Friday, 26 September 2014

I love Apple ... most of the time, I think.

Since the debacle of Apple's new IOS operating system, and the even more frantic efforts to patch the damage, I have not really been using my iPad for anything other than a bit of web surfing and, of course, Candy Crush. Thank heavens this morning IOS 8.0.2 was released and all is back to normal. As my friends know I have been an Apple user since 1989 but this last few days has sorely tested my patience. Onwards and upwards.

The most recent chapter of my book deals with snakes, bugs, insects and the like. How to identify them, what to beware of and what to do if you are bitten or bothered by them. I am waiting on my friend Dave to lend me his book on Cyprus snakes by the aptly named "Snake George", as it is the definitive guide to snakes here. I have lost count of the number of people who, having had a close encounter with a snake, cannot understand why the standard response is "What colour was it?"

Spiders, cockroaches, scorpions, sand fleas, and other "creepy-crawlies" are identified, with photographs, and advice given on living alongside them. It all sounds horrifying at first glance. But in our two years here we have seen two black whip snakes (great to have around as they like to eat the young blunt-nosed vipers), no cockroaches (except in a restaurant we have never returned to), no scorpions and - until recently - have not been bothered with sand fleas. We have had close encounters in our house with a couple of tarantula spiders but they seemed more frightened of us than we were of them. In any event Biokill was the answer.

Ants are everywhere in Cyprus and, after spending time in Cambodia in the 1970s, they are not my favourite creatures. Small ants occasionally invade the kitchen when we have left food out, and larger, black ants seem to invade the garden after dusk. Spraying once a month with Biokill (window sills, door sills and any other access points) keeps all "creepy-crawlies" at bay, as can be seen by the dead bodies you find where you have sprayed. And, best of all, Biokill is pet-friendly. And, if you find the nest, the white powder sold by the Farmers' Co-operative will eradicate the problem on a more permanent basis.

In fact, the fear many people have in their minds - especially those from more temperate climates, where only wasps at the picnic table are a nuisance - can be alleviated by living here and seeing that most of the creatures we dislike will do almost anything to avoid us.

A bad moment, as I lost today's blog post, when there was a brief power cut in Polis (as a result of the electricity authority needing to switch off the power briefly because of the fire in the dry river bed the other day) and the wifi at Miki's failed. But, IOS 8.0.2 did not fail me and when power was resumed my post miraculously returned. As Charles C. Clarke wrote "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

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