catflap wailing and we had to jump out of bed and towel them dry because they were insisting on getting on the bed for some warmth and company.

We haven't had the duvet on the bed for weeks and recently dispensed with the throw but last night found just a sheet was too cold!

We kept hearing strange noises and would have to get up to investigate - we worry about the PV panels - particularly when the massive hailstones were crashing down and we worry about the furniture up on the roof terrace, in fact we worry about everything because on nights like last night we suddenly feel that the house is quite fragile.  In fact as it happens we got off quite lightly.  The rain and hail battered the plants in the garden to the ground which was a shame as they were looking brilliant and some will not survive the battering.  Nothing seemed to get broken and apart from a couple of drips no water came into the conservatory which is such a relief because previously the water used to gush through the front door and we would have to have barricades of towels to stem the flow.

Our friends Sheila and Klaus were not so lucky as it would appear that a power surge has taken out their laptop and PC.  For once we did switch everything off - I lost a phone to a power surge previously.

Needless to say we did not get a good night's sleep!


This was the view as we drove off down to Paphos for John to collect the results from his MRI and to see Dr George about what was to happen next.  It was grey and wet and all the shit had been dragged down off the fields and was lying in the roads.  John picked up his MRI file complete with CD and explanation and handed over €300 which seemed pretty reasonable to me not to mention quick.  Dr George peered closely at the results and read the report and explained to John that it would appear that he is suffering from an injury to his knee-cap which would have been some time ago and as a result the knee-cap itself isn't sitting comfortably in its recess and so moves and chafes which causes the pain and the inflammation.  The good news is that with targeted physio and some special supplements which include rose-hip and some special gel John should be able to strengthen the supporting muscles sufficiently to hold the knee-cap in place - well that's how I understood it.  Even better news is that John made an appointment to see Marios the physio in Polis straight away and Marios confirmed that the exercises John had been doing are the correct ones so John does not need to pay for further physio sessions.  He has to rest the knee in terms of sport but not in terms of physio and then John has to go back in around 10 days to see how he is progressing.  So nothing to pay Marios and so far we have paid nothing to Dr George.  John is feeling much happier to have had a proper investigation and a proper explanation and a path to recovery which does not involve surgery but may in the worst case involve an injection.  He says that his knee has felt better since the MRI and Dr George says he isn't the first person to have said that - maybe it is something to do with the magnetic fields.

We have friends who arrived last night for a three month stay in Polemi - fortunately they arrived before the storm started but they must have wondered what they were coming to!  Still they were stationed over here years ago so may remember weather like that when they were here before.

Kim had asked me to keep an eye out for a beer called Warsteiner - not one I was familiar with so I had mailed Athos at the Beer Seller and he confirmed that he stocked that particular brand and in particular the one which is truly non-alcoholic.  Blow me if we weren't in Paps waiting for Marios the physio to open up after lunch and I spotted the exact beer on sale and on offer - I took a picture and sent it to her to make absolutely sure and then when she confirmed it was correct we cleared the shelves - sadly that was only 7 bottles but we were so pleased to have found what she wanted.

We shall be catching up with her and Steve over a quick coffee on Thursday and then will do so at leisure when I return from my trip to the UK.  So pleased that they made it and so pleased that the cottage Kim found on the internet is a beautiful in real life as it looked in the pictures.  She says it is idyllic - high praise indeed.

Just want to give a shout out to the bloody marvelous UPS man who came today.  When we returned from Polis and John's trip to Marios I checked the emails and found one from the UPS head office to say there was a parcel on the way to us and I had to ring to arrange its delivery.  Our house is so hard to find that I normally speak to the UPS man and get him to deliver to the Droushia Heights and then I go and pick up the parcel.  So I rang the office which I think is in Limassol and the woman took my phone number and said the UPS man would ring me tomorrow (which was going to be a little awkward because we were going to Pissouri to return Bill and Wendy's car) and would arrange the delivery.  I said to John I would just have to ask him to leave the parcel at the Hotel like normal.  At this point we could hear a vehicle outside sort of revving and reversing so John went out to investigate and my phone started ringing.  On answering the caller said he was from UPS and he thought he was on our estate!  John was out at the road and sure enough there was a van outside and it was UPS so my parcel was delivered there and then.  How was that for service - 24 hours earlier than planned and to the door without asking for directions.

