March 2005

Tuesday 1st March
We began cleaning today and once again I am amazed that despite the house and shutters being shut up while we are away, where does all the dust come from?  All the rugs were slung over the swimming pool terrace and all the floors washed.  We also watered the garden and cleaned 2 months dirt off the paths.  Of course, a lot of the dust comes from the builders around us but there is not too much going on. The two houses below us to the left are almost complete and now have �For Sale� boards up.

The Russian house below us seems to have crept up another floor but on taking a second look, perhaps our original idea of �Kremlin turrets� is not so unrealistic.  We wait to see what is going to happen.

Mal called the solicitor to see what, if any, progress she has achieved in the last 5 months.  She told him that she has spoken to a man about our access.  OK, so that is it!

Mal also called Denise from Bayrak radio to organise his �15 minutes of fame�, won at the �Auction of Promises� and has arranged to meet her next week. Another promise, a gardener for a day, we have booked provisionally for next week. Maybe he can tell us whether some of the plants/trees are dead or just very tired looking.

We have also arranged for a carpenter (English) to come round tomorrow to give us a quote for the large bookcase we want attaching to the long wall by the front door.  Maybe then we can get some more things unpacked and sorted out.  Someone else had half offered to do it but this has not materialised so now is the time to get on with these things and wait no longer.

We sat debating in the evening whether we should invest in Digiturk satellite TV, this will give us more channels with nothing on but at least some will be in English!

Wednesday 2nd March
Warm again today, around the lower 20�s. The carpenter arrived and said he would call us later with a quote for the bookshelves. He advertises in the local paper �House Doctor�.  His name is Anthony.  Another one who had enough of London and, as his wife is Turkish Cypriot, they moved here about 7 months ago.  We really liked him and liked his quote when he phoned it through, so he is starting next week.

We went to Fiskos to order some more curtain poles for our bedroom – curtains are courtesy of Ikea, brought back with us! We also stopped at Tektan and ordered Digiturk.  Decision made and they are going to install it next Monday.

We received an email from Angela to say they have 5 inches of snow in Kent, schools are closing, and it sounds as though they are in chaos.  It is so easy to forget that we were there less than a week ago.  I know where I would rather be and not just because of the snow. Spring is beautiful here in Cyprus. I joined the Northern Cyprus Pet Owners site on the Internet, although at the moment we don�t have a pet, apart from Kara the feral cat but we can�t really claim her.  It has some really helpful tips for when we do have one.

Poisoning happens frequently to pets in Northern Cyprus. They often put Lanate in a ball of minced beef. The advice is to always carry a syringe and atropine sulphate with you on dog walks (available from the local vets). This is not an antidote but will keep your pet going until you can get it to a vet.

Another thing to be aware of is the Pine Moth Caterpillar. They are black and yellow hairy things and walk in procession. They fall out of the pine trees with the large cones. If you look up into the tree and see large white cotton wool ball, this is where they come from. Once they have amassed in a ball together about 6 inches in diameter, this is when they are at their most dangerous. They give off toxic fumes and if disturbed by a curious cat or dog, can kill or make the animal very ill.  Again, atropine sulphate can be administered and obviously straight to the vets.  Both, handy things to remember.

Cleaning again in the afternoon until I managed to bang my head on a piece of metal sticking out from telescope. It was painful but that put an end to the cleaning.

Thursday 3rd March
We were intending to go into Lefkoşa today but although it had been raining during the night, it was too nice to go into the city.  Instead, we collected our curtain poles from Fiskos and crossed over the road to the DVD shop.  We purchased seven altogether including some newly released at the cinema, Shall We Dance, Ray, The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby.  The seven cost us about �22. Mal had been downloading some on the computer but they were taking forever.  Much easier this way and we get the boxes to go with them!

Outside, following the rain, everything is coated with a muddy layer of dust.  I wonder why we bother.

We are now in the orange season and bought three huge carrier bags full of oranges at a cost of 3 YTL a bag, �1.20.  So, we are making a lot of fresh orange every day.

In the afternoon, Peter came round to do some more on the genealogy with Mal. Peter asked us if we would like to go to the South with them next week. Of course, we said yes we would.  They are going through at the Gazimagusa point, walking across.  It will be handy for us to see how to get through at that crossing, as you can�t drive through with a hire car.

