Sunday, March 29, 2015

March draws to a close...

On March 20th, there was a solar eclipse which was seen in totality in the UK. We only had a little bit of an eclipse here in Cyprus; not enough to have been aware of it at all, had I not seen it on the news. The last eclipse that was of significance here was in 2006.

Still, we got out the binoculars, and just about managed to focus two small dots on the floor, with a tiny chunk taken out of the two tiny images of the sun at the height of the recent one, just for the record:

On Monday, we achieved a hat-trick of eating out: three restaurants, three Mondays in a row. I wrote about the first two restaurants already; this time, the visiting friends gave us a choice so we opted for Alexander's, the place we have been to most often, which has a wide variety of food, with large portions at reasonable prices.

I didn't feel like anything more adventurous because I had developed an ear infection, the first one I can ever remember suffering from. I treated it with garlic-infused olive oil, which seems to be the currently recommended method. Although it was extremely painful on Monday, it was rather better by Tuesday, and almost entirely cleared up by the end of the week.

On Thursday I decided to take my camera on my early-morning walk with my friend Sheila. The sun was shining and the sky was blue, and I realised I hadn't thought much about the wild flowers and blossom that are so in evidence at this time of year, particularly after such a wet winter.

March, as I have often mentioned before, is known - for good reason - as 'yellow month' in Cyprus:

However there are plenty of other colours if one looks around - I don't much like pink, but this dusky pink blossom was quite attractive against the sky:

I always find the 'bottle brush' trees amusing; the name is so apt:

The trail had been getting very overgrown in recent weeks, with grass and bushes growing tall and leaning over onto the trail; as well as attracting insects, this can make for quite a wet walk if it's been raining.

But on Thursday, there was a grass-mowing vehicle driving up and down, and some nice clear verges:

I like the way that the council looks after the trail, at least most of the time. Here's another view, looking back where we had walked:

On Friday I walked down to the Post Office to check for mail; we get it delivered to a PO Box about a mile away. It's rather a boring walk down a busy main road. When I reached the main square by St Lazarus Church, I saw this decidedly non-religious Easter decoration, incongruous in its garishness:

I walked along one of the shopping streets, so I could buy some stationery at Estia, and then back along a less busy main road. Outside the municipal library (of mainly Greek books) I saw this monument:

I'm not sure who the lady in the statue is, but the offerings at her feet were no doubt presented as part of the parade on Wednesday, which was Greek National Day.

On Saturday morning, I went out to the froutaria, and there I spotted strawberries on offer: 79c for 500g. Strawberries have been in season for several weeks now, and these ones looked past their best. I wondered if the season was coming to an end, and decided it had to be jam-making day. So I bought a couple of kilograms of strawberries, and some extra sugar (69c per kg at the fruitaria) and spent the morning making six-and-a-half pots of strawberry jam.

I don't particularly like jam-making, but it's part of my heritage: my mother used to enjoy preserving more than any other kind of cooking. Both my grandmothers also made jam, and I honestly did not know that jam could be bought ready-made (other than at church stalls, when it was made by friends) until I was about eighteen. It would still feel like sacrilege to buy jam.

Last night we put the clocks forward by an hour; in the UK we called it 'British Summer Time' but in the rest of Europe I suppose it's just 'daylight savings' (as in the US) or maybe, simply, 'Summer Time'. 

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