About Me

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Cornwall, United Kingdom
A married Cornishman who still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up. I currently work for a charity and am trying to expand my horizons. [See bottom of page for Blog Archive and Links.]

What am I doing?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Red Roller group


Red Roller group
Originally uploaded by Phil(hellene).

Here's a shot of some of the apples we retrieved from the tree in the garden. It's a tree that we share as a family and was planted over 70 years ago by a family member.

It was identified by a fruit expert some years ago as the Red Roller variety, a fairly rare Cornish variety named from it shape and once thought virtually extinct, or so I'm told.

View from a table on my first visit to Chesters


View from a table on my first visit to Chesters
Originally uploaded by Phil(hellene).

Here's the first of the photos from Cyprus.

Quite fitting as Chesters Bar, on the outskirts of Limassol (the Larnaca side), was my favourite place to eat/drink and use FREE wifi. Yep ,one of the very few places in Cyprus to be generous enough to offer free wifi to patrons.

The table I sat at was outdoors in front of the left hand doorway, as you look at the front of Chesters. I could keep a signal here for most of the time without interruption.

Autumn in Cornwall

Shakespeare had it right when he described Autumn as "the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness".

The last few apples are falling from the tree, it's been a good crop this year. From the windfalls we make various things like crumbles, nothing very adventurous but tasty. It's always good to be open to new things and I recently had this happen with our apples. A very kind person made apple jelly with some and gave it to my parents; we tried it and next year it's on my list of things to do. The apples I have referred to here before, they are Red Rollers - a rare Cornish variety (pictures to come).

On the subject of pictures, I have not posted the Cypriot holiday ones yet as they are taking a while to go through. Armed with a digital camera and 2Gb SD I went a littler wild.

Today it has been damp, mist slowly creeping in and now I can only just see the buildings across the way. While not cold, the damp brought a chill that encouraged us to light our first coal fire since early Spring. As soon as I had laid it in and we had lit it, the warmth flowed into every nook and cranny of our little cottage. Sitting along side of the fire, it's glowing coals a hypnotic distraction, blurring our sense of time. Whenever we have a fire it's so difficult to drag ourselves away from it to go to bed. For all the work of making and, the next day, clearing up the debris it's worth it every time; as an added bonus, we often find that it's already been made when we get home, [no names, no pack drill - as they say but the persons involved know how grateful we are].

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Eric Idle on Parkinson

I have always enjoyed Michael Parkinson's shows, tonight was particularly good.

Eric Idle was funny while being more risqué than I had seen anyone on Parki before.

Eric Idle reports that when George Harrison was stabbed, 8 times by an intruder with a kitchen knife, he was being carried out on a stretcher; he hadn't met 2 new staff he had recently employed, when they came rushing in. George looked at them and said, "So what so you think of the job so far?"

Eric also said, "Niceness is overated".

Monday, October 16, 2006

Littlechef A350 Chippenham

Great service. Freshly cooked food, particularly the Olympic breakfast.

Wifi was up and down when a family were sitting near the take-away part, (we're sitting against the wall as you come in), now they are tone signal strength is stable. Strength 5 bars on today screen and average -50 on config screen.

Well worth nipping off the M4 junction 17 for the couple of miles to the end of the dual carriageway; the Littlechef is on far right on the roundabout you get to, next to the garage.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Last Day in Cyprus

Colour me melancholic.

Everything is still, muted even on this last morning. The sky is blue with a hint of clouds at the edge of the window, (I say window but it runs floor to ceiling and wall to wall). I am a relaxed sort of tired today, as I have gotten up early to see my friend off when he goes to work.

We'll be packing later, definitely my most hated holiday job. I have a smaller case but we seem to have made it a rule to buy larger souvenirs than last year, not just larger but heavier too. I smiled when I saw case's on the carousel, when we came out, that were marked with the HEAVY warning tags; well that's not us this year, I thought to myself - there's a good chance I won't have the last laugh.

Already my head's a blur of holiday experiences and we haven't left the country yet. The trips we have done are fairly vivid but the trips into Limassol have melded into one long one, just like my favourite street Agiou Andreiou. We have quite a few photos to remember the place by and a little video to, (though it's my first proper attempt with the Nikon P2). Naming the shots will give me quite a few evenings' work through the winter.

