Friday, 2 September 2016

"August, die she must ..."

Well here we are at the beginning of Autumn ... not that you would know it from looking outside. You might just guess it from the fact that we have turned the air conditioning down a notch or two in the bedroom and we talk wistfully about the times (at least until now) when we can sleep with the windows open in September.

This has been the toughest August we have known with temperatures expectedly high but humidity has gone through the roof. How typical of Britons retiring to live in a warm climate and complaining about the weather, you might think. But 2016 has been a dry, warm, and then extremely hot and humid year so far and we look forward to the rains and thunderstorms of October. On 10th October, 2012, we met friends in Polis for a drink and were "trapped" in a bar for nine hours by torrential rain, the like of which we have only ever seen in American films. What a start to our life here.

People are returning from trips to the UK now and the expat community is slowly showing itself during the day. During August it must be like being a vampire and not being able to walk in direct sunlight without disappearing in a cloud of dust. We are now coming to one of my favourite times of the year and that is the long, sunny autumn. During the day it is like being in England on a sunny day, comfortable in shorts and t-shirts and then that delicious cooling period as the sun goes down, and those long evenings sitting by the pool.

For those who are planning to come to Cyprus, as we did, perhaps the best time of year to arrive is October. The fierce summer heat has dissipated but the weather (to British eyes) is delightful. As the weeks go by the temperature drops until, whilst still being t-shirt weather, you put a light sweater in the back of the car for those cooler evenings. By December it is long trousers in the evening and perhaps, horror of horrors, you might have to wear a pair of socks (that is if you can remember which wardrobe you threw them into). Winter comes (and in your first year you will not really feel the considerable drop of temperature) and you will still parade around in shorts (and look at those of us who have been here a few years as we are wearing sweaters, long trousers, and possibly a jacket) and then Spring and early summer when the temperature begins to climb. This is the easiest introduction to Cyprus as your body gets uses to the climate.

All bets are off in your second and subsequent years here. Whether the old wives' tales of your blood thinning in this climate are true or not, you will feel colder in winter. In January and February the electric blanket becomes your best friend, your use of gas for the gas fires goes up and is switched on earlier and earlier in the day, and you discover that your aircon units can be used to provide additional heat as well. As each day (of the admittedly short winter) goes on, then thoughts of spending a couple of thousand euros on a good log-burning stove seem less preposterous and may be "a good investment". You dream of summer sunshine and then complain about the heat.

And yet, we wouldn't change a thing. Bon Voyage.

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