October 2004

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

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

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

The Oasis at Ayfilon

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, on to the end���..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 4th October
Lazy day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marion and Bryan at the Green Valley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yesterday�s progress

Today�s progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marion at Bellapais

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

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

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

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

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

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

We found him fascinating!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the way home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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