The Christmas cake looks as though it turned out fine. I turned the oven off after four hours, but left the cake in as it cooled down. This morning I wrapped it in greaseproof paper and foil, and put it in an airtight container. Other than feeding a couple of times with more brandy (if I remember) I don't need to worry about it again until a few days before Christmas, when I'll do the marzipan and icing.
So that's one thing to cross off my list.
I also wrote three cards. That means there are only about 75 left to do.
I went to the PO Box this afternoon, expecting a few items I'd ordered from Play.com to have arrived. As I got there, I remembered that Richard's colleague still has my PO Box key, which we gave him while we were away so he could check for mail. Very irritating. But I did post a parcel to Daniel (a few music books we'd ordered that arrived just after we left, and a CD Tim has made for him).
Which reminds me, anyone who reads his blog, he's updated it a couple of times this week - not much text, but there are a couple of new photos. Not mentioned on his blog is that the Doulos is currently having lifeboat inspections by a company in Italy. The lifeboats are safe (ie they won't sink!), and the crew have been complimented on their hard work, good attitude, and extensive safety training. On the other hand, the lifeboats are very old and may well not pass the new international safety requirements.
On the way back, I popped into Argos. It was nearly three months ago that we ordered a pair of fluted lightshades from them. We were told they would take 4-6 weeks to arrive. Well, I suppose this IS Cyprus. We were just wondering if the order had got lost or forgotten, when I had a phone call yesterday (asking for 'Mrs Shoe') telling me they had arrived. And indeed they had, packed nicely in a carrier bag, for someone called 'Richard-Sue'. I didn't need any identification, and as soon as I said Richard's name they produced it. That's a good side of life in Cyprus: tust and friendliness.
I also started uploading photos this afternoon, to DirectFoto, so I could order some prints, something I intend to do every couple of months, but keep forgetting. Unfortunately I got in a muddle as I apparently uploaded some before, which I didn't order. And my computer started complaining that it was low on virtual memory - something that happens relatively often when I have Picasa open. Bah. I left the rest till tomorrow.
I wrote the Christmas family newsletter, complete with photographs, about a week ago. Tim set up the colour deskjet printer on the 'guest' computer which runs Windows 98. My computer runs Windows 2000, and for some reason the deskjet printer won't work with that, so I have the black only laserjet printer on my desk.
But no problem, I emailed the newsletter to myself on gmail, then retrieved it on the guest computer.
I could probably have got hold of it somehow through the network. But it seemed easier to do something I understood, and I wanted to see what it looked like as an email attachment anyway.
When I printed it, the black ink looked smudgy. Tim installed a cleaning/setup thingy - the printer hadn't been used since we moved in July - but it made no difference. Indeed, each test print was slightly worse than the previous one. Evidently we needed a new black cartridge. We've had one refilled for the past few years, but I recalled that it wasn't very good last time, and it clearly hasn't lasted well, so it's probably at the end of its life.
But a new cartridge for this rather old printer costs over £20 in Cyprus. If they're even still available. The colour one will probably run out before long, too, and it costs even more to replace new. Which is totally ridiculous, since we can buy a new deskjet printer, complete with new cartridges, for under £40. Truly we live in a disposable society.
Tim suggested I take the file to the photocopy shop and have it printed there. But last time I asked about colour copies, they quoted me 50c per page. 80 copies at 50c each... that too would cost more than a new printer.
But we don't WANT a new colour printer. We only use it once a year. It was an impasse...
However Richard and his colleague have been discussing buying a colour laser printer for the office, for publicity (among other things). They were given a good price, and decided to order one so we can all print our Christmas newsletters on them. Assuming it arrives tomorrow. I might even get our cards and newsletters posted before the 'last posting date', which would be unusual.
Just to round off a rather mixed day, Tim was finishing the last few words of the third assignments for his theology degree course when his ibook notebook computer failed. Dramatically. The mouse ball thing refused to work at first, and when he tried to save his latest version using the keyboard, he got a grey screen (apparently the Apple equivalent of 'Blue Screen of Death') and couldn't do anything other than switch off. When he switched on again, the same thing happened. And again.
Richard thinks it's a hard drive problem. But, alas, the computer is just one month out of warranty. Even worse, there's no Apple repair centre in Cyprus. If it had gone a few weeks ago we could have taken it to the excellent Apple centre in Singapore...
So now Tim's downloading something (on my computer) to enable him to save all his data. Then he'll try reformatting and see if that helps. But he's very frustrated, particularly as he was within about an hour of emailing his essay to the course tutor. It's due tomorrow, though he may be able to get an extension if he has to work on the computer all day.