Kathy Martin’s life story (24)
By Kathy Martin…
My life story continues with our life in Northern Cyprus
Alistair wrote in February 2010
We have officially lived through a “natural disaster” (according to our Saturday paper Cyprus Today)!
On Friday 26th 2010 we left home, as usual, at about 10.30 to do our weekly shop, it was raining, but no more than usual, so thought nothing of it! Luckily, Kathy had taken her large umbrella with her, as you will see later, this was MUCH appreciated!
When we came out of the shop about an hour later and started home, rain was very heavy (umbrella). Driving along the road, Kathy went too fast through a deep patch of water on the road and must have soaked the engine! As a consequence, a bit further on the engine just died out. After a few minutes of waiting and trying every so often, managed to get going again, only for the engine to die again about a mile further on.
We repeated this manoeuvre a couple of times before reaching a junction not far from a bar (Mamma Mia’s now closed in 2016), so (as it was about 13:00 by now) we went in for a beer to allow the car time to “dry out”, although the rain was still very heavy (umbrella).
Walking across the road the water (flowing like a river) was over our feet! After our beer we went back to try to drive the final mile-or-so home (umbrella). We managed to get round the corner and about 15 feet (3 meters) from the road into our village when the car died and refused to start again!
It was about 13:45 by now, so we rang Sadık (our local garage owner) and eventually got through to him (found out later that he had received several calls from stranded car owners!). He said he would be with us in an hour or so, he eventually arrived at about 16:00, by which time we were shivering, wet and cold.
Alistair had been out of the car, on three occasions, when local Turkish Cypriots had stopped to see if they could help us and Kathy had got drenched, when returning from Mamma Mia’s, as a car drove past very fast and splashed her, the road was about 4” (10cm) deep in water, also Kathy’s socks and shoes were full of water, so her feet were soaked! Alistair wears sandals, so his feet were also wet and cold!
Anyway, Sadık towed us home and said if we couldn’t get the car to start the next day, we should call him.
We were VERY HAPPY to be home and very quickly stripped off our wet clothes and put our fire on! Despite not having had any lunch, we were both beyond hunger and just had a warming mug of soup!
Saturday dawned with warm, wonderful spring sunshine, so we were optimistic that the car would have dried out.
Alistair tried it about 10:00, no go! So we rang Sadık and he came about 11:00 and got it going after drying out the distributor and other “car engine” bits!
Kathy asked him what the charge was (we were expecting it to be at least about £25 (60-70TL)) but to our delight he said “no charge, this was an emergency, so I would not dream of charging you”.
Can you imagine a garage in the UK doing similar?
According to the local paper “Turkish troops were put on alert as torrential rain plunged TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) into a natural disaster. Cars were abandoned and people left stranded as North Cyprus experienced its worst flooding in living memory.” The rain came back, the next day, with a vengeance!
We told Tariq why we could only afford to come and see him once a week (on Saturday with the Cyprus Today newspaper, we do the crosswords whilst Tariq reads the paper). He suggested that if we moved our money from HSBC to CreditWest, we would get a better rate. We later found out that Riaz (Happy Valley) and a number of other local businesses bank there, so we feel that our capital is safe! He said would phone them on the Monday morning and then contact us.
Just after 0900 on Monday he phoned us to say that we would get 9% interest, instead of the 6.75% that HSBC has dropped to. Obviously he had an ulterior motive i.e. that we would have more money to come and spend with him (only in a jokey way!).
So, as our interest day was 23rd Feb we went in to CreditWest on 22nd and opened an account.
On 23rd went into HSBC and closed our accounts (saving and current) and asked them to electronically transfer our capital to CreditWest.
We were a tad nervous as “people” i.e. ex-pats had told us various disastrous stories about money transfers! Julie, the English ex-pat HSBC manageress asked us why we were closing our account. We told her that we were going to get lots more interest, she said she understood, but that HSBC is tied into the mainland rates and could possibly give us 0.5% more interest, we politely declined.