Ah the sun's reached the balcony, maybe that will lift my spirits a little.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Views from a Cypriot window

I sit here, looking out on an azure blue sea. Across the horizon ships pass in a slow procession. In the foreground people pass in a wedding procession. The sky is blue ahead of me, gradually fading to a muted orange as the sun sets.

Earlier I watched a massive build up of cumulo nimbus clouds, they gathered, changed shape and moved slowly like massive white ships of the air. I could watch such majestic movement for years, but today is our last whole day and I have so much atmosphere to soak up; after all, this will have to last for as much as a year.

The air is noticably cooler than when we came out but this feeling is, in part, due to our becoming acclimatised and partly due to the storms in the West. The light has all but faded now, swiftly as it does this much closer to the equator than in Cornwall. Dusk is almost a blessing bestowed to compensate for the sapping of the sun's strength in Northern Europe.

Tonight will be the last meal of substance with our dear friends here, a bittersweet time. We have been through this on many occasions but it never gets any easier. When you get along as well as we do and then have to spend so long apart it comes as a wrench. Not seeing each other but only being an hour or two apart is such a salve.

Impressions of Cyprus Part 2

We were familiar with the streets of Corfu Town and the smaller town our friends used to live in; so much so that I could close my eyes and navigate to any of the locations we used to go to. It was a place where I was definitely in my comfort zone.

Cyprus was an unknown, even after studying maps and gudie books before coming out I was none the wiser. Take the scale for instance, in Corfu I could tell you the time it would take me to get to somewhere but out here, goodness knows. Now, I can almost hear you saying but that's the same for everyone who visits a new place; to that I would say yes and perhaps I am not doing justice to the unease I felt at going to these new places, having to get familiar with the bus routes, etc.

Obstensibly we had come to see our friends and anything else was a bonus. For instance, we are staying just 2 minutes walk from what is called a supermarket out here, not your out of town conglomerate but say a Spar shop in the UK or one of those 9-till-late stores in the US, (I forget the generic name for them), they seem to be every 500 metres, bonus; next to that is a bar, a bonus, though drinks bought from the store to be drunk at home are more economical and I am on something of an economy drive.

I went in to the supermarket on the first full day here and picked up some postcards. Before I had managed to no more than start to utter gramatossima (stamps) the Cypriot lady asked, in perfectly good English, whether I would like stamps for them. I had been told by several friends that on Cyprus a majority of people spoke very good English, but I still went around expecting to find a lot of people who would rather speak Greek; not so, I found a lot of people who would tolerantly listen to my efforts and then answer in extrememly good English, a bonus, especially in those circumstances when my most basic grasp of the language faltered over concepts or future/past tenses (often).

We got to learn the streets armed with a map and basically walking them. Orientation started with the old port; this, like arriving by boat in Corfu, led to the tourist area. We found ourselves walking through the old part of the town frequently and this is how we got to know Cabellaros opposite the castle, the caf?/restaurant I have already written about. From there we turned a corner and found ourselves in Agiou Andreiou or St.Andrew Street, a long street that in it's first third, (measured from the old port end), contains many of the types of shops we found between Corfu's port and it's Liston building.

St.Andrew Street runs all the way to the municipal gardens and at the end furthest from the port it meets a sort of skewed crossroads, where the Starbucks, (I have written about in my previous post), exists. Just along past the right hand of Starbucks, as you face it, is the Municipal Gardens.

Note: if you pass by the left of Starbucks you can walk less than 500 metres and the last building on your left, before the road junction, (a roundabout with large fountain in the middle), is the biggest bookshop in Limassol - Kyriakkou Bookshop. The bookshop has a dark tinted door and three windows displaying some books. As you enter the foyer contains magazines, currently Greek on the right and English on the left, hence the need for a tinted door to protect the covers. Be warned, magazines and books in Cyprus are not cheap. You check out charity sales of second books by buying an English language Cypriot newspaper, Cyprus Mail (daily), Cyprus Weekly (every Friday) or Sunday Mail (the Cyprus Mail's sunday paper that comes with a magazine called Seven, that I found contained some interesting articles). They both have online editions. I may have created a bad link as far as previous references to the Mail goes, I can't really check until I get home and go online but the above links should be fine as I just read them from the actual newpapers.

