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.
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
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
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.