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 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?