December 17th

Just a quick posting, as we are busy preparing for our Bulgaria trip this coming weekend. A comment has been posted regarding the court hearing viz-a- vi the properties in Karsiyaka. Seems as if the story I read in the newspaper lacked some detail and added more. Suggest you open up the comment by Pauline Read, one of the owners there, this clarifies things a little more.

One thing is still very clear here ” BUYER BEWARE”

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December 14th

Joan and I were in serious trouble today !!  We had completely missed our diary entry which told us that we were on sides duty this morning at church, so when we casually walked in about 15 minutes before the start of the service there was a chorus from all sides ” where the hell have you been, you are on duty” Oops. Well at least we were able to take over from that point and it was quite busy. After the service we did manage to complete our duties by tidying up and locking the church before coffee.

We had booked to go to to The Black Olive for Sunday lunch, sitting on a table with eight other friends we enjoyed a full Xmas dinner cooked by Vicky and her husband. Absolutely delicious and unless we find a turkey in Bulgaria it may be the only Xmas dinner we get.

We have agreed most things for our two week trip to Bulgaria for Xmas and New Year, a decision has been made to stay on Sunday night near Sofia airport and only collect our hire car on Monday morning. That way we will be driving to the unknown village in daylight, hopefully with the aid of our TomTom, although I am informed by their website that they only cover 60% of Bulgaria. We have also decided to stop in the same hotel overnight on the return journey, as both flights leave quite early.

Finally folks, you need to look in the comments section for December 7th. Firstly Geoffrey Logan has identified the our caterpillar and provides a link to a website which shows them. Secondly I have been chastised by Bill Purkis for being behind again with the website. Two other comments regarding the caterpillar have also been made on the same date.

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December 13th

This morning is the annual mince pies and mulled wine social, organised by the BRS and hel in the church hall every year. Joan had volunteered to help out in the kitchen with tea and coffee, so yesterday bought a silly hat to wear.

Would you want to get a coffee from the crazy pigtailed one?

Would you want to get a coffee from the crazy pigtailed one?

I went down there for a little while just to get a couple of Lz Brown’s mince pies, very tasty. On the way back I did the shopping for our evening meal and bought today’s newspaper.

Recently we have suffered some very heavy rain storms and the paper is reporting heavy flooding in areas of Lefkosa. There are pictures in the paper of some areas where homes and flats have been knee deep in water and the government has formed a new committee which is supposed to look into the cause and resolve the issues, so that it never happens again. Last October, after the last heavy rains, a Prime Ministerial committee was formed which listed 16 flood prevention projects which cost 2.4 million TL. These included the rehabilitation of stream beds ponds and wetlands and the work was supposed o have been completed by this month. Part of these problems stem from the non-control of building works. Developers just fill in river beds and ravines with all sorts of rubbish and there is no building controllers to check on this or insist on proper development strategies. All that happens is that government ministers just apologise for the inconvenience.

Talks are proceeding about the threatened strike by air traffic controllers and their union is being very positive about the outcome. In this country there are more unions than there are pints of Efes, but some of them are essential in order to get action. If the union is to be believed, 12 hour shifts, poor working conditions etc should be a thing of the past. Lets hope so, because the damage to the Tourism Industry would probably be very serious.

One item has highlighted the financial challenges facing business people here. The owner of a wood joinery factory in Lefkosa Industrial area, committed suicide last Thursday. Every body believes it was because of financial problems caused by the current downturn in business. This man had been a well known business man since the 1980s his funeral was attended by many, including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. It is a sad sign of the times that this should seem to be the only solution.

Two betting shop chains were closed by the government last Wednesday, when the Cabinet ordered their licences to be suspended and all branches to be closed for 1 month due to their failure to meet legal liabilities. The minister responsible says that they have not paid their franchise fees and jointly owe the government 4.7 million TL. As a result both this Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have received death threats.

Quiet evening watching tele for us today.

