May 15th

Norman from UK and Randy from Tucson have arrived and are staying at the Pia Bella, so we went along at 6.30 had a drink at the bar and then took them round to Rafters restaurant in Catalkoy. We had an enjoyable evening and some good food with some good company. We were able to catch up on all that has been going on and Randy’s news about his wedding arrangements. Norman has decided that he should be going so has booked himself out of Heathrow for a week or so.

Long way to go for a short visit, I think that Norman had to think long and hard before making his decision. What the heck, it’s only money Norman !.

An enjoyable meal and time to catch up with Norman and Randy, at Rafters.

An enjoyable meal and time to catch up with Norman and Randy, at Rafters.

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May 12th

The girl’s have been bothering me for a trip across the border, guess they need some retail therapy, so I succumbed and picked Barbara up at 9 o’clock and drove over to the Greek side. The usual thing, Carrefour, Lidl etc but this time instead of having lunch over there we made sure to get back to our side in time to offload the car and get down to Veni Vici restaurant for their early meal deal, two courses and coffee with brandy for only 28 TL, unbeatable in the Lapta area and really good quality as well.

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May 11th

Bill & geraldine Grundy had decided to organise an afternoon tea at their home in Arapkoy. The object of this was to raise funds for the Transmission System we need to relay church services from the church, downstairs to the church hall. We have done this on a couple of occasions when some special service was on and it has been very successful. To have a permanent system like this would be very useful when the church is overfull or when it is absolutely hosing down and people are reluctant to sit outside.

The idea is to have a permanent screen downstairs which can be used for other purposes and a sound system linked to the mics upstairs so that the whole service can be relayed to the Church Hall. The only problem is of course money and we are trying many ways to raise funds dedicated to this idea. With some money pledged and some already raised, we are already over half way there. Bill and Geraldine’s little venture raised over £300.00 a great effort.

Joan and I went over to Arapkoy and on the way back, dropped into the new big supermarket and bought ourselves some bubble and squeak with chicken, an Iceland product, which heated up well and was very enjoyable as an easy dinner.

When we got back this afternoon, our friendly owl was sitting on the light fitting of next door’s terrace. We thought that she had maybe gone away until next winter as it is getting too hot in our roof space now.

Our friendly owl, but sometimes she keep[s us awake at night.

Our friendly owl, but sometimes she keep[s us awake at night.

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May 10th

Todays morning service was down in the Church Hall, this is due to a major redecoration going on both inside and outside St Andrews. I took a little peek after the service and it is looking quite great should be an expense well justified. Lets hope that everyone is just as satisfied.

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May 9th

Guilty as charged. I know that I am running at least a couple of weeks behind but to be truthful I have found that this take over of the treasurers job for St Andrews has been more involved than I had originally hoped. Just getting the local banks to sort out signatories, costs masses of time as they want letters from this official and that official before accepting any changes. Over here we have in every local authority a man called a “muhtar” ( pronounced muckta) who has to give you permission to live in his village. Now Joan and I had to get a letter from the local guy when we came back in order to get our rental contract approved. We also have, in the eyes of central government ” permanent residency” with a special certificate to that effect, but no, the bank want me to go and get another letter from the muhtar to say that I live here. Crazy stuff and so unnecessary but then this is TRNC and all of this sort of thing entails running around getting signatures and official stamps. But then enough of my moaning, lets at least take a look at the recent newspaper reports.

We have a new president, Mr Mustafa Akinci who seems to have immediately crossed swords with Turkey. He has been saying things like ” I want to have relations with Turkey based on respect. He says he is going to resolve the Cyprus issue and take us into the EU as an equal partner of a Federal Structure. He said that it is high time for this baby to stand on it’s own feet”  This brought an immediate response from the Turkish President, who told reporters the TRNC president needs to hear the words coming out of his mouth, he said “does Mr Akinci think he can wage that struggle by himself” . Looks like we have a war of words coming up and whatever you say, we have to look at the billions of dollars that Turkey has spent, propping up the TRNC and wonder if they are prepared to give that away now.

Interesting, Pegasus airlines has now started flying four times per week in and out of Gatwick. That should be good for some people, it might also be interesting for us when we next go to UK. Have to take a look at prices of course.

They are at it again. Drink-drive incident and written off car in spate of road accidents. All of these accidents seem to occur in the early hours, probably when people come out of the all night casinos. Once again the paper reports that these people lost control, in one case on a roundabout and in another when a small hatchback was hit by a taxi and thrown 15 meters off the road, Guess the taxi was going quite slowly then in the middle of Girne !!!!

A civil servant is found guilty in court of taking a bribe, this time he was caught with 3,000 TL but I suppose one has to wonder if this was just a one off. Us Brits here have always said that brown envelopes are one of the best seller items at the local stationers.

The Cyprus Today for today’s date says that Girne Council and the Government are seeking funds to revamp the old harbour. This area is of course a major tourist attraction with the many restaurants along the harbour wall and for years now it has been obvious that some real work was needed to maintain this old original harbour.The harbour wall has been crumbling for many years now and tourist boat owners and the restaurant owners have been crying “shame” for lo0ng enough, but just as always here the problem and the fault for no work being done has been passed from one department to another, end result, nobody does anything.

Also a new “master plan” for Girne is set to ease congestion in the town. A count suggests that traffic has increased by almost one third in the last four years. The plan includes having 5 police trained traffic wardens issuing parking fines in the town for the first time, starting this month. Now that will be interesting as parking is ridiculous, in bike lanes, on the pavements, but it has to be right outside the shop or office the person is visiting. It will be very interesting to see if this actually works and if people are prepared to make use of the almost empty municipal car parks and do a little walking. It will also be interesting to see if the Dolmus buses are prevented from stopping just anyplace, especially on junctions and bends.

