December 2004

Start of December 2004
I suppose some of you may be wondering what we do when we are back in the UK.  Of course, it is not only Mal�s exam work we come back for but also a good opportunity to see the kids.  This time is no exception.  We looked after River, Sol, Tariq and Torin one Saturday whilst Ange and Rhys went out to buy their presents.  They returned with the most enormous Christmas tree imaginable! It only just fit into the living room.

Two of Mal�s exam meetings were cancelled which we were not pleased about as we could have spent another two and a half weeks in Cyprus and particularly this time of year, would have been far preferable.

Whilst in Birmingham we spent one day at the Good Food Show.  We watched Ainsley Harriott and Mal spent a lot of the day sampling the real ales.  Of course, he is starved of these in Cyprus.

It is also a time for catching up with everyone and sorting out all the Christmas presents and cards.  I have to say that I am disappointed not to be here for the kid�s nativity plays but perhaps next year.

The Wednesday before leaving we went out for a meal with Mal�s sisters, brother and partners.  We also managed a trip to Lille and the caravan park Christmas lunch, with too many courses to mention.

Torin has started his new job and loves it.  We are so pleased for him as he has fought so hard to overcome the after effects of his accident and it is so nice to see him so happy and �alive� again.  On top of all this, as the company he is working for is a �European� company, the package seems far preferable to that of an English company.  They have already flown him to Germany.

We stayed with Torin and Kay the night before leaving for Cyprus.

Torin and Kane, his beloved bulldog

Friday 10th December
Torin offered to run us to the airport and so we left in plenty of time.  They all laugh at me for getting there early but as I always say, planes don�t wait for you.

We arrived before the official check in time but the desk had already opened, so we checked in, went straight through, had a leisurely coffee and did a bit of duty free shopping.  Quite honestly, the duty free holds few bargains nowadays.

We flew with CTA and the plane left on time and was only half-full (or should I say half empty!) This meant of course that everyone could spread out and enjoy the flight.  We arrived at Ercan on time and much to our amazement (having been let down so many times before) our Hire car company was standing waiting for us with a board with my name on it held aloft. They also gave us a Christmas present!  He filled in the forms, gave them to me, and told us not to bother paying but to see his dad tomorrow! Back home at last. We drove back and then sat on the terrace.  We are talking about 11.00pm at night and it was 13 degrees.  Far warmer than the UK. I actually managed to unpack the suitcases before we went to bed and found that the glass lampshade I had packed in the suitcase was still in one piece and so were the Christmas pudding and the Christmas cake!!

Saturday 11th December
We woke up to discover that it had been raining during the night and all the swimming pool terrace was soaked.  It had stopped for a while but then continued for the rest of the day. Mal went to look at the new side garden and a couple of things have died so we will have to tell them about that.

This morning is the morning for our Internet connection, so Mal stayed and waited for them and I drove off to the KAR (Kyrenia Animal Rescue) Christmas Bazaar. I am pleased to say, it was packed, which means a lot more money for the animals.  Gwen was busy behind one of the stalls but I managed to have a few words with her, bought some bits and then went off to get the shopping.  Still pouring with rain.  I arrived home to find that the guy had not come to do the Internet connection but had phoned to say that he was ill and so would come on Monday.

After lunch, we drove down to Autumn Rent a car to pay for our month�s car rental. They phoned Osman to come to the office and made us coffee.  Three hours later, after lots of tales about the 1974 war and many other things, we left.

Back home and we heard a noise on the terrace and it was Kara, absolutely screeching at us.  She had a limp and kept holding her front paw up and from the noise she was making I thought the screams were pain.  However, I filled her bowl up with some meat and biscuits and she scoffed it down and kept giving us dirty looks as if to say �How dare you leave me for so long!� Of course, we couldn�t get hold of her to investigate the paw but she was putting weight on it.  After her enormous dinner, she snuggled up on the chair under the terrace, where I had left a cot duvet on it and went off to sleep.  She did come in for about half an hour and sat just inside the door on the mat but no further.  She was obviously pleased that we are back.

We sat and watched the Liverpool v Everton game and then I decided we really ought to start on getting the house a warmer place. So, we got all the rugs out and it really makes a difference. I also put up the Christmas tree and decorations so it is looking much more like home now.

We watched a DVD in the evening and although it wasn�t cold enough to light the big fire, we did put the calor gas heater on for a while and the heater in the bedroom before we went to bed.

Sunday 12th December
The rain has stopped and the sun was out. Peter and Gwen arrived and so we caught up with all the chat since we have seen them last.  They were pleased to see us and us likewise. Gwen was pleased to hear that Kara has returned as she was getting worried about her. Whilst Peter and Gwen were here, a fella called Brian arrived. He has a house in In�esu which Hakan is building and is having a problem with damp which Hakan says is fine! He came up for a chat and to hear our views on Hakan.  Perhaps we are not the best people to ask at this moment in time when we still have no official access and walls may have to be moved because Hakan has put them in the wrong place!

After they left, we had lunch and as the weather was so nice, we decided to go for a walk. Just as we were about to leave, Kara arrived back and so I gave her some liver I had cooked specially! The sun was really warm. This is what we enjoy, walking with just a thin sweatshirt on in December! We walked up to the edge of Malatya, then down into Alsancak, and back up through In�esu.  It was nice walking through the villages and the Cypriot children all saying �hello� to us.

Back home and a cup of tea and sat out the front.  Now it is winter this is where the winter sun comes, so for the winter we change sides of the house.

The sun has been lovely today but because of the clear skies, the temperature seems to drop a lot in the evening.

Kara came for her dinner.  She is still limping.

Monday 13th December
The computer company are supposed to be arriving at 9 this morning.  We gave them until 11!  Mal rang them and it seems their engineer is still off sick, so maybe tomorrow, who knows.  This didn�t bode well for future service from this company and so Mal said he wanted his money back as they couldn�t give us a definite of when anyone was coming. We paid for this a month ago! It certainly sounded like they didn�t want to give us our money back and they said they would call back in two hours.  Meanwhile Mal rang the solicitor who doesn�t have any answers for us yet.

The computer company called back and said they have someone now who will come today! Of course, Mal said he was very pleased about that.  Two men arrived and they were very nice and after clambering on the roof and sorting out all the wiring, we are online! Now all Mal has to do is set it all up but at least I can send emails now!

We also put up two curtain rails and hung a big curtain behind the front door (there are a few gaps around it!) and curtains in the dining area.

Peter came round early evening, bringing some back issues of Cyprus Today for us.  He sat with Mal at the computer for a while.

It seemed really chilly again this evening but improved by the curtains going up.  Kara arrived about five o�clock.  I gave her liver and then she sat outside on the chair with a cot duvet on it for the rest of the evening.  I did leave the back patio doors open for a while but she won�t come in.  She is still limping and so Gwen is going to get me a �cat catcher� basket and eventually if we can get her in it then we will take her to the vets and see what is wrong with her leg.

Tuesday 14th December
Up early this morning and off to KAR kennels to dog walk. It was such a lovely day and so we did a long walk right round the mountains.  We had four dogs today and managed to take four back to the kennels again!  We didn�t know their names today but none of them wandered far, in fact the little black one decided that he would keep four paces behind Mal for the entire walk.

This is a picture of the kennels and the last picture is of a lovely dog obviously just been brought in, skin and bone and also with a large scar across her head.  I didn�t like to ask the story but we will have to see how she is next time we go as she was very timid.

As those that know me, will know I am very tempted!

Well, isn�t she lovely! Her name is Gizmo

Wednesday 15th December
The sun is out again and so I decide today is for weeding the new garden and cleaning the house. You have to imagine a �spring� garden that has been well watered and left for a month, now you can imagine how many weeds there are! Meanwhile Mal is on the computer all day.  The installation company told him to install Windows XP service pack 2 but this blocked file sharing.  He spends the entire day trying to sort it out.

Because it is so nice and sunny during the day, it seems to be so cold at night! So we light the fire and then it is warm.

Thursday 16th December
No Internet connection this morning, Mal called them and they said they were sorting it out.

A dog walking day again so we went up to the kennels, another four, different dogs and we did the long walk all the way round the mountain again. About half the way round the skies became very dark and it starts to hail!  We didn�t get very wet!

On the way home, we wanted to look for some things for the fire.  The first thing was a fireguard but the one we were offered was �52, although it is hand made, not what we are looking for. We then looked at a fire set of tongs etc that was also pricey so decided we would improvise! Next thing a bucket to keep some coal in.  A galvanised bucket we thought to be a good idea and so Mal went into the Yapi Market and came out with a pair of high steps! Foolishly, I had waited in the car! They didn�t have any buckets but decided we needed taller steps as ours won�t reach high enough to change a light bulb for the highest light fitting. Then we had to try to fit them in the car.  We just about managed.

We also called into �Ronnies� to see if he had any fireguards but no luck there.

Peter came round in the afternoon and together with Mal, they were doing some genealogy on the Internet. (Connection came back on this afternoon!) Peter was very happy because Mal managed to find about another three of his relations.

In the evening, a short power cut at around 6.30, which we thought would be in for the night, but no the power was back on within about 20 minutes.

Friday 17th December
There is an auction on Sunday and the viewing is today and tomorrow, so we decided we would go to see if there are any fireguards. It is �Amanda�s Auctions and the auction rooms are at Ozankoy.  We drove up there and there seemed quite a lot of people viewing. We bought a list and started walking round.  Yes, we did find a fireguard and needless to say, many other things took our fancy, so out of the 660 lots, we have marked quite a few and put prices we are prepared to go up to next to them. We will return on Sunday.

Peter arrived again in the afternoon.  He is hooked in by the Internet!

Saturday 18th December
Another dog-walking day!  This is really good exercise and we managed another entire lap round the mountain.  Today we took four large dogs.  This was fine but right at the beginning two went in one direction and two went in the other direction.  After about ten minutes of yelling, whistling and tempting them with dog chews, we had all four together going the way we wanted to go!  Hamish, one of the kennels long-term residents who just ambles about the place joined us too. By the time we were doing the �up� paths we were getting very warm. At least it didn�t hail this time.

On returning to the kennels, we chatted to Steve who was on duty today.  Evidently all of KAR had been out for their Christmas dinner last night at a restaurant I think should remain nameless, and it had not been a good experience with everyone complaining about the service, the food, everything. What a shame.

On the way back home, we did the shopping and collected another curtain pole from Fiskos, this time for the back patio door.  The weather hasn�t changed yet at night!  We did find two huge logs today by the roadside, which will be great for our fire tonight.  We considered buying a lorry load but are convinced the weather will change soon and the logs will just be sitting here until next winter!

Peter visited again.  His team is playing tomorrow, not today.

A roaring fire tonight!

Sunday 19th December
Auction Day! We arrived at the auction in Ozankoy about 9.45 and collected a paddle for the auction. We were greeted with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. As we were relatively early, we managed to get two very comfortable seats, armchairs in fact. At 10.00am, the auction commenced. At around item 337, they broke for half an hour lunch when we had coffee and a roll.

The auction on the whole was quite an experience, whilst we thought some things would go fairly cheaply, there appeared to be undisclosed reserve prices, meaning that many items went under the hammer and then not sold.

We managed to buy a fireguard, which we went for.  This was �14, a good saving from the �52 shop price.  Of course, we ended up with other things like a camel stool, a large wicker log basket, some children�s books and a nice embroidered Turkish mirror, a Turkish plate, two Turkish fancy wooden boxes.  We thought we did well and had a couple of items still to bid for but by 4.30pm we had both had enough and left.

By the time we arrived home there was our nightly power cut so Mal set to lighting the fire and we sat with the emergency lighting on.  It didn�t last for too long. The auction had taken it out of us! Quite an exhausting day surprisingly.

One of our purchases, the embroidered mirror

Monday 20th December
In the morning we went back to the auction rooms, paid, and collected all our things from the auction rooms. There is a 12 and a half per cent hammer charge and then KDV on top of that price.  We collected all our things and came back home.  A miserable day, raining all day long. The Internet is not working but we know they have problems in heavy rain.

Tuesday 21st December
What a nice surprise, the sun is out and it is much warmer.  This is more like it!

Dentist this morning. We drove into Girne and popped in and had a quick chat with Gwen in the KAR shop as it is her morning to work in there and then straight round for my dental appointment with Seda Serger. I broke part of my tooth in the UK and had a fear she would say it had to come out but no such problem.  She looked at it and said she could fill it again and grind it down a little.  She asked me if I wanted an injection and so I asked if it would hurt and she said no, so I had no injection and it was fine. This cost me 30 million TL, around �11 at the current rate of exchange.  A bargain.  For those reading this who are interested her practise is on the opposite side of the road to the main Post Office in Girne, above the Pharmacy.  I recommend her!

We left, very relieved that this was all I needed doing. Then on to pay the electricity bill and a look around the shops. We also had to pay our annual payment for the house insurance.  We went into the offices and we were told that the renewal had been sent to Stringers.  We called in on the way home and paid our insurance and it also gave us a chance to have a word with Tracey and Phil and to wish them a Happy Christmas.

Back home and although the ground was sodden from all the rain, it was easy to pull the weeds up, so out I went to weed.

Still no Internet.  Peter called up again to do a bit more of his genealogy with Mal.

Log fire again tonight but something wasn�t quite right, probably damp wood, but we had a house full of smoke. Even so, we settled back and watched Polar Express, which got us in the mood for Christmas.

Wednesday 22nd December
Another dog-walking day.  Very cloudy and the weather doesn�t look too promising but we risk it anyway and head for the kennels.  It drizzles a bit on the way but manage to do the whole long walk without getting at all wet.  In fact, we get really warm.  It may still be cloudy but it is a lot warmer.

So, we start with four dogs, before we even get to the proper paths, Chocolate, named by Mal tugs my arm and disappears with his lead attached.  I manage to get the other three on the right path while Mal goes chasing off after him.  Eventually Mal gets him, we take his lead off, and he manages to slip his collar!  He chases all over the place, just like a greyhound while we are trying to capture him to put his collar back on. After a while, we manage this and keep all four dogs with us on the same path.  Success. Or so we think. We then see an enormous 4×4 heading up the track towards us.  Three dogs completely freak out and run off and only the little Cyprus Terrier is left! We put her on the lead as the vehicle passes but there is really no need, as these dogs tend to stay at your heel the entire walk anyway.  We were slightly concerned and as Mal said there is a bit of pride involved here, if we take four out, our intention is to return the correct number back to the kennel! We called and called the other three but only two returned. One of these was Eminem, who we knew was a terrified dog and has taken months of coaxing even to go near anyone.  He did stay with us for the rest of the walk but after being scared by the 4×4, he kept a distance behind us. We could not get him back on the lead though.  So, we returned two on leads, one off the lead and one lost completely.  We do know from experience that they all return to the kennels and sure enough, he had returned on his own!

This is the troublemaker!

Mal with three of the dogs

This was not an easy walk today with all the extra chasing around! Still enjoyable though. We need to get some shopping but decide that we ought to leave it until later as we are covered in slobber from the dogs and mud from the walk.

Peter arrives again in the afternoon to do more of his genealogy investigation with Mal.

In the evening Mal and I went out for dinner to Dűkkans. We had a nice meal and it was all very Christmassy.  They had all their decorations up and the Christmas lights were all on along the main road into Girne.

Thursday 23rd December
This is the day we have planned to go to the South, from our bid won at the auction of promises.  Mal and I did wonder whether we had been foolish doing this two days before Christmas when obviously in the south of the island, they celebrate Christmas.

We arrived at the Lefkoşa check point, showed our passports, had a paper visa stamped, they checked us on their computer and then on to the Greek check point where Shirley just waved her insurance document at them and without looking they waved us through.  Shirley was driving us and Margaret came too. No problem!

Our first stop was Marks and Spencer would you believe. A three-storey building with identical things as in the UK.  I am sure the pricing labels were the same but of course, the Cypriot pound is around 20% more, so obviously you are paying 20% more for goods there. Mal bought some slippers as we have been unable to find any in the North, I am sure he has three pairs back in the UK, and I paid with my M&S card!

We then went on to Orphanides, a large hypermarket, which we felt, would be heaving.  No way, just like M&S just a very few people in there.  We purchased things like pork chops, pork joints, Oxo cubes and some Greek food and wine. Mal was totally inspired when he found some Belgian beers and roughly the same price as in the UK!  I think Oxo cubes in the North are about 4 times the UK price and are about half this in the south.  I shall have to remember to put some in the suitcase the next time we are in the UK. When we finished our shopping, we sat and had a coffee and then went on to a diy store.  They had some dog leads on offer and so I bought some to take to the rescue when we go on Christmas day.

We then made our way back to the border where the procedure was reversed, they stamped our visas and let us go on our way. They didn�t even check to see what we had bought.  There was talk of them only letting you bring back goods to the value of 50 Euros.  Don�t ask why Euros as they have Cypriot pounds! So, no problems at all and no queues anywhere, not at the checkpoints or in the shops.  How different this is to the UK, two days before Christmas. AND it had been sunny and warm all day.  This is the way to do your last minute shopping!

Friday 24th December
It may have been sunny and warm yesterday but boy did it rain last night and it didn�t stop all day.  We watched the corner of the garden flooding and stayed indoors otherwise we would have got drenched. Also at 12.30, the power went down!

At 2.30, I went off to Lemar supermarket to do my stint at the �supermarket beg�.  This is where volunteers man a stall with an empty trolley by the side of it, looking for the generosity of the shoppers.  If they feel so inclined then they can buy any pet food and put it in the trolley on the way out.  The stall has goods on it to sell for KAR (Kyrenia Animal Rescue) and also information about the kennels and animals they have rescued and a donation box.

