9 – Shopping in the TRNC

Shopping in the TRNC

Shopping when we first came to North Cyprus was a nerve-wracking experience.  There were no supermarkets so we went into the small markets with our bundle of paper money, confusing 100,000 notes with 10,000,000 notes, with no idea what peynir or ekmek were and struggle back to the hotel with all sorts of exotic products, some of which ended up straight in the bin.

Now there are supermarkets with UK foods, if you want to pay a premium for imported foods. The main supermarkets nearest to us are Tempo, Lemar and Astro.  Astro is the furthest away from us, almost in the big city of Girne.  We have found that even though Lemar products are possibly the cheapest, at the moment, and they have a slightly bigger range, our favourite supermarket is Tempo. This is mainly because the staff are friendly and helpful and they actually smile because they want to.

There is also a �freezer centre� called Bells where reasonably priced frozen food can be purchased. It is here that food cravings develop for things such as sausages, bacon and pork chops. It is quite easy to wander round this shop and end up taking bulging baskets of food to the till.

There are many smaller shops where surprisingly the prices are not much different from the main supermarkets. They have a very restricted range of products but have the main advantage of being open later that the 10pm closing hour of the supermarkets.  One in particular, Behi�ler, is still open at two in the morning! This is particularly useful when landing at Er�an airport at 12 am in the morning.

We are not too keen on the Turkish wine we have drunk so far but have found the Red Cricova, a sparkling wine, to be more than palatable. In fact we tend to buy every bottle available when we can, just in case it goes out of fashion. This may seem unlikely but the North Cyprus beer, Gold Fassel, seems to appear in brewing cycles and if a person is not careful he could end up being forced to drink the fizzy Turkish mainland Efes.

Obviously local produce is cheaper than imported and has the advantage of being fresher. It takes a lot of getting used to the growing season, especially in the case of oranges which appear locally twice a year and outside these times become either unavailable or expensive. At one of the local restaurants we like, Mirabelle�s, one of the waiters has an irritating habit of looking at us as if we are idiots when we order avocados and prawns and saying, �don�t you know they are out of season?�

We have noticed over the last three years that there are now far more foods for the British, including even Chinese ingredients! Our aim is to stick to the local produce as much as possible, after all it is fresh, which is more than can be said about our supermarket chilled food in the UK, and of course it is cheaper.

July 2006

Saturday 1st July
A very hot and sticky day. I watched the England match�.enough said they are on the way home. Why is it we can�t �do� penalties?!

My England flag is no longer blowing from the terrace. I did think of putting it at half mast but thought better of it! Back in the cupboard!

Sunday 2nd July
Gwen and Peter came round in the morning. Peter kept us amused with his tales of pool cleaning.  Enough said.

I watched the Motgp in the afternoon. Rossi did very well. He came from 12th on the grid to take second place and all that with cracked bones in his wrist and ankle.

Monday 3rd July
More water today, so I am ensuring all our tanks are full.

Rosie and I went to the beach for our morning walk.

Mustafa�s workmen were behind us all day, preparing the second floor.

Tuesday 4th July
The concrete mixer arrived for Mustafa.

The house he is building looks like a single storey from the road.

BUT from our garden, this is what it looks like!

At least it is past the end of our garden, so hopefully we will be getting our mature olive trees soon!

Rosie and I went to Gwen�s in the afternoon. Boris (one of Gwen�s cats) and Rosie are almost becoming friends, well, that is a bit of an exaggeration! But Boris doesn�t chase her any more.

Germany is out of the World Cup!

More importantly we have had more water and so all the tanks are full.

Wednesday 5th July

It was nice and sunny so Rosie and I went down to the beach.

Freddie was waiting for us and obviously wondered why he hadn�t seen us first thing this morning!

By the time we got back, the clouds were coming over and so I thought this was an ideal time to wash my dust covered car!

This is very strange weather for June.  I had just finished washing the car and it rained���������yes, real rain!!

And then it poured down and a thunderstorm as well. It rained most of the day. At least the garden needed it.

I am back to England tomorrow and it was hopeless trying to clean the floors with muddy paws in and out all day.

I can�t wait to see Mal but as usual sad about leaving Rosie.

Thursday 6th July

Rosie and I went for our walk. I don�t start any of the clearing up and packing until she has gone to the kennels. My last dog always got the miseries whenever he saw a suitcase coming out.

Thursday 6th July
The day I leave Cyprus to see Mal. I had very mixed feelings, I didn�t want to leave Rosie but have missed Mal.

I took Rosie to the kennels at 10.  I hate leaving her. I then went back and moved all the outside furniture in and cleaned up the house and then headed for Gwen and Peter�s. Peter took me to the airport.

I flew CTA and the plane left on time but there were a few empty seats. We landed in Antalya and there was a mass exodus from the plane which meant for the rest of the journey it was less than half full. This meant most of us had three seats each to spread out in. Just as well as prior to that we had very little leg room. I don�t understand CTA, their ticket prices are high and then they wonder why their planes aren�t full.

It was a good journey and we saw some fascinating clouds.

We arrived at Stansted on time and my taxi was waiting to take me back to the caravan. Mal was waiting and it was lovely to see him after 6 weeks.

Friday 7th July
Luckily the weather wasn�t too bad so I didn�t have too much adjustment.

Mal has masses of work to do and of course I wanted to talk to him after 6 weeks and he wanted to get on with his work, in quiet! I went to the shops and did my usual thing, looking round in awe at all the choice!

Saturday 8th July
Mal decided he had to have at least a half day off after all this time. We drove to Deal, had a wander round and then went for our lunch into the Kings Head which is on the sea front.

I had a whole dressed crab with salad and it was delicious!

We also went to one of my favourite shops in the town Mummery and Fudger BUT it was closed! What a shame it is a fascinating shop.

A nice warm sunny day and so after Deal we drove back to Sandwich and went for a walk down by the river and had an ice cream�..and watched the ducks!

At least Mal had a well deserved break after 9 weeks of marking exam papers!!

On the way back we stopped at one of the farm shops and bought some local new potatoes, cherries and strawberries.

Sunday 9th July
Back to work for Mal whilst I got the Sunday papers and cooked a roast!

In the afternoon we both went to visit Mal�s sister Marion who has just moved into a new flat. I also watched the Men�s Wimbledon Final, with a predictable win by Federer.

We both watched the football world cup final in the evening. At least Italy won but what a shame that is the last game for Zidane when he showed himself up and was sent off.

Monday 10th July
Mal was going a bit brain dead and so he worked in the morning and waited for DHL to collect another batch of exam papers to return and then we drove into Canterbury.

We had lunch in a nice little caf� there; Mal of course spent most of the time in Canterbury, in Waterstone�s, looking for books whilst I did some more shopping.

We both like Canterbury, it is a lovely city and of course I know it very well as I used to work there.

Tuesday 11th July
Mal continues his work but in the evening we met up with Debbie (Mal�s sister) and Dave and Steve (Mal�s brother) and Shirley at the New Inn in Minster. We actually sat outside in the garden but buy about 10.00pm I was frozen! Mal was very disappointed in the mixed grill�. the main reason he goes there�..below their usual standard!

L-R Dave, Steve, Shirley and I

and Debbie������.

Then Mal decided he would drive us all home���

Wednesday 12th July
Mal continued with his exam work.

Thursday 13th July
Mal worked in the morning and then we headed north stopping at Ikea for our lunch and some shopping on the way.  Then we drove on to Torin�s house. The grandchildren came round and we all had fish and chips and a really enjoyable time with them.

Karen, Torin and Mal

L-R Sol, Tariq, Grandad, River and Torin

We then had to drive on our way on to Birmingham, as Mal had his exam meetings. Because we were late, the hotel actually rang us on the way to see if we were still coming! There were road works on the M6 again and our exit was closed so we had to do a detour and got lost!

Friday 14th July
Mal went off to his OCR meeting and I went shopping in the city centre.

Saturday 15th July
Mal had another meeting and so I went into the city centre in the morning but had enough of shopping so returned to the hotel at lunchtime, had my lunch there and then sat outside by the side of the canal as the weather was really nice.

Sunday 16th July
Mal was at a meeting all day again.  I shopped in the morning and then sat in the garden of the Business Centre and waited for him to finish his meeting. The weather is very good and reached about 32 degrees.

As soon as he finished we headed off for Stratford upon Avon. We love it there and is far more preferable to staying in Birmingham.  Mal�s Mondays meeting had been cancelled, so we actually had a day to spend together.  I booked at the Holiday Inn, not having stayed there before and really not expecting too much.  We were more than pleasantly surprised with a very swish room with a Queen Size bed. I had booked this on the Internet and it was only �60 a night and that included full buffet breakfast! A bargain! AND we had air con in the room.

We showered, changed and walked across the river to look for a restaurant to have dinner in.

We came across Edward Moons� Brasserie and had the best meal we have had in a long while. Excellent service and excellent food and if you are ever in Stratford, we highly recommend it.   We also had a jug of Pimms with our meal.  It seemed the right thing to drink on such a lovely summer night.

Edward Moon�s

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Pen and Parchment for a drink.

Pen And Parchment

We also looked at some of the barges on the river.  Mal has always wanted one.  Our first dream was our home in Cyprus, so who knows one day perhaps we will have one.

Monday 17th July
Mal had a �sort� of a day off.  In actual fact he worked for about an hour and then was free for the rest of the day.

Last time we were in Stratford we wanted to do the river walk but the weather didn�t allow it, so that is what we did today. Temperatures were up to about 31 degrees and so it was lovely.

We started at the bandstand.

And then followed the signs for the walk.

We bought a picnic lunch and sat by the river eating it.

In the evening we went to a Malaysian restaurant, Georgetown. The meal was good but we were not as impressed as last night.

We stopped at the pub again on the way back and sat in the garden.

Tuesday 18th July
We were up early, into breakfast and then drove back into Birmingham for Mal�s final meeting. I went into the City centre but I have had my fill of shops! Plus, the temperature hit around 33 and the city centre is not the best place to be.

As soon as Mals meeting finished we drove back to Margate, unloaded the car and went to the Churchill Tavern in Ramsgate for our dinner. After that we walked along the sea front and what a difference, it was distinctively �fresh�, wonderful.

Wednesday 19th July
Our last day in the UK and what a lot we had to do! All the final parcels had to be returned to the schools and so I set to filling out the waybills for DHL.

We had a total of 67 parcels; the caravan living room was full! Mal went over to the office and came back with a further 6 enormous parcels that had to be sorted out and also some exam papers that hadn�t even been marked! Talk about working up until the last minute! By the evening we managed to pack for our return to the TRNC! Of course then we had to clean up the caravan,

Thursday 20th July
We were up at 4.30am and our taxi arrived at 5.30am to take us to the airport.

The check in desk was open when we arrived and all I can say is all the staff we talked to at the airport were grumpy. Mals theory was the heat!

We posted the last of Mals exam paperwork.  I think I predicted he would be posting the last at the airport!

Our CTA plane left quarter of an hour early and yet again the plane was only half full, so we spread across three seats.  We stopped at Antalya and the plane emptied out to leave about 12 of us on board. In spite of the fact we were ahead of schedule, we had a longer stop at Antalya which meant we would land on time in Ercan.  The plane filled up and we had the 40 minute hop to Ercan.  Peter was waiting for us and drove us home. Gwen and Peter had put all our furniture out on the terrace, ready for us. We sat for a minute and then went over to collect Rosie.  As usual she went crazy when she saw us.  We took her home and she ran around sniffing everything to see where we had been and we gave her a hide bone, so she went running round with that in her mouth.  I think she was pleased to be back home!

Mal and I then jumped in the pool and sat down to a jug of Pimms!! The first time in 11 weeks Mal has had a chance to relax! It was so good to be home.

Friday 21st July
I unpacked and sorted the house out and then went shopping.  Mal spent the entire day sorting out computer problems, including trying to fix the Skype phone.  At least I was relieved that he couldn�t fix it straight away and was as stumped as I was when I was on my own trying to sort it out. Not only that as soon as Mal turned the computer on it was bleeping, failure of the memory card! BUT he tried cleaning it and it worked�phew!! The same problem as always here, dust in everything.

We are doing well with the water situation as it was on quite a lot during the day and have managed to refill most of the tanks.

Peter came round in the afternoon.

In the evening we sat in the peace and quiet on the terrace.  We are so glad to be back and in spite of Rosie�s initial running around everywhere, she has settled back down again even to waiting by the fridge as I get dinner ready as I always give her a raw carrot! What a creature of habit she is. I bet she missed her carrots.

Saturday 22nd July
At last Skype has been resurrected! What a relief as I have spent a fortune on phone cards. So, I rang Torin as it was his birthday. I also rang Rhys, Paula and my sister!! I am making the most of it.

I went and bought Cyprus Today.  They forecast 38/39 and sun all week. About usual for this time of year but it is a far nicer heat than we had and they are still having in the UK. Because of the position of our home, we have a lovely gentle breeze out on the terrace.

Mal cleaned the pool.  It was quite nice that it is no longer my job!

I watered the garden as we had water.  Gwen and Peter have been looking after the pool and garden in our absence, very good of them.

Sunday 23rd July
We were up early and took Rosie down to the beach. She loved it after two weeks in the kennels and she met lots of other dogs to run round the beach with and of course she ran in the sea and went swimming.

The guy in the picture talking to Mal was telling him that turtles have been laying eggs where they are standing. Hopefully none of the dogs will dig them up!

Gwen and Peter came round when we got back and so we caught up on all the gossip.

Most of the afternoon was spent swimming but Mal still trying to sort out the laptop. He also spoke to Lou and Rhys about their website so that he can update it for them. (www.A1embroidery.co.uk)

Another nice relaxing evening on the terrace with our drinks, remembering what life here is all about!

Monday 24th July
Rosie and I went out for a walk and then I hosed down the terrace to keep the dust down.  Rosie loves it and chases round after the hose until she is soaking wet and then runs round the garden, so mud everywhere again! I shouldn�t ever expect a clean house with a dog here. Bless her.  She enjoys it.

I caught up with my emails whilst listening to Breakfast with Wogan.  After three weeks he is back from holiday.  I have missed his humour.

Mal is now in book writing mode so I guess he will spend his day doing that.  I started on the garden, cutting back the masses of sage and making some kind of shape of the bushes. Of course the ground is solid and the flowers are looking quite sad.

We enjoyed another evening on the terrace reading our books in the peace and quiet.

Tuesday 25th July
I was woken at 4.40am by Freddie, the little brown and white dog from the village, whining outside the door! I let Rosie out and went back to bed. I couldn�t get back to sleep and so gave up and got up!

I watered the garden and did a bit of gardening and we went for our walk, Freddie joined us and then went home.

It was about 38 degrees and quite humid so not the sort of day to get all the jobs done (any excuse!) It is still a bit like being on holiday!

We went to bed and Rosie decided she wanted to stay outside. After about half an hour I called her in.  She came but then started howling to show me something.  Lo and behold another strange dog had arrived and was running up and down outside our railings. This time, a black Labrador looking dog but with no collar. It was very timid, we left it there and Rosie came in.

Wednesday 26th July
This morning two dogs waiting outside for Rosie but not as early as yesterday. Luckily the black dog has not discovered the way in over the wall. However he decided to do the whole walk with Rosie and I.

I then went to Atakara as Mal wanted the Cyprus Times. I went out to find black dog lying under my car. He is obviously yet another stray.

Cyprus Times yesterday ran on their front page, a whole article on Gary Robb with some detrimental accusations about people in high places and Gary Robb saying he had been �set up�. The article said the story would continue today.  Today�s paper�.nothing! Instead the front page held the story of the Santa Fe Director who had been shot 6 times in broad daylight in Girne on Monday.

Thursday 27th July/Friday 28th July/Saturday 29th July
Enjoying the sun and being back home and just relaxing, apart of course from Mal still fixing computers and contemplating whether to buy a new hard drive etc!

Sunday 30th July
Gwen and Peter made their Sunday morning visit. Our water has reduced to trickling through most of our taps and we just presumed that things were scaling up because of the hard water. Peter then threw light on what we hadn�t realised�..taps here have an attachment at the bottom which should be removed regularly and cleaned.  Please note anyone else who is as stupid as us! So, Mal and Peter went round cleaning them all. We now have water gushing out of every tap, it splashes all over the windows, everywhere! We must now remember we have full pressure returned. What would we do without friends like Peter and Gwen?

We have been without any water coming from our supply for four days. Willy, across the road had organised for our pipe (his and our supply pipe) to be sunk underground because of the workmen driving over it and also cutting it.  So, job done and Mal paid Willy his contribution toward the cost. We have water again and the household tank is full.

We decided this will be our last �rest day� and it is time to get on with everything that needs doing around the house.

I did watch Eastenders in the evening, the first time we have put the TV on. Instead of 4 evenings during the week, BBC Prime is now showing two on Saturday night and two on Sunday night.  Most inconsiderate.

Monday 31st July
Neither of us slept very well last night in spite of having the air con all night. It was very hot and still but even so we got up early and took Rosie to the beach. We met some other dog walkers down there as usual.

Rosie does have fun down there! But on the way back was sick all over the car. Wonderful.

This is the day we have decided to start sorting things out, so we had a long discussion and came to the decision that we had so much outstanding we will use Stuarts� professional services (www.compass-cyprus.com) and ask him to organise the finishing of the drive, with or without Halil.  After all, the �drain� is useless and will still flood the road, the �retaining wall� has not been backfilled and so retains nothing etc etc. Job number 2, to compile a complete snagging list for us and job number 3, to get our house on to the deeds.  Mal and I have made so many mistakes that we feel we need an �outsider� to help us.  After all, when we organised the first garden, we forgot to enquire how mature the planting would be�.no, nothing was mature and it goes on as you will already have read in the past.

We have every confidence in Stuart to carry out a professional job. Well, the pair of us have made a bit of a �pigs ear� of things so far!  We just hope others have learnt by our mistakes.

Next I rang Cahit at the Olive Tree Project (www.olivetreeproject.com) to check on the progress of the two trees we had ordered. Of course, the problem has been endless mature olive trees just being wrenched up and killed, then when they had some available, we were in the UK. So, all is well there.

Later I went to �Friends Reunited� as I had been told there was a message on there for me. It seems an old classmate has bought a house in Karsiyaka!!  Small world. He is coming over next week.

Mal then made decisions concerning the two computers and has asked Bev to bring hard drives and things over with her when she comes, the week after next.

A lot of decision making for one day!

June 2006

Thursday 1st June
I cleaned the pool in the morning as it was full of dust from where it had been windy.

Later Julie came round and has found another house.  Too many disputes with the one up the road from us. She seems much happier with this one which is a resale and the vendors are leaving all the furnishings, included in the very reasonable price. The house is in Yesiltepe. I am pleased she had found something that she likes with none of the water and electricity connection problems to think about.

Julie suggested we went out for a meal in the evening so she picked me up at 7.30 but wouldn�t drive up the drive as she said she wouldn�t make it!!

Off we went to the fish restaurant in Karsiyaka.  Typical, when we arrived it was closed. So we left there and took a look around Lapta and in the end went to Jessics in Lapta. We sat right by the sea and had a lovely meal and a good gossip!

