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!