It's June and raining in the UK......but not in North Cyprus

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June 5th 2017
Published: June 11th 2017
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Norwegian Air 37000ft eastern mediterranean
Monday 5th June 2017

So we are off again to our special place in North Cyprus for a few months and will keep those who want to know about our adventures and times on the island updated via our travel blog. If you feel you no longer want to be bored with our ramblings of life here in the sunshine we won't be offended, just let us know and we will delete you from our distribution list.

We are off...........

After a great weekend staying with George and Kayleigh we jumped aboard the "rattler" at Fareham station and headed up to Gatwick for our overnight stay prior to our early flight tomorrow morning. It's at 5:30am. Managed to stay ahead of the rain storm heading across the UK and just after 2pm were in our room on the 10th floor of the Premier Inn. Great view of the runway! Time to chill, watch some tv and reading - the young people had kept us active over the weekend. Booked a table for our evening meal, this place does get busy and we wanted to eat a

Greek Islands, the sun is shining!
little earlier than normal so we could get an early night and hopefully some sleep. Premier Inn met the requirements with a nice room, good food and a glass of wine all whilst watching the rain and the dark clouds outside. Tomorrow at this time we should be experiencing some much better weather.

Tues 6th June 2017

Up early, in fact very early at 2:45am! Short stroll to the north terminal, onto the shuttle and 5mins later we were checking in with Norwegian Air. As it was early there were no queues at security so quickly thro and as is the norm for us we have a stroll around the retail outlets.....always Fatface and SuperDry. We had a week earlier been in Exeter checking out the prices on a few things and yes they were cheaper in the airport, so two coats purchased (Guess they won't get used to often where we are heading!). Time to pick up a snack for the flight, grab a paper and stroll down to board. For some reason the aircraft wasn't parked up on an airbridge, so it was a short stroll outside in the damp and wet to get to the

Balcony view, watching the goats wander home
aircraft. The aircraft captain did apologise for this as it's not the norm - he was going to make enquiries! Result - no one sat in the 3rd seat in our row so able to spread out. Exactly on time at 5:30am we were on our way leaving the grey sky's of England far behind. We really like Norwegian Air, although a budget airline with great prices they have new aircraft, provide good service, reasonable leg room and free in flight wifi. So we were able to surf the net, Facebook, emails etc plus also stream selected tv programmes. We had also downloaded a few films and documentaries so we're not short on entertainment. Cloudy all the way down the Mediterranean until we reached the Greek islands and then sunshine and clear sky's all the way to Cyprus. Landed 10mins ahead of schedule and very quickly thro passport control, bags were first off and met our transfer minibus. Weather sunny and warm at 27C.

A gaggle of us gathering and a short wait whilst other travellers joined us. Most were shall we say more "elderly" than us - hard to believe but true. All aboard the happy bus, driver

Mountain view
loading the cases in the back whilst we jumped onboard. Just before setting off the driver asked everyone for their passports, so he had them to hand ready to hand over at the border post. old dear had cleverly packed her passport back in her suitcase and yes you have guessed it, it was at the bottom of the pile! Driver muttering a bit, luggage unloaded, passport found. Hurrah, we are on our way........errr no. Seems like there are 11 of us on the minibus but only 10 passports. Everyone insisting they had handed their passport to the driver, in particular an old boy sat up front next to the driver. A painful 10 mins pass as one of the "elderlies" took control or so they thought of the passports and proceeded to check them - speed of a striking sloth comes to mind. But hey, who are we to worry we have almost 6mths out here so no rush for us. Eventually passports check done and guess what the one missing is the old boys up front of the minibus. Sarah and I were trying hard not to laugh as he insists he handed it across, then followed

Simply the best!
further pain as he tried to remember where he last had it! Pockets checked, floor of minibus checked but no passport found. Eventually a gleeful yelp, "found it". It was on his lap all the time, conveniently hidden by his sports jacket which he had taken off and placed on his knees. Jeez.....if we get like that just bring out the gun and shoot us! By now we were almost wetting ourselves in the back of the minibus and trying very hard not to comment. At last we were on our way, smooth journey all the way to Girne (Kyrenia). Everyone except us were on a package holiday so it was a tour of hotels as they were dropped off. The elderlies as predicted were holidaying in the Dome Hotel in the centre of town, for anyone who knows the hotel it is one of the oldest hotels around and has a sort of a feel of the raj or times gone by about it. The last drop off was at the Pia Bella hotel.....all out including us. As old hands to the ways of North Cyprus we grabbed a seat on the hotel patio as the minibus driver made

