Saturday 27th December 2003
We left in the afternoon and drove to the Stansted Hilton. We had a really good three-course meal there and went to bed fairly early, setting the alarm call for 03.45am.
Sunday 28th December
We are going with Onur Air this time, arriving at the airport at 4.45am, only to find that they had not yet opened the check-in desk and already a long queue had formed. Added to this was the confusion that we were booked on flight OHY 918 and the board was showing 920. Eventually they started checking us in, for which flight we don’t know because they kept changing the numbers. We just figured there must only be one to Istanbul and so we just went with the flow. We had out breakfast in the airport as the shops were just starting to open and next thing we knew our flight was boarding. A miracle, our flight left on time at 07.30. Our stopover in Istanbul was cut to just half an hour so, apart from the food which is not worth mentioning (not good), all went extremely well. We arrived at the Riverside at about 16.45, having driven through all the Christmas lights along the way in Girne. Very pretty. So, we went to our villa and then decided that as Happy Hour was 6 until 7, we would go and kill 2 birds with one stone: watch the Man Utd game, whilst having our half price drinks. Well, I sat next to a guy (Pete) who was drowning his sorrows, having had an enormous argument with his partner because he took the wrong turning in Lefkosa and now they are in separate villas and he was on his third bottle of wine. Mal sat next to a woman called Sue. Her hubby Cy, was at the bar. After a few drinks we went to the restaurant and had dinner with Sue and Cy, who incidentally are here to buy a property and so want to see ours. Well, after our meal we ended up back in the bar. At some stage Dave, who is also building a house here, joined us. Well, I was drinking brandy sours and they were quite weak and so we kept telling them not to forget the brandy. They got stronger!
Monday 29th December
At 2.00 am, the five of us were chucked out of the bar because they wanted to close and I think we were the only ones left for about the last hour!! Don’t remember too much but we woke up at about 9am and realised we had to sort out a car, have breakfast etc etc. Breakfast first and then down to reception. They told us they had no Nissan Sunnys left, only an automatic or we could pay £5 more a day for a Corsa. When I said forget it, we can go to Pine Bay and hire one, they let us have the Corsa for the same price. Amazing. You have to know how to work it over here.
We were just walking back after sorting the car out and who should drive up but Pete, whose sausages we have bought over and cod roe, ham etc. We stood in the middle of the road chatting to him and said we would be round to see them later.
The first thing we wanted to do was go and look at the house.
It looks so imposing sitting up there on the top of the hill. As we drove up the drive we saw Hakan and his foreman. Obviously up there checking on progress, as he knew we were back. I walked round and noticed things like, my double sink has been converted into a single bowl, Hakan said he forgot. I know this is no bullshit as he is so busy. We could say, re-cut the granite worktop and sort it out but he has been good to us, so a single sink is remaining. Also my idea of having lots of wall lights has been rather spoilt by sticking up bog standard ceiling fittings! No dimmer switches. He has also forgotten the barbecue (this will be sorted) All these things are small and at a later date we can sort out ourselves but I am trying to see what I need to bring in the container. The electricity poles are all in position and ready to go – should be tomorrow……yeah!!!!!!!!!!! All windows are in and shutters fitted.
As you can see we had a bit of rain to day! BUT at least there were no huge puddles so we know the outside terracing is flat!
Wardrobes are complete (not the ones I wanted but I am beginning to just go along with it all and we can upgrade when we are living here.)
The kitchen cupboards are well made but pine (which I didn’t want, but that is the wood they have here) and so I think we’ll need a few cans of ESP in the container and a painting job.
We left agreeing to meet Hakan again on Friday and Mal will give him a cheque for the final stage (minus the retention). We visited the house a bit later and checked through all the little things on our own. It really is lovely, well, we think so and that is what matters. The sliding doors to the winter lounge had been fitted but Hakan didn’t like them so he sent them back to be remade.
Mal in the swimming pool!
After that, off we went to see Gwen and Peter. As usual, the time flew by and we had to leave in the end to go to Girne to get some Turkish lira and also some provisions (booze) from the supermarket. It was really nice seeing them again and we have made arrangements to go round there for lunch on Wednesday. Went into Girne and got caught up in the rush hour gridlock. Back to the villa for some wine and the pink champagne type wine we had bought, very palatable which is more than can be said about a lot of the Turkish wines, 2 out of the 3 bottles we bought were flat, so they are going back tomorrow. Very reasonable dinner in the hotel.