The Municipal Gardens has a zoo in it, but I would not recommend it for a visit, from the little I have seen from the park. On the whole I wouldn't recommend zoos.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Big correction on Starbucks hotspots in corfu

I need to correct an earlier post of mine.

Regarding Starbucks above the Municipal Gardens and Zoo in Limassol.

When I visited this Starbucks I saw signals from a range of wifi sites but could not connect to one and get a splash screen. Later I posted about a piece I saw in the Cyprus Mail giving wifi hotspots across Cyprus; it said you could access the internet in Starbucks across Cyprus with a card that costs ?7 (Cypriot pounds) for 24 hours.

I failed to pick up on this until I revisited the above mentioned Starbucks today. I asked whille I was there and was told that there was also a card that gave 2 hours connection for ?3 (Cypriot pounds). Once I had the card, which is from Logosnet Technologies and comes sealed in a plastic wallet, I scratched off the back which gave the user password, the username was displayed above it.

There is an explanatory leaflet, in Greek and English, that comes with the card; it sets out what needs to be done to connect to the hotspot e.g. having your browser set to accept "Active Scripting". I connected with my Axim and did not have any way of turning this on.

Initially my browser rejected the connection when I tried to connect to a website, expecting to be taken to a splash screen. I then put in www.forthnet.com as a website to visit and this took me to a splash screen for connecting, (I had already told the Axim to connect to the Forthnet signal that I saw). Because Opera had not suceeded in connecting I went through Internet Explorer but, when I tested it later, Opera could also get the splash screen and accept the login.

Connection strength from where we sat, the pillar nearest to the toilets, was five out of five bars on the Axim Today screen and -50 on it's wifi configuration screen. I walked up to the beverage collection point from my seat and the average signal strength was -50 which is very good for a public hotspot, (I've not seen full strength in the UK). Also, I was able to download a photowalking video by Scoble of Thomas Hawk 48Mb without any sign of throttling, unlike the UK.

Reflections on Cyprus Part 1

We came not knowing what we would find, a new experience for us.

Our first site of the island, when we looked out of the plane window, was of a barren spread of land; oh, this will improve we thought, once we're nearer the sea. As we approached the sea we saw the salt plain outside of Larnacca, maybe it would take longer to get to the green part; we ran out of island before this.

As we landed we could almost feel the heat pulsing against the side of the plane. Before they had opened the doors we knew it would be hot, like the time we landed in Athens and they opened the doors, letting in the tail-end of a heatwave.

There was a breeze when the doors opened and this tempered any feelings of heat, plus we were focused on getting to the arrivals hall and spotting our friends. Once we get to baggage reclaim, we would start scanning for a glimpse of our friends. This time we found that you cannot see the people waiting, reps and residents, one sort with little signs held at a height to indicate their level of self esteem; the other with just expectant looks, straining to turn into a smile.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cyprus Mail

I neglected to include them before but, in recognition of the news source regarding wifi hotspots:

Cyprus Mail website: www.cyprus-mail.com

Email: mail@cyprus-mail.com

Cyprus Wifi Hotspot availability update

I was just sitting, flicking through a copy of today's (Wednesday) Cyprus Mail when I found a couple of technology related pages.

The thing that caught my eye was a corner of the right hand page entitled Wifi Hotspots.

Here are listed a bunch of hotspots quite a few I had not found out about when searching the internet.

With a nod to the Cyprus Mail's WELL wired section I present below the news on hotpsots known in southern Cyrpus.