By 5 o�clock, the wind had whipped up.  Of course, we are exposed and in the foothills of the mountains and so when it blows, it certainly blows here. The table took a dance across the swimming pool terrace and as it started howling Mal went out to close the shutters which we haven�t bothered doing since we have been here. Two of the shutter retainers have bent and we struggled to pull the shutters closed. In fact, we struggled so much that Mal managed to shut my hand in one of them.  I seem a bit in the wars this week!

In the evening, we sat and watched one of our DVD�s �Shall We Dance�.

Friday 4th March
It was still sunny and warm but we decided we had better go into Lefkoşa to pay for our summer airline tickets. We headed off to Lefkoşa, went to the TWI office, paid for and collected our tickets and then had a wander around the city ending up at Bűyuk Han, where they have all the craft shops. It is a lovely place.  We sat in the grounds and had Turkish coffee.

On the way back we stopped at Caf� Dűkkan and had out lunch.  The prices have increased by about 10% and added to that, the weakness of the pound against the TL, we paid around �6.50 instead of �5 that it would have cost a couple of months ago. It is still very good value there though.

Well, the phone lines then became very busy in Cyprus as we were told that Anne and Reece, a British couple who have lived in Lapta for nearly 20 years were found dead this morning. They did a lot of work for KAR, collecting all the donation boxes from all around and also ran the KAR stall every week at Pegasus. We then heard that the KAR quiz night has been cancelled this evening for obvious reasons.

Later in the day, we heard that they were murdered and an 18 year old has given himself up.  I think the British community here are all in shock as it isn�t the sort of thing that happens here.

In the evening, we watched another of our DVD�s � Million Dollar Baby.  An excellent film, no wonder it received so many Oscars.

Saturday 5th March
In the morning, we drove to Gűzelyurt, which is the far west end of the island.  This is the fertile part of the island where most of the oranges and lemons are grown.  Being orange season, we frequently became stuck behind the lorries transporting oranges. On arriving in the town, we actually managed to find the Saturday market.  We have never discovered this before.  Lots of clothes for sale and many fruit and vegetable stalls.

Peter arrived in the afternoon and joined by Mal, they continued with their genealogy.

Sunday 6th March
We have had very little exercise this week, so off we went to the KAR dog kennels.  The weather has cooled a bit so the trek around the mountain was much more enjoyable.  They say temperatures reached 26 degrees during the week.

We set off with four dogs.  Then Hamish, the kennels resident dog decided to accompany us, now we have five. Then another appeared and another.  Well, this really is a record for us at one stage we had nine dogs and never before have we taken back more than we set off with!

As we were going up the drive leaving the kennels, we saw a cardboard box in the middle of the drive.  Mal got out to move it and lo and behold, there were three little puppies in it.  I nearly put them in the car and drove them home but being sensible won over and we took them back into the kennels.  Poor things. I also knew if I handled one, that would have been it! I suppose at least the people who dumped them knew they would be looked after at the kennels, even if they couldn�t be bothered to actually take them into the kennels. It is not unusual to hear of puppies dumped in dustbins.

Mothers Day today and phone calls from Torin and Rhys.  Rhys even suggested that the puppies had been my Mothers Day gift!

Monday 7th March
Up early, all ready for the instillation of Digi Turk. Well, they said between 9.30 and 10.  So, at eleven o�clock we rang Tektan, the shop we had ordered it from. They had lost our card and the �piece of paper�. They are coming now! By two pm, we are still waiting.  We ring them again.  They have evidently driven out here, couldn�t find us and said that they couldn�t get a signal from our phone! However, they are coming now.  Peter arrives and Peter and Mal spend about the next two hours standing on the swimming pool terrace waiting for the van to come up the hill, so they can wave to them! We are now thinking of painting, in huge letters along the front of the swimming pool wall, that you can see as you drive up the hill �Mal and Maggie�s Gaff�!!  There is a lot to be said for having street names and even more to be said for living in a village, rather than between two villages!

Ten past four, the two lads arrive. They spend a while on the roof and drill holes through walls.  After about an hour, they decide the satellite can�t go on the roof but will have to go on the floor in the side garden! When eventually they get a Digi Turk picture and we sign all the paperwork, we are then told that we won�t have Digi Turk for 48 hours! What?!  All this excitement and now we have to wait for 48 hours until we get the service.  It then becomes apparent that they literally have to drive �a piece of paper� into Lefkoşa! What can you say?

