January 2004

Thursday 1st January 2004

There was still lots of noise going on, so we went back to sleep again until around 7. We got up and went up to the Mountains dog walking. We had said that we would try and get back to take Pasa (Kangols they call his type of dog here). They are evidently hunting dogs in Turkey and they bring them over here when they no longer want them and just kick them out. They are about the size of a Great Dane.

Well poor Pasa doesn’t get on with any other dogs, so we set off with him on his own but he just did not enjoy it and really seems like a sick dog. The entire walk, when he dragged behind us, he kept tilting his head all the time. So, his walk was only about half an hour as he clearly was not enjoying it. So, we took him back and told Steve. He evidently is having ear drops and is not too well but he is far to larger a dog to be tied up all the time. Well, then Mal got engrossed in a conversation with Steve, whose house should be ready any time. He is having a few problems with the pool. They (Steve’s wife, Janet, was there too and the two Turkish Cypriot guys who work at the kennel) had been having coffee with brandy in it, celebrating New Years Day. As I have said it is a big thing here and everywhere is shut. I think half the population were hunting up in the mountains as we kept hearing guns going off and some frighteningly close to us. Eventually I dragged Mal away and I asked to take Pharaoh out and 2 other dogs, so off we went again but this time walked for about 2 hours. Pharaoh loves it and sniffs out everything. He is an excellent hunting dog but the guns really spook him which is obviously why he got dumped. Mal managed to let Pharaohs lead ‘drop’ out of his pocket and lost it. Just as well I take so many over here but previous to this Mal said he couldn’t understand how people lose them!! It might have been something to do with his head being stuck in a Turkish language book most of the walk!! It was sad leaving Pharaoh again and the next time we will see him is February. When we got back to the kennels, the 4 ‘workers’ were celebrating with sausage and bacon sandwiches and beer……see the things you end up craving for when you live out here! So exhausted, back to the villa and lunch.

Friday 2nd January

We drove into Girne as we had arranged to meet Hakan. The electricity board want us to pay the deposit on the meter and then it should be all systems go for the electricity, apart from the fact that they have a temporary blip with the supply in Malatya (where ours is running from!) Hakan took us into the electricity office and all that was sorted out and papers signed. This is what we signed for! (the meter!)

The three of us went for a cup of coffee and to sort out what is left to pay, adding on all the extras like granite work top, railings around the swimming pool etc. It is a good thing Mal put in a large ‘contingency’ figure that is all I can say! So, we have now paid everything except our retention. We have also asked Hakan to construct a stone wall at the front of the house because the goat man still lets the goats roam onto our land. Not too much of a hassle at the moment but it will be when we start the landscaping. Hakan gave us a key, so this was quite some celebration even though it is not all finished. At least now it is secured and all shut up. All the shutters are in place and it seems pretty secure. As usual, Hakan was in a hurry and said he wished he could have spent longer on every stage of our house but then so do we. We know we have made mistakes but then we have never designed a house before and so we think we have done OK. There are a lot of niggling things to be done or corrected but these will all be thrown up in the snagging before we settle the retention.

This shows all our electricity wires coming down the mountain!

We decided to go to Bellapais for lunch. We drove up there only to find that all the prices had shot up, so decided against it and drove back down to Yenihan’s and had lunch. Far better value and good food.

Whilst we have been there people ask us where our house is or what our address is. Do we have an address? So, we said. ‘Well, um Alsancak’. ‘Actually it is between Incesu and Malatya, as you go out of Incesu and on the way to Malatya, the house above you on the bend’. ‘Oh, the white house’. Now seeing as this is what everyone keeps saying every time we say where it is, we now have the name. Of course, why didn’t we think of it before? ‘Beyaz Ev’ or in English, The White House. We knew it would come to us eventually because none of the others we thought up quite sounded right.

We went up to the house to have the ceremonial unlocking (for the first time) of our very own door!!

Later on we went to the shop that sells Turkish rugs and were given a very informative lesson on everything there is to know about the weave, make quality etc. I fell in love with a Nomadic rug, hand made, about 3 metres by 2 metres. It was £600 but these rugs improve with use and end up as family heirlooms, being worth more than the new ones. Very tempting but we resisted, mainly because we need to know what extras we have to bring with us now in the container. Now it seems every other rug we see is nothing compared to the one I wanted!

Ended the day eating in the restaurant.

Saturday 3rd January

We drove and got some final bits of shopping and bought today’s Cyprus Today newspaper. We have it delivered at home but we are eager to see the developments re EC entry etc and also the crossing of the border. We have found out that people are coming through from Larnaca airport but it isn’t official.

We went up to the house again to do some measuring up and just to sit there and admire our view.

Late afternoon we drove to Karsiyaka as we heard Julia (ex Stringers) has gone into partnership in a business there, The Property Centre. She was so good to us when we were looking for land and also has given us so much valuable information. Very plush offices. Good on her. She is also setting up Broadband. Naturally Mal is going to sign up for it on our next visit, when they have it up and running in their office. Well we were so busy chatting to Julia and then decided we ought to get back to the hotel for the last Happy Hour! We didn’t make it until 6.35 but managed to get a few drinks in before 7.00pm! We watched some of the football and then went to the restaurant for dinner. Sue and Cy were sitting in there having already started their dinner, so we sat with them. Well, I think they must be a bad influence because we all ended up in the bar again until we were thrown out (being the last ones in there,) in the early hours.

Sunday 4th January

Going home day. A much more civilised flight, around 15.30, so we were being collected from the hotel at 13.00.

We met Pete and Gwen and they took us up to the house as we hadn’t actually been round it with them. Well, they loved it. Mal was walking round with Peter discussing the technical bits whilst Gwen was just walking round with me flabbergasted at the view and the progress that had been made.

Mal exploring our land below the swimming pool.

Please note from this picture we are going to have balustrades put all around the edge of the pool!

It was really nice hearing somebody else being as enthusiastic as we are! We asked them if they would have a key and keep a bit of a check on the place. Peter said he would keep going up there and ringing the door bell to see when the electricity has been connected (yes, it is an electric one!)

Eventually we said our goodbyes, finished off the last of our packing and waited to be collected for the airport. As usual it was bedlam there. We had hoped as the flight was in the afternoon it would be quieter, no such luck. We fought our way through the X rays and the ticket queues. Turkish Cypriots are not well known for their queuing skills but then I think it is only us Brits that try and form an orderly queue. After all this the plane was delayed for two hours. We were told once on board that this was due to ‘a technical fault at Istanbul’. Consequently, after collecting the car from the Hilton, we arrived home at half past midnight.

We feel sure that by our next visit in February, the house will be ready for snagging. We know how busy Hakan is and quite honestly we have been very lucky finding such a nice architect who is even getting into the English sense of humour. Our furniture will be leaving Minster on 20th February and arriving by the time we get there at Easter. Hopefully this will all go smoothly. We are using Dolphin Removers who are packing everything, listing it all (in English and Turkish) and seeing it through customs and then delivering it to Beyaz Ev.

Sunday 19th January

We received a text from Peter…WE HAVE ELECTRICITY!!!! Mal called Peter to thank him for letting us know and also to ask him to check some other things out for us.