Tuesday 29 April 2008


Monday 28 April 2008

blogging in the dark

The light bulb in my living room has blown, and I don't have anything tall enough to stand on to change it - I tried a chair, but it wobbled dangerously... so I'm sitting in semi-darkness (kitchen light is on behind me, and stairs light is on to my right), writing this. Really must get it sorted out. But if I buy a ladder, I have nowhere to keep it...

orange juice

Today I used my juicer for the first time - I bought it maybe 2 years ago, and have never even opened the box.

I discovered that 4 oranges makes just over a pint of orange juice...

and this is what you're left with:

The juice tastes amazing!
Something that annoys me about Blogger is that the time stamp on each post - by default - shows when I started writing, not when I finished. So, earlier, it may have looked like I'd said I was going out, then almost an hour later posted again - that was not the case. I think I'll have to start manually editing the time. (When I say it "annoys" me, it's really only a minor irritation.)

Anyhoo... where was I?

Yesterday at work was good, although less exciting than Friday. I had lunch in the staff canteen - I'd lost track of the time so I was a little late, and ended up with a cold baked potato and some salad - nice enough, though. (Whilst the hotel restaurant has a fairly good selection of vegetarian food, there does seem to be slightly less choice for the staff...) The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, as I spent most of it just working. I did get to meet some more people, while I was having a cigarette, and one of the guys went and fetched me a cup of coffee - he was most insistent that I shouldn't be smoking without one - which I thought was very sweet of him :-)

I know I said earlier that there had been other things going on, but now I come to think about it, I'm not sure what...

I still haven't got round to changing the car documents into my name. I did go to the Transport Office, and was told that when I bought the car I should also have been given a transfer of ownership form. I wasn't. The man there was helpful, though, and gave me another form, which he said I needed to get filled in by the seller, then fill in my bit, then take it to the Mukhtar (like a mayor, sort of) of Pegeia and also get it signed by him. I explained that the guy who'd sold me the car had now moved back to the UK (hence the sale), and was told that, in that case, what I should do is forge his signature - yes, the form has to be completed, but it doesn't really matter who actually completes it! There always seem to be such straightforward ways around any sort of bureaucracy here...

Last night I went to church. It was the service of the Anastasis (the Resurrection of Christ), which is what happens on Easter Saturday. Bells started ringing at about 11 o'clock, calling everyone to the church. When I got there, I found somewhere to stand outside, and watched as hundreds and hundreds of people arrived, all dressed up (you have to have new clothes at Easter!) and carrying (unlit) candles. The service (which I could hear on speakers) went on until midnight, then the priest (if that's the right word in the Greek Orthodox Church) came outside and said some stuff, and there were bells again. Then all the people came from inside the church carrying their (now lit) candles, and lit the candles of the people waiting outside - spreading the light - saying "Christos Anesti" (Christ is risen) to each other, and replying "Alithos Anesti" (indeed he is risen).

And then there were fireworks !! As well as a huge bonfire (which was there the whole time, I just forgot to mention it before), on top of which was an effigy of Judas Iscariot (which sounded a little evil to me, until someone pointed out that it's exactly what we do with Guy Fawkes on Bonfire Night).

I'm not one for religion, on the whole, but I thought the whole thing was really beautiful, and I found it all very moving.

And now I must sleep. Night night xx

Sunday 27 April 2008

In the news...

An amusing story from the Cyprus Mail one day last week...

working hard

Started work on Friday, but have been a bit too tired to write about it until now...

The first day was good, we spent a couple of hours re-arranging the office, which is in the basement, and has no windows. It also feels a little bit like a corridor, as there are double doors at either end. One goes out to the back of the hotel, the terrace, the swimming pools, and eventually the sea. The other door leads onto a corridor, along which is the kitchen and a load of other stuff, basically the internal workings of the hotel. So it's an interesting place to be, as random people are always popping in and out.

Sorting the office out was quite important to me, as it was pretty cluttered, and kind of felt like it was closing in on me - I can't work effectively in a space like that! Afterwards Chris said that it wasn't something he'd thought of as a priority, but he thought it had made a huge difference, and he was really pleased. (When the General Manager came in later, he said it looked like a solicitor's office, but I couldn't tell if that was a good thing or not, or whether he was being serious. Oh well.)

Anyway, once we got the office how we (I) wanted it, I started trying to get to grips with the sorts of stuff I'm going to be dealing with, looking at how the systems work, reading through files, that sort of thing. Some of it is in a bit of a mess, as there have been a lot of staff changes recently and it looks like there hasn't been much continuity, so I'm going to have my work cut out for a few weeks at least, until I've got it into some sort of order. Anyway, it looks like it's going to be quite interesting.