Tuesday 8th March
It rained last night and is quite cool today.

This morning we set off to meet Denise at Caf� Dűkkan.  This is Mals promise he bought at the KAR auction of promises. She is a very nice lady, no longer with Bayrak radio, because of a new law, a Cypriot could do the job. The station she is now with can be found on 105.8 FM and her programme is the lunchtime spot.  She went through the format of Mals 45 minutes, which will be at 1.00pm on 21st April. He also has to select five records. At least he has a while to prepare! Whilst we were in the caf�, a gentleman came round to each table and gave each woman a fresh flower.  It is �World Woman�s Day� today. What a nice touch.

On to the bank and then home and we managed to find the station and listened to Denise.  We did stop in Lemar, bumped into Gwen and Peter there and then continued with our shopping.

Wednesday 9th March
We called in another of our auction promises.  Today is the �gardener for a day�. Ann arrived with her gardener around 8.30 and commenced getting rid of the weeds in the new garden. They worked hard but because we have had such a lot of nighttime rain, the soil was very wet and sticking to the garden tools. At 1.00pm, they made the decision to come back when the ground has dried out more.

Peter came round in the afternoon and I shortened the bedroom curtains.

In the evening, Digi Turk had been commissioned and we can now watch Eastenders and a lot more of course. During the evening Willi from the doghouse came over to talk about the water situation.  Our supply has been cut off again.  We only noticed today.  The pipe has been driven over again by builders lorries and they won�t do anything about it.  Willi, who speaks fluent Turkish, has been to see the Muhtar in Malatya and he isn�t going to do anything either. We can hardly blame him, as he hasn�t sent out any water bills!  Mal offered to pay half with Willie for the repair.  It seems to be just the two of us that have this supply.  He said he would organise someone to repair it.

Thursday 10th March
Gwen and Peter took us to the South.  We went to Dekehlia, the Gazimagusa end of the island.  There is a car park, this side of the border.  We parked up and then went to the Turkish control and they stamped our visas.  We continued walking onto the Greek control.  They asked to see in our bags and asked if we were carrying any cigarettes, which are far cheaper in the North.  They then let us through and we continued walking into the base, which is actually sovereign property!  I understand that most of the soldiers from the base are presently in Iraq. We continued walking until we reached a supermarket named Litsas.  It is not a huge supermarket but adequate.  Gwen and Peter stock up on tinned cat food as it is 20p cheaper per tin.  Mal and I bought bacon, ham, Bisto (sad as we are!) and some wine. Lots of other things but these were the important things. We have yet to find a good Turkish wine but in the South, we can buy cartons of red and white Keo wine which is very palatable and is a bargain 98 Cyprus cents (about �1.20) a litre! Once we had paid for and loaded up out trolleys, Peter then asked them in the supermarket for a lift back to the border.  It is OK walking without shopping but a long way fully laden. He dropped us off at the Turkish checkpoint, he stamped our visas, and off we went with our booty.  It is certainly worth doing this trip again.

Friday 11th March
The temperature has dropped again today, around 14 degrees, although it was sunny in the morning.

It is the monthly auction on Sunday and as viewing is today and tomorrow, we headed off to the Auction rooms.  When we arrived, it was shut. Today is the funeral for Anne and Reece and it is obvious that a huge number of people were going, including those from the Auction rooms. A couple of other shops that we wanted to go in were closed too but we did get some shopping from Tempo. Back home and Mal went over to see Willi.  We have water again.

We stayed in for the afternoon as the temperature dropped and the clouds came over and it poured with rain. We thought the weather was changeable in the UK! I suppose that the upside us that we don�t have to water the garden again.  Kara has taken up residence under the swimming pool terrace where I leave a chair with a cot duvet on it.  It would be much warmer if she would come indoors but she won�t.

Saturday 12th March
We drove to the auction rooms to view.  Not a lot of interest to us except some wrought iron chairs.  Two would look nice in the bedroom and so we asked Amanda how they would be selling as there were 80 of them. We didn�t quite understand how they were selling but weren�t keen on going to the auction just for two chairs! Shopping and then back home.

Sunday 13th March
Sunny today and a lot warmer.  We decided this would be our day of rest and that is about all we did.  Well, sit in the sun and read actually.  A lovely day and a Sunday Roast Pork as well.