I was manning the stall with Gwen and I think people were donating because it was such a miserable day and they felt sorry for us! Derek and Eunice came towards the end and Mark their son was with them.  He also used to work with me in Luton, so it was nice catching up with him.  He has come to stay with his mum and dad for Christmas.  At 5.00pm, we packed the stall away and went home.

I arrived home and still no power. Then of course, there is the big debate whether we wait for dinner or alter our menu and cook on the gas hob rather than the electric oven.  By 7.30, we decided to change the menu.  Of course, you can imagine, we just finished the last mouthful and the lights came back on.

We watched a DVD for the rest of the evening, not having any Christmas entertainment on Turkish TV!

Saturday 25th December � Christmas Day
Well, a different Christmas Day, very quiet without the kids and I was a bit tearful at first but we had made a decision to go to the kennels and dog walk.  Gwen and Peter had said they would come up but we told them we would be out in the morning and then Peter was managing his Alsan�ak football club in the afternoon.

The dog walk as usual was lovely and surprisingly warm and dry after yesterday. Today we took four dogs and Hamish and the other resident dog came with us, so in fact we had six and returned six.

The right hand picture is Hamish at the back and �almost� a black lab!

Poor Joanne, the Manager of the kennels had drawn the short straw and was working Christmas Day. On our return to the kennels, we made a fuss of the other dogs tied up outside.  Gizmo (left) is still there, still trying to put some weight on and the one in the picture on the right is such a nice dog.  He is out here because the other dogs decided to chew his ears, in fact quite badly!

We left and drove back home and cooked our Christmas lunch. It seemed strange having all the shops open in Girne on Christmas Day.  In the afternoon, we spoke to all the big kids and the little kids.

We decided to watch another DVD in the evening, Forest Gump in fact! Then much later Tristan called from New Zealand, bless him. Of course, by this time he has to be on Boxing Day!

Sunday 26th December � Boxing Day
Wow, what a warm day.  Gwen and Peter came to visit today and we sat outside in the sun.  I know I put the thermometer directly in the sun but it went up to 33 degrees! We had a very lazy day after they left and then in the afternoon we realised that the football may be on.  What a surprise, we watched the Chelsea game and this was followed by the Manchester United game and a bit later, Liverpool.  This is a bonus and all on free TV!  I know this probably sounds so sad but we do like to watch our football! After all, we have to make up for the lack of English programmes.  We had considered paying for Digi-Turk and then we would have Eastenders every night and many more but we thought we could cope without that!  So, our evening was then spent watching a downloaded version of The Last Samurai.  A good film.

Monday 27th December
We had reserved tickets for our return to the UK in January with CTA via Ankara Travel.  We were told the price was �240.  Meanwhile I had seen an advert in Cyprus Today, offering tickets for �159 return with TWI.  I had emailed and what with all the power cuts and the Internet going down as well, it had taken a few days to get a definite booking.  I finally received an email confirming our seats had been booked and for the ten days we will be returning to the UK in April.  These of course were more because the �159 offer only went up to 27th March but the price was still cheaper than CTA, considerably. Their office is in Lefkoşa and so we drove there to pay for and collect our tickets.

Anyone who knows Lefkoşa will know that the street maps are not excellent and apart from that, once you hit the traffic, half the streets aren�t named. A challenge.  I have to commend Mal whose navigational skills leave a lot to be desired, by his own admission but today we managed to go straight there. I had gone in thinking I would just adopt the Cypriot way of driving and if in doubt, half mount the pavement and hold all the traffic up, everyone hoots all the time anyway, so what the hell.  This was not even necessary.

We walked into the office and spoke to Ilksen Yeşilada, the Manager, a very nice man.  He asked one of the girls to prepare the tickets whilst we chatted about his daughter and the fact that she was applying to London Metropolitan Uni to study Business Studies.  (Mal�s subject of course!) Mal showed him sites to view on the Internet. We then paid for our tickets and Ilksen told us if we were returning regularly then he would give us a discount. A good morning�s work.  We were going to shop in Lefkoşa but as the sun was out we decided to come back home.

In the afternoon, Peter came up again.  He came to clean the pool but only got as far as the computer and Mal and Peter again went into the genealogy sites again!

Tuesday 28th December
We rang Karen in the morning, as it is her birthday and wished her a Happy Birthday.

We managed to get a bit of weeding down even though the ground is so soggy and then sat in the sun for a while as we have a nice little sun trap at the front of the house.

As you can see in the right hand picture a bit of building is going on behind us! Or should I say in front of us, as this is the front of the house. Of course we tend to think of the other side, the swimming pool side being the front as that is where we look down to the sea.

In the afternoon, we went to Gwen and Peter�s as today is Gwen�s birthday so we took her present and card down and stayed for a while.

Wednesday 29th December
Another dog-walking day.  I make no apologies to anyone who has no interest in dogs! We love it and feel at least we are doing a little to help Kyrenia Animal Rescue. For more info:

We collected all the food from the supermarket beg from Gwens yesterday and had it all loaded in the car ready to take this morning.  I understand usually Margaret Ray (chairperson of KAR) usually sorts all this out but unfortunately, about a week ago her husband David had an accident in his car, went off the road and is in quite a bad way in hospital. We wish him well.

It was a lovely day for our long walk around the mountain, so after unloading all the car, we set off with another four dogs. The brown and black one was a real �jump up you� dog and so we were both covered in mud by the end. She also took to Mal and as it was getting near the end of the walk, she kept looking at me with those �take me home with you� eyes.

Today’s collection, and just to show that I do go on these walks too!

Two new additions outside the office

This is Steve having five minutes cuddle with Skippy in the office. Skippy was found after an accident and as you can see, still has one front leg in plaster, the other one has been taken off. She is just like a circus dog and has learnt to run around the office on her back legs even though she can now use three! Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

And of course, Gizmo is still there trying to put on weight!

On the drive home, in spite us being covered in mud, we could not resist stopping to take this photo! Take a look at what is on offer under the petrol prices!!

We believe they mean the coal that they are selling (super coke).

Thursday 30th December
Sunny again today. We had a cup of tea in bed and around 7.30, our doorbell rang.  Mal grabbed for some trousers and the pair of us were imagining who our early morning visitor was, maybe Mustafa from the land behind or his brother in law, perhaps even Hakan (no chance!)?  Mal returned and couldn�t stop laughing.  He was greeted by a man holding a shoebox with a slit in the top of it and he was saying ��őp�ű (pronounced chopchew)� Christmas�.  A good thing Mal has been studying his Turkish.  It was the dustmen calling for their Christmas box!  He either didn�t have the heart or could not recall enough Turkish instantly to tell him that we don�t have a rubbish collection. Instead, he put a couple of million Turkish Lire in his box. My word, hasn�t taken them long to catch on has it?!

We planned to go to the �First ever North Cyprus Craft Fair� in Lefkoşa. The exhibition centre, where it was being held was easy to find.  We had heard there were about 80 stalls and a lot of the stall holders had come over from Turkey, which meant things should be cheaper, as they are in Turkey.  The fair had opened a day late because the Turkish Cypriots had complained that they could not compete and the Turkish should be taxed.  When we arrived, I have to say we were a little disappointed. It seems that a lot of them have given up the ghost and returned to Turkey.  We did however buy a few bits and pieces including a wall hanging for the winter lounge.  We didn�t stay long as it was not as huge as we had imagined.

Back home and the sun still out and much warmer. Peter arrived in the afternoon, having had a tooth taken out this morning. With him, he brought some post for us.  There was a Christmas card from my niece Julie and our Christmas present from Susie and Ken. Thanks both of you! That was a real surprise as it was posted in the UK on 20th December and we fully expected it to arrive on our return out here.  The post office has excelled this time!

Mal and Peter did more genealogy on the computer.

Kara arrived for her dinner, note that she never comes in the morning so that we can capture her and take her to the vets. Her leg seems to be improving.

It has done nothing to dull her appetite!

Friday 31st December � New Years Eve
Quick trip to the supermarket in case everywhere is shut tomorrow. No Internet and so Mal called and they told us they were fixing it.  When it was back on Mal sent them an email listing all the times the service has been down, seems like every time we want to go on!   We now have radio through the computer, so are able to listen to Radio 2 and Magic.  It is good to hear some proper English news rather than the 8.00pm Cypriot-English version of the news on BRT2.

Peter here again in the afternoon, he has become addicted to finding out more and more of his family history and they have managed to get back to the 18th century.

From the middle of the afternoon, we tried to top up our phone ready for the New Years Eve wishes. It was obvious that the network was completely clogged.  In desperation, we tried to ring Rhys and say Happy New Year because we knew we wouldn�t get through later.  Eventually I managed to get through but he couldn�t hear a word.  He called back about half an hour later but a hopeless line

In the evening, we had discussed what we wanted to do.  We had thought about going for the whole sit down do but we have done that before here and as a lot of Turkish come over for New Year, it is always very �tiara and tinsel� and then the singers come on and sing Turkish songs that everyone joins in with except us Brits.  So, having seen a sign at the Corner Bistro that they were having an open buffet, we decided to walk down there.  It is about 2 miles away but of course all down hill (on the way there). So, we left about 8.30.  We decided not to take the enormous torch and so took the medium sized one and that packed up before we reached the end of our drive.  Back we went and we end up with a tiny one. Where is the moon when we need it?  Bear in mind, we have no streetlights which we love except when we have to walk somewhere at night!

Firstly, we went across the road to the doghouse to give them a bottle of bubbly to wish them Happy New Year. It must have taken us about 10 minutes to find out how to get in, with the thought of all those Alsatians coming charging out at us. In the end, we climbed over a railing where the gate will eventually be, knocked on the wrong door and then Willy appeared from the other door after lots of shouting at dogs and shutting them away!  Lena came out too and thanked us and they asked us in for a drink but we explained that we were on our way out.  Lena made us promise that we would go over another time for a drink.  We agreed we would, after all, they are our neighbours and we would like to have them as friends in spite of the rocky start about the �dog house�!

We proceeded down the road, with the minute beam from our tiny torch, about as much good as a chocolate fireguard. We walked through In�esu and past A�menya restaurant.  I was staring in there at all the Turkish and mainly at the waiters who all had Father Christmas hats on! The Cypriots seem to have it all muddled up and Father Christmas�s seem to be popping out from everywhere for New Years Eve. I find it amusing.  Bang, there I am on the floor.  I know I wasn�t looking where I was going and it was dark etc etc.  Twisted my ankle, grazed my knee and hurt my back.  Never mind it is New Years Eve.  On we go to the Corner Bistro, standing outside we read their notice properly.  The open buffet started at 19.00!  It is now 21.00 and everyone is seated at tables.  We decide this is not what we are looking for and so head back up to the Ranch Bar at Riverside.  When we got in there, the bar was empty and didn�t look very promising but a few at a tine the Brits came down from the restaurant because they didn�t want any more �tiaras and tinsel and Turkish sing a longs!

We had a few drinks, in fact quite a few Brandy sours, which made the walk back up the hill much more enjoyable and this time the moon was out. AND in spite of all the brandy sours, I stayed upright all the way home. Mal however managed to walk into a road sign (??!!) and bent his glasses!

It must have been the invigorating walk but by the time we arrived back home we were starving.  Mal kept joking that we would stop at the chippie on the way home and it really started my taste buds going.  So, our first meal of 2005, in the early hours was egg and chips and we loved it!

Mal and I leaving the Ranch Bar!

The chef cooking our egg and chips!

November 2004

Monday 1st November
The first day of November and it is surprisingly warm.  We are still in shorts and T-shirts. We spent a lot of the day cleaning up after all the mess the gardeners left yesterday.  I have never known so much dust in my life and never had such dirty dusters! I am fed up with cleaning the leather settee and so have given up and thrown a cover over it!  Hopefully when the surrounding building works stop, and they stop destroying the mountain to our left in the front, it will be better.

We are both still swimming every day although the pool temperature has dropped to 22oC degrees.  That may seem warm but we think we have turned into hot climes wimps already!

Peter came and cleaned the pool.  This is also a constant battle against the builders’ dust but at least it hasn�t turned green again! One man came from Green Garden, put up two of the three arches, and painted them, hopefully with something like Hermatite! He then left.  We are still waiting for the third one and the pots.

Tuesday 2nd November
Sunny again! We love this, – November and still warm.  We began to watch Blue Planet on DVD in the afternoon as we had enough of the sound of the digger and then Stephen and his wife and mother arrived for a visit. They also bought one of their dogs, Alfie, with them. They seemed to like the new garden! They came to look at the garden as they are thinking of using the same people.  They were as unimpressed as we were with the paving in front of the door!

Mal rang Mena, our solicitor, and explained our land problems to her.  We have an appointment to go and see her on Saturday with Mustafa�s telephone number and any other relevant documents. I hope she will be able to help us in sorting this out once and for all! We also prepared the spare room ready for the arrival of Mal’s three sons tomorrow.

In the evening, we could hear a dog barking in the mountain to the left and so we went out with torch in hand to investigate. We thought he was stuck somewhere but by the time we got to him, he had obviously found his way out and so we couldn’t keep him.

Wednesday 3rd November
Mal cleaned the pool first thing.  Somehow, we managed to spend the entire day shopping, only stopping for our lunch at Caf� Dűkkan. We went into Fiskos to see if our fire grate had been made a guess what, tomorrow we are told!  We have been into the shop 4 times now.  It seems they forgot to order it twice! I hope that it will be here before the cold weather comes.

In the evening, we drove to the airport to collect Kerry, Tristan and Dominic – Mal�s sons.  This time the plane was on time. We sat up until 3.30am just chatting and drinking.

Thursday 4th November
After a very late night, or rather early morning, we were awoken to the sound of bulldozers and cement mixers.  What a welcome for the boys.  Having said that, Tristan was up early but somehow the other two managed to sleep through it all.

Mal and Tristan went for a walk in the mountains while I had my swim and around lunchtime Kerry and Dom surfaced.

Mal and Tris

In the afternoon we drove into Girne, the boys bought some clothes, and Kerry made a dental appointment. On the way home, the boys wanted to visit the Internet caf� so we stopped there.

Mustafa from Green Gardens came round and we reminded him about the pots and cacti that have not yet appeared in the garden and we showed him the wonky paving in front of the front door.  The look on his face showed that he agreed that it really wasn�t good enough. He said they would be back!

We went to Yenihans for dinner, our usual friendly waiter looked quite miserable, and I asked him why.  It was because he was fasting for Ramadan. It must be difficult serving all that food and not having any yourself!

Friday 5th November
The boys having looked through the guidebook said they would like to see castles and so after breakfast we set off for St. Hilarion.

St Hilarion, L-R Tris, Kerry, Mal and Dom

They seemed suitably impressed.  We think it is the most attractive castle here.  Then on to Bellapais where we walked around the abbey and then went into Kybele restaurant and had lunch. I also bought some more pelmet curtains for the house.  This time I got them at a discount, now the woman realises that we live here.  We arrived home about 5.15pm, after dark now the clocks have changed (same as in the UK) to find the Green Garden van sitting outside.  They had come to replace a large section of the paving but couldn�t do anything until we put on the outside lights!  They commenced work and continued until about eight o�clock.  Mal gave them a tip as they were working so late.  We also have the pots in place and it is now looking good.

After the workmen had left, we drove to Caf� Dűkkan and had dinner.  It was busy but we had a lovely meal as usual and there is a better selection of food here for them as the boys are all vegetarians.

Saturday 6th November
We all went into Girne. Mal and I went to see the solicitor, to try to sort out our border and access problems.  While we were in there, the boys went to the Internet caf� and then did some scouting around to find where a nightclub was that they could go to tonight.

Mena the solicitor now has all the details and is going to make extensive enquiries at the land office, and see what she can sort out for us. She did say that on the Kocan, there is a space for �Right of Way�, which no one has filled in and no one noticed it until she did!  Not our last solicitor, not Hakan, no one! Mena is going to find out from the land office where it should be.  This will all take a while.  We also explained that we do not intend to pay Mustafa �7K and so will be knocking walls down, which will then make our house too close to his land.  Mena will also ask the Land Registry about this.  At least now we feel as if something is starting to happen, even though naturally we will have to pay for it, or Hakan.  I also understand that Mena will be contacting Hakan.  We have heard nothing from him for weeks.  He is lying low, we are sure, because he knows he has messed up!

We did all the shopping on the way home, including going into Fiskos to see if our grate is ready after 8 weeks and 4 visits waiting to collect it! Well, he said yes, it is now there and waiting for us outside.  I knew by the shape of it that it was not the correct one and told him so. I was then told that we didn�t give them enough measurements and so they chopped the back piece off! Well, I was not happy and insisted on seeing the book where the order had been written down and one of the measurements had been tippexed out! I did question why after going in to collect it 4 times why they hadn�t asked for the measurements then or simply rung us as they had our phone number. I was not happy and the guy could see that. He admitted it was all their fault and suggested we took one of the other grates to try and see if that fitted, or to bring the correct measurements in (which we had done in the first place).  Still, we took a grate home, which looked a similar size, and amazingly, it fitted perfectly! We will have to go in and pay them for it next time we are that way.

In the evening, we went to have dinner at the Green Valley Restaurant.  There wasn�t a vast choice for vegetarians so Mal suggested that the boys had meze to start.  A sure sign that winter is coming and the tourists have gone home – they were brought so much food! Then they had the main course and a few brandy sours and a sweet and coffee.  The idea was that they went straight along to Ca-Ca Beach after the meal.  Well, Tris had so much to eat that he just wanted to go back to the house, so that is what all three did!

Sunday 7th November
We had rather a lazy day. Gwen and Peter visited in the morning to keep us up with all the local gossip and Peter cleaned the pool.

