After getting our decorations up on Tuesday, and hosting the work lunch on Wednesday, I realised that I needed to write our annual family newsletter. So I did that on Thursday, and gave it to Richard to print on the office colour laser printer on Friday.
He brought 90 copies home on Friday evening, but I couldn't do anything about it then since our house group meets here on Friday evenings.
So I set aside Saturday for writing our Christmas cards, and folding the newsletters. We keep trying to cut down slightly on the number we send out; I keep a list, and if we haven't heard from someone in five years or more, we consider whether to leave them off the following year's list. So difficult, though. I hate to lose touch with people.
Still, there are now only about 70 to send to the UK, which is thirty less than it was ten years ago, even though there are now rather more local ones to write.
It took me about four hours in all, with breaks for washing and hanging out laundry and other such thrilling tasks.
Next job: making a year calendar with photos of our cats. I've done this for the past two years, and sent copies to Daniel and also our parents. I did consider not doing it this year, but had a couple of very nice shots of the cats. Not quite enough: with only three cats this year, I needed four good pictures of each of them to make a year's calendar. So on Saturday afternoon I took several more, hoping that some would be acceptable.
I make the calendar at the BigHugeLabs site - I have to upload one photo at a time, giving the correct month and year, and then save each one on my computer. Unfortunately these are not high-quality; naturally, they want customers to pay to join their service to be able to produce high quality calendars. Equally naturally, we don't wish to do that. So, the first time I made them, Richard showed me how to open each image in my photo-editing program (Arcsoft Photo Studio, which came free with the digital camera), and then paste in the image directly from the higher quality version on my computer. Then a few extra adjustments, and voila!
I started the process on Saturday, and finished it on Sunday. Sunday evening we went to the office to print the calendars. A few photos had to be adjusted, and one or two didn't come out as well as I had hoped... but never mind.
This morning, I punched the necessary holes, collated the calendars, put the ones to send out in envelopes and addressed them.
Then, feeling quite pleased with myself, I set off to the Post Office, as I always do on Monday mornings, to collect mail from our PO Box and to buy stamps for all the cards and the four calendars I'm posting.
There was mail in our PO Box. However, the blinds were up over the Post Office itself, and it wsa locked, with a 'closed' sign.
Sometimes the postmistress does pop out for five minutes, but when she does so, there is usually a notice saying 'back soon'. Not this time.
I heard in church yesterday that the former President Papadopoulos died at the end of last week. It didn't make world news, and I rarely remember to check local news websites, so I had no idea until then. It occurred tome to wonder whether today had been made an extra public holiday in respect. But the banks were open, as were all the shops nearby. So I decided that probably the postmistress was sick, and they couldn't find a substitute.
So I walked through the town - where, as far as I could tell, everywhere was open - to the main Post Office.
It was shut too, with a scribbled notice on the door saying it would be closed to the public on Monday 15th December.
It seemed like terrible timing, when so many people are trying to post things for Christmas, albeit rather later than we ought to. But there was nothing I could do about it, so I came home again, carrying the mail from the PO Box as well as all the mail I was hoping to have posted.
I've now learned that today has, indeed, been declared a public holiday, as a gesture of respect towards President Papadopoulos. It seems rather odd that only the Post Office would be closed - not even the banks. And rather annoying, too.
But, this is Cyprus. These things happen, and there's no point getting uptight about them. Tomorrow I'm helping at the toddler group party, so I shall take the mail with me and go to the Post Office afterwards. Post Offices aren't open in the afternoon (other than Thursday) in Cyprus, so it has to be done in the morning.