Just another manic monday...


At long last our neighbours will begin to see some progress with the renovations they are having done to their property as we could see an Elephant's Trunk pouring concrete.  Apparently it arrived at 7.00am and it will be creating their patio.  I know the whole project is causing them sleepless nights so hopefully after today they will see some real progress and be able to envisage the project complete and whilst they are still here to enjoy it.  Bloody marvelous those Elephant's Trunks the way they can articulate to get access to confined spaces.


John shot off down to Polis this morning to have is hair cut leaving me to walk to Sheila's for Art.  It was a lovely morning although you could see cloud bubbling over the hills in Lysos and there has been talk of rain possibly tomorrow.  The island needs it but as we have friends arriving whose trip so very nearly got cancelled due to ill health we have our fingers crossed that it will be nothing more than a passing shower.  Anyway back to today and I noticed that we have a horse back with us in the field opposite the entrance to our estate.  This isn't BigFoot - we guess it is Andreas's horse back again and this time in foal by the looks of it.


The fields nearby which were planted up with grain are looking fabulous but you can see how far behind the one next to Mum's house they are - they will take a while to ripen but it is lovely to see them swaying in the breeze it makes for a very pleasant walk through the village.  I was surprised to see the gates of the Australian's house open but no-one around.  On closer inspection it looks like they must be back as the garden has been partially cleared of weeds - either that or they have had a strange intruder who fancied doing a bit of gardening whilst there!


We have some holiday apartments in Droushia which are seemingly cheap and cheerful and have an arrangement with the Droushia Heights Hotel for breakfast (and probably other meals).  Karen and Dip stayed there when it was John's 50th and they said it was ok.  This morning the outside was looking fabulous as they have an early bougainvillea in full flower.  The man who looks after the front does a first class job.


In a departure from normal Art Mondays I took my water colours with me.  I will be missing two weeks so didn't want to start a new project and then have to leave it.  I had bought some cheap canvasses from Jumbos and decided I would try my hand at some flamingos and, if I finished it, would give the picture to my sister for whom flamingos have a special significance.  It was a lovely morning and quite excitingly Sheila had a phone call about a viewing for their house this afternoon.  I managed to get almost half of the picture completed and was really pleased with my progress.


Once home and once having got some meals cooked for the freezer for John for next week I decided to try and finish the picture and this is the end result - I am pleased with it - I hope Kaye likes it - I shall pack it away in the suitcase once it is fully dry.

Kim and Steve are on their way to the island for three months, leaving today and staying in Polemi.  It was touch and go as to whether or not Steve would be well enough to make it but I saw that they were air-side at Gatwick so fingers crossed they will arrive safe and sound and that their accommodation is as they hoped - it looked fabulous on the internet.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

We woke to a very indifferent start to the day with some rain in the air which was bloody typical as we had arranged that Mum would come up and we would have a barbeque and even better she had provided us with some fillet steak and great big juicy beefburgers!  I should have known that with our luck we might even have been greeted with a monsoon this morning!

Undeterred we made preparations for eating indoors and I got ahead of the game by getting things prepared in advance like the hasselback potatoes and coleslaw and part cooking the burgers and sausages.

We were on track - even some pretty flowers in the conservatory and (no wonder it was raining) I even got the mop out and gave all the floors a good old wash in true Cypriot Fashion.  John didn't recognise the smell of floor cleaner and walked right across my newly washed floor in his big old dirty slippers!!  He retreated with a flea in his ear and a cloth in his hand for polishing out the footprints!

