Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Selected people and places from the past month...

I have been procrastinating. Nothing new there, but it wasn't until today, when I received a note from a concerned friend, that I realised what a long time it has been since I last wrote anything on this blog. All the more concerning, I suppose, because my last two posts - over a month ago now - were about the Cyprus financial crisis.

But life continues, and it is more than time for an update.  Thank you, Rosemary, for inspiring me to pick a selection of photos and start writing.

Back in March, I continued walking on the Salt Lake trail three times a week with my friend Sheila... and although the weather started warming up, we had some rain too. Here are some quite big puddles that showed one morning late March:

Naturally we spent time with friends, and played some board games:

The last day of March was Western Easter.  Greek/Eastern Easter won't happen until May 5th (they are as far apart as is possible this year) but we tend to celebrate the Western one. We went to St Helena's Church with some friends in the morning, and then cooked and hosted a roast lunch for eight:

It all seemed to go well, and it was good to have several good friends together for a leisurely meal:

Cleo is fifteen now, and her coat is getting quite brown in places, thin in others.  She no longer runs and jumps as she used to: we suspect arthritis, but as she does not seem to be in any pain, we don't worry about it too much.  She still loves boxes of almost any shape and size:

At the other end of the cat spectrum, I must mention Makenzy, a kitten adopted by my friend Sheila and her family just a few days later, after she was found in a large dumpster: 

Makenzy is extremely cute.  She's also very friendly, unlike most feral kittens.  

Just to add to the randomness of this post, here's a jigsaw puzzle which Sheila started doing some months ago, and which a few of us helped her to complete early in April.  It was a remarkably difficult one, and we were very pleased that all the pieces were there: 

On Saturday 6th April I went for what may be my last Salt Lake walk for several months.  It was a beautiful clear morning, but even in the early morning it was beginning to be too hot for me:

I might have continued until the end of April, but a couple of days later we flew to the UK, where we are currently; we return to Cyprus on Greek Easter Day.

We flew to Heathrow, since - oddly - BA flights were the best value that week.  After booking our flights we discovered that renting a car at Heathrow costs a hundred pounds more than the same car (from the same company) at Gatwick. However, getting to Gatwick by coach from Heathrow would have cost us 50 pounds each, and by train even more (as well as being decidedly inconvenient with all our luggage).  Researching online revealed that the best thing to do would be to collect our hire car from Crawley (another 50 pounds cheaper than at Gatwick)... and to travel there from Heathrow via taxi.  Yes, whoever would have guessed that a taxi would be considerably less expensive than any form of public transport?!

So a very nice man met us at Heathrow and dropped us at the hire car place, giving Richard a chance to rest after flying before driving. 

We had heard dire warnings about the land of ice and snow, and told to bring lots of winter woolies.  So we were pleasantly surprised that on arrival the sun was out, and while 12C is not exactly warm, it certainly wasn't the arctic waste we had been warned about. 

We then spent a couple of days having a mini-break in the tiny town of Arundel.  It only has a handful of shops (including a rather nice second-hand bookshop) but it boasts a Roman |Catholic cathedral, rather unusually dedicated to two saints, one of whom we had never heard of:

Philip Howard, it transpires, was the Earl of Arundel some centuries ago, who refused to attend a Protestant church service. He was put in the tower of London for such treachery, and eventually died of dysentery. I'm not quite sure why that makes him a saint, or why he would share the cathedral dedication with Mary...

Here's a bigger view of the Catholic cathedral, which was impressively large:

The inn where we stayed was in the shadow of this cathedral:

... as can be seen from this view showing where we stayed, in what was probably once the stable block:

It was fairly basic but large and comfortable,with coffee-making facilities, and very peaceful.  Breakfast was included, so although Richard's breakfast is usually a handful of fruit and nuts (at most) while I usually opt for granola, fruit and yogurt, we both ate excellent cooked breakfasts for a couple of days: 

We didn't do anything terribly exciting; we just needed a couple of days to read and relax.  We did drive into the nearest reasonable sized down (Littlehampton); even though I don't really enjoy shopping, it was nice to browse a few traditional British shops: 

Later on we went for a walk around Arundel.  We saw that the Catholic cathedral was open, so went inside and found it peaceful and attractive:

It's obviously quite a lively place, with links to all kinds of ongoing activities.

We took a look at the castle...but we're not really into history, and it was quite expensive, so we didn't go inside. There was a craft fair nearby so we did wander around that, but didn't see anything of great interest. 

We walked along a path next to a stream and saw some ducks - something else we never see in Cyprus:

|After our mini-break in Arundel, we drove to stay with Richard's mother for a few days. Tim came down from Birmingham to join us, as she was celebrating a special birthday. We went out to lunch and were joined by other relatives, at a very pleasant inn:

Richard spoke at his mother's church on the Sunday, and then we drove up to Birmingham.  My mother recently moved to a small apartment in a residential home as she has been having some health problems, so we knew we would be spending lots of time helping to move furniture for her, to make an inventory for my siblings so that we can all decide if we want anything, and generally helping to clear the house, where Tim has still been living.  On Monday one of my brothers and his wife came down for the day, and we moved my mother's large bureau to her flat, followed a day later by a selection of her books:

Tim has been applying for jobs in the UK but with no success - nobody seems to care about academic qualifications these days; the important thing is to have experience.  He has a possible job offer in Cyprus, although it remains to be seen if this will happen - the financial crisis means that unemployment is going to be high, with many jobs cut.  Nevertheless, he made the decision that he will come and live with us again for at least a year, possibly more, and see what happens.  We are, of course, delighted.  

Richard had to ship some things for King Malu so Tim took the opportunity to sort out his books and his favourite chair, to add to the shipment. It was quite tight fitting everything into our small rental car:

Last Saturday was my birthday.  I was greeted with gifts from the immediate family, and several cards:

However it felt a bit odd that it was my birthday, since another reason for being in the UK right now is that my father was hosting a rather belated celebration for a special birthday.  During the meal my teenage nephew demonstrated an even greater appetite for roast potatoes than Tim:

.. and later on showed that he is almost as tall as Daniel:

Meanwhile. Daniel had bought a slightly random gift for Becky: 

We've been out to very enjoyable meals with two different sets of friends, but I forgot to take any photos. We've done a bit of shopping, a lot of sorting, and moved many more bits and pieces to my mother's new flat. Tim is trying to finish his MA assignments (other than his dissertation, which does not have to be complete until September) and we're trying to see other friends where possible.

While we've had two or three days of rain since our arrival two-and-a-half weeks ago, we've seen the sunshine most days, and a couple of times the temperature has exceeded 18C.  We really can't complain about the weather. 

And finally...on Sunday as I walked down the street I felt someone glaring at me.  The source turned out to be a cat, not quite the famous 'Grumpy Cat' but a decidedly disgruntled cat who seemed very unimpressed that I dared to walk past his home: 

I hope that it won't be quite so long before my next post!

1 comment:

parepidemos said...

Your long absence had caused me to wonder if you were okay, and am thanking the good Lord that you are fine.