So, life in Cyprus has taken on a kind of normality, with Summer having arrived all at once about ten days ago. We cleaned the air conditioners out just over two weeks ago, and decided that it was hot enough to use one for an hour at night a few days later. Then as the temperatures continued to climb, we knew we needed to use them during the hottest part of the day if we were using computers.
It's not a huge deal. They're not THAT expensive to run, since we set them to 28C. But the relief, as the humidity is taken away, is immense. I am so, so thankful for air conditioning at this time of year.
A few days after we got back from our second trip to the UK, we were asked to dinner by some good friends. We sat out on their balcony, and watched the sun go down. It's a gorgeous view from their flat - we could see the windmills on the horizon, which are just visible in this picture:
After much discussion and persuasion, I went out for a walk with Sheila on the morning of June 11th. I had woken early, and it seemed like a good idea. There was still quite a bit of water in the Salt Lake, but it had gone down significantly since I was last there:
We only did 4 kilometres, and not particularly fast, and I was still very warm by the time I got home. I won't be doing any more early morning walks until at least September.
Later that day, we celebrated Elisabeth's third birthday. She had chosen a butterfly for her cake icing, and insisted that it should have chocolate on it. Good choice!
The days went by. Days are pretty good at that, on the whole. Tim started work on his dissertation, and did some paid IT work too. I wrote reviews, and cleaned the house, and did laundry and cooked...
Then the freight which we had sent from the UK back in April arrived. Tim was particularly pleased because it included his favourite chair, thoroughly wrapped by Richard:
It also included eleven boxes.
One of them had sailing things, one had equipment for Richard's work. And most of the rest contained Tim's books. Rather an eclectic mixture of fiction, music and theology, as well as early editions of my great-grandfather's books on aether and electricity.
Amazingly, most of the books have been successfully assimilated into the household. But then we only had about three thousand or so, so there was some room on shelves here and there...
Normal life is still tinged with moments of sadness. When I wrote my last post, I felt quite heavy-hearted, knowing that my mother won't be reading my blog any more. There was another tinge of grief as we unpacked these boxes. They included some attractive place mats which she had not wanted in her residential home, depicting Oxford colleges. There were also one or two other items from her house. When we sent them in the freight, she had settled into Maple Dene, and I had looked forward to letting her know when the items arrived.
It never occurred to us that she would no longer be alive a couple of months later.
Another box that arrived included some old large format negatives, which were in my mother's bureau and which Richard offered to scan back in Cyprus, so we could find out what - or who - they were. My mother was looking forward to seeing the results... but now she can't. More momentary grief.
Tim had some good news about a part-time job a couple of days ago, and wished he could have spoken to her, as she would have been thrilled. Another tinge of misery.
I'm aware that losing a parent in poor health is not as painful or tragic as losing a spouse, or a child. I also realise that it is far, far worse for children or teens who lose a parent. Eighty is, by many standards, a good age, and most people my age expect to lose a parent within the next ten or fifteen years, if they haven't already.
But comparisons, as famously misquoted by Shakespeare, are odious. Knowing that a twisted ankle is not (in the scheme of things) as bad as a broken leg does not make it any less painful for the sufferer at the time. Knowing that millions of other people have mouth ulcers and that they are very common does not detract from the unpleasantness or uniqueness of my own.
Still, for the most part, indeed for the vast majority of our time, we continue as usual into a typical Cyprus summer. Estivation has begun.
Richard has been away for the past week, so one evening Tim and I played a two-person Cities and Knights game, at which I was creamed. Actually, 'creamed' doesn't really describe it. Perhaps Terry Pratchett's coined term 'cheesed' would have been more appropriate.
The game took a little under 40 minutes and the final score was 18:7