Almost the final day of the month and at 5 pm today we have a church council meeting. Interesting one, because there are issues which need to be addressed about “protocol” conflicts of interest” etc. Could be a hard one.
I bailed out of the meeting at 6.45 as I originally said I would as Joan and I had tickets for the BRS Wine Tasting event at the Black Olive. We have to always remember that we have a social life as well. a great event and as always Vicki at the Black Olive did us really proud with her food and David, from Wines of the World came up with some good wines, available at reasonable prices. A great evening in good company.
Danny says Hi. But I think David might have nodded off.
By the end of the evening our friend David had clearly had enough, but I suppose that is not surprising as it is only two weeks since he had a triple by-pass. He says that unfortunately, whatever they have done, has made him lose his sense of taste, now that’s really poor luck at a wine tasting.
That’s our Vickie, who did a super job with the catering.
According to yesterday’s newspaper, the UK is going to review NHS law for ex-pats. We have long argued that we wend up at the poor end of health care because this part of the island remains unrecognised. Now that could of course all change should the Turkish and Greek Cypriots join together, because we would no doubt then have to be in the EU which gives us rights to NHS care. The question then remains, do we want to be in the EU ? Our BRS here is constantly battling on our behalf and we are lucky in having an ex MP on the committee who still has contacts in parliament. The efforts of some of our committee members have pushed the UK Minister of Health, Lord Prior, to re-examine the situation So once again it’s watch this space.
Whilst there still seems to be a push by both Prime Ministers to a solution which would, they say, unite the island, I have to retell this story in this weeks press and then ask you if you really think these people want to be together. A family of seven killed in 1963 are finally laid to rest. The family included five children and their pregnant mother, who were slaughtered by extremists have finally been laid to rest in their home village of Karsiyaka. The bodies were discovered two years ago during a committee of Missing Persons excavation and forensic tests, backed up by an account by a Greek Cypriot who was held prisoner during the 1974 war.The story goes that the family were forcibly taken by Eoka forces, they were taken to a village well with the children blindfolded. The children were then pushed into the well, one by one and all the time the parents had their mouths sealed and were forced to watch their children being killed. A “soldier” then bayoneted the pregnant mother before shooting her in the stomach and feet, the father was then shot and thrown in to the well on top of the kids. The well was then filled with stones and earth and the land bulldozed to make it difficult to ever find them and an order given to Greek Cypriots never to talk about it. The laboratory tests have proven that they were thrown into the well alive, a true act of barbarity. A poor family, simply killed because they were Turkish. This tragedy, together with many similar stories makes it difficult to believe that these two peoples could ever live together, despite the efforts of politicians. The Turkish Cypriot families that still live are seeking legal advice as they want those responsible brought to justice.
Don’t know if next Tuesday’s deadline for Greece to pay money back to the IMF will have any effect on Greek Cyprus, but suffice to say that they supposedly have large amounts of money stashed away in Greece.
Another day older and in my case another year. Can’t believe I have made it to 77 without too many mishaps.
Being Saturday it meant another look at the local press, but first we both went for an early swim. I recently scraped the front of my right shin and according to Joan, the only sensible thing to do is to go into the salt water, her sort of cure all. Seems to have been quite effective as it for sure has taken some of the sting out of the wound. After that we drove down to the car wash at Deli Cafe, gave them my very dirty car and went in to the Deli for the full English at the exorbitant price of 10TL (£2.50) plus the price of a coffee. Indulgent, but it is my birthday.
Later in the day we drove over to the cathedral on the Greek side as Bill Grundy was to be officially licensed as a Reader today, an honour he has waited some time for and thoroughly deserves.
The Cathedral in the South of the island.
Bill was very well supported from our side and even a visit from Michael and June Houston was a surprise. Michael used to be our Curate at one time and had made the trip especially in support of Bill.
Bill is in the middle, between two Deacons who were ordained on the same day, by our bishop.
After the service, which finished at about 7.15 pm, Joan and I rushed back across the border to join Roger, Gill and Barbara at Veni Vici restaurant here in Lapta To finish the celebration of my coming of age! Lovely meal and Nadine managed to come up with a very tasty birthday cake but only 6 candles.
Thank goodness, Paula our cleaning lady is back and fit again. We have had four weeks of DIY, not good.
This evening the Lapta Layabout group went out to sample the newly rebuilt “Sevener” restaurant in Alsancak, near the golden lady roundabout. Have to say that they have done a lovely job there, some of the prices for drinks have gone up a bit, at least 40/50% higher than other local restaurants but the service and food were excellent. Joan and I had some of the nicest lamb chops we have had for a very long time, but at the end of the day we believe we paid for our coffee and brandy, which is not usual. Having had my little moan, I would certainly go back in a few weeks and see if they maintain the standard.
Joan had persuaded me to start her water aerobics class in Habana Bar pool this week. I have to say that it was quite good and no doubt the exercise will do me the world of good. This class is going to be every Tuesday and Thursday so just have to keep going through the summer to see if it helps. I have to admit that age is beginning to make me weary and the legs are not working like they used to do, so lets see if this helps. I’ll let you know in time.
Joan and I went down to Blue Song for dinner tonight. As usual, very enjoyable and not expensive.
An evening at the races. We had been invited to join a table in the Hospitality Tent at Nicosia Racecourse. A good fun evening which included a buffet meal and a bar close by. In the Hospitality Tent there were three young people with the machines to take on course bets and as we had printed out the evening Race Card before leaving home, we where able to try to study some of the form and then pick a horse to bet on. For each race we were able to go outside onto the main stand and watch the race as well as take a look at the horses in the paddock.
One of the horses parading prior to it’s race.
