... not in Cyprus, though. Although I feel that September is the start of Autumn, the temperatures continue at 32-33C today and predicted for the next week, as they have been through August. No great heatwave, thankfully, but no sign of cooling either, although it's a bit less hot at night.
I think the Greek-speaking schools must have started back today after their three month break. I walked to the Post Office this morning to collect mail, at about 7.30am, and saw crowds of children in new-looking uniform, all congregating on a local school. I was pleased to see that many of them were pulling along the wheelie-style backpacks which look more like carry-on luggage than traditional school bags, but are so much better for their backs.
It was chaos at the school when I passed it. A few adults (teachers, I presume) were looking around, calling children, trying to gather them together. Some very small children were looking a little nervous, holding hands with their mothers. Older ones milled around in groups, shouting greetings to their friends. Perhaps they don't sort out the classes until school actually starts. No doubt the children were all sitting in their rather sad rows, with their new text-books, by the time I got home again. School here is only in mornings, so it starts early and goes on until past 1pm. Then they have vast amounts of homework, even the little ones. I'm glad we opted out.
In the mail was a package of photos from Directfoto, where I order all my prints from digital photographs, a couple of items from the excellent Play.com (less of a selection than Amazon UK, but free postage anywhere in Europe) for upcoming family birthdays, and also some information for Tim from the Open Theological College, where he's starting a degree course by correspondence in a few weeks. He actually received two info packs. They had sent one at the start of August, but it hadn't arrived by last week so Tim emailed the college, and they sent out another. Both arrived this week. The postal service here is mostly good, but every so often we receive something that's taken a month or more to arrive from the UK.
It occurred to me that life for ex-pats is a great deal easier with the Internet and online ordering. While basic requirements of life in Cyprus - such as rent, food and utilities - are relatively inexpensive, books and DVDs are highly priced, and (not surprisingly) although there is an increasing selection in English, the majority is Greek. Photo processing is a little less expensive than it was, but still significantly more than in the UK, and not such good quality. Of course, for someone wanting prints in a hurry, online ordering is no good: its one disadvantage is that it's usually at least a week before the order gets here. But that doesn't worry me.
Later in the morning Tim went out to get some passport-sized photos so he can send off his application to OTC tomorrow. No instant photo booths here, but the photographers' shops - the ones we don't use for processing of prints - do a good service: four prints for £3, and the quality isn't bad. Better than UK photo booths, anyway.
This afternoon I've been browsing the recommended OTC booklists. Alas, we can't use the library service from Cyprus, but then again, if a book's worth reading, I'd rather own it than borrow it, for future re-reading. I expect I'll read most of the books Tim's going to study too, as they all sound interesting. But searching through the huge number of 'recommended' books and choosing just a few in addition to the one or two compulsory ones per module is going to be quite a task.
Sitting here with the air conditioning on in the study (since computers don't function well over 30C, we run it at 28 - that's 82F) it does feel pleasantly cool and dry. But we're still going around in shorts and tee-shirts, sweltering any time we go outside, and will probably continue to do so for at least another six weeks.