Club Tropicana quiz night
a call or two whilst looking at us, smiling and saying, "all is ok, no problems". A couple of minutes later a hire car pulls up and we jump in for the last leg up to our place in Buffavento Village, near Catalkoy. We did ask the driver if he worked for the minibus company, no he said he worked for the hire car company next door to the hotel and was asked to take us the last part of our journey. Some may well be phased by this very laid back, chaotic and relaxed atttitude, we have learnt over the years that "this is Cyprus" and to go with the flow.

Having arrived at our little place in the sun, we opened up, turned on the utilities, checked internet was working and slowly unpacked. Battery was put back into our jeep, it fired up first time so we were able to pop out to Supreme supermarket for a few essentials. Back home it was shower and changed before heading down to Happy Valley restaurant, a favourite place of ours. Run by Riaz (Pakistani) not posh or pretentious, just very good service, freshly cooked food and very cold bottles

September 2016 and this was Kilroy, our sponsor and soon to be adopted dog. He was terribly thin and very ill after being found in a storm drain. He was rescued by KAR and this was the first time he had stood since he arrived a week earlier. Took a few weeks but he slowly improved.
of Efes beer. Chicken Tikka and Chicken Jalfrezi curries a couple of drinks and it was time to head home and bed - it's been a long and at times entertaining day.

Wednesday 7th June 2017

Awake early to an azure blue sky and no clouds! A day of jobs as we finished the unpacking and worked our way thro the house giving the place a good clean out. Took things easy as it was very warm with the temperature creeping up to 29C. By mid afternoon we had completed most of what we needed to do for the day so after a quick shower we headed out for the evening. First stop off was the Botanica sofa and furniture shop. Last year when we were out for our extended stay, Sarah had spotted a sofa which she liked but as we only had a few days before returning to the UK we held off buying. Plenty of choice in the shop and as the sofa was hand made in the workshop out the back a great choice of colours. Decision made, deposit paid and sofa would take about 3 weeks to make and then deliver. Then it

June 2017 - Kilroy our new friend looking in great shape.
was off to the village of Ozankoy and the Club Tropicana - no the drinks are not free. It was the usual Weds quiz night. It's a bit of an ex pat hang out and whilst we try not to spend all our time with ex pats, the place is welcoming and food good if you want to eat. Plus we enjoy a good quiz. Arrived and met up with an old friend, Gary plus also Brendan and Beryl who are a really nice couple, easy to talk to and dont take the quiz to seriously. The best thing is the quiz starts at 6pm and is all over by 7:30pm so plenty of time to go off elsewhere or return home for an evening meal. A good quiz, we didn't win - third place for us. Didn't win the raffle either. However, Sarah won the backwards bingo, with a prize of 140tl which is about £30 so that more than paid for our night out with some left over. Decided to stay and eat, just a simple ham, egg and chips, plenty of it and great value. Full up it was time to head home to bed a little

Kilroy knows what side his bread is buttered.
tired after all our hard work.

Thursday 8th June 2017

Seems like we have caught up on our sleep and we were up early to continue pottering around, this time trimming and weeding our postage stamp size rear patio garden plus getting out all the outside furniture, sun umbrellas ready for the summer evenings. Mid morning and it was time to head off to the Kyrenia Animal Rescue (KAR) office in town where we had a meeting with Kim, the lady who organises pet travel. For those who do not know, last year we volunteered to work at the rescue centre and whilst there we saw many dogs come in looking for a home. One dog named Kilroy was rescued from a storm drain, painfully thin, full of ticks and fleas and very close to being on his way out. Sarah and I sat with him in the medical area at the centre one afternoon. He was so weak he could not stand and was on a drip with a slim chance of pulling thro. Despite this he crawled across to us and placed his head on our laps....well that was it for us. We immediately decided to

