Thursday 24th February
Cold and snow in the UK and plenty more predicted. We were a little concerned that we would not make the flight. Torin took the day off work and drove us to Stansted in his 4×4 just in case but on arrival at Stansted there was only rain! We were there three hours early but the flight was already checking in, no queue. Our two cases totalled 59 kilos but we were allowed the extra as she said that could include our hand luggage too. Our hand luggage was concealed below the desk of course. As we boarded the Onur Air flight, we were told to �hurry up�. The captain then said we would miss our slot if we weren�t all ready in 10 minutes. Perhaps if they had let us board half an hour earlier when the departure board had said then we would have achieved this. However, we obviously missed our spot and so we all sat and waited on the plane for an hour. As usual we had the usual cramped seats and the obligatory hour sitting on the runway in Istanbul. Eventually we arrived at Ercan. Our hire car was waiting for us. (Autumn cars who have proved to be very reliable. Osman�s son told us to �pop into the office sometime and pay�.
We drove homeward and what a relief to open our own front door again after what seems like an age. Our mobile home park is closed from the middle of January until 1st March so we rented a cottage and then spent the last week, interspersed with trips to Birmingham, at Torin and Kay�s house.
Friday 25th February
We sat on the terrace at 2 am and felt the amazing 14oC temperature. A real change from the freezing weather back in the UK. We even had a wander around the garden to admire the weeds that have sprung up and also to see if anything has died in our absence.
We went to bed at about 3 am.
We awoke to sunshine. How wonderful. A really nice morning. We decided that we are not getting into gear until Monday and so we drove to the cashpoint to get some Turkish Lira and then to the supermarket and the freezer centre and then on to Autumn car rental to pay for the hire. Osman brought us coffee and we had the usual long chat with him.
In the afternoon, Peter came to visit informing us of all the scandal and updating us on all the news. It was nice to see him again.
In the evening Mal sorted the computers out, networking the laptop to the desktop PC.
Saturday 26th February
We decided that we needed the exercise and so were up early to go to the KAR kennels, dog walking. Steve was there and so we had a chat with him and then were given our four dogs and headed up the mountains. Half way round, the brown one decided she had enough of our walk and headed back to the kennels on her own, as they do! The others would not leave us, they were enjoying their chewy treats and the walk too much. What a lovely time of year, we spent a lot of time spotting the wild flowers.
At the beginning of the walk still with all four of our charges.
When we were nearly at the kennels, Mal spotted an enormous snake sunning itself on the path. It scooted quickly before I could take a picture and luckily the dogs hadn�t sniffed it out but we think it was a black non-poisonous one. It did however alert us to be more aware. Having just come back from the UK, it is surprising how easy it is to forget.
Back home and we watched the football in the afternoon. Arsenal only just managed a draw, with Cole scoring in the 93rd minute but oh dear, what a shame, he was offside. A slight note of sarcasm there.
The temperature has been around 18oC today.
Sunday 27th February
Gwen and Peter visited in the morning. Gwen and I had so much to talk about that it was 2.30 before we realised what time it was. They had only come up for a quick visit but we caught up with everything that has been going on in our absence and it was so nice to see them again. Gwen and I sat outside whilst Mal and Peter were on the Internet studying something gynaecological genealogical. I hadn�t realised quite how strong the sun was and ended up with a part of one leg burnt!
In the evening, we tried the TV channels to see if we could view the final of the �worthless cup�, Chelsea and Liverpool. It wasn�t on any of our channels but Mal managed to get the radio broadcast through the Internet. 1-1 at full time and then they were going to play extra time. Then what? Yes, the power went off. This is all very well but in our absence Peter had bought a generator for us but of course we hadn�t got round to buying the petrol or the oil for it. We obviously have become a little blas� being out of the country and had forgotten about the power cuts. Back to the emergency lighting, cooking dinner on the gas rings and then we gave up and went to bed!
Monday 28th February
Warm again today. Our first job was to go and buy petrol cans and then fill them and buy the oil for the generator. Paid our electricity bill whilst in Girne ( 75 YTL – �30) and also had a second UK phone chipped for use over here. We had it chipped, bought a SIM card and a new battery, all for �24.
In the afternoon, Peter came round and with Mal they set the generator up and started it up to make sure all worked OK.