Guess this one might be the winner. Probably not one I put a bet on !!
Joan and i were not doing too well with our bets, in fact we were losing, but not too heavily with only 2 euro stakes, when suddenly, towards the end of the evening I bet 2 euros on both to win and for a place, when number 8 came in after a long wait and a photo enquiry and I found myself 162 euros better off, what a pleasant surprise.
There we are with the lucky ticket and Joan all dressed up in her Fascinator, just like Ascot?
One of the guys on our table, Gordon, was having a birthday and so he celebrated with some bubbly all round. Incidentally his partner also bet on the same horse, so she was winner too.
Gordon and his champagne.
Newspaper day again, lets see what they have to write about this week ”New Fire Chopper Sparks Criticism”. There just have to be some comedians in the headline writing department at Cyprus Today. A new fire fighting craft is to be on stand-by at Ercan airport from June 29th, this is two days after the 20th anniversary of the start of the country’s worst ever blaze. During the last week, several fires broke out and a fire-fighting helicopter had to be sent from Turkey, one fire was apparently started by an unnamed soldier playing with a cigarette lighter, who panicked when the fire took hold. The fire burnt a 4.5 km square before being brought under con. The criticism comes from a member of the opposition party, who claims that the money would be better spent on fighting the pine pouch bug We wait and see. There was a planning meeting about a 10 storey residential complex to possibly be built off the by-pass. The complex would contain 358 apartments in six blocks. The Environmental impact of this would be of most concern, the complex would require 167 cubic metres of water daily and the Girne mayor is saying this may not be feasible. A good point was made by a civil engineer in the audience who suggested that such a project might be suitable in Turkey reminded the committee about current projects, bedevilled by lack of maintenance, problems with residents committees and constant lift problems. This sort of development would just be another nail in the coffin of this once beautiful island.
Remember the bus full of golfers stopped at the border last week, well coach companies have given the new leaders on both sides, 15 days to end the border ban. The threat is that they would stage a blockade to prevent Greek Cypriot vehicles coming North across the border. The argument is that the Greek Cypriot side do not want us to have any sort of tourism trade and the issue has been vented on many occasions but never resolved. This from two sides that only a couple of weeks ago where suggesting a solution was feasible between North and South. Don’t hold your breath.
Akinci, our new President is “frustrated” by non-recognition. In a recent TV interview in America the presenter said it was a point of contention as to how he should address him. Despite him being elected as President by 60.5% of the local population, because the state is not recognised the interviewer said that he can’t in many ways call him “Mr President”. Just another frustrating problem for a man who firmly believes he can negotiate an acceptable solution and recognition. I personally doubt if a solution would be acceptable to the Greek Cypriots only if we were swallowed up under the Republic banner. The TRNC would then be party to all the EU regulations and they would lose all those 13th month salaries and full salary pensions paid by Turkey, they surely don’t imagine that they would get the same deal from the EU !!!
Today there was a “Harmony at the Hermitage” evening arranged which we always attend and enjoy. This evening the film showing was about a developing Venezuelan youth band that was seen as an opportunity to get youngsters off the street and develop their musical talents and potentially give them a purpose in life. The film was quite amazing and at one stage they had a band made up of 600 talented young musicians and the whole just showed what can be done in these poorer countries when effort is applied.
The final section of the film was an orchestra packing their instruments to go to Germany to play to the public there and in fact to receive standing ovations for their performance. As usual, we all took our own picnic suppers but bought wine off Pat who ran the bar, as this added funds to the church coffers and in fact the whole evening raised 450 TL, a useful sum.
Newspaper day again. For weeks now everyone has been buoyant about the two Presidents actually communicating and the new President on this side has been suggesting that we may see a solution this year. Ha ha, sceptical again. The headline on Today’s paper is “EXPATS REFUSED ENTRY INTO THE SOUTH”. A bus full of golfers had arranged to play a tournament with a club in the South, but what happens, a single Greek Cypriot border policeman succeeds in holding up the bus for three hours and then turns them round refusing entry. This has been going on for a long time whilst commercial vehicles from the EU South cross daily in to the North. What right do the greek Cypriots have to refuse entry to EU citizens and this is supposed to be a direction to go and bring North and South together. Never.
HSBC bank could be closing here in TRNC. Why HSBC here is a subsidiary of the Turkish registered company. HSBC has announced plans to sell it’s Turkish business as part of a saving of 50,000 jobs worldwide, so I suppose it will depend who buys them if thy are to continue to exist here.
People are changing in once crime-free North Cyprus. This from a lady who had her purse stolen at Lambousa Saturday market. The population is changing rapidly here, we now have ex-pats of course, Russians, Africans mainland Turks and a full mix of others. Where once this part of Cyprus was considered to be relatively crime-free, we are seeing more and more crimes committed such as those we have lived with in UK. Pick-pockets, burglars and the like, there is now a report of a cross border car theft and smuggling ring. Whatever next ?
Once again this year we gladly accepted an invitation to attend the Military band concert at Shakespeare House. This year it was again an RAF band but the music style was very different to previous years. An excellent evening our enlivened by a table that was The Black Watch, who were almost dressed and having a ball.
The RAF band.
If you are going to take piccies of me then I will get my own back.
We were on a table with Brian and Gloria and a few other friends, the food was absolutely delicious, some salmon, sliced ham various salads, new potatoes with butter and some delicious puds followed by cheese and biscuits also copious amounts of wine, great because we had a bus to bring and take us back to Lapta, meaning a very short drive up the back roads.
The Head of the UN forces here at this time is a female Major-General from Norway. The Black Watch decided they should be the honour guard.
When you are The Black Watch, the only place to play the pipes and drums is from the table top. Brilliant music.