January 21st

Caron to Larnaca today. Collected both her and Barbara this morning and then crossed the border to do some shopping on the way to the airport. There was a rumour going round that the checkpoint on the Greek side was double checking every document and causing great problems at the border because they were fearful that there would be a terrorist attack on them, similar to the one in Paris last weekend. Why do I think, cynically, that they are just using that as an excuse to delay  people crossing and possibly making them miss flights etc.

We experienced no delays and where able to do our shopping, get coffee and generally get Caron to the airport in plenty of time. Afterwards we all three came back over the border and went to “Salty’s” in Girne for a  feast of fish and chips. Very nice.

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January 19th

This evening Joan and I went to the Chateau Lambousa to attend the RBL branch meeting. This was followed by a talk from one of the members, Commander Paul Jones (retired) about his experiences as a Royal Navy Clearance Diver. Very interesting and some great slides to view. Obviously this was a very hairy occupation, rather him than me, but it made for a great evening entertainment.

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January 18th

After church, Joan and I met up with four others and had an English style roast Sunday lunch at the Black Olive. You need patience when you go there as sometimes the lunch is a little late, but at the end of the day very tasty. Think the main reason is that you get plenty of two types of roast and FRESH vegetables, so many of the places here serve frozen, why we don’t know, maybe because it is easy.

According to this weeks newspaper, the electricity prices are to drop. Unfortunately when you read the article the supposed 36% cut only applies when you have used masses of electric, so normal users will get no benefit in fact it is suggested that 90% of the users will see no benefit at all. Great deal then, global prices have dropped by more than half, but we get no benefit at all. Grweat place to live, the most exopensive electric in Europe but no cuts.

They are at it again. A TRNC driver with no licence and believe me there are many, has plowed in to a family on a crossing killing two. She then legged it, but was caught after her car smashed into bollards in the middle of the road. At the same time a driver could face a life sentence for a hit and run accident, he was drunk, speeding and driving carelessly. This guy had one false eye and defective sight in the other, one wonders why he ever got a licence. Two others this week walked away from an accident where the car skidded 60 meters, then overturned twice, guess they in the words of the locals, lost control.

An important article, which only found its way on to page 13. TRNC is going from bad to worse. More than three quarters of the Turkish Cypriot population believe this to be true and according to the press, more than a quarter would emigrate if they could. The locals are particularly critical of government, the economy and health care. There is a Presidential Election due on April 19th and it is reckoned that more than 50% of the electorate are “floating voters” Most reckon that it depends on how the candidates perform during their campaign. Could be interesting, but we have no voting rights.

 

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January 16th

This weeks restaurant choice was the Punjab. Joan was a little sceptical as she is not a big lover of commercial Indian food, but this restaurant also has a European menu so she was able to pick some Garlic King Prawns, which she enjoyed very much but have to say that my Lamb Korma was very delicious.

We managed a group of 11 this week and thankfully because Roger is back from the UK it meant that I was not the only guy there. Nice having all those ladies but it gets a bit too many some times.

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January 15th

9 o’clock meeting at Shooters Coffee bar in Girne, with both Malcolm and Nigel. This to start finalisation of St Andrew’s year end accounts and prepare the system for 2015. Good exercise for me, I am very familiar with Excel spreadsheets, but Nigel created these a couple of years ago so understands the system fully. Learnt a lot about the accounts procedures today but we were unable to finish the transfer to 2015 before packing up at 1230 p.m. Enough is enough we all decided.

On the way home I picked up some minced lamb from the local butchers, so invited Roger around to eat with us this evening. Half a kilo of mince, some onion, carrots and peas, with a mashed potato topping made a very tasty shepherds pie. So all we needed to add was some nice green veg and we had a super meal, there was even some pie left over for me to have for lunch, either tomorrow or Saturday.

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January 14th

Interesting today, my first full Council Meeting for St Andrews. I am only co-opted to the council at this time, so can speak about finance things when we get to that part, but have no voting rights on anything.

