Another week has sped past; I'm not entirely sure where it's gone. While the UK has had snow in the past few days - the most in 18 years, apparently, sufficient for many organisations to grind to a halt - Cyprus has been a pleasant 18-20C during the daytime, and no cooler than about 8C overnight.
It may still get colder again before spring is fully established, and I certainly hope we'll get some more rain. I gather the reservoirs are now close to 10% full, which is around the same level as they were this time last year. There's significant snow in Troodos, which will help as it melts, but we're still in serious drought conditions, with mains water only every other day and warnings to avoid using hoses on cars or patios. Not that our neighbours take much notice of the warnings!
My weeks have fallen into something of a routine. I usually wake up between 6.30 and 7am. I feed the cats, make some fruit-and-green tea, then sit and read, think, pray, and maybe write a bit. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I do some general dusting, sweeping and mopping of the floors around 8am, which takes half an hour or so, put on a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher if it ran the night before, then make fresh juice (apple or orange, usually) and take some, with some coffee, to Richard. Then I have my breakfast, followed by a shower.
On Mondays I put on the breadmaker, and then walk into town to check for mail at the PO Box. If I have anything else to buy in town - stationery, perhaps - I do that too. Then when I get home, around 10.30pm at this time of year, I hang out the laundry then sit down to catch up with the week's accounts on Quicken.
I type in every transaction we make, including cash, right down to buying a couple of bread rolls from the bakery for Sunday evening. I keep all the receipts... what doesn't help is that some shops round down, so that if, for instance, I buy fruit and veg at the Froutaria and the till says €3.97, they'll only actually charge me €3.95. So if the cash balances to within a couple of cents, I'm pleased. If any statements have come, I reconcile them with Quicken; if any bills need to be paid online, I do them too.
Then I read email and forums, and check Facebook, and the blogs that I follow, and check various other sites... until Richard gets home for lunch, theoretically at 1pm and in practise usually more like 1.30. We eat some of the freshly-baked bread, with hummus, marmite, tomatoes, cheese, or possibly (if it's cold) some soup reheated from the freezer.
Richard goes back to work after about an hour, and my afternoons are mostly pretty relaxed: I'm usually at my computer - writing, or doing work on my websites, or (this week) scanning in a lengthy document for a friend using OCR software so she can edit it on her computer. Oh, and I'm determined to learn some more Greek so I'm making the effort to work through the 'Learn Greek' course at the Kypros.org website. I've tried before, and never got past lesson 25. This time I've actually got to lesson 27. It seems to work best to listen to the same one every day for a week or so, until the new words and phrases sink in fully.
This week I also uploaded the past six months' worth of photos to the Kodak Gallery so I could order some prints. I often see Tim on 'Instant Messenger' in the afternoon, so we chat a bit.. and I might play some Facebook Scrabble if anyone else has made a move.
Around 5pm I start to organise our evening meal, and close the curtains, and (if it's mains water day) fill up our drinking water bottles, and anything else that needs to be done. We usually eat around 6.45 or a little later. Dishes go in the dishwasher... this week on Monday we then watched an episode of 'Quantum Leap' from a DVD, then Richard had to do some work (at home). Some evenings I might have more things to do on my computer, other evenings I read. I usually ensure the computer is off by 9pm at the latest.
On Tuesday mornings, I help at the local 'Tots' (mothers and toddlers) group; I have to leave the house around 9am to walk there in time to help put out the chairs, equipment, etc. This week I had some cheques to pay into our bank account, and wanted to ask some questions about Daniel's account, so I left a bit earlier. On the way home I often go to the Froutaria to buy fruit and vegetables that we need, and get home around noon. I'm usually pretty tired by then, so I sit down at the computer and read email/Facebook etc until Richard gets home for lunch.
On Wednesday mornings I make bread again, then I make the bed with clean sheets, clean the bathroom, and also dust/sweep and mop all the upstairs rooms and the stairs, and clean out both cat litter trays. I usually make some soup - in biggish quantities so there's some to freeze - and perhaps also some kind of cake. Wednesday is the day when Richard's office bookkeeper is in; he comes to lunch with us, as do any Egyptian or other visiting colleagues. I also sometimes clean out the fridge, if necessary, and (if I'm feeling really keen) clean some windows or the outside stairs and balconies. On Wednesdays I don't usually switch the computer on until after lunch.
On Thursdays, I now look after an eleven-year-old boy who has recently started being home educated. His mother has a meeting from 8.15am until around 10.30. He usually brings whatever project he's working on, which is usually extremely interesting, and also some books. So we talk a bit, and then when he wants to read, I sit and read too.
On Fridays we always used to go to Metro, our favourite supermarket, taking the car to do a major shop. But in the past few months, we've found we only need to go about once a fortnight. Having a local supermarket and the fruit shop nearby means I can easily pop out for small things we've run out of. So on the Fridays when we don't go to Metro, I either have a few extra hours for writing, or, if there's nobody staying in our guest flat, I clean it. If there's any ironing to be done (and I usually iron pillowcases and duvet covers, if nothing else) I do that on Fridays.
On Friday evenings a Christian house group meets in our home, starting with a meal around 6.30pm. We all do different parts of the meal, but as well as whatever I'm making I have to get the table ready, and clean up afterwards. I am particularly thankful for the dishwasher on Friday evenings!
And so, Saturday rolls around again. I do quickly run the mop over the floor on Saturdays, and also the stairs, and sometimes do an extra load of laundry if the basket's getting full. I often pop out to the fruit shop, too. But I don't have anything much else planned on Saturdays. Richard often goes sailing; this weekend he's doing the second part of the practical section of his 'Day Skipper' course in Limassol.
January seemed to go quite slowly, for once; when I thought back to Christmas it seemed a long time ago. But it's quite a surprise to find that a week of February has vanished already.
Life in Cyprus has a slower pace than life in the UK; people sometimes ask me if I'm bored, or 'what I do'... and when typed out as above, it probably sounds as if I do very little. But I'm never bored, and I must be reasonably busy as I rarely seem to find much time for reading other than an hour or so in the evenings. I like living here, and that's not only because of the lack of snow!