Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lead us not into temptation ...

On Monday, Clean Monday in Cyprus, I was accused of being Satanic by tempting David and Letitia from Gracie Towers to join us for a drink in Polis. I beguilingly said that, as a public holiday, it was an extension to the weekend (the only time they apparently drink alcohol). Five minutes' later they joined us at Saddles, where we enjoyed a lovely afternoon. I assume the five minutes was the time they spent wrestling with their consciences. Imagine my surprise when David suggested the devil was alive and well, and living in Argaka.

It was good to catch up with them but I have carefully looked in the mirror in case my horns are visible.

Well another February 28th arrives and that must mean it is my birthday (again), and I must be careful not to tempt anyone to do anything against their better judgement. Ann has been working non-stop in the kitchen to produce a lunch worthy of such an august occasion. For the last two years we have lunched out with friends and this year decided to entertain at home. The curry has been bubbling away and filling our house with temptation, and I have just been invited to sample the popadums. Delicious.

I can't imagine a better way to spend my birthday, surrounded by good friends in the comfort of our own home. I met Ann when I was 49, and we celebrated my 50th birthday in some considerable style in Devon. Never could we have dreamed that at the age of 59 we would move out to Cyprus, and live the life we are living. Every birthday with Ann has been extra-special in its own way. My 60th was our first here and just so good. In fact, every year spent with Ann has been special. It would not be an understatement to say that the last twelve years have been the happiest of my life.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Lunch with friends

This has been the week we have lunched with friends. On Monday we had lunch at The Watermill at Steni with our friends Pete and Sylvi. It was good to see them and a shock to realise we had not seen tem for months. Must do better ..

Yesterday we ventured to the Turtle Tavern (previously The Turtle Beach) and had a traditional Fish & Chip lunch with David and Letitia from Gracie Towers. Super food and, as a bonus, pints of Yorkshire Rose from Aprodite's Rock Brewery. I had forgotten how easy it is to drink English-style bitter and I suspect that, if I had not been driving, we might have still been there. One minor point is that, not for the first time, either we or our guests have had "extra" drinks added to our bill. This is just not on, and the landord's response was rather gruff when we challenged the bill. Ann the landlady, ever the professional, said it was not a problem and immediately resolved the situation and deducted the erroneous amount from David's bill. Just something to be aware of in the future.

A gentle day "in the bubble" and preparing for next weekend when yet another birthday has to be celebrated. 62 ... absolute nonsense. I feel ten years' younger than that but - of course - age is immaterial as I intend to live forever. But, there again, doesn't everybody?

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Ye Gods ... snow in Cyprus

Well I never - on this the coldest day we have had since arriving in Cyprus two and a half years ago - we had snow at sea level. The thermometer is showing 4.3°C and Ann has just asked me to remind her why we moved here. I mumbled something about months and months of sunshine every year, and then we turned up the heating.

I have just returned from the supermarket with essential supplies - red wine, pizza and a spare bottle of gas. I suspect we shall curl up in front of the TV this afternoon and this is when we bless our Android TV box. Any movie, and tv show (literally from the last forty years), and live television from around the world - all for about 0.50 € a day. 

I'm finding it hard to motivate myself, as I now seem to seize up (mentally) when the temperature drops. We are as warm as toast inside the house but, even after such a short time, we are pining for blue skies and sunshine. No doubt, especially during the hottest months of the summer, we shall be complaining that the water in the pool is not cool enough.

But, as Cecil Rhodes wrote, "Remember you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life."

Sunday, 15 February 2015

News from abroad

It was good to hear from my old friend, Malcolm, by email the other day. And it was even better to hear that his plans for his retirement are well-advanced and on target. I should imagine that Easter cannot come quickly enough.

It's one of the strange things about emigrating and leaving friends behind. On the one hand I miss friends in the UK but conversely those friends who really want to remain friends make the effort to book a flight and come and see us. I don't even have a valid passport (although I must do something about that in case of emergency) and don't envisage a return to the UK. It's too cold and wet, and the way the country has changed in the last few years makes it an unappealing place to visit or live. Of course, my friends could argue that - if I wanted to see them - I could book a flight. But hey! This is my blog.

Friends blow hot and cold in Cyprus and in the UK. I think the ideal is that each takes the effort to stay in touch and suggest going out, or popping round, or just catching up by email, Skype or telephone. I think one of the things that irritates me is that some friends (Ann has one particular friend) who never make the first move. When you contact them, then all is well but it makes you wonder. We are not perfect in this regard, and we are catching up with good friends tomorrow for lunch - all because of a Facebook post which Ann made which featured a photograph of her great-grandson. To think I am sleeping with a great-grandmother. But I suppose that makes me an almost step great-grandfather. No ... that's a bridge too far.

We have been stuck in the house for the last few days, playing far too many computer games, listening to too much music on the radio, watching too much TV and cracking open a bottle too early in the afternoon. So it's great to be out in the open air for a change. Friends of ours decided to drink alcohol only at weekends and I salute them for their commitment. The only problem is that, on a Wednesday afternoon, I cannot ring and suggest going out for a beer. Perhaps all that will change when the Spring arrives.