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� ( 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.