Trevor’s Tips – DECEMBER 2012
It’s been an absolute pleasure in publishing my monthly TIPS for you all, over the past few months. I have received numerous e-mails of gratitude making it all rather worthwhile. Can I take this opportunity in wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2013.
A yearning for yesteryear
Remember those early years, when summer days were long and sunny, with only the occasional shower of rain and not having a care in the world? When kids had two parents, and actually spent time with us. You could climb trees, play conkers and get dirty, without the health and safety busybodies interfering, threatening prosecution. Even food tasting like food and unpacked loose butter was sold from the nearest corner shop [we knew it as “tub” butter]. Ah those were the days!! The taste of butter was sublime and never to be repeated in our later years.
Well hallelujah, I have found a supermarket who actually sells loose butter. Having eagerly purchased half a kilo, 6.5 T L, we couldn’t wait to get home to see if it lived up to our expectations, and I wasn’t disappointed [yummy yummy]. I eagerly had a slice of toast with this new-found jewel spread over it, bringing back all those long-lost years.
The supermarket in question is Erülkü, which is located on the left hand side of the main road from Lefkosa to Famagusta, just before the turning to Ercan airport. It is reputed to be the largest supermarket in the TRNC. They have more cheeses on sale than you could shake a stick at, and their range of food and kitchen goods is quite extensive and well worth a weekly shop.
Accident response time
Dagli Sigorta is constantly striving to improve its service for their customers. In their latest quest in the pursuance of improvement, they have recently analysed their accident response time when customers, on the North coast of the T R N C make a claim against their policy. They are pleased to announce, the average response time, when receiving a call is currently running at 46 minutes. Now that’s what I call service.
Seat belt compliance
December this year sees the new Seat Belt Law come into effect. With effect from the 18th December it will be compulsory to use rear safety belts whilst travelling in a car.
The rear seat belt Law applies to those vehicles which are either newly manufactured or have existing seat belt systems. However, special categories of car may be exempt after that date if they are rally cars or classic cars, which do not have them fitted. It will not be compulsory to have rear seat belts fitted, the Law states that it is against the new Law for rear seat passengers not to wear seat belts whilst travelling in the car. Children less than three years old must also use correctly fitted child safety seats whilst travelling in the car.
The fine for non-compliance is half the monthly minimum wage, currently 650TL.
If you are considering changing or purchasing a used car, it may be wise to check if replacement parts are readily available when the time arises. Otherwise your new purchase may be off the road for some considerable time before parts can be located. Dagli Sigorta is offering a free service to you which will quickly identify if parts are readily available.
A good example was a Skoda Fabia born in 2003 needing a new rear light cluster fitted [easily sourced you may think], it took the repairers two  weeks before it finally arrived [from Europe]. Imagine if the car had been off the road and waiting two  weeks plus the time for repair and not having the convenience of the car, the cost of a hire car for this period can be more expensive than you think!! Before making your new purchase, all you need to do is ring 0533 844 3403 and within a very short time Dagli Sigorta will tell you the position regarding parts availability, saving you valuable time and money.
U K Passport application
If you need to renew your UK passport whilst here, you can get an overseas application form by downloading one from the UK’s official web site www.passports.gov.au . Download the application and payment forms for completion, which you will need to take to Café Boss for posting via the DHL system.
Each application must have one form per person, together with one direct debit form per person [the only way you can make payment]. If you and your spouse/partner are making an application at the same time, and you are both making payment from the same debit card, the second application must have a photocopy of the first person’s passport photo page. This must accompany the second application form telling the Passport Renewal Authorities that the first applicant has given permission for a second debit to be taken from his/her card. This is to ensure security on your behalf
Remember to request that you require your old passport returned to you [Residence stamp] from the Passport Authority, and that it accompanies your new passport. Don’t forget to have two passport sized photographs with your application, one of which must have been authenticated on the reverse side.
Steve or Rowena at Cafe Boss will try to give you as much help and assistance as they possibly can, but it must be stressed that they are not an official checking service. Mistakes will result in your application being rejected and returned by the Passport Authorities and you having to pay the postal fee all over again. This will make your application very costly and even more time before you receive your new passport. The best time to go to Café Boss [by the HSBC bank in Kyrenia] is either Monday afternoons or Tuesdays after 0900.
Old Girne Harbour
The other day, needing to pass a couple of hours away, my wife and I decided to take some refreshment at one of the Girne Harbour restaurants. It had been some two years since our last visit to the harbour. There were very few people walking about, even though it was a lovely warm November day. Upon receiving our bill for the refreshment, we noticed that prices for our drinks were exactly double what you would have paid in a comparable restaurant elsewhere.
No wonder there were few people in which to entice into their bars. And they wonder why trade is slow. Their only saving grace was the free entertainment from the local fire brigade, who were called out to extinguish a kitchen fire.
Good news for home owners who have yet to pay their property tax. After thirteen months, the TRNC Government has made a U-turn regarding property tax. With immediate effect the three  % level of tax on the sale price of properties is being reintroduced. On average this will save buyers between £3000.00 – £4000.00. The Government felt that raising the tax threshold to 6% some thirteen  months ago for foreign buyers was seen as unfair, so the Government have returned the tax level back to 3%.
Official holidays in December
Government Offices, Local Government Offices and Banks will be closed on the afternoon of 31.12.12 and all day on the 01.01 13, due to New Year celebrations.
Lapta Belediyesi is now charging its residents sixteen  TL for the removal of garden refuse, placed outside properties. Make sure that it is only your rubbish; otherwise, if a kind neighbour decides to put their rubbish outside your property, it will be you being charged for its removal and not your neighbour. The method of charging is via your water bill. A neighbour of ours has a bungalow nearby and several of their neighbours put their garden refuse at a point near their home [as they have done so for several years, because it is more convenient for the collectors]. The Belediyesi, upon viewing the size of the refuse pile considered the amount to be that from several neighbours’ gardens. The net result, 135 TL added to our neighbour’s water bill!!!!
To try to stop “fly tipping” they will also fine anyone who is caught doing it.
By Trevor Hughes