By Kathy Martin…

Written September 2015

The other day, my wife read to me an item on “Facebook” that had been put on (sorry, I have been told “posted” is the correct term, I don’t “do” Facebook!), by her sister, who lives in Hastings, UK.

The item was about a young (from my point of view!) 32 year old girl listening to, and presumably also singing along to a song called “Happy” on her car radio while she was travelling along a motorway in the UK.

She became so “happy” that she used her mobile phone to take a “selfie” of herself, and then with a comment that she was so happy and sent (sorry posted!) it to Facebook.

Within seconds she was dead! She lost control of her car and was involved in a fatal accident; fortunately no other vehicle or persons were involved.

Alistair’s well-loved & read Rudyard Kipling

Long standing (or should that be long-suffering?) readers will know that I regard the motor car as being, if not treated with care and respect, potentially more deadly than nuclear weapons!

Rudyard Kipling, to my mind possibly the greatest British poet, described the arrival of the motor-car very succinctly in his poem about fox hunting –

“And so, began, in skid and stink,

The REAL blood sport of Britain”!

Last week I rambled about the apparent fact that many primary and secondary schools were in a state of disrepair despite not being in use for three months when pupils either started or (depending on age) returned to school last week. There was also a reported shortage of teachers.

Ktos (the Kibris Teachers Union) has complained the 17 “special needs” teachers have been recruited from mainland Turkey, while it states that there over 100 similarly trained and qualified Turkish Cypriot teachers unemployed on the island.

I admit that this figure seems rather high in what must be a highly specialised field of work, and as such I personally treat this statement with a certain amount of caution and scepticism.

I support the principle that (almost) everyone has the right to take industrial action as a last resort. In my opinion those who should not be allowed to “strike” are those in the military, police, medical and teaching professions.

The military and police should not be allowed to “strike” as they deal with the external and internal security and law and order of a country.

Medical staff should not be allowed to “strike” as they care for the health and wellbeing of the population.

Similarly, teachers should not be allowed to “strike”, because they prepare their students for suitable employment in the “adult” world!

However, one school in the capital, Lefkoşa, didn’t open because 14 teachers failed to turn up as they were “in a dispute over the schools management”!

We had a very welcome downpour of rain this afternoon, our first since 27th May, 116 days ago! Although, it cooled the air temperature slightly, it also caused a power cut!

Jeremy Corbyn

An article that appeared in the “Hürriyet”, a newspaper printed in English on the Turkish Mainland. The article states that a senior UK general has stated that if the new (pacifist) Labour Party leader (Jeremy Corbyn) gets into power and attempts to downgrade/downsize  the armed forces he will face what, in effect, will be a mutiny.

He is quoted as saying that if this happened “there would be mass resignations at all levels”!


Alistair (back right) in the Rhodesian territorial army 1974

I admit that I don’t have any knowledge of the terms of employment for the “officer class” as I never progressed further than lance-corporal in the Rhodesian Territorial Army!

However, while I lived in the UK, and there wasn’t war going on, I have spoken to a few ex‑servicemen.

One in particular I remember, Graham, lived in the village where we started our “adult” life in the UK. He had joined the British army as a “young soldier” aged 18 and retired at the age of 38! He said that he had had to sign an “unbreakable” contract to serve for a certain number of years.

He had been on a number of courses while in the army, and as a result he was a qualified mechanic and radio technician. As such he was able to advertise locally that he was a “man with a van” with these skills.

However to get back to the (presumably chinless wonder) of a general, is he aware that people on fixed-term contracts cannot simply resign?

Alexander Carter-Silk and Charlotte Proudman

Remaining in the UK for the next part of my ramble, I read in the “Daily Mail” that a female barrister (Charlotte Proudman) posted a picture of herself on the social website “LinkedIn”. A male lawyer (Alexander Carter-Silk) posted a compliment on her good looks on the same website which, to my mind, deserved a polite “thank you” or similar response.

However, he received a tirade in response such as “I am on LinkedIn for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men”!

Mr Carter-Silk has since stated that his intention was to compliment the quality of the photograph itself, not her physical appearance!

Be that as it may, what has the world come to when a man (or woman) cannot compliment someone on his or her appearance?

Words fail me!

The project of the Century

A recent article in Milliyet (a Turkish mainland newspaper) said that fresh water from Turkey has been used to check the water pipeline for leaks and also to flush it clean.

Perhaps in the very near future “our” (Turkish Cypriot) farmers will be able to grow two crops within a twelve month period, not having to rely on the one “rainy” season!

It is also feasible that, with an almost unlimited supply of water, the TRNC could supply some, if not all, of the needs of the Greek Cypriots. However, the possibility exists that any such offer will be rejected by the Cypriot Greek Orthodox Church.

I say this because I remember when one of the major power stations in South Cyprus was put out of action a few years ago. The reason was that, while Mr Christophias was South Cyprus’ president, someone stored a large quantity of explosives immediately outside (and in full sun) the power station. These explosives, which had been confiscated from a cargo ship, subsequently exploded, killing a number of people and almost destroying the power station.

Kib-Tek (our major electricity provider) offered to supply some power to the Greek Cypriot part of the island. This offer was rejected by the Orthodox Archbishop, who was called, if my memory serves me correctly, Archbishop Christomos. He was quoted as saying (something like) “I would rather use candles than electricity provided by the illegal occupied State”!

Maybe he would, but in this instance, possibly the Greek Cypriot farming community could see an increase in income and welcome water from the “illegal occupied state”! After all, thinking clearly and logically, electricity is a convenience, but not essential to life while water definitely is!

One very interesting article was in the newspaper “Cyprus Today” of 26th September. In this article the Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has warned his negotiators (and presumably) the Greek Cypriot electorate that if the current “settlement” talks break down and it is perceived to be the Greek Cypriots fault, the TRNC may well be “recognised” by a frustrated United Nations and European Union.

Whether this is his own opinion, or he has been warned of this by these organisations, I do not know.

Just a gentle reminder that Alistair wrote this next sentence in August 2015! However, it is refreshing to learn that these “last chance” talks in a long line of “last chance talks may actually be the final talks!

What really gets my goat (I wonder how and where that saying came into use) is a politician who doesn’t know when to keep quiet!

Ex-President Mehmet Ali Talat has been reported as saying that the Turkish Cypriots must vote “yes” at the forthcoming “settlement” referendum. This is because he is worried that a “no” vote would push them further into isolation.

Another ex-President, Derviş Eroğlu, has (rightly in my opinion) responded to say that if the “settlement” conditions are unacceptable to the Turkish Cypriots, then a “no” vote must be the response!

Next blog will continue with Alistair’s rambles

These rambles were written by Alistair initially for the “The KibKom Times” then “The KibKom Forum