For most readers of these pages, Easter happened almost five weeks ago. But for the Eastern church, today is Good Friday, one of the holiest days of the year, with Easter in two days' time.
This is a Greek Orthodox country, celebrating Eastern Easter, so all shops in Cyprus will be closed on Sunday and Monday. Most shops are closed on Sundays anyway, but even the bakeries and convenience stores (periptero) will mostly close on Sunday, and all the main shops and supermarkets on Monday. No big deal, but we were amazed at the number of people in Metro supermarket this morning, some of them pushing two trolleys, as if they needed to stock up for a month. Perhaps they're having huge family gatherings on Sunday.
I was surprised when the mains water was on today. Since the start of the month, we've had restricted mains water. It's been fairly regular - on from about 8am to 8pm on Tuesday, Thursday and saturday, and part of Sunday morning. Off for the rest of the time. Since our cold water tank is a reasonable size, we have water for showers, toilets, and even the dishwasher once per day. I've been running the washing machine twice on the mains water days, rather than once every day, and watering the plants only on mains water days. We keep drinking water (directly from the mains) in plastic bottles, which I fill up again when the mains is on.
So it's all much easier than it was when we first came to cyprus, ten-and-a-half years ago, and had mains water only twice a week, without it being entirely predictable. The mains comes on often enough to fill up the tanks, and we're reasonably careful with water anyway.
Thus it was quite a surprise to flick the mains water switch this afternoon, without really thinking about it, and find it on, at full pressure. A nice surprise, of course. Was this, I wondered, a special treat for Easter?
Yes, this appears to be the case. The Cyprus Mail reports that we're having full water until Monday, and the Cyprus Weekly also mentions it, in an encouraging article about 8 million tons of water being imported from Greece this year. That will cover about half the deficit.
Of course, we still see people out with hosepipes, washing down their patios and steps. But I hope that at least some people are being more careful with water.