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
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.
First Bathroom Done!
Have had two quiet days around the house while we prepare for our friends, John and Sue, arriving on Saturday evening in Larnaca. We are going across to pick them up. They came out for a week last November and must have liked it, because now they're back again. No doubt we shall have some days out with them as well as days around the pool and on the beach.
The weather continues hot and dry, temperatures in the low/mid 30s during the day and low 20s at night. Very nice to be out and about in.
Our builder has been in and today he finished the main bathroom. He's done a fantastic job and been so tidy. He even vacuumed and mopped the floors after he'd finished where there had been dust from the tile cutting. We're very pleased with the result, much more modern and nice and light. The two shower heads are enormous and give a great amount of water. The shower cubicle in this bathroom replaces a bath which no one used much. The design is a Turkish one which incorporates a bench at one end of the tray which can be used to sit on whilst showering or (my idea) as a handy rest for getting down to your toes!!!! Also useful for small children to sit on while mum showers them off. Anyway, we think our guests will approve of the new facility. Hope so anyway. My photos don't do it justice, but you'll get the idea.
They are starting on our ensuite bathroom on Wednesday. Looking forward to getting that complete too.
So, after an hour or so around the pool and a quick swim, we set off for Larnaca about 530. Arrived just after 7 and John and Sue were already out. The flight was early and they had just about walked straight through. We got home and had a light supper -- they'd been the victim of the new BA i.e no food or drink - and then sat out on the terrace talking over some wine. Looking forward to the days ahead
I'd forgotten quite what a perfect time to visit Cyprus May is. The sky is clearly blue, temperatures around the 28C mark and with a very light breeze. Just gorgeous. Today was the first day I've felt up to actually lying in the sun and we made a good session of it. Very peaceful with our kindles out around the pool. No builders today. They finished up a full day yesterday and the wall tiling is nearly complete. The main man is back tomorrow morning for a half day and I'm sure he will finish the wall tiling and probably the grouting then. Very pleased with their progress. They have promised to finish the main bathroom by Saturday when our friends John and Sue arrive. They were proposing to take a break then but we've said, No, go on. We want to be sure that everything is finished and fully functional by the time we leave on June 1st.
So, lovely hot day today and I actually went into the pool. It feels pretty warm. 27C. Hopefully as I start to really feel better this week, I'll do some running in it. Found that really good exercise before and great for resistance on my arms. Tonight Bob made burgers and we ate them outside.
And..... I'm Back!
April 28th, 2017
So.... the suitcase turned up at 0040. Bob stood at the bottom of the drive in his pyjamas to wave the guy down as it is dark around us by then and he could easily go past. I waited on the terrace. The stars overhead were just amazing. I always forget how very many we miss in the UK because there is so much light pollution. Up here, there's just clean, dark air and they sparkle out in their millions. It was still warm. Imagine standing outside in pj bottoms and a thin t shirt right now.
Bob was not in the least surprised when the suitcase turned up minus one of the four wheels and with a big hole in the corner where it should be..... my fault for shouting at them! I didn't shout , I spoke with an authoritative tone!!!! Anyway, we just took the case upstairs and then turned right in.... To be dealt with in the morning....
Woke up to the most brilliant day! Blue sky, hot bright sun and so much green..... this is one of the greenest times on the island. Just emerging from the winter wet months and everything bursting into colour with the warm sun. The flowers and shrubs are just so..... bright.....
It was bliss to unpack and get clean clothes and my electric toothbrush and cosmetic. Lodged a damaged luggage case on the back of the "late luggage" case so will wait on that.
We had a few admin things to do today so sadly could not enjoy the hot weather as much as we might. It would have been so great to just lie around the pool. However, we had breakfast on the dining terrace and then set off to our bathroom shop which is the other side of Girne (Kyrenia), about 30 minutes drive. Confirmed everything with them and they will start next week. Then to sort a few things out at the land office and electricity company - just paperwork.
Stopped at Ileli on the way back to pick up a few supplies. We have two supermarkets at the bottom of the hill: Starlings and Ileli. They're both good and have just everything you could want, whether Cypriot or British. Got home about `1 and had another lovely lunch outside on the terrace. Such a treat to be outside this time of the year.
Around 6pm, we broke out the g&t and were just sipping into it when we heard a "halloooo" and it was our lovely neighbours, just below us on the hill, Alan and Lesley. Had a lovely catch up with them. Apparently the vineyards just up the hill from us are moving on with their plans and not only is the winery underway but a boutique hotel too. There will be wine tastings, sales and wine and food related events. Sounds great to me! Then settled to dinner at home tonight, brandies and coffee and watched Masterchef on tv. Hopefully tomorrow we can relax in the sun having been good and got our jobs out of the way today.
An Interesting Arrival!
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.