Then I was taken for lunch in the "Mediterraneo" restaurant (rather than eating in the staff canteen, which is what I'll do most days, I think) as Chris said he wanted me to see how it runs. We had bread and olives, and I had a Mediterranean Salad - lots of leaves with avocado, goats' cheese, pine nuts, and a bit of tomato, all drizzled with pesto (which I thought I didn't like, but it turns out I actually do!) - which was delicious :-)

Most of the staff are Cypriots, so most of the conversations that happen in the office - and in the hotel - are in Greek. Obviously, it makes it a bit difficult for me to know what's going on, as I don't understand a lot of what's being said, but I guess that will only come with time. I have managed to pick up a little bit here and there - I recognised the words for "shirt" and "trousers" during one conversation (as we'd done "clothes" words in Greek lesson last week), so I asked Chris about it, and he said yes, they had been discussing the new staff uniforms. He seemed impressed. Well, a little.

Having said that, most of the staff do also speak very good English, so I have been able to talk to people. Everybody seems really nice, friendly, welcoming, and also appreciative of the fact that I am at least making an effort to speak their language, even though I only know a few words and my accent is appalling! Being near the kitchen is handy as sometimes people pop in with food - yesterday I had some "flaounes" which is "a kind of cheese cake found in Cyprus, made of shortcrust with a cheese, egg and mint filling, formed into triangular and square shapes" - nice :-)

Other stuff's happened too, but I'm going out now, so when I get home later (if I'm not too exhausted) I might write again..

Thursday 24 April 2008


new job, job news

I went into work today to sign my contract, and spent a couple of hours there. I had to wait a while for Chris, as he was with a Swedish couple (and their three little girls, all blonde and gorgeous), who are having a party at the hotel next week (I was eavesdropping!). Then we went down to the office and talked about some of the things I'm going to be doing.

Turns out he's only been there three weeks himself. He's not very happy with the way certain things are done, and he wants to "work together" to find better ways of doing things, and setting up new systems, which initially will take some time, but ultimately will make things run more smoothly, and in turn will make both of our lives easier. So tomorrow we're re-organising the office, moving furniture and files, and getting things just how we want them (I love all that stuff!).

(I also met the Restaurant Manager and the Chef, who were very friendly, but whose names I have failed to remember. Whoops.)

I get 24 days holiday (which is two more than I was originally told), and free meals whilst I'm "on duty". I'll also get a uniform (but not straight away), so I won't have to worry about what to wear, which is good, as I don't have a lot of "suitable" clothes.

It's all sounding pretty good so far, and I'm really looking forward to my first day.

new chair

Yesterday I decided to "treat" myself to a new chair. I have positioned it where the sun is in the mornings, and where I can see the sea, so that I can sit outside with a cup of tea before going to work. And at other times, obviously. I need to get some more, for guests, but that's MY chair, and I like it :-)

Wednesday 23 April 2008

mysteries solved

The plant has been identified as Star Jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides)
- thanks Jocelyne.

And the birds are swallows - thanks Mel & Pat.

Prizes will be issued (or not, perhaps).


aaaaagh !!

Woke up this morning to a loud buzzing noise... a large and evil-looking thing was trying to fly into my bedroom - I watched it get through the gap in the shutters, but thankfully it changed its mind and went away again. I'm pretty sure it was a hornet, as it looked a lot like this...

Third Greek lesson last night - it's finally starting to make sense, it's a very logical language. No class next week, as it's Easter.

I found this here, and laughed lots.

And, from yesterday's Cyprus News:

The Meteorological Services yesterday warned of high temperatures reaching up to 36 degrees and dust for the next three days.

"Unfortunately, the general circulation of the atmosphere helps in the transfer of dust from Africa," said Kyriacos Theophilou, Director of the Meteorological Service, adding however, that the dust appeared not to be very thick.

On Wednesday will be the peak of the weather for April, we will have a heat wave of 35-36 degrees. From Thursday the high temperature will begin to recede and by Easter Sunday the temperature will be back to normal for the season," he said.

So today's going to be a hot one - I'd better get out there and enjoy what may well be my last day of "freedom" :-)

Tuesday 22 April 2008

I got a job !!! :-)

So, meet The Annabelle's new Banqueting Administrator

I had an interview there last Wednesday, with Nicos (General Manager). Then on Friday I had a call asking me to go back for a second interview, with Christos (Food & Beverage Manager), who is the guy I'll be working with/for. It went well - I liked him and what he said about the job, and he liked me. He said that he'd interviewed three other people, and that out of the four of us I was the favourite, but he still had one more lady to see, and that he would call me "first thing Monday" to let me know.

Of course, here, "first thing" doesn't actually mean that, so having spent all weekend wondering/worrying about what was going to happen, I then also spent most of yesterday doing the same.... Then at about quarter past 5 (!) Christos called and said he'd like me to go in again this morning to meet with the Personnel Manager.

Anyway, when I got there, I saw Nicos again, who confirmed my salary - €1100/m (which is pretty damn good!) - and my hours - 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday, plus additional hours when there's a big function on, and also Saturdays during the summer season (there is some flexibility, though, in that if I work over during the week, I can work shorter hours on Saturday, which is nice) - yes, they're long hours, but that's pretty standard for here. Oh, and t
he Personnel guy wasn't around, so I'll have to go back in to sign my contract, and then I can start pretty much straight away.

