Sunday, 31 January 2016

Inanimate objects and gossip ...

Life can be a sod sometimes, especially in winter. Our tv and sound system is important to us in the winter especially and I have been so pleased recently with the system we have. Picture quality, sound, and the performance of our "box" have just been spot on - until this afternoon. I switched on the tv and ... dead in the water. Checking online I suspect it is terminal although I shall pop down to Demotronics tomorrow to get them to have a look. But not something we need a few days before the Six Nations' Championship begins.

Of more importance is the nastiness of the Argaka and general expat gossip mill. Readers of this blog will know that I walked into a glass partition at Santa Barbara restaurant last Sunday, and hurt my nose and left hand. Fortunately no lasting damage was done. But a friend of ours was treated to the real nastiness of expat gossip at badminton last week, when "FAT PAT" - and my goodness she is loud and fat - gave her a blow by blow account of what had happened. It was very accurate as it did happen at least ten minutes after she left the building.

I despair of many of the expats in this area, as they have nothing to do but gossip and make snide comments. This is probably why Ann and I are very, very particular in the friends we make and the people we associate with. My friend David, of Gracie Towers, referred to expats (in Thailand, not that it matters) as OF Ltd. "Old Farts ... Living The Dream". Far be it from me to disagree with my friend, but it does become apparent how many expats seem to be from Scotland and the North of England, and who seem to have absolutely no breeding. My grandmother will be turning in her grave.

As Maureen Lang wrote:

“It is an utter violation of good breeding and training to speak or to behave in a way that disrespects, embarrasses, or otherwise denigrates another human being; in so doing, you denigrate yourself as well.”

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Battered and bruised ...

John's 70th birthday bash on Sunday left a number of people battered and bruised and unfortunately I was one of the casualties. It was held at Santa Barbara in Argaka, which has just been refurbished. The large bar and restaurant area have sliding glass partitions to separate the two parts, with two sliding glass doors as well. The glass was very, very clean and almost invisible to the naked eye. On my way from restaurant area to bar area, I walked straight into the glass. Nose and left hand were both in hard contact with the glass, and I have to admit it was a terrific shock.

Monday morning ... and my left hand was badly bruised and Ann dug out to the witchhazel. Painkillers were taken and this morning my hand is much improved. My nose looks as if it belongs to someone else but I suspect that is just swelling and hidden bruising. There was absolutely no way to identify where the glass was and George, who runs the place, told me the markings were "on order". Hmm.

John tells me he was "pupperteering" by the end of the night (a lovely expression ... just think of Thunderbirds walking), his wife Jill fell outside the restaurant and fell again when she got home. Yvonne, her friend, tried to pick her up and injured her back. Other casualty figures are as yet unknown. But it was great night.

Apart from that, life proceeds normally although it has been jolly cold for the last couple of days and the temperature is not due to pick up until the weekend.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Busy, busy, busy ...

My goodness this is turning out to be a busy week. After battening down the hatches over the last couple of days, and the weather was cold and wet, we are now girding our loins to face the rest of the week's activities.

Today Ann has her hair done at lunchtime, and then there is this month's meeting of The Polis Book Club at Saddle's in Polis. New members are joining and I think that will just about bring the club to bursting point, which is a great tribute to Ann. No doubt coffee and other liquids will be drained this afternoon, and perhaps the occasional piece of cake. What is good is the fact that their second male member will be joining today as this has previously been a typical "ladies who lunch" affair. More power to their collective elbows, I say.

Tomorrow looks as if we are on an expedition to Paphos for shopping and a "quick" visit to the General Hospital to check on something. After that we are meeting Anthea and John for dinner in Steni, which is something we both are looking forward to. Even better news is that we are being driven. I increasingly dislike driving at night, with the seeming millions of reflective signs that infest most roads here.

This weekend brings our good friend John, from Pomos, to his 70th birthday and a surprise party at Santa Barbara in Argaka. His son will be flying over from the UK from this and about twenty of us are gathering to celebrate this milestone. We haven't been to Santa Barbara since it changed hands and it will be intriguing to see what it is like.

And so busy, busy, busy ... it's a good job we are retired as we would never have the time to fit in all that Cyprus has to offer. It's a shame I couldn't have retired decades ago so must make the most of the next twenty or thirty years. I tell Ann I intend to live forever but she doesn't believe me ...

Sunday, 17 January 2016

"He who dares ..."

At the risk of sounding like Delboy the answer is "Win" and not "wins". Win is our new Vietnamese cleaner who is cleaning our house within an inch of its life. I have never seen someone working as hard and as fast in all my days, and she has now started cleaning the windows because they need doing.