Monday 14th March
We drove to Bellapais in the morning and in spite of the fact that we didn�t arrive there until about 11.00am, the shop we wanted to visit for curtain pelmets was still shut.  Not a wasted journey as we called into the auction rooms on the way back and surprise, surprise there were still chairs left!  We spoke to Amanda and she said we could have two for �25 each.  A bargain. Back home with our chairs.  They do look nice in the bedroom.

It is Rivers birthday today so we called him and wished him Happy Birthday.

Tuesday 15th March
Mal spent most of the day clearing out the bookshelves in preparation for the new fitted one coming tomorrow.  Then a shift around of the bookcases we already have. When this is all done perhaps we will be able to find books! I spent most of the day cleaning all the windows and patio doors, which had a lot of mud on them from all the rain.

The pair of us felt exhausted by the end of the day.

Wednesday 16th March
Mal�s birthday!
The bookcase is planned for today and Anne and her gardener came to finish off their �promise of a gardener for a day�. Very hot today.  Mal had breakfast in bed, opened his presents and then we were up early in preparation for the bookcase being fitted. Mal thought they were coming at 8.30 but they arrived about 10! They fitted it all together and went to fit it in place and butt it up against the light switch! A hole would have been easy to cut in the side but the light switch came at the same level as one of the shelves! Anthony had left his carpenter here to fit it all, so we called him and he came up with the suggestion of fitting a piece on the bottom, therefore raising the shelf level above the light switch.  In the meantime, his carpenter came up with a brilliant idea.  He took the light switch off and made a small hole in the end of the bookcase, fed the wires through and secured the switch to the inside of the bookcase!  A feature! Well, it works, so that is all that matters.

In the afternoon, Gwen and Peter came and brought Mal a card and present and we sat and gossiped.  Mal then continued sorting and stacking books onto the bookcase.

Of course, he had to have a birthday cake!

In the evening, we went to �Ambiance�, a restaurant in Karaoğlanğlu.  We have heard many good reports but have never tried it.  It was excellent. There is a vast choice on the menu.  Mal settled for seafood pancake and I had garlic king prawns in a creamy sauce. Next, I had Fish Florentine and Mal (as usual) opted for the biggest steak on the menu, a T-Bone.  If you had seen his face when the waitress came back and said the chef had told her that the T-bone wasn�t very good and the sirloin was much better.  He tried to explain to her that he was a �pig� and wanted a big one!  She got the message.  All I can say is, Mal said that it was the best steak he has ever had on the island and that has to be some recommendation!  The sweet was �help yourself�.  Mal loaded his plate with profiteroles and Turkish syrupy puddings.  Then of course the Turkish coffee and �brandies on the house�.  Mal then announced he felt sick.  Serves him right. Well, it was his birthday!

We highly recommend �Ambiance�.  We had four drinks and for all of that, the bill came to 90YTL, which is about �36, well worth it for the excellent food and service.  We couldn�t fault a thing and will be going back.

Back home and Mal made phone calls to the UK for all his �thank yous�.

Thursday 17th March
Up early again today.  Clear skies and sun! I went into the garden at 7.30, determined to get more of the weeding done.  Much more sun and the garden will start getting �baked� and then the job will be much harder.  As all the soil in the garden is �new to us� soil, it is full of sheep droppings and obviously all the seeds they eat. Goodness knows what some of the weeds are but their roots are so long.  I am sure after a few heavy weedings we will get it knocked into shape but meanwhile it is hard work. I carried on out there until 1.00pm, determined to complete the strip I was doing.  By now, the sun was beating down on my back and so I decided enough was enough.  Very hot.  One of Mals birthday presents was a weather station but I think he will have to decide where to fit it up as today it gave readings for 38 degrees, so it will have to be placed out of direct sunlight.

Tidier garden!

Our silk tree

In the middle of me doing all this gardening, I saw a digger coming towards our wall and for a moment panicked and thought Mustafa (who owns the land behind) had come to knock the wall down.  Mal went out to investigate and coincidently Mustafa was driving by and so stopped.  Mal asked if he was building and so he said no, he was just putting a lot of top soil on there.  Mal also said he was really nice and polite and in fact the most pleasant he has ever known him.  That is good.  Mustafa asked about the Tapu and Mal told him that we are still waiting!

