7 – Communications

Chapter 7 – Communications

By communications I am referring to transport links, mail, telephone and internet access, all of which are not the same standard as the UK.

The only rail link has fallen into disuse about 50 years ago when it was mainly used for the transport of mineral products. The roads are mostly twisty, narrow and uneven although over the last five years more 4 lane motorways have appeared, making journey times between major cities easier and quicker. Road transport consists of hired or private cars, taxis, dolmuş taxis and a network of dolmuş mini-buses. The word dolmuş means squashed and refers to sharing a taxi or mini-bus. It is strange to walk along a road and be hooted at by minibuses trying to find out if you want a ride. Local minibuses cost around 40p to wherever you want to go, just say �here� or �bu� when you approach wherever you want to get off. Longer distances cost around �1. For the villages off the beaten track there is a sign propped up against the front windscreen saying the ultimate destinations of the minibus. A shared taxi works on a similar principle but is more expensive.

Because these minibuses are privately owned, and the driver paid per person per journey, they can be a hazard on the road as they try to increase their income. After they have picked up passengers they are desperate to get going and sometimes assume you know this by moving out into your path. Hire vehicle drivers throughout the world seem to have this same attitude.

Hiring a car is simple, just walk in and tell them what you want. There is a tendency for the quoted price to not be what you are expected to pay. Watch out for the additional KDV (VAT) and compulsory collision damage waiver pushing up a �20 per day quote to �26. Personally I would not ever pay more than �20 a day for a small air condition saloon and would expect to pay only �15 a day outside the peak periods. Bed prepared to negotiate and to say �XYZ quoted us �19 a day all inclusive.�

Diesel is currently half the price of UK fuel so it could be beneficial to hire one but even over a 3 day hire you would be hard pressed to use more than �10 worth of fuel. There are a few differences you will notice when you drive in North Cyprus but thankfully driving on the right is not one of them. The entire island is open to you, but not in a hire car, so if you want to drive over the green line you will have to do it in a private car and pay extra insurance.

Travel by boat is possible only to Turkey from Kyrenia or Famagusta and is relatively quick and inexpensive. Once in Turkey there is a lot to explore, and of course there is the rest of the Middle East. If you travel to the South then in theory you could travel to other parts of the Mediterranean but at the moments routes seem to be closed because of the problems in that area.

Flights from Ercan airport all go via Turkey so be prepared to sit on the tarmac for 45 minutes will passengers are transferred and the flight changes from a domestic to an international flight. Direct flights to and from the UK are being considered but are not expected in the near future. There is the alternative of flying via Larnaca in the South but there is very little difference in the time and cost. For example flights from Stansted to Ercan cost around �250 off-peak and take 6 hours, a taxi to Kyrenia would then add �30 return to the cost and take 45 minutes, a total of 6 hours 45 minutes and a cost of �530 for a couple. A similar flight to Larnaca would cost �175, take 4� hours, and a taxi would cost �60 return and add 1� hours to the journey, a total of 6 hours and a cost of �410.

On paper it would seem that the Larnaca journey would be preferable but because of the attitude of some Greek Cypriots towards tourists to the North there is the added problem of not knowing what obstacles might be thrown into your path.

Do not waste your luggage allowance when you return from a trip to the UK and watch out for the new rule that says that a single package must not exceed 32kgs.

Posting letters and parcels are easy and comparable with the UK; 20p for a postcard, 25p for a letter and 90p for a 1kg parcel. For some reason, UK stamps are acceptable. Expect post to take 4-7 days to reach their destination and a lot longer if you do not post them at a main Post Office.

Phoning the UK is cheaper if you have a landline. Getting a landline will take you at least 18 months and probably cost a small fortune. Most locals seem to use a mobile phone. Landline calls cost around 30p a minute to the UK, your UK mobile phone company will charge you between 60-150p and using a local mobile phone about 40p. Get your UK phone �chipped� at one of the many outlets on the island and buy pay as you go phone cards at �9 for 400 units. These cards give you about 45 minutes of UK calls and incoming calls cost you nothing. Tell your callers from the UK to use one of the discount phone companies, such as Telediscount, which will cost them 15p a minute to your mobile and 10p to a landline. Unfortunately the coverage on the island can be a little unreliable at times in the wilder areas.

Unfortunately, without a landline, internet access becomes more difficult. If you have a landline then a slow link will cost you about �15 a month, much as it would in the UK. When they talk of Broadband here they talk of theoretical speeds � that of the slowest UK links and in reality about twice the speed of a standard UK connection. Wireless internet has become available recently but none have prove reliable and all are costly, between �250-500 to install and then about �20 per month for a slow �broadband� connection. Many suppliers want the first six months rental up front. When you discover how unreliable the connections are you realise why.

There is of course one of the Internet Cafes spread throughout the island. These are very cheap, �1-2 for � hours, very slow and very insecure. I personally would never enter an important user identity and password on one of these systems for fear that a �keystroke sniffer� had been sneaked onto the computers. These hidden programs store every key you type and it would not be difficult to work out your bank login information from the files left behind by these programs.

November 2005


Tuesday 1st November
It was sunny when I took Rosie for her morning walk and then gradually the day, weather-wise deteriorated until we felt it was quite cold. Well, it was 17 degrees.

It was supposed to be the HPG social evening but in the afternoon Marian called to say that it had to be cancelled from what we understand there was a problem with someone having bad news from England. We thought it was the entertainment but Marian went along to tell anyone who hadn�t been contacted and Shakers was shut, so we think it may be the owners that have the problem. I think it will be moved to another date.

Peter came round in the afternoon. He is now in trousers, Mal is still wearing shorts! The days are OK but it seems a bit chilly at night but then we have obviously weakened living here.

Wednesday 2nd November
More pottering in the garden, dog walks and usual household chores.

I rang KAR today to see if there was any progress on the Golden Retriever but they are still trying to locate the owner.  We did think about visiting the kennels to see the dog but I knew it would break my heart to leave it there and so we thought it best not to go!

Thursday 3rd November
Rain was forecast for today but we didn�t get any, so we made the most of it doing more gardening in the morning. We had our lunch out in the garden so it can�t be that cold.

Mal did more alterations on the HPG site.  It is very quiet today as it is Bayram for three days and the government offices are shut and a lot of other places. It is the time when all the families get together.

Late afternoon, forgetting how early it gets dark now (around 5.00pm) we decided to go to Horseshoe Bay. There is a little bay next to it which is always empty and Rosie loves it down there.

It was a bit windy and so Mal relented and put trousers on!

On the drive back home we stopped in one of the woods and collected some cones, for Christmas decorations and also some wood for the winter fires. We have quite a collection now!

Friday 4th November
Well, the rain certainly came today!

The white dots on the left picture is where the rain is pouring down and then in between of course the sun comes out and no end of rainbows.

We decided to stay in! Peter popped round in the afternoon and then Mal went to mend Willi�s computer.

Saturday 5th November
What a difference a day makes! The sun was out, a complete change from yesterday. It was so clear that we could even see Turkey across the Med.

So, up early, all the washing out and all the ironing done and out to air. By the front door is where my airing cupboard is (outside of course), a complete sun trap. That is what we like about Cyprus, we don�t have to suffer those interminable grey days that we used to have in the UK.  We are grateful for the rain to give the garden a soaking and then the next day the sun is out and back to normal.

I went off to Lemar and Bells to get the shopping and then stopped in Nature garden shop on the way back. My jasmine that Green Garden put in is still only about 9 inches high after a year. I had more success with jasmine in the UK! So, I bought another plant of it and also a couple more pots.  This jasmine I will keep potted until our border problem is sorted. When Mal was at Willi�s yesterday, Willi agreed that he would ring the Tapu office on Monday for us as he is fluent in Turkish and we don�t seem to get anywhere speaking a mix of broken Turkish and English. Someone at one of the HPG meetings said that unless you have a Turkish speaking friend, you get nowhere.  I am beginning to think they are right. Thanks Hakan for leaving us in this fix for all this time! Mal has been listing solicitors, construction companies and Estate Agents on the HPG site so that people can award them stars for work performed, as long as it is substantiated by fact. I know Mal filled �CYPRIOT HOMES� in yesterday, this is what Hakan�s company is now called. It is not just us as I have mentioned before, more people have spoken to us about their dissatisfaction with him. It�s a pity because we thought we could trust him and he seemed like such a nice man.  I have heard it said, the bigger their smile, the less you should trust them. I think this may be true in Hakan�s case.  I would certainly not tar everyone with the same brush though.

For any foodies reading now is a good time of year for fresh figs, locally grown and fresh dates from Iran. Today when I went to Lemars there seems to be a whole new season of vegetables tiny courgettes and for the first time this season, broccoli. We also buy chard, spinach, rocket, coriander.  It all tastes so lovely and fresh and it is cheap, for instance a huge bunch of rocket, unlike the tiny, tasteless leaves you get in the UK is about 30p.

Nice and warm today so lunch in the garden and then watched two premier football matches! It was around 26 degrees.

On the front page of Cyprus Today was the announcement that TWI are no longer flying to the TRNC.  Great, that means we are back to Turkish Airlines who are expensive and you have to change planes in Turkey or CTA with no competition again, so we suspect standards will drop, they were never very high anyway and prices will go up.  This is really not good news for the TRNC, they are building new hotels, new facilities but who will be the air carriers bringing everyone here?! CTA have always had a limited service whereas TWI flew every day. CTA also only have 6 planes!

Another article that caught my eye in Cyprus Today was the following one, all about Rez and Steve�s �round house� behind us:

THERE is a growing sense of dismay on both sides of the “Green Line” about the quality and quantity of new properties sprouting up in every nook and cranny.

Thankfully, there are still some folk out there that like to build homes to last. A few even go so far as designing abodes that are completely unique. One man with real vision and a will to see out a life-long dream is Steve Dickinson.

Steve grew up in a two-up two-down in post-war Blackburn, Lancashire. As a child he remembers wondering why every room in the house was square and why the designs in even the more fashionable areas retained a similar grey drabness. This youthful interest in architect and art developed further when he took subsidiary courses for a degree in social sciences at Greenwich College in London.

After extensive travel in Europe and the Middle East, where he met his Turkish Cypriot wife Resme, Steve established himself as a reputed art consultant, supplying cruise liners and corporate boardrooms with paintings from his private art gallery. Yet despite the success, his burning desire to build a home of his own in Britain was unlikely to materialise there. Major, virtually insurmountable, barriers included high land prices, strict planning regulations and demoralising amounts of bureaucracy. Those were soon swept aside when concerns about the’health of Resme’s mother, Safiye, led the family � Steve, Resme and son George � to sell up and move to North Cyprus in 2002.

Setting himself up as an estate agent and insurance salesman in Lapta, Steve soon had his eyes on some land on the hillside near Malatya. Sceptics argued that no house could possibly be built into the contours, but Steve saw the potential and began construction beneath an almost Alpine backdrop 18 months ago.

Whatever your approach from the outside, it is immediately obvious that this is no ordinary house. Enclosed by walls of Kumyah stone, the coned roof with 14,000 cut tiles sits above seven different roof levels and you can’t help but notice the arched windows that capture the essence of Cypriot history from castle to castle and monastery to mosque.