It rained and we had a storm and the temperature started dropping. The boys played chess most of the day, it was too wet and muddy to go for a walk.  In the evening we watched The Terminal DVD which Mal and I bought locally (3 for 20 million, about �7.50) A good film but it appears we did not have the final part of the film, so we will have to return it!

In the evening, we watched the Man Utd v Man City game!

Monday 8th November
Raining again.  This is unusual! We all sat on the terrace watching the rain, reading, and doing different things.  In the afternoon Mal went with Kerry to the dentist on the dolmuş.  Tris, Dom and I just sat talking which was nice because we rarely get much talk time and so it was good to catch up on their lives. Tris is off to New Zealand on 23rd November.

When Kerry returned, he told us that he has to have an extraction and a filling and has another appointment on Wednesday. We all had dinner and then watched the DVD �Pay it Forward�.  I think we will have to boost our DVD collection for the winter!

Tuesday 9th November
Rain and storms! The garden was flooded, as the downpour happened so quickly all the outside seat covers were soaked and we all tried to grab something to take indoors. For some reason our mains water did not come on! The boys resorted to chess and of course, we had a power cut.  All the nice walks we had planned in the mountains were now out of the question.  Being positive, all the workmen around us were rained off!

Wednesday 10th November
More storms, more rain. We drove into Girne as Kerry had his dental appointment for an extraction and a filling. The rest of us decided to look around the shops and then meet him in a caf� when his treatment was complete. We did get as far as one of the gift shops and then the heavens opened.  After making our purchases, we went outside and stood under their awning but as we stood there, the pavement was joining the road in looking like a river! The rain was blowing over us and we returned inside the shop until it calmed down a bit.  Well, then we had the task of trying to cross the river, to return towards the harbour.  This meant we had to walk all the way to the top of the road, where the water was a little less deep and then cross and go all the way back down again.  When it rains here, there are no half measures as you can see!

The last picture shows a very considerate boy racer, who took pleasure in driving round and round the streets seeing how many people he could drench.

We eventually arrived at the caf�, a bit wetter than when we started out.  When Kerry arrived we all went to Girne castle and by this time the rain had stopped but thunder was still rumbling around the sky. These pictures were taken when the rain had subsided and so you don�t see the whole impact of the flooded pavements or the road!

Girne Castle

Tris, Dom, Kerry and Mal

After the castle, we drove home in torrential rain, stopping at the supermarket and Fiskos to pay for our fire grate and to buy some curtain poles.  As we arrived home, Peter was sitting waiting outside in his car. He came in for a cup of tea and we had the worst and closest storm yet.  It sounded as though the lightning struck something outside and of course, the power went off again! It had tripped the electrics but we had the pleasure of yet another power cut.

In the evening, we drove to the farmhouse for dinner. Let�s just say that their cocktails had quite an effect on the boys and we are probably banned from there now! I think a look at Tris�s face may show the effect of the cocktails!

Thursday 11th November
More rain and the thunder still rumbling around the mountains. Our plans were to go dog walking but it seems a bit too wet and muddy. Instead, we drove into Gűzelyurt (Morphou as the Greeks call it.)  We had a pleasant surprise.  The last time we visited it seemed a bit like a ghost town and now as it seems it is not going to the Greeks, it appears to have gone more up market and yet the prices are cheaper than the tourist area of Girne.  It is the North West part of Cyprus and is rich in underground water and so is the most fertile part of Cyprus.  We toured of the shops, having just missed the market as it was closing up for the day.  We then wandered down to a restaurant, sat outside, and had lunch.  At last, it was nice and sunny again.  We were going to have dinner out but instead decided to eat at home and then we watched DVD�s!  We had great news, after Torin�s accident, which is now over a year ago; he has been offered a job.  It sounds as though all four interviews for the job were tough and he managed to get through them.  I hope that this is now the full road to recovery.

Friday 12th November
We were up at 5 and drove the boys to the airport for their journey back. Only two more days and we will be back again, returning to the UK ourselves!  It is just a shame that it was raining so much while they were here and so they didn�t get to see much of the island but at least they went home healthy!

We drove home and then went into Girne to get some last minute things including a necklace that the clasp had come off and which they fixed back on for me. It was a treat to be able to walk down the High Street without having to paddle.

We have been far too long without email and Internet access.  Mal had been investigating and we made the decision to go and talk to Ayza Net. We called in and the �main man� was out, so could we call back at 2.00pm. The girl in there had a tiny puppy they had found that morning and was trying to drip feed it.  It was so tiny and didn�t even have its eyes open yet.  I have to say I was very tempted but we are going back to the UK on Sunday, so it would be impossible.

We went off to Caf� Dűkkăn for lunch and bought a wooden wall hanging in their sale (they sell pottery and have an Art Gallery).

Back to Ayza Net and we signed up for it to be installed on our return.  We must have been in there an hour at least, so by the time we got home, the sun had gone down.  A pity as it reached 27oC today and we missed most of it. No rain!

An update: this is the side garden �Before�

�and after, what a transformation!

The paths look a bit grubby after all the rain! It does save on the watering though!

More updates:

The left hand picture is the �Russian House� in front and below us.  The right hand picture is the start of the houses on the left hand mountain in front of us.  We are just hoping that cement mixers won�t be arriving until after we leave!

In the evening, we went to the Green Valley for dinner.  What service! There were just a few locals in playing cards in the corner and no one else eating now it is winter – the service is brilliant!  The food was excellent too and then came the masses of fruit and the traditional �on the house� coffee and brandy!  We were full!

Saturday 13th November
Gwen and Peter came round in the morning and as this is our last day, it was down to finishing the washing and cleaning, packing the outside furniture away and going in for our last swim. The pool water was 19oC and seemed cold but was OK once you swam!  It really seems weird to be going back to England after all this time but of course, we are looking forward to seeing all the kids.

Sunday 14th November
26oC, we shall miss this! We were up early and Peter drove us to the airport.  It was Onur Air. The plane left on time and we had a good flight.  No complaints at all.  It’s a lot colder in England but at least it was sunny when we landed

October 2004

Friday 1st October
We decided to travel up to the Karpaz or the �panhandle� as it is often called.  It is the most north-easterly part of Cyprus.  We packed an overnight bag and thought that it would be nice to book into a hotel there and stay overnight as we had heard such good reports about the area.

We set off, through Lefkoşa and Gazimağusa and onto to Boğaz.  We stopped there next to the harbour for a drink as it was another hot day (temperatures around 34oC).  Onward with our journey and drove past the most picturesque beaches, with no one on them!

We drove on until we reached the Oasis.  This was the place where we planned to stay the night but as they say, best laid plans and all that.  No room at the inn – all the rooms were booked! Nevertheless, it was such a lovely place that we stayed and had our lunch there.  It was so nice and peaceful and the rooms that they have are right on the beach.  Another time we will have to book first.

The Oasis at Ayfilon

After a lovely fish lunch we looked around the ruins next to the restaurant.

From here, we travelled to the other coastline going through miles of open land with sheep and donkeys all around us.  The donkeys are one of the things that the Karpaz is famous for.

We then drove to a hotel called the Blue Sea, which looked really lovely with its own little harbour and beach and the ideal place to stay.  Yet again, it was fully booked. There we were told that all the hotels in the area would be booked so at this stage we decided to drive home that night.

During the day I think 90% of the cars on the road were Greek and we also saw a few �Thomson� coaches which were obviously day excursions coming over from the South.

As we had come this, far we decided that we might as well go to the �end�.  On the way, we stopped at Apostolos Andreas Monastery, the Lourdes of Cyprus. Mal �partook of the waters�.

As you can see, commercialism has reached here in the form of a street market.

So, on to the end���..

Then we drove all the way home, passing more and more deserted beaches on the way.

Karpas is a place we highly recommend and as it is completely unspoilt.

Saturday 2nd October
First stop today was into the Green Garden Centre to accept their quote for our landscaping, as Botanica Gardens have not bothered getting back to us! Then into Girne.  We had to fax some papers to the bank before they would transfer money to the account at Turkish Limassol Bank where we have just opened an account, so we spent an hour or so in the Internet caf� arranging this.

Back up to Edremit gift shop, to buy a laundry basket and Paula also bought some present to take home.

In the evening, we went to the Mediterranean Breeze restaurant in Kervansaray.  The fish there is truly delicious, in fact, Mal had a T-bone steak but after seeing and tasting our fish, he wished that he had the fish!

Sunday 3rd October
Gwen and Peter visited and then Mal decided to power wash the swimming pool terrace to see if we could get rid of some of the dust, which is everywhere.  It has been 4 months without rain you see, and that was only for a day!  We are NOT complaining!

Monday 4th October
Lazy day!

Tuesday 5th October
We went to the bank to pay a cheque into the account we have just opened here and what a performance!  We were in there for 1� hours.  They have just had a new computer system installed in preparation for the New Year launch of the New Turkish Lira (NTL) and it was obvious that no one knew how to work it.  The girls looked very tired because they had been up all night and we also found out that if they make a mistake, it comes out of their pockets.  In fact, a few of them looked close to tears.  It took 40 minutes to pay our cheque in whilst waiting at the counter and even then, in the end, it was not entered into our book. We were given a carbon copy receipt and the girl apologised and said they would put it into our account the next time we go in. This is not totally reassuring when we have just transferred money from England!  I have to say we felt so sorry for the girls though. We then went into Green Garden, to see his plans for our side garden.  Well, they were fantastic and I knew they would be more than we had budgeted for but we decided to go for it.  He seems to have such vision and good ideas, incorporating three arches and some perfumed flowers, a seating area, and two Jacaranda trees. Now we have to get hold of the cash, as they want 70% deposit!

Came back home and Paula started packing, very half hearted I have to say!

In the afternoon we went to Gwen and Peter�s house and Paula cut Gwen�s hair and we sat and chatted and �the boys� went over to Barry�s house as Mal was showing him how to find out some genealogical information on the Internet.  It is going to Peter and Mal�s heads, this 15 minutes that Mal will be doing on the radio.  They are now preparing sketches and acting like a couple of loons!

The left hand picture is the �Mal and Peter Show� and the right hand picture is of Oscar one of Gwen�s five cats.  I couldn�t resist putting that one in!

We then came home, got changed and went to Mirabelle’s by special request from Paula.  We had a nice meal there and they have a huge table of deserts where you just go and help yourself to as much as you want.  Poor Paula was disappointed as all the profiteroles had gone!

Came home and we were all a bit subdued as its Paula�s last night.

Wednesday 6th October
We were all up at 6am as Paula is leaving.  We took her to the airport for the 10.30am flight and were in plenty of time.  We said our goodbyes and off she went with her wonky case!  This was a new one that the bottom stand had broken off and both handles were now very loose! Typical.  Until we invested in lightweight Antler cases with a 5 year guarantee we had numerous problems with cases, even then one of those has already been returned and replaced!

On the drive back we had one or two spots of rain and then it stopped! Back home we spent most of the day cleaning, washing and getting ready for Marion and Bryan to come tonight.

Later in the afternoon, we went back to the garden centre to pay over our billions of Turkish Lire for the deposit for the landscaping.  They are going to start tomorrow.  One of the reasons we took this decision is the fact that we are still watching the Russian House below us and wondering how high he is going to build and whether it will affect our view.  Should it do this then we will still have the side garden to enjoy.  We still have lots more land to sort out but none of this can be planned yet until the tapu has been done and the entrance and access sorted out.  Obviously, no word from the tapu man yet!  No word from Hakan either and we have decided he is going to have to wait for his last �5,000 until the whole lot is complete.  We were considering giving him �2,500 but have now decided against it because we now feel it will never be completed otherwise!

We had our dinner and waited until it was time to return to the airport to collect Marion and Bryan from their midnight flight! It was quite a new experience watching their plane land, waving to them as they came down the steps, and then watching them waiting at the luggage carousel.  So, when they found their case, we drove home and then sat talking and drinking until 4.00 am!

Thursday 7th October
We woke up to the sound of the gardeners arriving.  That was a surprise!  They were on time.

Bryan spent quite a while trying to sort out our water problem and decided we needed two new ball valves. He asked where the nearest B&Q was! We settled for the local Yapi Market and Bryan was quite excited that they had what he wanted.

We had to go back into the bank.  We were not looking forward to this and took Marion and Bryan along for the experience!  Well, this time we sat there for 1� hours and all we wanted to know was if the money had been transferred from the UK and whether the cheque we paid in previously had now been put into the account.  We had the piece of paper as receipt for the cheque but they still were unable to put it in as they didn’t know how to do this retrospectively using the new system.  They have now given us a new account number, which will totally mess up the transfer from the UK! After the third time of asking Mal to �take a seat�, he gave up and asked for a bed! Well, at 3.00pm, the bank shut their doors and there was just the four of us left sitting there. At 3.50pm they seemed to have resolved something and amidst applause, we left by the back door. I don�t think Marion and Bryan could contain their excitement. What a wonderful North Cyprus holiday tour that was!  After this, we took them into Girne and we had a drink at the harbour.  At least they saw one of the sights!

In the evening, we went to the Green Valley for a meal.  Good as usual.

Marion and Bryan at the Green Valley

Friday 8th October
Mal and Bryan spent most of the day, checking on the water depots following Bryan’s fitting of the ball cocks! This really is getting an exciting holiday for them.

The gardeners came and worked in the morning, left at 12pm and we didn�t see them again for the rest of the day.

We had lunch and then decided we would go for a walk through Malatya and up the mountain to the right hand side of the house. Well, it hasn�t rained since June but it decided to while we were on our walk! Typical.  It made it feel quite cold.  The gardeners obviously knew something we didn�t!

It had stopped by the time we got back but we sat and ate dinner on the terrace whilst watching a thunderstorm.

Saturday 9th October
The sun was out again but when I went in for a swim first thing, the water was quite cold. Bryan and Mal inspected the water system yet again and then Bryan fitted the wall lights in our bedroom. It is nice having someone here who is able to sort out the bits Hakan hasn�t done.

Meanwhile my rotary drier has been removed from the side garden where they are landscaping and so Mal was trying to find an alternative place.  Everywhere he tried was solid rock.  Then he thought he had cracked it and so I put out all my white washing and the next minute the whole lot had blown over into the dirt.  He tried again and this time was successful but of course this is only a temporary measure as we still don�t know where the drive/access is going – probably where the rotary drier is now.

We had lunch and the gardeners arrived and did some more.  We then walked toward Malatya and this time turned right to see where it would lead.  We had quite a long walk and came out the road just below Incesu.

Yesterday�s progress

Today�s progress

Sunday 10th October
In the morning, we got up and drove to the Animal Rescue Kennels to walk some dogs up the mountain. We started with 6 dogs.  Mal immediately lost his dog, so we changed route to suit his dog. En route, we met another dog walking party and one of mine then decided to join them and not come back with us, so we started with 6 and returned with 5!  They all know their way back to the kennels and so no one was unduly concerned and before we left, back he came.  Unfortunately, while we were there I found out that my favourite dog, Pharaoh, had a heart attack and has died. That was sad.

After all this exertion, walking and chasing dogs, we went back home for lunch and then in the afternoon we took Marion and Bryan to Karaman.  We started there by having a drink in the Crows Nest pub and then had a wander around the village.

From here, we decided to go for dinner at the Farmhouse Restaurant in Alsancak.  We had been mainly enticed here by their half price cocktails in Happy Hour, in which we indulged! We started at the �Moo Bar�, and then went to our table, starting with a meze, then the main course, and followed by coffees and then liqueurs. Mal had the cow pie, which was enormous!  By this time we were all a bit merry, so we went back home.  Marion rang Julie and Wendy at home and they were disgusted with the state she was in!  I managed to throw my Breezer all over the terrace and then Mal and Bryan decided they would perform an hour-long party piece. Marion and I were hysterical watching them.  Some of this did include �rapping� and all I can say is that the video I am sure will be better than the stills here!

Mal after too much cow pie and the two �Rappers�

Monday 11th October
We went to Lefkoşa. We parked in Őnders car park and then thought we could walk from there.  Firstly we found a jewellers and Marion asked if they could repair her gold earring that had broken. He said yes he could do that and it would be free of charge.  Not only this but he brought us coffees while we waited. Marion also bought another pair of earrings in there but as I said he was going to do the repair free of charge anyway. Eventually we came to the Bűyűk Han (The Great Inn), which has been renovated and is now little craft shops.  We wandered round them all and then decided to have lunch there.

The top two pictures are at the Great Inn, bottom left is the shops in Lefkoşa and the bottom right picture is from the top of the Saray Hotel from which you can see both sides of the city.  We went from the Great Inn into the market and up to the top of the Saray Hotel to see both sides of the only divided city in the world.  You buy a ticket at reception and then exchange it for a drink when you get to the top.

After this, we wandered back to the car and then on the way back, Bryan bought some more technical bits to get our water sorted out and we also bought a Fleetwood Mac DVD for about �3! We tried it when we got home and it plays perfectly.

In the evening, we went to Yenihans for our dinner.  Bryan was saying that he was cold and shivering and went to bed as soon as we got home.

Tuesday 12th October
Bryan has now gone from the shivers to a fever, so he stayed in bed all day. We stayed at home with him, swam, and read.

Wednesday 13th October
Bryan stayed in bed again and so we stayed at home.  He was not at all well and hadn�t eaten hardly a thing.

Thursday 14th October
Bryan managed to get up for breakfast and ate something and a little later Gwen and Peter arrived.  They sat and chatted and then left. Bryan then went back to bed for a while and then got up for lunch.  The gardeners are here again and seem to be making some progress, and now are concreting the paths.

Bryan seemed to rally round late afternoon and decided that he wanted to go down the water storage depot for the pool and fit the non-return valve. The entire tank was drained of water and then Bryan went down the depot!

This was such an exciting event in their holiday that Marion had to record the event on camera!

