Friday, June 29, 2007

A hot week in Cyprus

(NB: If you've landed on this post after searching for Cyprus weather in general, rather than wanting to know what it's actually like from someone living here, my page Weather in Cyprus may be of more use to you than this rambling post)

It must seem as if I'm obsessed with the thermometer, looking at recent posts. The thing is, though, that one person's idea of 'hot' is another's idea of 'pleasantly warm'. We Brits are conditioned to be used to a relatively mild climate, where temperatures over 30C are pretty rare (and temps below freezing point in winter are also relatively rare). Not too hot, not too cold. When I was sixteen, we had a 'hot' summer by British standards, and I wilted on days when it was over 25C. Now I consider that to be a very pleasant temperature.

Last year we didn't have much extreme heat, at all. I don't think the temperature rose above 35C all summer. But this week has been HOT. I know it's Cyprus; I know the sun shines constantly at this time of year; I know it's good for tourism and the economy of the island. It's just that we don't expect extreme heat before the end of June. 30-32C, yes. 37C and over - no. On Monday the temperatures got to over 40C in the shade - that's so hot that outdoor work has to stop, by law. It's pretty rare that it happens, but on Monday all people in farm and building work outside had to put down their tools and go home.

I tried making bread in the breadmaker on Tuesday. Big mistake! Even though I used cold ingredients, it rose much too rapdily and then collapsed. On Wednesday and Thursday Richard bought us some bread for lunch from the local bakery. Today, it wasn't so bad. At 7am the thermometer in the kitchen read 'only' 30C. I wanted to make some ice cream, so I put on the air conditioner to cool the kitchen by a couple of degrees (making ice cream in a hot kitchen doesn't work either) then put on the breadmaker, too. I used water and soya milk from the fridge (the recipe says to warm liquids!) - and it came out perfectly.

Last year I enjoyed the coolness of the mornings. My Summer routine is to do any shopping or other errands around 7.30am when it's still cool enough to walk into the town, or to the local greengrocer for some fresh fruit. I also do my general housework, empty the dishwasher, put on a load of laundry, and so on. By 9am the temperatures (last year) were rising to over 30C so I would switch on air conditioning in the study, and spend most of the day here, reading or working on the computer. At around 5pm I'd switch on a/c in the kitchen, and cook... and then the evenings were usually cool enough to sit with open windows.

This year I've had to adjust, somewhat. I couldn't even walk to the greengrocer this week, let alone the Post Office. So I do hope it gets a little cooler, and that we can all adjust to a 'normal' Cyprus summer.

As for going to Troodos, as someone suggested in the comments... nice idea. It is indeed significantly cooler in the mountains, and very beautiful too. Many of the Cypriots have holiday homes there, and spend much of the summer in Troodos. But since we don't have a second home or any relatives in the mountains, and Richard has to work in Larnaka anyway, it's not something we'll be doing.

I do recognise that we're very fortunate to have so many a/c units, and to live in a country where electricity is reliable and not too expensive. But I still hope July and August will be a little cooler than this last week!

No comments: