Night out with the gang this evening. This week at The Tervetuloua restaurant in Alsancak. This is one of the favourite haunts for the gang as the food is always good and they serve a traditional mezze’ included with your meal. It was very busy this evening so we waited a little while for our food, but then everything there is always freshly cooked so worth waiting for. As usual the meal including drinks etc came to 50 TL per, about £14.00 each. Excellent value for money even out here. I had minced lamb, mixed with peppers, tomato and the meat of an aubergine and then stuffed back into the aubergine shell, traditionally Turkish and very tasty. Some call it Yambalaya and suggest it might have Caribbean origins, whatever it is very tasty.
Joan is still going down to the beach and meeting up with some of the girls who did aqua aerobics all summer. She says that 4 or 5 of them are still swimming and that once you have been brave enough to get under the water it is fine, not sure I believe that but am not willing to try it to see. She still has me doing the Zumba thing on Monday mornings, but it is obvious that my lack of co-ordination is not making it easy. I suppose the fact that I am exercising is the most important part.
Apart from this sort of thing we are relatively quiet at this time of the year and every day now we get rumbles of thunder and lots of lightening flashes, some rain but not really very heavy. I have been able to get up the ladder at the front of the villa and repair some of the damage done when we had the waste pipe blockages and finally paint it all again so it looks good.
Today I climbed the water tower and switched us from solar panel hot water onto the gas boiler.There is just not enough sunlight around now for that early morning shower. Some days if you wait until after midday the water has warmed up, but if your friends start to look at you a bit strange then you know it’s time to do something about it.
This evening, Joan and I went down to The Cabin for something to eat, we like to have an evening out with just the two of us each week, but although we sat out on the front terrace at the restaurant it is clearly going to be the last time as even the tablecloth felt damp. However we braved it out recognising that from here on in we will be inside.
An extra hour in bed, no way somebody forgot to tell the cats, so they were looking for breakfast at 5 a.m. I suppose the advantage for us was a nicely leisurely shower and breakfast before church. The church was very full this morning many tourists and of course some of the so called “swallows” have come back to roost.
Joan and I went home after church as we had decided no lunch out today we had things to do around the house for ourselves.
The weather remains nice and warm during the day but is starting to get very cold in the evenings. Time to get the duvet out now.
We had an interesting meeting with a lady walking her dog down our road outside. I was out putting something into the car and saw this lady walking her dog, on a lead, but it was being followed by another dog. Suddenly she opened the garden gate of the villa next door, which is empty as the owners are in UK, pushed the stray dog through the gate, closed the gate and then continued her walk. When I challenged her about this action she said but it was bothering my dog. No thought for the fact that the stray dog might not be able to get out, she just wanted to solve her problem. I guess this is a British attitude, sort of “I’m alright Jack”, she was less than impressed when Joan opened the gate and let the stray out.
Telecom chaos hits thousands. Sure did, the internet was down for ages on more than one occasion this last week. Some 23,000 ADSL customers were cut off when the network went down yet again. The telecoms department scrambled around to try to resolve the problems. Hotels were without links to the outside worl and therefore do not know how many bookings they may have lost. Apparently the ADSL system is obsolete and spare parts no longer available, added to which fact it seems the previous government cancelled the maintenance contract. Another example of government efficiency here, the term “booze up in a brewery” springs to mind.
Sea manoeuvres spark tension. This is referring to the surveying being done by Turkey for gas and oil, whilst the GC side have awarded contracts for the same work to others. The Greek Cypriots are blaming this on Turkey and saying it is their reason for walking out of the peace talks. Whilst at the same time, a further headline suggests that the current crisis shows Cyprus needs a two state solution. Clearly, they say, if the island has a population made up of two peoples, then the natural resources around the island also belong to those same two peoples.
At the same time as all; this is going on, we are still walking around in shorts and getting the old legs brown. Jealous or not ?