After the meal we came back here and Julie had a coffee and then left.  She is flying back home on Saturday.


Friday 2nd June
A hot day with temperatures reaching 40 degrees I am sure.  The thermometer under the terrace in the shade read 32 degrees. I did a lot of swimming in the afternoon and then watched some of the French Open tennis.

Saturday 3rd June
Another very hot day, temperatures forecast up to 41 degrees for today and tomorrow. Rosie and I were up early and down to the beach.  Everyone has the same idea now it has hotted up and we talked to several dog walkers there including the two golden retrievers, one of whom took Rosie�s ball and then both the retrievers went and sat in the sea!

I think they decided it was the best place to wait while we were talking!

As soon as we came back I left Rosie and headed for the cash card machine.  I hear now the exchange rate is 2.93 lira to the pound. The nearest one was out of order yet again! I went on to the next one and then went into Lemar to get the shopping. I was given 25 kurus short in my change again and so told the cashier. Yet again I was told that she had no change, so I told her to give me 50 then as it was always in their favour.  With a face like thunder, she got up from her chair, walked over to another till and got 25 kurus and banged it down on the counter.  Talk about service with a smile!!

I also stocked up on phone cards as I still have a problem with Skype.  People at the other end can hear me but I can�t hear them. Mal said he would sort it out but he is so busy in the UK doing his exam work, I don�t like to pester him.

Back home and Rosie was as good as gold, hopefully the days when she decided to wreck the place have gone (touch wood).  Nothing touched and she hasn�t since I have been back. I leave her with a Kong with biscuits in it and a pig�s ear and she seem to be kept amused.

Peter came up and is organising a bigger hose for the submersible pump for me so it won�t take so long siphoning the water from the spare tanks.

I watched the Jamaica v England friendly in the afternoon.

Sunday 4th June
Another 41 degree day! Gwen and I went off to the KAR boot sale. It was a shame more people didn�t support KAR, however Gwen and I bought some things and then I went back to her house.

Swimming in the afternoon, too hot to do much else.

Mal rang in the evening as he had just returned from his meetings in Birmingham.

Monday 5th June
I took some things that I brought back from the UK up to the auction rooms ready for the next auction. On the way back, I stopped at the glaziers. I had a photo frame that I smashed the glass in and as it matches other frames, thought I would try and get the glass replaced. Well, I was astounded, he did it in seconds and charged me ONE lira! What a bargain, I also went to the pharmacy to get some eye ointment for Rosie. Her eyes are red and weeping.  I have a feeling it is all the dust blowing around.  It has been windy but it is a really hot wind.

I have been keeping up with storing water, and so every time the water is on, I top up the tanks and have started collecting it in our spare storage tanks. I slipped on the gravel on the way down and twisted my ankle. Not a good thing when I am on my own. So, I hobbled round for the rest of the day as it had swollen up and couldn�t take Rosie for her evening walk.  She was not impressed.

Tuesday 6th June
My ankle was greatly improved thankfully.  Normal service resumed. I managed to keep up with the water storage situation.

The temperature has dropped a little, around 38 degrees. After a long time trying all sorts with Skype, I tried the test call and it worked! No rhyme or reason why after all this time but I made the most of it and rang all friends and family in the UK!!

Wednesday 7th June
Rosie and I were down at the beach by 6.00 am. No one else was down there. We had the beach all to ourselves.

Made the most of Skype again and made more phone calls!

Thursday 8th June
It has now been very windy for four days.  Dust everywhere, I have given up on the cleaning now, a battle I am losing!

Friday 9th June
The Internet went down!

Bev and her friend Wendy have come over for a week and so I text them only to find out that they arrived on Wednesday (I thought it was yesterday!) and had spent a day with no money, very little in the house and no transport. I was really cross they didn�t contact me straight away. But now they have been rescued and have all they need, including a hire car which had been left at the airport for them!

I cleaned the pool which was full of dust.

Peter came round and did a backwash to the pool, yes, the water was full of muck!

Saturday 10th June
England�s first game in the World Cup!!

Rosie and I went for our walk and then I went to Lemar to get the shopping.

The Internet was back up and running but again minus Skype phone connection. This is so annoying. Mal tried again taking over my computer to fix it. He can hear me on the phone but I can hear nothing!!

Then to the important business of securing my St George flag to the railings round the swimming pool terrace. I didn�t want to upset any Cypriots by doing this but as Turkey are not in the world cup, felt they would not object!

Bev and Wendy came round in the morning and we agreed we would go and watch the match at the Castle Pub. They came back at 3 in the afternoon and we set off.

As expected the pub was packed and no outside screens, so we squashed into the bar along with all the other England supporters! The atmosphere was electric. Bev isn�t really a footie fan and so spent some of the time outside but Wendy and I managed to stand next to a woman who spent the entire match yelling at the players and giving them instructions as if they could hear her! It made us giggle anyway!!

Half time we went outside to get a bit of air, it was so hot in there with everyone packed in!

Wendy, Bev and I

Of course this really is a West Ham pub!!

Quite honestly the game wasn�t up to much but we all enjoyed ourselves and at least the boys collected the points, so we all went home happy!

Flying the flag!!

Sunday 11th June
It was windy again today.  This is doing wonders for the swimming pool, all the dust is laying on the bottom!

Gwen and Peter came round in the morning. We were watching Ali Semi at the end of our garden and below as he had a digger levelling the land, so it looks as though another house will be going there. At least it is beyond the end of our garden! So, my usual quiet Sunday was not so quiet!

In the afternoon I watched the French Open final, to see Federer beaten by Nadal.  I could see it coming!

In the evening I drove to collect Wendy and Bev, so the first time I have seen their house.  It is very nice but like most places, the surrounds still look a bit like a building site! I am sure it will be lovely when all the building stops.

We decided to go to Ambiance for a meal as Bev hadn�t been there before. I think Wendy and Bev were both impressed with the venue, it is a great location, right next to the sea.

Bev and Wendy

We had heard that the restaurant was not as good as it used to be. There were a lot of empty tables and plenty of waiters who seemed to be standing around chatting. As soon as we sat down they brought a bottle of water, which we hadn�t asked for but were charged for! They gave us our menus. Because it is next to the sea it is quite chilly there, so as other people were being offered pashminas, we asked for three which they brought. That was warmer.  We did particularly like the lilac one that a gentleman at another table was wearing!

We took three attempts to ask the waiters if they would take our order. Eventually they did. We had three starters, chicken wings, prawn cocktail and mushrooms in a garlic and tomato sauce. Three main courses, two steaks and a lamb casserole, three coffees, no deserts, a bottle of Aphrodite and one 7 Up. The bill, which took us ages to get, was 150ytl. They charged for a different bottle of wine which was 6ytl more expensive! Plus the fact that the service was NOT good, considering the ratio of customers to waiters, we left no tip! But I have to say the meals were very tasty. Shame about the service. I have to say it is not the excellent restaurant that it used to be.  The critics are right.

We then went back to Bev�s for a coffee.

Bev has had no mains water and has run out. It will have to be tankers for them tomorrow!

Monday 12th June
Thankfully Bev has water again!

After Rosie�s and my walk, I cleaned the pool. It certainly needed it but the wind seems to have died down at last.

The rest of the day housework in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. I did watch tennis to see Rusedski pull out of the tournament with a hip injury. Henman beat Agassi but not being unpatriotic or anything but I would rather watch Agassi!

BBC Prime went off air for some reason in the evening so I missed Eastenders!

Monday 13th June
Rosie and I went to the beach. She had her usual swim and then rolled in the sand.

Charming dog!

I had to go and buy some more chemicals for the pool so went to Pools �R� Us for a bag of Sodium Bisulphate, 25kg for 71 ytl.  I also stocked up on more phone cards as Skype telephone has yet to be resurrected.

Tuesday 14th June
Jobs in the morning, swimming and watching tennis in the afternoon!

Wednesday 15th June
In the afternoon Rosie and I went down to Gwen and Peter�s. I cut Gwen�s hair for her. No I am not a hairdresser but she hates going so I volunteered. Rosie spent some of the time under the table. Boris, one of their cats chased and spat at her on our last visit and she made it obvious she didn�t want a return match.

Gwen and Peter have a swallows nest under the terrace to their house every year.  This year they have two but one has sadly been abandoned but there are three little babies poking their heads from the other one and mum and dad flying backwards and forwards with their food.   It really is lovely to see.

I don�t know what happened in the evening but the Internet went down and then the phone network wouldn�t work, permanently �network busy�, so I was unable to get in touch with Mal. No Skype, no internet, no phone!

Thursday 16th June
This morning I turned on the computer and the Internet was back and so was Skype!!  This is obviously a problem somewhere else as it just started! I made a few phone calls while the going was good!

A bit lower temperature today and also some cloud but of course, no rain!

In the evening I used Skype phone again and lo and behold half way through a conversation it cut off and nothing again.  This is so frustrating.

Then the football!! England and Trinidad and Tobago.  I think we all believed that England weren�t going to score! A tense game to say the least but England managed to get two goals.  I think the locals must have been watching it too, as the road outside was silent all the way through the match.  It seemed a bit like census day again!

Mal sent this aerial view of our house, it must have been taken quite a while ago as the house wasn�t complete.

Friday 17th June
Well done Turkcell, my phone bleeped at 5.00am this morning�three texts that were sent from Mal during last nights match! A slight delay here!

I checked the water and all our tanks are full.  Rosie and I went for our walk, a bit earlier than usual.

We had different company this morning as the sheep decided to follow us.

More building- Selvi villas going up.

And another opposite the newly opened caf�.

�two more next to Lena and Willy

�another squashed in on the end just up the road

�the house behind Lena and Willy

And then of course, Mustafa building right behind US!!

Just think when we bought the land everyone thought we would be too isolated! Malatya has come down to meet us!

I cleaned the pool and at last removed all of the dust. I had just finished it when two of Halil�s men arrived with a lorry full of soil for the backfill for our retaining wall. Great timing.

Their idea was to drive the lorry up the drive and dump it at the top of the drive. They did try for about quarter of an hour with no success�the lorry wouldn�t go up the drive! Finally they dumped it across the road, telling me that the JCB would arrive in about half an hour, obviously to start the work. Nothing! I have learnt not to sit and wait for workmen and so went shopping in the afternoon. I have noticed however that the lorry has broken the guttering at the bottom of the drive.

Another evening of the Internet down, no Skype and no mobile network! Or should I say �network busy�, same thing you can�t get through to anyone on the phone.

Saturday 17th June
The dogs were barking at the kennels from very early on. I gave up any chance of a �lie in� and Rosie and I went down to the beach. There were a couple of other people there. Rosie just loves swimming in the sea now so I spent a long time throwing the ball out for her and then managed to get her back in the car before she rolled in all the sand.

I stopped at Serkos on the way back and bought a freshly baked loaf of bread and a copy of the Cyprus Today. They predict another hot week to come.

It is cherry season at the moment and I just love cherries so have a constant supply, buying a kilo at a time! The season doesn�t last too long so I am making the most of it. I keep wondering whether I should freeze some but then eat them instead! The fresh food is just so tasty.

Mal had gone to great pains to bring a tin of Hammerite over from the UK, I decided to tackle the new railings we had fitted as they are going rusty. Well, I started it but the Hammerite was almost drying on the brush and I was dripping because it was so hot. I completed two panels and then gave up deciding it was a better job in the evening when it is cooler.  The bit that I did is a great improvement though. I think the rest of that stretch will have to be done in the evening.

What a difference! (Right hand done!)

I watched tennis and went swimming in the afternoon. Communications down again in the evening. I tried to put more credit on my pay as you go Turkcell phone but useless.

Sunday 18th June
Rosie and I went walking and about half an hour later, Millie and the black dog from the village and Rosie were all running round the garden causing havoc. The black dog had obviously been restrained by her owners but it hadn�t worked.  She had a tight rag round her neck with a very dangerous length of wire trailing from it. I tried and tried to loosen the wire and then she got really fed up, started snarling at the other two dogs and then hopped off over the wall.  One down, one to go. Millie decided she would just lie under the terrace as she was hot.  I think it was all the energy she had used up digging a huge hole underneath my pampas grass! In the end I had to physically carry her out of the gate and shoo her away. Peace restored.


Gwen and Peter came round in the morning. Peter tried to add the credit to my phone and couldn�t do it either!  Plus the fact every message I get on my phone from Turkcell is in Turkish, so he suggested I took it to Turkcell and had it altered to English and also asked them about the credit.

After lunch, I decided to go to the guy who has the Turkcell counter in Lemar. He tried putting the credit on and couldn�t and said I must have used the card.  I knew I hadn�t! I then asked him to change it to English which he did and all was revealed. They have changed the system of adding credit on!! They probably text me and told me but as it was all in Turkish����!

He then added the credit and at least now I know how to do it! At least I have a working mobile now!

When I got back home I watched the Motogp. I think it is the worst one I have seen with I think a total of nine crashes during the race.  It is quite frightening the speeds they do.

Very hot today.

Later Peter rang as he had found out from someone else how to add credit to my phone. I told him I was desperate and so had been to Lemar! It was kind of him.

I later discovered that the Internet was back and along with it my Skype phone. This really doesn�t make sense but I was quick to make some phone calls to the UK. Mal had been in Birmingham for the day for another exam meeting but he managed to ring me back on Skype whilst he was on the way home, free calls as he uses our Skype London number. I think we have already spent a fortune on phone calls because Skype hasn�t been working.

Fingers crossed it will stay for a while.

I started watching the Brazil v Australia match in the evening�..then a power cut!! What is it they say about trying the patience of a saint?! All I can say is we still have plenty of water coming through which meant I actually watered the garden with the hose as plants are seriously shrivelling up.

Monday 19th June
After Rosie�s and my walk, I started Hammeriting the gate at the other end of the garden (out of the sun). I have to do this in stages to make sure Rosie doesn�t lean all over it. It�s just by the window where the computer is, so I turned on yesterdays �Steve Wrights Sunday Love songs� and it made the time go a lot quicker. The sad person I am I also listen to �Wogan� in the mornings! For anyone missing their fix of UK radio stations just go to www.BBC.co.uk and you can either listen live or choose a show from the last week. You can also get the English commentary to the football matches from Five Live but they are never quite in tune with what is happening on the pitch (about a minute delay!) I find that very confusing.

Of course Rosie spends her time chasing lizards in the garden! Unlike the cats, she never manages to catch them.

Next I hammerited the wrought iron chairs and washed all the cushion covers. I cleaned the pool and then jumped in, enough work for one day.

I watched the Spain v Tunisia game in the evening.

Tuesday 20th June
Another hot day. I walked Rosie and met Res on the way back. All us dog walkers have to be up early before the sun gets too hot.

This was Rosie�s answer to the heat later on in the day!

Obviously too hot for any dog outside.  How elegant.

Not a day for doing too much except swim!

Wednesday 21st June
I received an email from Bev who had been to see �Take That� at the weekend. I think the pictures suggested they all had a good time!

Rosie and I went to Gwen and Peter�s in the afternoon. She is getting far better with Gwen�s cats now and has learnt her place��.under the table some of the time.  She did get braver and sat by my chair and then Boris came and layed behind her but Rosie pretended she hadn�t noticed.  The swallows in the nest are now getting huge and I think it will soon be time for them to leave.

Gwen also had a chameleon in her grape vine but when she went to show me it, we couldn�t see it!

Thursday 22nd June
I drove up to the auctions to collect my money for items I left, I thought but when I arrived Amanda said she hadn�t put them in.  I trust her judgement when to put them in, so left them for the next one.

It was very humid (68%) so not a lot achieved again today, however in the evening I did manage to Hammerite the gate. Rosie came in later and had Hammerite on her face, so I then had to scrub that off her and barricade the gate so she couldn�t get near it again.

This is the time you really need a swimming pool and I make the most of it.

Friday 23rd June
Another humid day but I did manage to do a bit of gardening.  Peter called up in the morning.

Swimming in the afternoon.

Saturday 24th June
We have had no water now for four days! The garden is looking decidedly thirsty, so I am continuing using all the waste water, even emptying the contents of the bath out!

The lira hit the magical 3! I went shopping and noticed that prices have started to go up.

Sunday 25th June
Humid again (73% today). Five days without water!

Gwen and Peter came round in the morning and Gwen brought me some lovely dried flowers.

After they left I checked the tanks and the swimming pool tank was low, and so I siphoned water out of one of the spare tanks.

I watched the England match early evening. I think the word for the first half was �embarrassing�.  Luckily Beckham can still �bend it� and managed to get us one goal and through to the quarter finals. I was seriously thinking my St Georges flag was going to have to come down! It remains in place at least until Saturday.

Monday 26th June

Up early, Rosie and I had our walk and then I cleaned the pool. Still no water. Our pipe runs past where the builders are so as often happens they may have cut the pipe! I will have to check but as I walked through the village I haven�t heard any water for the last few days so they may just be rationing.

In the afternoon Willy and Lena had a tanker of water delivered. Bad news! This means the pipe hasn�t been cut (as Willy always checks) and we are on rationing. We have more water storage than them but if we don�t have some soon�.

Tuesday 27th June

It was too hot and humid to do too much but I did make two new beds for Rosie, in reserve in case she chews any more up, not that she has lately. I also did a bit more Hammeriting when it cooled of.

I went to bed about 11.30 and at around midnight I heard water!! I jumped out of bed and there I was in my nightie, torch in hand, getting the hose and putting it in the household tank. It was only tricking but WATER!! I stood watching it for a while and then decided this may take all night, so went back to bed.

I watched the football in the evening.

Wednesday 28th June
Great excitement this morning, the household tank was full, so I was out watering the garden at 5.30am! The plants are looking very sad. I also put a load of washing on, took the hose to run, sorry trickle, into the spare tank and the water stopped! Ah well, at least I won�t have to get a tanker yet.

Rosie spotting lizards while I water!

It is quite worrying that water is being rationed this early in the year.

Rosie and I went down to Gwen�s in the afternoon. I think Rosie and Gwen�s cats were all too hot to bother with each other. Boris just came and laid the other side of the terrace in the shade.

Gwen�s swallows have been flying from the nest but return again.

I have spent quite a lot of time sitting on the terrace watching kestrels, they must have a nest somewhere in front of the Russian house and it is fascinating watching mum and dad teaching the little ones to hunt.

A very strange day�.no football!

I spoke to Lou and Rhys in the evening and Lou had been for a scan today.  Great news our fifth grandson will arrive on 13th November and all is well with the scan.

Thursday 29th June
I couldn�t believe it; we had water again in the night which has almost filled the spare tank, so now I have two spare tanks of water. For those who don�t live here in the TRNC, be grateful you turn the tap on and �instant water! Not so here. I was getting a little peeved with bailing out the bath water every day, even though I shall still do it for the garden.

Rosie and I went to the beach. A different beach today for a change but there was a lot of rubbish down there. It is such a shame. I concentrated on keeping Rosie swimming for her ball in the sea. She loves it.