Pass through the wrought iron gateposts and through the front door and you’re in for an even bigger surprise. It now transpires that the coned roof crowns the top of a tower 40 feet high. What’s more, there is just one square room in the entire house.

Built on four levels, the basement comprises a garage, a store room and a study that is actually 13 feet below the level of the road outside. Up the winding staircase, decked with ornate balustrades on one side and supporting pillars on the other and you find yourself in an arc-shaped lounge that invites you into a modern kitchen with an outside terrace. Keep climbing and you are back to the entrance. On both sides are en suite bedrooms with a small cosy “winter room” on the west side. On the top floor is a semicircular bedroom with a “drive in” wardrobe and a terrace that looks out towards the sea. Heated by wood stoves and more conventional radiators, every room offers abundant evidence that considerable care and attention has been given to the choice of materials. All the floors are either tiled with porcelain or laid with Turkish marble, while the bathroom and kitchen contain intricate mosaics. To retain the amount of natural light many of the
handmade doors contain ship’s portholes. Even their handles are top quality, especially imported from Italy. With a bean-shaped swimming pool to relax in and a terraced garden blooming with indigenous flowers and shrubs, the visitor might imagine themselves in the home of their dreams.

This is a house with life � a worthy example of modern architecture that combines an ecletic mix of the traditional and the modern; a manifestation of a whole range of shapes, movement and form.

Despite the distance from and obvious contrast with Steve’s modest mots in Blackburn, some old habits die hard. He remains an avid fan of the “Rovers” and hopes to be in his lounge watching the video highlights of great games gone by after the finishing touches are completed in a few weeks’ time.

Sunday 6th November
As I said yesterday, what a difference a day makes. We woke up at � to 6 to the sound of the hunters rifles going off all around us.  I took Rosie for her morning walk and then the rain started and did not stop. In fact as the day progressed it got heavier and heavier and the wind was blowing from the North which meant that we had to get the chairs in from under the terrace as they were getting soaked.

Gwen and Peter came round in the morning, Peter saying he didn�t come up our newly cut drive as the rain has made a large channel at the bottom! I know it must be getting colder as Gwen had a cup of tea, she usually only has water!  Outside during the day it was about 17 degrees but felt much colder with the torrential rain. In fact the wind howls around our house.  This is great in the summer when it is stifling and we have a bit of a breeze but in the winter!  I prepared the Sunday roast early wondering if there would be a power cut, as often happens days like today. In the evening we sat down to watch the Manchester United V Chelsea game.  Rhys supports Man U and Torin supports Chelsea. Manchester scored the first goal����. And then the power went off! A few choice words were said! The fact it was absolutely tipping down with rain, we didn�t think it was worth going outside in the dark to start the generator up. So, out came the emergency lights and our books. Luckily this was a relatively short power cut and we managed to rejoin the game in the 56th minute! Then we kept losing the satellite signal but did see most of the rest of the game. Manchester United beat Chelsea!

Monday 7th November
A lot brighter today but when we woke up, no power again. Of course this means no showers unless we fire the generator up. We waited and it came back on at about 10.30 but it had been off for 10 hours this time. Obviously we are always concerned about our food in the freezer for the lengthy cuts but this time of a year it is not so much a problem as in the height of summer.

Mal spent the afternoon over at Willi�s. He still has problems with his computer. Mal did several tests on it and came to the conclusion that it is time he bought a new computer as his one is so old.

Tuesday 8th November
Brilliant sunshine this morning.  Rosie and I were up at 6 and out walking, then the sun comes up over the mountain at around 8.00am. She loves the sun and spent the rest of the morning lying on the sun bed!

Lunchtime I went to get some shopping from our nearest supermarket, Atakara.  My bill came to 20.50 ytl. I gave the cashier a 50 note and 50 kuruş. He took it and closed the till and served the next customer! I told him I had given him a 50 note and he said �oh yes� and opened the till and gave me my 30ytl change. Then he said �sorry�. I left the shop but was seriously wondering whether this was a genuine mistake or again, another Brit who wouldn�t know the difference. Well, I do and seeing as I am a regular customer in there, I hope they know better. But I warn everyone here to check their change All THE TIME. Most supermarkets will short change you of on average 5p a transaction, as they �don�t have any small kuruş�. The supermarkets must be making a fair extra profit and I make sure I collect my small change and try and give the exact money.  But it is infuriating day after day�.be warned.

We had an appointment to take Rosie for her annual vaccinations at 3.00pm. She was so good in the car, just lay on the back seat but as soon as she arrived at the vets, she was not impressed and hid under the seat.  Firdez said hello to her and she scrambled further back. Then Lena and Willi arrived with the puppy that Rosie shared a run with for the two weeks she was in their kennels. They got on really well.  Not today, she snapped at the puppy. What a state she was in. We were then asked to go through to the surgery. Well, she was almost climbing up the walls, third attempt and muzzle on, the injection went in. Once this was done, back to the waiting room and Lena asked what on earth was wrong with her!  We explained that she just does not like visiting the vets. It is a different place now from where she was taken for her snake bite but it makes no difference.  Needless to say, we dread taking her to the vets. I have never had a dog behave like this before but then we don�t know what has happened to her in the past.

Wednesday 9th November
Another nice sunny day. We thought it was time that we sorted a couple of our boxes of pictures out.  We sifted through them and decided which ones we both agreed we would keep and those we no longer wanted. One we discovered was a Zanini! We obviously have kept that. Well, we were quite ruthless and decided to take the surplus to Amanda�s Auctions as the next auction is on Sunday. We also took some Limoges pots but Amanda said they would sell really well just before Christmas and said to hold on to them until them. So, at last, some of our �junk� disposed of. Lots more to go.

Ever since we have been here I have kept saying that I am not used to throwing away all the vegetable peelings, tea bags, leaves etc etc.  Mal decided he would try and build a compost bin as we can�t find anything here. So, he spent the afternoon sorting some wood out to build one. He has never been practical at all but since moving here he is enjoying trying to do practical things. A new challenge! He did come indoors mid afternoon for a plaster as he had cut himself again. He said it was because he didn�t have the correct tools. No comment! During my frequent chats with Gwen, I have discovered that Peter has a similar problem with his tools! At the moment they are having problems with blocked drains and so seem to have been digging for the last week. Not a pleasant task.

The HPG bulletin board has been contacted by a couple, Julie and John, who say if we are Number One Malatya Road, then they claim to be number 6!  In fact their house hasn�t started the build yet.  John is coming over on Saturday, so we have emailed back to call in.

Thursday 10th November
I took Rosie for a walk later this morning.  I usually go around 6.15 but today left at 7.30. I took my camera and looked to see where I think 6 Malatya Road should be and then emailed the photos to Julie to check.

Now we have decided to name the house �Number One Malatya Road�, the government in their wisdom are going to take a census next year and realised that there is a lack of addresses and so they have started naming streets! I believe they have started in �atalkoy, so it will be forever before they come this way, if at all.  We have just helped them out a bit! Mal has now been spurred on to make the sign to go at the bottom of the drive.

�cutting out the lettering for the sign!

He cut the letters out and then painted the �stencil�.  Usual problem, the paint we bought here is not top quality, to say the least, so it may have to be painted again.

His next task was the compost bin�.

�of course with Rosie�s help!

Meanwhile I walked up to �Number 6� and took some pictures to send to Julie. This is our house from their land:

And progress on their land:

Well, the sorting bug has got me and spent more time emptying boxes and clearing the spare bedroom, which has lately become a bit of a dumping ground for fans, fires, lilos and all sorts of other bits and pieces.

In between all this I went to Atakara supermarket. They bake lovely feta cheese and olive bread which we frequently have for lunch. My bill came to 21.93 ytl.  I handed over 22ytl and as usual no change I did ask but was told with a shrug of the shoulders that they �had no small change�. If they do this to every customer!

Friday 11th November
In the morning we drove into Girne. Very little achieved that we had gone in for, including paying the electricity bill and as people were queuing down the steps, we decided to leave it for another day. So, we called into Pegasus Friday market on the way back and then just bought the food shopping.

Mal completed our street sign only to find that the local paint had run and seeped under the stencil! Back to the drawing board.

More gardening in the afternoon.

Saturday 12th November
A lovely sunny day again. Most of it spent outside. Mal re did the sign for the house, with success this time. In the afternoon we noticed work had started on �Number 6�, we had to laugh as this is obviously because John is now in the country. This is what always happens they hear you are coming and the work starts in earnest.

I was weeding the drive by the car when someone shouted �hello� over the wall at the front. I stupidly thought it was the Tapu men!  There were three men with poles and papers but when Mal went out to speak to them, it was men trying to measure out Mustafa�s land behind but not the official Tapu men. Mal told them where the marking points were and explained that one has disappeared where they widened the road. Needless to say still waiting for our Tapu!

In the evening we watched the friendly between England and Argentina. A good match with England being the victors.

Sunday 13th December
The guns were going off all round us again at 5.45am! I think this is the third Sunday of the hunting season. Impossible to walk Rosie amongst all the guns and so we drove to the beach.  I think people are getting at me, there was a Golden Retriever down there! The first one I have seen here. Rosie took great delight playing with him and coincidently his name was Barney (the same as my Goldie was).

Back home and Mal was walking below the swimming pool to find some wood uprights for the sign and crashed his head on the concrete, so that was the end of that for the time being! I think he was a bit dazed.

Gwen and Peter came round and lo and behold Peter had also banged his head with evidently a lot of blood lost.  What a pair of invalids! During their visit some people came to the door and said they had come to tell everyone their addresses!! And we thought it would be a couple of years before they got to us! So, we are now officially Number TWO, Atalar Caddesi.  Willi and Lena are number 1. So, all Mals efforts at making the sign have gone to waste and he will have to start again. We were told that we now have to have a number on our door.  Although we have an address, no good for post as there are no postmen, or very few at least! I suppose it will help if they put street names up somewhere and eventually people will be able to find us!

So, Mal set to making a new sign! Much quicker this time as he knew how to do it!

As usual Rosie watches everything that is going on!

Monday 14th November
I took Rosie for her early morning walk and it was quite amusing seeing all the streets names that have appeared! I know because there are pieces of paper nailed to telegraph poles and then scrappy bits of paper pinned to doors with their numbers on them. I noticed that the �round house� is number 16 and as it is on the same side of the road to us, it seem there will eventually be another 6 houses in between us, obviously, some of which are not built yet.

Mal and I had previously seen some hand painted numbers in one of the shops in Girne and as we have been told we must have a number on our door, I went to buy one. In fact I bought two, one for the door and one for the side of the house which is the first thing you see. I did think it should go on the dividing wall but as that will probably have to be demolished when we have the Tapu, not a sensible idea. I paid the shopkeeper the money and he asked if I would throw the money on the floor, which I did and after looking at my face he then explained that if I did this as first customer of the day, he would have good luck all day. I hope he does!

Whilst in Girne I went into Kib Tek to pay the electricity bill.  The queue was slightly shorter than before but I still queued for half an hour. People were shouting at each other and it was chaos in there. It has been in the press that there are a lot of unpaid bills and they are now threatening to cut customers off, so I think everyone is going at once to sort out backdated bills. Short changed again by 41 kuruş but to be honest I just wanted to get out of there! I had asked him to credit the extra so he wouldn�t have to give me change but he was so busy yelling at another customer, that he obviously didn�t hear me! A mad house!