I think all the excitement tired Bryan and he retired to bed.  Meanwhile Marion telephoned Doc (my nephew in law in England), gave him the symptoms and he told her what antibiotic to get!

Friday 15th October
Bryan was flagging again and much to everyone�s disappointment, the non-return valve wouldn�t work because it wasn�t allowing enough flow and so pressure was building up causing leaks. Oh dear.  Marion and I head off to the pharmacy to buy antibiotics as prescribed by Doc Joe.  They cost 8 million TL, far cheaper than a prescription in the UK.  While I was in the pharmacy, I also bought some �Kontil�, for Kara cat, as we are sure she has worms and this is liquid to put in her food.  This was the princely sum of 2 million TL, around 75p!  Again, the price doesn�t compare with the UK!

We return to a waning Bryan who has a small bacon sandwich for lunch and returns to bed. As Marion has seen very little of the island, Marion and I went to Bellapais Monastery. It is not a place I enjoy going to any more as it used to be so quiet but now there are Thomson�s coach trips from the South and also many Greeks visiting so it is always busy.

Marion at Bellapais

We went around the monastery and then went for a drink in Kybele Restaurant and it was obvious that a coach party was due there and the waiter sat us at two half-broken chairs and a table overlooking the kitchen.  I asked if we could move and he said no!!  It will be a long time before we go there again.  I wanted to sit in the garden where you get the lovely view.  How things have changed.  As Mal says, nothing stays the same!  We drove back home getting some shopping at Lemar on the way.  Just below our house, a placard has been erected advertising �Green Valley Villas� and unfortunately this is on the mountain to our left.  It looks as though 28 villas are going up there, the bulk at the front, away from us, but still enough will be near enough to us for us to see them! It looks as though we will be surrounding our house with cypress trees and making our own space.

When we got home, Sue and Cyril were there and had been for quite a while that afternoon.  They are a couple we met in the Riverside a while back. They are staying there again and meanwhile have bought a house at Arapkőy, or at least are in the process of doing so.  It was nice to see them. It was unfortunate that I didn�t spend much time with them. We heard however that their dog had died too.  We had both been concerned whether to fly out our old dogs but, in both our cases, the decision was taken from us.

The gardener returned in the evening to check on the progress of his workers and Mal checked that they were paving in front of the front door which they are.

By 7.00pm, Bryan decided that he only wanted scrambled egg and bed so he ate it (the scrambled egg) and went to bed.  As Marion decided she wasn�t very hungry we decided to order a takeaway from Mediterranean Breeze Restaurant.  The last time we ate there we were told they would deliver to the house.  So I rang, gave the order, described where we lived and was asked to meet the delivery person a couple of miles away from the restaurant.  I told him we had been told they would come to us but he said no they wouldn’t!!  We ended up cooking and Marion was in bed by 8pm, saying that she was not feeling too well!  Oh no!  We are about to paint a red cross on our front door!

Mal and I sat on our own on the terrace for the rest of the evening discussing how we would cope with the �housing estate� about to appear on the left hand mountain.  C�est la vie.  We agreed it was still far better then the UK even though we will have to tolerate months more of dust from the building!

Below is the sort of wild life on your terrace that you cannot find in the UK.  We spent a long time today studying the movements of this Praying Mantis!

We found him fascinating!

Saturday 16th October
The gardener arrived at 7:45am!  We were still in bed, so Mal jumped up and organised their water and electricity.  There were six men today so it really started taking shape.

Bryan managed to get out of bed but Marion couldn�t!  She has caught whatever it is Bryan has, same symptoms: aching, headache, listless.  Mal and I went to get her some antibiotics and a bit of shopping and then had the day at home.  Peter came up early evening to bring some post for Marion to take back.  Bryan managed two boiled eggs for dinner and retired for the night.  This is all such a shame as they have seen very little of the island and their holiday started off so well

Sunday 17th October
We were all up at 6am as Marion and Bryan are leaving this morning. Poor Marion crawled out of bed and I didn�t think she was going to make it.  However, suitcase packed and invalids installed in the back of the car, off to Ercan airport.

Marion and I sat down until the check-in queue shortened and then she got up, we said our goodbyes and off they went.  It is such a shame that they were both ill.  So far, we don�t have a good record for guests!  River and Sol went home looking as though they had chicken pox, from sandfly bites, and the beginnings of “a problem” resulted in Rhys ending up in hospital for his operation. Next came Paula absolutely covered in sandfly bites and the resulting blisters. We warned Marion and Bryan about the sandfly bites and they came armed with everything to fight them and then they go down with something else!  We are definitely considering putting a red cross on the front door.

We drove home and did the cleaning and washing. The gardeners had already arrived but only two of them today, as opposed to the 6 yesterday. When we had enough cleaning, we went and had lunch at Dűkkan�s.  Mal has been re-reading through our North Cyprus diary from 1998 and realised just how much things have gone up here and how cheaply we used to go out and eat.  He suggested that I put in prices again.  So, at Dűkkan�s we had a spinach, tomato and garlic crepe with salad and crisps and a cheese quiche with salad and crisps, a filter coffee and a home made lemonade, all for 13� million, about �5!  This is one of our favourite places as it really is an up market caf� and the food is excellent.

We did our shopping on the way back home. I rang the grandchildren in the afternoon and they told me all about their walk in the woods. The weather doesn�t sound too good in the UK, just when it is getting hotter here again!

In the evening, we decided to go out for dinner and we thought we would take a drive to Lapta.  We came across Asmali Restaurant, a little local restaurant with a very limited menu. Mal had Lamb baked in the oven and I had the mixed kebab.  We declined the meze.  A large plate of fruit followed this and then Turkish coffees and brandy.  We were horrified when the bill came and it was 45 million! For an out of the way local place, we knew we had been ripped off, thinking we were tourists.  We will not go back there again. We don�t even pay this at Mirabelles and that is in a very different class of restaurant.  Some of these locals are losing trade because they are getting greedy.

By this time, I was getting worried that Marion has been ambulanced off the plane, as we haven�t heard from them! Then I get a phone call from Marion.  The whole story is revealed.  They landed at Turkey and were told to get off the plane! They sat in Istanbul airport for 3� hours and were eventually told to re-board but ended up waiting in the plane a further half an hour. No explanation!  This is Onur Air, not that there is much to choose between them and CTA! Marion seemed to have coped well but they felt very sorry for a couple who had a young boy with cerebral palsy as they wouldn�t let his wheelchair off the plane and they were also travelling with three Downs Syndrome children.  Marion said it was no fun for them. She also said the man sitting next to Bryan had been ill for a week in the hotel and he looked awful. Well done Onur!

At least we knew they were back safely even though it had been very eventful for them. We are hoping they will come again and have more luck next time.

Monday 18th October
I was up at six this morning.  It was such a lovely morning I couldn�t resist waking Mal to look at Venus up in the sky.  At least this time we were up ready for the gardener�s early morning start.  You guessed it, we are up, and they don�t come.  They seem to come and go whenever they like and we never know what days! Still, we managed to get a lot of our jobs done including hosing down all the pool terrace in the hope of keeping down the builder’s dust! There seems to be little building action anywhere today and it was relatively quiet yesterday.  This is typical now that Marion and Bryan with the feeling they were staying in the middle of a building site (and they complained that the rep hadn�t told them!)

Mal decided to concentrate on completing his novel this week and I have kept myself amused sewing, in between swimming. The temperature seems to have shot up this week (about 32oC)

Tuesday 19th October
Much the same as yesterday but we now have a very green pool! It has been tested for everything it should be tested for and it is not algae, so this has been a bit of a puzzle.  Because there has been so much dust whilst they have been chopping away at the hillside, I suggested that perhaps it could be the copper content in the soil, after all that is why it is called Kibris! This seemed to be accepted as a sensible suggestion, well at least it was one that no one else had thought of! So, Peter came along with some pool �purifier� and after a small application of this, all was normal again.

Wednesday 20th October
A blue pool again.  That is a relief, as there was talk of emptying the pool and filling it again! Peter came round in the morning to check that all was well. The day consists of swimming, providing cakes and water for the gardeners and Mal writing his novel.  It is such a hard life! We hear it is cold and rainy in the UK!

Thursday 21st October
Our main task of the day was to return to the bank.  We have still not had confirmation that the �5,000 we transferred from the UK has arrived.  Yes, we have been putting this off. However, we went into the bank, took a ticket and our number came up immediately. This is progress! HOWEVER, when we asked the question, �where is our �5,000′ they could not tell us.  As usual, lots of to-ing and fro-ing from one office to another and one person to another. We reminded them that on our last visit, they had created a second account number and this may be the problem! Meanwhile Derek came into the bank and I chatted with him.  When I told him what problems we were having he said he found it easiest to write himself a cheque from his British account and pay it into his account here even though it takes 30 days to clear, at least he knows it will eventually arrive.  So, he is called to the counter while we are still waiting only to be told that the account he has cannot accept cheques, he will have to have another account.  I am beginning to think they get a bonus for each new account they open!

Eventually we left the bank having established that our �5,000 had not reached its destination. We went shopping, bought some material, posted the home DVD of their drunken night (!) to Marion and Bryan and returned to �water� the gardeners.  They have now completed the garden paving although we keep reminding them that the paving has to go in front of the front door as well and also the step around the rear terrace needs extending and that that was part of the deal.

Mal called our bank in the UK when we reached home and was told that the money didn�t make it because the account did not exist and had been safely returned to our account.  Well, at least it was a blessing that is was not lost!  We have decided we will think of other ways in future, even daily visits to the �hole in the wall� is better than this!

In the afternoon, we visited Derek and Eunice as Mal said he would help sort out Derek�s DVD player, which he couldn�t get to work.  It is the first time we have seen their new house (they have moved �down the road�).  Well, it’s a really lovely house, very grand!  I sat and chatted to Eunice by the pool until the �boys� sorted out the DVD and then went next door so that Mal could sort out their neighbours problems on her computer. Another visit is required, as her hard drive seems to be �knackered�!

We went to Caf� Dűkkan in the evening.  It really is very much like a Parisian arty, street caf� and we love it there.  The food is so good and very reasonable and we frequently wonder why it is not busier. Mal had fillet steak topped with spinach.  I had fillet of fish which was well presented, a drink each followed by a cafetier of coffee each, all for around �14!

Friday 22nd October
Hot again today.  We decided to go dog walking and this time we were given Hope, Jazz and Candy.  It was hot trudging up the side of the mountain but we say it does us good, not just the dogs!  Of course, they loved it and were all very well behaved! Having said that, they were all bitches and we did have dog chews with us!

Top left- Candy, Top right-Jazz and Hope, Bottom left-Mal and all three, bottom right-Jazz stopping for a bit of shade

On the way back we stopped into Caf� Dűkkan and had lunch.  On our return home Mustafa, the garden designer from Green Garden,  was here with two of his workers and has started bringing some of the plants.

We have now been without mains water for two days. Mal decided he would have to investigate before our storage tank ran dry! He spoke to Willi from the Dog House and found that the construction men on the way to Malatya have broken the metal pipe and just rammed a piece of wood in to stop it all gushing out!  Willi has spoken to them and of course, they denied it. So, as he is fluent in Turkish he will go and see our Muhtar later on.  He has already been up there today but he was out. At least we have enough water for a couple of days.

Mal also asked Willi about the Russian House and he said as far as he knew it will be a house and he told us that rather than Turkish Cypriots handing down their land now, they are building huge houses and then telling the family they have a part of the house.  In fact, he said there is one house near Girne that is 1,200 square meters.  Mal thought he meant the land but no, the house!

In the evening, we went to Dűnya�s restaurant. We didn�t realise until we got there that it was Kleftico night.  The place was full and as we sat down, the cold mezes started arriving on our table and then the hot mezes.  They just seemed to go on for ever and just when we thought we were full, the Kleftico arrived with roast potatoes.  During the whole meal all drinks were included but as I was driving I was only drinking sprite and they kept asking me why I wasn�t drinking alcohol and I told them that it was because I was driving but they said that was �no problem�.  Maybe not for them! After the Kelftico came an enormous plate of fresh fruit and then of course the obligatory glass of brandy, which I declined.  During this time, the belly dancer made an appearance.  We have done our utmost to avoid this but here we were.  Mal thought he only had 20 million notes and insisted that he would have to go routing round her bra to get some change.  This must be the only occasion that I forgot to take the camera otherwise you could have seen Mal with the belly dancer.  Having said that he paid up quickly so as not to get an �eye full�! It was late when we came out of there, mainly because Mal didn�t know how to pay!! It appeared to us that people were just leaving and not paying.  Eventually he asked and they just said �55 million for two, everything included� and so that was what people were doing, just leaving the money on the tables.  We will know next time.

Saturday 23rd October
In the morning we went and collected the pelmet curtains that I had ordered from Bellapais.  They weren�t exactly what I had asked for.  These had handmade lace on them and were thicker, however I still bought them. Today we have our mains water back! We swam, as it is still �unseasonably hot�, still around the 30�s.

A lot of the plants have been put into the garden and Mal and I are really pleased with it.  It is taking shape now and what a transformation!

Top left shows the �team� with Mustafa, the designer in the red T-shirt and shorts and standing next to him is the owner of the �Green Garden�. Top right Mal, doing his first watering. Bottom left shows the seating area at the far end of the garden where it will be shaded when the jacaranda and silk trees have a chance to grow! Bottom right you can see we now have paving right up to the swimming pool terrace. It is not complete but at least it is taking shape.

In the evening we decided to go to Zeytinlik (a village near Girne, the name translated means �olive grove�).  According to the paper, the olive festival has been on all week and the children supposedly had a display of dancing at 6.00 pm in the centre of the village. Well, we arrived about 6.25 and not a soul in sight.  Don�t ask me!  Instead, we drove back to the Farmhouse restaurant for dinner and of course first comes their �Happy Hour� cocktails.  We met a nice couple at the bar whom we sat chatting to and then went to eat.

Sunday 24th October
We spent most of the day cleaning, getting rid of the �builders dust� which has accumulated. At least now we have it ready for another coating in the coming week.  Peter called in to check that the pool hadn�t turned green again. After an exhausting day, we settled down to watch the Man Utd v Arsenal game!  What a match.  I think they must have heard Mal and I shouting in Malatya – 2-0 to Man Utd. Arsenal had been 49 games without being beaten and Rooney scored a goal on his birthday.  Rhys filled me in on all this, as our Turkish is not yet up to match standard!  It really is good getting all these Premier matches free!

Monday 25th October
Mal spent the day stripping our wooden garden furniture and giving it two coats of Cuprinol.  It hadn�t looked too good now we had a new garden!  I spent the day cutting up and fitting the pelmet curtain to cover the wooden track for the winter lounge sliding doors. Peter called round in the morning so we had a break and then we swam, as it is still hot.  We can�t believe this, this late in October.  It certainly saves on heating and clothes!

Tuesday 26th October � our wedding anniversary!
Mal had arranged that we go off to the Karpaz for two days for our anniversary, so we were up early and on our way! Amazingly we remembered the way to the hotel we were staying at, �The Blue Sea Hotel�.  It is in a very remote place next to the sea, directions are: turn left out of Dipkarpaz! One of the travel guide books describes it as �rudimentary�, I think she meant basic, so forget about taking your mobile phone charger or anything else electrical because mains electricity hasn�t reached this far. But, the setting makes up for it and the fact our room, room 10 had a balcony on two sides, both facing the sea was a �wow� factor on its own.  I suppose you could say it was a bit like a youth hostel as I remember them.  We had a double and two single beds in our room, having said that at least we didn�t have to share them! The hotel has its own beach in one direction and a small mooring for the fishing boats and rocks and sand the other way. We set off to explore the beach. It didn�t help that at the end of the beach there were rocks that we thought it was a good idea to clamber over, both grazing ourselves when we fell off them! On the way back we decided the sea would wash our cuts and grazes but didn�t expect it to be quite so fierce, soaking my shorts!

Left: Top-The Blue Sea Hotel, middle-Mal on the hotel terrace where our meals are served, bottom-clambering over the rocks! Right: Top- the �crowded �hotel beach, middle and bottom, the views from our room.

We went onto the terrace, I had a brandy sour, and Mal had an Efes.  Well, I think the brandy sour had half a bottle of brandy in it, so we retired to our room and slept for an hour! We woke up ready for dinner!  Our room was a corner room and had two enormous patio doors which we kept open all the time so it was just like sleeping on the beach! Such a nice change from the sound of cement mixers and bulldozers. I had fresh fish baked in the oven for dinner and Mal had lamb chops.  Very nice.  Fruit and Turkish coffee followed this.  The thing was, nothing was priced, the menu, the drinks – nothing and they just keep adding it to the bill, so we didn�t have a clue! Anyway it was a lovely day and when we went to bed we slept to the sound of the sea.

Wednesday 27th October
We both slept like logs.  I think it must have been the sea air. We were up for breakfast at 7.30am and sat on the terrace where we were brought a substantial breakfast of fried egg, helim, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and freshly baked sesame bread. We drove a little way down the coast and spent the morning on �five miles of golden sand�!

Spot the tourist!  I know this is October, but the temperatures are still in the low 30�s and we were the only ones on the beach! We swam in the sea which was still very warm and then decided to go in search of lunch.  We went into Dipkarpaz and I spotted a sign for lamacun and pide, so we drove up to the caf�.  We sat at a table, ordered two drinks, and asked if we could have some lamacun.  The guy said �no food�!  We don�t know why, maybe something to do with Ramadan, so we drank our drinks then we went into the local supermarket which had much cheaper prices than we are used to, and bought some food to take home with us.  On the way out of Dipkarpaz, we saw another little caf� and so I suggested we try this for lunch.  We had two drinks and asked if they did food.  As there is a mix of Turkish and Greek living in this village, we weren�t sure what language we should be using.  But the lady managed to get our taste buds drawling with what she was telling us about bread with mincemeat and cheese grated over the top. I said yes and Mal said in Turkish �sounds good�! So we sat at our table and waited and waited.  About half an hour later, a small boy arrived with a bag of bread and took it into the kitchen. The woman left for her house and then her daughter arrived to continue the cooking, we assumed.  We sat for another half hour, by this time getting hungry, but we could smell nothing cooking.  An hour and half is a long time to wait for lunch and we then started a discussion about what we could cook in an hour and a half!

