Trevor’s Tips – January 2014
By Trevor Hughes
Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and healthy 2014.
An earthquake shook our lovely shores at around 5.30 pm Saturday 28th December 2013. Initial reports stated the tremor was felt all over the island, with people reporting that they had felt the effects of the earthquake in their homes, witnessing their walls trembling and picture frames moving.
Police reports said phone lines were flooded with people calling for information. According to the European-Mediterranean Seismology Centre, the epicentre of the 5.8-Richter quake was 208km North West of Nicosia off the coast of Turkey. This last earthquake was the most severe for over 60 years, when the epicentre on that occasion was in exactly the same place and measured 6.5 on the Richter scale. The worst effects were felt in Paphos and Larnaca where buildings suffered severe damage and two  civilians being killed.
Some people choose to ignore earthquake insurance cover when taking out home insurance, because according to some, there has not been an earthquake here for some time. Insurance policies can be taken out without earthquake cover, but for £60 is it really worth the risk? Dagli Sigorta needed to undertake rectification work as a result of a tremor only last August, saving their customer several hundreds of £’s because he had chosen to include earthquake cover in his policy!
One of our readers has recommended “Master Service” located in Girne, who repairs a wide range of white electrical home appliances. She said that he is prompt, reliable, thoroughly professional and reasonably priced.
He can be contacted by telephoning him on 0533 860 2388, or 0542 880 5005. He speaks very good English.
With the spiralling cost of energy, everyone is looking at cost savings methods. Since we had our gas boiler installed two months ago, we have closely monitored our utility bills. The good news is that our electricity bill for December has only gone up 30 TL, whilst still having piping hot water upon request [because our immersion heater has been consigned to history]. With the Lira vs. the sterling exchange rate being what it is at the moment, in real terms our electricity bill has not gone up!! We have changed all our light bulbs to low energy ones, which have also contributed towards keeping costs to a minimum. Our last electricity bill was only 143TL or £40.85 at the current exchange rate.
To warm our villa we invested in a flat top, free-standing [from which you get maximum heat] log burner some years ago, avoiding the need to use the air conditioning units. So whilst we are heating our villa, cooking our meals and boiling the kettle for tea and coffee is as cheap as chips.
We only use one and a half gas cylinders per year for cooking purposes, even though throughout the winter months we have a hot cooked meal every day, plus our daily lunch, which sometimes necessitates the use of gas!
I have been called out on three occasions recently due to rainwater entering homes. The cause of the flooding was due to blocked drain holes on flat roofs, balconies and roof sun terraces. It is worth making periodic checks on these drain holes, which reduces the risk of flooding when heavy rain falls.
Some insurance companies refuse to meet a claim if the cause of flooding is due to a blocked drain hole, because this is the responsibility of the insured as it is classed as “simple home maintenance”!
MOT Dates 2014 by licence plate prefix
Don’t forget to put the date in your diary if your vehicle is due for an TRNC MOT test during 2014.