Yesterday I decided to walk to the Post Office and back. Not that I was expecting anything, in particular, and I knew I could go today, before or after Tots (which meets in the new community church building nearby). But I felt like a bit of a walk, and I wanted to pop to the health food shop nearby to buy some molasses.
I set out about 9.30am, and enjoyed the walk on a day that wasn't too cold, but was quite overcast. I didn't go particularly fast - it took me about 20 minutes to get there, and it's only around a mile away. There were various letters for the office and one bill for us.. not very exciting. I went round the corner to the Olive Tree health food shop, and chatted to the owner while buying the molasses and a couple of other things.
Then I made my way home in a fairly leisurely way, calling into one of the bakeries to buy some milk, thinking it would save me a trip out to the supermarket later.
About five minutes after I got home, it started to rain. Just lightly at first, but I was pleased I'd arrived home before it started. I assumed it would stop before long, as is usual with Cyprus rain.
I was wrong. It rained, solidly, for twelve hours. Sometimes fairly lightly, sometimes heavily, always steadily. No storms, not much wind... just lots and lots of rain. I didn't go out of the house for the rest of the day - instead I took some of the photos off the wall by the stairs where our roof is still leaking, and mopped up when the drip went outside the carefully placed bucket.
I really hope yesterday's downpour has been good for the reservoirs. Today more rain was predicted, but there have only been a few light showers.
This afternoon, the gas man arrived. We have a large gas container which has to be refilled by a truck, and the man comes about once a month during the winter (since our central heating is gas-powered) to fill it up. It's the first time I've seen him since last March.. but not the first time he's been. One of the great things about Cyprus is that nobody minds if payments are made late, and there seems to be a lot of trust. Early in November, the gasman came before I was up; I was vaguely aware of someone banging somewhere, but didn't realise what it was until I found a notification that he'd been, with attached invoice, in our outside mailbox.
He's often done that before; usually he phones Richard to let him know he's coming, but if he doesn't, then he doesn't mind at all if we pay on his next visit.
But his next visit was in the middle of December, when I was out. I had begun to wonder if our gas supplies were running a little low, and came home to discover another slip and invoice in our outside mail box. Since then I've been wondering when he would come again... hoping it wouldn't be first thing in the morning before I was up. So I was pleased when he came mid-afternoon, in between rain showers, and filled our gas barrel up again.
Of course I had to write him a cheque for all three lots of gas at the same time. It was just under 430 euros, which seems like a huge amount. I suppose for all our heating since the start of November, and the gas used in the hob on our oven since last March, it's not too bad. Except that, until the past week or two, it's been a remarkably mild winter and so far we've only used the heating for an hour in the mornings, and three hours in the evenings. We only run it at about 16-17C, too.
And finally... after much procrastination, I've put our 2009 Christmas newsletter up at our family website. Some of the people reading this will have seen it already, either by post or email. Some of it is already out of date: Daniel and Becky are now in Carlisle, for instance, and Tim went back to the UK nearly three weeks ago.
I've also moved the last four year's newsletters from this blog to the family website, which makes more sense. It wasn't particularly difficult but I'd been putting it off for weeks.