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December 12th

As Joan had no exercise classes today we were able to go over to Nicosia ourselves, see Omac and his carpets, none of which were our taste, very Turkish, then travel over the border to take another close look at the one we had seen a couple of days ago.  We came to the conclusion that this was the one for us. 1.60 x 2.20 meters and nice warm colours which suited our room. This one is the same quality as the one now in the office, which we bought 5 years ago, so hopefully it will last. Certainly it makes the room feel nice and warm.

This was right for us.

This was right for us.

We got back in plenty of time to join the gang at Morelli’s Restaurant on the way in to Girne. This is a nice place with lovely food but just a little more erxpensive than our regular haunts. But have to say all of us, apart from Joan, had a starter which is unusual, so a bill for 70 TL each (£20.00) including drinks is not bad. Once again an enjoyable evening.

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December 8th

Joan went off to her Zumba class this morning, then after a shower we collected Barbara and drove over to the Greek side. The girl’s spent some time in both M & S and Debenhams but both came away empty handed.  The result was that Joan and I could also spend some time looking at new rugs for both the lounge and the dining room. The old dining room carpet is now here in the 3rd bedroom, used as an office, for winter warmth and the lounge rug, bought from Ikea 2 years ago, has shredded down the length of the edge where it was originally bound. Good job it was quite cheap, but then that was probably the problem. We saw a couple of quite nice rugs but will wait until later in the week, for when our friend Omac gets his delivery from Turkey, as there may be something nice in his collection. Also we would need to cross the border with just two of us in order to fit the rolled up rug in this smaller car.

Because of the late start this morning it was quite late when we got back, but luckily we had all had a substantial lunch over there.

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December 7th

Church this morning, as Joan and I are on coffee duty after the morning service. Quite busy today but after the washing up we were able to head for home and make our own coffee.

Seems like the rumour has spread around about me doing the treasurers job, guess I am committed now. Meeting this coming Wednesday for some more detail.

OK, all you budding gardeners/biologists out there, what have we here. Joan and I spotted this thing, about 5 inches long speeding across our path today.

Look at the two yellow spots, look just like false eyes.

Look at the two yellow spots, look just like false eyes.

Got a chance to start reading the local press again. Much of the same news about road deaths and accidents. This time a retired police officer died  when his car hit a van which had stopped because of a puncture. What happened to the warning triangles and flashing indicators you might ask?  In another case a man has been jailed for 2 months for killing a Ukranian student at Near East University. The jailed man made no attempt to slow down and was only awarded a light sentence because the student should have used the bridge. Doesn’t really teach anybody else a lesson that way.

Again Lapta Municipality is in the news, because they still have not resolved the electricity bill issue so the water pumps have been cut off, the consequence of which is that thousands of homes are left without water. Fortunately many of us have 2 to 3 tons of supply in storage tanks, so with careful use we can get through for a number of days. This is an urgent issue which needs to be resolved, water is an essential commodity for all.

The most important piece of news today concerns the 5 houses in Karsiyaka who have been under a legal cloud since 2008, when a legal judgement allowed the houses to be repossessed by the bank and sold off to cover the developers debt. This is one of those nasty issues where a bank will grant a mortgage to a developer on land which he is using for development and where the properties have already been sold and paid for. Finally the property owners have got the court to agree that both the bank who granted the mortgage and the developer who did not make payments on the mortgage, both acted fraudulently. These owners, who paid their hard earned money for retirement homes, must be very relieved, although no doubt both the bank and the developer will appeal.

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December 5th

Another night out for the Layabouts this evening. This time we went back to one of our favourites, The Tervetuloa, in Alsancak. This restaurant is great because their prices include a super meze starter, which simply means that by the time you have eaten that you end up struggling with the main course. the food is of course really good which is why we always go back there, we just come out very overfed.

Joan and I had been over to Nicosia earlier in the afternoon to see Omac, our friend who owns the villa round the corner. We are waiting for hime to get a new shipment of carpets in from Turkey as we definitely need to replace the two big rugs in both the lounge and the dining room, the weather is starting to get a bit colder now so we need these down on the floor. We had also, together sorted out the wood pile ready for the winter, whilst we have had the portable gas fire on for a couple of evenings, we sort of think the woodburner will be needed soon.  Whilst we were away, Mike at the top of the road had arranged a mutual shipment of logs for us, so we got 3 tons under the villa, but today Omac told us that the forecast is for this to be the warmest winter for the last thirty years. Oh well suppose he logs will always keep for another year.

