George took us first to see Daventry town centre and then on to Banbury. We walked around to see some of the older buildings and of course Banbury Cross, then we went in to a Weatherspoon pub for some lunch, today was chicken special day, so a half chicken with chips, veg and salad, washed down with the drink of your was only £6.90 , nice real ale too.
By the time we got back to their bungalow all we needed was an evening snack.
After George and Susan arrived at the Heathrow Hertz office we set off Up to Daventry and their home. By the time we had settled in and unpacked and had a long chat about Cyprus and George’s desire to go back to live. It appears that Susan had seen a really cheap deal to Cyprus and mainland Turkey for a two week break at a cost of only £149.00 so we decided that the best thing was for them to spend their 3 days in Cyprus with us.
At the same time we had told them that we were going to Holland on 16th July for almost three weeks and the best thing they could do is house sit for us during that period. If they were to arrive a few days before we leave, they could take us to the airport and use my car instead of hiring.
So that’s the decision then, all sorted for our summer break.
Off to UK today, after depositing the cats with Yasmin until the 27th, they were not too happy about it but we know they will be safe and very well looked after during our time away and hopefully appreciate their home more when we get back.
We had booked flights out of Larnaca today very our usual booking agency, CheapOair.com and they got us some nice cheap flights with Aegean Air via Athens to Heathrow. We found out that at Larnaca airport they have introduced a new system of checking yourself in via some new machines, but unfortunately they have not set up the system properly so nobody was aware and nobody in the queue had got their boarding passes ready just to have luggage weighed. We found that by just putting our passports in the machine scanner the system allocated our seats and issued our boarding passes. Great but please tell the passengers on arrival.
Our flight left on time, got us to Athens and allowed us time to transit to our ongoing flight to Heathrow. The luggage came out quickly and we set off to find the Hertz desk to collect our hire car and that’s were our problems started. Because of all the account closures by Barclay’s and our need to change our bank accounts we had not yet got our new credit cards and only had both cash and debit cards. Hertz informed us that they could only accept credit cards and would not let us have a car but that we should contact the day manager tomorrow and ask if he could accept cash.
We had booked a room in the Thistle Hotel and Hertz kindly ran us round there so we could just stay the night and worry tomorrow about a hire car. Without a hire car we are going to be completely stymied because we need to get to Daventry tomorrow,New Romney in Kent next Monday and then down to Portsmouth for our last week, before delivering the car back to Gatwick.
We enjoyed a night in a comfortable bed and then a superb full English breakfast before getting a taxi back to the Hertz office. We met up with a young lady in their office who did everything to try and help, but was blocked by understandable company policy. Finallt we called George and Susan, explained the situation to them so they set off immediately and drove down to Heathrow . It Is so very good to have really good friends in this situation.
We jointly agreed that we probably did not need a car this first week, so made the decision to wait until next Monday. George suggested that he used his credit card to hire the car with me being an additional driver, a great solution for us, we can now relax for the rest of our UK break.
Anne had organised for us all to have dinner on Shakki, down on the harbour his evening. A bit of a variation to the normal Friday evening nosh. Some of the regular Lapta Layabouts are not too happy about being on a boat so cried off, but in reality the boats down on the old harbour are so tightly wedged in that there is virtually no movement at all. We had recruited a couple more to make the numbers up, Wendy our Chaplin, Earl the church organist and Gloria joined us for this occasion.
A table full and as usual excellent grub.
Tanya and Kantan served up a really brilliant meal for us with as usual their fish as a main course. We don’t think Kantan had reckoned on the wine capacity of our lot as he had to keep going off and acquiring a few more bottles for his stock.
Tanya and Joan.
Joan and I in borrowed hats, celebrating as usual.
Earl, Yvonne and Chaplin Wendy.
Barbara had to borrow a hat as well, with Kantan peering over her shoulder.
A super evening was had by all and it made a real change from our regular haunts. When Kantan found out that Joan and I where heading off to UK for a couple of weeks, he put in a request for us to buy him a fish finder which should be much cheaper there.
Of course Joan found another ships cat.
The weather remains really good and this is to the advantage of the olive pickers. This time of the year is traditional the time when olives get picked, but it should be noted that it is also traditional for Turkish Cypriot men to do as little as possible. In the Olive Grove next to us we watched a woman hauling a long ladder, leaning it against the tree and then climbing up to haul down the olives. The guy just stands around and picks up a few from the ground. See this picture.
Its 20 degrees but still she wears long skirt over trousers, a wooly jumper and a headscarf.
