Gardening Matters – Travels with Allie.
We had a good sleep and had only just woken up when Ozzy from Gunray Car Rental arrived to do the paperwork for the car. We have a Ford B-Max and it’s a good little car, just right for what we need. It was all quickly done, and it has cost us £360 in total for our length of stay including transfers at either end to Ercan.
Had a bit of breakfast and then unpacked. It was so lovely to look out of the window and see the green mountains all around us. Spring is a beautiful time here. There are carpets of wild flowers and all the herbs and wild thyme bushes on the hills are in bloom, as are the purple trees in our garden – tulip trees and the others (I should know but I don’t). Our almond trees are in blossom and the citrus too. Lovely. We were delighted to see our old olive tree erupting in fresh green shoots from its twisted trunk and branches. We planted it at the end of last November as a transplant, and were not really sure if it would make it.
The weather has really picked up in the last couple of weeks after the coldest winter here in 40 years. It was 25C today and sunny all day. Temperatures are going to stay at that sort of level now for this week. Spring is officially here. We both were in shorts and t shirts today.
Marion came up about 1130 and we had a catch up on house matters over the winter. We had two of the couches re-upholstered and re-stuffed and we’re really pleased with them. Over the next year we plan to re-upholster the remaining large sofa and two armchairs, paint the downstairs a light yellow and install two new large Turkish rugs.
We drove into Kyrenia at lunchtime and stopped at the Turkcell shop to re-activate our Cypriot sim so that we can use data and make calls here. It’s only £7 for a plan that gives unlimitted calls and texts and 6 gb of data and lasts one month. Then we parked in the town centre and walked down to the harbour to visit our favourite lamp shop. While we are here this time, Bob is going to install the collection of decorated gourd lights we purchased last year, out on the dining terrace and we are also replacing the old wall lights out there with some Ottoman style ones. Our current lights are very utilitarian and they are too high in my opinion. I wanted some brass and glass ones installed at face height to back up the mood lighting from the gourd lamps. Luckily Mr Lamp (not his real name) had exactly the wall lights I had in mind. They are copies of wall sconces found in Ottoman palaces and mosques – intricate patterned brass inset with glass. Very delighted with them and at £62 each, a good price.
We wandered down to the lovely harbour and walked around. It is still early in the season, so it was quiet down there. We sat at a table and shared some calamari and I had a brandy sour – the national cocktail of Cyprus. Yum.
After that, we drove back to Alsancak and called at Yas Beles, the farmers’ vegetable stall. They just roll up in their lorries and deliver the crops straight to the bins. We try and buy only what is locally produced and it works out very reasonably. We got lovely onions, different lettuce and rockets, spring onions, a huge bunch of purple garlic, tomatoes and herbs. Then a call into Ileli supermarket to get some groceries and meat. They have a superb butcher in there. He even has a Himalayan salt cave for aging his beef. I bought some sheftali, the divine local lamb sausage, fresh burgers and some chicken. We also bought some fillets of Pangasius fish which we like to cook with.
Alcohol has had a new tax applied to it here but even so, we got a bottle of gin for a fiver and the tonics were 50p for large bottles of schweppes.
Still feeling tired after our mega travel day yesterday but settling in nicely.