February 2004

February 2004 – Our Home is going

Tuesday 17th February
One day to go until packing day, when Dolphin removers (www.dolphinremovers.com) are coming to pack our home up.  I tried to do a lot of the sorting in preparation but Mal wasn’t feeling at all well. I had taken my car in for a service and unfortunately they told me that I needed a lot of work doing to it and so I had to tell them to press on as I needed the car back.

Wednesday 18th February
The men from Dolphin arrived at around 8.30am and my goodness were they quick, if you put it down, it was containerised!

We had no car and I had a hair appointment so Ange came over to run Mal to school (his late starting day) and then to take Barney over to their house as he was being freaked out by all the packing cases and then she returned to take me to the hairdressers.  She took one look at Mal and said how ill he looked.  I had already said this but now he decided perhaps he should go to the doctors.

It was all quite daunting having your home packed around you and so it was light relief being at the hairdressers.

Mal went to the doctors and as us women say or at least the men say about us, he had a ‘problem down below with some swelling’.  Let us leave it at that and the doctor gave him antibiotics. He was now having difficulty walking/lifting things; you know everything that you need to do when you are having your home packed up.  We went to bed earlyish whilst we still had a bed to sleep in!

Thursday 19th February
Nelson and the gang from Dolphin returned again at about 8.30am and whizzed through a lot more of our belongings. A bit of a grim day, me thinking all my home was disappearing and Mal feeling extremely unwell and uncomfortable. I spent a lot of the day cleaning out cupboards and just generally following round with the Dyson as rooms were emptied (before the Dyson was packed too!) Then of course no car again and I was getting an ever growing pile of things that I wanted to stay in England.  Luckily after three days without a car, at 6.00pm they said it was finished so I went and collected it. As we had a lot of things which we really wanted left in the caravan, we filled the car and drove them round there.  Well, Darren, the owner’s son saw us and told us the park was officially shut and we shouldn’t be there.  Mal pleaded that we didn’t know what else to do with plants and we apologised and left the things there.

We returned home and sat ripping bits off a cooked chicken with a newspaper and kitchen towel roll on the floor (plates, knives forks etc have been packed!).  That was our dinner, along with bread buttered with a teaspoon.  Mal had lost his appetite anyway, so it didn’t matter.

But the bed was still there!

Friday 20th February
Nelson and co arrived at 8.30am, big smiles all over their faces and saying ‘today is the day’.  Yes, I didn’t need to be reminded of this. I am a person who likes to know where their home is and I enjoy my home and now I am feeling a bit homeless!

We had arranged to have the carpets cleaned from 10am but because the packers were up and down stairs, the carpet cleaning man said he would come back in the evening to finish off the stairs.

Mal and I spent most of the day keeping out of the way, sitting on the floor in one of the empty spare bedrooms, surrounded by our 2 suitcases and boxes of things to be taken to Ange and Rhys’s, to be looked after. As our container pulled out of the drive, it reminded me of the song….my old man said follow the van…………………..

There we were with nothing left except what surrounded us on the floor.  We took it out to the car and drove round to Durlock Lodge where we had booked to stay the night. Had we? We arrived and no one was there.  Mal called them and they said they had no booking for us.  Well, he had booked somewhere but we hadn’t a clue where. Is it any wonder in all this madness?! Luckily they had a spare room so we were saved from being truly homeless.  We have also arranged to stay there for the night we return from Cyprus as the caravan park reopens on 1st March.

Mal was still feeling very unwell and so returned to the doctors who gave him a double dose of more antibiotics. He is now taking these along with pain killers. Later that evening we let the carpet cleaning man back into Birchcroft and asked him to shut the door after him when it was completed.  We drove over to Ange and Rhys’s to leave the last boxes over there. Barney didn’t seem to take too much notice of us.  He seemed quite content being amongst his pals, Ziggy and Charlie and of course all the fun of the four boys, particularly Sol who seems to have a real animal passion. We dined on fish and chips, far better than the previous night’s dinner.

Durlock Lodge was really nice and cottagey and cosy so tonight’s home isn’t too bad.