These two are probably mainland Turks who now live over here and this is one of their ways to earn a living. They then take all the olives to the factory, where they are pressed and bottled for sale on the markets. This is real virgin olive oil.
Took Danny & Elaine down to the British garrison at Dekalia. They had never experienced the fish and chips at the restaurant there and we have threatened for some time to take them. It is a long journey, but luckily they agreed with everybody we know, that these are the best fish & chips on the island.
When we got down there we found the place absolutely packed out, it seems that we had not reckoned on a public holiday today. Luckily we got a table quickly and were able to enjoy before heading back via Lefkosa for some shopping. Joan and I really needed to buy some of the special Felix cat food that our two kits enjoy. As they are going to have to spend 3 weeks in Yasmin’s Cattery from Sunday the 8th, we felt it only fair that they should be treated to something they enjoy.
A good and enjoyable day out, but totally out of it from 3 .5 hours of driving.
Church today followed by the preparation of a Sunday roast with Gill & Roger being invited to enjoy with us. I have said it before, when we get back from UK on 28th November, these two will be gone forever, back to UK. Very, very sad but life goes on, at least it might give us someplace else to go and visit.
Dismayed expats wait for NHS fate. Today’s Cyprus Today is reporting on a meeting that we attended in the Church Hall organised by the British High Commission to tell us the outcome of discussions regarding our entitlement to NHS service care “back home”. This has been a long standing issue based on the facts that, expats living here have paid for many years in to the system, we are still required to pay tax on our pensions, but were dismayed to hear that we must wait for a decision. Changes in regulations last April proposed that non-EU residents should be denied the right to free treatment, which of course reflects badly on those of us resident in internationally unrecognised North Cyprus. We had been advised in June that there would be an immediate and urgent review with a decision being made before the summer recess of the Parliament, but this has now passed and no decision is forthcoming.
Kib-Tek the local Electricity Authority is to be restructured. Now Joan and I have lived here since 2002 and this has happened more than once before, but at the end of the day nothing changes, the authority remains in debt and lives off bank borrowings. The major problems seem to be the non payment of huge debts by, Local Authorities, Government Organisations, Large Hotels, Universities etc and the inability of Kib-Tek to be able to chase up these debts. These organisations claim lack of funding by central government, among other reasons, but the claim that bad management and political interference is the reason for the high prices to the consumer is being denied. Political interference is rife in organisations here, for example the demise of CTA, the national Airline and that well known term “Couldn’t organise a drinks party in a brewery” springs to mind when referring to all the many governments we have experienced over the years. I know similar criticism could be aimed at most European governments, but non that could rival this lot.
The negotiations continue to try to bring the North & the South together but many are still not holding our breath for any form of positive reaction, especially from the Greek Cypriots. Former negotiators, with previous governments are deeply concerned about the direction that things are going in. I firmly believe that all the people here in the north need, is full recognition around the world, the ability to trade with the rest of the world. The Turkish Republic used to have it’s own manufacturing companies, but these have been financially strangled by the current situation.
The main centre page headline. “Pipe dream comes true” refers to the switching on of the pumps by Turkish President, Recep Erdogan. As the whole multi billion dollar construction was funded by Turkey, he logically has every right to open the pipes and switch on the pumps, but one thing mared the whole day. An estimated 10,000 people were present to see this event but there has been heavy criticism of the demand that women and men were separated onto two sides, this is something that happens often in Turkey and is part of the local attitude that says we don’t want this here. The Turkish government leading party sees this as being something that should be always happening at any event and is leading to some unrest over there.
Off to Larnaca with Norman today, he had an earlier flight booked so Joan and I were able to stop in Lefkosa and do some shopping on the way home. We are hoping that Norman is OK for the journey as we had to stop and buy him some Imodium this morning, don’t know what he had eaten as we have all three had the same food over the last couple of days.
We heard from him later that he had got home safely at 9 pm and is now feeling much better.
This afternoon we three took a walk along the Lapts Shore route. This walkway has been created with the aid of an EU grant and is going eventually to extend all the way to the Lapta strip restaurants, some of it will be across the water on pilons into the sea.
From this end the walkway will go across the two little bays you can see towards Lapta Strip.
It is very popular spot for the local fishing guys who can sit for hours like this catching very small fish.
How long do you reckon you could sit crouched like this
This evening the Cine Vici had agreed to download the old Orson Wells film, Citizen Kane so the three of planned to go and view this, Norman was right and excellent film well worth watching. We did not really fancy Italian food this evening, so went to Blue Song first, Nadine at Veni Vici didn’t mind us doing that as she still got the profit on a few G & Ts.
The three of us at The Blue Song.