Added to all this pandemonium, Girne streets were chaotic driving in and out as they were putting all the flags and bunting up ready for tomorrow, another public holiday as it will be the 22nd Anniversary of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The flag hanging entails a digger, with a man standing in the scoop part and ties the flags up! Meanwhile all the traffic is brought to a halt!  As anyone who has been here will know, they are not the most patient of drivers, with horns blasting at all times, trying to overtake even though you are in a queue and then causing total gridlock because no one will move.

I was glad to head out of Girne and go home.

There will be an air display tomorrow by the �Turkish Stars� and I believe it is them that have been flying over today. I think they are a �little� like the Red Arrows.

The evening was the HPG meeting. It all seemed a bit �doom and gloom� with Conny (committee member) giving a very poor view of the people here�.they are not all bad by any stretch of the imagination. Marian reported that a meeting is going to be set up with the Prime Minister and other members of the government to meet some of the committee.  At present he is in the UK but assured he will organise it on his return. If not then it was discussed that the problems will then be taken to the EU. One of the points is that we are talking about all nationalities having problems, including Turkish Cypriots. One group of �homebuyers� in �atalkőy are in an awful position, if nothing is done to help them, their homes are to be auctioned on 8th December.

We chatted to another couple who came out to buy property but seemed to be going off the idea the more they heard at the meeting. The thing to do is to follow the HPG steps. Mal also said he would help them and they would visit us tomorrow.

Wednesday 16th November
The couple in question last night did not appear! Perhaps they have changed their minds. John was going to be in touch as well but we heard nothing from him either.

Mal went to fix Peter�s computer in the morning.

It is still nice and sunny during the day but the sun goes behind the mountain about 3.30 in the afternoon and it gets dark at about 5.00pm.

I had an email from Ken, who I went to school with (many years ago), we still keep in touch and he informed me that one of our classmates has put a message on �Friends Reunited� asking me to get in touch as he has bought a place in Karşiyaka.  Only problem is I no longer have his email, so if you read this Robin���

What a small world.

Thursday 17th November
We went into Girne to sort some things out, including a text I received from Digi Turk (television) saying if I didn�t pay by the 21st the satellite would be cut off. I didn�t understand this as the payments are taken from the bank and have been taken every other month.  In the end I was told �No problem, the problem is with Digi Turk bank.�  I did ask for assurance that we would not be �cut off�.  Who knows?

Shopping on the way home and congratulations Lemar�.. I received the correct change.  Perhaps it was the counting out of all my small change that made the cashiers decision to manage to find the correct amount!

We called at the garden centre to see if we could buy some �garotta� for the compost heap. We had very blank faces looking at us while we explained what it does.  The very helpful man in �Nature� rang his friend at the University who said he would make some for us (**??!!) Call back tomorrow. We seriously have our doubts! However we will call in tomorrow to see what they come up with.

Well, 10 days since we rang the Tapu office������������.NOTHING!

Friday 18th November
I had some very strange looks from the builders I go pass when walking Rosie. They looked at me as if to say �there is that mad English woman�.  We looked like a couple of drowned rats walking in the pouring rain. I am sure their idea would be to kick the dog outside the back door and let them get on with it! I have never been a �fair-weather� dog walker so I am not going to start now.

Well, we called back into the garden centre and today all we were offered was a packet of fertilizer, it seems his friend at the University had not come up with the goods. But we met Clive outside, also Peter and then Steve who works at KAR kennels.  I asked Steve about the Golden Retriever at the kennels and he wasn�t aware that there was one. The plot thickens. I will have to get in touch with Margaret at KAR and ask for any updates.

Two power cuts today.

In the evening it poured with rain accompanied by a storm and the inevitable power cut again.

Saturday 19th November
It rained a lot over night but had stopped by the time we got up. Just huge puddles everywhere and mud and stones all the way over the road on the way down to the supermarket.

I bought the Cyprus Today and Stuart had an excellent letter printed in there (can be seen on the HPG site).

We stayed indoors most of the day, hanging pictures and more sorting of boxes. We watched the afternoon premier football matches in between the now too frequent power cuts.

Sunday 20th November
Drier today and sun in between the clouds.  Gwen and Peter came visiting in the morning.

Rosie had a weepy eye but it didn�t seem to bother her to much as she spent most of the morning lazing on the sun bed basking in the sun!

Monday 21st November
We awoke to the wind howling round the house. It sounded really bad. During the day we retrieved three chairs and one sun lounger from the swimming pool along with the roof of the compost box that had ripped off. Also the wood store had collapsed. Needless to say the rotary drier literally �took off� which meant I had to do all the washing again.

We went and bought our tickets for the Blues Festival on 13th December and also posted our first few Christmas cards to the UK. We called into the pharmacy and bought some antibiotics eye drops and cream for Rosie, a total cost of 5 ytl, just over �2!

Peter then arrived as he had been to the yapi market to price some things to put at the bottom of our drive to divert the rain!

In the afternoon we took Rosie to the beach.  The weather was so wild we knew that nobody else would be down there! The sea was very rough but Rosie loved it.

Back home and Mal started repairing the wind damage! He had a phone call from Stuart (a member of the committee of the HPG), so I took the phone out only to find that Mustafa was there ranting and raving at Mal and accusing him of moving one of his markers! (Mustafa owns the land behind and he is the one we are having the dispute with) Mal told him he hasn�t touched his marker and yes we are still waiting for the Tapu. Mustafa told him he is going to send the Police up here to knock the wall down! So, we wait and see. I hardly think the Police will do that when they visited before and went away smirking.

When the argument had finished Mal called Stuart to be told that some people had been charged to get their Ko�an but as the Ko�an was not going to be issued for a long time, Ian Smith, the Estate Agent kindly returned their monies after Stuart went and spoke to him. Each was refunded around �5,000! As we have said, strength in numbers and it seems the HPG is starting to be known.

Tuesday 22nd November
I started weeding in the garden and then it dawned on me why Mustafa was creating yesterday.  He came along with a JCB and started stripping all the land behind us.  Everything has gone all the bushes, trees, olive trees the lot. It looks very bare there now and we can see all the houses in the distance and our nice secluded garden is no longer as secluded.

Most of the time Mustafa stood on our wall directing the JCB.  We felt he was trying to antagonise us.  I just said �Merhaba� and waved to him and he grunted something back and gave a half smile. About midday Stuart and his wife Lynn came round with something for the web site. Stuart went out to his car for something and came back in and said that �the plod� were here. So, out went Mal and Stuart. Then the arguments started, so Mal took our Tapu paper out and showed the Police that we had waited 15 months for the Tapu and it certainly wasn�t our fault they hadn�t come out. Mal also said that Mustafa had cleared our piece of land that we wanted to swap with him and the Police again seemed to find it laughable that he asked �7,000 for his piece of land. Mustafa also said that piece of land was his, so Mal got out all the maps and showed the Police. It most certainly is ours and he has cleared everything off it. Mustafa was not a happy man.

The disputed wall, Mal and the Police

The upshot of all of this was that Mal and Stuart went back to Lapta Police Station with the policemen to see the Inspector. They were gone for quite a long time.  Mal said the Inspector was really nice when he explained the problems we have had. So, the Inspector rang the Tapu and even he had problems but he has now managed to arrange our Tapu for Thursday morning.  When they arrive (fingers crossed), we have to ring the Police to attend as well. Mustafa did not go to the Police Station so will have to find out for himself what is going on.

Poor Stuart and Lynn only popped in for a few minutes and that was the rest of the day gone. Stuart has never seen a Tapu carried out before, so said he will join us on Thursday morning.

Wednesday 23rd November
A peaceful day spent mostly wondering what will happen tomorrow when the Tapu men arrive. After all we have waited 15 months for the pleasure of this. We both feel that we can then start organising the rest of our land instead of being in limbo. As I guessed Mal wanted to go and buy a 30 metre tape measure and we should measure the perimeter, yet again so we can get it clear in our minds or at least as clear as we can manage. We must have done this a minimum of 150 times before, never mind one more time won�t hurt!

Thursday 24th November �THE Tapu MEN COMETH!!
The Tapu men were due to arrive between 8.00 and 9.00am.  True to their word (very unusual for North Cyprus), they arrived at 8.30.  Three Tapu men, Mustafa and a Police man. Stuart, another member of the HPG committee who had previously visited the Police station with Mal, had asked us to ring as soon as they arrived. Along he came.

Firstly we couldn�t quite comprehend why they started measuring Mustafa�s land when it was us that paid for the Tapu! However we waited until they reached the boundary between his land and ours. Well, their methods could hardly be called technical but I have to say they had a very detailed map, not the 80 year old map that we were given when we bought the land, to show us which parcels we owned. Things were going well to start with.

A Tapu point goes in and we know that the lower part of this wall will have to be removed to allow Mustafa his 50m2 triangle which goes into our land.  He asked �7K for this tiny piece. We offered to swap a piece that juts into his land roughly the same size but to be difficult he refused even though we offered to pay the legal fess for the swap. Actually he was being greedy not difficult.  I have to add here that at his prices, it would work out roughly a quarter of a million pounds per donum, when the going rate is around �35,000 per donum. We are not idiots but Mustafa thinks we are.

All was amicable until the next Tapu point was measured. No way.  This completely put the triangle in the middle of the hard stand. Completely the wrong place.  How could it be so far out? At this stage Stuart went to get his professional measure from the car, made it known that he was a PROFESSIONAL surveyor and that this was all wrong. Mustafa, knowing full well this was not the correct place, took pleasure in hammering the stake into the middle of our hard stand and smirked at me! That was when I lost it. I am not sure at that time who was shouting the loudest, Mal at the Tapu men or me at Mustafa.  I fail to remember my exact words to Mustafa and all the twat kept saying was �it is not my problem�. It was an extremely heated exchange.  Mal was also at the same time about to tell the Tapu men to �f**k off, off his land� as this was totally out of order. Stuart bless him saved the day and explained their measuring was way out and demanded a �recount�.  Needless to say I was still ranting and raving at Mustafa who was grinning all over his stupid face.  I don�t think he was too impressed at �a woman� having a go at him as women are still second class citizens here.   HIS problem not mine. In the end the Tapu men told Mustafa and I to shut up. We did and they re-measured. Surprise, surprise the line moved completely to a different position, the place where we knew it would be, in fact slightly better than we thought it would be. Good for Stuart that is all I can say. Now is the point to tell anyone who is going to have a Tapu�.GET SOMEONE TO BE THERE WITH YOU��contact www.homebuyerspressuregroup.com and they will put you in touch with someone who will assist. Don�t lose land that is YOURS! We would have lost a very vital 4 meters.

Stuart in the patriotic red white and blue, ensuring the disputed point goes in the correct position!

We also have to thank our Swedish neighbour Willi who came to translate for us as he is fluent in Turkish.

Mustafa looked a little down hearted and said he couldn�t remove the point which he had hammered in so well, Mal said he could! The point was removed. They then measured to the side of our land and that was roughly where we thought and lining these points up exposed our extra piece which we were previously prepared to swap and Mustafa had claimed as his and cleared all the trees from it. It was OURS!