Pool area crowded!
sponsor him and take an interest in his welfare. Slowly but surely after a lot of work by the centre and the vets he improved and by the time we were leaving last year he was nearly fully fit. We took him for walks and it was then we decided to adopt him when we returned this year. A discussion with KAR and they agreed to keep him until we returned. So that's the to the future. Firstly we are getting a gate fixed on the stairs leading down from our place, to stop him running off down the road and once done he will come and stay with us until we head back to the UK. In the meantime we are working thro the paperwork, rules, regulations and medical requirements so he is ready to fly home around the same time as us later this year. A good discussion with Kim, paperwork completed and process started. First is a trip to the vet on Saturday for first rabies injection and microchip fitting. Left the KAR offices and headed to Ozankoy and a very good butchers shop, then onwards to the supermarket and finally to the fresh fruit and

The pool - Buffavento Village, Catalkoy.
veg man before heading home, unpacking a cup of tea. We found out that our young Turkish neighbours who live next door; Orhan and Ebru plus their little girl were moving house - bit sad really as they are a lovely couple and we get on really well with them. A quick stroll to check out the pool; not a long walk as it's only 30mtrs away along the communal garden area. Great for taking a few drinks or picnic along to keep you going on a strenuous poolside afternoon, plus if you forget something just pop home and pick it up. Pool looking good and all ready for the summer season. From now until the end Sept the pool will be in demand. During the week there is usually no more than about a dozen around the pool area, often you are on your own. At weekends it is busier but again the most we have ever counted around the pool is 25. Perfect. Buffavento Village where our little place is situated is about a mile inland in the hills above the village of Catalkoy. Catalkoy is around 4 miles from Girne (Kyrenia). Buffavento Village is a purpose built

Pool area on a busy June day.
development but what really attracted us was that the properties are occupied by both local Turkish and Turkish Cypriots, some permanent ex pat residents, some like ourselves being known as swallows as we head to the UK for a few months before returning and a few holiday homes. So it is a nice community - not just holiday homes which are often empty most of the year but local people who live and work in town or the hotels along the coast. Being a little higher up, it is just slightly cooler in the hot summer months which is really nice but it's only 5min drive to the main drag heading to town, closest beach is an 8min drive or head out east towards Esentepe and up to the panhandle. Plenty of shops, restaurants etc all close to hand - we often walk down into the village and have a wander around, the good thing is that in the last year or so a couple of very good local, value for money restaurants have opened up. The village has a couple of small shops, barbers, tailors, bakery, post office, police post and the Muktars (Head Mans) office - a place

Pre BBQ sundowner - the infamous brandy sour.
that we need to visit every so often. Plus the usual council offices (Belediyesi) where you can go and physically pay your water charges and council tax if yoU don't want the bank to do it for you. Early evening and cool enough to finish the final tidy up under our balcony and by 7:30pm all jobs were done, now time to relax with a beer and enjoy a nice supper of fresh sea bream, salad and new Cyprus potatoes. A bit of tv and then the day was over and bed it was.

Friday 9th June 2017

With most of our jobs completed around the house, we had a relaxing start to the day sat outside on the garden patio, just listening to the birds and looking up at the blue, cloudless sky. Plus of course listening to the election result in the UK - glad we are out here! Sarah decided to make some strawberry jam with the fresh strawberries bought yesterday. Eventually it was time to move a little, just needed to pop out to get some clear varnish to revamp our outside patio furniture, call in at our bank and pick up some house

It's not far away.
insurance, plus check we still had pennies in our accounts. Then it was to the infamous China Bazaar....which as the name suggests sells just about anything you could or could not want, mainly made in China. For us it was coathangers, large glass storage jar and a couple of dog bowls. They sell lots of electrical items, watches etc all very very cheap - don't expect any guarantees tho - they test each item in the shop before you purchase, if it works then its sold. Don't bother trying to return the item in 6mths time if it stops working tho! Then to the supermarket (again) to pick up a few items missed off the big shop yesterday, namely chillis and white wine vinegar and sugar....Sarah is going to make home made chilli dip. Plus of course we had to go next door and grab tub of ice cream from Mardos ice cream parlour. The best ice cream in North Cyprus. Afternoon passed quietly, just chilling and sitting on our front balcony watching the goats on the hillside opposite wandering home, all very peaceful with just the sound of the goat bells ringing as they strolled along. The view doesn't

Our little garden and patio.
change, it's still as nice as ever. Checked we had all the items required to revarnish some outside furniture, a job for tomorrow or maybe the next day as there is no rush. Sarah set to preparing supper - chilli tonight. Late afternoon it was time to take a shower as we had decided we would frequent the Club Tropicana again as they have another quiz night on and Beryl and Brendan had asked if we would like to join them. As its all over pretty early it gives us plenty of time to return home for our own supper. Quiz night was good fun and by 8pm just as the sun was setting we were heading home. Now that we had all the outdoor furniture set up we were able to dine under the stars, a nice way to end the day.

