Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Start of the month

I know it's not exactly the start of May, but with the holiday weekend all the banks and various offices have been closed since last Thursday. So this morning I had to go out and pay bills, since I wasn't efficient enough to do them last week before the end of April! In the UK we paid all our regular bills via bank direct debit, which made life very easy, but that doesn't seem to work here. We did try to set the water bill up to be paid by standing order, but it never worked, so it's easier just to go out and pay them at the start of each month. I usually remember!

So today I posted a cheque to our landlady, paid the phone bill at the CYTA office in town, and transferred money from our UK bank account into our local Cyprus account. Even though Cyprus is part of Europe and banking ought to be straightforward, we have to pay commission and other charges for every transfer (which is why I just do one per month) and we also have to wait three weeks for the money to clear. It gets taken out of our British account about a week after I pay it in, usually, so it's a bit of a nuisance that it stays in limbo before we can access it, but in seven years I've managed to get into the habit of doing a transfer in the first week of each month, so that the money is there when I need to pay bills at the start of the next one.

The electricity bill is still to be paid, but unfortunately the electricity office moved a couple of years ago. It used to be five minutes' walk from our house, but now is a good half-hour's walk. As Richard has to pay an office electricity bill this week too, we'll go by car tomororw or Friday. It's possible to pay electricity bills at the bank, but they charge 50c for the privilege, and can only do it if I pay by the due date - which I rarely manage to remember!

The weather is still lovely. It's funny, I always expect it to become over-hot by the start of May - I suppose perhaps it has done some years, but I just checked my May 2004 page at the family web-site, and see that I was surprised last year too that temps were no more than 25C with coolish evenings. Long may it last!

It was supposed to rain today so I didn't do any laundry... however it stayed dry all day. I'm not really surprised. It was extremely windy - when I walked down to the bank in jeans and a tee-shirt I even felt a bit chilly at times, and put on a sweatshirt when I got home again. I doubt if we'll have any more rain now until the Autumn so at the weekend I shall have to start watering the plants, something that will be a weekly activity until at least October.

Tonight the boys went to a surprise 18th birthday party for one of their friends, at the Go-Karting place. Certainly a different kind of venue for a party. Richard collected them a few minutes ago, and it sounds as if they had a good time. Their friend was duly surprised - and, we hope, pleased - and they enjoyed a ride on the Go-Karts as well as vast amounts of food.

3 comments:

Leonid Mamchenkov said...

Most of the Cyprus banks offer Web interface for account management. At least Hellenic bank does so, but you have to register for it in the bank. It is very convenient, as it allows all sorts of bank operations without visiting the bank itself. Money transfers, bills for electricity, phone, and water, standing orders, SMS/email notifications and things like that - all can be handled from the Web browser at any time of the day.

Also many tasks can be automated, so you don't forget to pay for the services. It's a real time saver. Try it and you might like it.

Cheers. :)

Sue said...

We did try our bank's online system when they introduced it, but unfortunately it was DOS-based and extremely complicated, and took so long to access that we decided it was quicker to walk to the bank! However we haven't looked at it since, so it may well have improved by now. Thanks for the suggestion.

Leonid Mamchenkov said...

These days banking comes from within a browser. It is as simple as using the rest of the Web. :)