Kathy Martin’s life story (17)

Kathy Martin’s life story (17)

KathyBy Kathy Martin…

My life story continues with our life in Cyprus

Written on 21st November 2006 after Sasha, Jon and Alex’s holiday

Sasha, Jon and Alex arrived in Larnaca, South Cyprus, on Friday 11 November. After a slight mix-up with the car collecting them, they arrived at the villa in Lapta, near Girne, at 19:30.We had driven ourselves over there and had arrived about 5 minutes before they arrived. It was wonderful to see them again and Alex is a very smart little boy, can’t believe he is nearly 3! He knows all his colours and can count to 10 in English and to 5 in Welsh! While here for the week he learnt to count to 5 in Turkish!

Lapta SJA in poolThe villa they had rented for the week was magnificent, with 4 bedrooms and a swimming pool, which they used a couple of times (water cold, but sunny and warm out!). Jon said “We have rented a villa with a pool, so we will use it!” Even Alistair went in, but NOT me! The house was built as an octagon, so had some interesting shaped rooms.

We spent the week showing them around our part of the area, including the house we are living in now, the flats being built that we are buying, our favourite bars, the beach bar that we use to swim in the sea (although not warm enough to swim in November) and we visited Girne Castle, so they could see the oldest wreck found in waters near to Kibris, it dates back to about 400BC and has some of the freight carried i.e. olive oil amphorae and other items.

We managed to introduce them to Suzee and Huseyin, our good friends, who have been very helpful in assisting our arrival into Kibris.

Lapta SJA stonegrillWhen Friday 18 November came, it seemed as if time had flown by and was very hard to say goodbye, as we are not sure when we will see them again! We hope to go to Wales sometime next year, but not sure when.

The photo shows them enjoying a drink at the Stone Grill.

On a personal note, my weight has slightly risen, but all my clothes still fit! I find that lack of exercise is the main problem, as the food is very healthy!

Our first Christmas, 2006, was spent quietly going to our favourite beach bar, for lunch of eggs & bacon (we couldn’t buy bacon, then, so a REAL treat), followed by a trip into town in the evening, where, at the Shiraz bar (not there anymore) we were treated to our first drink of the evening and after enjoying seeing all the Christmas lights around town (still a novelty in a Muslim country) came home for a warming drink, temperatures in the day are about 15c-20c, but at night can plunge to about 5c!

Alistair and Kathy with Suzee and Huysein New Year's Eve 2006

Alistair and Kathy with Suzee and Huysein New Year’s Eve 2006

On New Year’s eve, we were invited to join some friends (Suzee & Huysein) at their house in town, along with a few other couples and at 23:50, we walked up to the town centre and watched the fireworks at midnight (not Alistair’s favourite activity), before going to a bar and enjoying a couple of drinks before returning home at about 02:30.

We KNOW we have definitely made the right decision coming here and are really settling into a happy lifestyle.

Alistair’s stress levels have reduced to zero and he is back to being the happy person that he used to be!

From an update on our lives written April 2007

We now “own” 50% of our flat. We have recently paid (in effect) for the walls etc to be built on top of the foundations. Our flat will be finished in approximately 12 months. We have often been to see the construction and been round the concrete shell of the first phase. A “show” flat will soon be ready and we will have a good look at the finished product. We will then have a better idea of size and appearance.

Our builder will install air-conditioning units during construction. This will save money, as he can get them at “trade” price and, of course, will be easier than retrofitting.

We will be going to UK, for a week, 28 May to 04 June 2007. We will only visit Wales to see Sasha, Jon, Alex and their family/friends as time and expense will not allow us to visit friends and relations in London & Hastings. While in UK Alistair will finalise the details and payment of his Civil Service pension, which is due to start when he is 60 in August 2007.

We have started a shopping list for things which are not readily available here. It includes water jug filters (the water here has a very high lime content), Playstation games such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Lord of the Rings part 1 & 3, which we may be able to get 2nd hand. We are really into Playstation games, especially during winter “duvet” days!

Alistair and Kathy wearing shorts

Alistair and Kathy wearing shorts

Talking about winter, spring has now arrived, our diary records 12th March 2007, as “first shorts wearing day!”

We are seeing and hearing early migratory birds and the sound of bird song, while we are having breakfast outside, is wonderful. We have had (according to the locals) a very mild and dry winter. Indeed our “indoor” days stick out in our memories more than days we have been able to be outside in the sunshine.

Information about our new home written in May 2007

First, the “big picture

To the North is the sea, to the South, mountains.

In between there is a coastal plain of approximately one mile, rising gently to the mountains. The coast and mountains lie East to West.

Cottage in Çatalköy in 2006

Cottage in Çatalköy in 2006

The cottage we were renting was in a road with only 2 houses, ours and the one opposite, so it is very quiet. Our “front” area (separated from the road by a low stone wall) has (from East to West) a car parking space, garden and concrete patio area with a brick braaivleis/BBQ about the size of a kiln! We don’t use the parking area, as it is overshadowed by a fig tree, and figs are not easy to clean from a car! The garden has a date palm, orange tree and pomegranate tree. On the patio is a garden table, which seats up to eight. This is in the shade of three almond trees that between them (different breeds) fruit nearly all year. We usually have our morning coffee & breakfast here!



Our “back” veranda overlooks the back garden (an orange tree, pomegranate tree and prickly pears (delicious!) and faces the sea. In the winter the sun sets behind the mountains, in the summer, the sea. When we sit facing West, we get the sea on the right, coastal plain in the centre and mountains on the left: all going to the vanishing point. Sunsets, especially when there are clouds, are spectacular.


Kibris is on the migratory route of birds that summer in the North.

  • Swallows, wheatears, warblers and others
  • A pair of coal tits feeding themselves up for about ten days in our garden
  • Soon will get seabirds (shearwaters and the like)
  • A wide variety of butterflies, swallowtails, browns, admirals, and whites
  • One predatory bird, the red kite
  • Chameleon thanks to John Bramhill Shore, Gecko and Red Kite

    Chameleon thanks to John Bramhill Shore, Gecko and Red Kite

  • No predatory mammals with the exception of feral cats and dogs
  • Geckos (lots on our patio!)
  • “Dragon lizards”. These are (or appear to be) very primitive lizards, growing up to 3 feet in length. We have what appears to be a family in our garden. The largest is (so far) only about a foot long. They are insectivorous, so we are happy that they are on our side against mosquitoes, flies etc! During the summer we use mosquito coils at night!
  • A resident chameleon.
  • Ant lions, or at least their “craters” are evident


Blue Gum, Jacaranda and Frangipani

Blue Gum, Jacaranda and Frangipani

  • Blue Gums
  • Jacarandas
  • Frangipanis

The British introduced the Blue Gums to try to dry pools of stagnant water during the rainy season. Cyprus, as the entire Mediterranean area, used to be a Malaria-area.

The native trees include Olive and conifers and Cypress in the mountains

My life continues next time

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