November 18th

On the basis that Joan and I like to go out once a week, just the two of us, we decided to go down to The Blue Song for a meal. The other reason for going there is that I am going to lend my car to Kerim, the owner, whilst we are away. He only travels from his home here in Lapta down to the restaurant every day and he is currently doing it in a hire car. No skin of my nose really because the advantage here is that the car is insured, not the driver, so anybody can drive it with the OK of the owner.

When we turned up at the restaurant we met Sharon and Rob, joined them at their table and had a very enjoyable evening. The food there is very good,. Joan and I both had a fish dish called Casanova, which consisted of a piece of filleted white fish covered in a creamy sauce which contained, prawns, mussels, octopus etc, very tasty indeed. Very much nicer than last Sunday’s performance.

Joan had been down this morning to a meeting about a Pilates + Tai Chi class which is starting up shortly. Rob and I both decided that it is worth a try, when we get back. Another one of those where just a couple of guys work out with the ladies. We will give it a whirl and let you know.

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November 16th

Joan and I collected our friend Anne, from her villa in Karsiyaka to take her to church with us. She has unfortunately had a fall recently and has a hairline fracture in her shoulder, so is unable to drive, hence the request for a taxi service. After church we two had already arranged to go down to the Siranyali Restaurant in Alsancak to have lunch with Ann & David Challis so it made sense to take Anne with us to enjoy lunch there as well.

This restaurant has recently been taken over by the couple who used to run the Deli Cafe in Alsancak. we had heard some reasonable reports so felt it worth a try. The food quality was OK, Joan and I had belly pork, but the drinks seemed expensive because the bill came to 50 TL per person. Admittedly we all had pudding, somewhat unusual for us, but very nice. My lemon meringue pie was nice and tart, just how I like it. One to think about for a future visit.

 

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November 15th

Saturday has come round again. but this time we went quite early to Lambousa Market and we had only been there 10 minutes when it started to rain. Luckily we had got ourselves a nice brocali and blue cheese quiche for lunch and changed our reading books before it really came down hard. Rain has been promised for the next few days so lets see what we get.

The weather put paid to the parades and especially to the Turkish Air Force flying display, as the cloud base was far too low and it would have been dangerous. The display was organised to celebrate 31 years of the initial creation of the TRNC. The anniversary events are due to go on today and tomorrow. Tomorrows main event will be the unveiling of a statue. honouring Mr Rauf Denktas, the founding President of the TRNC, who died in January 2012. This statue is to be situated on the roundabout at the entrance to Ercan airport.

Other news is that border tensions are running high as Greek Cypriots began a string of protests, condemning the 31st anniversary of the proclamation of the TRNC.  Interestingly, it is mostly students who are marching and protesting and unless I am very much mistaken these students were not born 31 years ago. Just indicates the sort of education and indoctrination that goes on over the border, but then is it not always so when violent protests occur.

Oops we now have signs of funding shortfalls here in Lapta. Lapta Council have cancelled next years Tourism Festival and 30 people have lost their jobs in a major cost cutting exercise. The Mayor says that there is a 55,000 TL monthly shortfall in their funding budget. That is the equivalent of almost £16k monthly. They say that inflation levels have caused this shortfall and have overtaken state contributions. The finance manager for the authority has asked residents to do their bit by paying rates bills etc on time. If many local people are to be believed, many don’t pay at all, so maybe a more aggressive debt collection effort would be good.

“Dream Move Turns into a Nightmare” is another headline on the front page. This is a severe warning to all about using James Valentine Removals for your move out here. It would appear that this shipping agent had gone in to liquidation last June but still accepted money after this date. This ladies goods had arrived at Famagusta port but she was now being asked to pay an additional £2,200 to get them released. James Valentine have been reported to both the UK police and to Trading Standards but if you go onto the internet you will still find their website advertising services to Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar and Crete. So be very careful who you pick to arrange your shipping.

The minimum wage here has been increased by 7 % with effect from November 1st. This means that the minimum wage now stands at 1,675TL monthly. This is still only £475/ month, not a lot to live on.

 

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November 14th

Joan went off to Zumba this morning, once a week is enough for me. I spent some time researching things to do on our USA holiday early next year. Looks as if when in Las Vegas we just have to do the Grand Canyon trip and think we can pre book this sort of thing on-line before we go. Anyway, when we are in UK, the plan is to go down to see Norman for one night in the middle of our stay and as both he and Margaret have spent lots of time in America, maybe we will pick his brain for the best things to do.

This evening the layabout group went to The Blue Song here on Lapta strip. This was Gill and Roger’s choice of restaurant as they are off to UK next Tuesday for over the Xmas period. Good choice as the food is very nice there and not stupidly expensive. Maybe Joan and I will give it a try for our regular Tuesday night out together.

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November 11th

Joan and I went down to The Cabin restaurant this evening, just for some pasta dishes with a couple of glasses of wine. It is getting very quiet down there now and we reckon that they will close for the winter in the next week. Most of the staff seem to have gone, probably back to Turkey; and there are not enough tourists around any more.

Most of the restaurants in this area close for the winter, as a cost saving exercise, so we then have to resort to some of the regular local haunts. Still gives us plenty of choice and outside eating is not an option really, except maybe on a sunny lunchtime.

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November 10th

Joan dragged me off to the Zumba class this morning, as both she and Karen, the lady who runs the class, believe I need t keep up the exercising. My dance co-ordination is pretty useless but they reckon I just need to keep these old legs moving.