At this stage the Tapu men were having difficulty seeing each other because of the different levels on the land, so Stuart suggested that they use one of my bamboo poles and then it would be seen!

Simple when you tell them how to do it isn�t it Stuart?!

This point is another vital one. As Willi and Lena�s gates can�t move,  we know exactly where this point is. You may be wondering why I spent the entire three hours taking photos of everything, this is because Mustafa has moved points before.  He will not again!

Whilst they were this side of our land Mustafa�s brother in law came along and they were trying to find his land.  We have known for a long time that he only has very narrow strips left as the government have taken most of his land for the road! Previously we were going to give him a piece of ours as he was a really nice man and we felt sorry for him.

Mustafa�s brother in law (middle) realising that the tape measure is going way over the edge and he has little land left. Poor man.

Next came the real surprise! They followed along behind our garden wall.  Yes, we knew that the end of the wall tapered in and at the time that was to ensure all of that wall was on our land. They started to measure it.

(Willi is second in line). Much to our surprise we had far more than we thought. Mustafa suddenly didn�t appear so happy. What a silly man, WE have another 150 m2, the other side of the wall!

Well, after three hours our boundary Tapu was complete.  We paid for 12 points and so asked them to continue.  No they would come and complete the rest another day��.oh yes? Do we believe them?  I think not.

Mal being the gentleman he is thanked the Tapu men and shook hands with them, well, eventually after being helped along by Stuart they got it right. Mal also shook Mustafa’s ��I didn�t! Nasty man and here he is�..

As soon as they had all gone Mal, Stuart and I went out and spray painted all the Tapu points the other side of the wall and the surrounding ground so we will know if they have been moved. Pity it was gold paint, the only one I had for use at Christmas, never mind! We have also marked the entire line out and covered it with gravel.

As you will be able to see by the tape measure along the ground, this is quite a considerable chunk.

After marking out this new piece of land, Stuart went home. I think Mal and I felt the stress for the rest of the day! Must be getting older.

Friday 25th November
We were both glad yesterday was over.

In the afternoon we went to Gwen and Peters as Gwen is off to England on Saturday.  We left Rosie for about three hours and she was fine when we got back. As today was the anniversary of the day we met, we decided to go out for a meal but neither of us could summon the energy to get dolled up and go for the big deal.  I think yesterday took its toll on us! So, we decided to drive down the road to The Corner Bistro. It�s not a huge place but has a little bar and it�s a bit like having a meal in a pub. The prices were very reasonable but I don�t think they do sweets as we weren�t offered any, nor coffee. We were only gone about two hours and when we opened the door Rosie had created havoc. The vegetable rack had been emptied and onions, garlic and potatoes, which were covered in red mud had been dragged all over our rugs! She had taken half a box of dates off the worktop and eaten some, ripped up my oven glove and torn the tag off the hand towel. Also knocked a tray off and smashed it. We still don�t know why she did this as she hasn�t before. We were not impressed and sent her outside whilst we cleared all the debris up. I told her off and she was very subdued for the rest of the evening.  I should think so.

Saturday 26th November
We went in search of some metal posts to fence off our piece of land. Three shops and they didn�t have any! We went into Lemar for our food shopping and then drove home, not staying out too long in case Rosie objected again! We arrived home and she was asleep, hadn�t touched a thing.

We bought Cyprus Today. There was a two page article in it, an account of the new UK High Commissioner, Peter Millett�s talk to the British Residents Association. Part of which:

�Another matter tarnishing the TRNC�s image abroad was the many British and European homebuyers in North Cyprus who claimed they had fallen victim to criminal builders, estate agents and lawyers.  Mr Millett praised the Homebuyers Pressure Group for their fight on the issue. As lobbyists and campaigners they had done a �fantastic job� and their website was �extremely impressive�.  The problem threatened the reputation of North Cyprus and the authorities should therefore treat the matter with great urgency, Mr Millett said.�

Praise indeed and encouragement that the HPG is becoming known. I have to say Mal gave a little grin when he read Mr Millett�s remarks about his website, good he deserves a little credit for the work he has and is putting into it, keeping all interested homebuyers informed.  Just think we came here for a nice relaxed quiet life but like hundreds of others, life never seems to quite work out as we expect. Comparatively our problems are minor compared to some others here in the TRNC.

Sunday 27th November
We were woken yet again at 5.45 by the hunters rifles going off. It is still quite dark that time of the morning so I fail to see how they can see anything they are firing at. It is quite frightening watching them walking up and down the mountains with their rifles just slung over their shoulders ready to go off any second and fire at the person walking behind them!

They should also be 500 meters away from any houses.  I am sure these two weren�t 500 meters away from us when they were firing!

Peter came round in the morning, Gwen now probably freezing in the UK! Mal showed him the Tapu points and the additional land we had discovered.

Much warmer today although a bit cloudy.  Back to the weeding, with the rifles going off all day long.

A very disappointed Mal in the evening as Manchester United beat his team, West Ham 2-1. His spirits were lifted after the first 2 minutes of the game when West Ham scored but it went downhill after that. At least we managed to watch the whole game and cook the Sunday roast without having a power cut so we ought to be thankful.

Monday 28th November
Today we managed to get our angled fence posts, from Immap, a large builders merchants on the way into Girne. Let�s not get carried away here, this does not compare with Homebase and B & Q but they have a lot more than other shops, can speak English (I have forgotten again what fence post is in Turkish but it is not easy!) and they also carry your goods to the car for you. The fact the posts were all covered in rust which came off on everything in the car is neither here nor there, at least we have posts. We also took some more things to Amanda�s Auction rooms for the next auction on Sunday.

It was a beautiful afternoon, made even more so by Gwen�s text from the UK saying it was snowing, so we walked through Malatya village, past the waterfall and headed up the mountains with Rosie. A very long walk.

A picture from the mountains showing where Mustafa has cleared all the land behind us.  In the foreground of the picture is Willi and Lena�s kennels and to the left you can see a new house under construction which completely overlooks their kennels. (The huge thing that at the moment looks like a few portakabins stuck together.) What a shame, like the rest of us they had been so secluded.

Today scaffolding went up on the Russian house and we are hoping they will now complete the outside as it has been looking in an awful state for a very long time.

Tuesday 29th November
Another lovely sunny day. Peter came round in the morning to loan Mal the sledge hammer to bang the posts in, so Mal did that in the afternoon.

Mal went to a committee Meeting for the HPG in the evening. I put Rosie in the car when I dropped him off and she was as good as gold and just lay on the back seat. We seem to forget how she is improving.  I remember initially her jumping all over the car and barking at everyone that dared to walk past us, total embarrassment!

Wednesday 30th November
Julie, who was to have lived at number 6 until they named the roads, sent over three huge packs of dog chews for the dogs at KAR, so while Mal updated the HPG website I drove up to the kennels to take them. I had a long chat with Steve and he told me their dog had just died.  His wife was very upset but was up there anyway helping in the kennels. I did feel sorry for them.

I stopped at Atakara on the way home to get some shopping and this time I received the correct change! There was a letter in the Cyprus Today, someone else complaining that they were always short changed in Astro. I think perhaps (hopefully) the other supermarkets have taken note and managed to get some small change. About time. Mal has designed a �Consumer Pressure Group� website, hopefully to be launched in the New Year.  He hears me moan so much about some of the shops, so it looks as though I will be doing the market research! Who says you get bored when you retire?  When do they get the time to be bored?

4 – Electricity


When we first heard that it would cost us �8,500 for electricity to be brought from the village above us we were shocked that something taken for granted in most areas of the UK should cost so much here. The first thing we did was to consider installing solar electricity. The second thing we did was to reject it because we would have to import everything form the UK or pay someone else to do the same. Some companies were experimenting with solar electricity but none appeared to be successful when we investigated further.

Solar heating comes standard and before we had time to even think about it had been installed and hot water began flowing. We were told that from about June to October we would never need to turn the immersion heater on. In November we should turn it on for an hour in the morning, December for two hours, January and February will usually need three hours and then the time needed for electrical heating would slowly reduce as the months grew warmer. Lagging is not a technology the Cypriots are familiar with.

Electricity costs work out at about 5.5p per Kilowatt-hour, with the majority of the power in our case being needed for the pool and air conditioning. In the winter electricity consumption drops because we use calor gas heaters and a wood fire to keep us warm. We spend about �30 per month, on average, for our power costs which include electricity, gas and wood.

The only problem with mains electricity is when it goes off, which is fairly frequently. I�m sitting here at the moment using a portable computer with 30 minutes of power left. The electricity went off at 5 am in the morning and at 5pm we still do not have power. The last time we had power cut as extensive as this was three weeks ago, but in between there have been two smaller cuts of a few hours. Usually this is not too difficult to sit out in the summer, with longer days but in the winter this becomes tiresome.

Cookers here have a mixture of gas and electricity. Ours has one electric plate and three gas ones, and an electric grill and oven, we also have a gas BarBQ. We have about 100 candles stored in our utility room to get through the dark hours. We have a slight problem that our water pump relies on electricity so we have a slight problem with water when the electricity goes out. It�s at times like these that we wish that we had spent �20,000 on a 4kw solar electricity system. But, there is a solution. Most far-thinking people on the island buy a petrol generator. This was not such a good idea a few years ago because they were so expensive but now a 4 Kw generator costs around �550. But all solutions bring problems; noise and the need to store petrol.

Our next door neighbours have no electricity at all and therefore are using a petrol generator. Even though we are 50 meters away from their generator the noise is mind numbing. They have a meter box so hopefully they will soon have electricity connected but not until the electrics in the house have been passed.

We were pleasantly surprised when in April 2004 we arrived to find that we had electricity connected. A little box had been installed in the road outside our villa and the meter told us that the builder had already use 8 units of it. A short time after a bill appeared in our electricity box and off we went into the big city, Girne, to try to pay it. This was more difficult than expected. Apparently there is no one called Malcolm Channing but there is a Malcolm John. That took an hour to discover. We handed over our money only to discover that because we were late paying our �2, monthly bill, we were fined; a princely sum of 12p! Because we were not on the island for very long at that time and had more than a month between visits, we credited money so that our bills were paid automatically. Some people try to set up Direct Debits, I�ve seen them crying in the streets, there accounts temporarily emptied paying Direct Debits to the Turkish Book Of the Month Club.

The swimming pool pump uses a great deal of electricity each day, 7.5 units in the peak of summer reducing to 6 units in September and so on as the hot days reduce and the need to oxygenate the pool reduces. Our total use of electricity up to September 20th was 1440 units, at a cost of around �80, not bad for 8 weeks of occupancy with fans and air con blasting during August.

August 2005

August 2005

Monday 1st August � Thursday 4th August
We spent the time around the house, doing the outstanding jobs and getting ready for the kids to arrive and also Mal trying to unwind after his three months hard slog doing the exam work.

Friday 5th August
Ange, Rhys and the kids arrived.  I collected them from the airport and the next three weeks were full with the kids playing in the pool and going down to the beach and really very little time to write the diary!

The kids enjoyed their time and every night Grandad told them three stories, quite a task when he makes all his own stories up.

As can be seen from the last picture, Torin arrived, only being allowed to go in the pool with arm bands on. By the end of the three weeks, he was so confident and was being thrown in the air upside down and could swim a whole length on his own and a width under water. Great progress.

