By Kathy Martin…
Written August 2015
The other day my wife and I were at one of our favourite restaurants, the Delta Bar in the “new” harbour in Girne. Although the “old” harbour is more picturesque, it is too “touristy” for our liking!
After we had each taken a sip from our glasses of something cold and refreshing (OK, beer!) which had been served by the young waiter who calls me “uncle”, hopefully a term of respect, we each said, almost in unison, “I love living here”!
This feeling of self-satisfaction has led us to “count our blessings”!
- Firstly, the weather, we are almost guaranteed a sunny & warm spring, sunny & hot summer and a sunny & warm autumn and a cool, occasionally rainy, but seldom dropping below freezing temperature, winter.
Yes, we have seen the mountains that are a few kilometres south of our flat snow-capped in winter. It has even “snowed” outside our window, but on that occasion the snow dissolved as soon as it hit the ground!
- Secondly (or perhaps this should have been firstly?) the people who live here. We have only come across one rude “jobsworth” official person. Everyone else, whether in the Civil Service, commercial world or we have met socially has treated us with the utmost of courtesy.
When we casually mentioned this to a Turkish Cypriot friend, he responded with the words “ah, but a mirror can only reflect what it sees”!
When (a decade or so ago) it was time for us to obtain our “Temporary Residents” permit, for the first time, we responded to an advert in the local paper and met Incilay (pronounced Injuly) Fell, who helped us through all the necessary bureaucracy and paperwork, which was considerable!
In addition to the above, she also took us to an office where our (UK) driving licences were re‑issued as TRNC licences. Incilay’s brother-in-law is a lawyer, so she arranged for our Wills to be drawn up so that they were valid in this country. Again, I commented that all the flats that we had seen in estate agents windows were getting a bit pricey for us, she heard about the reasonably priced flats in the block where we now live, and told us about them!
We certainly had good service!
We have also found that when we endeavour to speak Turkish it is very much appreciated and on occasions has led to a discounted price!
Written September 2015
Firstly, here the “project of the century”, a project to pipe fresh water from Turkey for distribution throughout Kibris and even (possibly) South Cyprus is nearing completion, or is it?
In the Girne area the pipes that will (eventually) carry fresh water have been laid, along and across roads. The empty space over the pipes has been backfilled with rubble and earth, but not levelled with the road surface and literally “ditches” have been created.
Therefore, 4×4 vehicles of the “Land Rover” type are generally able to travel with impunity, but standard saloon cars have to be driven carefully in case they “ground” themselves or suffer structural damage!
The reason why the roads have been left in such a condition is that Turkish Water Works Department (who are responsible for the project) say that the pipes have to be tested for leaks before being sealed underground. Freshwater (in other words not sea-water) has to be used. This is very understandable.
Unfortunately the local Belediye (Municipalities) say that there are insufficient freshwater reserves in the local reservoirs to allow this if they are to continue to supply water to residents and hotels etc.
This may well be true as we have had a hot and dry summer and the “rainy season” is still a few months away!
Perhaps, when the pipeline from Turkey is completed the (theoretically) unlimited water supply could be used to test for leaks by using freshwater “backflowing” from the reservoir?
Whatever happens, will the people in both National and Local government departments get it into their heads that this project will give the TRNC an advantage over the South Cyprus as water is, in the great scheme of things, a far more valuable asset than gas or oil!
While on the subject of water, an article in the UK newspaper Daily Mail” of 8th August (passed on to us by Eric, a friend of ours) caught my attention.
The article states that a 6th form schoolboy jumped into a canal and subsequently drowned in the East London area of the UK. He is reported to have been pursued by “eight or nine” police officers.
The first question is, of course, why send “eight or nine” police officers to arrest or question a (presumably) 17 or 18 year old schoolboy, who then let him run away?
The second question is why didn’t anyone jump into the water to save him? There is a picture in the newspaper that shows both police and firemen at the scene. Admittedly, the clothing that firemen have to wear would have been detrimental to swimming, but anyone in “civilian” clothes (even a police uniform) should have been able to enter the 6 foot (2 metre) deep, almost still, water and rescue the schoolboy?
Instead, due to “health and safety regulations” a number of (presumably) fit and able bodied people looked on while a person drowned!
How do these people sleep at night?
The following week Alistair wrote:
Readers may remember that part of my ramble last week was about the “ditches that had been left in and along the roads in the area after the water pipes of the “project of the century” had been laid.
Well, this week I can report that, certainly on the roads that we use, the “ditches” have been filled with tarmac. The timing of last week’s ramble may have been coincidental, but I would like to think that my ramble was read by either the local or even national government officials in charge of the roads!
I read with some interest in the local newspaper “Cyprus Today” of 12th September that the Cyprus Turkish Teachers Union (Ktos) has stated that, when pupils return to school this week after the summer holidays, many primary and secondary schools are in a state of disrepair, and indeed there is a shortage of teachers at many schools.
The Minister for Education has admitted that “there are problems, but these will be resolved within the next few weeks”!
OK, I will accept that problems with structural maintenance and staff levels are a fact of life, but the summer holidays have lasted for three months, yes, 3 months!
What has he or the staff in his department been doing to justify their salaries and positions during the school holidays? Have they sat back and done nothing during the same three months? Has it taken the imminent return to school of pupils to suddenly spur them into action?
Last week we, on the island of Cyprus, experienced a “clogging up” of the atmosphere caused by sandstorms in Syria. This was experienced on both sides of the “Green Line”; the weather does not respect man-made territorial boundaries!
Fortunately, as I suffer from pneumonia, our immediate part of the island escaped from the atmospheric dust and sand, and we were able to continue our lives without disruption to our “routine”.
I understand that some of the Greek Cypriot press and media have reported that the Turkish Cypriots will vote “no” when (and if) a “settlement” deal is reached on this island.
“Our” President Akıncı has said that this is mere speculation as no final terms have been agreed upon yet. I agree with this statement, but, way back in 2004, the Turkish Cypriots voted “yes” to the Annan Plan while the Greek Cypriots voted “no”.
So what happened? Christian Greek Cyprus joined the European Union, with all the trading benefits while the Muslim Turkish Cypriots were left out in the cold, and the trading sanctions remained in place!
Therefore, having been “kicked in the teeth” within living memory, why should the Turkish Cypriots trust the United Nations and the European Union and vote “yes” to a “settlement”?
Next blog will continue with Alistair’s rambles
These rambles were written by Alistair initially for the “The KibKom Times” then “The KibKom Forum”