At least I am not the only guy who goes to these classes, but the ladies there seem to think we are very brave, or should that be stupid ? Oh well, she who must be obeyed.

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November 9th

Church was packed this morning, with a very special service of Remembrance. Just our luck really as Joan and I had been put forward for Sides Duties. I suppose it serves us right really, as we had been forced to bail out of last months list because of the need to go over to Holland. A total of 133 attendees today, which is almost approaching maximum.

We did manage to get down for coffee later but had already decided that we would not go up to the British Cemetery service in the middle of town, as last year we had needed to stand for more than an hour and this year, once we had cleared up and locked up the church, the chances were that we would be late anyway.

We did go back home, get changed, fed the cats and then went to The Hut for some lunch. It is almost time for them to close and head off back to UK until next April. This is an open air restaurant so strictly seasonal but always very good.

 

 

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November 8th

Once we had surfaced this morning we went over to Lefkosa after breakfast (brunch, I think) to see Omac about his villa here.We need to get some sort of decisions out of him about the pool, outside decorating etc, prior to next year. The pool in particular is a problem as the balance tank is leaking and needs to be drained completely and the re coated to waterproof standard.

Al;so, whilst we are in UK, at the end of this month, Omac wants me to go up to London and meet with the bankers and solicitors about his London flat. There appears to be some problems over the contract that have never been resolved, probably because the original UK solicitor involved, was struck off a few years ago. Have to meet first with his solicitor here and get authority to act on his behalf. Should be an interesting day out.

Joan wanted to walk across the border to Debenhams, so we were able to do that whilst in Lefkosa. She was also able to read me a few of the interesting points in the Saturday paper whilst on the way over. The major front page article refers to the monopoly that the two mobile phone companies here have. It appears that there is a sneaky 10% rise in charges being imposed by both companies, at the same date. Not much we can do about that, as the chances of ever getting a land-line are about zero. Many have said for years that they should allow a third mobile company to operate and that would stimulate competition, which could mean operations similar to those you have in UK. Can’t see that happening soon, so in the meantime we are grateful for Skype operations when making overseas calls.

The Greek Cypriots have put forward a list of the TRNC villages they want in the event of a settlement. When you read this list, I would imagine that the government here would immediately say “No Way”. I think that they have just further jeopardised any chance of a Federal settlement. Maybe there is some sort of plan in their thinking. A protest letter about the latest stand-off in the Cyprus Peace talks is to be handed to the United Nations by officials of the Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad, next Tuesday. The letter, addressed to the U N Secretary General, is asking the world body to take a fresh look at the Cyprus issue in light of the Greek Cypriot recent withdrawal from the talks. The letter will draw attention to the need for a two state solution because of the continued breakdown of all proposed plans for a Federal solution. The letter will also highlight other issues, such as the injustices faced by Turkish Cypriots, the launch of false Greek Cypriot propaganda against them and calls for international human rights laws to be implemented and an end to the isolation of Northern Cyprus. Surely, after all these years, people in authority must see that a two state solution is the only one possible.

The hunting season has started again. This will occur every Sunday from now to the end of the year. It is a big sport here but also results, every year, in more stray dogs at the beginning of the New Year. One would wonder about things here, when another article appears in the same newspaper, saying “Dog Chipping Not Enforced” . This article suggests that local authorities are not being responsible for their actions and have not submitted lists of registered animals. My feeling is that local people are not prepared to pay the costs of chipping and registering, so it will always remain a problem.

This evening, Joan and I watched a DVD, lent by a friend, which was three episodes of the film Cilla. Amazing, I saw details of clubs such as The Cabin, that I used to go to in my student days. An excellent film that also brought back memories of very happy days in my Liverpool home. In addition we considered the film to be extremely good.

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November 7th

This evening Joan and I attended the Royal British Legion 2014 Poppy Ball at The Savoy Hotel in Kyrenia. An occasion to dress up and fior me to get out the dinner suit, which luckily still fits. The program of events included a drink at the bar on arrival with our friend Roger strumming the keyboards to entertain us all.

Unfortunately Roger was put in a corner inside as it was the only place with and electric plug.

Unfortunately Roger was put in a corner inside as it was the only place with an electric plug.

After the Chairman’s speech and the President’s address The Branch Standard’s were marched in followed by the Royal Marine’s bugler  and two Chelsea Pensioners who have been guests over here for the last week.

The Chelsea pensioners, the Marine Bugler and the two Standard Bearers.

The Chelsea pensioners, the Marine Bugler and the two Standard Bearers.

All this was supposed to have happened before dinner was served, but the 5 star Savoy got it wrong again and we almost all had our starter, going cold, on the table during the ceremonial bits. This so called 5 star hotel has never managed to get their service above 2 star standard. This is the second time Joan and I have been to a ball here and on both occasions they have managed to screw it up.

Never mind, we actually had a very pleasant evening and finally made it home by 2.30 a.m. so no rushing around on Saturday morning for us.

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November 4th

Malcolm, the existing treasurer for St Andrews, came down to see me today and we discussed the job needed if I am to take over the work at the end of the year. Basically it is using Excel spreadsheets to record income and expenditure something that I am quite familiar with, so should not be a problem. I now have a copy of the spreadsheet on this computer so can take a look in advance to familiarise myself. If I understand the job is also making sure that income from all the sources is properly recorded by those responsible.

Malcolm is suggesting that he comes back down on Thursday and we do the initial November postings, he probably means that I should do them. OK good idea.

Apparently the job also means that I have to join the church council !

 

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