Saturday 21st February
We woke up and it took a while to remember where we were.  As I said to Mal, I feel homeless but he reminded me that we actually had three homes but that doesn’t stop me feeling that I am in limbo, in fact nowhere at the moment! Our breakfast was all left on the corridor outside our room, even croissants in the oven, for us to help ourselves and to take it in the room. Filter coffee, the lot. Very civilized.  We then collected all our belongings into our two suitcases, put them in the car and drove back to Birchcroft. Mal unscrewed the satellite dish and I scrubbed the remaining floors (on my hands and knees as my mop has been containerised!)  The strimmer was still in the garage, so we now have the strimmer and the satellite dish in the car and they will just move around with us for a while!  What fun. At 11.30am, Rafael from the letting agents came to check the house and basically said it was cleaner than when we moved in and didn’t bother checking much at all.  He is quite happy with the place, a good thing as we have about a �1,500 deposit riding on this, so we took the meter readings and handed the keys over. The end of another era!

In the car with the remains of what we have left in the UK (no, I know we have more in the caravan!) and drove to Stansted Hilton. It was quite a relief to get there and unwind a little. We had a minor celebration with a bottle of pink champagne and then went off to have our ‘Valentines’ dinner.  This had been delayed from the 14th as we were too busy at the time!  The food was good BUT they had three attempts at giving us a correct bill and that took them twenty five minutes. It became a joke in the end…’think of a number, any number between 50 and 150 pounds’!  We were both shattered from the events of the last few days and I think we both fell asleep watching the TV by about 9.30pm!

Sunday 22nd February
We left the Hilton around 11am and took their bus to the airport. Checked in early and spent some time in Dixons but could find nothing that we wanted. Did a bit of shopping and then waited for the plane.  As usual no announcements about the delay, we all just sat there at the gate. So nice that no one says a thing.  I am sure they will have to get their acts together soon, especially if they do agree to join the EC in May. We left at 4.00pm, an hour late.  The plane wasn’t full and so we were able to spread out a little. We arrived at Ge�itkale around 11.30pm (2 hours ahead) and Pat met us.

Impressed with the Jasmine Court (the first time we have stayed here).  We have a suite of rooms.  A large table for 6, settees etc etc.  Very nice and also there was a large club sandwich waiting for us. Went to bed at around 3.00am

Monday 23rd February
In spite of our going to sleep at 3.00am, we managed to have our breakfast and see Pat, our rep at 9.30am. Yes, she had booked us a car and it would arrive shortly. Meanwhile we had received a text from Peter and Gwen saying ‘Welcome home’. That was nice. So, we took the car and drove to Burhan’s to sort out our furniture. When we arrived she looked a bit crestfallen and said that there was a problem.  Here we go, I thought, the sofa bed and table and 2 chairs aren’t ready.  It wasn’t that at all but the fact they were fully booked for the delivery driver.  She said that because they were so busy she couldn’t give us an exact time, but we said that was fine, we would wait up at the house from 3.30pm. She was really impressed with the business cards that Mal had created with a map of how to get to ‘Beyaz Ev’. Well, what else do you do when you have no address?   So, we left and the next stop was Dizayn Potteries to see if they would make us a sign for the house.  I had tried to get this done in Canterbury but they wanted �60.  We have now ordered this for half the price from the potteries here. We felt we were on a roll.  That was a mistake.  We then drove to the house and yes, the balustrades are in place around the swimming pool.

Just one problem, the gate we asked for, leading onto the side garden, does not exist, which means you would have to walk all the way through the house to get to the side garden!! The stone wall to the rear is almost complete and at least we have boundary at the rear.

However, no fences are up and when we went inside the house, as far as we can see, nothing has been done since our last visit. I was so disappointed. We had planned to stay for one night to try everything out and prepare a full snagging list. Impossible. Not least of all there is no water connected.  On further investigation, the shower screen we had asked for is so low Mal has to duck to get into it.

Whilst we were outside, we noticed that the other side of the road, down in the dip, workmen had started building.

We just knew that as soon as we had paid for the electricity to come down the mountain, everyone would be moving in. However no one can build to take away our sea view (is that so?).  We then saw a couple driving to the site and so we walked over and introduced ourselves to Leena and Willi, a nice Swedish couple.  They have lived in Lapta for 4 years but have decided to relocate (I wonder why?) Their house was started last week and they need it complete by 10th March (!!!!!!!!!!!) as they have sold their other house.  They said the day we move in they will be waiting with a bottle of champagne and 4 glasses.