Topsoil the other side of our wall!

Friday 18th March
A dog walking day.  It was very warm again so we set off early to KAR kennels and consequently were caught up in all the traffic heading for Girne.

We started with four dogs again today and almost immediately, one of them turned tail and decided to head back for the kennels. However, the other three dogs seemed to really enjoy themselves.

There really are some lovely dogs at the kennels.  The one below is Lucy, who evidently belonged to an old lady who just couldn�t manage her any more.

Well, that was our exercise for the day!

Saturday 19th March
Weeding, weeding and more weeding.  They seemed never ending in the garden but as the weather was so nice, it was very pleasant. In fact, I hadn�t realised that the sun was so strong and burnt a strip across my back where my T-shirt lifted.

Sunday 20th March
We have no water supply again.  We went over to see Willi and Lena to check that they didn�t have any either as it comes from the same supply. There are just three of us that have the connection, the third being a young Cypriot fella who lives in the yellow house behind Willi and Lena.  No none of us has water. It seems that a man in Malatya village, not the Muhtar, has cut the pipe saying that he owns the water!  Seeing as it comes from the waterfall and spring in Malatya, we fail to see how this is so.  Well, quite frankly, it isn�t!  While we were visiting Lena and Willi I asked if I could see round her kennels as I wanted to see some dogs.  There was one there that a couple had left and was looking for a home.  In addition, Lena said she has too many in the house and there was another one I could have if I wanted.  I said it was too soon and the garden wasn�t sorted out and our trips to the UK.  We stayed for coffee and just as we were leaving a couple arrived saying, they had a Golden Retriever and did Lena know anyone who could have it. They live in a flat and the landlord has told them they must get rid of the dog. They have 2 sons, one autistic and the dog is evidently jumping all over them.  Mal looked at me as he knows how much I love them and so I came up with all the previous problems I have mentioned and his reply was �nothing is insurmountable.� Then Lena said she would look after her when we are away. Well, she does own a boarding kennels! So, we said yes we would have her.  She is 6 months old.  She has a Turkish name, which we cannot pronounce, and so we are going to call her Rosie.  What a coincidence!  I was convinced there were no retrievers here.

In the afternoon, Peter came round.

Monday 21st March
Mal gave a promise at the �Auction of Promises� to make a website and Ann Bozley bought the promise and so she asked if we would like to go today and firstly sort out some problems she had on her computer and stay for lunch.

We went around 11.00am, just as the electricity went off!  Ann and John have a G gauge model railway in the garden, which is what the website will be for. They showed us it and showed us their lovely garden.  We sat, chatted, and still no electricity. We had our �lunch� around a quarter to four and the power had just come on! Mal started sorting the computer but then time ran out. We had an excellent lunch though!  We felt a bit bad leaving almost as soon as we had eaten but tonight is the night Rosie arrives.

We came back and about 6 o�clock, Lena came across and said that they were stuck in traffic and so would be a bit late. Eventually they arrived and we have never seen such a mad dog. It was a good thing that we had taken all the rugs up as I think they would have been flying everywhere. She was totally uncontrollable. Lena and her daughter stayed for a while and then left saying �Good Luck�! Lena had offered to help if I am desperate as she runs obedience classes!

What an evening we had.  Rosie decided that she was going to chew our feet, hands, jump up and be generally very antisocial. Twice Mal sat down with a drink and with her jumping up, it ended up over his shoulder. A brandy sour I put on the floor (so that it wasn�t knocked off the coffee table), she stuck her nose in and started drinking.  This was all in the middle of weeing all over the floor and the other! I had taken her for a walk previously and she did nothing.

I can�t say she calmed down at all and we seemed to spend the entire evening saying �down, sit, bad girl� or similar words of reprimand.  No way is she going to be top dog here! As the garden isn�t secure, Mal kept taking her outside on the extendable lead and Mal not quite having the hang of it, let it go full length and Rosie managed to take a dive in the swimming pool! What a wonderful game she thought that was, being dried off with the towel.  We do have to remember here that she is learning a new language here as she has always been spoken to in Turkish.

As you can see from the pictures she has something in her as well as Golden Retriever, I have never seen one with white markings!  It does however say that she is a Golden Retriever on her inoculation certificates.