Mal passing time at the second caf� with no food!

Eventually we agreed that something had been lost in translation here and the gastronomic delights she had told us about were not on their way! We decided that if we got up to pay for the two drinks at least then she had the option of telling us our lunch was nearly ready, but no, she asked for 3 million and that was it!  Perhaps it was a new game in Dipkarpaz, see how stupid the English really are! We don�t know but we went back to the hotel and ate some of the food we had bought at the supermarket.  After this, we went for a walk along the sea and back in time for dinner. Mal had the speciality dish, Kleftico, and I had chicken.  We sank two bottles of wine between us as we had discovered a half-decent Turkish wine, and once again we went to sleep to the sound of the sea.

Thursday 28th October
We were up early again for breakfast and decided that we would take a slow drive home.  It had been lovely but our room hadn�t been cleaned the second day and whilst it was lovely sleeping right next to the sea, we wanted our home comforts after two days.

On the way home

We were back home by 12pm and while we have been away, the concrete has been laid by the front door for the paving and the concrete for the rest of the steps around the terrace. In their usual workman like attitude the mess was left all over the swimming pool terrace.  I wouldn�t mind but I had cleaned it three days ago.

Mal checked to make sure none of the flowers/trees had keeled over in our absence.  In the afternoon Mustafa (the garden designer) arrived to check on things and told Mal that it would all be finished by Sunday.  We will see.

Friday 29th October
Up early and dog walking at the animal rescue.  As we drove toward Bespamark Mountain, the cloud was getting thicker and we could hear a storm brewing in the distance.  We went into the office and had a chat to the staff and then decided we had better get going before we got drenched!  We are only in our T-shirts and shorts and as we were driving up the temperature had dropped in the car from 26 to 17oC! We took four dogs out including Odele, can�t remember all the other names and this time we achieved our goal of bringing all four back with us.  In spite of the storm and them being a bit spooked, they stayed with us.  We had a few spits of rain on us but managed to get back to the centre in time and we had a reasonably long walk.  As we drove back home, we could see it had been quite a downpour in other places.  At least the garden won�t need to be watered.  We shopped on the way back and actually managed to dodge the rain completely.

In the afternoon, I sat sewing for the KAR Christmas Bazaar and Mal was doing computer work. By about 5.00pm I realised I hadn�t swum my 100 lengths of the pool, so got into a much cooler water than the last few days.

Kara cat is back tonight.  We have been away and she didn�t appear last night but has returned tonight.  She must have known that I bought her some liver!

They are still hacking away at the mountain in front of us, to the left, ready to build their villas. It seems many of the English we speak to are planning a mass exodus to Bulgaria, chasing the �unspoilt lands�.  All very well and good but we want to stay here.  I have wanted to live in Cyprus for as long as I can remember.  I know the building works gets on our nerves but I am sure it will be fine when it has stopped in our immediate area.  I hope that our little piece of heaven will remain unspoilt even if we have to plant cypress trees round some of it, to keep our privacy.  We are here to stay!

Saturday 30th October
We got up early and shopped, including getting a thermometer to put on the terrace.  So far, this has stayed permanently at 22oC.  I know it is in the shade but it doesn�t seem to have moved at all. In the afternoon, we watched two British premier football matches one after the other.

Sunday 31st October
Today is the first day of the hunting season, so we continually hear guns firing.  No dog walking at the rescue on Sundays just in case any of the walkers are shot!  Gwen and Peter visited in the morning and so we caught up on all the news. Green Garden arrived and said they would have the garden complete today.  They worked on putting the stones on the terrace steps and the paving up to and in front of the front door. They were here all day creating dust everywhere they went, cutting paving slabs.

When they left, Mal and I looked at the paving by the front door – it is awful.  It looks as though they have used up all the spare pieces of paving they had left.  It is not level and neither is it in straight lines. What a disappointment.  Still, it won�t be staying like that!  We still have the arches to arrive and the pots with succulents in, so it is not finished today!

In the evening Mustafa, the Mustafa who owns the land behind, arrived and started ranting and raving about the mess that Green Garden have left on his land.  They have been driving their lorry onto his land and just dumping cement, gravel, soil and everything else and then chucking it over our wall. We don�t blame him but it just seems this is the way they do things here. Mal explained he had not done it, Green Garden’s had, so he gave them their telephone number and Mustafa called them and told them if it wasn�t cleared by midday tomorrow he would call the Police!  He also told Mal he still wants his �7,000 for the 32 square metres of land that he thinks is his which he won�t swap for our bit of land that juts into his! It really is the case that he thinks we won�t knock walls down and so he can demand whatever price he likes.  He then said that our builder should pay him as he made the mistake!  He then suggested that we speak to our solicitor and let her resolve it. We are both fed up with all this as the drive, access, and everything else can’t be completed until we sort out this small triangle of land!  Yes, we will speak to the solicitor.

As it is Halloween here is a picture of our own black cat, Kara, who is becoming increasingly friendly.

1 – The Dream

The Dream

August 2004

Through the patio door, looking out from our main bedroom, across the pool, I can clearly see the Mediterranean. There is a slight mist which will soon clear. Dogs howl and the sound carries across the valley above which the villa we built stands on the small hill. We call the villa Beyaz Ev, Turkish for White House. Two years ago when we bought the land the villa now stands on, we were alone, but once we brought electricity down from the village above us, neighbours started appearing. Now, to the East, the other side of a tarmac road, and down in a dip, is the Dog House. Even though this house has no roof, the owners are using it to run a kennel. As I write I hear dogs barking. On beş k�pek, fifteen dogs, board there at the moment. Willi and Lena, a Swedish couple, visit every few hours to see if their charges have not been released by the disgruntled villagers.

Directly in front of us is the Kremlin, a house being built by a Russian. Will it have one or two stories? If only it has one story then the house will have little impact on our view. If a second storey is added then we might be looking at spires as we sit on our terrace and gaze with stunned expressions across the villages of Incesu and Alsancak towards the Mediterranean, a little shocked at what we have achieved in such a relatively short time.

The Kremlin was rumoured to be finished by now but building has suddenly stopped. Perhaps, we wondered wistfully, this has something to do with it being situated on a small strip of land jutting out from the road into the steep valley. This has meant that the house on both sides is very close to steep inclines. The last time we were here, in June, we watched for several hours as lorries lined up to pour thousands of tons of concrete into the foundations. Perhaps this didn�t work and the Kremlin will fall?

To the west of us we are expecting more houses to appear as the owner of the land has been bull-dozing the land in preparation for a project which would have to fit into his steeply inclined land. It is not immediately apparent how houses will fit into this land as at the moment it is a series of paths with very little room for houses. This will not stop him we�re sure, as we�ve seen houses appear on far more difficult terrain. With land now being sold at up to �120,000 an acre, compared to �30,000 a few years ago, every landowner now wants to cash in there assets and enjoy a few years of being well off after decades of near poverty.

Behind us we have two blocks of land owned by two people apparently related to each other. We met the new owners of the largest plot when they were being shown around it by their builder. The couple had been given this land as a wedding present and told us they did not intend to build on it for a few years. At the moment they were living in the USA and when they returned to the island then they would then build a home for themselves. Unfortunately as the builder checked the land against the kocan, the deeds, he was carrying he discovered that our builder had placed our car hardstand and part of our perimeter wall on the couple�s land. Thankfully our builder has now negotiated a land swap which satisfied the couple. However, we�ve yet to see this officially confirmed. At the end of these negotiations as the couple�s builder started to walk away, he turned to me and said, �You know that my brother-in-law owns your drive?� Then without further explanation he drove off.

A few days later his brother-in-law appeared with a Tapu, Land Registry, man. He confirmed that the land we had been using for access did not belong to us but worse still, for the brother-in-law, nor did most of the land he thought he owned. It turned out that many years before the government had appropriated his land, and some of ours, to expand the small track joining the villages of Incesu and Malatya. All he now owned was our drive and a three meter strip next to the new tarmac road. He was so stunned he left without complaining about us using his land as a drive. We know he will return and try to recoup some of the �60,000 he has lost. Fortunately for us we have a few other ways of entering our land but both would mean very steep and costly drives, and would result in the loss of potential garden.

To the east above the Dog House the government has planted fir trees on the bare hillside, decimated by the 1995 fire. Hopefully in a few years this will make the pleasant walk along the ridge of the hill even more pretty than it already is. The path rises to give a wonderful view over the valley and reveals even more paths which link the Kyrenia Range of mountains along the north of the island so that you can walk for twenty or more miles past old castles towards the undeveloped north-east tip. This is something we intend to do when the weather cools in October.

Our villa is a single story building, 165 m2 in area, with 20 m2 of this being taken up by an 8 m long terrace where we sit and gaze across the terrace pool down to the Mediterranean, a mile away. Cool breezes constantly fan us so that despite the day time temperature always being above 30oC it rarely feels uncomfortable. However, sometimes these breezes turn into sharp winds which force us to lower to large umbrella lest we end up with a situation we once saw where the umbrella took off and drifted up into the mountains. We have yet to live in the villa during the winter!

Immediately off the terrace, through a patio door, is a large lounge with a kitchen attached. Whilst you cook you can enjoy the same view as from the terrace making this chore much more pleasant than in the UK. At least that�s what I try to convince Maggie, my wife.

Off the lounge is the dining room/study which triples as a third bedroom. Across from this is the second bedroom with its own bathroom. Between these two rooms is the front door outside of which we intend to create a winter terrace, facing south into the sun.

The large main bedroom with two patio doors out to the terrace, swimming pool and magnificent view, includes a walk in wardrobe and en-suite bedroom. This is where we wake up in the morning, open the patio doors and stare at the Mediterranean drinking cups of tea. Did I tell you this in before? You�re not getting envious are you? How did it all come about? I imagine you are assuming we are rich and are nothing like you, whereas the truth is that when we married in 1998 our combined net assets were a minus figure. So how did we manage to achieve building a villa with no mortgage, owning a place in the UK with no debts, and having enough income for us to retire early? Well it was all down to taking a chance and believing in ourselves. Many of you reading this are in far better financial positions than we were but we took a chance. So how did it happen?



5 – Water


Water is something you take for granted in England. Mostly it comes out of taps and equally mostly it come out of the air. You turn on the tap, water comes out. If it doesn�t you panic. In Northern Cyprus we got used to turning on the tap and no water coming out.

Because we had decided to build out in the wilds we had to bring water and electricity to us. Water initially came in the form of a 12 tonne tanker load every week. This would cost us �14 and it was not until we were finally on the mains that we realised that we could have purchased � loads. Our builder told us he had included 9 tons of water storage with the house. This consisted of a 4� tonne balance tank for the pool, a 3� tonne depot for household water and probably 1 tonne for the solar hot water system on the roof. The only problem with this arrangement was that in the summer evaporation from the pool and leakages resulted in just under � tonne of water loss per day. On top of this was the problem that the last � tonne of water was inaccessible because it was below the pool inlet pipe and another � tonne was unavailable because of the mechanics of the pool. This gave us only 7 days before we either filled the balance tank up again or we allowed the pool level to drop. This was not a serious problem except that an overflow pool is a wonderful way of removing insects from the top of the pool.

The water depot supplying the house had a similar problem with � tonne of water being unavailable because it was below the pipe and a sensor which decided to switch of the water pump when there was still a tonne of water in the system. This left us about 2 � of useable water. It is not until you live under these conditions that you realise how much water you use. A non-economical washing machine uses about 150 litres of water (1000 litres to a tonne), so a wash a day gets rid of 1 tonne of water a week. A full bath or non-stop shower uses about 75 litres of water a week; there goes another tonne. This doesn�t leave much for the other water-reliant functions. As you may have guessed our excessive UK water use habits soon changed.

What brought this change fully into operation was the week we ordered our water on a Thursday expecting it to be delivered that day or the next and because of tanker mechanical problems it was not delivered until Tuesday of the following week. It is amazing how long you can make a little water last when you have to.

At the moment we have temporary mains water connected by a hose pipe from a metal pipe about 500 meters away. Metal pipes have been run past our villa and soon we hope to be attached to the main supply from the hills above us. We have a meter attached and we are allowed 20 tonnes every two weeks for a fixed price of �4! If we use more than this then the price per tonne for the extra water increases. We have yet to find out what to. We previously used about 9 tonnes of water a week but when we changed or water consumption habits this reduced to about 6 tonnes a week. Our meter shows we have used about 12 tonnes in two weeks so if we carry on at this rate then our summer water consumption will be about 28 tonnes over or bi-monthly �allowance�.

We are about to have our garden landscaped and included is an �irritation system� as some people refer to it. Neighbours have reported increases in their water bills by as much as �30 per month. This may not seem much unless you are trying to live on a �500 per month pension as many early retirees are trying to do. The advice we have been given is to plant mainly drought resistant varieties if possible.

Two other useful pieces of water related equipment it is worth having are metal water depots with stands and a submersible pump. We have two depots which cost us �100 each, both able to hold 2 tonnes of water. The pump cost us �40 in the UK and has been a godsend at times. We estimate that as long as we keep our system full at all times, if there was a serious water shortage we could last a month and that�s without using the swimming pool for household functions.

The issue of shall we drink the water or not is a serious one. We have had a tap attached directly to the mains supply so that it does not come to us via the depot. This is probably not necessary but as we are away for months at a time we prefer not to drink water which has stood, un-chlorinated, that long. There have been no stomach upsets from drinking the water so for now we are trusting the local supply.

Another alternative which those with more sensitive stomachs use is the hot and cold drink dispenser which carries a 19 litre bottle of water. After the initial deposit on the bottle, refills cost �1.20 each and last two people about 2 days if they use this water for every situation which involves drinking water, in other words for teas and coffees and for cooking. It is wonderful having cold or boiling water on tap, but make sure you buy a model dispenses more than � litre of cold water before it starts to warm up. You�ll find this information in the instruction book. We have a compromise which consists of using the theoretically non-reusable bottles with our own water. This system is only for those capable or quickly turning upside down an open bottle, full of water, weighing 19kgs, before the floor is too flooded. For a saving of about �15 per month I am willing to do this.

June 2004

Whitsun holiday 2004

Monday 31st May

Bank holiday and we are getting our plane this evening and so decided to head off to the airport early afternoon, to avoid the crowds leaving Margate at tea time.

We parked up, waited for check in, which for once they opened up early and then went through and had something to eat.  This time we are with CTA.  The flight is due to take off at 22.00 and as usual we take off at 23.00.  Only a short delay compared to what we have had before.

Tuesday 1st June 

After an uneventful flight and only managing about an hours sleep, we arrive at the new Ercan airport around 7.00 am.  Ercan has been shut for about the last 18 months whilst they have been upgrading it, so they say to European standards.  It was all very nice and clean and shiny tiles on the floor but there only appears to be 2 carousels and when I went to the Ladies, only 4 toilets.  It would have been a little more sensible to have had more if two planes land at once!

However, after waiting outside for about 15 minutes, our car arrives and we drive off in the early morning sun to our house.  The first thing we notice driving up the hill is that the building below is taking shape and looks a total monstrosity.  We fear that as they have the height of a floor as a basement, then it will be another two floors above this.  We are just hoping that it will not take any of our sea view away.  Also the builders across the road are working and putting up a boundary wall.  At the moment it looks really ugly but Lena and Willy (the Swedish couple) assure us that they will be finishing it off in due course. So, inside our home and we leave the suitcases and go in swimming!  Our first swim in our own pool and in spite of the noise from the building around us, it is lovely to be swimming in our own pool at last.

We have a new fence at the front of the property but it appears that is all that has been done since our last visit.  Disappointing but then we should be used to this by now.  We also notice that where the fence has been put, someone has been below it with a digger and channelled out some sort of clearing but we can’t make out what this is for because it doesn’t appear to be big enough for a house to be built on.

We spend the rest of the day doing bits trying to keep awake!  We went to get some shopping and decided on a barbecued chicken and rice to take home to save us cooking.

We called on Gwen and Peter and spent a couple of hours there.  So nice to see them again. I noticed Mal almost nodding off and so we came back home.   I think we just about managed to eat dinner before going to bed at 8.00pm!  An hours sleep on the plane the previous night obviously was catching up with us.

Wednesday 2nd June

We woke up around 6 am and a quick cup of tea and then in the pool.  Wonderful, the sun shining down and our own pool.  Sorry to keep on about this but it has been one of our dreams and it has actually happened!

After breakfast and a shower we drove into Girne.  We went into the electricity office as we do not appear to have been left a bill.  (They leave it in your meter box).  The first bill we had of course is in England so we took the meter number and asked if we could pay (you get fined for late payment!)  Mal queued up at the desk to pay and he took one look at the number and told us we have to go next door and ask for Mr Ali and he would sort out what I presume to be our customer number.  Off we go and Mr Ali tries to look up Malcolm Channing on his computer and then decides to send us back to where we started but the other window. Mr Ali is complaining that they keep sending people up to him when the record books are down there!  This is the problem you get when no one has addresses, added to which of course we live in between Malatya and In�esu so never know which to say, usually saying both which adds to the confusion.  Eventually it was found under Mr Malcolm John!  We will know next time.  We then have the correct information and return to the payment window. We are then told that our bill was 13 million, roughly a fiver.  Not bad considering that this covers when we were last here and also we have the pool going all the time now. Mal has estimated that the pool costs us about �500 a year to maintain.  So, Mal gave him 60 million TL, so we have 47 million in credit. Well actually that is not true, we had about 20p late payment penalty, so a bit less in credit!