We stopped on the way back to get a fresh village loaf for breakfast.

Mustafa�s men are removing the shuttering from the ground floor of the house behind us.

No football again tonight.  I am beginning to get withdrawal symptoms.

Friday 30th June
More water! Only for a while but our tanks are all nearly full. I cleaned the pool but noticed a leak down there, so emailed Peter to ask if he would take a look.  Peter came up very quickly and investigated and it seems sand had got under one of the seals in the filter, so he took it apart, cleaned it and fixed it!! I was very grateful.

In the afternoon I collected Gwen and we went and did the 3 � 5 stint on the KAR beg outside Lemar. There seems to be a lack of volunteers and poor Pat had been there all of the day.

For those who don�t know, this is held once a month. KAR items are sold and also people are able to donate food for the cats and dogs or give a financial donation. It is quite entertaining as people stop and chat to us and of course it is a bit more for the animals at the Rescue Centre.  Any volunteers??

When we had finished, we did a bit of shopping in Lemar but crisis, they had run out of Gold Fassel beer! I think I have mentioned this before but every now and again, products just go missing from the supermarkets. Peter was relying on us for his weekend beer so we called in at Tempo on the way home�none there!

Next stop Behicler and there we were lucky!

I dropped Gwen off and then watched the Germany v Argentina match. Torin text as he was in Austria with his job and told me all the Austrians wanted Germany to lose (strange!) Well, they won on penalties.

Italy is through too.

May 2006

Monday 1st May
A very warm day.

Rosie was pleased that she had a proper walk first thing.

Gwen and Peter came up in the morning and so I heard all Gwen�s news from the UK. Her flight back actually landed early! In the evening I saw the most enormous spider walking across the living room. Spiders don�t bother me here, nor the lizards in your bedroom nor the huge beetles. (The snakes do!) BUT this spider was enormous. I do not exaggerate. I have never seen one as big outside a zoo! I shouted to Mal to see if he could catch it. Normally he will just pick anything up and take it outside but this one was too big. I went and fetched my Easter Egg box. I knew it would come in handy for something! Well, Mal managed to catch it. It was a tarantula! I have to be honest, I didn�t know they were here let alone in our living room. Mal managed to capture it and sent it on its way over on Mustafa�s land.

If my diary is a bit delayed, this is because there are problems with our provider. One minute it is on, the next it is dead. Or of course we could have been eaten by tarantulas.

Tuesday 2nd May
Not a good day as we had to get ready to leave for the UK. Our turn for the long faces.

We took Rosie over to the kennels and as we got half way across the road, somehow Lena�s two Belgian Shepherds ran out from the other gate and both attacked Rosie and had her pinned to the floor. The only way we could get them off her was for Mal to use Rosie�s plastic bed to protect her. Poor Rosie was traumatised and I had visions of us having to take her to the vets!  I checked her all over but she seemed OK physically although she was covered in mud. Eventually Lena called her dogs in.  Then we had to leave Rosie there.  I was so upset and Mal even suggested that I didn�t go and stay with Rosie.  I think the pair of us were traumatised, goodness only knows how Rosie felt. Not a pleasant experience.

We went back home, very upset and set to with the cleaning and packing.

Wednesday 3rd May
We were up at 2.00 am, got ready, loaded the car up, drove round to Peter�s and he took us to the airport. A pleasant flight with CTA, on time and somehow they gave us seats with plenty of leg room.

We went to Torin�s house and in the afternoon Ange brought the kids round and we all had fish and chips. The temperature was a surprising 25 degrees (higher than Girne!)

Ange, Karen, Tariq, Mal, Torin and in front River and Sol

Of course granddad told them more stories!

It was lovely to see the boys.

Thursday 4th May
Surprisingly another hot day!

We drove up to Peterborough, having previously made an appointment at the passport office.  My passport is getting near the last 6 months and I didn�t want to risk posting it and then not receiving it back by the time we had to leave.

Well, there was more security at the passport office than there is at the airport! Apart from all the queues of people and the fact you are not allowed in the queue until 10 minutes before your appointment, it all went smoothly, checking everyone�s photos carefully because of the new regulations. So, my passport was ordered on 7 day fast track!

Torin had arrived home before we got back.  He was working away the night before. We had a take away and then Carl, Torin�s friend came round in the evening.

Friday 5th May
We drove up to the hotel in Birmingham ready for Mal�s exam meeting tomorrow. (The main reason we came back). He is an examiner and moderator.

Saturday 6th May
Mal went to his meeting and I hit the shops! The Bullring is certainly an experience after the standard of the shops in the TRNC! As usual I boosted my stocks of pigs ears and hide bones for Rosie from Birmingham market!

When Mal�s meeting was finished we drove back to Torin�s and collected all the things he had stored for us since February! We said our goodbyes and then went to take Sol�s birthday present to him. It was pouring with rain, the weather had done a complete turn around!

We arrived back in Margate at our mobile home in torrential rain, the car loaded up and someone had taken our parking space and the car park by our mobile home was full! Finally we managed to get somewhere, emptied the car and sat with the rain pounding on the roof and the live band in the clubhouse belting it�s music out!

Sunday 7th May
Still raining! We did all the sorting out and then went off to Broadstairs to have Sunday lunch.

The aerial had blown off the caravan and so Mal had to fix that back up.  The freeview box wasn�t working and so we had to take that back and exchange it for a new one. We couldn�t find the gas bottle key and a number of other traumas!

Monday 8th May
More sorting out and Mal preparing for the onslaught of exam papers. In the morning we went round to Steve�s house (Mal�s brother) as we had also left boxes with him to store from February (when the caravan park was shut).

Tuesday 9th May
Steve came round in the morning.  We went to Ramsgate in the afternoon.  It surprises me every time I go into a shop and they give me the correct change!

Ramsgate and Margate are becoming quite up market. There was a real slump after the 60�s and 70�s but now regeneration money has been pumped into the area and it is improving vastly.

We cleaned all the outside of our mobile home and also tidied up the garden.

Wednesday 10th May
Well done the passport office, my new passport arrived and now I can get home again!

The sun was out and so in the afternoon we drove down to Minnis Bay. We love it down there. We used to take our Golden Retriever, Barney down there all the time and to be honest we haven�t been back since we lost him, which coincidently was two years ago this week. After all this time we could actually talk about the good times we had down there with him, even in the thick of winter when we were the only silly pair down there and the wind numbing our noses and ears! All the dog walkers were out.

Minnis Bay

We finished our walk having a drink in the garden of The Minnis. Seagulls were all around us.  Before I moved to the sea, I always thought they were lovely birds and then discovered what scavengers and bullies they are, even dive bombing people.

 Thursday 11th May
Mal should have had a meeting in Birmingham and consequently, booked tickets to see the God of Guitar at the NEC. His meeting was cancelled but we obviously went to Birmingham anyway but he booked a room in the Crown Plaza, so we would have no parking hassles. This was part of my early birthday present!

Eat your heart out all you Clapton fans! He was fantastic. He is looking old but aren�t we all?! We remember him from �Cream� days. His voice and guitar playing are still as good as ever. We had excellent seats in the middle, very near to the stage and considering we estimated 10,000 people in the audience, we were very lucky. What more can I say about him? He is a �must see live�! Unfortunately I didn�t take my camera in to the concert as so many concerts they won�t allow you to.  This one you could and such a shame as we were so close to him. So, sorry no photos.

The hotel was great too but we hadn�t realised it was a computerised mini bar in the room and as we moved a couple of bottles out to place our bottle of wine in to chill it, we then had to go to reception and tell them we had just �moved� things�, only to be informed we had �spent� �25 already! They adjusted the bill for us.

Our hotel room, and out lakeside view facing the NEC

The hotel was about a 5 minute lakeside walk from the concert, so an excellent evening. I put my handbag in the room safe and when we returned from the concert couldn�t get the safe open and so had to get the hotel staff to assist. I think they were glad to see the back of us!

Friday 12th May
We heard of a surveyor (a friend) back in the TRNC, who having produced a snagging list for a clients villa, ended up in the Police Station, accused by the builder of not having a licence to work. They said his UK qualification was a fraud. The builder also raised the price of the villa by �7K to put right the errors he had made. Yes, our friend has a licence to work and yes, he had a legitimate qualification, unlike many who seem to reinvent themselves on arrival in the TRNC.  He eventually was of course released from Police custody. The builder was able to blackmail (by demanding more money) the owner because he held all her money except the retained amount. But the warning continues, make sure you have deeds to your property before handing over all the money (as the villa owners had not).

A lovely sunny day and we had the drive back to Margate but we stopped on the way to see the grandchildren.

Saturday 13th May
Sun again! Mal�s onslaught of the first exam papers arrived.

In the afternoon we watched the cup final. What a brilliant game and needless to say we were really hoping West Ham would win. It went to penalties and sadly they lost but they have nothing to be ashamed of! Poor Mal was devastated and made me turn the TV off before the presentation!

Sunday 14th May
Mal worked!

Monday 15th May
Mal working again and I started the first of the posting sessions and some Tesco shopping. We now have an ever expanding �Westwood Centre� just at the top of our road. It will be brilliant when it is all finished.  As well as this of course we have the sea nearby, an indoor swimming pool on site, gym, sauna, and clubhouse.  It really is like being on holiday (If only we had the TRNC�s weather to go with it.)

Tuesday 16th May
More work for Mal.  In the evening Debbie, Mal�s sister and Dave her boyfriend came to visit.

Wednesday 17th May
Exam work again.

Thursday 18th May
My birthday and so we drove up to Stratford upon Avon and booked into the Swans Nest Hotel for two nights.  It is ideally located, right by the river. Just a shame about the weather! Rain, rain and more rain and even hail stones!

We checked in and then went and had a pub lunch and a wander around Stratford.

Back to the hotel and a quick change and out again for dinner. Mal booked a Dinner River Cruise on the Countess of Evesham. We left the hotel and decided to have a drink first in Coxs yard. Well, the heavens opened, torrential rain but luckily it eased off so we could walk to the boat without getting totally soaked.

It really is a lovely experience in spite of the rain.

As you can see the sun did come out at the beginning of our �voyage�!

We had a three course dinner.  The first two courses on the way up the river and then when the barge turns round, they wait at the most picturesque spot and everyone can get out.

Shame about the rain! It got heavier and heavier.

Still after our sweet and copious amounts of wine I don�t think we cared! A lovely birthday with lots of nice presents and a really enjoyable day. The only thing is you just wonder where all the years have gone!

Friday 19th May
We planned to go on the River Walk but the weather put paid to that and so we went into the town centre (less muddy).

Mal did find a friend on our travels!

We had lunch there and looked around the sites.

Shakespeare�s Birth place

In the evening we went to The Coconut Lagoon for dinner. We have been there before and it is excellent Southern Indian food. They did not disappoint! (www.coconutlagoon.com)

Saturday 20th May
We were up early and packed ready to drive in to Birmingham for another of Mal�s exam meetings. He went to the meeting and I went into the city centre. It was raining all day, so not at all exciting I think I have now had my fill of the big stores (and the rain!) and am ready to go back to the TRNC! Then of course after his meeting the long drive back to Margate. We unloaded the car and then went out for dinner in Broadstairs.

Sunday 21st May
More rain and thunderstorms.  In fact we had hail and the ice stayed on the ground and this is May?! Mal did his exam work.

Monday 22nd May
Mal working hard again and as he is so centred, this year, we decided that I would return to Cyprus early. It was fine when the grandchildren were a couple of miles away but now they have moved, it is not much fun for me and anyway, I want to get back for Rosie.

Tuesday 23rd May
I spent the day getting �supplies� in for Mal and packing my case, seeing how many pigs ears, toys and hide bones I could cram in for Rosie!

Wednesday 24th May
5.15 am the taxi arrived to take me to the airport. In fact this wasn�t your normal taxi but an XJS, a guy who does chauffeuring as well.  My flight wasn�t until 10.30 am but he said the M25 was so unpredictable, better to leave at that time.  Fine by me, planes don�t wait for you. Luckily the CTA desk opened up three hours before the flight so being third in the queue, I checked in and no longer had my case to think about.  But this time they were being very strict on luggage allowance. Luckily this time my case was only 2kg over. This was mainly due to quite few heavy things in my hand luggage! Imagine my shock when as I was passing through customs, the couple in front of me had their hand luggage weighed. I quickly manoeuvred past them. Even so my hand luggage was searched �because of something electrical�.  Yes, my phone charger and camera and bits.  Everything was taken out and then the woman said �how did you manage to get this much in?�!

The flight left on time stopping at Antalya. Imagine our surprise when the captain said �The temperature in Antalya is 37 degrees�.  That�s more like it after weeks of rain.

We arrived at Ercan on time and Peter was there to meet me.  We stopped off to see Gwen and her family on the way home.

I arrived home, opened up the house which was roasting and unpacked.  I thought it may be too late to collect Rosie from the kennels but about 10.00pm Lena knocked on the door and asked if I wanted her back tonight. Of course I said yes but hadn�t liked to disturb them. Well, Rosie went mental when she saw me and back home turned into a Velcro dog for the rest of the night! Bless her. I have missed her.

Thursday 25th May
I was awake at 5.00 and thought I may as well get up and walk Rosie! We have been away three weeks but as we walked through the village little brown and white dog came running out and looked so pleased to see Rosie again. He came on the walk with us and then back home with us and promptly as is his habit pee-ed up the chair under the terrace and up the patio door! Instead of keep calling him little brown and white dog, I have christened him Freddy. He played with Rosie for a while and then toddled off home.

I went over the road to pay Lena and Willy for Rosie�s kennelling and they asked me to stay for coffee which I did. Lena has a spaniel looking for a home but again I told her I don�t want a second dog yet! She tries! I was then asked when we were moving!!!  I may have been surprised but before we left for the UK and the �third party� rang up on behalf of our builder Hakan, saying that Hakan wanted the rest of the money, he said Hakan had heard we were selling up! Funnily enough although we invited Hakan (via the �third party�) to come and complete all the outstanding works on the house and then we would gladly give him the retainer, we have heard nothing since!  Whoever the joker is who started the rumour and we have our suspicions��We aint going anywhere!!

I spent the day catching up with things and still wonder when the house is shut up how so much dust gets in.

Building is still going on all around us and the first of Mustafa�s houses behind us is starting to take shape and looks as if it will be huge. One level already looks as though it will be the �basement�. I hope I am wrong.

I tried to speak to Mal on Skype but we have a problem on it again.

Friday 26th May
In the morning Halil (drive man) arrived and asked for Mal and I told him he wasn�t here and so he went away again. A second coat of paint has gone on the retaining wall, that doesn�t retain anything because it hasn�t been back filled!  But no back filling and if Halil came for money, then he has to backfill first. He obviously didn�t want to involve me as I am a mere woman! How do I know a second coat of paint has gone on in my absence?  Because they have splodged paint all over our new number �2�!

Gwen has had her son Steve, wife Michelle and their son staying for the last two weeks and I was afraid I would miss them, so in the afternoon I went down to see them. Michael the baby whom I haven�t seen before is gorgeous and spent most of the time giggling away. Gwen said to take Rosie as well. Only one of Gwen�s cats was around to start with and he definitely showed Rosie whose house it was, spat at her and chased her and Rosie ran under the table.

Saturday 27th May
Mid 30�s again. Rosie and I went for our walk then I left Rosie at home and went shopping.  Knowing it was going to be another warm day, I set off early, went to the cash machine, filled the car with petrol, did all the shopping, collected a parcel from our post box and was home by 8.30!

Gardening and swimming filled most of the day.

Sunday 28th May
It started off a bit cloudy in the morning but very soon it was hot again. We missed Freddy on our walk this morning but his owner came out of the house very apologetic saying in Turkish that he didn�t know where his dog was!  He knew that he usually comes home with us.  I had to laugh. Most Cypriots keep their dogs outside and they just wander all over the place, as with Fred.

Gwen and Peter came round in the morning and we set the submersible pump to work on the spare tanks of water to fill up the swimming pool tank as it was very low. I hadn�t realised quite how low because it took most of the contents of the two spare tanks. It kept going until 5.30!  We have had no water today, so I hope this isn�t the start of low supplies but I have a feeling it is as Gwen and Peter have had problems already with their supply.  Peter also cleaned the swimming pool for me while they were here.

It was really quiet in the afternoon, so I thought I would leave everything and sit in the sun.  Then I had a surprise visitor�Julie (from what we used to call number 6).  She arrived last night for a week to try and resolve the problem with number 6 but I will not go into that at the moment. She had a beer, a swim and a chat and went off to see the builder.

In the evening brown puppy dog, Milly, from the village came to visit! She just jumped over the wall and started tearing round the garden with Rosie.  It seems as though they have all missed her. I don�t feed any of these dogs because if I did I have the feeling that they would all move in.

Monday 29th May
Rosie walking and weeding filled the day but the ground is getting so hard and because of the rumours of water shortages, I am no longer hosing the garden but saving all the waste water. So, I am lugging buckets and bowls backwards and forwards.

Tuesday 30th May
Rosie had two big ticks on her. They were too big to just pull off so I smothered them with Vaseline. It did the trick with the one on her face and we lost that one.  I also dosed her with more Spot on. She doesn�t like it and I have to do it so as not to let her notice but as soon as she smells it she jumps up and chases everywhere trying to find where the smell is coming from! Crazy dog.

Wednesday 31st May
A bit of a problem with Ayzanet in the morning as they had changed one of their port holes which meant no emails were sending.  It was sorted eventually after phone calls to them and then my sewing machine wasn�t working so I had to fix that. In the afternoon the wind got up and the umbrella went flying across the terrace.

Later in the afternoon I went off to the DVD shop to buy DVD�s to send back to the UK for the grandchildren but unfortunately they only had one of the four I asked for.

Then Rosie and I went on to Gwen and Peter�s. Gwen had some sewing to do for the KAR shop and I don�t think sewing is her favourite occupation, so the pair of us sat there, sewing and nattering. Rosie saw Boris (one of Gwen�s cats) and decided to keep her distance after being chased on the last visit.

April 2006

Saturday 1st April
The workmen here again and they look as if they are making a pretty good job of the wall.

I went off shopping to Atakara. It is always quite busy in there on Saturday mornings.

On the front of the Cyprus Today, a picture of Prince Harry outside �Roxannes� last night. He has evidently just completed a two week military exercise in Episkopi (the South) and wanted to savour the delights of the better part of Cyprus (the North, my opinion not his!) It was also reported that he may meet up with the British Residents Association this morning, so will still be in Girne.

Well, royalty in an unrecognised country!

The noticeable thing in Cyprus Today was the slimness of the Property section.

Two more premier matches in the afternoon, Chelsea 0 Birmingham 0!! Enough said I think.

Sunday 2nd April
I took Rosie for a walk and the brown puppy from the Cypriot bungalow just up the road, followed us home and jumped over the wall to play with Rosie. She does this sometimes and then goes home.  Not today! She stayed.