Then it came to bedtime.  A strange house and we knew we had to confine her somewhere.  My dogs have always slept in the bedroom (but never on the bed!), so we found an old sleeping bag and made her a bed on the floor. Yes, she tried to climb on the bed, several times, then she layed on her bed, then she wee-ed on the floor, then she started chewing one of the bedside rugs. This was quickly thrown on to the top of the wardrobe! Eventually she went to sleep. Not for too long.  About 2.30 I heard her chewing something again and took my T-shirt and Mals sock away from her and also found a half eaten crochet bag. Mals sock now has holes in the toe!  Back to bed with a stern �lie down!�

Tuesday 22nd March
I think this scenario happened another couple of times and at 5.45, I decided to get up and take her for a walk. I walked up towards Malatya and some of the workers in the new houses being built were already getting up.  They stay in the houses overnight.  She did nothing!

Mal had to return to Ann�s for 9.00am to continue with the computer but before he went, he barricaded the front end of the new garden. Yes, I know, the new one with all the nice plants in! The other end has a gate. Obviously, we will have to replace this temporary barricade with a wrought iron gate and complete the sealing off with another gate at the end of the swimming pool terrace.  This restricts her to these areas but although we have extra land, more suitable in fact, we can�t do anything with that because we still have no success with our access problem.

Mal gave her a trial run in the garden and she tore round like a greyhound.  She wasn�t quite so particular about the plants.  I should imagine she has never experienced so much space of her own before. THEN��.she came in limping and I looked out of the window to see Mal re-sinking one of the archways.  She had gone so crazy that she ran into the archway, banging her leg and knocking the whole arch over.  Panic. Was this going to be a trip to the vets already? We felt the whole leg, she didn�t yelp, and the limp got slightly better until she put weight on it.  Whew!

Not believing we can leave her in the house alone yet, we get her in the car.  Mal sat in the back with her.  This was fine until I had to return home on my own! I tied her lead to the seat belt. I only had to stop once to detangle her legs and then she slept on the back seat the rest of the way home.  I sat in the garden with her for a while and a miracle, she wee-ed in the garden!

I now discover that she isn�t looking for bolt holes and she seems to follow me everywhere, so I left the patio door open.  Mal did a temporary seal off the gap when he got back. Before this, of course I had to transport her in the car again to collect Mal.  This time was not so easy. She ended up in the front seat and I had to stop twice to reprimand her.

The afternoon was much more peaceful and at one time, Mal and I were both sat on the settee, with Rosie at our feet and we all had a much-needed doze. Not long because the phone went! Nevertheless, she is beginning to calm down and in a much shorter time than it appeared last night.  Thank goodness.

The three of us went for another walk up in the mountains early evening. Rosie sat when told when I gave her her dinner. Things are really improving.  We went to bed early, as we were so shattered.  Rosie lay on her bed and not a sound out of her.

Wednesday 23rd March
Rosie woke up at 6.30, so I took her out into the garden and success! Mal got up because it was a lovely day and so we all went off for a walk up the mountain.

Rosie on her walk and helping with the gardening!

Mal then had to go back to Ann�s for more computer work.  Again, we put Rosie in the car, she tries to jump around but I managed to get home. At lunchtime when I picked him up again, we called into Girne to the Pet shop.  It was shut! We called into Green Garden on the way back and managed to at least get Rosie two toys. Some of the things I wanted for her, like a heavy china bowl for water, a leather check collar, they don�t seem to have.   One of the toys, a thick knotted rope, she played with for the rest of the day. She went mad with it.  So much fun.  Anthony called round with his wife to collect the plan Mal has drawn of the �lean to� to store our generator and gas bottles in.

Later in the afternoon, Peter came round.  When he left, we had more exercise with another walk up the mountain.  Rosie really is good for us! On the way up, Mal looked down on the ground and said �look at these caterpillars�.  There they were a whole long line of caterpillars crossing the path.  Yes, the dreaded Pine Moth Caterpillars, so we made sure Rosie avoided them.

Rosie with her rope

Thursday 24th March
Up early again and out walking, the three of us.  Off to the shops and today Rosie acquired a new bed, two new collars, a chewy bone and a nylon bone!  Didn�t she do well but not only that, Green Garden where we bought the bulk of these things gave her as bag of bonios! Mustafa who designed our garden was in the shop and so we chatted to him.  He wants to come and take photos of the garden.  I hope he comes soon before Rosie destroys it!  She is not too bad, just walks over the flowerbeds but hasn�t broken anything yet.