Today was the memorial service for our friend Argy's father.  Her Mum Kia has been a widow for over 40 years losing her husband when she was around 40 herself.  They were going to a service at the church in the village where they were going to hand out bags of something called Koliva in his memory.  If you click on the link you will get information about Koliva which is blessed during the service.

Argy had brought some over for us to try and we decided that we would have it in her father's memory with our barbeque.  It was a very pleasant mix of wheat, sesame, pomegranate, sultanas and almonds a bit like quinoa in texture - actually it was something that I thought I would like to make myself and have as a salad as it was so fresh.

We caught up with them briefly after the church service and before Mum arrived - the service had gone well much better than when we had attended at Easter when it was chaos to say the least and apparently some of the wood which the local youths had gathered up for the bonfire included some old doors which had been removed from a seemingly abandoned house but which in fact belonged to someone which is terrible.

Mum arrived safe and sound by which time the weather had improved significantly so we started by sitting outside the kitchen without any shade which proved to be too warm so we then moved round to the front of the house under the gazebo where Mum could have a cuddle with Chivers who had got the same idea.

Lord knows what Mum and I will be doing next Sunday - we are due to be travelling from my Dad's sister and brother in law in Reading down to my godmum's in Keinton and then I am leaving Mum there to go and spend the night with my friends Sally, Tommy and the kids.

We managed to eat our barbeque outside under the gazebo at the other side of the house and it was very nice.  All the meat was lovely and we didn't overface mum with too much - just the things she likes plus the addition of the Koliva which was a hit.

John wanted to watch the last match of the season for Sheffield United so Mum and I went for a little drive around Inea and Arodes before stopping at the Cemetery and visiting Dad then calling in on Sheila and Klaus to disturb their Sunday afternoon which they didn't seem to mind.  It had been a nice day and I breathed a sigh of relief when I phoned Mum to see if she had got home ok - for some reason her text hadn't reached me and I was beginning to get a little worried but she was fine.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Catching up...


I have been away but I am back and I shall be catching up with the posts waiting to be published before I went away and then reports on my trip to the UK.  I had limited internet access so actually went back to the old fashioned method of writing down my musings and these will then have to be converted into digital form!!!!

Charlie has seemed off colour the last couple of days which generally means he has eaten something which has disagreed with him and he is feeling sorry for himself.  At this time of year it could be a mouse or a shrew or any number of the lizards and skinks we have in the vicinity - I have even seen him playing with a snake when he was younger but my guess is that he brought in one of the massive locust type grasshoppers and probably bit off more than he could chew in more ways than one.


I can handle most things even the big old tarantulas but not these because they fly and make a horrid noise when they are doing it so this is a 'blue' job rather than a 'pink' job so it meant that John had to rescue it and me.

The cats always look really surprised that we have the audacity to remove their new toy/meal but really why would you want to chomp on one of those locust things - they are disgusting!!!

Anyway John came to the rescue and lobbed it over into the field next door and I am guessing that it was none the worse for its encounter although if I look closely at the photograph it does appear to be missing part of its back leg.

So my next question today is where in any of the Ideal Home, Home and Garden, House Beautiful Magazines does it say that this year's must have accessory is a ginger cat as an ornament on your dresser?

I turn my back for one minute and find Charlie flaked out on our new furniture.  Bless him I know he struggles in the heat but really there is so much glass around him and he is clumsy at the best of times not to mention the amount of fur he sheds all over the place.  I love the cats but next time I am having one of those bald ones - everything in this house is covered in cats hairs.

We went off down to Polis this morning to have tea and stickies with Gillian and David Carbine.  Gillian had asked me if I might try and do a portrait of her granddaughter Grace and I said I would give it a go although this is not something I have ever tried before.  She also wanted to have it done in pencil to match some portraits she already has at her house - again this is not a medium I have ever tried.  I said I was happy to give it a go but would understand if the end result was not to her liking.  Having never met Grace I couldn't begin to capture her spirit on paper and there is something about not getting a portrait to look alive.