Friday 26th August
What a busy day. Up early and out walking with Rosie and then all the cleaning and washing started.  Ange, Rhys and the boys are leaving and later Torin and Karen are arriving in the evening.

I think as fast as I was clearing things it was getting in a mess again and so I just started all the washing, load after load and Mal said that when I did the airport run he would do all the cleaning.

Ange, Rhys, the kids and I left for the airport at about 20 to 2 in the afternoon. Of course we had to wait for them to open up the check in desk but they wanted to be certain of getting near the front of the queue, to ensure that they had six seats together. They eventually went through passport control at about 4.20, the plane due to leave at 5.00pm. I had a few tears saying goodbye to them all, with River saying �Nanny we will see you soon�! Bless him. Then I went upstairs to wait for Torin and Karen�s plane to arrive at 5.00 pm.  Then I realised that there were no other Onur Air planes on the tarmac and so Ange and Rhys and co would be catching the plane that Torin and Karen were arriving on.  Then the announcement came that their plane was an hour late, so I don�t imagine that Ange and Rhys were too delighted about the delay.

Eventually the plane touched down and I watched Karen and Torin get off it and then went downstairs to wait for them.  As it was getting late we stopped at Atakara supermarket on the way home and bought two cooked chickens and some salad for our dinner.

By the time we got in Mal had cleaned everywhere and changed all the beds.

Torin couldn�t resist the pool and so jumped in fully clothed, only to find later that he had his wallet in his shorts pocket, so then had to dry out the contents! Quite a late night after all the chatting.

Saturday 27th August
Quite a breezy day, the temperature around 29 degrees, we stayed at home in the morning and in the afternoon Torin and I went shopping to replenish the fridge and freezer. Afterwards we watched two of the Premier football matches, of course Torin in his element because Chelsea beat Tottenham.

A few drinks in the evening and then Torin and I sat up chatting until about 1.00 am.

Sunday 28th August
As usual I was up early and walking Rosie and then the rest of the day was a lazy day spent around the pool interspersed with the Moto GP, with Valentino Rossi winning again and then watching the Man Utd v Newcastle game, Man Utd winning 2-0.

When the house was built, we originally asked Hakan to install a tap the other side of the wall to the kitchen sink.  As with a lot of things, it was not done. As the garden needs a lot of watering this time of year, it is a real task to stretch the hose across the swimming pool terrace and down either to the only outside tap we have or to the extra tanks we have. Willi had previously told me that he only knew one good tradesperson and that was his plumber.  He only speaks Turkish and so Willi explained what we wanted doing and we arranged for him to comer today. It was obvious that he didn�t have the correct drill bit and we were all a bit shocked when he took a hammer to the wall and smashed a large hole in it.  He then fitted the tap, cleared his tools away and was ready to leave! We ENDED up calling Willi over who said, he is a plumber and doesn�t mend holes! Great.  Willi said he would get one of his workmen to repair it for us. So, with that Mal paid the plumber his 100 ytl and he left! At least we have an outside tap next to the garden now even though for the time being, we have a hole in the wall!

Gwen and Peter came to visit in the morning.

Rosie who has never been on the sun beds before decided that she wanted to share Karen�s!

We had a Sunday roast and then a few drinks and decided we would all go to bed earliesh!

Monday 29th August
We were all up early and ready for a trip to the dentist, for Mal and Torin. Warmer today, around 31 degrees.

We drove into Girne and dropped Mal and Torin at the dentist and Karen and I walked into the town and pay the electricity bill and a wander around the shops. This months electricity bill was 108 ytl but then we had Ange and Rhys and the boys here. I also went and bought a roasting tin, which was a hefty 21 ytl!

We met up with Mal and Torin who both had their teeth cleaned and although Torin thought he would need some fillings, the dentist said his teeth were OK. A relief to him I think.

On the way back we stopped at Caf� Dűkkan and had our lunch. Then on to Astro to get the shopping. We then stopped in Karaoğlanoğlu as Torin and Karen wanted to buy two lilos. As they were already blown up, we had a bit of a job squashing them in the car to bring them home. Karen chose the sit back one with arms but needless to say when we got back to the pool Torin decided he wanted that one as it was far better! Typical.

The rest of the day was just lounging around and dinner and a few drinks in the evening.

Tuesday 30th August
30 degrees early this morning. I took Rosie for her walk and Karen was also up early. Torin got up later and went for a run up the mountain.

He actually said that the run back down was worse than the run up. Karen and Torin spent the rest of the morning �playing� on their lilos!

Willi very kindly came over to fill our hole in the kitchen wall. His workmen were going to do and hadn�t, so he came over himself. While he was here, Peter arrived with another workmen to give us a quote to channel out an access for us up the front of the property with his Caterpillar. There are now quite a few of the builders and related trades, with no work as the slump is starting here, a couple of builders have gone bust and things are beginning to get shaky. His quote started at �2,000 but he has now dropped it to �1,500. Once we have an access at the front we will not have to worry that Mustafa behind us is demanding �7,000 for a tiny triangle where our access is at the moment. I think I have mentioned before that we have offered to swap a larger triangle of our land that juts into Mustafa�s land but he will not hear of it even though we offered to pay for legal costs to have the land exchanged.  He would also be getting more land.  This way, he can do what he likes, it won�t affect us.

Dinner and a few drinks in the evening.

Wednesday 31st August
Up and out with Rosie early.  When I left at 6.15, it was already 30 degrees and that is before the sun comes up over the mountain, which is at about 6.45 am.

Breakfast and then the Caterpillar arrived. Three lorries to take away the rubbish being dug out and the Caterpillar. It was fascinating watching how it just cut through the rocks.

They stopped at 12 and went off for lunch but they had already cleared an enormous amount, down to the road but then a lot has to be shovelled off yet.

They had a one and a half hour lunch break and then continued.  The dust was unbelievable. We were feeling totally caked in the stuff and everything was filthy.  By the time they left at 5.30, the pool was also full of dust and it seemed pointless cleaning it all away, as they were coming back the next day to continue.  They had envisaged one and a half days work. So, in the evening we all sat amongst the grime to have our dinner and a few drinks.

This gives you some idea of the dust that was flying around. Still, it should all be worth it in the end!

June 2005

June 2005

Thursday 2nd June
This time I am going back to Cyprus with Paula as Mal is busy with all his exam work. I met her at the airport, Rhys having driven me there. The journey up was fine but we kept looking at all the traffic at a standstill going the other way. Poor Rhys took about 6 hours to get back home in the end.

We flew with CTA this time.  The seats were marginally better than those on Onur Air and when the drinks trolley comes round, the alcoholic drinks are free whereas you have to pay for them with Onur. We took off around 10.30 pm, thinking we would get some sleep on the flight.  No such luck, a lady a couple of rows in front of us decided to talk non stop the entire flight, so when the lights went down, she continued.  She didn�t even stop to draw breath! Everyone was moaning about her.  Apart from that a good flight.

Friday 3rd June
Peter met us at Ercan and filled us in on all the local news on the way back.

We arrived home at about 7.30 am and decided we would try and stay up and get our sleep patterns as they should be.

We unpacked, put all the furniture outside and then a little man appeared from Ali Şemi�s building and asked if he use the electricity (as agreed).  He then asked if we wanted some water from the well, as the swimming pool level had gone down, I said yes please. So, he was helping and filling the tanks up and topping the swimming pool. Obviously, too much water, the other side of the swimming pool where one of the pipes was, water was gushing out! In the end I had to ring Peter and meanwhile collected Rosie from across the road.  Lena came back and then Willi and then Gwen and Peter arrived.  Between Peter and Willy and the most helpful guy from Ali Şemi�s, they sorted the problem out.  Our original source of water seemed to be on all day and so from having very little water when we left we now have masses and so we also filled up the two spare storage tanks and at least if it all stops again, we can pump some out of there. In the middle of all of this Mal rang and had a giggle about it and said� well, at least you can learn what to do!� Eventually everyone left and Paula and I decided we wouldn�t have a sleep but that we would try and stay awake until night time or we would be all out of sync!

We did manage it but were exhausted by the time we went to bed.

Saturday 4th June
We took Rosie down to the beach and then stopped at the new Atakara supermarket which is before the main road and now our nearest shop.  That is convenient.  We just bought a few bits and decided to leave our main shop until next week. We didn�t do much the rest of the day.  I went over to see Willi and Lena early evening.

Sunday 5th June
Rosie woke me about 5.45 and tried to jump on the bed as I obviously only use half of it, she thought she could get away with it. After me getting her off twice I opened the patio door and let her out. She has fleas, so I treated her with Spot on.  Poor thing keeps scratching.

Gwen and Peter came up in the morning, really nice to see Gwen again.

Monday 6th June
We took Rosie out and then had to plan how we would escape out of the house, (Rosie shoots through the door before you have even noticed!) Don�t ask me how we did it but we did and headed off for Lemars to get a stock of shopping. We were looking for a good wine. The wines are no longer cheap here. We bought a few around the �4/�5 mark to sample and then saw some �Othello� wine, possibly the cheapest in the shop, a red and a white, when we opened them in the evening, they really weren�t bad for a �glugging� wine! They cost about �1.50 a bottle!

Back home and sat around chatting.

I did some weeding at the front and the drive, also dead headed a lot of the flowers.

The days seem to go by so quickly and little achieved!

Tuesday 7th June
We took Rosie out for a walk and realised again that the pool pump wasn�t coming on.  Down to the poolroom and the switch has tripped.  We are almost certain that it is when the workmen plug their tools in that it blows.

Mal rang only a quick call, where is the peg basket�!! This has now disappeared (so he says), convinced that someone has stolen it.  Personally I think he is so busy that he has forgotten where he has put it!

In the afternoon I went out again and tackled more of the 6 foot high thistles from the front of the house and the drive.  Paula did some of her homework. The prickles were even going through the gardening gloves and I am sure that is when I got a mass of bites on my back and shoulders.

We were just thinking about dinner when Peter arrived at 5 o�clock.  He stayed for two hours chatting.  We then had dinner and took Rosie for a walk. There are things not working on the computer here, mainly Skype, so Mal and I chatted for a while online and then we fixed it for him to take over my computer from over there.  He seems to be really busy.  It is such a shame he has to stay and do all this work but then, we need the money and at least he has retired from one job! Still better than being in the UK full time, so I suppose we can�t complain.

In the evening Paula and I sat on the terrace and watched huge beetles hurtling themselves over the balcony.  Rosie was really fascinated, so we had to throw them back over before she squashed them! They seemed to get bigger and bigger as the night went on, and it wasn�t the wine that made us think that!

Wednesday 8th June
We both got up early and drove down to the beach.  We spent over an hour down there with Rosie who continuously ran in and out of the sea, hopefully getting rid of the last of her fleas!  On the way back we bought some shopping in Tempo and posted Paula�s postcards and then went to the gift shop in Edremit.

We stopped to get some petrol at Atakara petrol station, as it is our local one, you know, patronize the locals. I asked for 20 ytl of petrol and he was washing the rear window and I was trying to look at the pump to make sure I had the correct amount.  It looked as though he stopped filling when it was 15.90, so I asked Paula if she could see it and as she turned round he quickly put the pump back to zero! I just wish one of us had seen it definitely but it seemed very suspicious. Next time I will get out of the car. I was not happy as we used to hire our cars from there and they are really nice people but the guy looked as though he was there on his own.  I mentioned it to Peter and he is going to have a word with the owners. It does make me cross how they rip off tourists and that was even with local plates on the car!