Our early morning walk

Whilst walking this morning we had a completely different view of all the building going on around us.

The left hand picture is where a whole load of houses are being built where they cut the mountain away.  As we look from our swimming pool balcony, it is on the left hand side of the valley.  We don�t see all of this as it is a way in front BUT we have heard over 100 houses are being built there, thankfully, the majority on the other side of the mountain. The right hand picture is a front/side view of the �Russian House� and you can see the enormity of it. We are the little white bungalow behind! BUT we still have the sea view but the building hasn�t stopped yet.  We have speculated that this building is going to be all sorts, a restaurant, a nightclub! We have been told again that it is a young couple, just the two of them who will be moving in. Perhaps they aren�t talking to each other!

From the left hand picture, it can be seen the buildings that are going up behind us. The right hand picture shows yet more building and this is on the way to In�esu!  All this and they are saying that the property sales are down!  It looks as though we will soon have our own village!  As long as we have our little space and our sea and mountain views, we will still be more than happy. It is quite worrying what they are doing to the infrastructure of the island though.

Friday 25 March (Good Friday but not here)
Mal spent more time on Ann�s computer.  Still having problems.  We put Rosie in the car and she is now better not being tied up. Instead, she just lies on the floor in the back of the car.  The only problem is that she barks at people who get near the car when we are stationary.  But then I suppose she is protecting the car.

Later we tried leaving her in the house for 5 minutes and no disasters.

Peter came in the afternoon.

Saturday 26 March
Up early and out walking as usual. Mal went back to Ann�s to sort the computer again! I took Rosie with me and as Mal only had to install one thing, Rosie and I went for a walk in the olive groves. Ann lives in Zeytinlik (where the olives are).

In the afternoon, we watched the England v Northern Ireland football match.  We couldn�t find it on the usual channels but eventually found it on ZDF, a German channel, so it made a change listening to the commentary in German.

Sunday 27 March (Easter Sunday)
We had an early phone call from River, Sol, Tariq and Torin thanking us for their Easter eggs (which we left for them). It was difficult to understand River as I think he had half an egg in his mouth!

I brought a pack of small eggs from the UK, so we didn�t miss out!

We went on a different walk this morning, where they are building the new houses.  It was a shame that I didn�t take the camera with us, as there would have been good shots of our house.  I will have to do it another time. Before the walk, we sprayed Rosie with Frontline as I think she has a tick.  The spray really isn�t much good.

Later in the morning, we thought we would try to leave Rosie again. The idea is to gradually build the time up and see what damage she does. Therefore, we went to see Lena and Willy for half an hour. Lena gave me more tips on training Rosie.  When she misbehaves to grab her by the scruff of the neck and shake her as her mother would do and out on a gruff face! She is now good most of the time but occasionally forgets herself but then she has had no training before and when I think we have had her for less than a week, I think she is doing really well.  I have to admit the first day I had my doubts but I like a challenge! We returned and all she did was pull the dustpan and brush down.

Mal had another trip to Ann�s and this time to stay until the problem was completely sorted. So, I left Rosie again, this time for � hour. I returned to no damage at all.  This is too good to be true. Mal is temporarily shelving his idea of building an enclosure for her outside to shut her in when we go out. I hope this will last.

Monday 28th March
Up early for a walk. Poor Rosie is getting covered in ticks.  We have had no experience of these before but have managed to pull a few off her.  We sprayed her with Frontline yesterday but it doesn�t seem to have done much. We left Rosie for two hours today and when we returned she was asleep in her bed and hadn�t touched or chewed anything. While we were out we bought �Spot on� for the ticks and we also went to the Green Jacket Bookshop and bought the book �A photographers View of the Flowers of Northern Cyprus by Sonia Halliday and Laura Lushington.  We go for all these lovely walks twice a day, keep spotting wild flowers, and do not know what they all are.  Now we can photograph the flowers, come home, and identify them.  I am sure we have spotted at least one wild orchid.  They are so tiny and easy to miss.

While we were out we also bought three more DVD�s, again 24 ytl, around �3 each and these include all the new releases at the cinema.

Peter came in the afternoon and I don�t think he was too impressed when Rosie started swinging her rope around and it whacked him! Another nice walk in the evening.  Unfortunately, my trainers slipped on some loose rocks and I fell flat! A bit bruised!