Last night the gang went out to The Green Palace restaurant in Karsiyaka. This time my steak was much better but oh boy do you have to wait ages and ages to get served there. Still a good night out. Joan wasn’t with me as she had picked up Barbara and gone to the Ladies Night at The Black Olive. She learnt there that Barbara had taken Charlie to the vets earlier in the week only to have him put down immediately, as he had contracted leishmania, which they apparently get from sand fly or tick bites. It seems that it is also dangerous to humans so euthanasia is the only solution. Poor Barbara, she was so attached to Charlie.
Mehmet came round and did a big window cleaning job for us, including the last three of the shutters that we had not managed to do. Joan had been working hard on trying to do them from inside and I had been out with the long ladder at the front. Looks much better now that they are all back to white after the strong winds we have been having bringing dessert sand in with it.
We had a quick pasta dinner at around 5 p.m. today as we had booked tickets for the Kyrenia Chamber Choir concert in Bellapais Abbey. This concert was raising money for the SOS Children’s Village in Lefkosa. The concert was in two parts, the first being a combination of Folk Songs and something more Modern and after a 20 minute break, where The Kybele Restaurant took advantage of setting up an impromptu bar, we were then treated to something a little more Classical. The concert was organised by George Ward, who is our church organist but also the choir master.
The choir were supported by a pianist from Lefkosa who had brought his leading, award winning student, Erol Emminoglou, to play for us and there was also Lynette Oruc, a mezzo soprano who sang two solos. A wonderful evening especially good in the acoustic environment of the Abbey.
This is not the first time that we have been to these choral concerts and always very enjoyable. George announced a date for a Xmas Carol concert in December, where we all get a chance to join in. Must get tickets.
Joan and about 5/6 of the ladies are still doing aqua aerobics in the sea, me I have wimped out it is getting far too cold in there now and noticeably nobody is using their swimming pools now. During the day it can still be pleasantly warm but we have finally succumbed to putting a big wool blanket on top of the bed at night, it will be time for the feather and down duvet next month maybe.
The pair of us did decide to go down to The Cabin for something to eat this evening and we sat outside on the sea terrace area, but by the time we left at around 10 p.m. it was getting quite chilly, in fact we noticed that we were the last to leave that area. Notwithstanding that the food as always was very good and in a conversation with the boss we managed to find out that he was considering staying open until the end of November, unless of course there is a major change in the weather and a reduction in the number of tourists still coming to TRNC for a late break.
We were planning another meeting at the Catalkoy villa today, but that was cancelled late this morning, so we missed church. Nice excuse for a leisurely English breakfast for once which of course means no eating again until tonight. So I have a chance to read the weekend Cyprus Today and let you know the bits I find interesting.
Petrol prices went down by 5 kurus yesterday, (about 1.4 pence) per litre, but according to a former Finance Minister, not enough, the reduction should have been at least an additional 25 kurus. Critics say fuel prices should be slashed in line with the global fall in petroleum prices. The government are suggesting that there may be further cuts in the coming weeks. Oh yes, speaking of fuel prices, I had said I would put pics of my new car on the site, so here goes. At least we are getting greater economy from this car.
There is still a strong possibility of strike action by air traffic controllers over Christmas and New Year. This would of course be disastrous for hotels and the travel industry. Many parties are urging the government to take action and talk positively to the union in question. The union is saying that they will strike because of, long working hours, poor working conditions and the need to improve safety and hygiene within the building.
Increasing levels of discontent are pointing to the possibility of another early general election. One day we will have a government that goes the full term and maybe has the courage to make some strong decisions, even if not always favoured by the people. Maybe we need a Maggie here as the many, many unions have too much power.
A big central page article asking the question “Where did it all go wrong”. This of course refers to the Cyprus peace process. Cyprus is at war. A propaganda war. Tensions are high following the Greek Cypriot withdrawal from the talks, the two sides are trading blows, leaving the future of the peace process in the balance. The Turkish Cypriots are demanding an immediate resumption of the talks and say that the latest action just proves the insincerity of the Greek Cypriots, whilst the Greek Cypriots are attempting to wheel out the big guns, by lobbying the EU to impose political and economic sanctions on Turkey and there are ecven demands for the South to close the border crossings with he TRNC. A never ending saga.
