It's now four months since we bought the house we're living in. When we went to the municipal office to do all the final legal stuff, part of the process was deed transfer. We were told exactly when we could hand over our final cheque to the people selling the house, and also when we had to pay the tax for transferring deeds. Everyone had told us not to do the final payment to the vendors until we were at the deeds office, and it all worked well.
Then, at the end, one of the officials told us they would post us the deeds as they couldn't do the final transfer on the spot. We weren't sure why, as it's all computerised, but the house was legally ours so we didn't worry. We assumed the new deeds would arrive in a week or two.
By the end of July, we were a little puzzled, but as August is a holiday almost everywhere in Cyprus, we thought perhaps it would be done in September.
September passed. Most of October passed, and it occurred to us that we still didn't have the deeds. So Richard made a note on his organiser to phone our lawyer to find out if he knew when we should have them. Or what would happen if they had got lost in the post.
He was going to get around to it yesterday. Then on Thursday a large brown envelope was delivered to the mailbox outside the house. Inside were the deeds! A little crumpled, but fortunately I had rescued the envelope (which was sticking out of the box) before it rained.
And, Cyprus still, there were two sets of deeds. One in my name, and one in Richard's. Each of us legally owns half of the house.
Then there's the gas. The ovens are electric, but the hobs are gas, as is the central heating. There's a huge gas barrel outside, downstairs, and the vendor assured us that a truck would come by every two weeks to fill it up. So for our first fortnight in the house, I kept half an eye out for the truck, not sure what would happen. Nobody came.
Mid-August, another friend said that their house uses large barrels too, but that the truck doesn't come during the summer, as they use so little gas when the central heating isn't on. He said that he has to phone them to ask them to come when he wants them in the winter, and then they do come every two weeks.
Well we haven't wanted to use the central heating yet, but after four months I was beginning to wonder how long the gas would last. There's no dial to tell us it's nearly empty, and as we're going away I suggested Richard might phone the vendor and get the number, so we could have some more gas delivered.
He might have done that on Friday (though it wasn't urgent...) but at 7.30 Friday morning, a man arrived with a truck and asked if we wanted gas.. so I said yes, and he will now deliver it every two weeks.
So, as we're slowly learning, all we have to do - very often - is to wait.
Patience is a better word than procrastination, anyway.