Monday, May 28, 2012

Brief cameos from May in Cyprus

Not only have I rather neglected this blog in the past few weeks, I've hardly used my camera, either. I'm not sure why. But here, for anyone interested, are a few brief updates from the past month, along with the rather paltry contents of my camera... 

Firstly, a scene that I thought very pretty when we drove past the Salt Lake one evening at sunset. We just stopped at some traffic lights so I didn't have time to try different settings on the camera. I didn't even keep it still enough to be sharp - but the silhouettes are quite attractive:

The Salt Lake is still very full, given that it's the end of May. We've had a couple of quite heavy rain showers this month, and even today there was a little rain. The long, relatively cool spring is very pleasant. While people in the UK are currently basking in (or complaining about) temperatures of 25-28C, I've acclimatised sufficiently to find similar temperatures in Cyprus pleasantly cool. 

The downside of a longer, wetter spring is that mosquitoes seem to have bred out of all proportion, and we've even had some 'no-see-um's' around, giving nasty bites that swell like those of biting spiders. Last night we made the mistake of having a couple of windows open after dark. This morning I found hundreds of little mosquitoes all over them. Apologies to animal activists... but I showed no mercy. 

The majority of May has been taken up with the closing down of the office about a kilometre away where Richard has been working for many years.  His colleagues are leaving, for various reasons, and the costs - particularly electricity bills - were becoming far too high. So the organisation has down-sized, and Richard will now be working from home. He was in the middle of the first sabbatical he had taken in over twenty years, so had to put that on hold for a while, to move equipment and furniture, and re-organise a couple of rooms in our house. He had already taken over what was Daniel's room as his study; he has now completely redesigned the 'studio' in our guest flat as a video editing suite. 

Ten days ago was the official closing date of the bigger office; we got together with the workers (past and present) and their families, and the trustees of the organisation in our home for a big lunch and party to celebrate the last twelve or so years. Change is not necessarily a bad thing, and it was good to catch up with so many people - but I didn't think of getting the camera out to record such a momentous occasion. Ah well.

Since then, Richard has worked hard to clear out the rest of the office, culminating in a skip last Friday. It will be handed back to the landlord at the end of the month. He would like to resume his sabbatical in June, but may have to spend some weeks on sorting out some technical things first. 

Although the office relocation has taken up almost all of Richard's time, and much of our emotion for the past month, life has continued as ever, spending time with friends, playing games, and so on. 

Earlier in the month, we attended a Greek Orthodox wedding for the first time. It was in a local church with magnificent paintings up high, and a large number of people in the congregation. The bride is the daughter of some of the people we have known longest in Cyprus. 

Then, last Friday evening, at the regular informal 'cell group' we belong to, Richard and our almost-ten-year-old friend Lukas had an enjoyable half hour experimenting with some old brass goblets which we had no use for (but Lukas loved), filling them with different amounts of water and testing the pitch. Richard's iPhone was able to tell them the approximate note, and Lukas eventually played a tune - of sorts. 

It was what we thought of as a typical 'home education' moment - I'm not sure if one would class it as physics or music, or just a bit of exploratory science, but it's the kind of thing that arises spontaneously and which we would miss, now we're empty-nesters, if it weren't for our nearby friends. 

Oh, and for anyone wondering about my broken toes... they seem to be mostly better. I made my first trip to a local shop on my own about a week ago, and even walked to the Anglican Church on my own yesterday (it being Pentecost Sunday in the Western calendar). But they're still not 100%, and my pace is a great deal slower than I like to walk. 

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