When Ann pulled a muscle in her back, and it took a little while to heal, we began to talk about some help in the house and the garden. Our friend Savvas, who has employed girls from Vietnam for years and years, and has a girl living in his house with them, suggested he knew a girl who had a day off on Sunday and wanted to work every possible day. We picked her up this morning, and after a guided tour of the house, off she went like a whirlwind.

I must admit that cleaning and gardening (especially the weeding) are vastly over-rated activities, and so we made the decision to give this a try. We have arranged that we will have Win every Sunday and she will work for the day. She is cheerful, speaks good English (she has been in Cyprus for nearly eight years) and certainly knows what she is doing. The cost - and this was arranged via Savvas - €30,00 for the day. Incredible value but this is how she prices herself into work.

And best of all, there is no feeling of guilt - which I sometimes had when Ann was working in the house and I wasn't.

Friday, 8 January 2016

"There are more days than sausages."

So says our good friend Savvas, with a wicked grin on his face. This sentence often crops up in our conversation, and he always refuses to explain what it means. It crops up most often when we are discussing his recovery from his heart attack and his subsequent triple bypass. It is good to see his gradual recovery and the fact that he listened to my experience, and the fact I told him it took me a good ten months to fully recover (and I was twelve years younger than he is). Good health to us all in 2016.

Friends are gradually coming out of the woodwork, and returning to Cyprus, and making contact. There is a tendency, of which we are aware, to just shut ourselves away once winter sets in and to hibernate until the sun starts to shine again. But telephones and email and chance encounters don't allow us to fall into that trap.

The world seems to get closer to self-destruction every time we switch on the news. Strangely, items that were at the top of every broadcast, disappear and reappear seemingly at random. No doubt this is at the whim of the news editors but it can be discomforting. We are also suffering from compassion fatigue, brought about by the incessant barrage of adverts asking for money for unfortunate groups around the world. I can just about switch off from these pleas, with their vomit-inducing background music, but the moment one finishes ...

The economic news from the UK is dire, with George Osborne blaming everyone but himself for the impending crisis. I registered to vote in UK elections in the aftermath of the latest opinion polls on the referendum which will/may decide whether the UK stays in the EU. On a purely selfish basis, I shall vote for the UK to remain in the EU as I do not wish for anything to interfere with our right to live in Cyprus. And I also have a suspicion that the UK economy may nosedive if we were outside the EU, which would affect out standard of living here. I told you it was a purely selfish decision.

I couldn't help but laugh when I received an email from Bexhill Council, saying that I had been successfully entered into the voting register. BUT they were not allowed to send out voting papers until eleven days before the date of the election, and that this may mean that my vote might not be counted if it was delayed. What complete bollocks ... it seems that a proxy vote will be necessary in order that I can exercise my legal right to vote. The U.K. - the cradle of democracy - I don't think so.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

In 2016 we are hoping for ...

We chatted about our hopes and aspirations for 2016 at lunch yesterday and, inevitably, the events of 2015 affected our discussion. Readers of this blog will know that 2015 was a fairly bruising year for us, with seemingly intractable problems for Becky S. and the death of a good friend.

2015 ended with Becky S. on the up, having secured a well-paid job and settled accommodation. That made the end of the year much more positive for us, and long may that continue. But - being two thousand miles away - means that we can not help directly with any hiccups and problems that occur.

As far as we are concerned, we continue to make long-term plans for our house and garden. We are healthy and happy, and long may that continue. My arrhythmia is now history with my sinus rhythm rock solid, and all my other parts in working order. I am off to investigate a gym in Polis next week, as I do miss that regular exercise that I enjoyed in the UK. So many of the gyms here seem to cater for deaf people - I assume deaf as the music to "accompany" your workout was played at ear splitting volume. And gyms in Polis seem to close with alarming frequency, so the idea of paying a year upfront is not one with which I feel comfortable. But friends of Pam have said that the gym they use is not full of thumping music and may just be the ticket. We shall see.

We hope to see Becky S. before the winter is out and, if so, will celebrate a second Christmas. Our friends Pam and Becky are due to come and stay in May, and Mike and Wendy are threatening a return visit to Cyprus this summer. So lots to look forward to. Our good friend John is 70 this month, and no doubt a considerable celebration will take place.

And so our life in Cyprus continues to be a delight, despite the unhappiness of 2015. But those sort of things can happen wherever you live. The next decision to be made is how we are going to celebrate my 63rd birthday at the end of February. As Ann says, age is just a number ...