After a couple of quiet weeks, we have a busy time ahead. Next Monday sees the arrival of our friends, Becky and Pam from Bexhill, and they are staying with us for a week. During that time, of course, we are celebrating Ann's 65th birthday at Moustakallis in Polis for a leisurely lunch. Our friend Pam, from Peristerona, arrives back on the island after a break in the UK and there will be lots to catch up on when she is back "home". And, today, there is ten-pin bowling. Enough said.
Argaka is a small place, but covers a surprisingly large area. The expat community, and I hesitate to use that word, is a little claustrophobic if you let it affect you. When local expats conspired to sabotage our fund-raising at a local bar - Argaka Aid - we accepted it as par for the course. Imagine our surprise when we heard a local expat had taken over the bingo and quiz night, was being paid to do so and there was no charitable outcome. Well the biter was bit this week, when there was the mother of all public rows in the bar, which was apparently crowded at the time, and she was shown the door by the owner. It is also alleged that €700 is unaccounted for, which was the prize fund for one of the games. It had "apparently" been donated to three local charities, but no receipts could be provided.
The whole affair leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, and of course is the subject of much gossip locally. No doubt people will come out in support of the bar, or the bingo organiser, and tongues will wag until the cows come home. Being retired has many benefits, but it does leave a lot of time to gossip and the keyboard warriors will no doubt be out in force. A friend of ours videos the whole event and we look forward to seeing the footage. Whether the missing money will ever see the light of day is debatable.
A couple of days of possible rain and high wind are forecast, literally, and then the sun should reappear in full force. There was a report in one of the local papers that NASA had forecast that the Eastern Mediterranean would have much higher temperatures this summer. Whether this is true, only time will tell. This is where air conditioning comes into its own, and there is no point in having it if you don't use it when necessary. Electricity prices have fallen by about 40% in the time we have been here, and we cannot see any point in being uncomfortably hot and sweaty - especially at night. So air conditioning at the ready, if NASA is correct. But a point to consider if you are following us out here. Air conditioning is essential at times, and is useful for background heating in winter if it becomes necessary. Our first house had air conditioning in the bedrooms only, but here we have it in every room. Just something to add to the list.
Strangely it is heating the house in winter that is more important. Cyprus winters are generally brief, but most houses lack insulation. So a reliable source of heating is a must, especially for those times when the sun goes down and the houses become pretty chilly. Log burners, gas fires and open fireplaces are quite common, but LPG central heating is much less common and can be very expensive to run. All of which makes choosing a property more difficult, and - believe me - it is so easy to fall in love with a house when you first arrive here, and then to regret allowing the heart to rule the head. A common mistake is to look at the beautiful (large) garden and enormous rooms and think you are getting so much for your money. And then in 40°C you realise you want something manageable and it is too late. The number of people here, including us, who move after the first year (or earlier), is quite astonishing. By then you have learned your lesson and your second home is the one you stay in. Who would ever have thought that retirement in the sun could be so complex?