Semi-retired?…not really!

Three months into our semi-retirement and we seem to be as busy as ever we were before we retired! We do have a little more freedom, but this is partly off-set by the fact that people who would have come along to the office, now phone, and I have to go out to see them….which is more time- and petrol- consuming.

We are gradually discarding the information files we have held-onto for years (for no apparent reason!); out-dated leaflets and posters; spare parts, instruction leaflets, and ink-cartridges for long-discarded printers and computers; power supply cables; non-working pens, rubbers galore; programme discs for ancient computer programmes. For some reason we didn’t dump them all at the time of the move, but simply piled them into boxes ‘to be sorted-out later’.

Sanity is starting to return to the household as we get used to working in the confined space available now, compared to the luxury of space we had before. We thought that the business would die naturally quite quickly, but our loyal customers and patients (some of whom we have know since the late 1980s), are quite tenacious, and are still seeking help in their 80’s and 90’s.

The best thing still is that we don’t need to be up and out for after 8 in the morning. The one downside is that we are now attending more funerals than ever before!

….but we can’t do anything about that!

A divided city and island

Lady of the House, and I have had holidays several times in Cyprus, and have just returned from a New Year break there….and very nice it was, thank you, with sun, warm wind, and blue sky!

We had always been in the southern, Greek part, and on a previous visit we had driven northwards to the town of Nicosia, to see the Green line. This is simply a barricade in the centre of the town. As the only divided capital in Europe, it kept apart the Greek and Turkish inhabitants.  It was not possible to travel across the border a  few years ago, but this time, the restrictions had been lifted somewhat, and we were able to cross at a specified area. Visas had to be filled out, and a wait endured, whilst a young, (not un-attractive) lady joined us, presumably to supervise us.

And so we crossed into no-man’s land, to be confronted on the hillside facing us, by a massive Turkish flag….I believe it actually appears in the Guiness Book of Records! It’s also quite a good question for pub quizzes!

We visited the hillside town of Bellapais, with a magnificent Monastery, along with a little Greek Orthodox Church. This is not now active, as the Turkish Cypriots forbade its use as anything more than a museum. It was here that one of our party caused a slight diplomatic incident, as the count of people back onto the coach was one fewer than had seemed to get off! 

After a debate between our guide and our Turkish supervisor, and a hurried look in the area by both of them, it was eventually decided that perhaps such a person had not existed, and so the agreement was reached to move on! A pity all such disputes cannot be decided so amicably. However we were all left with the query…..’What if….?’

We descended into the port of Kyrenia. This was a bit of a pilgrimage for us, as an uncle of the Lady of the House had been a sculptor, and had always said we must go to see Kyrenia. Unfortunately there was little atmosphere about the place, as it was very quiet…so much so that as we found seats at one of a number of  harbour restaurants, we could easily have had 20 seats each!

Our return over the border was uneventful (but did our supervisor get a reprimand for ‘losing’ one of us?) And so we returned to the more ‘normal’ Cyprus that we know.

Perhaps if the EU can pressurise Turkey to allow the re-union of this small island it might be a move in the right direction. Any resulting legislative assembly or workable political framework might not be exactly what each side would want, but perhaps some more peaceful and positive compromise might be reached. Such a situation now obtains in the country where I was born, even with a sense of fragility.

So perhaps we might yet see the two flags flying together, proudly side by side instead of  in an antagonistic way….it’s only a small island, after all!

…just a child again

Tonight, Lady of the House and I watched a film recorded over Christmas…..’The Polar Express’……and felt just like a couple of kids as we followed the exploits of the young Santa-doubting passengers as they headed to the North Pole to see the real Santa and elves.

Great fun, and much more heartening than much of the other so-called ‘entertainment’ to be found on the box at this time of the year.