all in a flap

Sleeping diagonally across the bed is one of the good things about being on my own for the week. It’s nice to think that if I wanted to be a star fish while I sleep, no one is going to complain. Other good things are no meals have to be prepared for someone eating more calories than me. On the down side, I am hungry, but have no excuse to cook, and no amount of green tea is helping.

Another issue has turned out to be the doors. I’m not afraid of doors, but I am scared of leaving them open. I’m also a bit worried about the windows and am so glad we have net screens that can be pulled across any open gap. This may sound like paranoia, but let me explain…

On Saturday, one of us had been packing bags, and I was carrying a tray of food in from the terrace when something flew past me. I thought I had imagined it at first, or that it was a very large fly. I was wrong. As I glanced up to the wood lined ceiling a bird was circling above my head. I like birds, but I really don’t like birds in the house, especially ones that swoop and threaten to flap in my hair.  If I had an emergency panic button it would have been pressed at that point, instead I shouted for help.

Attempts were made to wave arms and encourage the trapped swallow out through the two open doors, while I stood hiding behind a curtain with my arms on my head. The bird continued to circle and occasionally  trying to find a way out by hitting the beams or corners of the ceiling, but never getting low enough to find the doors. After some time I decided drastic action was needed and fetched the long handled pool net. I had hoped to scoop up the bird like a butterfly. Unfortunately the long handle in the small room ended up being more like a Laurel and Hardy movie as various ornaments, windows and heads were clouted by the end of the pole and the bird continued to fly and flap out of reach. The clock was ticking and one of us had a plane to catch. I had visions of declaring the lounge ‘out of bounds’, while a flock of birds began nesting in our dresser and I spent the week marooned upstairs. The alternative was to let the kittens do their worst.

Just as we were running out of time, the bird itself ran out of steam and suddenly landed on a beam and snuggled itself between the beam and the ceiling. An attempt was made to encourage it into the pool net, but this was unsuccessful again. Eventually, it took a chair and someone with very long arms, who reached up and placed his hands very gently and slowly round the bird. Amazingly it didn’t struggle and a few moments later it was safely freed outside. Meanwhile, I ran around shutting doors and windows and generally securing the house from unauthorised bird entries.

It was only later, once I had calmed down, that I thought about the bird in a complete flap and panic as it circled the room. We couldn’t help because it was too frightened and flapping too much. But when it eventually stopped struggling and allowed someone to gently help, it was set free. There is definitely a lesson in there somewhere for me.

I’m enjoying watching the birds swoop and dive outside, but the screens are staying firmly on the doors, especially while the resident ‘bird catcher’ is out of the country!


If I had a truck

I want that truck… This is what was going through my mind as I embarked on an afternoon bike ride to the seaside yesterday. So much for enjoying the lovely green scenes in the fields as we pedalled past, or having time to look at flowers by the roadside and even watch some hungry sheep tucking into massive bales of hay in the middle of a dusty pasture. I was mainly engaged in ‘truck envy’. 

First I noticed one overtaking me as I pedalled hard against the wind, consoling myself with the thought that coming back would be easier. It was a lovely red pick-up truck with loads of space in the back for surf boards, bikes and ‘stuff’. Once I started thinking about trucks, it seemed like every other car that past us on the road was a truck. And they came in all the colours of the rainbow. Why was it that everyone in Cyprus seemed to have a truck except me?  After cycling through a village, I glanced to my left and saw a yard packed with cars for sale – high up on display was…you guessed it, a big blue truck.

Most of the journey was then engaged in thoughts of… if we had a truck.

If we had a truck… we could easily go off road across the maze of tracks to some of the most beautiful, remote areas of the island. Throw a tent and camping gear in the back and we would be all ready for any kind of adventure.

If we had a truck… there would be no problem moving anything anywhere – we could buy a BBQ or a dish washer and take it back from the shop, pick up friends with large suitcases from the airport and just throw them (the suitcases!) in the back, even pick up driftwood and logs for the fire without any worries of ‘spoiling the car.’

All good things come to an end and so my truck day-dreams were curtailed by my fellow cyclist stopping short to complain about the hardness of his saddle and wondering if his padded lycra shorts were on the right way round. This led to some chuckling as bottoms were examined, and reassured that everything was in the right place, we set off again. On arrival at the beach, we dismounted slightly unsteadily and sat on a bench overlooking a rocky bay where waves were crashing on the golden sands. We re-energised with bananas and water and contemplated the cycle back. The route home was uphill at first and after a particularly taxing hill the Major pulled in – I thought to considerately wait for me – but he was shaking his head gravely and it turned out there was a flat tyre which couldn’t be fixed. It was quickly decided I would cycle back as fast as I could and fetch the car to recover him and the bike, while he walked the bike until I reached him.

On the cycle back my thoughts inevitably turned to…if we had a truck. Of course, recovering the bike would be no problem, it would just get bundled into the back and there would be no need to search for ropes or bike racks in the shed. As the pedals turned and my thighs began to burn, I wondered why I was so keen on trucks. It wasn’t just ‘Top Gear’ and their proof that they couldn’t be destroyed, it was in my blood. I was brought up with vans and Land Rovers and even took my driving test on the family long wheel-base Land Rover, much to the amusement of the examiner. Tough cars that have big wheels, four wheel drive, low gears and the height to let you look down on the traffic and the scenery is what I like in a vehicle. Never mind the odd scrape against a gatepost, or bumps in the road – we have a truck. We can go anywhere! Give us a boat, a caravan or just a trailer and we can hitch up and set off, no problem. Hills? We eat them for breakfast. Mud and rivers? We can ride through them.

Beyond all this sheer practicality, I have a plan. The plan really requires a truck. Ssh, don’t tell anyone, but I am hatching a plan to drive back from Cyprus overland through Europe, via a ferry to the mainland. Here is my trump card in the argument of why we definitely need a truck. The truck would be rugged and able to go anywhere, it would enable us to take excess baggage,camping gear, and even animals or a small canoe back to the Uk easily. Besides all this, a truck would make the journey fun, so how could we even contemplate making this overland adventure without a truck?

Back home the tiny Toyota was waiting patiently in the drive. It isn’t a truck and it never will be, but if I had a truck