The Electricity Office

After this long and drawn out process I spot a dress in the shop opposite and while I am trying it on, the owner is teaching Mal Turkish tongue twisters.  Dress bought and off to buy a drinking water cooler.  We bought it in the same shop as we took our TV to, to be chipped.  The water cooler is 160 million TL and we also buy a large bottle of water to go with it, a monkey wrench and an upright fan (in preparation for August).  So then of course we have to go back and get the car so we can pick all this up, having to make a detour as the whole of the High Street has been dug up and this is causing chaos.  We also stopped at a garage as they were selling cars which unusually had prices on but most had English plates, so this cost would not be the final cost! Not much success there.

Back home and Mal and I tried to fit the loo roll holder and towel rail etc in the bathroom.  What a job.  We were both a bit nervous about drilling into the tiles but they are up and no cracked tiles!

Later Lena and Willy (the Swedish couple from across the road) arrived for a visit.

The ‘Dog House’, other side of the road

They had a cold beer and sat and chatted and Lena told me that they have 6 dogs and occasionally look after other dogs but they have put the pens down in the ravine so they should not bother us.  Sounds fair enough as long as we don’t hear constant barking all the time. A bit difficult to hear much above the building works surrounding us!  They previously lived in Lapta and are moving here and she has told us that the people in In�esu kept complaining about them building where they are.  I have noticed that they have visited their site with a jeep with ‘Dog Hotel’ written on the side.  She said nothing about opening a dog hotel next to us.

We intended moving a lot of the stones left the other side of our wall, to use in the garden but by the time they left and we had dinner, we had little inclination and had a couple of drinks instead and then bed.

Thursday 3rd June

Up early again and in the pool!  Had breakfast and then went to get some shopping.  We went into ‘Bell’ frozen food place and bought a case of particularly good wine we had previously.  Turkish wine is not the best wine in the world.  Whilst Mal was paying for this, I read a notice about ‘NCDC’ – the dog hotel is changing location and to ring Lena and Willy on the number below.  Well, Lena you have not been entirely honest have you?!  We will see, after all we came here for the peace and quiet. Having said that if the barking is going on all the time, the people in both villages will hear it as much as us as it resounds around the mountain. THIS is obviously why they were complaining. I know her dogs are there at the moment even though the house isn’t finished and they only seem to bark when they arrive to feed them.  She did however yesterday, volunteer to loan me some dogs if I was missing Barney!  Obviously we can’t get one of our own yet because we will be backwards and forwards for a while.

Meanwhile the work below goes on. You will see what I am trying to say about the basement, which it looks as though is being filled in for foundation as they are right next to a ravine.

The house below.

Willy has told us it is a Russian man who is building it.  He also told us that it was going to be the securing basement, two further stories and then towers on top like the Kremlin.  I fear that he has a similar sense of humour to Mal.  But the towers will be the only parts missing!

Mal spent quite a while trying to start a design for the side garden.  So far I have a rotary drier up there and that is all! One thing at a time, we still don’t know for sure where our legal entrance is and now the boundary wall is going up around the dog house, that won’t give much room to manoeuvre a car in should the drive have to be moved.

Also our new water dispenser decided to flood out so we had a mopping up operation and realised that the water bottle had a hole in it!!

Gwen and Peter came round in the afternoon.  Poor things they have a problem with their sewage and have been up to their elbows in ‘crap’.  Peter has a Kanga hammer and they are still working on it.  Along with this their main access has been cut off.  The guy who evidently owns the road wanted �1,000 from each of them and all the local residents said no and so they now drive round the more difficult way.  We are not alone having problems and a lot would say we have far less problems than most. So, we sat and chatted for a couple of hours and then they went home.  We decided to go out for a meal.  At the bottom of our road and just across the main road is a restaurant called Green Valley and we haven’t tried it before.  Off we went. We bought a new water bottle for the cooler from Behi�ler supermarket.  This is our nearest one which doesn’t stock too much but it does sell the huge water bottles.

On to the Green Valley and we sat outside and it was really nice.  The waiters were chatty and friendly.  I had an excellent brandy sour, Mal had beer.  I had sea bass and all the trimmings and Mal had a T bone steak.  We had fruit afterwards and then two Turkish coffees.  This came to 44 million TL, around �16. Very good.

Back home and we sat on the terrace having a few drinks. I tried to ring Rhys and couldn’t get an answer at the caravan or their home.  I had the feeling something was not right so continued trying to get through (my sons call me a witch!)  After constant ‘busy network’ I finally got through to hear that Ange was still not feeling well and had been at the caravan with the kids and the final straw for her had been when the caravan door smashed. She has gone to stay at her mums for a few days.  Rhys has had all the door repaired, so all is sorted.  Gwen was only asking today had there been any disasters at home!   We ended up going to bed about 1.00am, having also had a discussion on whether we go to the local Beledeysi (council) to see whether Lena and Willy across the road have planning permission for a ‘dog hotel’.  Neither of us believes it will be too disastrous but it is the fact that she is not being entirely honest and also that she is taking us for idiots, that we won’t find things out.

 Friday 4th June

We didn’t wake up until about 8.  Today we planned to go dog walking at the Rescue but when I woke up, I really couldn’t face it.  For those of you that don’t know, at the beginning of May I had to have Barney, our lovely retriever put to sleep.  We were both heartbroken and still miss him terribly.  I just couldn’t face going and seeing all those dogs and also knew that I would now want to take at least Pharaoh home!  I got tearful and so we decided this holiday was not the right time to go.  I still have things here that I put in the container for the dogs but they will keep until we go another time.

Instead we decided to try out the walk, as we look down to the sea, to the right hand side of us.

We started off down into the ravine and then followed the path all the way up. It is a lovely walk and we managed to get photos of the house from angles we haven’t seen before.  Also we found some really lovely wild flowers.

We could not believe the precarious position the house below is being built. (Seen from a different angle from the one we usually see from our terrace!)

The right hand picture shows Mal doing his ‘David Bellamy’ bit!  We went to the top of that part of the mountain and got some really good shots.  Mal took the camcorder and while we were looking down we heard all the shouting and realised that the builders from the ‘dog house’ were in the throws of a fight!!  Mal has it all on camera.  Fists were flying!  Lena had told us that she had two lots of builders there, one building the wall, mainland Turks and the ones doing the house were Turkish Cypriots and that they did not get on.  An understatement but then I think that is Lena’s fort�!  We stood watching way up in the mountain and then after much screaming, shouting and punching, they all left site!

By this time it was coming on to midday and so decided we should head back as it was getting hot.

The house to the left behind us is one that was owned by some Spanish people and has been left since the 1974 divide. In the left picture, you can see (bottom left of picture) where the ‘dog house’ is being built, the other side of the road to us. All the greenery in front of our swimming pool also belongs to us.

Mal with the house in the background.

The road to Malatya

By the time we got home after all the excitement, we were both ready for a swim but as we walked through the door, the mobile rang and it was the carpenter saying that he was heading our way from Girne, so we got back just in time.  He arrived about 10 minutes later.

He put the shelves into the kitchen cupboards and fitted the mirror in the en suite, along with the holes above for the new light fitting.  He also put new boxes in the top kitchen cupboards so that the lights can be refitted above the work surface. So, slowly things are getting done.  We rang Hakan and asked when the electrician could come as we now have no light in the en suite and also the new lights need to be fitted in the kitchen cupboards and then of course the lights around the balustrade of the pool and I have three sets of wall lights to be fitted and it goes on.  Hakan said the electrician will be here tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

When the carpenter left we went around clearing up the usual mess that these workmen leave, emptied our last kitchen box into the cupboards and then went for a swim and I actually managed to get onto the lilo that we had bought.

As it cooled down we decided we had better move some of the stones to put in the side garden.  This meant going the other side of the wall, filling up the wheel barrow, lifting them individually over the wall, into the wheelbarrow on the other side and then into the garden and laid them out.  We thought if these were left any longer that they would all disappear as although they are our stones, they have been left on somebody else’s land.  Transported the stones, had dinner and went to bed.

Saturday 5th June

We decided to get up early and go into Girne.  We took the water cooler back and he exchanged it for another one as we keep having floods!  We also went round to the Beledeysi office to see if they were open on Saturday mornings, to enquire about the dog hotel but they were closed. We bought another upright fan on the way back and had completed all this by 9.30, ready to wait for the electrician.  We went in for a swim and just as Mal got out of the pool, Willy from the Dog House arrived, full of pleasantries. In actual fact to ask if he could tap into our electricity.  Mal asked him outright if they were having the dog hotel there.  He looked very crestfallen and said it would only be a couple of dogs plus their 6.  Mal had said no, how many did he have planning permission for.  He didn’t answer, so does he have planning permission? Mal said his wife had not been telling me the entire truth and we had lost faith in them when we saw their adverts.  Mal said ‘I always give people two chances, so be honest with me now, how many dogs will you be having there?’ Willy said ‘about 9’ and so Mal said that this would be theirs included and he said no, so it transpires that there will in fact be 15.  Mal called me over and I told him that I was angry with his wife for not telling us the truth and also for treating us like idiots, hoping obviously that we wouldn’t find out anything. I then walked away saying I was saying no more or else I would get angry.  Mal continued talking to him and I think Mals final sentence was ‘It is not whether or not we are happy with the dog house, it is just that trust has been broken, in effect we don’t trust you.’  Willy left.

After his departure I stayed in the pool longer and then we put our house sign up and the door knocker. Still waiting for the electrician!

I spoke too soon, they have just arrived or as Mal has just said, it is three kids arrived playing at electricians!  Well, we hope they know what they are doing. Perhaps we are just getting older.  We had to laugh though because they arrived with tools in carrier bags. It is now half past two so just as well that we went out first thing this morning.

We bought the Cyprus Times today, a weekly English paper and there is an article in there saying that someone had broken into the Animal Rescue and released the animals.  There had been dog fights and injuries and a lot of the animals were traumatised but the majority had been rounded up.  A reward has been offered for any information about the perpetrators.  Perhaps it was just as well we didn’t visit the kennels yesterday.

The electricians put up the lights at the end of the pool, the lights in the kitchen cupboards and also the lights for the mirror in the en suite.  They also put up one set of wall lights and said they ran out of time and would have to do the others another time.  Gwen and Peter arrived while they were here.  They have been really concerned about the dog hotel business. After everyone left, Mal and I cleaned up all the mess the electricians had left and put things back in cupboards and then we went out for a meal at Mirabelles.  As always good food and three courses plus Turkish coffee and brandies for �6.50 a head!  Came back and had a drink on the terrace listening to the cement mixers once again at the house below.  This went on until 11.30, by which time their generator sounded so quiet!

Sunday 6th June

Up early and drove into Girne to the cash machine before the crowds packed in.  It has been chaos in the town and according to Cyprus Today, the work will be continuing for the next three months! On the way back we bought some beers and bits to stock up for August.

Girne High Street!

Hot today about 30 degrees but seems nice and cool on the terrace.  We spent a lot of the day cleaning up and Mal was using the steamer to try and get the paint off the floor tiles.  Had a swim in between and Peter came to do something to the pool. Peter and Mal sat discussing what was going to happen next to the TRNC.  Peter also told us that In�esu and Malatya (we are in between the two) elected not to join the local council but to be managed by their Muhtar.  This means it is probably pointless going into the council concerning our problem about a dog kennel moving in next door and we know from our previous experiences that our Muhtar speaks very little English.  Peter said next time we are here he will introduce us to a translator from In�esu and then we can go and see the Muhtar. I think we have got to keep this all in proportion and if the kennels does go ahead and keeps us awake then we will just have to keep waking them up and telling them!

In the evening we went to Serenity restaurant and had the usual large meal, starting off with the meze which lands in front of you before you can even say ‘actually I am not feeling very hungry’!!

Monday 7th June

The last day of our very short holiday and now we have to last until August when we come with Ange, Rhys and the grandchildren.  We spent the morning getting in some supplies for August, large bottles of water, crisps for the kids and things like that.  In between swimming Gwen and Peter came round for a drink and to say goodbye.  It is always sad seeing them driving off down the hill. Both with long faces, we tidied the rest of the house, took all the outdoor furniture in, locked up and drove to Ercan airport.  The departures of this new airport I am much more impressed with.  They now have signs up listing departures, instead of you just sitting there guessing!  You can also understand the announcements now and it is AIR CONDITIONED!  This will be a bonus in August as previously it was not.  It also has 12 check in desks (compared to three before). There are also now 2 restaurants, so far more room to sit.  As usual Mal and I just sat there wishing we didn’t have to come back to England.  The plane was on time……..looking forward to August!

Easter 2004

Easter Holiday 2004 

Thursday 8th April

Well, at last after all the worry that we would never be getting away to sort out the delivery of our furniture, we know now that we are able to go. We took a leisurely drive up to Stansted, stopping for lunch on the way. We stayed the night at the Stansted Hilton and had a really nice meal in their restaurant and so after all Mals illness, we now are beginning to feel that we are on holiday at last.

Friday 9th April – Good Friday

We were woken up about 4, by people flushing their toilets, hair dryers going, banging cases along corridors, great.  Mal went back to sleep but I didn’t manage it.

We had hot cross buns for our breakfast later and then headed off for the airport. 15.00 was the time on our tickets for our Onur Air flight and when we get there, already it is now 16.00 but no one told us.  We did a bit of shopping and had some lunch and then waited for the plane to board.

Whilst we are waiting we get a text from Peter to say that the beds haven’t been delivered.  These had been promised by Fiskos, to be delivered before 7th April, ensuring nothing would go wrong.  Several texts later, Peter assures us beds will be there ‘but they are not yet’.

As we thought he was thinking up all sorts of contingency plans ‘just in case’.  I think after Peter and Derek visiting the shop, they decided they had better get these sorted out and get something delivered.  Peter evidently waited around most of the afternoon and they finally arrived at 7.00pm. No head boards, no sofa beds but two single beds. Good old Peter.

Meanwhile, back at the airport, all going well so far, even down to the fact that we were first to check in and were offered seats with more leg room. Take off only a quarter of an hour late, three and a quarter hours to Istanbul, three quarters of an hour on the tarmac and then Istanbul to Gecitkale another hour and a half.  We landed, collected out cases and started to look on a board for our name.  This time we have booked a fly drive which means (!?**!?!) we collect the car at the airport.  No board with our name but we see a rep for the travel company we booked through.  He knows nothing about a car and continues herding the package people off to their coaches. Eventually he is left to face us and makes a few phone calls and discovers we have no car.  We are not happy. We suggest that we get a taxi and charge it to Jewels of the World.  He doesn’t think much of our suggestion and instead we are now asked to get on the coach that is going to Riverside. You can imagine how we felt when the last thing we wanted was to be driven round half the night (or rather by now, the early hours of the morning) to everyone’s hotels before arriving at the Riverside.  We know from experience this is the last drop.  Of course we voice our opinions and the rep makes further phone calls and then tells us that he will drop us off at the Acapulco, the first hotel and the car will be waiting for us. We arrive at the Acapulco and are asked to wait in reception and the rep gets us a drink each.  It doesn’t seem like the car has arrived yet.  Yes, it will only be 10 minutes. We wait and wait. We arrived here at 01.20 and the car arrives at 02.30 BUT having asked for a manual, an automatic Focus arrives. I told them I am not driving an automatic.  I was then told this was the only car they had, to which I replied this was total rubbish and we have always managed to get cars in the middle of August and I know they won’t all be rented out.  By now we are all so tired that I suggested to the rep he drive us to our house and then bring me a manual car in the morning.  I think to get shot of us he agrees.  So, we arrive at the house, he drives into the newly gravelled drive and spins the wheels and can’t get up the drive. We get the cases and struggle across something similar to Brighton beach and manage to get to the front door.  The gravel drive has obviously just been a load of stones dumped!  It gets better.  The rep turns tail and heads off, promising to deliver our manual car at 10 in the morning.  Gwen and Peter had left us a loaf of bread and a carton of milk, so we make a cup of tea.  It is so nice to be here at last but the DIRT!!!!!!!!!!!!  Still at least the two beds are here.  We have something to be thankful for.

Saturday 10th April

In spite of our late night, we woke up about 7 am, probably because we had opened some of the shutters in the bedroom and the sun was up.  It all seems very strange that this is now our home but everywhere is filthy with builders dust.  They haven’t cleaned up a thing.  We decided that as we both feel so grimy because of it that we are going to have to do the lot.  It is unbelievable, the new tiles in the bathroom and en suite are covered with paint splashes and lumps of glue and goodness knows what else.  How simple it would have been to have put a decorating sheet down. It is over all the other tiles as well but just doesn’t show up so much as on the blue floor tiles.

Gwen and Peter came round and said how surprised they were the state the place was left in, they had even written a ‘welcome home message’ on the bathroom mirror in the dust.  We tell them the tale of why we have no car in the drive and explain it is being delivered at 10 (it is now 11.15!) He does turn up eventually requesting that I drop him back off at the Riverside as he has no lift!

We had a good chat with Gwen and Peter and then football was calling for Peter, who has been promoted within the management ranks of Alsancak football club.

So, first stop for us was Fiskos.  He was full of, ‘oh the sofa bed will be here today’ and the headboards for the other beds during the week. He told us we had good friends in Peter and Derek as they chased him up for the beds.  Well, yes, we kinda needed something to sleep on, on our arrival!  We then went to the pottery to collect our house plaque, ordered last time we were here.  Surprise, there had been a problem and in 6 weeks it still wasn’t ready. It will be ready Friday!!

