Saturday, 7 June 2008

I am sailing. I am sailing

Well not right now I'm not, but for the last two weekends I was. I've done a sailing course at the Yacht club and am now qualified to RYA level 2 and can sail a dinghy. It wasn't without it's moments - at the end of the first day, if I'd seen another dinghy it would have been ever it would have been too soon. I was wet - having capsized what seemed like 12 million times (but at least it meant I was the best at capsize drill) - and had lumps on my head where the boom had coshed me on it's way across as I failed to duck soon enough. However I persevered and Sunday went much better and last weekend they moved me up from a "Pico" to a "laser". The instructor then told me that actually the Pico was designed for somebody about half my weight, so it was no surprise it kept capsizing!!!!
Today I've been under the water - it was the dive club try dive day - so having spent a couple of hours making sausage and bacon banjos, a cool off dive was in order and very pleasant it was too. For my sins, as well as being the barman, I'm PR guru and webmaster so I was just glad some people turned up.
I know it's all relative, but it's starting to get hot here now - high 20's, low thirties most days and humid in the evenings and no rain still - so basically none is coming. They are still rationing it in the Republic (well unless you like in Paphos or Agia Napa where they are still sticking two fingers up to the rest of Cyprus and saying "we aren't doing that") - and here on the bases the water police are out checking nobody is watering their gardens or washing the car with a hose, so keeping plants alive is still erm testing. But so far I'm not doing too bad. Some tomatoes are starting to ripen, as well as some chilli's (unfortunately I have lost quite a few chilli's). Al lavatera which was disguised as a hollyhock is flowering it's heart out and the herbs seem to be coping with the watering regime.
This weekend we get the first of our summer visitors - my cousins fly out tomorrow afternoon - so I'm driving over to Paphos to get them. It'll be good to see them.
I have rescued another dog - "Frankie" is still here, but we have a home for him in a few weeks. He was living at the checkpoints for a coupleof weeks before I tempted him in. He was all skin and bones - but is much better now and a lot less timid. He chews though !! He's a hunting dog, who I reckon was crap, so they've just turfed him out.
Well thats about it for now - buit in true "Soap" style - will Frankie go to his new home happily, will Andy ever sail again, will those chilli's ever recover. The answer to these and many other questions will be in the next installment of "Reedos in Cyprus". (Cue music.........)

Friday, 16 May 2008

Going for it

While I'm here, I've decided that I need to do all the stuff I'd never get chance to do while back hime and take every opportunity to do get myself as many certificates as I can. To that end I'm diving as often as I can, 3 times so far this week and heading North to Kyrenia on Sunday here's some fish and stuff
Next weekend and the weekend after I'm doing a course in dinghy sailing and I'm now a helper at Youth Club where I am the Football coach, Turkish lessons are being done on a Thursday. The gardening course is kind of on a back burner at the minute - I'm still doing my plant portfolios but there's only so many hours in a day and they still make me work out here.
In the garden I've had a small harvest of potatoes, some beetroot, some aubergines and some Green Grape tomatoes - the chilli's are really starting to grow now as my cucumbers and the gazillions of tomatoes I have. I've managed to kill my courgettes though - but some emergency seeds came through the post the other day - so I'll be getting them in over the weekend. I seem to be saving enough grey water to keep things going at the moment - not sure if I'll manage it in July mind but I'll keep trying.
Rescued a kitten this week, and have managed to find a home for him - Saw a car in front of me slow down the other night, open the door and next thing I know there's a kitten in the middle of the road in front of me - I drive into a small ditch to avoid it and go back to see if I've hit him, he was about the size of my hand meowwing in the ditch I had parked the car in !!!

Friday, 25 April 2008

What a week

Begins with beating the Mackums - watched the drubbing of the great unwashed with Geordie Tait - a Mackum from Shiney Row, called Geordie cos nobody in the army can tell the difference in accents - and are dead original in their nicknames - anybody from North of Hull is called Geordie, he's embarassed to be called Geordie _ I won't call him it !!!! Well not to his face anyway.
Ends drinking cider with Drum - (Capn Drummond) see told you the military are good at nicknames.
In between times, I plant out cukes, some toms and peppers - suspend two of my staff for gross misconduct and deriliction of duty, acquit two others of similar charges but take minor disciplinary action against them (neither of which was a unilateral decision I must add), take part in a tennis tournament, don't win but do OK, thrash Drum at tennis twice (how did he get to the final ???)and tomorrow man the bar for the Dive Club while they run "try dives" for the new batallion.
Drum has been posted - he goes (probably) to Milan in August - one of the things I've found living with the military is that you make friends, and then they go - the soldiers are used to it, it's kind of how they live, but to a civilian it's strange.

Still no rain - although some is forecast tomorrow - I'm not holding my breathe though and so far using grey water has kept most things in the garden alive. As an aside - if you eat beetroot soup, be prepared for the colour it leaves your toilet !!!!!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Blimey - doesn't time fly

It can't be March 2nd since I last posted, somebody must have nicked them !!!