Centrum Hotel, Pasiktratous 15, Nicosia - FREE
Mondo Caf?, Nicosia - FREE
Le Caf?, Nicosia - NOT KNOWN
Da Capo, Nicosia - FREE
Costa Coffee, Nicosia - FREE
The Flamingo Beach Hotel, Larnaca - FREE
Segafredo Zanetti, Expresso Bar, Paphos - FREE
Chesters bar, Amathoundas Avenue, Limassol - FREE
The Press Lounge Caf?, Nicosia - NOT KNOWN
Starbucks, Island Wide - ?7 24-hour card
Woodstock Pub, Episkopi village, Limassol - FREE
Lounda Hotel, Limassol - ?10 24-hour card
Rocket Diner, Nicosia - FREE
Amathus Hotel, Limassol - FREE

Well, there they are. We passed through Episkopi when visiting Kouriou (or Curium as I've seen it written inguide books). I thought the village looked quite nice but like it even more now. I know the above says Starbucks island wide and eventually I found that there is wifi available at the Starbucks on the road junction just above the Municipal Gardens and Zoo, but I had to buy a card with a set amount of time on it.

The delights of shopping

I know that I am not an fully developed shopaholic. From the way my eyes gloss over when Cathy gets first go at buying something I surmise that my shop-till-I-drop gene is not fully formed, which is better than the careful-with-money one that never even developed.

So there we were wandering around Marks and Spencers in Limassol, very colourful store and worth a visit, if only for the view of the Troodos Mountains from it's coffee shop and air conditioning on a hot day (any day say between April and November for instance); for some reason I couldn't even summon up interest in the lingerie section. Leaving there we strolled back down the main road M & S sort of branch off and came across the Kyriakou Bookstore (or some similar name - apologies to the store). Yet again I found I could not summon the interest to go in, even after glancing through the dark tinted glass of the outer door and seeing loads of magazines, including ones such as the informative Amerian PC Magazine.

A very strange day, I can't say that I am particularly out of sorts, I certainly don't feel unwell. So why the complete apathy? It's an unusual feeling for me, I'll have to keep my eye on it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Advice on when NOT to use MemMaid

I was doing a quick backup of the SD card in Cathy's Nikon P2 point and shoot, as unfortunately it's wifi connectivity doesn't talk to wifi on this Axim x51v.

While the backup SD card was in the Axim I found things running slowly so ran MemMaid to try to clear it up. What I hadn't taken into account was the fact that the card with Egress stored on it was out of the Axim and MemMaid identified the links to it as therefore dead and removed them.

Egress works if I use File Explorer to locate the executable but it does not appear in the program list. I now have to remind myself, i.e. hunt around in folders on the Axim, how to add a shortcut so it will again be recognised as a program; I feel certain that there is a way to do this.

Balancing the books internet in Cyprus and Chesters addendum

I feel I should write to be fair to Cyprus. I have been going on what I had read, that there isn't broadband access but ISDN, a handful of hotspots and dialup. I saw, yesterday, a sign that said ADSL internet at a cybercafe on the way west out of Limassol. I should have tested the connection speed perhaps, while on the hotspot but I used all my time downloading my RSS feeds.

We sat a table further out from the right hand doors, as you face the bar, not a good idea. We had a direct view into the bar and were maybe an extra 6 feet from the doors but there was no signal.
I got a signal called Raphael, which was from a hotel a good 500+ metres from the bar, coming in at 2 out of 5 bars in strength, but it did not allow connection - it's the competing signal I mentioned in the previous Chesters Bar post.

I went inside at one point and connected immediately but lost the signal as soon as I went out and sat down, I got the same result on 3 occasions. The only way I could then get a connection was for us to move indoors after lunch and have a couple of pineapple juices in there.

This lack of connectivity severely ate into the amount of time that I was connected today. Previously I was connected all through lunch, a good 1.5 hours extra. Be warned sit close to or inside the doors for full connectivity and the left hand doors definitely give access just outside, next to the flat screen order terminal.

I also noticed inside other hi-tech touches, as well as the flat screen order/till points there was a ceiling mounted data projector and recessed screen, also several flat screen televisions, (though none were playing while we were there, just some piped pop music).

Why no pictures?