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December 4th

Joan went off to her ball class at Black Olive, leaving me to organise things for an early dinner, as tonight we are going to the Chateau Lambousa were the RBL Theatre Players are presenting a Xmas Extravaganza in the rebuilt theatre there.

Because of all the work going on at the Kyrenia theatre, which they regularly use, they have had to cancel this years Pantomime, “Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves” so created this Showstoppers evening as a means of recovering many of the investments already made, in costumes etc.

The evening was absolutely tremendous and as I have been promised some photos, because I am having camera problems, I will post these later.

Just look at the fantastic make-up job on this lot, especially the lion.

Just look at the fantastic make-up job on this lot, especially the lion.

All the cast from a special evening

All the cast from a special evening

The guy in the dinner suit, is Mark Lake, who conceived the whole thing.

The guy in the dinner suit, is Mark Lake, who conceived the whole thing.

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December 2nd

Oh boy, long time no speak is probably what is being said. Sorry, but trip to UK has slowed down my workrate quite a lot so will just have to summarise the whole on today’s posting, the day we got back.

On Thursday 20th November we deposited the cats with Yasmin as that gave us lots of time to pack and get dinner before an early night. we went down to The Blue Song to eat as I had agreed to lend Kerim my car, whilst we were away. we were tucked up in bed by 9. p.m. as we needed to get up again at 3 a.m.

Friday 21st. We dropped Joan’s Peugeot off at Tiga Motors as we had arranged for them to give a thorough service, MOT and Emission test as well as store the car whilst we were away. Interesting last few miles, because the system requires you to meet their man at the garage and he then travels with you to the airport. This meant Joan had to climb in the back and sit crossways on the dickey seat as her car is definitely has two plus a couple of legless people space.

Anyway we made it to the airport in plenty of time and had a comfortable ride to Stansted, with of course the obligatory stop in Istanbul. We arrived at 1200 hours local time, collected our hire car and set off for New Romney. Only one huge snag, a 8.5 mile queue of traffic all trying to get over the Dartford crossing, it took us about 1.5 hours to get through this, but we made it down to Jill & Les’s by 4 p.m. Great to see them both again after almost a year, hopefully by this time next year, Les will also have retired. Joan was also happy to see their cat, Charlie, again but jill had warned us that she was probably on her last days. Almost 18 years old so maybe she had had enough.

Charlie in her younger days, enjoying the sunshine.

Charlie in her younger days, enjoying the sunshine.

Joan and I walked down the high street this morning to see what changes have taken place. There is an extra Chemist shop, a Mexican restaurant and The Romney Grill has now become an Italian restaurant but still with the same owners. Les is still operating his Shoe Menders, Key Cutting service etc out of the little shop in the old wall.

This was the pic taken when Les took over the business, 11 years ago.

This was the pic taken when Les took over the business, 11 years ago.

In the afternoon, Joan and I went over to De Bradlei Wharf in Dover. a shopping complex that always has a good selection. Managed to buy a nice pair of shoes and a sweater. Joan came away empty handed, very unusual.

Sunday 23rd and it rained all day. Charlie was fading fast and is eating very little, despite the special treats the girls have been buying. Jill asked Joan if she would go with her to the vet tomorrow morning, as they feel that it is time now and they don’t want her to suffer. This evening we popped Charlie in her little warm igloo bed and went round the corner to the Italian. Nice meal, but unfortunately, when we got back we discovered that Charlie had passed away. Sad after all these years but a little burial job for tomorrow, she is to get a plot next to her predecessor, Amy.

Monday 24th. We took Jill over to Ashford with us to visit the new Dunelm shop which has opened up there and of course the big shopping mall known as Tented City. Also we were able to order the wheel nut covers that were missing on Joan’s little car. We were able to buy some good sized bedding for our super king bed with the very deep mattress and I had ordered, by e-mail, an English language handbook for my Toyota so were able to collect that at the same time.

