Friday, August 12, 2005

Another Friday rolls around...

... and little has changed since last week. It's still hot. The cicadas still make a racket for most of the daylight hours, but the majority of the time I don't notice them.

Yesterday I walked down to the PO box at the end of town and collected a pile of mail including a couple more DVDs from At last they're offering BBC series such as The Good Life and To the Manor Born at reasonable prices so we took advantage and ordered them! It's the only DVD/book/CD site we know which offers free postage to Cyprus.

On the way I saw the citrus trees beside the streets having their annual haircut, so to speak. These trees grow in all directions, and once a year some workmen come with a huge hedge-trimming tool and cut the bottom of the foliage into a neat sort of orb. It makes it much easier walking along the street when we don't have to dodge low-flying branches, but they looked rather odd since the workmen didn't trim the top of the trees.

This morning I walked to Metro, our nearest supermarket. Not that we needed a lot: with just Tim and myself here for ten days, the grocery bill is much lower. Nor are we doing any serious cooking, so rather than buying onions and packs of passata and crushed tomatoes, etc, I bought a couple of cook-in sauces and a frozen chicken pie. What a cheat! Only until the end of August, though.

Tim's out at Richard's office, trying to help one of our friends from church who's having trouble with his laptop computer. He took it to a computer shop, who said he needed a new motherboard (at the same price as a new laptop!) . When Tim heard this, he wondered if it might be a power-supply problem, or something fixable. There's equipment for doing suitable tests at the office, so they've gone there to see if they can solve the problem.

Someone asked me in a comment why we're here and what we do... I never know if people return to read replies to comments, so I'll try to address a few questions in this post. Richard is at a conference in the UK, working all hours filming, and it's his work which is the reason for our living in Cyprus. It's a media ministry, which supports Christian groups in the Middle East. Cyprus is very convenient as a base. You can read some of the detail of his day-to-day work on his new blog. He would welcome comments as he's not sure if it's too technical, too detailed, or even too general.

As to whether we've yet chosen a replacement digital camera for the one I stupidly lost (described briefly in the middle of this lengthy post - if anyone's interested) - yes! I asked on for advice on a couple of forums, and we read several reviews of various cameras. All rather overwhelming since most people seem to be pleased with what they have. We knew we wanted an optical zoom, and at least 3 megapixels, but there were still hundreds of possibilities.

We had a look locally, but there was very little choice. The few cameras we did look at were over-priced compared with the UK, and also rather old. The one useful thing we learned was that we don't like cameras that are too lightweight. That rules out a few ..

Then someone told me about the Digital Camera review and news site. This site enables a good selection of features to narrow down choices, and also has galleries of photos from various models. Browsing those, we were both extremely impressed with the Canon cameras. From the cheapest to the most expensive, their colours and sharpness were stunningly good. Other cameras still produced good pictures, but on my high-resolution monitor, the Canon models stood out as the best.

Using money we'd been given to spend on ourselves (for birthday and anniversary) we decided on a maximum budget of £200, preferably including a case and memory card. That narrowed the selection down to four possibilities. We then researched the prices online, and found Amazon UK to be the best. At least, the best for someone wanting to order from abroad and have the camera delivered to an address which is different from the credit card address. They won't send cameras outside the UK. We've often used Amazon before and their service has always been excellent. Of the four possibilities, we chose the Canon A520. It came with a free camera case at the time, it has all the feature we wanted, and all the reviews we could find were positive.

So as Richard was going to the conference in the UK, we had the camera sent to someone else going to the conference, and he now has it in his possession. The first photo on his blog was taken using it in ordinary automatic mode as a snapshot. He says he's very pleased with it.

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