Let's think, what's happened since the beginning of March ??? Right I've harvested some aubergines, they are sitting pretty in the fridge while I decide what exactly to do with them, I've harvested some beetroot which is sitting pretty in apn having been boiled and pureed and turned into soup. Borsch it's called apparently, but I can't bring myself to eat cold soup so warmed up borsch with coriander it'll be. Delia reckons you either love it or hate. Whatever it tastes like it's a fantastic colour.
The water situation is getting out of hand really - there's no more rain coming - the Republic has started cutting water to only 8 hours in every 48, but by the time they get round to turning it back on it's about 5 hours in every 48, well apart from Paphos and Aya Napa councils who are busy sticking their fingers up at the rest of the Republic and saying we aren't doing it. On the base we aren't at the situation yet - but it could happen. I've built a gravity fed watering system involving a dustbin, a hosepipe, all the grey water I can collect and the laws of physics - hopefully I'll be able to keep the garden from completely frazzling with that. I'm just wondering how long it'll be before the hosepipe police come around and see what I've been doing.

I managed to get out diving with Jeff hopefully here's a couple of photo's to prove it
Purple nudibranch Jeff silhouette


Sunday, 2 March 2008

Mad dogs and Englishmen

In this case don't go out in the midday sun, but head off down to the beach to collect bagfulls of seaweed. Me (the Englishman) and Charlie (the mad dog) went down to the bit of rocky beach just near to the office and collected a jeep full of seaweed. No I haven't invented a way to make Zivania from it, it's is now proudly sat atop my beds as a thickly laid mulch, well most of my beds anyway. I read somewhere that it was a good soil conditioner and made a good mulch, and seeing as how they don't do stuff like that in bags here and it's free I thought I'll give that a go !!! Apparently they use in Jersey to cover their Jersey Royal potatoes - so Impy tells me anyway.
Spring has been springing, the fields are mainly yellow with bits of purple and red in them so look quite pretty and down on the beach today there were lovely tiny purple flowers growing in the sand.
All my chilli's are coming along quite nicely thankyou very much and are soon to be pricked out, I've planted some toms outside and they are flowering, it still gets quite chilly at night, but they seem to be happy enough and an aubergine I've had outside all winter is starting to flower.
It was warm enough outside today to be working in just shorts, summer must be coming.

Oh and Happy Mother's Day Mam, hope you've enjoyed it XXX

Monday, 18 February 2008

I'm rubbish at this !!!!

Once again I forgot to blog !!!

Not that I've had anything particularly startling to say, life is just kinda plodding on as it does. It's definitely winter here - windy and rainy at the minute and relatively cold. Not cold enought to stop the tatties I planted a while back from poking their leaves through the soil or stopping the lettuces, radishes and peas I sowed outside coming through. I've sowed a boatload (well propagator full) of chilli's - about a dozen varieties - so am hoping to have a chilli plantation this year. Last years still have chilli's on the plants - no leaves mind, I'm leaving them in to see what happens.
Haven't done any diving for a while, partly cos it's cold but mainly because my "dive buddy" Jeff is in the UK and won't be back for at least another week (his wife has been really quite poorly).

See told you not much startling has happened - but at least I remembered and I will try to post a bit more often from now on !!!!

Thursday, 3 January 2008


It's 2008 - I'm 40 this year - how has that happened then ????!!!!!

So ignoring my impending middle age, what's going on here ??

Christmas came and went, got some nice stuff - thanks everybody - specially like the knife I strap to my leg, very James Bond - somebody else said Lara Croft but I really haven't got the figure for that. Santa was good to the boys - managed to bring them a couple of bikes - I've just spent the afternoon finding and fixing 3 punctures in Sam's tyre..

There's been no more rain since the last post, they tell me more will come, but I reckon it's just wishful thinking on the Cypriot's behalf. So taking advantage of the sun, the holiday break and a quantity of seed potatoes which George thought were being smuggled but weren't and then conveniently split open outside the office I have nicked some more land and dug a new potato bed. No idea what the tatties are but I've stuck them in anyway.

I've set up what was Sam's room until he decided he did really want to share with Mattie as an office and got my books, drawing boards etc etc out. That's as far as I've got so far but it is a start. Plant Portfolio part 2 here we go. It means I can plan my football coaching sessions better too.
Diving wise, I've done the Zenobia (or the Zen as us Advanced divers like to call it !!!) a couple of times since my last post and another dive with Jeff - the drysuit Drum lent me has been a Godsend - it's heaps warmer in it. I mean it's cold diving here and the water is 18 degress Celsius - I dread to think what it's like of Whitley Bay. My big computer has broke and eaten all the pictures I've taken - and the plant stuff for my course and I haven't got round to trying to get it off yet so no pics again today, but maybe I'll have a go at rescuing them tomorrow.