It seems as if we only just got over Christmas, and suddenly it's the end of February. What a lot has happened in those two little months: Dan left home to join the Doulos, (now sailing from Qatar to Bahrain) and we've bought a house.... two items quite high on the lists of stressful things to happen.
On Saturday I spent most of the day gardening. The 'lawn' was getting very long, and there were a lot of mosquitoes about. Cutting it is supposed to help, so I did. At least, I cut the parts I'd cut within the last month. Some sections have weeds about 50cm or more high, and the lawnmower can't deal with them, so I pulled lots of weeds - and more on Monday, and more today. Still loads more to go, but at least 80% of the 'lawn' looks reasonably tidy now, and it does seem as if there are fewer mosquitoes around.
This morning we had no Internet connection at all, as CYTA were doing a massive upgrade. So when I switched my computer on an hour before lunch, I did what I usually do at the end of each month: made a CD backup of all this month's documents, digital photos, and Quicken backup files. Then I ran Ad-Aware (which found two nasty cookies), deleted some of my temporary files, and defragmented the hard drive. Actually I hadn't done any of this since the end of December so it was well worth doing.
This afternoon I finished typing book reviews into Bibliophil, and entered another thirty or forty of our books to the database. I had kept hand-written reviews and ratings of every book I had read in the past seven years, so I just needed to type them in... which I've been doing off and on in the last couple of weeks. It was quite satisfying to finish. All I have left to enter now is another four or five hundred books on our shelves which I either haven't yet read at all, or haven't read since before 1999. A great feature of the site is that I can download all the information I've typed into an Excel file, for offline reference.
Tim is plodding through his NCSC course, which he would like to have finished by the summer if possible. But he has a busy life so doesn't have time every day for workbooks. He's helping to get a church computer working, trying to install an old windows hard drive on his and Dan's PC, in the hope of making an elderly scanner work with it, and also doing a lot of music.
He's signed up for three different music exams in May and June... not that any of them will be very difficult. He's been taking singing lessons since the Autumn, and his teacher wants him to take Grade 1 singing as he's working on some of the pieces. That should be an easy exam since he's done so much other music over the years. Cypriots seem to like exams, and music teachers here often get their students to take several; Tim won't do all the grades in singing, though. He'll wait till he's ready for at least Grade 5 before he does another.
Grade 5 seems to be a significant level in music, being roughly equivalent to a GCSE in 'points', and one of the other exams he's doing is Grade 5 music theory. This is necessary before he can take any higher level exams, and he would like to do a Grade 7 or 8 piano accompaniment exam (which Guildhall offers, and we hope will continue to offer when they combine with Trinity) in the next year or two. In the meantime he's decide to take a Grade 5 piano exam even though he's playing music at a much higher level. The NCSC allows Grade 5 or higher music exams to be taken instead of academic electives, and as Tim hasn't taken any music exams since he did piano Grade 1 at the age of 8, he thought he might as well take it this year.