cyprus haircut & the abyss

All it took was a metal coat hanger and a mop in the end, but some problems aren’t solved so easily…
I considered myself a fairly practical person – good at papier-mâché, capable of painting a door or a gate as needed, able to re-wire a plug – but then I got married and suddenly I wasn’t quite so practical. I might be OK with a screw driver, a paint brush and a sewing machine, but wielding an axe or a drill, let alone a saw were all way beyond my kind of practical. That sort of ‘hands-on’, ‘can do’ action can be very useful, but it should also come with a health warning…

The plus side was very evident today after a little mishap with cupboards and holes. The kitchen where we live has a cooker set at an angle in one corner with cupboards build around and across the corner. Strangely the top of these cupboards was not taken right into the corner. This has left a deep well-like hole, that could fit a small person in, reaching from just below ceiling height to the floor. Someone has the habit of placing cans of beer and bottles up on these high cupboard tops, which is easy for them as they don’t need a chair to put things up there. Tidying up a few days ago, I reached up to push an empty domed cake container onto this shelf above the cooker. It was out of my reach but I thought shoving it would be enough. In fact it was too much. The plastic box flew towards the back of the shelf and there was a clatter, followed by a number of thuds, by which time it was out of sight. It had fallen into the abyss between the cupboard, the wall and the cooker. Short of abseiling down the hole, the chances of rescuing the box seemed small. I had visions of climbing onto the thin shelf, falling into the hole headfirst and being stuck in the gap forever… eventually my body would be found, or I’d be eaten by ants! With that in mind, I decided it was a job for the weekend, or something to forget about.

I did mention the flying box and the kitchen abyss in passing to someone, who indicated grumpily that was the last I would see of my cake container. Amazingly, after returning from church he had a change of heart and step ladder in hand, he climbed onto the worktop by the cooker and tried to lower himself into the hole to reach the box. It wasn’t going to be that easy. I rushed around looking for helpful props before he had a change of heart and the box became a distant memory. A mop was handed over, but this couldn’t reach it either. Eventually, an old metal coat hanger was attached to the mop handle and a new hook was sculpted to fish for the box. After a few more failed rescues the hook did its work and the cake box was retrieved – Hallelujah! Let them eat cake!

A practical person can also get carried away though, especially if you give them a saw or worse a pair of garden clippers. Until a week ago we had a lovely set of bushes with bright pink, blue and orange flowers spilling out onto the paved area beside the front door. The flowers had faded and the bushes were in need of trimming back. I left this to the person with the clippers, while I went off to pull up unwanted greenery from the white stone edges. I can’t have been away more than 10 minutes, but when I came back to the bushes…they were no more. Someone had demolished them. Half of them had been reduced to wooden spikes surrounded by dried leaves, the others were on their way out and there was a growing pile of greenery in the middle of the terrace. Asking what was happening in a semi-alarmed voice, I was told the bushes had been in need of a ‘haircut’. I agreed a trim had been needed, but this looked like an army sergeant’s Number 1 and I’m still not sure if the bushes will live to sprout another day. I was forced to stand guard by the bushes for the next half an hour or so to prevent the clippers devouring more of them. The lesson is, be careful about letting a practical person loose with garden clippers. I’d heard of the Cyprus haircut, but this was ridiculous.

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A bend in the road

I’m waiting for winter. I thought it had arrived a few weeks ago when we
were hit by a cold snap with temperatures below zero at night. Now the sun
is shining again, the birds are singing and I’m wondering when the rain will
come. The landscape around the house has changed a little in the last few
weeks and although I can still see the tropical line of palm trees
silhouetted against the horizon, instead of fields of dry earth and yellowed
patches of grass and scrubland, a few green fields have popped up and the
road is edged with bright green grass.

I’ve also been walking again. The tracks across the fields that were too hot
to venture onto in the summer heat, now offer a pleasant walk. Although it’s
not quite Nottinghamshire’s rolling fields and hedges, there are different
things to look at. The houses dotted around the landscape can fairly be
described as scruffy, painted in shades of yellow and ochre, with numerous
outbuildings, lean-to shacks and machinery lying all around. Sheep have been
pulled into ramshackle pens beside farm buildings and there’s a lot of
baa-ing and bleating mixed in with cockerels crowing and dogs barking from
behind wire fences. Fruit that should have been picked in the summer is now
fermenting on the trees and a few deep brown over ripe pomegranates hang in
an abandoned orchard next to the track. But oranges and grapefruits are just
becoming ripe and they provide a splash of colour in the greenery of nearby
gardens and fields.

There’s a bend in the track which leads through a darkened area lined with
tall pines. The first time I walked this route I hesitated about walking on,
wondering what would be around the corner and if I wanted to walk below the
overhanging branches such a long way from the main road. Having walked for
whole days in Italy on my own without meeting a soul, I ploughed on, and the
towering pines were soon behind me, giving way to familiar olive groves and
a tumbled-down stone house perched on a rise above the track. I had a
destination in mind. In the distance I had spotted a wood on a small hill,
where I knew there was an ancient church I’d visited before. Taking that
unknown curve in the road meant I had eventually reached my goal and around
another bend on a small hill, a tiny stone church came into view nestled in
amongst the trees.

Leaning against the stone walls warmed by the sun, I thought about the path
and the bend in the road. I wasn’t sure it led to where I wanted to go and
it could even have been a dead end, but I would never have got there if I
had turned back or stopped walking because I wasn’t sure. Now I’m thinking
curves in the ‘road of life’ are exciting….you never know quite what’s
coming and that’s the beauty of it.

New year hats

Four days into 2014 and no resolutions broken… mainly because I didn’t make any. I thought the year would hold enough challenges for me without adding in any more.

And sure enough before the old year was over the first challenge arrived with the news that our one and only daughter is getting married. This puts me in line to become a real live mother-in-law, in the not too distant future. How on earth has this happened? It really seems like yesterday that I was discussing the risks of her taking the bus into Nottingham to shop with her school friends. Before too long I could well be knee deep in flower arrangements and shopping for hats…

If there is one thing I’m particularly fond of it’s hats. My colourful hat boxes are currently in store with various favourites crammed inside – some looking a bit dated, others slightly crushed and a few just plain wonderful. Here in Cyprus I’ve been enjoying the sunny variety, with an old leather cowboy hat making an occasional outing and my favourite crumbling straw hat being thrown in the back of the car on any trip from beach to town. This became so battered over the first few weeks here that I had to invest in something more decent, one that didn’t have huge holes and moult straw crumbs over the floors of shops and cafés. Now I am the proud owner of a smart boater, purchased in the capital. Much as I like the hat, I’m not convinced it’s wedding material…I am thinking something with a peacock or a parrot on top might be just the thing. Surely, the whole point of the Mother of the Bride (MOB) is to make her hat (and possibly outfit) a talking point of the day? I’m very interested in thoughts on wedding hats and what works best. Suggestions on a postcard please, or just comment here.

In terms of outfits for the big day, I do have something rather amazing that was a surprise Christmas gift. I’m only concerned that it could be little hot, depending when and where the wedding is. It has a safari feel about it and completely transforms me and most of all it is so comfortable. Shoes could be an issue though and I really don’t know which handbag would tie in best, but with built in headgear there should be money in the budget for those. One thing is for sure it could be a first for MOB outfits and I really think it might start a new trend. There’s only one word for it….’weddingonesie’ here we go 🙂

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