I had two attempts at her portrait using two different photographs which Gill gave me.

The first is on the right which was, to begin with, just a practice but I liked the picture even if it didn't really look anything like Grace and then the second on the left was done with pencils.

I hope Gill likes them - she seemed really pleased when I gave them to her.  She is a bit of an artist herself so the whole thing was a bit daunting.  Anyway it was a nice excuse to meet up at Tina's Art Cafe and have an hour or so with Gill and David.


Once back home John shot off to see Bassam as he had managed to locate some replacement carbon brushes for Bassam's big drill in Polis of all places.  We had scoured the internet trying to find them with no luck and then a chance conversation at the place where we get our car batteries led us to the shop which used to be Glykkis and a man who could help.



After a lovely quiet afternoon with John keeping abreast of the football scores and willing Charlton to get to the playoffs (which they did) we sat down to fridge surprise for tea as John is going to Polis to get his hair cut Monday and do some shopping.  For John he had two Yorkshire puddings filled with chilli and some additional home-made chilli sauce and freshly grated cheese to go on top and I had the other two Yorkshires filled with garlic mushrooms and topped with mozzarella, coriander and balsamic reduction.  Both fillings courtesy of the freezer as we needed to make some room.  I had to eat my mushrooms in a different room obviously because you know how John hates them. 

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Away...

I am currently in the UK with little to no Internet access so it may be a week or so before normal service resumes.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Wildlife...


They are back and it is now officially summer - our skies are filled with the sights and sounds of the Bee Eaters and I love them - not for the fact that they eat bees because there is a world shortage of bees but because the birds are beautiful.  When I got up this morning to feed the cats there they were about 30 if them sitting on the electricity wires in the field next door - fabulous.

It was our day for wildlife because this afternoon on our way back from Emba we had a "what the hell was THAT?" moment when something ran across the road in front of us.  It was so unusual that both John and I looked at one another.  It appeared to be a very large smooth skinned lizard with an apricot colour to the skin - nothing like the big old Jurassic geckos we see this was more like a snake with legs, long thin and smooth...


It took me a long time to actually locate the beast on the internet but eventually I concluded that it must be a Schneider Skink or Eumeces Schneideri which can grow to quite a size and I reckon the one we saw might have been 30+ centimeters long and crossed the road so quickly that it was almost like it didn't have legs.  Who knew that there was something like this on the island?

So back to today John was foregoing pickleball because he was having an MRI on his dodgy knee later this afternoon which also meant he was available to supervise the handing of mum's new blinds in the sunroom.  She got them from Euroblinds and not only were they very reasonable, they were made in super quick time and fitted perfectly without mess.  She is very happy.


Back to pickleball - sorry the photograph is out of focus but I took this to highlight the point that the combined ages of our opposition (Mum and Arodes John) is almost 153 years and the pair of them gave us a right old pasting between them!!!!  So anyone contemplating taking up pickleball DO IT - it is a sport that you can enjoy right into old age.


The weather today has been hot and sticky with a storm brewing which is much needed to clear the air.  Paphos got no more than a handful of spots of rain but it was very windy and I think I read on the internet there was a mini-tornado somewhere in Paphos - this weather gives me a headache and I was hot and sweaty when we made our way to the Radiology Centre where it took quite a while for John to get his MRI done.  The results will be available next week and then Dr George will be able to decide what can be done for John - if anything!



Wednesday, 9 May 2018

a difficult day...

I have had the most awful couple of nights' sleep - the heat and the iggies have conspired against me.  John sleeps on a washing line - it makes me spit.  As a result I was feeling somewhat jaded this morning when we got up and got sorted as we had a busy day ahead of us and what was to prove to be a late night (by our standards).