Gwen rang in the morning and was concerned about one of her cats Boris whose mouth was swollen and she could see some blood and he looked very under the weather. She wasn�t sure when a vet would be open but said she would ring after 9.00 am. She then called back when she had spoken to Pertev who was on call and he told her to bring him straight in. So, I went straight round there. The road to Gwen and Peter�s isn�t brilliant at the best of times but the whole length of it now has been dug up by Kibtek, laying new cables. What a mess and what an obstacle course but I managed to get round there.

On arrival at Gwen�s Boris had disappeared.  Typical. The pair of us searched high and low for him and then we found him under a hedge, of course he then ran a little way but finally Gwen caught him and into the cat carrier. Poor thing, he cried all the way to the vets.  It was painful. Gwen thought he had an abscess but on closer inspection Pertev discovered it was a snake bite. I think it shook Gwen, after all she had lived through Rosie�s episode with her snake bite. So, Boris had five injections and we took him back home.  Back along the bumpy road, not very comfortable for Boris. I stayed down with Gwen for the rest of the morning as I was intending going down there anyway.

The workmen were here again.

Back home for lunch and brown puppy was still here.  Mal kept shoo-ing her away and she just came back again. I was not too impressed when I saw her gnawing our wooden chairs outside!  Whatever we did, she was not going, she liked it at our house.  My thoughts were to put her on a lead and take her back home. I may be wrong but Cypriots own her and I had visions of her getting a good beating and being chained up, so I didn�t want to do that.

Mal then decided to throw water at her but she thought that was a good game but by about 4.00pm she went.

I had to collect Peter from the airport and just as I got in the car, puppy ran up the drive again. Well, Mal would have to sort her out.

Whilst I was out the Muhtar had visited and given Mal a blue metal sign with �2� on it, ready for the census.  This is now getting very organised as we now also have a blue metal sign on the Kibtek post opposite us with �Atalar Caddesi� on it. When our wall is finished we can put the number up.

Peter�s plane landed on time and so back once again along the bumpy road, a bit more difficult in the dark!

Boris had eaten so that was a very positive sign.

By the time I arrived back home, puppy had gone home and Mal had cooked dinner. He was not particularly happy as he had been watching the West Ham match and they only drew with Charlton (0-0).

The weather was beautiful all day and still very warm in the evening.

Monday 3rd April
Another very warm day and I took Gwen back to the vets with Boris.  Pertev was really pleased with him and the swelling had gone down a little, so no more injections. I know how relieved Gwen was.

Back home and Halil had been up to say that they had finished rendering the wall and would now wait until Friday, when it had dried, to start the painting. They are going to backfill after they have painted.

Well, at last I will be able to get my car up the drive, or at least try and see if I can.  The car is absolutely filthy, covered in dust, so now I can wash it.

Success, the car did make it up the drive although it is a bit of a tight turn to the last section up to the hard stand.

The retaining wall:

We still have a lot more to be done but we are getting there!

About two hours after the wall was finished and still wet, Mal took Rosie for her walk and thank you, whoever did this to the wall. Graffiti all over the section that faces the road, into the wet render.

We didn�t expect this here in Northern Cyprus.  We can�t imagine who did it but Mal and I are not happy.

Tuesday 4th April
In complete contrast to the last two days, the weather is cloudy, windy and also spots of rain.

Boris is doing well and along with this message, Gwen and Peter are housebound.  They can�t get out of their house because of Kibtek digging up the road! I knew it would come to this as it was bad enough at the weekend.

I popped to Serkos for some shopping and on my journey down the drive, discovered it is too sharp a bend to stay on the drive, hence breaking a small part of the concrete guttering.  We will have to tell Halil.

Mal had emailed the Olive tree project, saying that we were interested in some trees. Maria called round to discuss it. The first ones we want on our newly acquired land before, hopefully Mustafa starts building or they will not be able to gain access. I am sure we will want more when we have sorted the rest of the land out but in the meantime, two just behind our garden wall.

We have signed the contract and paid our 10% deposit. For anyone else who wants a rescued olive tree, as I said before the site is www.olivetreeproject.com. This is a really worthwhile project so perhaps some more of you would like to buy some trees.

The cost was 500ytl for the first tree and 375ytl for the second, so about �350 for the two mature trees, including all the transportation, all the work they have put into rescuing the trees and also the planting.

Villa For Sale in North Cyprus
Property ID: 40063101634924

Property Type: Villa

Location: Alsancak, Girne (Kyrenia) – Northern Cyprus

Living area: 1200 m2

Price: 875,000 GBP

Bedrooms: 5

Property description and specifications:
Don’t miss once in a lifetime opportunity to own luxurious Royal Villa!!! The biggest house in the island positioned in the perfect location of preserved forests of Alsancak. The Royal Villa personifies class, luxury, spaciousness and individuality. It combines the best of the modern comfort and internal finishes with the old style architectural designs. Only the highest standard construction materials and new Belgium technology of building were used. 1200 sqm palace in 4 donums of best Alsancak land.

Elegant construction and chic interior will become a perfect reflection of sophisticated and intelligent lifestyle. Thought down to the smallest details it will be one of a kind innovatively built and designed house on the island. Royal Villa is divinely positioned overlooking the magnificent Mediterranean Sea and surrounding indigenous Pine Trees on Alsancak hills. From the huge terrace a breath taking, panoramic view over the sea and the mountains opens. And in front of your lovely designed balconies, your pool or your private landscape garden blooms in typical Mediterranean style with pine trees, bushes and palms.

Beyond the garden let your eyes wander serenely over the supreme tranquility and spectacular views, surrounded by acres of unspoilt nature. All this is only a few minutes away from Kyrenia City, you will enjoy the quiet serenity of the mountain and unscathed nature while being just minutes away from sandy beaches, shops, restaurants and entertainment.

Thank you Julie for emailing this Estate Agents Advert for the �Russian House�.

It really has kept Mal and I laughing ever since we have received it. On the estate agents other info it also says 10 minutes from Girne!!!!!!!!  I don�t think I have ever got into Girne in 10 minutes.  Mind you I suppose with a house like that you would take the helicopter.

So, we are to be behind the Royal Villa, how grand. BUT who would pay all that money to be looked down upon by us on their roof terrace? AND as for tranquillity, I wish. Diggers, cement mixers up and down, development on the other side of the mountain which they don�t show, kennels and Rosie barking at them! And a builders yard to the front of them.

This is not all. Last week we saw a digger down below the Russian House.  Lena had evidently gone down there to see what they were doing and they were trying to prop up the land at their side as they have built the �Royal Villa� on the edge of a ravine.

Well, do any of you have a spare �875,000 and we could be neighbours?

On a lighter note, we have had rain today and a pretty dull day. Of course it rained I watered the garden this morning.

Wednesday 5th April
We continued our quest for two relaxer outdoor chairs.  This time we went to Őnders in Lefkosa.  Again the plastic chairs were very flimsy and so bought two wooden ones, which we were pleased with. On the way back from Lefkosa we took some more things to the Auction rooms, ready for the next auction on 16th April.

We had left Rosie with a hide bone to amuse her in our absence. When we returned she had �buried� it untouched in the side of the settee.  As soon as we arrived home, she rescued it and ate half and then went to bury the other half in the garden. We only realised this when she came indoors with a huge lump of mud stuck to her nose, mud stuck to her whiskers and mud all over her paws. About half an hour later, after I had cleared all the mud from the floors, she dug it up again! This exercise happened about three more times. Well, it kept her amused all day. The Dyson came out but started smelling of burning and seemed as though it had overheated. Oh no!

In the afternoon Peter managed to escape from the house, obviously Kibtek had cleared a bit of the road and he came to see us.

Boris is doing well after his snake bite, thank goodness.

The weather was dull again but early evening, a lovely puffy low cloud in the mountains.

Thursday 6th April
Mal started filling cracks on the outside chimney breast wall and getting it ready to paint.

Early morning Mustafa arrived with a digger obviously to start digging out the foundations for the first house he is building behind us. This went on all day.

Lena and Willy came over in the afternoon. Willy has to go for a hip operation tomorrow. We wish him well.

Friday 7th April
Mustafa�s digger was back again early in the morning.

A hive of industry this morning, as the cement mixers are also up and down the road up to the �elephant trunk� which is working on the first house in the village, which is above Julie�s house.

We rang Rhys in the morning as it was his 31st birthday.  Makes you wonder where all those years have gone. Lou and Rhys are staying at our caravan which has been shut up since January. Evidently it has not been empty we have had mice visiting! So, they have cleaned everywhere and found a vent in the floor which it looks as though the mice had �popped� off, so they are going to replace and seal.

I took my Dyson out again and we spent a considerable time with it in pieces, only to find that it has died. Goodness knows how I will manage to de � dog hair the rugs and car without it.

In the afternoon we headed off for the beach where Rosie improved her swimming technique!

But the thing she likes doing most of all is getting as smelly as possible.

She rolls in the smelliest things she can find.

As we walked back along the beach, we met a couple with their two golden retrievers (I think Golden Retrievers are haunting me!) They were lovely and have been brought over from the UK. Rosie thought they were lovely too and even let one of them chew up her ball.

When we got home Peter came to visit and then in the evening we sat down to watch the DVD �Broken Flowers�. It was a very slow film made worse by the fact that the film kept stopping.  This has happened a few times previously but we thought it was the DVD�s Mal had �burnt�. However, having sat there until almost the end when it packed up completely, Mal put it on the laptop and it was fine. We have cleaned the DVD player to no avail and so now, not only the Dyson but the DVD player as well has given up the ghost.

We decided to go on the Internet and back a couple of horses for the Grand National.  The two I chose were �Nil Desperandum� and �It takes Time�.  Both seemed quite apt names.

The cement mixers were pouring cement at the house next to Willy and Lena�s and this went on until 11.00pm! What a noise, seeing as we had all the doors and windows open.

Saturday 8th April
Did you all spot the �April Fool� from last weeks Cyprus Today? Prince Harry did not come to the TRNC!

I went shopping first thing. I should not have recommended the wine as the supply seems to have diminished.

Mustafa�s digger was here again first thing.  We think they have hit rock, not surprising as that was why our swimming pool is so high, because there is rock here too.

Our workmen were coming back to paint the wall yesterday, need I say, no sign yesterday or today.

Mal and I spent the rest of the day feeling pretty fed up as Mal has to go back to the UK for his exam board work.

A couple of times I suggested he start on the packing but he said as soon as he did that then it became real, so was delaying it!

Peter arrived with some post to take back to the UK.

We watched the football in the afternoon and as no one was showing the Grand National, went on the Internet.  Nil Desperandum was placed fourth so we won a few pennies back!

Mal wanted to rig up a connection between the desk top and the TV to watch a DVD but I told him he had to pack! He had to face the inevitable! So, pack he did.

Sunday 9th April
We got up at 3.00 am with a totally confused Rosie.  Why on earth were we waking her up at this hour? Mal was even more fed up now the time was here. We drove to the airport for the 5.45 am flight. Rosie came too.  Night time driving I have always taken my dogs with me.  I know if anything happened to the car and I was stuck on my own, Rosie wouldn�t let anything happen!

I dropped Mal off, we said our goodbyes and back home I drove. There was a lot of fog around Ercan.

Once we arrived home, there seemed little point returning to bed!

Rosie became very clingy with me, obviously wondering if I was going to desert her too.

Gwen and Peter arrived in the morning and remarked how quiet Rosie was!

Mal text to say he arrived safely, with only about half hour delay but more time taken with double passport checks at Stansted. Torin met him at the airport and took him back to his house.

In the afternoon I watched the two football matches, the first West Ham (Mal�s team) v Chelsea (Torin�s team).  Bet they had fun watching it together.

Then Manchester United�s victory over Arsenal, meaning I received a jubilation text from Rhys!

The grandchildren went round to Torin�s to see granddad and so I rang and spoke to them all. They had already watched one of the DVD�s Mal had taken back for them! I don�t know what we would do without Skype, it saves us a fortune in phone calls and the quality has improved greatly.

Rosie seemed very relieved after a day of moping that in spite of the fact Mal wasn�t here, she still had her evening walk, her raw carrot as dinner was prepared and her half a biscuit at bedtime!  What a spoilt dog!

Monday 10th April
Another beautiful day. I spent a lot of the day gardening. Rosie has her favourite place when I am gardening in the sun and that is lying under the pampas grass. It looked very attractive at one time but she has managed to squash down all one side of it. Her brown and white doggy friend came down and joined her under the pampas! Two of them squashing it now!

I also had a Skype chat with Bev who will be arriving out here on Wednesday. She is getting excited and now Bev and Gary are seriously considering moving out here full time. I also had an hour phone call to Mal! He then headed off to Birmingham for his exam meeting.  I often wonder how he manages to find his �sensible� head when he has to go back and work. Still, this trip is only a one day meeting and then filling his suitcase up to come back. I can�t wait for all the goodies!

It was still warm in the evening but I watched some TV and then became engrossed in a James Nesbitt drama that finished at midnight. It was about the best thing I have seen on BBC Prime since we have lived here.

Tuesday 11th April
The sun was out and so I took Rosie to the beach. As usually happens, I met other dog walkers there, this time a very nice lady with two dogs. Even her 11 year old dog was chasing all over the beach with Rosie.

I stopped in Serkos on the way back and a very wet Rosie sat on my seat while she waited in the car. Consequently I arrived home looking very scruffy with a wet bum where Rosie had plonked herself on my seat. As I got out of the car, Julie was there!  It is the first time I have met her. We only emailed each other and yet as Julie said, it seemed like we had known each other for years.  Rosie fell in love with her, perhaps it was the pig�s ears and bones that Julie brought her! So, we had a cup of tea and chat and then Julie had to leave.  She is concerned about �number 6� that she was having built. They are evidently now building a load of semis and a communal pool just behind and above her.  Wonderful! I know she is looking around for other places.

Julie and Rosie

I had another Skype chat with Bev and then Mal rang. He was getting ready for his meeting. Poor thing.

I felt a bit guilty as after he rang I went in swimming, now the pool has warmed up. It was lovely. He is working in soggy wet England and I am here swimming in the pool.

Peter came round in the afternoon.

Well, our poor pampas grass now has the sparrows stripping the feathery bits.  There won�t be much left of it.

I contacted Ali Semi about the two houses to the left of us and below, for Julie as she wanted to know how much they are. I asked how much and he said �200,000. I did ask if that was for the two but his English is not good and he said �three evleks�, so I presume that is for one. I am shocked if that is so.

I tried ringing Julie at the hotel several times during the evening and the last time leaving a message.

Wednesday 12th April
Julie obviously didn�t get the message and so I tried ringing again, no answer from the room.

Having sung the praises of Skype, Mal rang and I could hear nothing! We tried several times. If he rang me and I didn�t pick up the phone I could hear him through the speakers and if I rang him, he could hear me but I still couldn�t hear him. So, we kept ringing each other having a one way conversation!

I saw Lena and Willy is recovering well from his hip operation.

I received an email from Margaret, the chairperson of KAR, who asked if I would put the Dog Show on my website. I will also ask Mal to put it on his website.  Margaret also mentioned that dogs can no longer travel from South to North. In fact NO animals can cross the border.

So, the Dog Show as everyone would have gathered is no longer on 30th April (our census curfew day) but will now be held on SUNDAY 7th MAY.

It really is a great day out.  Even if you don�t own a dog here, please go along.  KAR need your support, just think of the 200 homeless dogs up at the kennels and the cats as well.

So here are the details, so no one has any excuse for not going!!

KAR Dog Show and Spring Fayre



Registration begins 9.30am Judging begins 10.30am.

Two rings with total 17 classes.

Prizes � Cups � Rosettes to be won.

Stalls selling bric-a-brac, books, cakes, Pony rides, BBQ.

Bigger and Better this year. Fun for all the family.
Please give them your support, the volunteers work so hard, so we should all do our �bit�!

If you do a have a dog here in TRNC, enter them in one of the classes.  Rosie entered last year.  She didn�t win anything but I was quite proud of the way she behaved.  It really is good fun. 17 classes this year so there must be something for every dog here.

Mal called again and between us we tried to adjust the settings for Skype but no success. It will have to wait until he returns.

Ali Semi called me about his two houses for sale and I explained I couldn�t get hold of Julie and I rang the hotel again. They obviously have not passed the message on. Ali Semi has had one of his workers there tidying the houses up and the land opposite the houses which every builder around has been using as a �tipping area�, he has put a notice up saying no rubbish to be dumped over the side there or a 500ytl fine. BUT to stop this he has also planted some trees there. So, someone cares about the environment here at last. Good on you Ali.

Thursday 13th April
Another lovely sunny day. I spent quite a while getting ticks off Rosie.  Not an easy job. I decided more �Spot on� needed.  As soon as she gets a sniff of it she goes mad and bares her teeth. But I persevered and once again ended up with half of it on the floor.  I think she believes she is going to have an injection and gets so angry. Maybe it is after all the injections she had following her snake bite but it is a real battle. I even wrote to a manufacturer asking if they made tablets to stop the ticks but no joy, they only have tablets for fleas. Ah, well the pleasures of owning a rescue dog.

Mals second day of shopping from the list I gave him and I think he has got out of the habit! I won�t go into the mistakes he made and the fact he got lost going to Argos in Biggleswade and had forgotten the Hammerite altogether!

He did walk round the local hardware shop in the rain, only to discover they had shut for Easter! Torin came home from work early and so drove him down to Homebase. Evidently he put it in his hand luggage in case it burst open in the case and at customs they said he couldn�t take it but he persuaded them that is was as flammable as a bottle of whisky and after the Manager being called and Mal telling him �his wife would kill him if he returned home without it�, they let Mal and his tin of Hammerite through! If I had known it would have been such a problem, I would have told him not to bother!

In the afternoon the guys at Extend Broadband rang to ask if Mr Channing was here. They had told us that they were going to change our satellite dish to improve our Internet connection. So, they arrived and installed the new dish but left me without Internet as it needed to be set up. About an hour later it was up and running.

I went swimming again and Peter popped round in the afternoon.

I went to bed earliesh in preparation for collecting Mal from the airport at 6.00. am. I set the alarm on my mobile and went to sleep. At 11.50, I thought it was the alarm going off and jumped out of bed. It was a text from Mal saying he was boarding! The plane should be on time.

Friday 14th April
My alarm went off at 4.30 am.  I had plenty of time to meet the plane, a cup of tea and Rosie and I were on our way.

I had only got down on to the main road when I received a text. It was from Mal. �I am in Ercan airport�!! So, although of course it is �not allowed�, they had a direct flight lasting four and quarter hours.  Of course they were not told until they were landing so no one collecting had been warned, but who cares when there was no stop over in Turkey.

I pulled up outside the airport and Rosie went crazy, she climbed all over Mal licking him all over! The case in the boot and Mal in the front passenger seat and then Rosie leapt on to his lap and just would not leave him alone, her tail wagging like mad.  The only safe way to drive with her like this was with Mal in the back with her!! I think she had missed him!

It was lovely to have Mal back, Rosie was not the only one to think so. He remembered the Hot Cross Buns, as today was Good Friday and also bought me a large Green and Black Easter Egg with two slabs of cherry chocolate either side, so the errors in his shopping were forgiven! He certainly knows the way to a woman�s heart!