Feeling extremely disheartened, we decided to pop and see Peter and Gwen. On entering their road, there was an Alsancak Beledaysi sign saying that the road was closed. We just sat there thinking what to do next, I forgot to mention that Mal had thought he had brought the phone we use over here, but with everything that had gone on the last week, we don’t know where it is and quite frankly it could be anywhere. We are lucky to be here with some clothes and most of the things we should have with us! So, in desperation we drove to Tempo supermarket to stock up with wine!  Then I thought we would try my mobile and it worked via Turkcell, which it had never done before and we managed to get through to Pete, who said he would come and meet us and show us the rocky road up. Yes, it was rocky and pot holey and I think the exhaust on the car is now preparing to drop off at any time. On the way to Peter’s, we went past ‘Del boys’ house and he was standing outside asking why we hadn’t visited him last time.  Derek was one of my contractors at Circle 33, some years back, so what a small world that we should both end up here. We promised to go and visit during this stay. We then had a very good hour or two with Peter and Gwen.  Peter took great delight in laughing about Mal’s affliction. We then realised that we had to be back up at the house for the furniture delivery and so Pete and Gwen came with us, round the alternative route again because of the blocked off road.

We also checked our electricity meter and discovered our first electricity bill in there. It was for just over 6 million (a little over �2).

The furniture arrived shortly after 3.30pm and we were initially pleased with it.

We had a quick look and left it in the wrappers, probably because we were too busy ‘catching up’ with Gwen and Peter!

We tried to open the sofa bed but it wouldn’t work right!
Then we went back to Peter and Gwen’s and they lent us a travel kettle as our three kettles are not with us (no, don’t ask, I am presuming all three are in a container somewhere.)

At dusk we came back to the Jasmine Court Hotel, had a quick bath and then dinner.  We asked for two brandy sours and quite honestly we can say they were the worst we have ever tasted.  For this pleasure they have charged us TL16!! Just for the two drinks.  We ate dinner, left the drinks and left the restaurant. The waiter came running after us to sign the bill and Mal wrote on it ‘terrible, we didn’t drink them’.  We had already told the waiter this and he did nothing about them, so they will not be paid for with the final bill.

We called Torin (mini version) as it is his third birthday today and I think the first birthday of any of them that we have missed, so we had a joint rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to him across the miles!  Rhys then came on the phone to say how well Barney was doing and he was curled up next to Charlie and that he would be happy to keep him if we want to come out here for longer periods at a time.  That is so nice of him. We will see. After all, as yet, we don�t even know when Mal is finishing school and Barney is already 13�.

We tried to get through to Hakan, but haven’t managed to get through to him on his mobile. This is slightly worrying.

Exhausted, went to bed to find our beds had been turned down, they had cleared away our two dead wine bottles and left little bags of chocolates on our pillow. Just like being on the cruise again.

Tuesday 24th February
We didn’t manage to get down to breakfast until 9.45.  It has to be said that the Jasmine Court is very plush and comfortable. The beds especially! It is just quite impersonal but then we are busy so that matters very little.

Mal complained to reception about the drinks last night and they knocked them off the bill, so that is fine. I think it was more the fact that when we complained to the waiter and asked for more brandy he just shrugged his shoulders.

We managed to get through to Hakan and have arranged to meet him tomorrow at 4pm. That’s a relief. Mal said he sounded very tired and also surprised that we were here.  We had told him, but he is very busy and it actually means that we get to hold on to the retention money for longer.  The villa must be ready for our Easter visit as our furniture will be arriving and also that is where we are staying. At least then we have 16 days to live with it all before we hand over any of the money. So, perhaps after the initial shock of seeing the house unfinished, it has worked out for the best. I am now beginning to get back into the laid back Cyprus way of thinking and so none of it seems such a big deal anymore.

We then decided that we should go back to the house and check the furniture that was delivered yesterday. The chairs and table for the terrace are fine but when I tried to pull out the bed settee,  first it rolled straight off the wheels and separated from the main body of the sofa and then we discovered that a couple of bolts had dropped off.  Great.  The conclusion to this is to go back to Burhan’s and tell them we’re not happy before we hand over the rest of the money.  This we did and they agreed to meet us at the house tomorrow while we are there with Hakan.