We must get back into the Cypriot way of thinking.  While we are away nothing gets done, there has always been some ‘problem’ and when someone tells you a time, be it for delivery or whatever, it will be at least two hours later.

On to the supermarket for masses of cleaning things.  Of course my mops and brooms and everything else are in the container. So, we filled our trolley up and had to laugh because as we had spent over �40, we were told to go to the desk at the front of the supermarket and collect our ‘prize’.  We had a choice of a wicker basket or a door mat.  At this stage a door mat seems more useful. We also bought a large amount of drinking water as we are not connected to the mains yet and so water has been delivered into a tank which is not suitable for drinking.

Back to the house and we started the cleaning up operation. Well, I started on the kitchen cupboards as we would then have somewhere to put the shopping away.  I was filling up dustpan after dustpan with builder’s rubble in the cupboards!  I am not certain how much wall we have left behind the cupboards! Mal did all the mopping of the floors and as he said managed to get the first layer of dirt off.

I really wasn’t expecting to be doing this but we had to get rid of some of it because it was getting into our hair and everywhere.

By about 8 o’clock, we had both had enough and washed and went out to eat.  Now this was a task, to get the car back down the drive in the dark!  I managed to reverse up the steepest bit towards the house with wheels spinning but we did it and then drove to Seveners on the main road and had dinner. Back home and bed we were so exhausted.

Easter Sunday 11th April

We woke up to glorious sunshine and had our breakfast on the terrace. Today is going to be our lazy day before the onslaught. However I did get on my hands and knees to clean the bathroom and the en-suite floors again.  I got quite upset kneeling there trying to pick off some of the glue and paint, after all these are all brand new tiles.  Then Mal told me to leave them as Hakan will have to get someone in to clean them.  He keeps saying that it is so obvious that Hakan could not have been up to check on progress at all and seems as though he is sending bad workmen up here, as we know a lot are now going over the border to the South where they can earn far more money.  Mal keeps reminding me that we still have the retention money.  As we go around and notice things, we are now starting a list; I feel it will be a very long list.

I sit on the terrace and then remind myself we have a view to die for and no matter how much building goes on around us; no one can take that away from us.  Talking of which, they have started building the other side of the road below us, as I write this, the workmen are there toiling away and one of them has been up with a huge empty bottle asking if he can have water.

Gwen and Peter arrived and Peter connected the gas to our cooker as only the electric oven worked. Gwen came in her ‘cleaning clothes’ she said but we told her that we did it all yesterday and so there was no need.  It was very nice of her but I am sure she has better things to do with her Sunday.  Once the cooker was completed we sat and chatted and then they went home lunchtime.  The temperature is about 25 degrees and clear skies.  Would have been nice if the swimming pool had been completed and filled!

We have discovered that if we sit on the terrace and try and use a mobile phone, the reception just drops away.  Peter noticed this driving up and so we have to walk around the swimming pool to get a good reception or alternatively go inside the house but then it echoes due to the lack of furniture.

While we sitting on the terrace we saw a convoy of cars coming up the hill and discovered they were all Greek Cypriots, so we sat and watched them drive past us, up to Malatya.

We thought about going for a walk and then heard gun fire going off in the mountains to the side of us.  Obviously someone hunting, so after our experience dog walking when we heard a bullet whoosh past us, we changed our minds.

All our spare tiles have been left the other side of the stone wall that has been erected so Mal and I lifted them over the wall and into our ‘kitchen garden’.  There are loads more swimming pool tiles still the other side but after carrying these in the heat, we then decided that it would be better to wait until the container arrives with the wheelbarrow!  Good thinking.

Our View!

After spending a long time just sitting on the terrace admiring our view and continually pinching ourselves and yes, it really is ours; we went for a walk to Malatya. It was so nice and we walked through the village and out the other side and at last discovered Malatya waterfall.  Some of the tour companies run a trip here and here it is right on our door step.

On the way back down we took a look at some of the houses they are building in the hills behind us.

In the evening we drove to Mirabelles and had a nice meal after which we returned home and sat on the terrace. We turned all the lights out and looked up to the sky and in all honesty we have never been able to see so many stars in the sky.  It was amazing.

Monday 12th April    

Up around 8 and a cup of tea on the terrace.  Mal goes and sits by the pool so that he can get reception on the phone (!)  His first call is to Dolphin (the removal company) so that we get all the information of what to do and how to do it.

Firstly we have to go to the local council for residents papers and then we have to have the in – out paper from Lefkosa police station and then we take the residents papers and the in – out papers to the customs in Lefkosa, to get the exemption certificate.  We then take the exemption certificate along with all the other documents to Famagusta. Dolphin is going to fax the Bill of Lading (from the ship) to Stringers for us so that we can collect that to add to the rest of the paperwork.  Simple heh?!

So, we set off to Alsancak Beldeysi (council offices) and explain the document we need, temporary residency.  They tell us that we are at the wrong offices and that we have to go into Girne Kaymakamligi Inşaat Bőlűmű.  Confused? So were we.  However the clue was that it was by the court house and we know where that is. On the way we stop at Stringer sot collect our fax from Dolphin. We have a quick word with Tracy and thank her. So, we find the building and ask for who we have been told, Peral Hanim.  We are speaking to her but she speaks very little English but we manage to get over what we are after with the help of Ali Şemi.  He is building houses below us in In�esu.  He tells us it is not office number 2 here but office number 6.  He takes us along there.  Again, they tell us we are at the wrong place and we should go to the customs house down at the ferry port.  We feel this is not where we want to be at all and say that we are just trying to find out who or where our Muhtar (mayor/councillor?) is.  She gives us his name, Mehmet Kanadar and says he is in Malatya.  So, we ask where and she shrugs her shoulders, so we ask if he has a phone number and she shrugs her shoulders again.  At least we have a name now and believe that we come under Malatya.  However we still go to the Customs house because they have told us to go there and as we thought a complete waste of time.  They tell us to see our Muhtar.

We come home exhausted and have some lunch.  We bought some food in the supermarket on the way home.  We have a problem not having a fridge yet that if we buy anything fresh we have to eat it straight away. I suggested part of our meal was some of their spicy cous cous that they have as part of their mezes.  We have bought it before in Lemars, so we grabbed some and added it to the basket.  Now Mal eats a lot faster than I do and I know that we are both really tired and hot, enough of the excuses.  What I thought was cous cous, I took a mouthful of it and decided it wasn’t.  I went and looked at the packaging which had on it ‘Cig Kofte’…spicy meatballs.  We were eating raw meat.  Mal by this time had eaten half of his saying ‘I thought it wasn’t cous cous.  I am sure I will be reminded of this for years to come.

After lunch we walked up to Malatya and saw three men playing cards in the front garden.  We asked them where the Muhtar was and they made many hand and arm movements and then I picked up on the tail end of their explanation ‘su’ which is water, so we headed off to the waterfall.  At the last house before the waterfall we asked the people outside where Mehmet Kanadar was and it was he we were speaking to.  He spoke no English nor did his wife but they brought chairs out for us (in the middle of the road) and we had Turkish coffee and sour cherries and smiled a lot while Mehmet was indoors looking for his paperwork.  Eventually he came out with a scrappy form, with someone else’s name on, and scribbled out! He got Mal to write all his details down, checked his passport and then he signed it and pt his official stamp to it.  It was just so funny sitting in the middle of the road doing all this.  We paid him 10 million and he seemed very happy.

Well, one document down but this has taken us all day.  Had we this information before, we could even had collected it on yesterdays walk to Malatya!  It is hot again today and this is all getting exhausting.

In the evening we decide to go down to The Corner Bistro which is right at the bottom of our road. We had a nice meal in there but on the way out there was a big ridge in the road and I managed to fall over, twisted my ankle and fell onto my other knee.  The pain was so bad I thought I was going to be sick.  I don’t know how but I managed to drive us back up the hill but I did and climbed the gravel ‘drive’ with Mals help. Great and I am supposed to be up early in the morning and drive to Lefkosa.  I was convinced I could.

Tuesday 13th April

I woke up at around 5.00 am in absolute agony with my ankle.  I took some pain killers and I think it was then we made the decision that I would not be driving into Lefkosa today.  I rested my foot most of the morning during which time quite a gang of people started walking around our land, accompanied by a policeman!!  Mal went to investigate and discovered that this was a young Turkish couple who had just got married and as one of their presents they had their choice of 4 donums of land out of 10 acres that the mother owned.  The plot behind us was one of them.  The reason the police were with them was that no one is allowed to trespass on anyone else’s land without the police being present.  Mal went out and helped them out, even though they obviously had their own land man with them, they were finding it difficult to make head or tail of the boundaries.  Mal took our papers and maps out and they walked around together.  They liked it here but have others to look at and anyway will not be living here for another 4 years.  They are coming back on Thursday to take another look.

We had our solicitors appointment at 2.00 pm to have our wills made.  So, I hobbled to the car and managed to drive to Girne.  The solicitors name is Mine Konat and her office if opposite St Andrews church.  So, we went in there and did the business.  We have to have two separate wills and they are only translated into Turkish on the event of death.  Meanwhile she holds the stamped copies.  This cost us �100 each and I should say it took her around 50 minutes.  One good job done.  Back to the house and Peter came round and explained things we didn’t know about our trip to Lefkosa, which has now been re scheduled for tomorrow.  Things like the Police station on the map has closed down and been relocated, so he explained where it was.  This is really helpful as it seems this alone took them a day when they were doing it.  Peter and Mal also wandered down to the side of our land to try and decide what the trenches have been dug for and what all the pipe lying around was for. I think they are undecided!  We will wait for Hakan to tell us.

Not much achieved today.

In the evening we went to the supermarket for more drinking water and then on to Yenihans for our evening meal. We had lahmacan to start and then I had tuvek şiş (chicken shish) and Mal had mixed pide.  Fresh orange, a large bottle of water and Turkish coffees and that all came to 19 million TL, around �7.50.

Came home only to find we had another visitor, a praying mantis about 5 inches long! Not a very close up photo as I didn’t want to get too close!

Wednesday 14th April

Well, we managed to get up early today and headed for Lefkoşa to begin the sorting out of the paperwork for the collection of our furniture.  We are almost into Girne when Mal realises he has forgotten one of the papers so we turn back.  Things like this keep happening and I remind Mal he is still on very strong antibiotics which you can not drive with or work machinery and we both agree that they have done something to his brain!  He really isn’t 100% after all he has now been ill and antibiotics for 7 weeks. We collect the missing copies of passports and continue into Lefkoşa.  With Peters helpful directions we manage to find the new Police station straight away.  I wait in the car as Mal signed the papers in England so only his documents are needed now. He went in, asked for immigration and met a really helpful policeman who sorted his ‘in – out’ papers straight away.  These are papers showing a list of all your visits to the country.  I think we were lucky to be in there early as he said about another 8 people came in as he was leaving.  Then on to the Lefkoşa customs.  That was a bit more difficult to find but eventually after crossing the dual carriageway a couple of times, we found it.  Mal went in and came out about 5 minutes later.  We needed copies of the Turkish packing list and three more 1 million stamps.  We already had some but obviously not enough.  Panic sets in because he is thinking that he is going to have to drive into the town which is where we usually get lost. But he told us to go to the garage across the road, upstairs!  So, off we go and the girl in there kindly gives Mal all this!  What nice people.  Back to the customs and after about 15 minutes Mal appears victorious waving our exemption certificate.  He only just made it as there was talk of a strike today and they were just about to walk out but decided to process ours before they did. Whew.  The strike is because Denktaş wants the Turkish Cypriots to vote ‘no’ in the referendum and it seems they want to vote ‘yes’.

We have achieved all this by 10.00am.  We have heard so many people say that this process takes so long, so we have done well.  On to Gazimağusa. We manage to find the shipping peoples office after asking only one person and so give in the final documentation.  Now she can’t promise that our container will come tomorrow because of the strike but at least we have managed to get in before our 7 days is up, otherwise you get charged �40 per day.  With great relief, having believed we would not get all this done in a day, let alone a morning, we come back home and arrange for Hakan to visit at 4.00pm.  So, we manage to get half an hour on the sun loungers next to the empty pool!

Meanwhile around us there are builders lorries going up the hill.  Houses are being built above and to the left side but way over and also the other side of the road but way below us. We knew as soon as we brought electricity here at our great cost that a lot more of the land would be much more appealing but I guess that is life, still no one can spoil our view. Ali Şemi is at this very moment, manoeuvring his 4 wheel up the hillside showing someone else a ‘suitable’ plot!

Enough of all this, we go out for dinner.  We drive out undecided and end up at the new Nepalese restaurant, Kukri.  John who owns it was evidently in the Ghurkha’s in Kosovo and received the MBE for his work with children.

First we had rolls with three sorts of different butters and then came the chapatti and pickles.  Mal was then very adventurous and had fillet steak in a mushroom sauce.  I ordered a Nepalese Kukhura Adawa Masala, a chicken dish.  Both meals were excellent and even though I asked for mine ‘hot’, I could still taste all the herbs. It was delicious.  This was followed by fresh summer fruit in pancakes, drizzled with chocolate and Mal had light lemon cheesecake.  We were really pleasantly surprised.  I think the bill was about 64 million which is about �26 but well worth it.

Thursday 15th April

We rang Hakan first thing and he said he would be here about 11.30. We also noticed that there was a message on the phone.  We have had terrible problems getting a signal up here and Marion, my sister had called but hadn’t got through. It appears she is a granny again.  Julie my niece gave birth to Zak yesterday a month early, unfortunately he is struggling with a collapsed lung.  Waiting to hear more news.

Hakan arrived and this time he brought his wife with him.  It is the first time that we have met her and she is really nice.  We went through the urgent things with him and he really was very good and his wife understood when I said about the lights under the kitchen cupboards and lack of shelves.  He said he will also get the pool filled this afternoon…yeah!!  We will be able to swim.

His electrician and carpenter are coming up.  His carpenter came in the afternoon and measured up for the new spot lights under the kitchen cupboards (!) and the shelving and also for the mirror fitting for the en suite.

We then called our shipping agent as we had not heard from them and she tells us our container will be arriving tomorrow evening! That should be fun as we believe they have a lot to do and we are also thinking that the customs men who come along too, won’t be hanging around for too long if it is the evening.

Fiskos also arrived in the afternoon and deliver the bed heads and attach them to the spare beds.

Early evening we went into Girne to get some money and I said I would call in at the dentist as I had a root filling at home and he left a temporary filling in there.  The first work was �350 and to crown it is another �750!!  So, I decided as we will be living here eventually, no better time to try out the dentist!  She looked at my tooth and said she can do it before we return home and it will cost �75!!! A tenth of the British cost, so an appointment was made for 9.30 Monday morning.  Something to look forward to whilst on holiday!

View from the winter lounge

Mal on the terrace

My ‘Before’ kitchen lights!

Swimming pool terrace

In the evening we went to Serenity Restaurant and had a meze followed by swordfish kebabs, fresh orange and then Turkish coffee. The meze was enormous and we only paid about �7 each.

Friday 16th April

THE BIG DAY – The day we have been waiting for, our furniture arrives.  It was way back in the middle of February that we last saw it. We spent nearly all day scrubbing floors and trying to get the paint off.  Take note, if you write your own contract as we did, put in ‘and make good’! The container was due at 4.00 pm; Gwen was busy so Peter came round for a bit of moral support until the time when the container eventually arrived at 6.30pm!  I can see why they were late, how they manoeuvred through In�esu village is beyond me and then they had the task of getting a 40 foot container up the drive!

Our container chugging up the hill

Mal and Peter organising all!

The 2 customs men waiting

Boxes and boxes… 202 in all

The two customs men arrived first and Peter kept one of them talking about football.  He also toured our land and picked the wild sage and also picked some flowers that he gave to me. He was ‘Mr Nice Guy’ and the other one was ‘Mr Nasty Guy’! He was so miserable.  We gave them coffee.  Then we saw the 40 foot container chugging up the hill.  It really was so exciting.  Well, then they started unloading and we had a packing list with 202 boxes, so we had to find the number on the box and then steer them into whatever room it should be in.  Inevitable a lot of boxes ended up in the wrong places.  The customs men had a copy of the list and so could open and search any boxes they liked.  We have heard horror stories of how much people have been charged import tax.  Finally all the boxes are in and we give the removal guys another Efes can of beer each and Mal gave them quite a hefty tip so they went away beaming.  Then we were given our bill for import tax ( we had argued that the telescope was really only for looking at stars, the sofa was not new, nor was the TV and look the casing has even been dented in transit, it had! Etc etc.)  So, our import tax bill turned out to be �24.  We sighed a sigh of relief and off they went. We had been told they would unpack everything but we were in such chaos we declined. If we want the boxes collecting then that would be �75!  We declined that also. BUT there are no dumps here and no dustbin collection.


Next day some empty boxes!

So, we worked until 1.30 am trying to get some boxes emptied. We fell into bed exhausted but happy to have our furniture here at last and a fridge and a washing machine!

Saturday 17th April

The minute we got up we started unpacking more boxes.  I swear I never want to see another piece of bubble wrap in my life.  We have tons of it and it is not easily disposed of.

Gwen and Peter came round and gave us a hand unpacking and then went about lunchtime as Peter was going to football. It was chaos.  Imagine, after all we had 202 boxes, four and a half tons of possessions. All day we emptied boxes and then started wondering how on earth we are going to dispose of all this packing stuff.  In the evening we decided to have a fire and so Mal found an oil drum that our workmen had used and set to burning boxes.  Nothing more to tell, we unpacked until midnight and came across things we had forgotten we had. Exhausting.

