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! (

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.