Side View
Next, we went to Girne as Mal wanted some jogging bottoms so that he didn’t have to wear tight trousers. Poor thing is still suffering. We also went and paid our electricity bill but as we were late paying, by 5 days, we incurred a penalty of roughly 8 pence.  Having said that, because the lira is in millions and they need so much little change and most of the time don’t bother with it, this reduced to roughly 3p as he had no small change!

On from here to Fiskos to enquire about single beds.  We were just about to come away with all the info when who should walk in but Derek and his wife. So, we stood in the middle of the shop reminiscing about Circle and Derek reminded me that I was the one who gave them their break when they first started their company in 1990!  All this seems a long time ago. We promised again to go and visit them before we leave this time, and to continue our chat, as by this time Mal’s pain killers and antibiotics were due and we had left them back at the hotel.  Poor thing, he did not look well at all.

Mal looks exhausted and so spent the early evening on the bed having a sleep. I am sure it will do him good.

It has been cloudy all day and threatening a storm although nothing has come of it yet.  At least last weeks snow left before we arrived.

Whilst we were out today we heard that the talks are not going well for a united Cyprus, ready for the first of May.  This time it is the Greeks who are not agreeing.  The rest is up to Annan.

Had dinner in the hotel restaurant. The food can not be faulted, fantastic selection but we declined drinks with our dinner and finished off  with wine back in the room.

Wednesday 25th February
We had breakfast, well at least I did, Mal just had half a cup of coffee and then off to Gwen and Peter’s as we had been invited to lunch.  It was quite sunny today, and warmer, so we spent some time sitting by their pool. Mal wasn’t managing to sit still for too long and so kept having a wander round. He was so uncomfortable and quite frankly looked awful and very pale. It was the pain that was doing it. Gwen prepared lunch but all Mal managed was about a spoonful of soup. At 4pm we all went up to the house and met Hakan. As usual he has been very busy and said that the BBC are doing a programme here and the only Estate Agents they have chosen is Stringers and they are showing one of his houses.  I think this is putting even more pressure on him. He assures us that the house will be complete by Easter. We jointly went through a list we had prepared and he was apparently aware of all of we needed by then.  He also apologised for the lack of a gate in the balustrade and said he would see to this. One of his workmen was there treating the metal.

Gwen and Pete in our ‘garden’
This was helpful to Gwen and Peter as they wanted to know what was used instead of Hamerite.  We have confidence in Hakan and are sympathetic to his problems as a result of all the building going on causing a desperate shortage of workmen.  At least he understands that we will be living there next time we come. The men came about the sofa bed and agreed the mechanism is faulty and took that away.  Quite honestly Mal and I are not happy with the bed, as well as the mechanism.  It is not comfortable and really is not what we thought they were making. We will have to return to the shop again. Everyone left and we returned to the hotel.  Mal went to bed as he was in agony and feeling very ill. He then got up and was sick (with the pain he was in).  We then discovered he had no more Nurofen left and it was 6.30 in the evening, so I went off in the car in search of a pharmacy that was open. The one in Karaoğlanoğlu was open and so I ended up having a very long chat with the female pharmacist in there and buying some Nurofen plus. I was so worried about Mal I had come out without any Turkish money and she was quite happy for me to ‘bring the money in next time you are passing’.  I did however have some English money with me and so paid with that. This is why we love the Turkish Cypriots so much. They are so kind.  She didn’t know me from Adam. I drove back to the hotel and gave Mal the pain killers.  He just stayed in bed and slept, having no dinner. Hopefully he will feel better tomorrow or we will have to go to a doctor.

I woke at 6am and gave Mal some more pain killers and then went into the living room so that he could continue getting some sleep.

He woke just before breakfast finished and I managed to get him to the restaurant so that he could at least eat something.  He managed a boiled egg and half a roll and because he was in agony sitting he left while I finished my breakfast. He spent the rest of the morning curled up on the settee and taking more and more pain killers.