Home again and had breakfast, discovering that the pool pump had stopped again.  We are now convinced that Ali Şemi’s workmen are the problem and that every time they put their plug in, it blows the fuses. When the little guy appeared Paula went down and explained to him.  He can�t speak English and she can�t speak Turkish, so there was a lot of arm waving about and numbers written in dust (plenty of that here).  He understood and wrote that we should have a 50 amp fuse instead of a 20. So, Paula pointed to him to tell him he had better sort it out then! He then said� �Su, ev�, in other words did we want more water for the house, of course Paula said yes and so he said he would sort it later.  So, we decided we had better water the garden, wash down all the muddy paths (from all the rain that they had last week), put another load of washing on, both have baths and hair washes! What other idiots would be standing out in the midday sun sweeping paths down, dripping in sweat, just so we can have a bit more water?! Well, we have been very low before!  At the end of all of this, we were exhausted!  Paula had a sleep in the afternoon. We waited for the water and nothing! Perhaps he meant another day.

I took Rosie out for a walk in the evening, had dinner and Mal and I chatted on Skype.  Sounds as though he is very busy!

Thursday 9th June
Rosie woke up at 5.45 and was full of life and I ended up shutting her outside as she kept jumping on the bed, which she is not allowed to do! At 6.00 I was wide awake anyway and so took her for a walk.

Paula did some of her homework and I caught up with ironing etc. The pool pump is not working again and checking on the switches in the pool room, the workmen�s plug has blown the fuses again, yet again we have pulled the plug and when they come up we will have to explain again.

In the afternoon we left Rosie at home and went to see Gwen. Peter was having his afternoon siesta, so we sat out on their terrace. When we came back I could hardly push the door open.  The heavy door curtain was stuck under it.  I panicked immediately, thinking Rosie had eaten half the curtain, but when we managed to get the door open, it was the curtain tie she had been after. She had pulled that down and in doing so, straightened the metal holder, which was a curly thing, now almost straight.  She certainly has some strength. She must have had a panic and had tipped her toy box up, pulled her blanket down from off the table (but hadn�t eaten any of that) and tipped her food bowl upside down. Thinking about it, the tie back looks the same as the ropes I give her to play with!  She than seemed as though she had the devil in her for the rest of the evening.  Paula cooked and made a lovely lemon and ginger chicken. We sat out on the terrace after dinner, still really nice and warm.  More huge beetles landed on the swimming pool terrace and we kept rescuing them and throwing them back over the edge before Rosie put her paw on them or gently put them in her mouth and brought them to us!

Friday 10th June
Up early again and we drove up towards Guzelyert and stopped just past Horseshoe Bay. We went on one small beach but it wasn�t marvellous, so drove a bit further and found a nice secluded beach but the road down was horrendous and so we left the car at the top and walked down.  There was a lagoon down there and for the first time in a long time we let Rosie off the lead and she loved it.

We stopped at the new Atakara supermarket to get milk and bits on the way home.  It certainly is handy for us to have the supermarket so near. About 32 degrees again today.

I did a bit of weeding in the garden and then we started thinking that we still haven�t had a refill of water.  The pool pump fuse blew yet again so we knew the workmen were using the electric. So, down to the pump room and pull their plug out. Meanwhile Peter arrived to clean the pool.  We said we were waiting for the workmen to come back up and then would ask for some water from the well to replenish our stock. Up they came so Peter took charge and he said he couldn�t clean the pool until the water had finished filling up.  The pump they were using in the well was run from our electric and that kept blowing the fuses too. Eventually I left them all standing there, watching the water fill the tanks and I went and took Rosie for a walk. I came back and they were still all waiting. Eventually it filled and the workman that Peter calls �the midget�, (which is why we can never see him above the wall when he replaces their plug!) left and he was given a bottle of beer for his trouble!

Peter then cleaned the pool and gave it a back wash which meant we started dinner at 8.00pm.  How the time goes.  Mal and I chatted on Skype again and Paula and I sat on the terrace in the warm with a couple of tipples, plus a few more beetles jumping onto the terrace.

Saturday 11th June
Rosie had a bit of lay in! I took her for a walk about 6.30, before the sun got too hot.  This time I went down the path in front of us, where we used to go but haven�t since the snake episode. Workers lorries have been down there and widened and flattened the paths, so no rough bits in the middle where snakes could be lurking! And of course, there is the shade of the bamboos and trees.  Rosie loved it going back to her old stomping ground, even though I can�t let her off the extendable lead. I watched all the time for any signs of snakes. Back home, had breakfast and then I went to get some shopping on my own and also some bottles water as we now haven�t had any Malatya water for over a week!

Paula and I both feeling lazy and because of the heat my intentions of tackling more prickles didn�t happen and we had a swim instead!

Peter called to say he had been to Atakara and seen Osman and explained what happened about my petrol. He was very upset and it seems they have been watching this guy.  It was the fact he cleared the pump that was the clincher as they don�t do that until the next customer comes. I have been told I will get more petrol when I go down next but it wasn�t the money, I am just getting fed up of being ripped off here and no one is going to get away with it anymore!  Not with me anyway. I understand the culprit is now going to be sacked. The Turkish Cypriots do not like thieves and Osman said that is what he is.

Although the sun is scorching today, there is quite a strong breeze up here, sending papers flying off the table.

We had dinner and sat out on the terrace in the evening sipping our wine, Othello which is 3.65 ytl a bottle.

We decided to go to bed early and so headed that way at about 10.30.  As soon as I got in bed and Rosie settled down, all the fireworks started at Merit Crystal Cove Hotel and were they loud.  I was just waiting for Rosie to start barking either at them or join in with all the dogs over at the kennels but she was as good as gold and went to sleep.

Sunday 12th June
Up early and down to the beach.  No one else was there even though it�s Sunday.  I expect they were all sensible and stayed in bed.  Rosie loved it.  We came back, had a shower and then went down to Gwen and Peters. Peter was out and Rosie ran around the house and garden like a mad thing, even Leo, the dog from the house behind decided to jump over the wall to meet her.  Peter and Gwen have five cats and it was so amusing to see their faces when they saw her. Henry just sat on his chair and wouldn�t move and spat at Rosie as she went past, so she did a large circle around him, the others came and spat and she stayed away but one ran onto the roof with Rosie running after him, but needless to say, not on the roof!  She had a morning of excitement.

We brought Rosie home and then went to Sunny Lane schools summer fayre but didn�t stay long.

In the afternoon Willi came over to sort the antennae out for his connection to the Internet.  Mal ordered it all in the UK as no one seemed to have anything here. So, Willi has his connection sorted out and came to do this end.  All very well, but it wasn�t until he tried to fit it that we found two male ends to connect.  Anyway, he is going to see if her get an adaptor here.  I am sure he will manage it better than I could as he speaks fluent Turkish. I also asked him about Malatya water and he has had none since last Saturday and said he heard someone saying �let the foreigners pay for it�.  Charming.  We are quite willing to pay for it if we get a proper supply. Poor Willi has had tankers for his water, so we are all clueless when or if it will be back on.  There is also a possibility of connecting to the new main water pipe they have laid by the side of our land.  Willi kindly said he would try and sort it out.  Apparently, the pipe is there but the water is coming from a water tower in Malatya and is being pumped from the waterfall but they didn�t have a pump.  It seems the latest thing is that they have a pump not but no electricity.  So organised!  Maybe one day. Meanwhile we are hoping when our supply is low again we can use the water from Ali Semi�s well. At least we filled our two spare stand alone tanks, so we can siphon those first!

We did pop out to get some shopping and I used to leave the TV on the radio station for Rosie, so went to turn the TV on for the first time since we have been back.  Every station says �this is a subscription channel�.  It looks as though we have been cut off but they have our bank details and said it would be taken from that.  It appears not so I will have to go to Tektans and investigate.   I know we paid for the first three months in advance, so it seems about right.

We sat on the terrace again in the evening. Tired chatting to Mal on Skype and it kept cutting off.  I then decided to ring him on the mobile and spent the next two hours getting �network busy�. I finally reached him at 12.30!

Monday 13th June
I was up walking Rosie and thought I heard the sound of running water going into Willi�s tank.  I checked as soon as I got back to the house and sure enough, Malatya water had just been turned on. Well, off we go again, filling water bottles, turning on the washing machine and sorting out the submersible pump to water the garden again.  This really is hard work but a bit of a panic in case the water goes off again! By the time we had finished, the water was off and so didn�t fill the tank completely but at least we used quite a lot while it was running.

We then cleaned up.  After the winds at the weekend there is dust everywhere again, you can see the layers over the furniture! We waited for the workmen to arrive and they came about 10.30.  Anthony arrived with the guy who made the railings and he put the extra supports in, lifted the gates but didn�t secure the wobbly railing.  Anthony then asked him to paint them and secure them and he said he didn�t have the things here to do it.  In desperation, Anthony said he will come back and finish them off.  He just can�t get the workers, well, not the skilled ones if there is such a thing here anyway. The wood hasn�t arrived to replace the doors to the shed yet, so we are still waiting. Anthony is going to do that himself.

I had tried turning the TV on for the first time, just to listen to the radio and we had lost all the Digiturk channels! I didn�t know why but decided we had better take a drive to Tektan and find out. He was useless and said he didn�t know why we had no channels so we would have to go to the Digiturk office. Well, quite honestly we couldn�t face it as it was in Girne. Yarin(tomorrow!)

Peter came round late afternoon to use the computer and have a chat.

Dinner on the terrace and continued there supping our wine. We sat watching the cement mixers queuing up to the left of the house to go up to the building works.  This went on until 11.00pm at night!! We know they are not supposed to do this but then you have to call the Police and it goes on����

Tuesday 14th June
More weeding today.  It was unbelievable how big some of the thistles have grown.  I was trying to clear the front area where you have to walk down to the pump room.  So far, I have managed to clear the drives and the front of the house. It was a very prickly business even with thick gardening gloves on and hot work!

We had lunch and then decided we would take the plunge and head for Girne and visit Digiturk office. The girls in there were very nice but spoke little English. I said obviously we had been cut off as we owed them money but that we had been told it would be taken from our bank each month.  After all, the card number was on the contract.  I had been told by various people that they won�t take it from an English account, you have to go in one of the Girne banks each month and pay it etc etc. After a long, long time, one of the girls rang their manager who could speak pretty good English.  I explained it all to her and finally all was clear. The card we used had been renewed but they had the last expiry date on the contract and so wouldn�t accept payment! Now we were getting somewhere.  I paid the 83ytl we owed and the girl took all the details again from the card and yes, they will take it from the bank each month!! She was going to reconnect it today but I told her to leave it as she had told us we have two free months if we don�t use it and go back to the UK! As there had been so much complication already I told her to resume it at the beginning of August and start the payments from then.  After all we hadn�t even turned it on to watch anything.  We really only had it for the winter so it is not important. Another problem solved but never quickly! Back home, dinner, walk Rosie and out on the terrace. Thankfully tonight no cement mixers, just peace and quiet, of course apart from the kennel dogs!

