Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tuesday business

I had to go to the bank first thing this morning. Well, not really first thing since it doesn't open till 8.30. I got there shortly after it opened, and there was no queue. Evidently the best time to go. In the past couple of months I've gone mid-morning, and it's been crowded.

I had to transfer some money from our UK account to our Cyprus account, as I do every month. That one's straightforward. I asked about Internet banking too, since it would make life much easier for paying utility bills. I was given a lengthy form to fill out, with terms and conditions in English. I'm not quite sure what it costs (if anything) - the form didn't say. We don't pay anything for Internet banking on our UK account so I hope it's not much, but the t&c I read this morning did mention fees.

I also had to stop a cheque, something I've never done before. Yesterday our landlady called and said she hadn't received the rent payment for this month. Since I'd posted it on September 1st, it seems to have got lost in the post. The bank clerk checked our account, and it hadn't been cashed (which is good) so she recommended stopping it and writing another. The charge for stopping it was £4!! She did say that if the cheque arrives, we could delete the stop (at no added cost) if we let her know.

Shortly after 11am our medical insurance rep arrived. For some reason insurance here is always paid in person. One month I sent a cheque to the address on the invoice and it caused chaos: it took them about four months to track it down. So now I just wait until the rep arrives! Emergency care is free here, and ordinary doctor visits are inexpensive (about £10 or a little more) so we're only insured for hospital stays. So far we haven't claimed anything on our insurance, nor has any of us visited a doctor for two or three years now, so it seems as if this minimal plan is probably the best for us. It costs £100 per quarter for our family, which seems like a lot for those of us who take free health care for granted, but is far, far less than we had to pay when we lived in the USA for a couple of years back in the early '90s.

Daniel, meanwhile, really did have to be out first thing in the morning. There was a school performance of 'Fairytaleheart' by Theatre Antidote, who he worked for last year. This was one of last year's performances so they asked him if he would join them. It was in Nicosia, so they left at 7am.

As for Tim, he slept until nearly noon after his very late night with Richard in the office, mentioned in the previous post.

At 4pm we had made an appointment to view the house we discovered online. Unfortunately, when I spoke to the agent yesterday, the price is going up by another £20,000! Apparently it's been listed for a year but nobody has been interested, since the downstairs flat has been in rather poor condition. So the owners are paying for major renovations. We decided to have a look anyway, and were pleased to find it in a nice area - only five minutes' walk from where we live at present!

The couple who showed us around were very pleasant and helpful; however when they explained what renovations they were planning for downstairs, we were disappointed. The garden is already very small, and they're going to extend into it, making it almost non-existent both front and back. We don't need a huge garden like we have now, but we need a bit for the cats, to hang out laundry, and just to sit in. There's a little at the side, but not much.

I also felt the apartment block at the back was too close; it could feel rather claustrophobic. And there was no inside staircase from the ground floor to the first floor, just a marble staircase outside which looks very nice but would be slippery, surely, in the rain. There were some attractive balconies all around, but I don't like heights AT ALL so would be rather reluctant to use them.

Having said all that, it was really a very nice house with big rooms and lots of potential. If it wasn't being extended, and if the price wasn't going up, we might well be interested despite the tiny outside space. The downstairs does seriously need renovation, though: it's going to be rewired, repainted, re-floored, and even have false ceilings put in. There's also going to be a brand-new downstairs kitchen and bathroom. It will look very nice. But then again - it will be someone else's choice. We'd rather choose our own decorations.

Anyway, it was interesting to see. We'll certainly be keeping an eye out in that area, and on the site concerned. We still have to sell our UK house, after all; we're not yet in a position to buy.

After we got back, we had a visit from our landlady and her husband, and two builders who spoke very little English. They wanted to see where the roof was leaking. We showed them inside, then Richard got out his long ladder and showed them where he thought the problem was on the roof itself. One of the builders came down with an entire roofing tile in his hand, and said that was the problem. He will come back and fix it some time, but he doesn't yet know when. Of course, having taken away a tile, the leaking will be even worse if it rains again before he returns!


Deb said...

Sue - re transferring money from one country to another, have a look at www.xe.com - they have no fees, a best-rate guarantee, incredible customer service and you can do it all on-line. We've used them a few times, and have been very, very impressed (they even sorted out things when *I* screwed them up LOL)

Sue said...

Thanks for that - I had a look, and they do sound good. Unfortunately, though, they don't deal in Cyprus pounds. If ever we join the Euro I might try this, but it's not imminent.

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