The tin of Hammerite arrived in tact along with two glass tiffany lampshades and most of the rest of the shopping list was there.

Mal spent the rest of the morning restoring Skype!

We then decided as it is Easter, we would be lazy for the weekend and treat it as a holiday! So, we sat by the pool and enjoyed the sun for the rest of the day.

Mal was glad to be home.

I spoke to Bev and we agreed to meet them at the Bulletin Board �get together� Sunday lunchtime.

Skype restored, I rang my friend Paula, my sister and Torin!

Saturday 15th April
I took Rosie out first thing and saw Res.  I was telling her the saga of Mals shopping and then she told me she had bought a tin of Hammerite in the South yesterday!!!!!! Wouldn�t that have been easier???

In case anyone wonders why this was so important, our newest railings have gone rusty.  Marvellous workmanship once again.

Peter came round to see Mal and of course wound him up about getting lost going to Argos! As Mal always says he is �geographically disinclined�.

I don�t think I have mentioned for some time that there has been no sign of Halil and his merry men to continue with the work on the drive. Mal and I are now convinced that we won�t see him again. We think he has now realised that he should have backfilled the retaining wall before he laid the drive, obviously a JCB is going to crack it all. So, another problem we have to think about. Little point getting stressed, it is really run of the mill here!

We did very little in the afternoon.

We did try and watch a DVD in the evening, a very short way into it and we had a power cut. We sat reading with our head torches on.  They are brilliant. They were part of our Christmas presents from Torin and Karen, a bit of a joke they said but they are so useful. Torin uses one for fishing.

Sunday 16th April
Gwen and Peter came round in the morning. It is now Gwen�s turn to get the miseries as she is going back to the UK next Saturday!

After they went we went to the Silver Grill, where people from various TRNC bulletin boards were meeting.  A good idea to put names to faces. Bev and Gary were going as well.

We weren�t sure what time it started and so arrived at 1.00pm. We were the first! Next Nigel and Pat whom we had met previously at a homebuyers group. Then more arrived.  I thought there would be more people. Although it was impossible to talk to everyone there, I have to say what a lovely bunch of people they were. We have been to several �groups� that seem promising only to find �British Wingers� but this was very different. So, all of you that didn�t go, you don�t know what you missed.

A very enjoyable Easter Sunday lunch.

Mal had a suggestion that I ought to have a contact for my website, so when the Internet is behaving, he will do this for me. It has not been working properly since the new satellite has been installed! It quite horrifies me how many people look at this site!! It started as a record for us to look back on and then for friends and family left behind in the UK.  Dawn for instance (third picture down on the left) met Mal at Stansted airport and knew who he was! Sorry Neil (Dawn�s husband), I don�t know how you didn�t get in the pictures. They are a lovely couple. Bev and Gary were having a get together at their house afterwards but we felt we ought to go home and see what devastation Rosie had caused. What a surprise, she had buried her bone in the side of the settee and was asleep! As soon as we were back she started on her bone. Bev did however tell me that they had been to the hotel Julie was staying at and Julie left for the UK yesterday. I await an update.

Having been nice and hot this morning, rain in the afternoon, followed by a terrific storm in the evening and torrential rain (did I forget to mention that I watered the garden last night?!)

Monday 17th April
In the morning I went into Girne to Ankara Travel to buy our next lot of tickets for the UK. They really are very helpful in there. I posted a Cyprus Today for Rhys, in Girne Post Office, the cost 1.70ytl. This is very strange as when I post it in Alsancak they charge me double that amount! I presumed it was because postal charges had gone up. Shopping on the way back.

We spent the rest of the day sitting by the pool reading and watching the football. Chelsea�s 3-0 win, I am sure makes them uncatchable.

Mal took Rosie for her evening walk and talked to Chris and Cynthia who are moving into a house just up the road (in Yesilyurt Sokak) and were waiting for their container to arrive. Their house is the new one behind the little yellow bungalow.

Tuesday 18th April
We are still having computer problems, intermittent Internet, no emails and obviously no Skype working. Mal had been in touch with them over the weekend and was told that something was hit by lightning in the storm and they were correcting the fault.

He rang them again and they have blocked his file sharing! Mal had plenty to say to them about that!  We are now back up and running.

We have decided that summer is here and so have taken all the rugs up.

Mal spoke to Chris and Cynthia again and offered our metal bin to burn their boxes in. BUT when Mal went to get it, discovered that it has disappeared when all the drive work was being done!!

Peter came round in the afternoon and in the evening Bev and Gary came to dinner.

Poor Bev was upset when she arrived as she had just seen a dog run over and killed and the driver just carried on.  How awful.

We had a lovely evening and the good news is that Bev and Gary have decided to go back, sell their house and move over here permanently.

Gary and Mal

One day Mal will have a �sensible� face on when I take a picture!

Later in the evening the subject got round to genealogy, so Mal showed them a few things on the computer!

Wednesday 19th April
We were very surprised this morning, the painters arrived to paint the retaining wall! Better late than never and Mal and I had decided that �never� was probably it. Halil came along to asking for the rest of the money minus �300.  Basically Mal told him he could have the money when he had backfilled the wall and then of course there is the matter of the broken gutter, which we believe will be broken even more when they back fill. We wait to see.

I know it doesn�t look much but we have our first lemon on our little lemon tree!

The garden is looking good.  The sage is in full blossom.

The silk tree is podding

..and even the jasmine which we had given up for dead has started climbing the frame. It still has a long way to go.

In the evening we took Rosie to the beach and it was lovely, the tourists had left and just us dog walkers were there. We used to walk our dogs in the UK along Minnis Bay beach and complain when it was tourist season!

What a life. How lucky we are.

Thursday 20th April
27 degrees today! We went to Amanda�s auction to see if anything we had put into the auction for Sunday had sold. We were pleasantly surprised to receive a cheque for �357.00!! Everything went!

Mal took some photos in the garden and is very proud of this one:

Mal has the new digital camera and I have mine that I dropped on the tiled floor last week, so isn�t performing quite as well as it should!

Gwen and Peter came round in the afternoon. It was such a lovely afternoon that Mal actually went in for a swim for the first time this year.  Well, the water temperature was 24 and a half degrees! The only problem is that Rosie chases up and down the side of the pool with you. I am sure it won�t be long before she is in there with us.

Friday 21st April
No sign of the builders again, perhaps they have given up the ghost this time!

Bev and Gary came round to say their goodbyes and brought their son and grandson with them. Callum, their grandson wants to be on the website, bless him, so here he is!

And one of Gary, Philip and Callum

They are going back to England tomorrow and Callum didn�t want to go!

We will see them all again soon as they will be coming out frequently until they move out here.

I also received an email from Lou taken at our caravan last weekend, Rhys and the grandchildren:

I do miss them.

Swimming in the afternoon.

In the evening we decided to go out and eat and give Bizim Han a try as we haven�t been there for a long time. It is next door to Burhan�s furniture shop. We both started with lahmacun and they were delicious as always. I had the Bizim Han Special, chicken, mushrooms and tomato under a bread topping. I did expect a bowl of salad and a plate of chips, to be put on the table, as they used to, but nothing. Mal had the mixed kebab.  A tasty brandy sour and an Efes and our bill came to 42.50ytl. Prices have gone up since our last visit but haven�t they all! We thought it was still good value.

An enjoyable meal and then back home for another brandy sour!

Saturday 22nd April
Gwen left for her week in the UK and text to say she had arrived safely but that it was seven degrees!

We spent a chunk of the day catching up on phone calls to the UK, making the most of when we did have Internet! It is still intermittent and not very satisfactory.

We watched the Chelsea v Liverpool semi final in the afternoon. Well done Liverpool! (I hope Torin doesn�t read this!)

Sunday 23rd April
I spoke to Torin on the phone who had plenty to say about Chelsea�s performance, the team that was put out, the ref, bad decisions etc etc!

So, now I think my families hopes are all on West Ham!

Peter came round in the morning and then took Mal down to sort some things out on his computer.

We then had our Sunday roast (beautiful pork from Lena�s daughter) and settled down for the big event of the day!

WEST HAM v Middlesborough. Do I have to say West Ham are through to the final. It was a very tense last 10minutes and then Mal dancing round the room, I think not quite believing they had done it and then the phone calls and emails from fellow Hammers supporters.

What excitement!

I know it�s an old West Ham shirt, maybe along with his share in West Ham, he will now invest in a new shirt!

Later we watched the DVD �Memoirs of a Geisha�.

Monday 24th April
We both did some boring things in the morning (like cleaning the pool) and then went to the beach in the afternoon with Rosie.

It looks as though the beach we go to, they are extending the bar and eating area. Last summer they started charging to use the car park but they haven�t yet this year. It just means everyone parks on the side of the road instead!

I rang Torin in the evening as he was having an operation on his face and neck (following his accident two years ago!) Sounded like a lot of cleaning out and stitches. He said it was Ok but obviously not very pleasant and he didn�t feel too bright. At least that is over until he has to have the stitches out. That is when I miss not being round the corner, as old as they are. At least he is OK.

Tuesday 25th April
We never enjoy going into Girne, so made a list of everything we had to do and decided to get it all done in one go. We left at 8.00am, the best time to go, then there are not queues everywhere.

First was to pay our land tax.  This should be paid by 30th April (we didn�t know this until Peter told us!) As usual we knew where to go but they had half the road up and so we had to keep doubling back! When you go in the building it is the office just up a couple of stairs and on the left. You also pay car tax in the same building. Well, we were astounded at our bill and really had a struggle finding the money, small enough that was!  For a year and a half we paid the grand sum of THREE ytl. It really doesn�t seem justified having three people in the office to collect this small amount. We were the only people in that office.

This is the office

It is the white building on the left hand side. In spite of the census we couldn�t find the street name!

Next on to Kibtek (electricity office) to pay our monthly bill which is the highest bill we have had yet, probably because they have added a surcharge for the fuel increase and also the tax has gone up. No queues!

On to the insurance office to pay my car insurance which runs out on 4th May. We were seen straight away again! They couldn�t find the paperwork and then he said �well, it isn�t due yet�! However we handed the money over (130ytl) and he gave us a cover note and assured us the certificate would be ready the next time we called �but it doesn�t matter when�!

On the way back from Girne, we went to the bank, no one else in there!

Mal then went into Eco Logic to enquire about wind powered energy, about �2K for 1kw per hour.  For solar electric it was about �3,500 for 1kw per hour.  For batteries to store 7 kw of which only 50% can be used about �2,500.  An inverter to deliver 3kw per hour another �2K. None of this included installation.  This is not economically viable for us now.  Had there been anything like this on the island when we had to shell out our �10K to have electricity brought to our house, that would have been a different matter. Now of course with the houses going up around us, they are all tapping into what we paid for! That�s life.

Next stop shopping at Lemars and then on to Tektan to enquire about vacuum cleaners. We took a fancy to the one they were actually using in the shop, not the two they had for sale! That was fine, they would get us one for tomorrow at a cost of 140ytl (for cash!) It is a bit like a Vax. No hope of a Dyson here!  Although we have taken the rugs up we have to de-dog hair them and clean them before we store them away!

Back home and Peter was there waiting for us. The people who live behind him have two dogs whom they left in their compound outside and one of the dogs was bitten by a huge snake that got into the compound. Obviously it was taken to the vets straight away and we wait to hear how it is.

Late afternoon, Mustafa came and spoke to me and said someone had dumped a load of builders rubbish on his land and did we know who had done it. The only vans we have seen are his delivering metal rods etc, so I couldn�t help. He said he was going to get in touch with the Police but I can�t see they will do much! It�s not exactly major crime league.

We watched Villa Real v Arsenal in the evening.

Wednesday 26th April
We heard Peter�s neighbours dog is OK, so that is good.

Mal fitted the two wall lights in the winter lounge.  He is getting very good at this DIY! He had also managed to get them back from the UK in one piece.

We went to Tektan in the afternoon to collect the vacuum cleaner.  It was a very half hearted drive there because we just had that feeling!

We arrived, well; no it is not here yet, come back in an hour! Mal just turned tail and said �forget it�. They then said �we will deliver it to you tomorrow�. They took our telephone number and address.  We will see.

In the evening we went to Lynn and Stuart�s and we had a barbeque. Very nice it was too and it was nice seeing them.  They have been having a lot of visitors over the last few weeks.

Poor Stuart was suffering from hay fever quite badly and this was his solution!

We are very cruel to laugh at his expense but we thought the colour suited him. After a lovely evening we went home to watch West Ham beaten by Liverpool!

Thursday 27th April
In the afternoon we went to Ledra crossing point to meet two of Mal�s sons, Kerry and Tristan.  They were on holiday in the South and wanted to come and visit for a couple of days. They warned us they don�t want to stay for curfew day! Who does?!

On the way back we called in at Tektan and our vacuum cleaner was sitting there, so we paid for it and left.

We brought Kerry and Tristan back home and sat out on the terrace catching up, having a few beers.

Mal had a phone call in the afternoon from a �third party� regarding our builder (of our house that is!) It seems Hakan may be finishing the rest of the work on our house. That will be good.

We ended the evening watching the Middlesbrough game.

Friday 28th April
Not as warm today and quite cloudy, so the boys (including Mal) went for a walk up the huge mountain behind us. He met �chicken man� on the way who told them the route right up to the top and also told him that the old school is opening up next week as a caf�/restaurant/meeting place. It is just up the road from us and has been renovated and just sat there for a year with nothing happening to it.  I then saw the Muhtar�s wife planting a garden outside so presumed something may be imminent.  It will nice to actually have something in Malatya.

We had a late lunch on the terrace after the �boys� four and a half hour walk. I think the three of them were a bit exhausted, they ended up in Lapta and then walked back.

Kerry and Tristan are both vegetarians, a concept they are not totally �au fait� with in the TRNC. But I found an advert for the �Ottoman House� in Zeytinlik and they advertise �Vegetarian Menu Available�.  This sounded promising, better than the usual offer of �we can make you an omelette�!

So, in the evening we drove to Ottoman House. It is a very nice place and very welcoming. However, it wasn�t exactly a vegetarian menu, but a choice of TWO vegetarian dishes. They chose one each so they could taste a piece of each.

They took the orders for the drinks and then brought cold mezes, all vegetarian so that was fine. Two of the hot mezes were meat which they put on all four plates even though we had told them Tris and Kerry were vegetarian. Still, Mal is always looking for the �extras�!

Mal had the Ottoman House special steak, which arrived with tinned tomatoes on top.  No excuse for this with fresh tomatoes being so plentiful and cheap! He was not impressed. I had sea bass, which was very tasty and fresh. The boys had a fairly average meal.

We weren�t offered a sweet but had Turkish coffee and brandy �on the house�.

The bill came to 128ytl, which we thought was a good price seeing as that included three rounds of drinks. Mind you, I was only drinking 7 Up as I was driving.

We came back home and a few more drinks and we sat chatting until the early hours.

Saturday 29th April
Another sunny and warm day. Mal had some money to use up on online betting so Kerry had a go at the poker and we had a couple of bets on the footie. I predicted Manchester United would win 2-1.  How wrong can you be?  Well, I was hoping.

Peter popped up for a visit and was then going on to watch the local football game.

Rosie never misses a photo opportunity! This was the one she behaved in!

We had lunch and then settled down for the big game. Needless to say. Chelsea won the cup, Rooney was injured (not good news for the World Cup) and Terry was not looking too promising limping through about an hour of the game. Tris was hoping Chelsea would win (tactical thinking as he is a Liverpool supporter).

When the game finished we drove the boys back to the border to continue their holiday in the South. It was lovely to see them. Tris was trying to get back so he could watch the Liverpool game somewhere in South Nicosia!

Gwen travels back from the UK today and had a text to say she was on her way.

We have left Rosie about four times this week and she now seems to have got the hang of being left without eating books from the bookcase, so that is progress. The pigs ear always helps.

In the evening we watched the Birmingham- Newcastle game.

We are ready and waiting for census day!

Sunday 30th April
(Curfew from 5.00 am to 6.00pm!)

Well, census day and Rosie was waiting for her walk! The best I could do was to walk her up and down the drive and around our land (for fear of being arrested if I went any further.)  She was not impressed!

Gwen and Peter text to say that they had been �done� in the morning.

What a lovely day, total peace, no traffic, no builders just the sound of the birds who were not confined to their nests.

At 11.00 am we did see a police car driving into the village, obviously checking out that everyone was obeying the curfew.

The newspapers told us if someone hadn�t visited you by 4.00pm then you had to ring the district offices. No one had! Were we surprised?  We tried ringing Girne, engaged! So, we rang Lapta. Mal just told them 2 Atalar Caddesi and they didn�t ask where so we didn�t hold out much hope.  We then had a phone call from Willy across the road who said they hadn�t been done either but the Cypriot bungalow just up a bit had!

At 6.00pm on the dot (in true British style so as not to break the rules!) Mal took Rosie out for her evening walk.

At 8.30 pm they arrived and took 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Mal mentioned Willy and Lena hadn�t been visited but they said they had gone out, so we are now wondering how accurate this census is going to be!

I am sure anyone who wanted to avoid it could have done.

Well, it was an experience anyway. In fact we thought it would be good to have a curfew every Sunday, it was so quiet!

March 2006

Wednesday 1st March
We were up early and organised to go into Girne. This is the first time we have left Rosie on her own since we have returned from the UK but she did have a pigs ear and kong with food in to amuse her!

First stop was Jotun Boya, the paint shop. We have been told they sell quality paint.  So far we have not found anything like quality. The girl in there was very helpful, so we just bought a litre and will try it first before we commit ourselves to large quantities.

Also on the way into Girne we stopped at the opticians.  Mal broke his glasses frame and so thought he would enquire about the cost of a new pair. Far more expensive than in the UK, so he left them to be repaired instead! 5ytl for repair.  I know last time this happened it was �19 in Specsavers to have them repaired, so at least that is cheaper.

Onto Girne, into Kibtek to pay the electricity bill. Early morning is obviously the best time to pay your bill. We went in and two people in front of us and three serving.  A vast improvement on my last visit!

We went into Gűnes Insurance to see if we could add insurance to travel to the South onto my car insurance. We were told you can only do it if you have fully comp. insurance. Bit of a catch 22 here as we can�t have fully comp. insurance because my car is too old! So, it looks as though we will have to go to Lefkosa and walk through. That�s a pity.

Then we went to Ankara Travel to collect Mals plane ticket for his short return to the UK in April. I have to say we always get excellent service from Ankara. They are very helpful and friendly.

On the way back to the car, there was a man selling oranges from the back of his lorry.  We bought two enormous bags, 5ytl a bag, more than we have paid before but then isn�t everything?! Still enormously cheaper than the supermarkets BUT as well as the two bags of oranges, he gave me an extra bag of mixed citrus fruit for free, mineola�s, tangerines, lemons and grapefruit. All the oranges we juice and drink it, so fresh it is lovely.

We called in to Lemar on the way back to top up the shopping.  A new assignment of Gold Fassel beer in, so we stocked up!

We arrived home to Rosie having been good and no devastation.  That was a relief.