I have been asked why I have not included any pictures on the blog from Cyprus. Currently I have three options, dialup, GPRS or hotspot, non of which make it simple. Even the seemingly easiest option, that of wifi is complicated. I have written that connecting was straight forward and it is, I grabbed RSS feeds and emails earlier today, but there are dropped connections and possible throttling issues enough that I did not want to try uploading to Zooomr. I am spending time with Cathy and our friends, whose home they are generously sharing with us, so there is little editing time - yes, I've been lazy and taken all photos at 5M pixels (I do not want to find that I forgot to take it back up only after the fact). I will up load photos and link in smaller sizes when we get back in a the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chesters Bar

[This is an entry about Chesters Bar. See the last 5 paragraphs for the geeky bit].

We were warned that nit was a bit of a trek from near the Four Seasons on the outskirts of Limassol to Chesters but the lure was too great. On the way there is an archaeological site that we could visit on the way back, or so we thought.

On catching the bus, no hire car for us (more on that again), I managed to ask the driver for a probably fictitious location, "Do you stop near George's?" Don't ask me where I got the name George's from, I have no idea. We finally settled on the archaeological site just a kilometre or so down the road. I knew that we were heading in the right direction and surmised that we could walk the rest of the way from there.

I will talk more of the site in another post. Having looked around we headed up the road slightly until we could cross and join the paved walkway that runs for kilometres along the the beach. The walk was long, maybe another kilometre and a half before we arrived at a shopping area.

At one point the path, having diverged gradually from the road by several hundred metres, ran out and we began to walk along the beach; slightly worrying was the lack of any sign of a path back to the road. Turning the corner of a bunch of bushes we came across a wide dusty track, between two developments, that enabled us to move back to the road. After another couple hundred metres we came across a shop, where we bought water and I again asked for fictitious directions. More confusingly this time the lady said she thought she knew of a George's and that it lay in totally the opposite end of Lemesos. I explained that the address for the place was 194 Amthousa Avenue. Ah, she said, this was Lordou Amathus and not the address I said. It was at this point that I remembered I had a note of the telephone number of the place we wanted. I could see a very prominent Irish pub opposite where we were and so I called the place and decided to quote this as the landmark nearest us. The moment the phone call was answered and the person said "Hello Chesters I realised that I had been asking for the wrong place. A couple of simple and swift directions, "carry on past the Irish pub on our left, past the traffic lights and it's on the left hand side of the road", was all it took.

A quick way to spot Chesters is to look out for the Hawaii Beach Hotel, it's opposite this 5 star hotel.

First impression of Chester's is it's wood and canvas pagoda like frontage, that shades a bunch of tables. It's quite spacious, both inside and out, which allows the tables to be spread out. The staff were friendly and prices reasonable. The menu is extensive, and available on line Chesters Bar.

Now for the geeky bit, they have FREE wifi. One of only 3 locations in the whole of Cyprus that are free. This avoids complications such as with roaming agreements, for example not all BTOpenzone accounts offer roaming abroad, consequently leaving one open to charges on top of what one already pays for access at home.

Connection was simple, my Axim recognised the Chesters SSID immediately, though there was a competing signal (that won't allow access), I forget it's name and my device only stores the successful connections. The signal is quoted as 802.11g when googled but it stepped down to this Pocket PC's 80211b, as I suspected/hoped it would.

I was able to check my emails and update Egress my RSS reader and enclosure grabber. The only difficulty came on a number of occassions when the signal dropped. I was sitting at a table just outside the left hand door, as you look at the front of Chesters from it's car park. From here the signal strength was four out of five bars on the strength indicator of Hitchhiker. [I find Hitchhiker a useful programme to locate available hotspots (legitimate ones of course), determine their accessibility and connect if possible].

I did wonder if the signal loss was a from people passing the router or a form of throttling. Not having used a connection for 5 days I have quite a few feeds on Egress that needed updating, say 300, each of which can hold up to 75 threads. Also, when I tried to download any podcasts I only kept the signal when concentrating on one at a time. In the end I only managed to download TWIT via Opera. I didn't want to seem a bandwidth hog and abuse what is a generous gesture, so I dropped the idea of grabbing any other podcasts. Getting full emails for those I was interested in, from the couple of k per email I currently download, plus updating my RSS feeds was enough for me.

We had a full blown meal there plus drinks, so I think I recompensed my hosts for their generous hotspot gesture. [We had the Lebanese Meze and, not knowing how filling that was, ordered a Greek salad (horiatiki) to go with it. The food was delicious and would have us going back even without the prospect of the hotspot].