The job is basically organising stuff that takes place in the hotel - weddings (about 50%), conferences/meetings, and any other functions or events that people happen to want to hold there, really. It sounds like it's going to be quite interesting. Hopefully.

I've grabbed a couple of pictures off the website (sorry, if you've already looked). It's one of the few 5-star hotels in Paphos, and it's very, very posh !! I'm EXCITED :-)

Monday 21 April 2008

things i've bought

See how bored I am?!

I was a bit suspicious about the hair dye, as it was so very cheap (less than £1.40!), but it's done an absolutely fantastic job, and the instructions were highly entertaining :-)

Sunday 20 April 2008

what is it?

This plant is growing in a pot in my garden, but I don't know what it is... does anybody else know?

Apparently it's a full moon tonight, so I was going to take another picture, but I can't see it anywhere :-(

Saturday 19 April 2008

pretty pictures

more easter craziness...

trees and sea

tree outside my house

Also, I think I am finally making some progress with the job situation. Will update on Monday - hopefully with good news (or, in typing this, am I tempting fate?) - after the phone call I am waiting for - fingers crossed, please, everybody...

Thursday 17 April 2008


Is this the same moon you can see?

Birds on a wire

I keep seeing these birds outside (I'm sure it's the same two!), and I've been trying to take pictures of them for about a week now - every time I pick up the camera they fly away - but this afternoon I got them !!

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Lizard on a wall

Picture taken from my living room, lizard about 10 metres away

Tuesday is actually Fruit Day

Yesterday, in the supermarket, I was wondering whether or not to buy more bananas, as last week's supply from my landlord had nearly run out. I decided against it, which was just as well - when I got home there was another bag of fruit outside my front door. Bananas, oranges and grapefruits. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with all. And I can only think of so many ways to arrange it for photographs...

A few more interviews. One yesterday for Saint Paul Travel & Tours - a small, family-run company from ... Birmingham (well, Redditch, but close enough!); and two more at posh hotels - one this morning at the Annabelle in Paphos, another one tomorrow at the Anassa in Polis (they're both part of the Thanos Hotels group).

Some boring stuff (yeah, like the rest of it's exciting...) - yesterday I sorted out my car insurance, today I paid my water bill, and tomorrow I'm going to the Transport Office to change the car documents into my name.

Greek lessons are going well, I think. What I want now is a keyboard on which I can type in both English and Greek - such things definitely exist, I remember noticing that the nice lady in the Cyta office had one - but I'm not sure where to get one from.

Also in "desperate" need of some garden chairs, as I feel like I'm really missing out on the sitting outside. Can't buy plastic ones, though, as it gets awful breezy up here and I'm worried they'd blow away.

Will have to go shopping...

Saturday 12 April 2008

easter again

The weekend before I left the UK, it was Easter. And in two weeks' time, it's Greek Orthodox Easter - Pascha - which is the biggest and most important religious festival here, and also the longest holiday (5 days from Good Friday to Easter Tuesday). I've never been here at Easter before. Apparently it's a lot of fun - fireworks, food, singing and dancing...

But the thing I've been enjoying most is seeing the bizarre statues which are starting to appear at the roadside.

opposite the "Sand Witches"

on the way into Pegeia village

There are plenty more, and they're all different, but usually when I see them I'm driving and it's difficult to stop... I'll try to remember where I've seen some, go there, and take pictures...

say hello, wave goodbye

This week I've been having some technical difficulties. Within 24 hours, I managed to kill two computers - Gaynor's, then my own. I spent the first half of this week fixing them - happily, they're both working again now :-)

Then, for the last couple of days, I've been ill. Just a cold, but I've felt pretty poorly - today I slept until the afternoon.

Other news from the week (well, "photos with captions" rather than actual news...)

My landlord brought me some fruit, which I thought was very nice of him. And when I say "some" I mean "loads" - 8 oranges and 32 bananas !!

On Wednesday it was time to say goodbye to the hire car, and hello to the new Madza Familia, which is now minus the roof rack and ladders. I haven't named him yet. He's definitely a he, though.

I have roses in the garden. They're pretty.

Earlier tonight I discovered that my camera can see a whole lot better than I can - this is probably 5 miles away. The boat you can see on the right has been stuck there for years, and I believe there's a (maybe) interesting story about it... but I can't seem to find any reference to it anywhere - link, anyone?

That's about it for now.



Tuesday 8 April 2008

Tuesday Newsday

I had an interview this morning at the Thalassa Hotel, which is *extremely* posh. I think I'd quite like to work there.

Wishing for rain, as there is water rationing, and it's getting hotter by the day.

Boxes did arrive, eventually - have almost finished unpacking
Greek lessons start tonight
Picking up the car tomorrow

Not a lot else to report...

Friday 4 April 2008

More "fascinating" news...

I have:

- a telephone number
- an internet connection
- another interview next week

Yay !!!

No boxes as yet, and they *did* say they'd be here "in the morning", but this IS Cyprus - they lie !!

Anyway, it's all ok really, as I'm sitting in the sun waiting for them to arrive - it's a hard life...