Tuesday 25th. Joan and I went over to Canterbury to meet up with a couple of old colleagues of hers from her days, before retirement, at the university there. Of course we took advantage of the bigger and better stores which are available in the city centre and one of the little back street pubs for lunch. Not much has changed in Canterbury but a huge influx of students is quite noticeable.

Wednesday 26th. Horrible day, misty at the start and then lots of rain. We had agreed with Norman that we would drive down to Lee-on-Solent and spend the night there with him. The weather was so bad that we did not rush and took the coast road all the way along the South Coast, a much nicer road than the motorway routes and anyway, what’s the rush? We arrived down into Lee early afternoon and went with Norman to a club he belongs to. Very palatial building and a nice snack lunch before going back to Norman’s flat. In the flat building where he lives there is some general decorating going on, so we were not able to use the guest suite which they have there, so Norman had booked us into a B&B just around the corner. Later we all drove over to Gosport to see Margaret’s sister and her husband and then the three of us went to The Jolly Rodger pub for dinner. Very nice food and it must be a nice place to sit in the summer, overlooking Portsmouth harbour.

Thursday 27th. Joan and I were driving back to New Romney today but Norman came and joined us at the B&B for breakfast. Nice, a full English without having to cook it and Norman had agreed with the owners when he booked us in, that he could breakfast with us. A nice surprise was the bill, £70 for the two of us with no charge for the extra breakfast. As we were leaving the area, Joan spotted a large shopping complex just off the road, so guess what we needed to visit. We got back to Jill at around 3.30 p.m. We were pleased that we had been able to firm up our Xmas and New Year arrangements with Norman, who is joining us in Bulgaria.

Friday 28th. We took Jill with us to Folkestone as she had heard that a shop called The Range had recently opened up there and we all wanted to be nosey. In the evening we met up with some other old New Romney friends, Ann & Peter, at The Bell in Ivychurch on the marsh. As usual with these two, a very enjoyable evening.

Saturday 29th. Quiet day locally and an early dinner before going to a Jazz concert in Lydd Church. Les had seen the advert for this concert so we decided to give it a bit of a whirl. Absolutely brilliant, some real musicians who understood trad jazz in it’s better form and who could really play the instruments of their choice. The group was led by a guy called Chris Spencer who was the trumpet man ably supported by a saxaphone/clarinet player and a fantastic pianist who was even decked out in Fats Waller style shoes. There was a banjo/guitar man who used to play with Chris Barber, a drummer and an Oboe player. This lot had obviously known one another for many years and just loved what they wre doing, playing jazz as it should be played, with great freedom. An absolutely great night and we all were so glad we went to see and hear this concert. Lydd church is from Saxon times, apart from the little bit around the altar area, rebuilt after bomb damage during the 2nd World War and it made a very nice setting with great acoustics for a jazz concert.

Lydd Church Jazz concert.

Lydd Church Jazz concert.

Sunday 30th. Our last day in UK with Jill & Les so in keeping with tradition we all went off to the pub in the early afternoon. We met up with many like minded friends who also enjoy a traditional English pint. One couple was, Reg & Brenda who are currently home from their place in Portugal. Some may recall that when Joan and I had our motorhome we spent some time with them there on our way back to France. Quite a little crowd and a super afternoon, but the beer quantity was treated with a little caution by me as tomorrow is an early start back up the motorway to Stansted.

Monday 1st December. We left at 7 a.m., quite early for the trip up to Stansted, but today is the first day of the new regulations at the Dartford crossing. The Highways Agency, in their wisdom, have decided to do away with pay booths, automatic toll barriers etc and require everybody to pre-pay and register their vehicle number. we had gone into the website yesterday, registered the car and paid for a singly journey at a cost of £2.50. On our way up there we had some very heavy traffic around the Maidstone area, which slowed us up considerably, but when we got to the crossing barriers, everything worked like clockwork and we found ourselves in Stansted, minus our hire car, by 9.30. Plenty of time to check in early and grab a bacon butty at Wetherspoons and also to buy some sandwiches for the later part of the journey. All in all, a good trip and we had unpacked everything and got to bed just after midnight local time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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