We had now decided that neither of us had confidence in the bed settee working properly because if it doesn’t work when it is new then what hope do we have later.  This is the problem you have when  you have things made and don’t actually seeing what you are buying until you are supposed to hand over the money. Laced with pain killers, Mal managed to get in the car and we drove the short distance down to Burhan’s. We spoke to the lady in there and tried to explain and she rang her brother in the Lefkosa shop.  He wanted to talk to Mal.  Meanwhile we had a good chat and she fully understood what I was saying and agreed they would take it back.  There was the point of the deposit which Mal said we would lose if necessary but I know how hard Mal works for his money and she very kindly agreed that we could choose something from the shop to equal value.  As she said, she did not want to upset anyone and I felt this was very genuine and so we agreed to buy a small table with drawers in it. We felt we had been treated very well and would recommend Burhan’s to anyone. I am sure we will be using this shop in the future as they had been so understanding.

The remaining parts of the sofa will be collected tomorrow after 4pm and they will deliver the table at the same time.

Mal just about managed to get back in the car and up to our suite before collapsing on the settee and falling asleep again. At least in the afternoon he managed to eat another boiled egg and a roll. I suppose it is nice that at least he is suffering in pleasant surroundings of the suite!   It is sunny outside and much warmer but we are only seeing it from the balcony or in Mal’s case from the sofa.

About 4.30pm and dosed up to the eyeballs again, (Mal that is!) we drove down to Fiskos to order 2 single beds and wrought iron headboards.  Whilst we were there, we talked to them about our sofa bed disaster and ended up ordering one from them.  This time in blue and a three-seater which should open out into a 4 foot 6 inch bed.  We also managed to order single beds that were about 3 foot 5 inches wide rather than the normal 3 foot size. Hopefully this will be successful.  We have arranged for Pete to arrange the delivery prior to our next arrival.  He doesn’t know that yet but I am sure he will oblige.  Back to the hotel so Mal can rest and see if tonight he can summon up the energy to have dinner.

Mal got up to have some dinner but only ate a small amount of lamb and then back to bed.

Friday 27th February
Woke up and Mal was even more swollen.  This is now getting worrying so I went to breakfast but he didn’t want any, so I brought back a roll and a boiled egg which he did manage to eat later.

The decision was then made that we would go back and speak to our friendly pharmacist Mehmet in Karaoğlanoğlu.  He advised going to see a doctor and told us where it was, on the way into Girne, DrMűnűr Hűdaverdi. Off we went and when we got there, there was an empty waiting room and the nurse told us to take a seat for 10 minutes as he had gone shopping! He was back within the 10 minutes and examined Mal and said that the antibiotics he had been given in England were too weak and that he would give him stronger medicines. He also gave him an injection and asked him to return at 4.30 this afternoon. So back we went to Mehmet and he now has three lots of medicine and some cream. The four items were under �24, and so compares favourably with the NHS!!  He also told Mal to walk as little as possible, so he went back to the hotel and back to bed.  What a miserable holiday for him.

Of course then it occurred to me that the furniture was being collected at the house the same time as we should be at the doctors, so a quick call to Peter and he kindly said he would sort all that out.

The coffee table exchange!
Mal slept all day until it was time to return to the doctors.  He gave him another antibiotic injection and said there may be a chance of septicaemia or he may have to drain it OR it may be surgery but he hoped that with all the tablets and the very strong injections that he could blast the infection out.  We only have tomorrow and then decisions have to be made. Having lost faith in the NHS (not that we had much to start with! Sorry if Joe should ever read this and we are sure your practise is excellent,) Mal said he would much prefer to stay here until satisfactory treatment, whatever this should be, is complete. If necessary we will change the plane tickets and stay on here.  Hopefully this will not be necessary and all the new antibiotics, anti-inflammatory etc will work in time. Meanwhile he has to return to the doctor at 9.30 in the morning.  Back to the hotel and Mal returned to bed.  I now have a ‘timing’ list of when everything has to be taken!  Had a text from Peter saying he has sorted the furniture out.  Thank goodness for kind friends.

This of course means we have missed visiting Derek and his wife and also missed out on any dog walking.  We’ll do that another time.

Mal woke up in the evening and said he felt a bit hungry so we went to the restaurant and he had a little to eat and then back to bed.  We received a text from Gwen and Peter to say that there was no arguement, if we were staying then we would be staying with them.  How very very kind.  That was much appreciated.