Wednesday 15th June
Up early and I went out on my own walking Rosie. Malatya water was running again, so I decided to water the garden but from the spare water tank as that water has been stagnant for a while. It was very hot even early in the morning. After that I continued cutting down the weeds and thistles to the pump room.  Some had grown so quickly that I just couldn�t budge them so I had to take a saw to them.  They had stems like trees.  I will have to sort out the roots another day.  By 10.30 I stopped as the sun was beating down and I was dripping! Anthony arrived to come and make three new doors for the lean to. He ended up spending the entire day here, dripping from the heat of the sun.  He made the three new doors and We just kept thinking, it is all very well doing new doors but what about the sides and the tiles on the roof that don�t cover the ends. He worked all day in the hot sun.

Thursday 16th June
Rosie walked in the morning and then Anthony arrived to carry on with the shed. By the end of the day, he had completed the woodwork.  Not only had he put new doors on but he also covered the sides with another layer of wood which was much improved so that the shoddy carpentry was completely covered and now we have a double layer at each side. Anthony explained he just can�t get the skilled workers here and you tell them one thing and they do something else.  I suggested that no one here had spirit levels and he said yes they do but they just don�t know how to use them!  A vast improvement.

Peter came up early evening to see we were OK. He also bought us a tub of profiterole ice cream, as Paula had cut Gwen�s hair.  That was nice of them.Dinner and sat on the terrace in the evening

Friday 17th June
The dogs in the kennels seemed to have barked all night which meant was really unsettled, so not a good nights sleep and it was the hottest yet overnight.

Anthony arrived in the morning to complete the shed.  Poor thing I did say that it would have been quicker to have taken the whole thing down and start again instead of trying to repair the bad work.  However I have to say it is a vast improvement and actually looks like a shed now.  He has even put catches on the doors instead of just the locks.When Anthony went off for his lunch we had a swim.  The temperature today is 31 degrees in the shade.

Paula went to bed in the afternoon and even Rosie was quiet because of the heat!

Anthony was supposed to bring the guy to complete the railings but he didn�t come with him, so Anthony returned on his own in the afternoon and cleared up all his tools. He said he should be bringing the railing man tomorrow.

Quite a lazy day. Paula and I went off early evening, collected some shopping and went to Bizim Han to have dinner.  The prices are still very reasonable.  We had lamacan and then chicken şiş, two drinks and Turkish coffee and the bill came to 21 and a half ytl, a little less than �9!

Back to Rosie and managed to get a short walk in before it became dark, which is about 8.30pm.  The insects biting well! They have come because of the increase in the temperature.

Saturday 18th June
Up early and at 6.30 the sun was already very hot. Dressed and we took Rosie to the beach. It was lovely we bumped into some twenty something�s who had camped on the beach overnight.  They asked us where they could go for a �full English Breakfast�!

Back for breakfast and then Anthony arrived looking much the worse for wear. He explained he had been down the Harbour drinking until 4 this morning! But true to his word, he had brought another welder back to complete the gates and railings.  This time a much nicer man who didn�t have an attitude like the last one. It is worrying though, they stand here doing the welding and wear no goggles.  As you pass the building sites it is obvious there is little Health and Safety.

So, at last both the lean to and the gates and railings are complete.  A very relieved Anthony took the money I handed him over and said he was going back home for a shower and back to bed. Serves him right!

Chatted to Mal in the evening, who is getting a little fed up with all the work, poor thing.

We managed to get in a late night water of the garden just as it was getting dark. It gets dark about 8.30pm

Sunday 19th June
Up early after about four hours sleep.  The kennel dogs were barking all night and every time Rosie settled down, they started again and then she started. Trouble is I like sleeping with all the doors and windows open.

Very bleary eyed today because of it. Gwen and Peter came for a visit and Gwen brought some plants for the garden. Peter cleaned the swimming pool and back washed it.

After he had gone, we discovered that the pool pump wasn�t working.  I then went indoors and heard water and discovered the WC in the bathroom was leaking.  I really couldn�t face any of this today and so decided to leave it until tomorrow.

Lunch, swim, dinner later, Rosie for her walk and early to bed to catch up with some sleep. Whilst we were walking the mobile rang and it was Rhys. Ange and Rhys had collected Mal for a break as it was Fathers Day and taken him to their house for a barbecue, a few beers and cards and presents. How sweet of them.  They all sounded as though they were enjoying themselves. Thanet Air Show had been on and so they had all sat and watched it from their garden. The grandchildren told me all about it.

Tonight I put on the air conditioning and shut up everything and Rosie and I slept well.

Monday 20th June
After a good nights sleep, up early and Rosie and I went for a walk before it got too hot.  Paula managed to find the problem with the swimming pool pump, a tiny button had fallen off the timer whilst it had been switched in the off position. The loo next and that was taken apart and sorted!

Bit more weeding and then lunch.  Paula was doing her OU work. A quiet afternoon and then in the evening the wind got up and started banging things around.  It was still very warm though.Rosie and I went for a walk and on the way back, stopped to talk to Lena and Willi.

Tuesday 21st June
Rosie and I went for our usual walk and then Paula and I went to Bellapais.  The shop Paula wanted to go in was still shut so we had a drink at the �Tree of Idleness� and waited.  They didn�t come and open the shop, so we had a look at the others and then bought shopping on the way home.

Peter arrived in the afternoon, dinner, sat on terrace watching the world go by! Of course Rosie and I went for our usual evening walk and we went quite a long way up the mountain.  They seem to have cleared a lot of the paths, I think they have done this to have them as fire breaks.

Wednesday 22nd June
More weeding until it became too hot and then swimming. Rosie and I went for our walk in the morning and the evening.  Still quite hot in the evening.

Thursday 23rd June
Rosie and I went down to the beach, it was nice and breezy and she loved it. More weeding but at least I have cleared all below the swimming pool so when Rosie�s balls go below the railings, they can be retrieved without any fear of snakes. Also down by the pump house is all clear. I took Rosie for her evening walk and then Paula and I went out to the Farmhouse Restaurant in Alsancak. We haven�t been there for a long time.

We started off with cocktails as these are half price between 6.30 until 7.30.

Paula and I both had King Prawn Tempura to start and then Paula had cod and chips (!) and I had char grilled swordfish.  Mine came with a plate of salad and a plate of chips.What with the batter for the starters and the batter on Paula�s cod and then the greasy chips, it all seemed a bit �greasy�.  The swordfish was huge and I ended up taking some home for Rosie.

Friday 24th June
Well, very strange we both work up with a �funny� tummy! Think it was possibly all the grease from last night.  I did get up and do Rosie�s early morning walk, a bit of weeding and felt so tied and not well.  Paula didn�t get up until 9.30 and then went back to bed and I went and had a lie down on the bed as well. Neither of us was that bad but just not right and very tired. Strange. We both slept. Couldn�t manage much to eat all day.  Peter came round early evening and Rosie started playing up and had to be shut indoors, so she looked for all the mischief she could find.  She was trying to bury the potatoes out of the veg rack in her bed, was moving round things in carrier bags and goodness knows what else. Not pleased that she was shut away but she will keep jumping up at Peter and he doesn�t like it. He does his fair share of winding her up�.�where�s the cats Rosie� etc and so she targets him now!

Mal is back in Birmingham so I managed to ring him at the hotel instead of the usual �network busy� on the phone, which seems to go on for hours nowadays. I think he has had enough of all the work and it is getting to him.  It doesn�t seem fair when I am here. We went to bed and for some reason Rosie decided she would bark after the light went out but I was too tired to get up and investigate!

Saturday 25th June
Usual early morning walk for Rosie and I. An email from Mal, after a weeks glorious weather in the UK and the hottest London day for 46 years, it is now raining and thunderstorms.

I drove down to Atakara supermarket to get some shopping whilst Paula stayed here with Rosie, to save the agro of the �Great Escape�!

Sunday 26th June- Wednesday 29th June
Much of the same until it was time to return to England.

Thursday 30th June
Peter took us to the airport and the flight was on time.  Unfortunately, in the seat next to me was a London Cyp who started drinking his bottle of Raki.  He was fine to begin with and started chatting away to us. As the journey continued he became more and more inebriated. In the end I don�t think he knew what he was doing and went to have a cigarette in the toilets.  The air hostess found out and started shouting at him. I couldn�t believe he repeated this performance a second time. This time he was sent to the captain. Meanwhile he continued talking to Paula and I and it really was becoming quite embarrassing. By the end of the flight he was wandering up and down the plane and completely forgotten where his seat was. In the end security removed him from the plane. An eventful journey! Rhys and Mal met me at the airport and back to Margate.

May 2005

May 2005

Sunday 1st May
Another lovely day and down to the beach with Rosie. Managed to get some windows cleaned and boring things and then watched two games of football in the afternoon/evening.

Monday 2nd May
Beach walking again and then we headed to the bank, hoping that our money had been transferred so that we can buy the car.  No such luck, it isn�t in our account and we can�t ring the British bank and chase it as it is May Bank Holiday in the UK, so no one will be there. Hopefully it will be there tomorrow.

Back home and swam in the pool and just had a lazy day for a change. In the evening we watched Finding Neverland, very good.  This was another DVD we bought here.

Tuesday 3rd May
Down to the beach with Rosie first thing and then off to the bank again. We sat waiting our turn for an hour. Yes, the money was there.  Even though we paid for the Swift transfer in the UK another �23 had been charged somewhere along the line.  With the money we hot footed it to Margaret to hand over the money and pick the car up. We left the hire car there and drove our new car back. It drove well.  The insurance will cost us 140 ytl. We haven�t sorted that out yet as Margaret�s insurance was for any driver so she said she wouldn�t cancel it until we were back.  We have yet to sort out the exchange documents.

Peter came round in the afternoon. I did some more weeding. The rose arch in the Garden is looking really good but the other two arches don�t seem to be doing much at all. One of our cacti has also flowered.

We have started watching the DVD, The Long Way Round and now seem to watch an episode a night.

 Wednesday 4th May
We waited this morning for Peter to drive us up to Ozankőy, so that we could collect the hire car from outside Margaret�s house. The traffic was horrendous going into Girne. It was just crawling along. As soon as we had the car we drove back into Girne to sort out the insurance.  We can�t get it fully comp as the car is over 10 years old.  It is 11 years old! So, third party, for any driver cost 140 ytl, about �55.  Not bad. Whilst we were in the insurance office we asked how we get the log book into our name as we have heard so many different stories.  I think his version was correct and this meant completing a form which is completed by both the seller and the buyer and then both parties have to visit the local Muhtar who then gives his official stamp. This meant we had to return to Margaret�s house.  She agreed to come with us to see the Muhtar but had to get changed first!  So, we waited for her and then we all got in the car and drove to the centre of the village where the Muhtar has an office.  It was shut. Margaret called into one of the village shops as the Muhtars wife owns it and asked how long he would be.  She told us he would be there at 1.00pm, so we decided to wait in the coffee house opposite until he came. Well, 1.00 pm came and went and we are still sitting there.  He arrived eventually at 2.15pm! We hadn�t filled the form in as it was all Turkish and we didn�t want to make a mistake. So, he very begrudgingly it seemed helped us complete it.  He read parts of the form over and over again. Eventually, he stuck two postage stamps at the bottom of the form and then officially rubber stamped it! We all breathed a sigh of relief that at least one part of the process was complete. Mal handed over 5 ytl.  We had been out for about 5 hours by this time and although we had other things to do, we decided to call it a day and go home as we had left Rosie all this time.  This is not the end of the process, all the forms and log book have to now be taken to Lefkosa and the log book changed into my name.  Another day!