All in all a marvellous trip out, for mind and body.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Starbucking around the universe

For anyone reading this because of the Starbucks reference, the Starbucks at the road junction at the top of the Municipal Gardens does NOT have wifi that this 802.11b Axim can associate with. You can see a Forthnet signal but but connect. There seem to be a number of businesses ground here work locked wifi but by public hotspots.

We caught the bus into Lemesos (Limassol to you), a relatively sedate activity compared to Corfu. Not only was the bus into town relatively uncrowded but the driver opened his just shut door for some latecomers. Things became a little more familiar when someone foreig(German from his accent) tried to use a very large denomination note (more than ?20); needless to say, the driver won the debate.

Finding something to eat was a bit of a trek. Before we had reached an excellent place for a break we had a long trek; it was so far that Cathy had begun to get neck ache from her pouch-to-rucksack backpack. Eventually, by obstinacy/perseverance paid off.

We reached the junction of Anexartisias and Gladstonos and, just west on Gladstonos, we found a xacheoplastorio (not the right spelling I know) called Petit Paris. OK the name isn`t very Cypriot/Greek but one look at it shouted tradition. We went straight in and looked at the desserts on offer, to my delight Galactoborecko was in the first cabinet I looked in.

After a few moments a little chap came out and, amazingly, allowed me to confer in my approximation of Greek. We agreed on two portions of that heavenly dessert. When it came, it was accompanied with the traditional glass of water. In the corner, near one of the entrances, was a small drinks fridge but by other didn of refreshments. I asked if there was any chance of some frappes. Of course the gentleman replied with a very warm smile. While he went in to the back, to make the drinks, another chap came out; he had to bt a brother. Between them we were made most welcome. It was an excellent stop and very refreshing.

From my kitchen to yours...

...nothing but delicious flavours.

I always take a turn as cook when we come out to the Med. The last few years I have grown a little book of easy recipes, you know the sort, short on steps and long on taste. The recipes have come from a range of sources, as I had never found one book that had the range I was looking for.

You've guessed it, I've now found a book; well, two actually, (yes, just like buses you wait ages for one then two come along at once).

First off is the one that we have already cooked from, BBC GoodFood Magazine's 101 One-Pot Dishes (BBC Books ISBN: 0 563 52291 7). I have read one pot books before but this one stands out. I wondered at first if it was the colour photos that lie on the page opposite each recipe or maybe the inconvenience of a book that I can stick in my pocket when going ingredient shopping. [That is the hardest part of cooking for me, getting organised enough to go out and shop ahead for recipes].

After cooking some of the recipes, such as Speedy Salmon and Leeks, which involves salmon cooked on a bed of leeks and tomatoes in a olive oil, mustard, honey and lemon sauce, I knew it was the food that made the book a winner. Each of the things we cooked took a maximum of 4 steps and was ready well in the time stated for the dish; in our case we chose partly according to the time factor, so that we could eat soon after getting home from work.

The second book we have only skimmed through and not cooked from yet. This book was a find as Cathy got it free with She magazine this month, bought ostensibly as airport/plane reading. Real Fast Food (Penguin Books ISBN-10: 978-0-141-02980-1 ISBN-10: 0-141-02980-3) is a book by Nigel Slater, a well known food writer/critic in the UK. Funnily enough, we were properly introduced to his work via his book Toast a couple of years back, while staying with the same friends as now only on a different, Greek island. Toast is a book of reminiscences of his life seem through his experiences with food, being of a similar age it was quite a nostalgia trip for us.

Again the recipes are simple but with a couple of pages of reflection at the start of each section e.g. on Pasta or Fish, or on a particular ingredient e.g. Trout. The style is informative while keeping the recipes clear so that one can get on and cook without having to weed out the author's impressions from within the cooking instructions.

I thoroughly recommend these books to the house.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Early impressions

We had a very relaxing trip out no real hassles, which is unusual for me. (Excel let us check our cases in the day before so we only had to turn up the next day and head straight through security).