Sunday 18th April

Up early and more unpacking.  Gwen and Peter came round about 11 and said we had more visitors coming, Derek (who used to be one of my contractors many years ago) and his wife Eunice.  Peter had started a flat pack filing cabinet yesterday and so Derek completed that and also 2 flat pack bathroom cabinets.

Peter and Del boy sorting out the flat packs

He had them done in no time and said he would return later and put them up in the bathroom. We sat around and chatted and then they all left.

Del boy came back later and put the cabinets in the bathroom and the en suite. He held a dustpan underneath while he drilled.  I told him, not like the Turkish Cypriot workmen! He also put our large clock up on the wall.  He has also agreed to build us a huge bookcase down all one side by the front door.

We carried on working again all day until we just both ached so much.

I am sure this makes really exciting reading but to us it was great and bit by bit our home is piecing together again and this is our last move!

Monday 19th April

Up early because we have to go to the dentist.  Drove into Girne and they gave me a form to complete and then I was taken in.  I now know why our dentist in England charges so much his ‘bedside manner’ and the pampering both him and his nurses give you.  I was straight in the chair and she started drilling!! I am not the happiest person in a dentist chair and just kept telling myself that this was saving me �675! Well, then my mouth got sort of dry and I think my tongue moved and it caught the drill….yuk.  She told me to rinse my mouth and as I thought a mouth full of blood. BUT the cup was empty and so I had to ask where the water was and then there was like a press button control panel and you press the pink beaker picture (In England this is all ready for you!) but I am saving �675! Eventually she finished and after taking impressions made another appointment on Wednesday afternoon to have the rods put in and then I think Friday is when the crown goes in. It was all so quick and she was a bit heavy handed even though she is tiny. I have to say my tongue was sore all day. Not helped by the fact that we went to Dűkkans for lunch on the way home and I put salt on my lunch!

We then stopped at the potteries to collect our house sign and yet again, ‘there has been another problem’!! Mal was just about to demand his deposit back when he ushered us out to the back and showed us our house sign with a crack through the middle.  It was so nice and they are making another one the same that we said yes it was fine; we will call again on Thursday.

As we got home there was a policeman on the drive with the people who are having the land behind. Then the dispute begins!  Mal went round with them and the plan and he tells them they are wrong.  There is much arguing over who owns what, made worse by the fact that the government have taken some of their land and some of ours for their road!!  Meanwhile the Swedish couple from the other side of the road come over to see if they can help as they see the Police here! In this country they are heavy on land trespass and so they have to bring the Police if they go on anyone else’s land.   Well, round the land they walked and they disagreed with what we thought was right.  Meanwhile I am talking to the Swedish couple who say all the villagers in In�esu are complaining because they say they have too many dogs.  I did establish that they are just bringing their six! Eventually the people from the land behind leave, with Mal calling Hakan first so that he can meet up with them.  It is agreed for 7.00pm.  More boxes and meanwhile we have another two containers of water delivered for the pool.

Water men admiring our view

The water!

Hakan arrived about 6.15 and we discussed the problem with him which is mainly over our access (quite a big problem if we can’t get on to our land!)  We also mentioned the pool lights and he told us where his electricians shop is and if we buy wall lights from there, and then he will fit those for us too. Still waiting for the carpenter to come back and do the bits under the kitchen cupboards before the electrician can fit the lights and presumably he will do them all at once and we are now into our second week. The man hasn’t come to fit the fireplace either! Must be thankful we have water in the pool so at least we can establish if that leaks before we return to the UK.

Then at 7 two of the men arrive and I leave Mal and Hakan to it as they walk round with tape measures and the maps we have which are about 30 years old.  This is one of the major problems because things have changed but as Mal said, you can’t move mountains and they are shown obviously on the map.  This went on until dark and no one could see any more.  They are asking us for money for the access land but there is a bit of their land jutting into ours and I had already said to Mal could we not just swap two bits and make a straight border?  I think this was put to them but this didn’t solve the complete problem.  They suggest we make a driveway up the front of the cliff. Mal left Hakan trying to sort it out and he will be in touch with us.  Who ever said life was easy?

Meanwhile back in England, my niece Julie and baby Zak are thankfully back home and he is doing well even thought he has a special lighted crib sent home with him. So, some good news.

We had called into Bell Trading, a sort of frozen food place today and bought a kilo of scallops which we planned on cooking for dinner.  Very nice but when I thawed them they seem about 90% water. They had shrunk considerably.

A text from Peter asking after my ‘gnashers’. I text back about the border dispute and he rang us and said he knew people who could sort this out and would come round tomorrow.

Tuesday 20th April

Up about 7 again and decided we will go into Girne and into the electricians and choose some wall lights and also lights for around the pool.  Well, we find the shop and realise they only do two heights of lights and neither seem to be a suitable height for our pool.  We will have to speak to Hakan about it.  We do however buy two wall lights for our bedroom, Hakan having said that if we bought them, his electrician would fit them. The wall lights for the winter lounge and the second bedroom I have brought from the UK. We also went to a couple of other electrical shops and priced up the cold water machines, about �70 but until we are here for longer, it doesn’t seem worth getting one yet.  There was such a scurry of contractors when Hakan first came up but nothing since!

On the way back we called into Cyprus Pools and bought a telescopic cleaning pole and an 8 metre hose for the vacuuming of the pool.

Back home and we had another tanker of water delivered and so spoke to Peter as he is going to be looking after our pool.  We thought it was enough water but it doesn’t quite reach the overflow.

Peter arrives with his ‘mucker’ Derek, Del boy who used to be one of my contractors at Circle 33.  Well, as Mal and Peter were trying to sort the pool out, Del put the flat pack gas barbecue together for us, saying that he would never visit without his tools! He assembled it all and also sorted out our bed and headboard. As Del said, who would have imagined all those years ago, drinking coffee in my office in Luton that we would both end up here! And of course in the whole of North Cyprus, he should be living opposite to Peter and Gwen.  Life is full of coincidences, this one I am thankful for as Derek has been so kind in helping us.

In the evening the young fella who is thinking of building on the plot behind us arrived and so Mal went out to talk to him.  He was really nice and whilst he was out that a guy called Dorson stopped to speak to Mal.  He is about 35, runs a chicken farm and also owns quite a lot of land and is having houses built.  He lives in Malatya and sounds as though he has quite an intellectual conversation with Mal.  We have seen him out on runs, up the hill and Mal said in September he will join him, in his effort to keep fit.

There is so much building going on at the moment because if land has buildings on it, it will alter its ‘swap’ status come the referendum on Saturday!  Everyone here is waiting for this to see if both sides will go ahead with the Annan plan.

We cooked some really nice cod in the evening and I had a few glasses of wine.  Mal has decided to stop taking his antibiotics so that he can have a drink in a day or so!

Wednesday 21st April

A nerve wracking day as I kept thinking of my return visit to the dentist! She told me that she was putting the rods in today and after her catching my tongue with the drill on the last visit, well, I was a tiny bit nervous but I tried to keep remembering the �650 I was saving. So, we emptied more boxes and I cleaned windows and patio doors.  Filthy was not in it, I think they had everyone’s finger prints all over them.  It took ages.  About 1.30pm we had a power cut (a regular occurrence as we know here but we have been lucky this is the first one we have had.) So, we just didn’t open the fridge, made some lunch and then off to the dentist.  All she did was try for size a metal replica she had made, filed some off it, tested my bite again, matched the colour and that was it until another appointment tomorrow afternoon.  All that worry for nothing.  Coincidently Derek is going through the same thing as me as she pulled one of his front teeth and we seem to be having appointments on the same days!

Home again and waited for the water tank man to come and deliver our last tank of water (we are still not connected to mains water!)  He didn’t come and so we will have to get on to Hakan again.  So, today we have managed tom empty most of the rest of the boxes and empty loads more and some of our things are stored away in the cupboard at the front of the swimming pool until we have more time; at least the house is looking more like a home now. Mal has been trying to sort the TV out but it seems as though we are going to have to have them re chipped.  We have an excellent picture even without the aerial (we have the socket but no wire attached!) but no sound.

We had our dinner on the terrace and watched the sun go down behind the mountain.

9.20 pm, our second power cut of the day and we have lit all the candles, however, I am sitting on the terrace writing this with the light from the laptop!

At last looking a bit more like home

Almost full!

Evening Mist over the mountains

The power cut lasted until around 10.30. Bed about 11 and then I hear banging noises outside. Mal ends up investigating and it is only then I realise we are isolated and we don’t even know the number for the Police!!  It transpires that it was a shutter Mal had not secured and it was banging.

Thursday 22nd April

Well, we have been so busy and been up early every day since we have been here, so today we had a cup of tea in bed, and Mal was in his dressing gown trying to assemble his telescope.  I was lying in bed reading and at 9 o’clock, a man is outside the bedroom, saying ‘Efendim’.  Three other men are with him…..outside our open patio bedroom doors.  You have never seen two people get dressed so quickly! I am totally hacked off with this as we have a front door with a bell but no one uses it, they just wander round onto the swimming pool terrace. The sooner we get our boundary sorted and a gate put up the better.

Speaking of the boundary this is another man from the tapu office and he has come along with the owner of the strip of land next to the road, where supposedly we have access and should not have.  This tapu man decides the boundary is completely different form the last one and this gives us back some of our land and as we know, he has lost a lot of his land to the road and so have we, they have chunked right into the edge of both.  So, if two tapu men can’t agree what chance do we have?  At least this one is more favourable to us and he gets one of the metal rods the last one had driven in on our land and throws it away on the ground.  They leave with the owner of the strip of land looking very disgruntled.  A great start to our day!

It is cloudy today and the temperature has dropped.  The weather forecast said 24 deg. but when we got in the car, it was 15!

Peter came round to see if the water had been delivered.  No it hasn’t but maybe this is because of the power cuts.  There was a storm in the night and TRNC has never been good when it rains and it has been raining today.  Peter and Mal sit and put the world to rights, well, mainly discussing the referendum and the KAR (animal rescue) AGM which is this afternoon.  As a KAR life member if I wasn’t going to the dentist I would attend but obviously Gwen and Peter are going. Very political it sounds and perhaps it is just as well we aren’t going. I make one cup of coffee and then realise we have another power cut.  At least three rings on our cooker are gas.  Then the guy who owns the small strip of land next to the road behind us returns with his wife.  They are very disappointed as the government have claimed a lot of their piece for the road (and some of ours) but he is not impressed.

We have some lunch and then head for Girne again to see Dt. Seda Serger, my dentist.  Well, there is a meeting about the referendum in Lefkosa and my crown is stuck in the traffic jam that all this has caused. She says she will make us coffee but we say we will get some shopping and return at 4.30.  By now the heavens have opened and Mal has no jacket so we go and buy a fleece for him.  I already have mine on and an umbrella.  Just as well. We go and buy two more gas regulators, One to replace the one we took from the fire to connect the gas cooker and the other for the gas barbecue.  While we were in there we arranged for them to come tomorrow and rechip our two TV’s.  He told us to bring them into the shop but we said one of them was enormous and so they are coming out to us and it will cost about 60 million for each TV. Then off for a coffee and back to the dentist.  Another power cut, so this time we sit and chat to her as the tooth still hasn’t arrived.  It was quite nice because we got to know her a lot better and my fears were lessening! Meanwhile she has cancelled all her appointments because of the power cut! The crown arrives and so I go in but the bite is slightly high, so it needs a bit filing off and as there is still no electricity, I have to go back again tomorrow.  Anyway, at least she made the appointment the first one at ten to nine.  She now explains that she is cementing it in and so no rods and so no problems for me.

On the way home we go into Lemar and buy a birthday cake for Peter.  It is his birthday on 30th April but of course we will miss it, so we get a big chocolate cake and it is less than �3! Next stop the pottery and they have our sign ready.

We are really pleased with it but he keeps apologising for the one that cracked in the furnace. I also bought a plate for Angela’s collection as we always do this, a sort of thank you for looking after Barney.  This time we bought one with a painting of the bee orchid as they grow here in the mountains.  Well, I can’t believe this, another trip out here and we just haven’t had time to go to the animal rescue and walk dogs.  I am really disappointed but getting the house sorted was far more important.  Hopefully we will be able to fit it in on Saturday morning but everywhere else is going to be shut because of the referendum.  We have seen loads of cars today sporting the TRNC and the Turkish flag but we are not sure whether these are yes people or no people!

When we get home we still have no electricity and so I cook my first meal by candle light.  As soon as I finish cooking the power comes back on but only for 20 minutes!

An ideal time for Mal to get the telescope out and we look at the moon and Venus but although we now have no light pollution it is still quite cloudy.

Friday 23rd April

Up early in preparation for the next visit to the dentist.  One problem, the water tank is now empty and we are reduced to washing in bottled water and getting buckets out of the swimming pool tank to flush the loo.  Hopefully one day, the mains water will be sorted out but at the moment we have nothing.

Off we go to the dentist, leaving in plenty of time to avoid the rush hour crawl.  We end up having coffee as we are there so early and as the dentist tells us it is Children’s Day and all offices are shut.  Crown is put in successfully and we pay the 180 million TL and drive home to await the TV man.

We text Hakan and tell him about our water situation, now thinking that we have no hope as the offices are shut and tomorrow everyone is shutting down because of the referendum.  Half way through the morning we see a water tanker coming up the hill! Hakan must have done something so we text to thank him.  We also call Peter and he says he will be up later to do the first back wash of the pool.  So, the pool is full and we have water to wash. I immediately go and wash my hair and start the washing machine up!  No TV man yet.

Peter starts his pool maintenance, three hours later, we hear gushing water from the side of the pool.  Looks as though most of our last tanker has drained all over the land, needless to say, the pool water level has lowered.  It really is complicated stuff all this pool business. It may be a valve problem but when the tank water level goes down, the water stops gushing.  Still no TV man!

What an exciting day.  Whilst all of this is going on the building below is moving on and it feels like we are in the middle of a building site.

Dozens of cement mixers coming up and down the road from early in the morning I think I have given up on cleaning the floors and the terrace, the dust is inevitable from the building site below.  Mal thinks we should complain to our rep! We just hope that it will all be completed by the end of May, our next visit. So, no swimming in our pool yet and still waiting for the TV man.  We seem to have spent so many days just waiting around here.  Still, at least we have all our things here and I have a new crown on my tooth for a tenth of the price of the UK, let’s be positive.

We decide that if the TV man is not here by 8 we are going out for a meal and also decide that we will turn left and drive to Lapta and go somewhere different.   Off we go and Mal says that we have never been to ‘Shirley Valentines’ and so we went in there, having never been before.  I wondered why I had steered clear of it all this time.  It was full of English and everyone knew everyone and everyone’s business.  The ‘mine hostess’ was a dead ringer for Julie Walters’s character in ‘Dinner ladies’ Suffice to say we recorded this as the worst value for money so far. I won’t bore you with all the details but my meal was ‘rough’. We declined sweet and also the free coffee and brandy and left.  On the way back a text arrived on our phone from Peter. “Derek’s bridge and double cap �220, extraction no charge as he mended her front door”! Derek said that her front door was driving him mad and he would have to get his plane to it and he obviously did!  Well, that was it; I had just had the giggles all night imagining Derek rolling up with his full tool kit to have his bridge fitted! So two successful dentistry jobs and Dt Segers front door no longer sticks. We sat on the terrace and had a drink.

Saturday 24th April – Referendum Day

Very sunny first thing and so we sat in bed drinking a cup of tea and admiring our view, just so that we remember on our return to the UK.

We got up and the phone rang and it was the TV man, he was having trouble finding us so we directed him and said we would be standing waving to him as he drove up the hill.  It is a bit like living in a castle that you can see everyone driving up the hill from down below.  He came in and took one look at the Toshiba and said it was too new and couldn’t be done!  The portable he has taken away and Peter will collect on Monday for us.  He did suggest for the large TV that we buy a dish for about �2,000.  Yes, I am sure.  Instead we will get the video done and run it through that!

We drove to Tempo supermarket and bought the last few things we needed.  Everywhere is so quiet today because of the referendum.  We all know the North will vote yes and the south will vote no.

I cleaned some more, the shutters (what a pain) and the final wash of the terrace.  Having spent most of the time looking for fresh basil here, this morning I discovered dry Basil, so made tomato and Basil soup with the masses of tomatoes we had in the fridge.

After lunch Gwen and Peter came round and Peter had another go at his pool maintenance and then we had ‘afternoon tea’ on the terrace and had Peter’s birthday cake. We do have some laughs with them.

It was quite emotional when they left and then we realised that we have to start thinking about clearing the terrace and packing.  We seem to have grown to like our home here.  It does already seem like home, still it must be worse for Mal as he hasn’t been to school for ten weeks and has to return on Monday.  He still has to have further scans and also return to see the specialist.

We watch the TV (Peters on loan) and the referendum is over.  The south vote about 28% yes and the north about 68% yes. As expected, the South won’t agree after all the work the EC have put into this.  We will see what happens next.

One end of our bedroom – The wall lights are going!

Where our drive may end up following the disputed boundary!
Needless to say we have not seen Hakan or any of his contractors and we are going home in the morning!

Sunday 25th April

Good start, our alarm clock didn’t go off and so we tore round throwing a few things in the cases and cleaning the fridge out and all the mundane things and then locking the house up.

We left for Gecitkale airport about 7.30, having not driven there before but we managed to find it OK and in plenty of time for our 10.00 am flight.

Arrived back in Stansted to sun, so that lessened the shock a little.

While we have been away, Rhys hit the front page of the local paper headed ‘Heroes tackle armed robber’ and goes on to say that Rhys was injured by the robbers knife and was also punched.  The judge has commended them and awarded them �300 each for their bravery. So, our son is a hero! That was nice to come home to.  At least on this occasion justice has been done.