The new President has reiterated his hopes of reaching a settlement on the island this year and he has even appointed a new negotiator . The new man was the Foreign Minister and is replacing Ergun Olgun in the post.  There is already controversy within the government about this appointment. Mr Akinci is clearly pushing for a solution but has had his wings clipped by the President of Turkey already and I can’t imagine that Turkey will let all the billions they have invested be given away. Mr Akinci has admitted that he is no magician.

A panel of analysts meeting in Lefkosa have warned that Turkish and Greek Cypriots should not expect an imminent solution to the problem here on the island but suggest that the property issue could be the major stumbling block.

Whilst all this is going on we hear of interesting times back in UK.

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April 25th

The Annual General Meeting of the British Residents Society was held at the Pia Bella Hotel this morning. If anybody remembers last years huge great row which erupted you would be surprised to know that this year everything went through very peaceably and it was over within the hour.  Big change and a very good event and I found that I had been voted in unanimously as the auditor again. The current treasurer and the membership sec, have both really cleaned up the whole thing so much that it was an easy act to follow. I just hope that I can get the Church accounts system running in a similar smooth manner so that I can get similar praise from our auditor. Must set up a meeting with her to agree the new approach.

There is a lot of concern about the UK governments attitude to ex-pats and use of the NHS. All of us out here are very concerned about our many years of payment into the system but not being able to get medical help back in UK should we need it. The biggest thing that sticks in our throats is the fact that if we lived over the other, Greek, side, which is EU the rules would be different. The BRS is trying to fight this on our behalf and we have a Turkish Cypriot lawyer who is busy trying to prove that the whole island should be classed as EU.

Tomorrow is the second round of the Presidential election here. Only two left in this run off, the old encumbent  and Mr Akinci who claims to be independent but has no experience at this level. Tomorrow we will have the answer.

Two Turkish Cypriots have been caught and sentenced to death in Malaysia for drug trafficking. They had 4 kilos of methamphetamine in their luggage and claimed they thought they were carrying gold. I think I would no the difference ! There is now a strong appeal against the sentence, which is law in Malaysia. I don’t know what you think, but personally i believe that if you do the crime then you accept the consequences.

 

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April 22nd.

Joan to the hospital at 2.30 today. This for her next meet with the surgeon, as it is exactly 2 weeks since her surgery he looked and decided that the stitches could come out. A great relief for her as it meant she can gradually start to get some exercises with her shoulder to get full use back eventually. The surgeon still says will take another two to two and half months.

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April 21st

Quick nip across the border with Joan, because the trousers she bought in M & S last week are too tight. I think that she was too tired that day to try them on and with only one arm it is difficult anyway. Just goes to show I suppose that sizes on the labels do not al;ways tell the truth.

We had to get back as I had a Council Meeting in the Hermitage at 4.30 pm. this was to formalise appointments after the Church AGM last Sunday. So now I am officially wearing the ball and chain of the Treasurers job. Reverend Wendy had decided that what she would do is have a small Eucharist service in the Cghapel attached to the Hermitage, her home for the period of her contract. This was to welcome all the Council members, both old and new before we went on with the business of appointing people in positions. Short meeting, followed by a couple of glasses of wine and nibbles.

I got home at 7 pm, collected Joan and we then went to Veni Vici for our Tuesday evening meal together, something of a tradition now.

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April 19th

Today, after church, there was the AGM of the Church Council. Quite well attended and my appointment to the council went through. Lots of discussions about various items but at the end of the day some long winded speeches by some. Anyway after it was all over, Joan and I joined others at Rafters restaurant for Sunday lunch. We haven’t had a Sunday lunch, with Yorkshire puds for a long time so it was very enjoyable. They came up with a cubed chicken dish for Joan and her one handed eating, which she said was very enjoyable.

Because of the meeting the day was a long one so we did not get home until 6.30 pm, in time for an extra glass of wine before an early night.

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April 18th

Newspaper day again, but interestingly it is also election day here tomorrow, for a new President. As ex-pats here can’t vote it really only is a slight interest to us in case the new incumbent makes a worse mess than all his predecessors.

The main headline today, suggests that the BRS might put up a fight on our behalf against the expat NHS law.  I wish them well but fear that as the UK government refuses to recognise this part of the island they might be fighting a tough battle. All of us here are very aggrieved that we should have to pay something like 150% of UK cost having spent years paying in to the system. The ironic thing is, should the North jopin with the South, then we would be part of the EU and entitled to NHS help and it is only a 20 minute drive away.

The Turkish Parliament speaker has suggested that the TCs are living in an “Open Prison” because of the embargoes laid on them. In particular he referred to the referendum on the  UN Annan plan in 2004, when the TCS voted yes to accept the plan and the GCs voted no. The end result was that the GCs were accepted into the EU but the TCs rejected. Strange logic.

At a recent workshop on drug abuse, the deputy Prime Minister suggested that the “Drug Barons” in the TRNC should be sentenced to death. Drug use here has grown over the last 15 years and just as anyplace else in the world, it was difficult to combat without extreme measures. The death penalty seems a bit harsh, but if it did work, would be a good lesson for other countries.

Road deaths are being reported again. This last week it was two dead and 22 injured. The bike rider and his passenger both died when he lost control at speed in the middle of Kyrenia at 4 am on Sunday morning. It is reported that the bike split in two and they both died instantly.

For those of you who remember Asil Nadir, recently tucked up in a UK jail for fraud I believe, his mother who still lived here on the island passed away on 17th of the month at the grand old age of 95 years.

Sad day for Liverpool and in particular, Stephen Gerrard, they lost to Aston Villa today. Equally sad was the goalies boob in the Reading/Arsenal game.

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