The only hitch was when I used a machine to get return tickets from hotel to airport and ended up with a ticket that was for a child and 4 times the amount a child would pay! It took the hotel staff to get the coach driver to concede and let us on board.

Gatwick airport was good, wifi connection was of a good strength so I had plenty to amuse me on the 'net while cathy tried to doze.

Our friends' apartment is spacious and has a view of the sea. We can't help making comparisons with Corfu and the main differences so far are: the barreness of the island, the wide and well maintained roads, left hand driving, the lack of horn wielding/irate Greek drivers and the amount of 'English' goods in the many supermarkets.

Tonight we seek the refuge of the familiar and head for a souvlakia shop to feast on kebabs. I made the joke that I was happy eating anywhere as long as we didn't have to go to a fish and chip or sunday roast establishment; our friends told us that there was a very good fish and chip shop further in to the city and that roast meals were readily available! (Aaaaaggghhhhhh. Exit Phil running, stage left).

It's good to be back and catch up with our friends. It always seems like more than the time apart since we've seen them but then like we've never been separated once we are with them again.

Other pluses while I think of them include, few mosquitoes or insecty things to invade one's room, some good snorlkelling to be had and the possibility of having a tour of the Troodos mountains in a landrover (buses are infrequent and do not tour).

Odd minuses include a lack of broadband (but Corfu didn't have much of that either), some distance to wifi locations (though Chester's bar (with possible free wifi) and a lack of specific bus stations (different companies have different stations in Lemesos).

Morning in Cyprus

We were warned that Sunday night was the local Elvis karaoke night at a nearby hotel. 'That's OK', thought I, 'we'll get off to sleep before it kicks off and it'll just be like a background lull anyway'.

What any of us hadn't been prepared for was the wedding that had occurred earlier in the day. While siitting in the lounge we had heard a load of car horns and, when we looked, saw many cars passing in the distance with their hazard warning lights flashing. It turns out that this was a wedding party. 'A nice way of seeing the couple off on their honeymoon' thinks I.

We had reached the point of drifting into sleep, where sounds blur and begin to recede into the distance; (even the nhigh pitched whine of some form of alarm, somewhere in the far distance. No louder than the whine of a mosquito in the room but of far less consequence.

Out of nowhere the bombardment began. 10 more minutes and I might have started dreaming about living during the blitz. Even louder than the roof tilke shaking thounder of Corfu in lkate summer, the apartment echoed to the bone rattling bangs of a massive fireworks display. I reckon now that these were related to the wedding party that had passed by earlier in the evening. A different interpretation of the term - start your honeymoon off with a bang.

Eventually, we ended up in the company of Mr Sandman for the next 9 hours, with the aid of handmade tissue earbungs, (crafted in the darkness of our room, they were to roughly made to merit the moniker earplug.

This morning we awoke to a warmer room than accustomed to in early September in Corfu. If our previous Greek experiences are a good measure of the weather we enjoy October is the earliest part of Cypriot summer we will want to experience.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tips for travellers via Gatwick

First off, I would definately book a stay and park based in how straightforward it was. More than that, I whole heartedly recommend flying with an airline that allows checking in the day before. We found it to be the most relaxing preparation for a trip we`ve ever had.

We stayed at the Holiday finding it to be both efficient and comfortable. The staff were professional in that way that suggests nothing of too much trouble,by matter how foolish the guest. The bed was so soft, it felt like a water bed filled work the breath of angels instead of H2O. I only have two caveats. Firstly, rooms only had a wired fast internet connection, one would have to visit a ground floor lounge or bar area to get propriety wifi, if I`ve got to pay more got it I want it at my convenience. Secondly, the literature in the room advised buying one`a ticket from the machine in the lobby and to buy a return. We assumed, (never a good idea), that it meant tickets were not sold onboard the bus.

a case of being strong

I had a worrying phone call recently, out friends have a smaller car and can I bring a smaller case?

This might not seem such a big thing in the scheme of things, not to you maybe.

Well the case packing went frightenly well. Everything fitted and there was room to spare, which puzzling as it never did in the red shed of a case. I`m not packing as much maybe? Yet, when I think through my mindmap there isn`t anything I can think of that I`ve missed. Wierd.

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