In the evening, we watched one of the new DVD�s.  Rosie has now slept every night apart from the first night we had her, so that is a bonus.  She wakes about 6.30, I let her out, and she always does something.

Tuesday 29th March
Up and out for a walk.  It was overcast and quite humid. I spent the morning training Rosie not to chase the broom and the mop so I could clean the floors!  Success. I also managed to do some hoe-ing in the garden without her chewing the hoe! A good thing I have a dog to talk to as Mal spent all morning writing his books!

Peter called to say he knows someone who is in the area to give us quotes for gates.  He arrived in the afternoon accompanied by his wife and his worker. They were measuring up when Gwen and Peter arrived. It all got very exciting for Rosie and when the people left after giving us a �too expensive� quote, Rosie made a dash for it and Mal ran after her, Peter following. The only way Mal could get her was to rugby tackle her, which went slightly wrong and he landed almost on top of her, cut all his leg and hurt his hand! She has never done this before, always come back when we have called her, so now she will have to wear a collar all the time (ease of catching her!)

Gwen though Rosie was �adorable� and said she didn�t believe all the tales we had been telling her! We then spent about the next hour collecting ticks off the floor as they dropped off Rosie (thanks to the �Spot on�). Gwen did say that the tick�s season ends as quick as it began.  That is good to hear.  I imagined we would be picking ticks off her all summer!

Early evening we walked into the mountains. This was the best part of the day as the sun was out and it was really warm. This time I took the camera to identify some of the flowers. If I have some of these incorrect I apologise!

Serapias Vomeracea � Ploughshare Orchid

Orchis Italica � Naked Man Orchid

Cyclamen Persicum � Wild Cyclamen

Gynandriris Sisyrinchium � Miniature Iris, Barbary Nut

I am amazed that we found orchids.  Previously we have been on the Orchid Walk and they have been pointed out to us but now we have found some! About 27 different species of orchid flower during the whole of the orchid season, which lasts from mid February until mid May. An orchid is propagated by seed, needs a certain fungus in the soil and takes up to 15 years to develop to the flowering bloom.  Having flowered, the orchid can then rest for up to seven years before it is seen again or it may move and it may never reappear. Wow!  And we have found two!  I keep looking for the Cyprus Bee Orchid as that is really beautiful.

You really have to hunt for some of these, as they are much smaller than I imagined.

Wednesday 30th March
I let Rosie out at 6.30 as soon as she woke and it seemed as though cloud had surrounded us and we are only 70 metres up!

This was taken about 10.00am!

For some reason this morning, we didn�t take Rosie for her walk until 9.00am.  This is not a good time as we bumped into both Lena and Willi separately walking the kennels dogs.  They must be fit as they walk each of the dogs separately!  Willi had a vicious dog with him and this time we managed to get Rosie straight back on the lead and Willi turned around and went in the other direction choosing not to pass us.  The dog that Lena had was very good and wanted to play with Rosie. We went for a really long walk and did more �flower spotting�.

Tragopogon Sinuatus � Goat�s Beard

Sarcopoterium Spinosum �Spiny Burnet

Bellevalia Trifoliata � Grape Hyacinth

Ranunculus Asiaticus � Turban Buttercup

And then of course there was Rosie������..

Thursday 31st March
Mal spent most of the day book writing.  As he is writing the chapters I am reading them! Of course we did our early morning and late afternoon dog walking.  Rosie behaved well until Peter arrived and he started making a fuss of her and she started taking advantage!

Kara came in the evening so Mal sneaked out the front of the house with her food. Rosie thinks it is great fun to bark at her and chase her!  Poor thing.

More wild flowers from our walk!

Asphodelus Aestivus – Asphodel

Helichrysum Conglobatum � Everlasting Sungold

Lithodora Hispidula – A Gromwell

Anemone Coronaria � Crown Anemone

The Lithodora Hispidula is really pretty.  You are probably unable to see but a white and a pink flower are next to each other on the same bush.

Spring really is such a lovely time here, as long as we treat the ticks that are now falling off Rosie and then of course won�t be long until the mozzies start and then the sand flies, the end of the summer the ticks return and then of course, watch out for the snakes!  But we love it!

Doesn�t she look innocent�.don�t let looks fool you!