Early evening we took Rosie to the beach and met several other dog walkers whom we chatted to!

We watched another episode of the Long Way Round. Mal wanted to watch two as it gets you hooked and promptly fell asleep half way through!

Thursday 5th May
We were down at the beach early this morning as Anthony is supposed to be coming to build our store cupboard. We had a phone call just as we were driving back saying he was waiting at the house. We got as far as In�esu and there was a lorry parked right across the road with a JCB filling it with stones! So, we had to sit and wait until they decided to let us through.

Anthony was there with his carpenter and left him instructions and then Anthony left.  He has at last taken the measurements for fencing, so we can take the temporary barricades down to keep Rosie in. Hopefully he will give us a good quote.

Anyone who doesn�t like dusting and cleaning floors, never move to Cyprus. It was what I was doing most of the day and it really seems never ending.  Dust in the morning and by the evening you can see another layer of dust appeared.  This is not just the building because no one seems to be doing any today. I am not a fanatical cleaner but it even gets to me!

Friday 6th May
The workman continued building the storage cupboard outside, which meant we had to take Rosie out with us as she didn�t like a stranger in her garden.  Mal went in to see the solicitor again.  She has spoken to Hakan and the upshot seems to be that we do all the leg work and then Hakan will come and redo the walls!  Oh yes, that is a good idea�.not! We have now decided that we will sort it ourselves in October if nothing has been done before then and obviously deduct the money from Hakans deposit which we are still holding!

Saturday 7th May
We thought the workman would have finished by now, but instead he worked all day long which was a bit inconvenient as we are getting ready to leave to go back to the UK.  Exams call again for Mal. In the afternoon Anthony arrived and brought his wife with him, so we sat chatting to them. Eventually about 6.00pm, the job was complete, not perfect but what we have learnt to accept in North Cyprus! Anthony has given us a good quote for the railings and says he will have them completed by the time I return in June.

After they left we took Rosie over to Lena and Willi�s and this time was much better she went in quite happily with Lena. Of course she knows her well now and probably thinks she has two homes, ours and the kennels!

Then the dreaded packing! As usual we had very little to pack and so stuffed the cases with bubble wrap!

The store cupboard when almost complete!

Sunday 8th May
Up early, we drove the hire car to the airport and went on the 10.00am TWI flight.  It left on time and was a good flight.  Rhys met us at the airport.

The rest of May���..

Mal has to return to the UK for his exam work but as we had a few days around my birthday we went to Scotland.  We keep saying there is a lot of the UK we haven�t seen and so started with the West coast of Scotland.

We flew to Glasgow and then had a hire car.

We stayed in a lovely hotel which was situated right on the banks of Loch Awe.  It was so quiet except for the piper every morning walking up and down! We crammed an awful lot in to the four days we were there, including Inveraray, Loch Lomond and an entire day on the Isle of Mull, which included a visit to Tobermoray distillery.

Tobermory Distillery

Tobermory (Balamory)

Isle of Mull

Our hotel

Mal on our balcony


Inveraray Castle

Loch Awe

Loch Lomond

Tobermory is where they record the children�s programme, Balamory. Also we have since found out that there are white tailed Sea Eagles now breeding on the Isle of Mull. We wish we had known that when we were there, as we could have gone to see them. This species was almost extinct and has now been re-introduced and this spring the breeding has been successful (as seen on BBC 2�s, Springwatch)

We thoroughly enjoyed Scotland and in spite of it�s reputation for bad weather, we managed to have three sunny days before the clouds and the rain set in.  Just as well I think as we were beginning to like it here! Then the realisation of 250 rainy days a year! No, we will put up with the snakes, sand flies, mozzies, dust������������

Of course we saw all the children and grandchildren and went to Sol�s birthday party, held at the Bowling Alley.  I think the highlight for Mal was the West Ham match last weekend, which they won and so are back in the premiership. For anyone already in the TRNC who is also a Hammers fan, take a visit to the Castle Pub!  As you will see when you enter, they are also supporters of the Hammers.

6 – Land


Land is a major issue in Northern Cyprus. Not only is there a problem with who owns it but there is also a problem if you buy land of knowing where its borders are. There is a great deal of argument about Greek Cypriot land left behind in the north when they were forced to move to the south after the 1974 war and about the Turkish Cypriot land left behind in the south. My own opinion about this issue is that it is best to never have an opinion about something which is as complex as ownership when one owner has possession and another owner has a contract showing ownership and what divides them is the chaos resulting from the occupation of Greek and Turkish Cypriot land by their opposite numbers. To this end it is best not to get involved with purchasing land whose ownership falls in this category. Something which was a lot easier when we were purchasing land

So having purchased pre-1974 Turkish land there is a problem of determining the borders of this land. Our land consisted of 3 separate parcels of land sold as one lot. This was very old arable land in which no borders were clearly determined. All the parcels of land ran into one another.

I should have been forewarned when, being shown around by a land expert who worked for Land Registry, he had difficulty showing us where our land actually was. We looked at the map and could see that it was bordered on two side by a road and we could see the same from standing on the land and looking down at the road below. The only problem we thought was how far from these two borders the land stretched. Obviously our �expert� stretched this further than was the reality, but it was not until a lot later that we realised actually how far.

We were excited, we hastily bought the land, we could repent at leisure as smug bastards are heard to tell all the fools who rush in pushing angels out of the way in order to become �land owners�.  After we had gained permission to purchase, we found a builder whose first step was supposed to be, according to our contract, to clear the land and arrange for a Land Registry visit to stake out various points showing the land borders. We designed the villa with pool and met with him to decide its position on the land.  This was simple on the ground, we looked over the edge of our land down a quiet valley to the sea, that where we would like the villa to face and for the pool to be placed. The only problem was the lack of Land Registry stakes showing the borders.

We pressed the builder for this to be done, especially after the builder had drawn a green house on our map and it turned out to be facing the wrong way. Finally he seemed to relent and brought along his �Land Registry� man. We were told that he used to be in charge of the Registry and it was quicker to get his friend than wait for months for a real Land Registry team to turn up. We were trusting, he was trusting, and the ex-head of the Land Registry was an idiot! But we didn�t know it at the time.

The process started well, we followed him around and he explained that the reference he should be using had been destroyed by a bulldozer when the land was being cleared so he would have to find a point further away. He found it after a long look and started measuring whilst looking at his watch regularly. One by one the stakes he was hammering seemed to coincide with the map and to make sense. The problem was that the road on the map was not the road below us it was a smaller, 1920�s version of the road. This meant that the front border of our land shrank about 10 meters because of later road expansion. This does not seem much of a change but it was enough to cause us to reduce our villa�s depth and lengthen its width. No problem apart from the fact that our rear border was getting a bit close to the villa.

By this time our �expert� was telling our builder he had to return to Nicosia to get ready for a dinner party. We needed more points to determine the awkward rear of the site so he rushed and made one mistake which we were not to discover for 18 months.

We looked out our staked out land and were a little disappointed. What had started out as a massive site had shrunk to half its size with a large chunk difficult to reach as it was over the side of our front border. We comforted ourselves with the thought that what remained was enough for a villa, pool, a couple of gardens and a drive and large hardstand next to the house. The bonus was that the �expert� explained that even though his survey had showed that our access drive was not owned by us as it was owned by the government and as they had cut away our access for road widening, they would not mind us using it. He also explained that lots of other land adjoining us was government owned and we believed him.

Eighteen months later a group of people walked onto our land with a policeman explaining that they were from the Land Registry and were staking out our neighbours land so he could determine its borders. We chatted with the owners, looked at their deeds and showed them ours and realised that the land had been owned all along. It was at that point that a Registry man found the reference point that our �expert� could not find and which we thought was now under our pool. As measuring proceeded it became clear that the triangle of land we thought pointed away from us did the opposite. Our neighbour owned a piece of our hardstand, some of our perimeter wall and more importantly our ability to drive a car onto the hardstand.

Negotiations with our neighbour with the help of our builder seemed to resolve the problem, he was prepared to swap the triangle of land for a rectangular piece we owned. As the neighbour was about to leave he dropped a bombshell, his brother-in-law owned our drive and only access to our land!

The a few days later his brother-in-law turned up with a Land Registry man to find out that 90% of his land had been rendered useless because of road expansion and the 10% that might have been useful was a 8 meter wide by 25 meter strip a 3 meter strip of which we were using as a drive. He was so upset we never saw him for months. By this point we thought everything was resolved and forgot all about it, meaning to sort out the swap when the building was completely finished and our deeds were updated with the inclusion of the villa and pool. But there was this uneasy feeling that our builder was concealing something from us.

I retired and we went to the villa for a 10 week stay. Our builder was desperately trying to finish the contracted work so he would be paid his �5,000 retainer. We had never seen the work progress so fast, soon only a few things remained: cement the slippery slope leading to our hardstand, finishing work inside the villa and the final documentation needed to complete the project.

The builder�s men had laid reinforcement on the slope and were ready to concrete it. Suddenly our neighbour appeared, angry at something. It turned out that he had never agreed to the land swap and he wanted the concreting to stop immediately as it was leading to his triangle of land on the hardstand. The workers were sent away and another meeting was arranged with our builder.

From this meeting it became clear that he did not want a land swap he wanted money. After a quick calculation using the going rate of land I offered him �1000 for his 45 square meters of land. He said he wanted �7000 so I stopped negotiating and told our builder to arrange a proper Land Registry visit to determine where he was going knock down walls and rebuild them at his expense. We would have an odd looking hardstand which could not be used as such but at least we would not end up with a protracted border dispute.

We were so glad we still had the �5000 retainer. It was at this point that the builder asked for his money. I was stunned but tried not to show it and politely explained that the money was not to be released until the contract was fulfilled. Not having the walls I had paid for and having no access drive constituted, I patiently explained, constituted non completion of the contract. He left with talk of him arranging the Land Registry visit later on in the week, and that he would think about alternative access at the front of the site. He admitted that this could cost anything between �3-5000.

The next day the brother-in-law who owned the drive arrived. We had expected this but had not expected him to arrive with his architect. We were intrigued. We quickly discovered what he wanted. The land had been to build a house for his son and he had been depressed when he realised that this would now be possible. He put his idea to us. Would we be willing to swap access for a land swap which would enable him to build his house? After looking at his ideas we said that as long as our view was not blocked and that the house was on the edge of our land we were in principle in agreement. He seemed happy, we were happy, we had been here before.

While we waited for the Land Registry visit we heard a story about a man who had had such a visit, had built a wall where they said his border was only to discover when his neighbour had his Registry visit that his wall was one meter onto his neighbour�s property, or not depending on which visitation you believed. Coincidently as we were listening to this story another neighbours Registry visit was taking place and two of their men jumped from our wall into our garden, happily confirming our border and at the same time giving us some extra land on the road below us apparently making it possible for us to build a wall across another neighbours front entrance. We had no idea what to expect of our own impending visit.