The meeting was interesting as there were a couple of controversial things brought up, such as a council member discussing issues with a non-council member almost immediately after the last meeting. Confidentiality is the issue here and I fully understand the Reverend Wendy getting quite upset by all this, however there were points I would have loved to have made, but not being allowed made it interesting.

The rest of the meeting was worth me attending as it gives me advance warning of what to expect.

This afternoon I booked our flights to Istanbul for February 23rd and a hotel near the airport. This seemed like a sensible solution as our flight to Las Vegas takes off at 0900 on the 24th and to have got the 0430 flight from here and then go right through to Las Vegas would have been quite shattering I think.Was able to get a room in a hotel, only 2 miles from Ataturk airport with free pick up, for only £52.00, so guess we will start out refreshed.

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January 12th

Was able to meet up with Danny today to finalise the BRS audit. Good to get this out of the way as I am starting to get involved in the full treasurers job for St Andrews church. Officially I only take over after the Annual Meeting in March but it is quite complex understanding the church accounts procedures so shadowing Malcolm for a while will be good.

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January 10th

Cyprus Airways, the airline from the South has finally gone the way of the old CTA from here, bust. They had trimmed down, but due to some illegal funding from the government in the South the EU demanded that they repay funding received from them which they were unable to do, so now they are finished.

Lots of pics in the paper of the snow up on the mountains with kids making snowmen and the odd snowball fight. This on the day when we received a letter from the UK government department to say we were not entitled to a winter fuel allowance.

Two dead on the roads this week and it is only the 10th of January. One, the owner of a bakery, lost control of his van, which skidded off a 3 metre high bridge and as he was not wearing a seat belt he received head and chest injuries from which he died in hospital. The second was an older man who was hit as he came out of the mosque and the police blame poor street lighting and a wet road. The car driver was held in jail for a few days.

The main item of news on the front page this week is about the dumping of rubbish. Raw hospital waste has been dumped says the headline, but in fact this waste has been dumped in a separate hole in the landfill site, because an EU funded disposal unit has broken down and can not be repaired. But identification of this has caused much to be written about waste in the TRNC and in fact the island is very much a waste dump with people taking no action to reduce this overall effect. Maybe bringing things out into the open will make people think carefully and particularly about these terrible sights and the effect on tourism and the income generated.

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January 9th

Joan and I collectd Barbara at 9 a.m. this morning and went on a shopping spree over the border.The girls did M & S, Debenhams and a few other places, Joan managed to find a new pair of shoes in Charles & Keith, I managed to find a new pair of swimming shorts in the Debenhams clearance shop, originally priced at £40.00, bought for £7.80. A good buy ready for next summer. Apart from that it was just food shopping we did and returned Barbara home by 6 p.m.

This evening the gang went to Acmenya restaurant in Alsancak. There were very mixed opinions of this place. Charles and I both had the grilled Sea Bream and found it very dry and fairly tasteless. Others felt that their meal was acceptable but Charles’s sister-in-law sent her salmon back twice before refusing it completely. Add to this some Turkish music that was so very very loud that conversation was almost impossible, that it will be a long time before we pick this restaurant again.

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January 8th

Spent most of the afternoon with Danny Dugan, Treasurer for the BRS. He makes a lovely cup of coffee. I had agreed at that wonderful AGM last April to act as auditor for this years accounts. In view of the fact that I had conducted, together with Ian Betts, that interim audit it seemed only fair to agree to do the final year end audit.

Danny has simplified the accounting procedure considerably and used lots of basic logic to make life much easier. I was able to check all expenditure items against the banking and despite a totally untraceable 93 TL decided and agreed with Danny that it should be simply adjusted in the bank figures. Out of a total of +75K TL it was not worth the effort to check out the variance. Lets face it, Ian and I inherited something which was a much bigger mess and the difference might well have already been there.

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