We were woken up by a knocking at 845 and it was the car hire guy with our car!!! We must have been tired to sleep that long. Anyway, formalities all done and we have added our friend Stuart as a driver. He and Fiona arrive on Friday night for 10 days. Their third or fourth stay. We love having people come out. It gives us an excuse to not do "jobs" and see more of the island.
Anyway, have a Ford Fiesta which will be perfectly adequate for our needs. Most of our driving here is local, 10 miles in either direction but we will have some day trips up to the Karpaz, to Famagusta and to Nicosia.
Having got the car we grabbed some breakfast and I had a quick swim. It was already very hot. Then, we headed down the hill to the local farmers' market stall which is just about a mile away on the coast road towards Lapta. All day long the farmers' lorries turn up delivering produce from their fields and it is just a pleasure to buy such fresh wonderful food. It is mostly fruit, vegetables, herbs but they also sell traditional bread, yoghurt, cheese, oil and syrups. We filled our bags with fruit and veg for about 7 quid. Bought oranges and tomatoes for juicing. They are so cheap and make a lovely drink.
Marion, our house manager, had told me about a man selling a massive pile of wood just down the road from the market so we set off in search of him. We use wood for our woodburning oven, not to heat the house. Some people have woodburning heaters in the house but we're not here in the two months of the year when that would be used so we've not bothered with that. Its really only January and February when air temperatures get cold and we have heating in the bedrooms and gas fires in the lounge which does the job. Anyway, we found the place easily enough by the wood mountain outside but he was gone till the afternoon so we went home until then.
Unpacked our store cupboards which is always a bit like Xmas - finding things we'd forgotten we'd left behind! Tinned food, bottles of spirits, oils etc. I also put up some of the house decorations which are "special" for me and which I don't want to risk having broken during a holiday let. Bob had a potter down in his "man shed" under the pool.
Also had a look around the garden to see our new trees and to see what had survived the summer. It's the summer that kills out here, not winter like at home. We have a watering system but often water is restricted and we cannot generated enough pool grey water to keep it going. So, a few casualties but plenty of good growth elsewhere. We have tried to plant naturally with plants that originate here. This must give them the best chance. Some people have re-created "little Englands" with roses and god-forbid a lawn. It's ok if you have a well and can water lavishly but we live on a mountainside and that is not possible.
We admired our new bbq which is fantastic and together with the oven form an outside kitchen. The bbq used to be at the end of the pool terrace which was not so convenient and it was rebuilt for us by Dave Napier when he and Penny stayed in the house in February this year. Unfortunately they were unable to christen it because the weather was so diabolically cold. There was even snow..... just unheard of....... But, the bbq has been a massive hit with our guests and its a lovely one so we are going to raise some lamb chops in Dave's honour this trip.
Went back to the wood man after lunch. It turned out he owned the next door bar. Really nice Turkish Cypriot chap. Spoke excellent English. Arranged for him to deliver us a tonne of wood later on in the afternoon for 250YT (about £50) We explained what we wanted it for because we wanted the smaller pieces of wood rather than great thick logs. Bob has a chainsaw out here but really those bigger pieces are more fitting for a logburning heater than the oven.
Then into the outskirts of Girne to get a local phone sim from the TELSIM shop. Our old one had "died" because we had left it dormant too long. They do a special Tourist one that gives cheap international and local calls which cost £10. We mostly facetime with the girls but a local phone is better for restaurant booking and things like that. Filled the car up with petrol. It's 75p a litre here so a lot cheaper than the UK.
Home and a lazy afternoon napping and another swim. The chaps turned up with the wood at about 515. They reversed their truck right up our drive and put it down at the end behind the pool. It's best to keep it hidden in the winter. People here are very honest but you never know who's about looking for some winter fuel. It's a good pile and it should last till this time next year I'd think. We have some big thick bits left from last year's load and Bob is going to chainsaw them into smaller pieces which will burn better in the oven. The wood guys were fascinated and rather pleased that we used the wood burning oven and liked cooking in it. We've had this reaction before from locals. They like that we're trying their tradition, even though so many modern Cypriots would never use one anymore. In all honesty its a great way of cooking so many things and very cheaply. Not only that but having the oven outside means the heat can't warm the house which is a boon in the warm months. Plus of course the food tastes wonderful.....
Bob was drinksmeister tonight and we had g&ts on the terrace and then kangaroo steaks out by the pool. Another hot night so we sat out under the stars with coffee and brandy. Amazingly smooth for £2.50 a bottle.