In the afternoon, we went for a walk with Rosie and tried seeing what plants we could spot. We didn�t see any orchids but they have cleared the paths where we used to see them and it seems only the hardy mandrake pops up again everywhere.

We also saw quite a lot of wild lavender.

But how disappointing to see all this chucked over the edge! A bit of a shock too as there was broken glass everywhere and Rosie had spotted it before us!

This is such a beautiful country and walking in the mountains is so pretty and then this is what you come across. When will they learn?

As usual Rosie loved it tearing around after her ball.

No sign again of Halil and his merry men to carry out more work on the drive.

It was very windy during the night and we could hear things blowing around the terrace.

Thursday 2nd March
A cloudy day but still warm. Mal spent most of the day improving my diary!

There seem to be a lot of workmen coming to the Russian house now, so perhaps we are looking to the finished article in the next few months. At least it is looking less like an eyesore.

We feel sure it will look very grand when it is finished and we still find it hard to believe this is just going to be a �house� but that is what we have been told.

Now they have even started building next to Willi and Lena�s, across the road and in front of the little yellow bungalow.  I remember when there was just him and us here!

Friday 3rd March
We went looking for some lights for under the swimming pool terrace and also for outside. Hakan fitted ugly bog standard lamps fittings and so we will replace them all when we can find suitable replacements. We went into the new Elektrokur shop.  They were very helpful in there and also had a good selection.  We bought two lamps for under the terrace and also a sensor light for outside, depending where our hard stand is going to end up. That is a start.

We then went on to Bah�eli �i�ek�ilik Garden Centre looking for our sweet almond trees but that was not very successful. We think we will have to go to Guzelyurt.

In the afternoon we walked in the mountains and this time found a lot of wild flowers.

Ploughshare orchid



A Gromwell

The tall plants surrounding Rosie are Asphodel:

Peter came round in the afternoon and then in the evening we watched �Brokeback Mountain� and have to say, seeing the reviews of what a fabulous film it is, we were not overly impressed.

Saturday 4th March
In the morning after her walk, Rosie had a friend come to visit.  She lives in Malatya but often comes to our house, she just jumps over the wall and into the garden!

I think she stayed for about two hours until they were both exhausted from chasing around the garden.

I spent nearly all day weeding as the temperature was up to about 20 degrees. In the afternoon Halil�s men came to collect the shuttering planks from the wall in the drive but did nothing else.

Late afternoon we watched the football and then the film �Good Night and Good Luck�. Another film up for a lot of awards, all I can say is it is a good thing we are not judging them!

Sunday 5th March
We decided to go to the beach early. Mal and Rosie had great fun playing with the ball which was eventually pierced, hence Rosie fishing for it.

There was a lot of sea weed all over the rocks and one minute Mal was chasing Rosie for the ball and the next he had fallen over!  I had the good grace not to take a photo, in fact when I heard the crash as he went down, I had visions of having to call an ambulance.  Poor Mal. Well, then we had to go home as he was soaked and he was relegated to the back seat of the car, with Rosie, where all the wet people go!

Mal got out of his wet clothes and had a shower, bathed his cut hand and felt a lot better but I am sure he will be bruised tomorrow.

Gwen and Peter came round.  Gwen and I sat in the garden and Peter and Mal went down to Peter�s house for Mal to fix some things on Peter�s computer.

We watched two premier football matches in the afternoon and then the film �Proof�.  The best one we have watched this weekend!

Monday 6th March
We decided to make this a clean up day, watering and garden.  I was just about to start cleaning the windows and shutters, when yet again Mal said it is hardly worth it because they will be throwing muck up from the drive.  I replied that if I wait for them, it will be Christmas before we have any clean windows. So, Mal rang Halil, who told him that it will all be complete by the end of the week (which week?!)

I gave up and did some more gardening and Mal watered the garden.  We keep being told it is going to rain but no rain yet.

About 2 hours after Mal�s phone call to Halil, a digger arrived, I am not sure what he did but he spent about 30 minutes on the drive and then disappeared again.  A start I suppose. I am looking forward to the end of the week when our drive will be complete (she says with tongue in cheek!)

In the evening I made phone calls to Torin and Rhys on Skype and it has greatly improved.

We then watched the Man Utd v Wigan match, a win for Man Utd!

Tuesday 7th March
We went down to the Yapi market to buy some Tetrion for all the �filling� jobs needed around the house and then on to Serkos and bought some minced lamb amongst other things. It seemed very reasonably priced in there 9 ytl a kilo.  We have yet to see what it tastes like!

We called in at the Post Office in Alsancak to post another DVD to the grandchildren.  Strange, we get charged a different price every time we send one!

The afternoon a long walk up the mountains with Rosie and then Peter came round.

In the evening we watched Chelsea v Barcelona. Poor Chelsea!

Wednesday 8th March
Quite dull today. Mal decided to fit the new lamps under the terrace. We had a power cut so it seemed a good time to do it. In the end I assisted. The wiring was no problem but trying to put the cover on to the back plate was another matter! You couldn�t fit the top on until it was on to the back plate but meanwhile the whole lot, glass as well, all fell apart.  This was not easy on top of a ladder. Two lamps and the entire morning gone.  We got there in the end with the help of sellotape to hold it in place until the top was on! AND they work!

I then had a phone call from Linda who we met at the KAR Christmas Fair.  She had remembered that I wanted a Golden Retriever and knew someone who was mating his bitch Retriever.  Very tempting as I would love one but I have always had �rescue� dogs and feel that there are so many needing homes here that the next one we have will be another rescue.

It was nice of Linda to remember me though. She runs a Pet Care Service, looking after dogs in their own homes. Her number is 0533 846 0642 if any readers are interested.

Mal took Rosie for her early evening walk, it had rained a little but when he left it was sunny, about 5 minutes later the heavens opened and they came back like a pair of drowned rats.

A little later another of Rosie�s doggy friends arrived from the village and she just stood at the open door whining for Rosie to join her! Off they went chasing round the garden. I just think it is so amusing that they come and play and then go home again!

A bit of an overdose of football this week, not that we are complaining but tonight was Arsenal�s turn.

Well, it rained and it rained during the night and the wind was howling around the house.

Thursday 9th March
I managed to take Rosie out when the sun was shining but not long after the rain started again. Did it rain! In between the sun came out and a lot of wind, so my washing actually dried in an hour before the next downpour arrived.

Mal went off to Stuarts to sort out his computer during which time we had a real storm. Luckily Rosie seemed unphased by it all, in spite of the loud thunder and the flashes of lightning.

Peter came round in the afternoon.  Gwen and Peter had been to the South in the morning and said there was no problem at the border. Thanks to Stuart we have now found out that we can purchase insurance to visit the South, actually at the border.  He says it is about �85 cyp for a year.

Well, we guessed it with all the storms and rain, yes we were expecting it, plunged into darkness at 7.30 in the evening. Emergency lights on and reading books and Mal doing Sudoku.

Now Halil can tell us he couldn�t work on the drive because of the rain.  Perhaps it will be complete by the weekend after next!

I had an email from Bev and Garry, friends of ours who are buying here and actually using their house for the first time this weekend.  Bev asked if it is bikini weather. I put her right on that score. Now being complete softies, as you seem to become when you live here, we have not yet ventured into the pool this year.

I know Bev and Garry are excited at actually being in their own house.  I sincerely hope everything goes well for them when they arrive at the weekend.

The power was off for about an hour, so not too bad.

Friday 10th March
It was very cloudy first thing and the prospect of another day of rain, I walked Rosie into the mountain and she chased her ball. I managed to get right to the end of the walk without it raining but right at the end, Rosie ran off and when I called her she came back absolutely stinking.  She had found something choice to roll in as all retrievers have a tendency to do. I tried to wash it off when we were home with a bucket of water but it was all round her ears and neck and collar.  Disgusting dog. There was nothing else for it.  She had her first shower and was very well behaved. Then of course there was the shaking herself everywhere but at least she was clean.

The afternoon was a complete change of weather, sun out and warm so I started weeding the gravel entrance as the garden was too soggy to do any work there.

Mal and I had a discussion on what we are going to do with the rest of the land when the drive is completed. We are now thinking of moving the garden wall back to our new found border and all sorts of other possibilities.  The trees we have now decided to leave as we have left it a bit too late for planting, far better the other end of the year, early November and then we shouldn�t have to worry about watering.

In the evening we watched another film but it was far too violent for me! I tried to send some emails but the Internet was awful and has been for days.

Saturday 11th March
Rosie and I went for our early morning walk and saw Res again. She was just climbing over the wall and �said the things we have to do�. Evidently she is having problems with their water supply, yes we are familiar with this one! The mains pipe runs by her property too and yet none of us have been connected to it.

I then went to get the shopping from Lemar. This time I short changed them and just shrugged my shoulders and she said OK!

Two of Halil�s men arrived to start knocking the wall down. At least they are doing something.

This is supposedly where the new ramp will come up to the hardstand. Well, they had a lot of Nescafe and biscuits we gave them and then at 11.30, they lit a fire and started cooking a chicken, borrowing some of our kitchen equipment.  This is where it gets amusing as they speak no English and Mal translates with the aid of the dictionary. No they didn�t want a trowel for the cementing but a fish slice to turn their chicken! Then they asked for shish skewers! They don�t seem to have come very well prepared.

After sorting out their dietary requirements, Mal rang Ayzanet, our Internet provider as we can�t use it at all. They will try and come out today, so possibly the winds have moved our aerial. True to their word they were out within the hour and up on the roof making adjustments.

Meanwhile Halil�s workmen started on a low wall, to block off the �triangle� of Mustafa�s land. The one he wanted �7,000 for!

The triangle goes from where the wall has been knocked down at the rear, across the top of the ramp and then where you can see the new wall being built.

There is still enough room to walk round to the front door of the house (where Mal is).

The section where Rosie is looking over will be the new ramp.

At 4.30, they downed tools and left.  Only a slight problem, it is a bit of an obstacle course for us to get in and out! They didn�t think of that!

We watched two premier matches and the film �The Weatherman� which amused Mal and I.

Sunday 12th March
Rosie and I went out early and I also put the washing out so that the workmen wouldn�t laugh at me climbing over the obstacle course! Well, we should have guessed. No sign of them today.

Gwen and Peter arrived and we watched their version of tackling the obstacle course! Well, it keeps us amused if nothing else (doesn�t take much!) Peter had a cold and so wanted lots of sympathy.

In the afternoon we watched Man Utd�s win over Newcastle and then the Liverpool v Arsenal game. Later we watched �Beetlejuice� before sending it to the grandchildren!

Monday 13th March
Much warmer today.  I took Rosie out and had two other dogs from the village accompany us. When I arrived back home the workmen had already begun. They stood watching me as I climbed along the top of the wall with Rosie.  I think the penny then dropped that they had left us with no access! They had lots more coffee and biscuits.

It was so nice and warm that after lunch we took Rosie for a walk in the mountains. Mal has now put a chair so that we can climb over the remaining wall to get out! We met a �happy hiker� half way round and so chatted to him for a while.

Rosie and I on the walk

This time I took a far better photo of the Ploughshare orchid.

There are such lovely tiny flowers as well, if you stop to look.

Back home and the workers were still doing the wall.  They left at about 4.30pm, telling us that �tomorrow the digger would be coming�. Good at least we hopefully will have a ramp we can walk down rather than having to scale the walls.  All is going well!

Tuesday 14th March
I went shopping first thing, mainly to replenish our biscuit supply for the full compliment of workmen (we thought!) When I was driving back up the hill I saw, the little lady from Malatya struggling with her shopping bags and it had started raining and she had fallen over and had blood on her face and hands, so I stopped and gave her a lift.  I took her to her house and she invited me in for �Turkish Kave�, which I declined but thanked her or I knew I would be there all day!

Peter was at home when I got back and thankfully his cold wasn�t so bad! No sign of the workmen.  Well, leaving it so late in the day, their excuse will now be that it was raining.  It wasn�t earlier! Another day and the obstacle course is left there. The stone mason rang to say he had made our tables.  We will go and pay for them but they have no chance of getting them up here, I hardly think they will be scaling walls as we have to!

Now onto another issue.  There is going to be a census day on 26th March. There is a curfew on that day from 5 am until 6 pm! It doesn�t matter if they visit your house early, you must still stay in!! It doesn�t look as if Rosie will be having any walks that day.  I don�t suppose they have considered that being British �Mothers Day�, some mothers may have been treated to lunch out���.no chance, they are not allowed, they have to stay in! The way things are going the census people will need climbing gear to get to our front door!

Wednesday 15th March
Another dull day and rain. We went down to pay for our stone tables and warned them that there was an obstacle course to go through to enable them to bring the tables up. They didn�t seem bothered and so followed us back to the house. They tried getting their van up the drive, totally impossible even after 5 attempts with wheels spinning! So, they had to park the other end and carry the tables up but there were four of them, so they did manage! We had these made by the stonemasons in Alsancak, on the left hand side of the main road into Girne.  They made a very good job of them.

The smaller table in the garden

The larger table on the swimming pool terrace

I don�t think we will have a problem with the wind blowing these over! Stupidly when we ordered them I decided that the ones they had were too low and so asked for them higher, they do look nicer but it means everyone will have to sit up straight now if they are sitting at the table to eat! BUT it means that they are just above Rosie height so that is a bonus!

I then went up to see Res in the �round house�, who was busy doing her OU work but she asked me in for coffee, I think she needed a break from it (or an excuse!) They also have problems, like the roof tiles blowing off in the wind, having to join two wires together if they wanted central heating and hot water�.and their house is newer than ours. I did tease her about the article on her in the March 5th issue of Cyprus Times, saying she was an ardent �Gunners� supporter� but as she said that was when she was 15! :

Cyprus Times ‘Fan of the Week’ Resmiye Dickinson Arsenal

IN THE early 1970s there weren’t many young women going to football matches but ‘Gunner Res’ and her girlfriends were fanatics following the Arsenal double winning side up and down the country. Quitting the terraces for a more sedentary lifestyle Resmiye, a London Turkish Cypriot, joined the staff of Reuters and rose from being the first female press telegraphist since World War Two to finishing up as the first female News Network Operations Supervisor in their technical department. Whilst at Reuters she met her future husband Steve Dickinson on a trip to Tel Aviv. In 2001 together with their son George they decided to move to the TRNC. Resmiye hasn’t been to match in ages but clearly her days as a football fan are close to her heart as she’s still got all her matchday programmes. Mike Nagy takes up the story.

Resmiye, why do you support Arsenal? To be honest it started up as a wind up on my boss Sidney Whale (the then Chair-man of Tottenham Hotspur) and my col-leagues who were all Spurs supporters. He used to wince whenever he saw my pin ups of the Gunners on the office walls but he did keep me on his books for another two years.

Date of first match? In the 1969/70 season I don’t remember the opponents but soon I was hooked.

Date of last match? The 1978 FA Cup Final against Ipswich. We lost 1-0.

Number of matches watched? Probably a couple of hundred.

Number of grounds visited? At least 25. Despite my father’s stern disapproval I spent most of my �7 a week wages on following my club home and away on the ‘Soccer Specials’. At times things got so crazy that I’d end up climbing over walls to get out of the house on Saturday’s such were my trials and tribulations as a female North London Turkish Cypriot teenager. Usually I could get away with arranging bogus shop-ping trips that redirected me through the turnstiles of St. James’ Park, Anfield, Highfield Road and just about anywhere and everywhere else the Gunners were playing.

Most memorable matches? Several stand out in my memory but I guess Peter Storey’s last minute equaliser from the spot in the FA Cup Semi Final against Stoke City at Hillsborough in 1971 was one of the most thrilling. Grown men around me were praying and weeping with joy. The rest is history. We won the replay at Villa Park and were matched against Liverpool in the Final. I went to Wembley of course but me and my friend could only afford one ticket. We folded it in such a way that it looked like two tickets to get up to the turns-tiles and then I craw-led underneath my friend to see us clinch the double!

Low points? Losing at Wembley to Leeds in the FA Cup final twelve months later. I had a ticket that time!

Best players? Peter Storey and Charlie George. I was in love with Ray Kennedy and like everyone el-e highly respected our ‘gentleman player� Bob Wilson.

Ugliest player? In our team Sammy Nelson, elsewhere Gordon Banks.

Best manager? Bertie Mee even if’ I didn’t always agree with his decisions.

When he dropped Frank McClintock and put him up for sale I was so incensed I wrote a letter of complaint. To his credit he sent me a reply justifying the decision stating that it was in the long term interests of the club.

Thank you Res. Given you’ve already told me you no longer take an active interest in football I’m not going to ask you for your predictions about the next England manager or this Year’s World Cup Winners. You’ve already provided enough information to initiate several conversations and maybe even the pages for a book but why did you stop going to matches?

It was a great feeling to be part of such a large group bonded by a common identity and I was fascinated by the whole culture of football. Yet somehow I suppose my friends and. I moved on from it and got put off by the violence that seemed to worsen during the 1970s.

As changeable as the weather is here at the moment, we had warm sun in the afternoon. I made the most of it and continued weeding the gravel.  I am really not sure where they are going to concrete (if they ever return) and so just carried on.

Thursday 16th March �Mal�s birthday
Surprisingly Mal was up early, mainly to look at last nights West Ham score�and they won, so that started his birthday off well. This was one match they didn�t show here.

I drove down to Alsancak post office to see if we had any mail.  There was a birthday parcel from Lou and Rhys, good timing and also two parcels from my sister. On the way back I bought a birthday cake from Atakara. I think it was twice the price I paid last year and quite honestly I think I could have bought a proper one from M and S cheaper. Plus it wouldn�t have been half so sickly!

Mal opened all his presents and was impressed with one of mine which was a share in West Ham Football club. Amongst the presents from my sister was a large sudoku book which he kept dipping into all day.

In the afternoon we walked a different path in the mountains. Then Peter came round.

Our intention was to go out for a meal in the evening.  We had a power cut and by the time the power came back on Mal said he would much rather stay in and have a take away which was what we did, with him doing more sudoku! That was what he wanted to do and it was his birthday. He enjoyed his day anyway.

Friday 17th March
No sign of the workmen again and so we went off shopping, including buying varnish for the bookcase.

On our return Mal rang Halil. It seems he hasn�t sent any workers because �the ground is too damp to lay the reinforcement metal rods�, so they will be here tomorrow�that famous tomorrow.

Mal went to Res�s house to try and sort out their website application as they have had problems with the person who was doing it for them.

I brushed Rosie and discovered that she has ticks, oh no it is that time of the year again.  They are horrible things. I had tried putting Spot on, on her last week but lost half of it over the floor when she jumped having smelt it and didn�t like it.  So, at least the ticks were dead or dying but they are disgusting. Not my favourite occupation.

In the evening we watched �The Quiet American�. A good film.

There are now rumours that the census will be moved to April, someone suggested it was because they didn�t have enough pens (I think not). So, we wait to see if this is official.

