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Sunny Cyprus?
We have now entered the final chapter of our Cyprus posting, a few nights in a hotel before we fly back to the UK on Sunday. Amidst the chaos of the last few weeks the Easter weekend has been something of a target for us, the end of April is usually hot and consistently sunny and we imagined ourselves enjoying a couple of days on a sun lounger topping up our tan before we return to the UK.
I suspect this couple relaxing by our hotel pool today had similar plans – who would have known that while the UK basked in April sunshine, Cyprus would be struggling with rain and unseasonably cold temperatures? Still at least console ourselves that we haven’t paid to fly all the way here to experience it!
So with three days to go, we’ve now both finished work, handed back our quarter (after 5 long long days cleaning it to meet military specifications) and posted our final excess baggage to the UK. The dogs are in kennels till they fly on Sunday night and we are trying to decide whether its kinder to leave them there, or to visit them tomorrow and take them for a long walk… but then put them back in their pens just as they think they might be going home! Fellow dog owners what do you think?
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I can’t believe it’s Cyprus…
Troodos snow day
Macy & Bella
Macy in her element!
Tipsy & Bella
Yeah!

For a few weeks every year the peaks of the Troodos mountains are covered in snow. Only an hour’s drive from our house on the coast, the temperature plunges from 20c, to just above freezing and there’s a decent enough snow covering for a few ski runs to open and children to toboggan. Even the tourist shops open for a second season, selling knitted hats and snow boots alongside the more common Cypriot fayre.

Although the main square at Troodos was busy, (mainly with locals and their kids) further along the road we were able to park up near the woods and walk a little way down a trail and let the dogs run free. You don’t need me to tell you how much they loved it – just look at their expressions!

After snow balls, sledging and photo opportunities, we drove back down the hill to Troodos and had a traditional Cyprus lunch of Shefalia and chips whilst the dogs dozed in the car… Probably we should have finished the day with a dip in the sea (to complete the traditional Cyprus snow and surf in the same day) but the open fire and a cup of tea at home was calling!

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Still waiting for rain
Still waiting for rain

I am feeling rather envious of my friends in the UK at the moment with their chilly conditions and early winter snow. Here in Cyprus we are the other end of that same weather system and for us it has meant a particularly dry November.

It’s now been about 7 months since we had rain, by now the grass should be green, but instead everything is parched and dusty. This is not good news for our dogs either, in their brief encounters with grass they have been delirious, rolling in it, laying on it and eating it, and this year they’ll be waiting longer for that pleasure.

Waiting for rain

I must admit I am looking forward to our move to Scotland more and more, and to getting the dogs away from the island and safe from the poisonings and snakes. We should be leaving in April before Cyprus really heats up and then heading to Lossiemouth via my parents (who are literally at the other end of the UK!) before driving 12 hours up to the Highlands… with the dogs!

Our UK posting is going to mean we will be reunited with possessions we put into storage 4 years ago – before we were even married! I’ve forgotten most of what we have, but I do know I have clothes amongst it, which is a rather horrific thought!

Returning to the UK also means we’ll be able to buy some furniture of our own and I have been gently easing my husband into the idea that this will almost certainly involve thrift shops, antique markets and eBay. The biennial assembling and reconstructing of our Ikea furniture has come to symbolise the temporariness and blandness of our home, so I have grand ideas beyond the world of flatpack… we shall see if they come to fruition in the spring!

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Clouds

Clouds

by Clare Mansell

Oh just look at that sky – We have clouds at long last! Maybe this was all the change I needed? (Well, that and a new blog banner) I can’t begin to tell you how lovely it is to finally have relief from the heat.

Finally we can say goodbye to the constant drone of the ceiling fans and Hello to our 4 tog duvet! No longer do we have to bolt out of the door at 6am to walk the dogs ahead of the rising sun and turning the oven on doesn’t mean several hours of torture. Yes, I love this time of year! As the days get shorter, the evenings cooler and the storm clouds more tantalising, everything is starting to come alive again…

Thank you for bearing with me, I did consider moving this blog to a new home, but for now I have decided to stay put and perhaps tweak the design a little… There are astonishingly 84 of you, and I feared I might lose some of you along the way… I’ll be back again later in the week with more of an update.

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90% humidity

90% humidity

by Clare Mansell
July 25

August has arrived and we are struggling.

On Sunday temperatures in Cyprus reached record highs of 45.6c with 90% humidity. We’re trying every trick in the book to keep cool. The houses we live in are not built for the Mediterranean climate and manage to be hotter than the outside temperature in summer, and colder in winter. We have two portable air-conditioning units, which bring the temperature in the living room down to about 30c, but upstairs we rely on ceiling fans.

Last night was possibly the worst nights sleep I have had yet. I woke up at midnight actually stuck to the sheet, tried showering (for the second time in two hours) in what should be our “cold” water, then tried sleeping in the living room floor, going outside, and eventually gave up and went back to our bedroom.

The worst of the heatwave is due to pass by Wednesday, and the heat of summer generally subsides from mid-August onwards. Fortunately we won’t have to wait that long. We are making a well timed trip to the UK next week and the dogs will have a break in air-conditioned kennels… something I think they might actually enjoy.

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