Saturday 28th February
Mal managed to have a little breakfast and then went off to the doctors.  Mal had his third injection.  The doctor is now saying that he has to continue this treatment until at least Monday and then they will re-assess but there is now the possibility of surgery and he recommends Istanbul where the professor is, at a cost of £2,000. This now has really thrown both of us, particularly as our flight leaves in the morning and we are trying to assess all possibilities and whether Mal would get such immediate attention once we are back in the UK (he didn’t).

Back in the hotel panic sets in and we try to contact our insurance company who firstly put us through to Spain (!!??!) and then our money ran out on the mobile.  I top it up again (this mobile costs us �1.20 a minute!) If only the other mobile hadn’t been containerised! Mal calls again and they say they will call back on the hotel number when they have information.  It is now 2 hours later and we haven’t heard a word (we aren’t using that insurance company anymore).

I then think perhaps we could call Joe (my niece’s GP husband) and at least get some proper information. I called my sister as I don’t have their phone number with us. Joe calls us straight back and gives us all the facts and explains everything to Mal, including that it rarely gets to surgery. Mal is so relieved when he gets off the phone to him he makes the decision that we go back to England and trust  the NHS (foolishly). Joe has also told him what to expect in the UK, the procedures and also the drugs (wouldn’t that have been nice). Thank goodness for a doctor in the family.  Joe, we will be forever indebted to you!

Meanwhile Pete and Gwen text and then come to the hotel. Mal is now feeling much happier and looking a lot better than he has done for the last few days and is obviously relieved that it is now likely that he will not have to have surgery (but he should have had the abscess drained). Of course we have the journey home to contend with but he thinks he can manage that (thanks to opiate based pain killers).

Gwen and Pete were so nice and said they will do anything for us whilst we are away and we are welcome to stay with them the first couple of nights we return.  They have been so good. Peter is the ball and thinks of all the testicular jokes he can manage but at least Mal is laughing at them (no, I was laughing at the little pink fairies) so that is a vast improvement.

In the afternoon I take a last trip up to the house on my own.  A real shame that Mal couldn’t come and see it for one last time before we leave but he is saving his energy for tomorrow. The balustrades around the pool have been painted and also all the surrounding area of the pool has been painted and so looks very impressive driving up from In�esu.

It looks as though there is another coat of paint on the house and also a second coat of varnish on the front door.  Well, it is coming together and we will take Hakan at his word that it will be complete by Easter.

The coffee table looks nice.  Gwen is still intrigued how we are going to sleep on a coffee table at the beginning of our next stay! I explained that we have ordered another sofa bed and 2 single beds and oh by the way, you are seeing them in!!!

All this has yet to be landscaped so that  we can drive the car up to the house.

The view as I leave the house and drive back down to In�esu
Mal gets his last injection from the doctor in the afternoon and he is still insisting that he should be flying to Istanbul for surgery and not flying home.  Mal settles the bill with him,£150, and says he will call in next time we are here and let him know what happens (no thanks)!

It’s our last evening and we manage to get to the hotel restaurant and have a quick meal and then back to the room and pack ready for our flight in the morning.  I am not looking forward to this and I am sure Mal even less (the pink fairies said they would look after me)!

Sunday 29th February
Off to Ge�itkale airport, an hour’s delay as usual with no explanation and somehow Mal survives the journey with a great deal of fidgeting and sleeping!  The captain then tells us there is snow at Stansted.  That is all we need.  When we arrive, there is very little but it is so cold!  Eventually after a full day’s travelling, we manage to get back to the guest house where they have let us have the flat which is really cosy.  Mal just flops on the bed and there he stays until the morning.  First thing we are off to the caravan, where we will be living when not in Cyprus. From there, Mal goes straight to the doctor, who says ‘I don’t think it was such a good idea going away’.  This is not the same doctor who told him he would be fine to go.  He orders complete bed rest, diagnoses orchitis and has requested a scan appointment which has come through for 12th March.

Well, not so much of a holiday this time.  In fact, I for one feel like the thing I need at the moment is a ………………………………………..holiday!

Hopefully we will enjoy our Easter break!