Tuesday 30th December
We were up early this morning as we decided to go up to the Animal Rescue with another carrier bag full of dog leads and chews etc for the dogs.
We took 3 dogs with us, Pharaoh of course, who has now been designated a kennel on his own. I panicked a bit when I saw he wasn’t tied up under his usual tree. One of the other dogs we named Spot and he kept running ahead but quickly came back to our heels and we took another dog that looked like a rug. She was lovely and every time we stopped she came running back and lay on her back so that we could rub her tummy.
Then we had another dog (I forget her name) who sleeps around the office and once again Hamish did the whole walk with us. We did a longer walk than usual, a lot of hills, and I think all of them at one time or another decided to roll in something really disgusting and stinking. Again we managed to return all 5 dogs that we set off with. We are getting good at this now. I felt so sad as Pharaoh was taken back to his solitary kennel. We were asked if we would go again tomorrow as Pasa needed a walk and he is so big very few people will take him. We said we were busy tomorrow but perhaps we will go on Thursday. He is so big. I spoke to the girl in the office and said how fond I was of Pharaoh and she is trying to persuade me to have him. The only problem being we will be backwards and forwards a lot, plus the fact that he is on his own because he doesn’t mix with the other dogs. However on the walk with us he was fine but a real Pointer, searching through all the undergrowth and evidently he is terrified of loud bangs, obviously a hunting dog that hasn’t been trained properly. After our long walk, we went to pay the deposit for the sofa bed, chairs and table we are having made. Then into Yenihan’s for lunch. They are so nice in there. I was told the ‘chicken special’ was good so I had it but couldn’t manage it all and so Mal had some as well as his!
We then went into to Stringers to see Tracy about sorting out house insurance for us. Julie has left but they have poached a fella from Ian Smiths. She is going to get the guy to meet us at the house for a quote.
After this we went back up to the house. No electricity yet! Two fellas were there cleaning and told us to shut the front door when we were finished. This is the first time we have ‘locked up’ although we don’t have a key yet. We did some measuring up. The sliding wooden doors to the winter lounge are now on and looking good.
There is a glass panel (frosted) at the side of the front door but the glazing opens up so in the summer we can get a through draft there. Brilliant idea. It seemed so funny being left on our own there, in our house.
Ate in the hotel in the evening. We asked for brandy sours and to ‘make sure they had brandy in them’. We seemed to pay extra for this but they were good! A good day.
Wednesday 31st December
Our air con/heating in the bedroom has packed up and the man is still trying to fix it. Meanwhile they have given us extra heaters.
Tracey had arranged for the insurance man to come to the Riverside at 9.00am, so we were up early and had breakfast in time for his visit. We drove him up to the house and he looked all around but it was frustrating for us not to be able to get in as we don’t have a key. BUT no electricity yet! We went back to the Riverside and he rang his office for a quote, we said fine, have all the paperwork here on Friday and we will give you the annual payment. I know Hakan should be insuring it whilst he is building but we thought may as well start now and made sure we have earthquake cover for the house and the pool. We then drove towards Girne looking for fencing places, so we can work out some costs but the places we thought would sell fencing didn’t!
Went off to Peter and Gwen’s for lunch. When we arrived Peter was out chasing a stray dog, which they managed to catch and put in the couples’ garden behind them until KAR could come and fetch him, but it seems they are pretty full. We spent a very enjoyable day there. Gwen told me that Brian and Lil (Chandlers in Cyprus website) are selling up and moving to New Zealand. Gwen filled me in on everything else that had been happening too. It was dark when we left . The Turkish Cypriots have a massive celebration on New Years Eve and we had been told that 600 Turkish were due in the Riverside Restaurant tonight. There is also a massive firework display in Girne Harbour. I think because we had such a busy Christmas and the fact that we wanted to suit ourselves when we go out and when we don’t, so we both decided we go to the Supermarket and get our own food and give the high jinks in the restaurant a miss. So, we had a rotisserie chicken and lots of other nice food and drink. Well, I think because the heating was now fixed and we were so tired and had a few drinks, we dropped off to sleep around 9.30 and didn’t wake up until 5.00am!!