Monday, January 17, 2011

Ups and downs in Cyprus..

I don't really know what happened to last week. It was quite a shock to discover, on Saturday, that I hadn't taken a single photograph since Epiphany, nine days earlier. I suppose life was back to normal after the Christmas break, with the addition of a new colleague for Richard staying with his family in our guest flat.. but evidently nothing worthy of recording with my camera.

So on Saturday morning when we went out for a walk with the new colleague and his toddler daughter, and I enjoyed the blue skies, and warmth (for January), I did manage to remember one picture of the Salt Lake, taken from the park area:

I reflected on how pleasant it is to live in Cyprus at this time of year, free from snow and bitter temperatures. It's cool enough to need a duvet at night, and a bit of heating evening and morning, but warm enough that in a sweater and fleece, I felt almost too hot by the end of the walk.

In the evening, Tim suggested another game of Settlers-by-Skype. And even though Richard was rather tired - he had gone back to the office Friday night after the house group meeting, and did not get home until nearly 6.00am!! And then got up four hours later - it seemed like a good idea:

Tim totally creamed us both. For those who know about Settlers of Catan, this was the final board:

Tim played white, and won with 12 points. I had six on the board. Richard had five on the board, and a victory point card. So Tim's score alone was the same as ours added together... a resounding victory.

Late Sunday morning, as with the previous Sunday, I joined my friend Sheila and her three youngest at one of the local parks. Katie (five-and-a-half) is very good with Elisabeth (seven months):

Here they are on video a few minutes later, when Elisabeth was more safely anchored in the swing by her sling:

And here's my youngest-best-friend Helen, who was two in September, also enjoying the swing:

A while later, Sheila handed Elisabeth to me, so that she could climb a tree. I think she hoped I wouldn't be able to get my camera out while holding a wriggling baby, but I did:

Katie and Helen, on a nearby roundabout, were rather worried about this turn of events. And when Sheila reached the top, Katie explained how she could get down again...

... then went a little way up herself. Evidently a tree-hugger:

Little did I know that the spell of pleasant weather would come to a close. It must have rained for most of the night, and most of today too:

I did manage to walk down to the PO Box in a dryer patch this morning, where I found:

- six Christmas cards, some of which had taken a month get here
- the cover for my Kindle, ordered from Ebay on Christmas Day. So that took three weeks to get to Cyprus.
- my Holland and Barrett order, very well packed, all in excellent condition. That only took a couple of weeks to arrive.

There were also a pile of bills, and our Barclaycard statements for December. I can see why today - particularly given the grey skies, chilliness and almost continual rain leading to more leaks over our stairs - is considered 'Blue Monday'. Still, if today is the most depressing day of the year, the next few days should get better...

Disclaimer: I am well aware that compared to the vast majority of people in the world, I am very well off. A slight leak in the roof is nothing, compared to serious flooding in parts of Australia and elsewhere. Grey skies and rain are decidedly preferable to snow, and we desperately need rain in Cyprus. Even bills aren't too bad when we're able to pay them... and yes, I am thankful for my family, for good friends, for living in Cyprus, and - today in particular - for knowing that six more people thought of us around Christmas time, not to mention the safe arrival of my ordered goods.

But I reserve the right to use a bit of hyperbole...

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