Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Relaxed lifestyle

I was thinking about the good points of living in Cyprus, recently. People might get angry quickly, but they make up their arguments too. They might ignore some of the laws when it suits them, but they're mostly quite humanitarian. Violence in the streets is almost unknown. Women and children are safe to walk around anywhere, any time. And despite the cold of winter and the heat of summer, the weather is mostly very pleasant. Today it was up to 21C in the morning, so I went out without a jacket on for the first time this year.

When I was in the bank, it occurred to me how relaxed it is, even there. Sure, there's a security camera which, I guess, records everyone who comes in and what they do. But there are no partitions keeping the bank clerks from the customers. Just ordinary desks. People can peer over and see their account details on the computers, and some customers wander behind the desks, if invited by one of the bank staff. The people on duty get to know the customers too: today I was paying something in for Dan, and the girl serving me mentioned that there was a cheque-book waiting for us. She looked through a hand-written list, found our names, crossed them out, and went to find the cheque-book. No formal system, no signature required: just a friendly place where we've become known, along with most of the other regulars.

Just after lunch there was a jumble sale at St Helena's church, the one Tim attends, which is about five minutes' walk from our house. I love jumble sales. I popped down and bought about 12 books, two mugs that looked new and which match our plates, and an unopened pack of coffee filters. All for the grand total of £4 (which is around $8 US). I said hello to various friends - these quarterly jumble sales are social events as well as money-raisers - and Tim found an ancient scanner which he thought might work with their old computer. It's huge, and he paid about £1 for it... he hasn't got it to work yet, but is still hopeful.

When we got home, we realised that we'd left one of the bedroom windows open. Since our house is a bungalow, all the windows are easily reachable from the ground, and they're quite big enough for anyone to climb through. Had something like that happened in the UK, I'd have rushed around checking nothing had been stolen. As it was, my biggest concern was that a local tom cat might have got in and left his 'calling card'. Many people don't shut their windows or lock their doors when they go out.

Last Summer I mentioned how we were amused to see the trees in a street near ours having a 'beard-trim'. Since then, they've grown shaggier and more untidy, looking like this:


But today, the local council must have decided some more drastic action was needed. From about 8am there was the noise of some kind of chain-saw, and when I was on my way to the jumble sale I saw what they were doing:


Only one side of the street so far. I've no idea if they'll do the other side too, or whether they'll leave them to get even longer and then trim the 'beards' in the summer.

1 comment:

Jen in L'sos said...

Thanks for the positive perspective on Cyprus, Sue. It's so easy to feel negative about its quirks; your comments are a good reminder that the "backwardness" is not all bad! :)