We've only got 3 days to go now before we leave first thing on Thursday morning. Tomorrow we want to leave free to have a day at the local beach and Wednesday will largely be taken up with closing up the house, packing, seeing friends for the last time and cleaning. So today we felt we had to make a big push to get all the small jobs remaining finished.
I am so lucky to have Bob. For many reasons, but one of them is that he is simply brilliant at diy. He can do almost anything: tiling; woodwork; painting; plumbing; electrics; mending things. He's really good at mending things. This trip he's tackled tasks as small as whittling a new spear for my Kenyan warrior wooden statue, to rewiring terrace lights damaged in a storm; building a cage around an a/c unit to keep out the pigeons, rebuilding from planks of wood an outdoor dining table, mending small leaks in the pool gulley; and fitting all the new small fitments to the bathrooms.
He is a genius and has saved us thousands over the years. It's tragic that schools have stopped teaching these skills and thus consigned generations of young men to reliance on paying tradesmen to do even the most minor household jobs.
Anyway, we went out and chose the fitments for the ensuite this morning and Bob has fitted them - towel rails, rings, toothmug holder etc. They look great. He also did a host of other small jobs. I helped where I could but generally my input was mopping all the floors (still a lot of fine dust from the tile cutting ), deadheading hundreds of geraniums, watering the pots.
We did fit in time for a haircut and shave for Bob at the local barber shop, Big Men. Always gives us a chuckle. He had the full nine yards today - haircut, eyebrows trimmed, ears and nose tapered, head and face massage, hot towels - the lot. Came to about £7. While he was doing that I went and got my feet "done". Pedi, toenails shellaced with a rather fab silver glitter polish. So very sparkly. Can't do a lot about my beat up feet but they did their best. About £17.
By the end of the day we were both knackered. I mean: It's hot too. So feeling in need of a cooling beverage. Which brings me to my next topic: alcohol.
It is fair to say that alcohol is very cheap out here in comparison to the UK. You can get pretty much anything you want. The local beer is called Efes. The most common form of Efes is a lager but they also do Efes Malt and Efes Extra Strong. Its cheap. A 500ml bottle is about 60p.
There are Cypriot wines but all are made (at the moment) in the south so not very available in the north. Many Turkish wines are available: Doluca, Yakut, Angora being very popular brands. They run from about £1 per bottle. All supermarkets sell wine and beer. You can also buy international wine brands in the supermarkets.
If you want something a little bit special, then we recommend visiting The World of Wines which is on the main road between Alsancak and Lapta. Turn left at the bottom of the hill and it is on the left after about a mile. They have a large selection of excellent wines from all over the world and are glad to advise in a friendly manner. We really like their South African Silver Boom wines. Delicious. Not expensive for the quality and they have all sorts there. Give them a try.
All sorts of spirits and liqueurs are widely available. We like the Cypriot spirits ie gin, rum, vodka, brandy. They are generally on the lower shelf of the supermarket under the international branded drinks. Honestly, in mixed drinks, they are indistinguishable and at about £3 for a 750ml bottle, a heck of a lot cheaper. Lord Jim is a popular local gin. The brandy is also very smooth.
So, we cooked in, some pork souvlaki washed down by nice cold Efes. Then watched Guardians of the Galaxy which we have on dvd, which was greatly enhanced by the Cypriot brandy. An enjoyable yarn. Rubbish really but oddly likeable.
DIY and Wine!
Garden of Eden
Travelling to the Karpaz
Lapta Walkway, Dinner in Bellapais
Nicosia: Dervishes and Shopping
Went to Kyrenia for around 9 o'clock for our individual health checks. Had to take our "samples" with us. We dropped John and Sue off above the harbour and arranged to meet for lunch.
Must say how impressed we were by the whole procedure and I do recommend it if you are coming out here and would value a full check of all sorts of health aspects. Most impressive of all was how we moved from test to test with no hanging about, escorted by an English lady. It was really smooth and efficient. On arrival, they took our forms and samples and we went into the lab where bloods were taken. Excellent bloodletters. No problem finding a vein. Straight in and almost painless.
From there we separated for some separate tests. I had a mammogram, chest x ray, cervical smear, bone density scan, body ultrasound to check bladder, bowel and "ladies bits". Bob had some of the above although his bone density scan was done at different angles and he had prostate tests, and his ultrasound looked more at bladder, bladder and prostate.
Finally we both had an ecg heart test which involved being pegged out on a bed with electrodes attached to wrists, ankles and over the chest.
We expect to be called back on Friday to be walked through the test by a doctor, examined physically and then given our results, scans, xrays, ecg printout to take away. Just a superb service.
Met John and Sue at the George pub in Kyrenia for a spot of lunch and then made a few calls on the way home but were back at the pool by about 2. Had a swim and a read in the sun.
Tonight we are eating at home Bob has made one of his stalwart dishes which is white fish fillets cooked in an envelope with ginger, spring onions, wine etc. It's delish. Still hot here.
We changed bedrooms tonight ready for the bathroom guy to come back in the morning to start our ensuite.I would think it will take about a week.
Glorious weather today and we were all feeling lazy, so we spent a day around the pool. All had several swims. The water temperature was up to 28C so very comfortable in my opinion although there were some winnerdly screams from the men as the water lapped up against their nether regions. However.... multiple swims were enjoyed by all which says it all really.
We also had a lovely lunch poolside washed down by some chilled rose wine. All very civilised.
Tonight we ate out. At the Blue Song in Lapta. This is a first for us, although we have read many excellent reviews for this place which is in on the Lapta strip, overlooking the sea. Must say we had a great dinner there and lovely dining above the limpid sea with the stars overhead. Most of us had calamari (so tender) to start, John had the grilled halloumi, then he and I both had lamb chops for main, Bob had fillet steak and Sue had fish on a spinach and cheese sauce. All dishes were accompanied by chips, salad and rice. There was lovely bread and also Turkish coffee to finish. Our bills including 2 bottles of wine and a bottle of mineral water and a beer was around £35 per couple. Very good value for the amount of food and wine and the quality.
Came home, stargazed a bit, then sat around inside with nippy sweeties and put the world to rights a bit.. Or not.... A very good day.
The Boler family love travel, food and drink. Not necessarily in that order! The villa is our home from home which we love to share with our friends, old and new.