Saturday 10th June 2017

Its 8am and time for a cup of tea, gather our thoughts and a sit down outside on our garden patio to plan the day. Overcast sky but very warm and according to the weather forecast the temperature will rise over the weekend and is set to hit 35C. Off up

View from our patio garden along our terrace to the mountains.
to the KAR centre this morning to pick up Kilroy our adopted dog and take him to the vets to start his rabies inoculations, get a micro chip fitted and register him on the local database. Plus also measure him up so as we know what size of crate is required for transportation when it's time for him to return to the UK. Kilroy was excited to see us, or should we say just excited to get out of his kennel. The trip to the vet went well, he gave him a quick check over, weighed and first rabies inoculation. Micro chip checked and his vet book completed we headed back up the hill to the rescue centre to drop him back off. Would loved to have taken him home but to ensure he is safe we must get the gate fitted on our balcony terrace. Back home by mid morning for a light breakfast and fresh squeezed orange juice, a read of the local English newspapers and time to relax. Nothing very much planned for the rest of the day as we feel we have been pretty busy since our arrival So we put a film on and just

BBQ with a view.
chilled out. Late afternoon and we felt we must get mobile so Sarah set about making a lemon drizzle cake, whilst John varnished some of the wooden furniture. Then it was time to get out all the patio ornaments out and now it looks like home sweet home for the next 5 months. Jobs done, all cleaned up and as it was just after 7pm it was time to fire up the BBQ, with grilled sheftalia, helim (haloumi), chicken and small slices of liver on the menu, accompanied by tashi (tahini) sauce dip, pitta bread, yogurt, salads etc. Plus of course a brandy sour as a pre supper sundowner. We must of course ensure that we leave room for some lemon cake and Mardos ice cream for pudding.

Sunday 11th June 2017

Slow start to the day before Sarah headed off to church in town whilst John caught up on some admin.....that translates as reading the paper, surfing the net, catching up on emails and drinking tea. Today Ahmet and Tahiti, our Turkish Cypriot neighbours who have a house in Lefkosa (Nicosia) turned up and we said our hellos and caught up on some news. Ahmet was an

Nearly ready, the old square Cypriot tin box BBQ is still as good as ever.
ex Turkish Cypriot policeman who has semi retired and now works as a welfare officer for the police. He explained to us that he has put up some fencing to stop the goats coming along and eating all our plants both in our own gardens and also the communal works! This means we don't have to jump up from our chairs or pool loungers and shoo them away. Our garden is enclosed but Ahmet likes to grow a few salad crops which as you can imagine don't survive the goat invasions. A good move for us all. Before we knew it midday had arrived and time for a light lunch. Afterwards a short stroll up to the pool, armed with reading material and some cold drinks and that was the afternoon sorted. Very busy poolside with 18 people! Supper was slow roasted lemon chicken with salad, again enjoyed al fresco followed by tv catch up. Via various means we are able to use our internet, ipads and various apps to pick up live tv which we can then gooogle chrome cast to the tv - works well. We also have a hard disk drive loaded with films and documentaries plus a good assortment of dvds so plenty to watch. Our book selection has also grown during our time spent our here plus we are also members of the library in town so never short of reading material. Our first really relaxing day doing not a lot!


12th June 2017

Hi John and Sarah
I seem to have found you this morning don't ask how but I really enjoyed reading your blog like reading a book and so pleased about the dog as well, hope to meet him sometime hope to read more blogs if I can find you again
12th June 2017

You've taken our sun again lol
Wowww!!! Looking good out there guys, has just started raining here...very grey and drizzly. Kilroy is looking amazing and hope you get all paper work sorted to bring him back later this year. Where is Mr Fox?....keep up the good work guys and look forward to reading more.

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