Having been told that CreditWest would have our money by 14:00, we were delighted to receive a phone call at 14:10 to say they had the money and if we would like to go to the bank to sign papers our money would be transferred to our savings account!
We have often felt very lucky, since we arrived here as things generally have gone very smoothly for us, compared to some horror stories that we have read or heard about!
We both gave up smoking in March 2009 and are feeling the healthier for it. There is one other benefit. Like the rest of the world, smoking is not permitted in offices, bars and restaurants. In the winter or rain, we no longer join the smokers, who have to go outside for a cigarette!
As we read a lot, some of the bars we frequent (this sounds bad, but we don’t do it every day!) have “libraries” where books are left and exchanged on a “bring and take” basis. Should we want a specific title, a local shop will import on our behalf at very little extra cost.
We both got Kindles, when Sasha & Jon came out in April 2013, and we have a friend who has hundreds of e-books, from a multitude of authors, so now very rarely read a “real” book!
On 9th March 2011 the weather forecast for 10th March said “rain, turning to snow on high ground”! We hadn’t heard these words since leaving UK! But, sure enough, on the 10th when we looked out of our window to the mountains approximately 2 kilometres to the south, the peaks were covered with snow! It was only about 4cm deep, and had melted by midday, but it was there! This was the first time it had snowed since 1998.
Life changed for me on 1st November 2015
My life since Alistair died can be read in blogs about his life, followed by my blogs surrounding his illness, death, funeral and what happened next!
Written 28th July 2016
Have now completed my preparation of all my blogs surrounding my life and the reproduction of all Alistair’s rambles and in the process have discovered that I am relishing being a “blogger”!
With Chris Elliott and Margaret Sheard’s (Cyprus Scene) help I plan to continue “blogging”!
I have written restaurant reviews about the following:
- Sea Breeze, in Kuçuk Erenköy
- Delta Cafe-Bar and restaurant, New Harbour area of Girne/Kyrenia.
- The Happy Valley in Çatalköy
- Kervan Restaurant Karaoğlanoğlu
- Los Amigos between Bellapais traffic lights and New Harbour in Girne/Kyrenia
- Alesta’s Restaurant, Girne/Kyrenia
- Altinkaya Fish Restaurant Alsancak
Also about various other experiences:
- Frozen Cypriots meeting on 19 May 2016
- Frozen Cypriots meeting on 24 May 2016
- Museum of Cypriot Ethnicity in Taşkent on 24 May 2016
- Jam and Scone Day in Doğanköy on 28 May 2016
- Personal review of the North Cyprus Cancer Trust coffee morning on 14th June 2016
- My Multiple Sclereosis (MS)
- My “small” dream i.e. my breast amputation!
- Doğanköy Dolmuş (village minibus)
Written 3rd September 2016
I am very happy with the result of my breast amputation, which took place of 26th July 2016. The photo shows the new “no-boobs” me taken on Sunday 31st July. Cannot explain the look on my face!
Life continues to be good most of the time, with my excellent circle of friends, especially Gill and Ivor Moon, Karen Gallagher, Suzee Moore (with her daily text contact with me continuing since I lost Alistair) and Sally Reilly. Along with others, too numerous to mention by name!
It is now ten months since that awful day (1st November 2015) when I lost my soul mate and love of my life, Alistair.
Whoever said time heals lied! It doesn’t heal, time dulls the pain! Then out-of-the-blue a song will come on the radio and WHAM you are hit by a canon ball of pain in the chest, breath is hard to catch and the floodgates open! Having spoken to other friends who have also suffered bereavement, have discovered that this NEVER goes away and years later the same reaction can occur.
However, most of the time I am getting my life under control, with a lovely English lady called Kerry coming every Tuesday morning for a couple of hours to clean and help me get rid of years of accumulation of books etc. Most of which I am passing on to either Tulips Cancer charity c/o Sue Tilt or, in the case of my soft toys, Claire Lamb for the children of the Special Needs school at Ziyamet.
Thank you to those of you who have read my life story and sent me such lovely comments!