I had arranged to get my hair cut so that I looked half decent before I went back to the UK to see (a) my old school friends from 40 years ago and (b) my old work colleagues from 7 years ago and I didn't want to give either of these groups an opportunity to think I looked nothing less than the best I could!

John had, at long last, arranged to have someone look at his dodgy knee so we were incorporating that into our trip to Paphos but most importantly and very very sadly I was attending the joint funeral of our great friends Alan and Trish Powney.


The funeral was taking place this morning at 11.00pm at Geroskipou cemetery which was an absolute nightmare to find but thankfully we arrived with just minutes to spare.  When Dad died Alan and Trish (front left of the photograph above) organised a walk in his memory and we stopped part way round for bubbles (Trish's favourite) and cake.  I sat next to Trish at the lunch afterwards and I seem to think that my sister may have sat next to Alan.  Anyway here I was just about 8 weeks later attending their funeral.  Alan had the onset of dementia and apparently for the last few winters Trish's emphysema had very nearly killed her so as their health continued to diminish they decided they didn't want to live one without the other nor be a burden to anyone.  Whatever your thoughts on their decision they left this world together and got their wish.  Safe journey wherever that is taking you Alan and Trish - you were a fabulously entertaining couple with whom we have spent many a fun time. Sadly we never got to take you up on your kind offer to come stay with you in your beautiful cottage in the North East (but only for 2 nights because we know that Trish couldn't bear anyone to stay for longer than that, friend or family!).

It was so very hot at the graveside with no shade and after having drunk a glass of prosecco (Trish's favourite) combined with the fact that I was rather emotional I was left with a bit of a headache for the remainder of the day.  Sadly we are likely to have to attend more of these services as our circle of friends ages - a sad fact of life, or death in this case.

We left the cemetery and headed for the doctors surgery so that he could take a look at John's knee - several people had recommended Dr George including Sheila and her directions were spot on and we found him easily although we were half an hour early for the appointment.  As he wasn't busy he saw John straight away and he will be having an MRI tomorrow afternoon which should give him some, if not all, of the answers about what is actually wrong and what his options are for treatment.  We had expected to pay for the consultation there and then but Dr George didn't want any money until he finished with John.

We went from Dr George to the Mall so I could have my hair cut.  John is apprehensive about what the MRI might throw up and what any treatment might entail but pleased that he has actually done something about it rather than just saying he would.


I had decided that I was going to give my recently completed picture to my hairdresser Lumi because she had often remarked on its progress saying how much she liked it so I went into Jumbos to get a frame and presented it to her before she cut my hair.  She was absolutely blown away and shed a little tear bless her.  She is such a lovely person and I am so pleased that my picture will be given a good home.

This evening we had been invited for supper at Di and Rob's with Mina and Claire.  It was a lovely evening.  We started out sitting in the garden on what was a wonderfully warm and balmy evening with no condensation and thankfully no iggies.

Di cooked a fabulous meal - her boeuf bourgignon was absolutely delicious and she even made John his own without mushrooms.  The lemon meringue was a triumph and based on last night's offering Di could give Jackie from Tea for Two a run for her money on the lemon meringue stakes and that is high praise indeed!!!  I passed at the chocolate volcanoes because cooked chocolate isn't my thing but the others wolfed them down with relish.  Roberto was hostess with the mostess making sure we had drinks and music to entertain us bless him.

We always have a good evening when the six of us get together which sadly isn't as often as we would like due to commitments - Mina has a full time job with the dogs at her boarding kennels and she told me she is up at 3.00am most days so it is never an overly late night but late enough.  John and I walked home - taking the slightly less energetic route via Mr Similedes house in an attempt to lower our heart rates after tackling cardiac hill - it was a beautiful walk home and all four cats were in when we got home which is always pleasing.

Big big thanks to Di and Rob for a really lovely evening - just what we had needed after a rather emotional day and thanks to Claire and Mina for keeping us entertained.