We've had a couple of weeks with scarcely a break in the sunshine. Well, other than at night, of course. The temperatures are slowly creeping up, too. Today I think it was about 29C in the shade, and it's predicted to be 30 or more within the next ten days. On Thursday I was cooking something for our evening meal that required a fair bit of last-minute attention, and felt extremely hot and sticky in the kitchen... then I remembered the air conditioning, which we hadn't used since last September.
I managed to find the remotes, and switched on the units for both kitchen and dining room (which is right next to it). I set them to 28C, as usual, but the reduction of humidity makes it feel considerably cooler. Suddenly cooking seemed more enjoyable. We only left them on for a couple of hours, but that will increase, I'm sure. Friday was slightly less hot, but by the time we went to bed the atmosphere felt a bit humid again so we put on the bedroom a/c units... Tim just for an hour or so, but ours stayed on all night. In the summer I'm even more thankful for air conditioners than I am for the dishwasher!
Tim and I have been wearing shorts for a while now, but Richard found some of his this morning; another sign that summer is here. I put the thin duvets away yesterday, too, leaving just a sheet to cover us at night.
Looking back, I see that last summer, when we were in the throes of preparing to move here, it was feeling distinctly warm by June 20th. We only had one air conditioning unit at our other house, and it wasn't working by the time we left, so we were very thankful to move at the start of July. Two years ago, I noted that Summer had really begun by June 28th - and we were trying, at the time, to get that one a/c unit repaired for one more summer.
Today is June 16th, which is a little worrying as it seems that I 'notice' summer starting a little earlier each year. At least we do have the a/c units to use when we need them, and our excellent ceiling fans.
Are there good things about Summer in Cyprus? Well, hundreds of thousands of visitors come here each year, more than doubling the population of the island, so presumably they like the heat, the warm sea, the pleasant beaches and the constant sunshine. But when you're on holiday somewhere, perhaps staying just over the road from the beach, it's not the same as actually living here. I still have to shop, and cook, and clean, and so on.. and even with the air conditioning on, I get things done more slowly and feel more tired.
But life in general slows down here. From 1pm to 4pm during the summer is official siesta time, where most shops close, nobody's supposed to make much noise outside, and a lot of people sleep. The schools have mostly finished, so some families will go into the mountains for a couple of months, leaving the seaside resorts to the tourists. Many of our British friends have gone to the UK for the summer too, within the last week or two.
Soft fruit has arrived in the shops, and that's a part of summer I love here. We've had abundant apricots for the past six weeks or so, and although the strawberries have just about come to an end, the 'froutaria' (greengrocer) shops now have wonderful nectarines, peaches, grapes, watermelons and more. I squeeze fruit juice first thing in the morning for the whole family, and in the past few days have been making fruit smoothies in the afternoon... it's good to experiment with new combinations.