Saturday 18th March
Rosie and I went out for our walk and then I went to Atakara to buy Cyprus Today.  Front page, it is official �Census Day is No longer March 26th! �The reason : �Officials responsible for conducting the 10 yearly population count admitted they had fallen behind with the naming of streets, numbering of houses and training of census workers.�

Well, they have only had 10 years to organise it. The count will now take place in April, targeted for either Sunday April 16th (our Easter Sunday, so no Easter lunch out) or 30th. You have to see the funny side of this.

At 9.15, the digger arrived.  At last, something is being done today, so by the end of the day we may have a ramp we can walk down.

Halil then arrived and said that the concrete has to be ordered, maybe Monday, maybe Tuesday! What can you say?! At least Mal has told him where our water pipe is and Halil said IF the digger breaks it then to ring him and he will send someone to reconnect it. He didn�t go over the pipe. The digger was here for an hour and a half and off he went.  At least we can walk down a ramp and don�t have to climb along the walls.

A long way to go yet though.

Mal decided to varnish the bookcase which meant removing the hundreds of books we have.  It took him quite a long time moving the books, I kept catching him sitting on the bed in the spare room, starting to read one after another. I started the window and shutter cleaning as I couldn�t leave it any more because of all the dirt the wind has blown up.

More premier matches in the afternoon ad then we watched the film �Munich� in the evening.

Sunday 19th March
It started off a really nice day, Gwen ad Peter arrived and Gwen and I sat outside, fine for a while, then the sky went black and the wind got up and the temperature went down to 12 degrees (at midday).  This is unusual weather for March.

Further news on the census day. It has now been decided that it will be either 16th April or 30th April.  Well, the first date is our Easter Sunday and the latter is the day for the KAR Dog Show!! Can you imagine coming to Cyprus for Easter for your holiday and then being told you are on curfew all Easter Sunday so you can�t leave your hotel!  OR the dog show which has been planned for months, has to be cancelled. Neither date seems particularly well thought out. We will wait ad see when the decision is made.

More football in the afternoon, Chelsea BEATEN by Fulham!  What an awful game.  I spoke to Torin afterwards and even he (staunch Chelsea fan) said how badly they performed. I rang Torin on Skype but it didn�t work nor did VOIP. Another job for Mal.

Monday 20th March
Mal spent quite a long time sorting out skype, a problem with the software. Now sorted. He completed the bookcase and dusted all the books and put them back. A great improvement.

Mal also rang Halil, Mal�s new tack is to ring him every morning! Yes, the workmen would come today.  They did about 3.00pm and started laying the metal rods.  They ran out and so disappeared for another day. The joke is that they started laying the rods at the bottom of the drive and worked toward the top which now means, when they return, they have to carry the rest of the rods right up to the top, which is where they ran out. Had they started at the top!? I don�t think they understand �logic�!

We went down to the DVD shop in Alsancak and bought some more DVD�s for the grandchildren and also 10 episodes of �Morse�!!

It was sunny so I did the gardening, putting in a lot of the cuttings that Gwen has brought us.

In the evening although, much to Mal�s disappointment, the match wasn�t shown here, West Ham won their match and are in the semi finals!

Tuesday 21st March
Hot and sunny forecast for today but we woke up to cloud over the mountains. The workmen returned about 9.00am. They continued laying the metal rods at the top of the drive and went again!

Mal rang Halil again to remind him that there should be a 4 metre sweep at the bottom of the drive which there isn�t at the moment.  Yes, that will be done before the cement arrives.

It was lovely and sunny and so in the afternoon we took Rosie down to the beach.

Mal took great delight pretending he was having another �falling over� episode.

�while Rosie just enjoyed herself.

By the time we got home, Peter was here, his last visit before he leaves for England.

Wednesday 22nd March
Sunny and warm.  After Rosie�s walk I headed for Girne to pay the electricity bill. The earlier you get there, the emptier it seems to be. Driving toward Incesu I saw my first snake of the year. Oh no, that means no more walks in the mountains off the lead for Rosie.  I think it was a black snake as it slithered in front of my car.  They are the �good� snakes but even so, the sun has woken them up by the look of it.

As I drove further down the road, the Muhtars from Incesu and Malatya flagged me down.  They had a handful of letters and had one for us and they also asked me about some others they had but the names were not familiar to me. The letter had our official address on it and our PO Box number, so goodness knows how they ended up with it. It was posted in the UK on 13th January!

On into Girne and manoeuvred around the new roundabouts they are making along the main road. The traffic was so slow as they were also constructing the �island� for the middle of the road. It�s not even summer yet and the queue into Girne was horrendous. But I was right, straight in and out of Kibtek. I did some shopping in 1001 and some food on the way home. We have now discovered quite a palatable wine in Bells. A 3 litre box for 11.20 ytl.  I hate to say it but it comes from the South and is far better than more expensive Turkish ones we have bought. Wine is not one of Turkeys best products. Unless anyone can tell us differently. It tends to make us drink more brandy sours and a bottle of brandy at about �1.50 a bottle, we really can�t complain.

Mal spent most of the morning designing a website for Rhys.

No sign of the workmen. In the afternoon I was outside doing the never ending weeding whilst Mal bottled another batch of his �home brew�.

Mal rang Halil again.  The men will be coming tomorrow!

Thursday 23rd March
A lovely day, it felt like the first day of summer.  Plenty of sun even though the tops of the mountains were circled in cloud.

True to his word, the �elephant trunk� arrived at 11.30.

The workmen started laying the drive, watched over by Rosie.

Well, that is the next step done and at least when it is set, I will once more be able to drive my car up to the house again. There is still more work to be completed but as long as I can use the drive! Today only took them about an hour and a half.  It is amazing how quickly it gets done when they do come.

The afternoon we sat by the pool for a while, enjoying the sun and then did some cleaning up of the terrace and garden, the dust and mud.

Friday 24th March
I was up at 5.00am to run Peter to the airport.  He is off to the UK for a week. It�s a nice time of day for an airport trip as the roads are empty. I dropped him off in good time for his flight.

At 10.15, a JCB arrived and it looked as though he had come along to do the drainage for the drive.

As the bottom of the drive is on a bend, I remarked to Mal that something would come round the corner and not see him there, no signs saying he was there.  Mal then pointed out the piece of wood stuck up between two stones and said �Oh yes he has�!

Well, I suppose they may be able to see it.

The man in the JCB dug a bit and then waited a while until some large pipe arrived, which was then covered over.

We are not sure exactly how this is going to work if it is all covered over.  We wait to see.

Meanwhile, a complete change from yesterdays weather, cloudy all day and very low cloud at that.

In the evening we were invited to dinner at the �Round House�, behind us. Willi and Lena were also invited and Cahit and Maria.  Cahit runs the �Olive Tree Project� (www.olivetreeproject.com Take a look at the site!)

We had a very enjoyable evening, good food, interesting people and good conversation. I think the others left about 12.45 but Steve offered Mal and I �one for the road�.  It was a very long one for the road as it was 3.00 am when we left! We just could not believe the time.  It had gone so fast. So, we walked back down the road in the pitch black, singing all the way!

I did take my camera but possibly the amount of alcohol consumed, we hadn�t noticed the flash didn�t work so most of the photos were useless!

However this is one of Steve and Mal (I think at this stage they were both playing �air guitar�!)

And then one of Cahit and Willi by candlelight!

I am afraid all the other photos were too dark!

Saturday 25th March
At least I got up to take Rosie for her early morning walk but then went back to bed again. Yesterday was quite a long day, running Peter to the airport at 5 in the morning and then getting to bed at 4 this morning! Eventually we got on with the day.  I went to buy Cyprus Today to discover that Census Day has now been moved to 30th April.  This is the day planned for KAR Dog Show! This will now have to be moved.

Whilst reading Cyprus Today, I felt I had to copy this part of Tom

Roche�s article re: census day.  I hope you find it as amusing as I did!

�Dear Guest,

Cementino Holidays would like to welcome you to the Doom Hotel and we hope you enjoy your stay in unspoilt North Cyprus. Tea and coffee-making facilities are provided in your room and you are invited to make your own delicious beverage. You are also invited to make your own bed, as, in common with the rest of the hotel staff, our chambermaids are staying at home today.

Breakfast is served anytime you wish, as you will be making your own.

You will find fresh bread in the dining room with a selection of cereals, jams and spreads. Hot dishes, prepared last night, may be warmed on the gas rings in the kitchen. (Mind the big one at the back of the cooker, which tends to blow up in your face).

Later you may use the hotel swimming pool. Unfortunately the bar area is closed through lack of staff, but we are happy for you to empty the contents of your room’s mini bar. Packed lunches courtesy of Cyprus Turkish Airlines are in the kitchen fridge.

Should you wish to explore our lovely country, you will find the roads traffic free. You will of course, have applied for a special letter of permission from the local District Officer, which you should have done at least a week ago. If you were planning to take a taxi, you will also need permission for the driver. You will need copies of his birth certificate, the full names of his mother and father and a declaration that he has completed his military service.

If you do not have official permission to do so, you are strongly advised not to leave the hotel. Police are on duty with orders to arrest those who break the curfew. Offenders may be liable to a year’s imprisonment.

Highly-trained government officers will be calling on you during the day to record as many irrelevant details as possible, including your name, age, sex, nationality, occupation and inside leg measurement. We would be obliged if all guests would stand very still while the count is taking place.

Your details will be stored on bits of paper and placed in yellow cardboard files in a filthy backroom in Lefkosa. We ask for your cooperation in this vital national task. Have a nice Census Day. �

Two premier matches in the afternoon and then in the evening we watched �The World�s Fastest Indian�, a great film and Anthony Hopkins at his best.

Sunday 26th March
Mothers Day! A day I can�t say I really enjoy any more as I lost my mum 5 years ago, but it still hits home on Mother�s Day. I still miss her. However I had received chocolates and cards in the post.  Mal was up early taking Rosie for her early morning walk and then picked flowers from the garden and I had them on my breakfast tray, in bed! Ah bless him. It�s days like this that you miss your kids in the UK, so it was very thoughtful of Mal.

I then went down to see Gwen as Peter is away in the UK. As soon as I arrived I received a �Mothers Day� text from Lou and Rhys. Gwen and I had a nice chat.

Back home and Mal prepared the lunch so I was really getting spoilt.

In the afternoon both Torin and Rhys rang to wish me a Happy Mothers Day.

We watched two premier matches, one Manchester United v Birmingham, a quite one sided match with of course, Man U winning.

Mal then cooked our dinner too! In the evening we watched �Mrs Henderson Presents�.

Needless to say, no sign again of any workmen.

Monday 27th March
A changeable day again with the weather but when the sun came out, Mal decided to pressure jet wash the swimming pool terrace. Meanwhile I cleaned all the floors indoors. At least we managed to get rid of all the mud.

Bev, who has bought a house in Karsiyaka, has managed to set up Skype so we had a Skype chat. (She is in the UK at the moment but will be back again in April.)

The sun was out in the afternoon and so we took Rosie to the beach. Mal threw the ball right out into the sea and for the first time she actually swam!! She should be a �water dog� but has never attempted before. I am sure it won�t be long now until she will be in the pool.

By the time we arrived home, it had been raining and all my washing was soaked but at least we missed the rain.

Again, no sign of workmen.

Tuesday 28th March

Rosie and I went out for our walk and met up with one of her �friends� in the village. He then joined us and came home with us. He is so funny, stays for about an hour, plays with Rosie and then wanders home to the village. Here he is sitting out on our terrace.

When we did arrive back, surprise, surprise, the workmen were here, well two of them at least.  We think they have come to put in the drainage gulley.

In the afternoon Halil arrived to discuss progress.  Mal understood �finishing� was the painting which Mal was going to do. No, the rendering is finishing, here we go, another �1,400 just slips through our fingers. If only Hakan had attended to the first item on our contract and had a correct tapu carried out on the first place and if only our solicitor had told us that on the deeds (in Turkish) we had no official access. Well, I suppose this has kept our lives from being far from boring!

We often discuss knowing what we know now back at the beginning would we still have done it. The answer is no, we would not have bought this land! However doing it the way we have, buying the land and then building, we have our title deed, which many around us have not. We will never complain because how many people wake up in the morning, sit up in bed and look out at the Med?!  We all make our choices and we all make mistakes but we are still more than happy with our �lot�. It really doesn�t take much to please Mal and I, we love our home.

Later Mustafa appeared on his land behind us, measuring one plot ready to build, we presume.  I have now taken to waving to him and smiling every time I see him. Our dispute is over with him.

We heard from Peter in the UK, his elderly cousin whom he was planning to visit died last week and nobody told him and then today he visited Bancroft Library to investigate more of his genealogy, having booked in advance.  He arrived this morning only to find it shut as government workers were on strike.  We felt so sorry for him and I am sure he now can�t wait to return home to the TRNC! He is not having a good week.

Wednesday 29th March (Sun-Earth Day)
We woke up to clear blue skies.  Little brown and white dog was sitting outside the door waiting for Rosie but this time didn�t come on our walk but stayed behind with Mal!

The workmen were here early, and started on the rendering of the drive wall.

I went to get some shopping and on my return realised the tapu men were here again and also Mustafa and his brother in law. A huge chunk of his brother in laws land has been taken by the road, so they were hammering in stakes right outside Willi and Lena�s house and in the middle of the road. As I drove up, Lena and Willi came out too.  Mal had already been talking to Mustafa who assured him it was nothing to do with our land. Mal always checks and even put the tapu men right a couple of times as they just stretch their cloth tape measure where they think the points probably should go! Accuracy is something they have yet to accomplish. It appears that Mustafa�s brother in law in common with us owns sections of the road. Then Res drove up and stopped to see what was happening and when she spoke to Mustafa, he said he will put a barricade across the road and charge everyone 5ytl to go through to the village, so if we do that as well, then it will cost 10ytl to visit Malatya! Well, we hope Mustafa was joking. It is hard to tell with him!

Mal has also spoken to Mustafa about the land he owns behind us and asked him what he is going to do with it. He is going to build three houses, the first for his cousin, the farthest spot and then one which he is going to live in�.so we will eventually be neighbours! The third he said will be a long way ahead. Mustafa is not the most popular man around here, so can�t wait! Just as well I have made my peace with him.

Whilst outside talking to Lena, I ordered some pork as her daughter has a pig farm and some of the meat we buy here leaves a lot to be desired, so what better than fresh from the farm.

We had our lunch on the swimming pool terrace and witnessed the eclipse. It is weird, it gets dark and the temperature drops and all the birds were perched and quiet, obviously believing night was coming on. We had a 95% eclipse here in Cyprus, Turkey had the total eclipse.  Mal and I were here in August 1999 and sat on Alagadi beach for the last total eclipse. After a really very warm morning, we had to put our fleeces on for a while. Just think people came from all over the world to witness this in Turkey today and here we were with it on our doorstep.

Later Halil arrived for the next payment of money.  He also told us to go and choose a colour for the wall but not to have white as it would get filthy in the winter.  Yes, I had already worked that one out!

We then decided to go the beach as it was so nice and met plenty of other dog walkers down there.

And guess who was there when we got back home!

I think he would move in if we let him but he has a habit of pee-ing everywhere, nice! He is obviously an �outside dog� and doesn�t know the difference between our settee and a tree.

I spoke to the grandchildren in the evening and River the eldest one has a place at the �children�s university� in the summer.  Only one hundred have been chosen out of the whole of Bedfordshire and he is one of them. I told him he must have been working hard to which he replied �Mmmmm�. I think 9 year olds are getting more like teenagers every day!

In the evening we watched the West Ham v Man Utd match.  Mal went to bed disappointed as his team lost.  I can�t say Man Utd played that well even though they won.

Thursday 30th March
A cloudy day and quite a chilly wind.  The workmen were here early again and seem to be getting on well with the wall rendering.

We went to Marshalls to choose a colour for the wall and then on to the DVD shop in Alsancak. Mal had lent them a copy of one of his downloads, which he returned and we bought some more DVD�s for the grandchildren.

We also went looking for two recliner chairs as one of ours has broken from skating around the pool.  Is it any wonder we had stone tables made?! After looking at a few, we went into the last shop but they were very flimsy plastic, in fact it almost collapsed when Mal sat on it.  The guy came out to ask if he could help and so Mal asked the price. Oh, they were �40 each without the cushions.  When we laughed and said �forget it� the price almost halved. We walked away! It is days like this I long for an Argos or Homebase or B and Q!!!

We have to admit to watching one of the kids DVD�s later in the day! Mal wasn�t feeling too bright with a bit of a sore throat.

Friday 31st March
Another �not very sunny� day and we are nearly in April. I am sure in the heat of the summer we will be wishing for a breeze like this!

Little brown and white dog arrived again and this time pee-ed on our rug and then climbed onto the bamboo sofa outside and pee-ed on the cushions. I am afraid he will now have to be discouraged.  Rosie doesn�t do this, so I am not having another dog doing it!!

The workmen here again, rendering the drive, so many days on the trot.  One day I may even be able to get my car up here!

Mal went round the house studying the outside to see what preparation work he has to do before painting the outside.  A lot of the paint is peeling off, a combination of bad workmanship and rubbish paint.

So, off we went to the Jotun paint shop. I said I would wait in the car with Rosie as she has a tendency to bark at every one who goes by, so I thought a bit of calming down training while we wait.

Mal went into the shop.  He only had to buy a can of paint and a wire brush. Thirty five minutes he was in there! He told me he was just asking advice on the best paint.

We then headed off for the beach and then it came out, Mal had been talking to Ozdil Nami, whose family own the shop. He is a Republican Turkish MP and is also the Turkish Cypriot Representative in Strasbourg and the Turkish Cypriot Observer in the Socialist group in the EU. I knew he wasn�t just talking about paint!

Ozdil Nami

We had a long walk along the beach and Rosie had a swim.

In the evening we went to Cenap�s for dinner. It is a little restaurant in Alsancak village which we hadn�t been to before. It is obviously very popular as we had the last table (having not made a booking).

The service was excellent, they took our drink order straight away and then the mezes started coming, Ah, we thought this is one of those, where you don�t order it just all keeps coming. They brought a very large bowl of salad and also a large plate of carrot, celery, artichoke pieces, rocket and other things to use for dipping and a basket of warm bread. Along with these came twenty three cold mezes! The table was full. Then plate by plate, the hot mezes started coming, they just kept balancing them one on top of another, which was a bit of pressure to get at least a couple of plates cleared. By the time we had gone through the fish, the liver and different sausages were coming and I was pushing mine on to Mals plate.  I could not eat any more. There even came a point when Mal said �no more please�. We had to ask the waiter to stop!  �But you would like fruit�. We couldn�t even manage that and just had two Turkish coffees.

They had a very good violinist playing who half way through the evening came to play at each table.  It was nice being serenaded.

Mal had an Efes and I had a brandy sour and including the waiters tip and the tip for the violinist, I think we spent 85ytl (about �33.50 at current exchange rate).  We used to eat mezes out for a lot less than this but then prices have gone up considerably. So, we considered it good value for money BUT don�t eat lunch if you intend going there. A good sign was that the majority of customers were Turkish Cypriots.

February 2006

Thursday 2nd February
Mal carried on with his exam work and I kept myself amused. I just want to go home and we both miss Rosie.

Friday 3rd February
We went off to my sister, Marion�s.  Mal was itching to go to the second-hand bookshop in Penn, so we dropped him off in the afternoon. Well, when we collected him I looked inside and it was amazing, books everywhere. In the evening Marion cooked us a lovely meal and then the men went for a �quick one� down the pub. The four of us chatted until quite late, catching up.

Saturday 4th February
Having been so impressed by the bookshop, both Mal and I went down in the morning.

We spent over an hour in there and by then, we had enough but came out with a lot of books.  Goodness only knows how we will get them all back to the TRNC!

We then had a real family gathering with Wendy and Mark (niece and husband), Julie and Joe (niece and husband) and their lovely two boys, Jake and Zak and also Torin and Karen (my son and daughter in law). It seems a very long time since we were altogether so it was really lovely.

Left: Bryan, Marion and Mal. Right Wendy and Jake and Zak

Marion cooked us all a lovely dinner, there was quite a big table!

After dinner the men had to slope off to the pub!

Torin and Joe on their return from the pub!


Julie and Zak

Later in the evening we played �Therapy� (the board game!)

Sunday 5th February
We had a cooked breakfast and then Mal and I left to drive over to Torin and Karen�s.

Rhys and Lou had the grandchildren for the day and so came over to Torin�s with them.

Rhys, Tariq and Lou

Lou is a very nice girl but I did feel sorry for her meeting everyone for the first time all in one weekend!

The Chelsea match was on and so the two Chelsea supporters present did plenty of shouting.

Torin and Sol

River, Torin, Karen and the guinea pig

�Mini� Torin

Sol, Tariq and River

Karen cooked us all a roast in the evening and then the boys went home.

Monday 6th February
We stayed at Torin�s and then met Lou and Rhys for lunch and then they had to return to Wales.

Tuesday 7th February
We returned to the cottage and Mal continued with his work for the rest of the week.

Friday 10th February
Feeling more like gypsies with all the packing and unpacking, we set off again for the Midlands for two more of Mals exam meetings.  This time we stayed at the Warwick Hilton for a change and spent Friday afternoon looking at the antique centres in Warwick. We also had lunch in Warwick and found a pub that was doing excellent lunches for �1.99! We really can�t believe how cheap things have become in the UK.  In the evening we ate in the hotel restaurant.

Saturday 11th February
Mal went off to his meeting in Birmingham and I spent a very nice day in Leamington Spa. It was exceptionally cold (minus 5 degrees!) and I had to scrape the ice off my car.

When Mal finished his meeting he said he would get the train back and I arranged to meet him from Warwick Station. Suffice to say that he was tired from all his exam work and when he arrived at the station in Birmingham, he saw a �W� on the ticket machine and pressed it, only to find he had in his hand a ticket for Wolverhampton! On further investigation he realised that he was at the wrong station! He did find his way back in the end.

That evening we decided to have our �Valentine� meal and so went to a Thai restaurant.

Sunday 12th February
I decided that it was safer to drive Mal into Birmingham for his meeting! I spent a miserable day wandering Birmingham.  It was cold and damp and raining. It reminded me why we have relocated to Cyprus!

The journey back to Kent was a bit of a trial too in those weather conditions.

Monday 13th February
Mal started wrapping all his work up and we now have piles of packages all over the place ready for DHL to collect.

In the evening we went to the Bell Inn, just down the road and met up with Mal�s sister Debbie and Dave her boyfriend, his other sister Marion and Steve (his brother) and Shirley his wife. I think we emptied the bar with all the noise.

They then came back to the cottage with us.


Shirley and Steve

Debbie and David

I think we have now managed to catch up with everyone! Just in time before we return to Cyprus.

Tuesday 14th February
As it was Valentines Day, Mal made me cooked breakfast, we exchanged presents and cards and then started packing things in the cottage.  We took five boxes round to Steves so he can put them back in the caravan when it re opens on 1st March. It was a mammoth job packing everything else up.

In the evening Mal cooked a special Valentines meal.

Wednesday 15th February
We loaded everything into the car and cleaned the cottage from top to bottom and then headed off to Torin�s. They had forgotten to leave a key for us so we took a wander round Biggleswade and then went to a pub for lunch.  Another sign of the lack of spending power in the UK, the pub we went to had all lunches under �3! For that Mal had a mixed grill and I had scampi, chips and peas. I am afraid we have started comparing the cost of eating out to that in the TRNC, which has definitely increased enormously.

Back to Torin�s and Karen and Torin were back from work. It was good to see them again.

Thursday 16th February
Apart from having another pub lunch we spent most of the day with things strewn all over Torin�s house, trying to decide how much we could squeeze into our suitcases! A lot we had to leave at Torin�s for when Mal pops over for another one day OCR meeting in April when presumably he will be leaving Ercan with an empty suitcase! We did manage most of the hide bones, pigs ears and tennis balls for Rosie!

I also bought a tin of Lactol for the tiny kittens at KAR. It is not available in the TRNC, for anyone coming over with a half empty suitcase or even a small space as a small tin only weighs 500 grams, so a good donation for them.

By the time Torin and Karen arrived home we had our suitcases packed and ready, with piles of other things to leave behind.

Karen drove us to the airport for the 22.00 flight.  On arrival we checked straight in, no queues but we were told there would be an hours delay. One of our cases weighed 31 kg and the other 29kg, although the baggage allowance is 25kg, they said nothing.  I think our hand luggage probably weighed almost as much! We met up with Phyllis and Geoff who asked us to take a letter to their builder, so we had a nice chat with them before going �through� but when we did go through passport control most of the shops were shut! Not a bad flight with CTA and they caught up some of the time on the way.

Friday 17th February
We landed about 6.15am, neither of us having slept but our cases seemed to be the last ones on the carousel!  However Peter was there waiting for us and it was so good to see him and to be back on TRNC soil. On the journey back we caught up with all the goings on.

It was so good to open our own front door.  We unpacked and then headed off to get some shopping.  As soon as we got back we went to collect Rosie.  She went totally mad seeing us. Back at home she chased around every room sniffing everything and then did about 15 circuits of the garden, running like a greyhound. She had evidently been sharing with a Golden Retriever at the kennels and having a lot of fun.  We overlooked the fact that she had torn her bedding up!

She was obviously pleased to be back, I don�t think her tail stopped wagging for the next four hours.

We noticed water coming from the roof, obviously the water tank and so Mal climbed on to the roof and tightened up the joint where the leak was coming from.  He is getting so Mr Practical! He also doesn�t like heights but still got up there.

The temperature I am sure equalled the UK, exceptionally cold for here, so gas fires on and then the log fire alight.

Our drive has all the shuttering up and the steel supports in place, so it is on its way, needless to say we can�t use it at the moment, so have to park the car at Willi and Lena�s and by foot come up our illegal drive.

Mal and I were both so tired that we kept mislaying things we had brought back and so at 8.30pm we gave up and went to bed!

Saturday 18th February
Mal woke up at 6.30 and brought me a cup of tea. It is usually me that gets up early. We have decided to have a relaxing weekend and then start our �things to do� lists on Monday.

We had breakfast and then took Rosie into the mountains, on the way looking to see what building was going on and how it has progressed in our absence.  The Russian House now has a coat of white paint on the outside and so looks greatly improved. It was so nice back to the walking again even though we have become a little out of condition! It is a much healthier life style for us in the TRNC. We eat far better food and have much more exercise.  It does us no good keep staying in hotels in the UK with three courses for dinner and �help yourself� breakfasts!

I went down to Atakara to buy some coriander and other bits I had forgotten yesterday and bumped into Gwen and Peter, so we clogged one of the aisles up while I started catching up with Gwen, even though she is coming up tomorrow!

Fruit for breakfast here and then home made carrot and coriander soup for lunch. A massive bunch of coriander is only about 60 kurus (about 25p), so I often freeze some. After the warming soup (it still seems cold here, the temperature being 12 degrees during the day), Peter arrived.  The FA football matches are on this weekend, we have FIVE on our TV, so we are really pleased.  We watched the Man U v Liverpool game when Peter was here and then he left to watch the West Ham match at home. Mal and Peter were both disappointed that they only drew.

I took Rosie for a walk and we had dinner and then time for the Newcastle game! I think a case of football overload this weekend. I phoned Rhys on Skype and it was a brilliant connection much better than ever before and at 1p a minute, well worth it! I think we talked for about three quarters of an hour!

In spite of the fact that I miss my kids, it is soooo good to be back home! As I write this Rosie is lying in front of the log fire and I am sure she thinks all is well with the world! Here the three of us are, happy and content once again!

Sunday 19th February
Mal made me breakfast in bed which totally confused Rosie, she didn�t remember this and when was it time for her breakfast?!

Mid morning Gwen and Peter arrived and we sat outside even though it was a bit chilly.  We caught up with everything that has been going on while we were away.  It is so nice to see them again. They even brought some wood up for the fire and some plants for the garden.

Home made French onion soup for lunch and then off we went with Rosie to the mountains. She loves it and so do we.  Her tail never stops wagging as she dives in and out of the bushes and chases the ball, along with her mountaineering.

In the afternoon/evening we had another two FA matches, in between having our Sunday roast. Log fire alight again.

Monday 20th February
A much brighter day with the sun coming out at last and noticeably warmer.

I took Rosie for her walk and took some photos of our drive �so far�.  They are a bit dark as the sun hadn�t come out when we walked!

Well, that is it so far!  It was due to be completed before we returned from the UK but no complaints as they have been having so much rain, we would far rather they waited until the weather improves before the concrete goes in!

Later I drove into Girne, yet again sat in the traffic jam on the way in. One day they will start the by pass! I bought some blank DVD�s at Laconic computers.  A good shop and nice and friendly staff. Then on to central Girne to pay the electricity bill. Kibtek has been opened up more and has been decorated and a new counter. It has been like that for about a month and already the side of the counter is peeling away! There is now much more space for the queue, beyond that it hasn�t improved.  An enormous long counter and ONE man taking the money.  I arrived at 11.40, they close at 12.00. Well, should I say the door is locked at 12, then a man sits by the door and unlocks it when you are ready to leave. My thoughts are he would be better employed behind the counter but who am I to think such a logical thing? My only consolation was that I struck up a conversation with Helen, another English lady in front of me in the queue. At 12.30 I was served, the door was unlocked and electricity bill paid!

I then did the rest of the shopping, visiting every supermarket for some dry ginger ale. Success in Serkos and I took the last two bottles off their shelves. This frequently happens that an item you are looking for suddenly disappears from everyone�s shelves, Gold Fassel beer is another example, so we tend to grab loads of it whenever we see it.  It must be something to do with how much they import at any one time.

I also have to mention that when I went into Astro Supermarket, the couple of items I bought came to 6ytl.  I handed over ten lire and she shut the till and started serving the next customer. Not again.  I have been so impressed at getting even my penny change in the UK! Needless to say I complained and she just said �sorry�, opened the till and gave me my four lire change. I am beginning to think that I look stupid!

On to the DVD shop in Alsancak and I bought 5 DVD�s (25 lire) that the grandchildren had �ordered�. This is another shop well worth visiting.

Back home and Mal was outside talking to �the chicken man� and a Cypriot called Peter. They had come to tell him that the builders had done the drive �all wrong�!!  We think not.  The chicken man no longer has chickens (neither of us can remember his name and have always called him chicken man).  He also said that he went to school with Mustafa (land behind) and he is an �awful man�! On the positive side he suggested that we plant sweet almond trees on our newly acquired border as years ago, that land and ours presumably was full of sweet almond trees. He also made suggestions of how to move our wall at minimum cost.  Now that he no longer has chickens he is a builder! He also told us that Mustafa won�t be building on the land behind us yet as he has run out of money, has two other houses to sell before he can do anything and from what we see around us, there is plenty of building but very little being sold!

Peter then called round to tell us he had heard his elderly cousin was very poorly and is thinking of bringing forward his trip to the UK.

Tuesday 21st February
I have been looking through some of our old photos and how our surrounding area has changed! It�s a little difficult to see in the left hand, bottom photo but there were even sheep grazing behind our house! Malatya has extended down to meet us.

Easter 2003

October 2003

February 2006

The weather really improved today, the sun out again and really warm. T shirt weather in fact. I decided to start on the garden. One of our little trees looks decidedly poorly but Gwen assures me it will revive. It does look a sorry specimen.

BUT the silk tree is doing really well.

I did some weeding and Rosie played her favourite game of chasing lizards!

Later on we drove to Lapta to deliver a letter we had brought from the UK for Phyllis and Geoff. It was difficult enough to get anywhere as they had half the road up below In�esu, laying new electricity cables and so only one way traffic if you were lucky accompanied by a detour. We drove round and round Lapta and couldn�t find the address and had forgotten to take the phone number with us! We also wanted to exchange our drinking water bottles too but had forgotten them. We have both started taking Gingko Biloba but it doesn�t seem to be helping much! OR is it just that we are much more laid back here?!

Wednesday 22nd February
A glorious sunny day again and so I was up early walking Rosie.  I took some pictures of �number 6�, Julie�s house where they have now taken the shuttering down.

Little brown and white dog who lives in the middle of the village, joined us again for our walk.

Then of course we go past the black and brown dog who is left tied to a van.  He always appeared so vicious but I talk to him every morning and now he waits for us to come along and wags his tail and stops barking!

Further down the hill, on the home stretch the two dogs ran out from the Round House, the big one is fine but the little Yorkie, Timmy, flew at Rosie and tried to bite her.  Steve grabbed hold of her and took her behind their walls and apologised.  I think Rosie was just shocked that there was a dog who didn�t want to play with her. Steve went off to work and Reiz and I stood talking for quite a while, during which time both her dogs escaped again!  Like the rest of us they are still waiting for works to be completed, including having railings on the top of their walls to keep the dogs in! Reiz said perhaps she could join me for walks some mornings.

I then started my �fitness regime� along with the DVD �Fitness for over 50�s� which concentrates on all the bits that seize up in old age! I was going great guns until the floor exercises and Rosie thought it was a game and climbed all over me. I did manage to complete the first stage though. I then tackled more of the weeding.

Peter came round in the afternoon.

No sign of Halil or his merry men who were supposed to be coming today to do the drive. Did we expect to see them?!

In the evening we watched the Chelsea v Barcelona match, according to Torin �we was robbed�!

Thursday 23rd February
Another gloriously sunny day, so out early with Rosie, we had two other dogs with us today!

Did I ache?!  Who says all this exercise is good for you!

We then drove to Lapta to try and deliver the letter for Geoff and Phyllis again.  This time we rang the guy first, yes we would meet him outside the Beledeysi in Lapta this time and would ring when we got there. We arrived and rang four times and couldn�t get through, never mind there was a local passing by and so we showed him the address and then followed his directions to the middle of nowhere.  Once again we gave up!

We went into Alsancak Post Office to send the first of the DVD�s to the grandchildren.  The post master didn�t say it needed a customs form and just said it would cost the same as a letter (60 kurus) to the UK! Ah well, he should know but we always have our doubts whether things will ever reach their destination.

We had booked to try the curry night at the Paradiso BUT at 5.00pm, a line of cement mixers started queuing up just below us. Anticipating this was for the drive, we cancelled our night out. Mal wanted to keep his eye on what they were doing and apart from that Rosie would have gone berserk seeing the �elephant trunk� appearing at the side of the swimming pool terrace. The elephant trunk (the machine that pours the cement in) appeared at 7.00pm!  So, they were going to work in the dark. They filled in between the shuttering for the wall and left about 9.15 pm.  Ah well, that is a start to the drive!

Friday 24th February
Sunny again, up very early and out with Rosie. This morning I saw Reiz again, this time she was in her pyjamas, well it was only 6.30am! Her two dogs, Timmy and Sandy this time decided that they did like Rosie and played with her. We stood chatting again.

Most of the day I continued out in the garden. Peter visited in the morning and in the afternoon Stuart came round and did �computer things� with Mal.

In the evening we watched another DVD Mal had downloaded, �Rumour has it�, as it says in the film adverts, if you drool over Kevin Costner, then try and ignore his bald patch!

Saturday 25th February
Up early again this morning and Rosie walked, I decided to go and get the shopping early. This paid off as everywhere was still very quiet and so I didn�t have to rush in the supermarkets.  I managed to buy the last two packs of Gold Fassel beer in Lemar but they had no Cricova pink wine! It really pays to stock up on things when you see them! Talking of Lemar, short changed again but as I had been chatting to the cashier anyway, he apologised profusely and said it was because he was tired!  Oh please.  Is every check out person �tired�?

The morning had started off with a mist everywhere, the sort that �burns off� as the day goes on. It didn�t! So we were in mist all day, even though it was still quite warm.

I read in the Cyprus Today that Ibrahim Gutan, who runs the nursery in Gűzelyurt, has died of a heart attack. That is where we were going to order our trees. Although his son is taking over the business I think we will leave visiting for another week as it will possibly be closed.

More gardening.

A distinct lack of football on the TV today. In the evening we watched �The Constant Gardener�

Sunday 26th February
Far better weather today although a bit of cloud. Two of Halil�s workmen arrived about 8.00am to start removing the shuttering from the newly cemented wall to the drive.  So, they are getting on with it.

Gwen and Peter arrived and we sat in the garden. I brought some Lactol back from the UK, for KAR.  I had read in ARK, the KAR magazine, that it was not available in the TRNC and it is used here for the tiny rescue kittens.  Whilst in the UK I wrote to the manufacturer asking if they would donate any to KAR, as it was a charity (no harm in asking!) They kindly wrote back and said they had dented tins which could be collected from the warehouse or posted to a UK address, for the cost of the postage or trade price. I passed the message on to KAR and was surprised when they replied saying they had enough. However, Gwen tells me that Firdez (our vet) always needs some as she ends up giving the tiny animals SMA baby milk.  She does so much for KAR, I was pleased to find a good home for it, so as Gwen is taking one of her cats this week, and she is taking it in for me.

Gwen brought me some more plants and newspapers (English ones that are always circulated around quite a few people!)

In the afternoon we watched Liverpool v Manchester City and then of course Manchester United v Wigan.  We had our doubts whether they would be showing the second match.

Manchester United won the Carling cup!! A good game.

In the evening we watched �Pride and Prejudice�.

Monday 27th February
Had a day of cleaning and getting rid of the dust and also moved some furniture around. Mal did help a bit (he is not a housework fan and would be up to his knees in dust and wouldn�t notice!) As he told me he has not retired to spend his time keeping the dust away.  Too right, it is me who does it! He did mop the floors and �tidy� his desk and the mass of wires! Oh and he cleaned the pool!

In the evening Lynn and Stuart came round for a meal. I was a little concerned about a power cut but thankfully the cut came after everything was cooked and didn�t last long. It was nice to see them both.

Tuesday 28th February
Quite a quiet day.  Mal spent most of the day finishing his new website which will incorporate all his sites eventually. (www.3cyprus.com). It keeps him amused and away from the housework! He launched it today and will expand it in the future.

Peter came round in the afternoon.  I also did more weeding but the ground is now getting very hard, so much more effort is needed.