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
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.
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.
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.