We had a bit of a problem this morning. The cats normally are around for breakfast, in fact they normally wake us up if we have not put meat in their dishes by 7 a.m. This morning, Smudge was around but no amount of calling could raise Bono, so we set off on the search at around 8 o’clock. Eventually we heard him crying quite pitifully and a further search found him in the bottom of an empty water storage tank, which in years gone by, was used for irrigation of the fields. These tanks can be found in many places, mostly now unused.
We can only imagine that he had been chased, maybe by some of the stray dogs which run around and thought I’ll just jump over this garden wall and be safe. What he did not know was that there was a four meter drop on the other side, fortunately into a dry tank.
There was a man and two young ladies, out having their early morning exercise and when I went home to get a cat basket and half of our extension ladder, one of these young ladies kindly went down, put Bono in his basket and carried him out for us. So all is now well and he is back home again. We have no idea who the helpers where but are very grateful for their assistance.
A quick trip to the Lambousa Market to collect our tickets for the RBL Poppy Ball which is a black tie affair on November 7th at The Savoy Hotel. Then after grabbing some lunch, sausage rolls bought at the market, we rushed over to Catalkoy to meet Omac’ at a property owned by the family. This lovely villa in about two acres of orchard grounds, has been rented out as a restaurant for a number of years. Unfortunately it has cost them a considerable sum to evict the restaurant despite non payment of rent. At the same time they have not maintained the property so it now requires a lot of money to restore.
It is such a shame that the restaurant people have done so much damage, even to building an extension that is now falling away from the building. Ostensibly the villa belongs to Omac’s father , but his idea is to control the restoration and then rent it out as a holiday let. Lets just say watch this space because it could be a lovely place to spend your holidays.
When we got back home it was to go and join everybody from this road, on Pat’s front terrace for drinks and nibbles. Well done Pat a nice idea and very enjoyable.
This evening the gang went to The Tamazan restaurant in Alsancak . It is some time since we went there but still enjoyable. We added two more to the gang this evening as Sally and Colin, our occasional neighbours from two villas further down the road, are over from UK at the moment. It is in fact 16 months since they last came over, they say because they had a business contract that needed completion.
At least they enjoyed the evening so maybe next time over we can include them again.
I have received a website comment from a Sylvie Corlett who read about us attending the new Pensions Regulations talk. She has offered this link for more info.http://www.savvywoman.co.uk/
At 10 o’clock this morning we set off to collect Barbara and her daughter Caron, to go to Larnaca Airport. Caron is going back to UK after 2 months here, to ostensibly “look after her mother”. According to Barbara it has been the other way around and she will be very happy to get her house back to herself.
We stopped off to do a little shopping on the way there as if you have to pay insurance etc to cross the border, you need to take advantage of the trip. We hit some real heavy rain on the way there and on one occasion saw a Nissan Micra aquaplane on the dual carriageway, bounce across the central reservation, going through the hedges there, and coming to rest facing the opposite direction among the traffic on the other side. Either he or she, was very lucky that traffic was able to avoid them or there could have been a nasty head-on. I had only just said to Joan, “look at the speed some of these idiots are driving in this storm”.
Once we got closer to Larnaca, the sun came out and we were able to sit at the outside coffee bar before leaving Caron to wait for her boarding time. We heard later that she had been collected by her brother on the other side of her flight.
We had more heavy rain on the way back North, to such an extent that traffic was almost at a standstill on some occasions. This meant that we were very late back across the border, too late to collect Anne and David and take them to the BRS wine tasting event. We did all three of us manage to get there, part way through the opening talk on Pension changes, so were able to enjoy the onion bargees etc, provided by Kamares Restaurant and the wine from David at Wines of The World. Joan found a really nice Rose’ which she enjoyed so much that I was persuaded to buy her a 12 bottle case for only 117 TL. Calculated out at only £2.70 per bottle. A very pleasant evening after a very nasty drive.