Friday, March 28, 2008

Dear Mum,

While the UK shivered its way through a very cold Easter weekend, temperatures soared in Cyprus, all caused by a dust cloud which popped over from North Africa for a few days and settled in the atmosphere over the island, trapping the heat.

Here in Larnaca, the temperature peaked at around 27°C/80°F, whilst inland in the capital, Nicosia, it reached 34°C/93°F according to the TV News. Amazing! And totally unprecedented. The highest temperature ever recorded at this time of year.

You’re probably thinking, “I bet he’s got that wrong! He doesn’t speak Greek. They probably said 24, not 34. Idiot!”.

Well you’re definitely right on one count  –  I don’t speak Greek. And I wouldn’t necessarily hold it against you for thinking I’m an idiot. But as the News was in English, I know what 34 sounds like when I hear it. Not only that, but it was accompanied by a map which had 34 written on it. So I guess we’ll have to take their word for it. Even so, it does sound extraordinarily high.

They predicted that the dust cloud would be gone by the end of Tuesday, and they actually got that right. The familiar clear blue sky was back on Wednesday morning, and the temperature was back down to the low 20s. Everything back to normal.

Speaking of Tuesday, it was a Bank Holiday here  –  Greek Independence Day. A fine idea. Have a day off to celebrate another country’s Independence Day. Cyprus also has a public holiday on Greek National Day in October. If you did that with every country in the world, you’d probably never have to work a day in your life!

It’s amazing how many people think that Cyprus is part of Greece. It’s not helped by a travel internet site I came across which offers hotels in Cyprus, Greece!

Ok, they share a common language and they can both be relied upon to give each other maximum points every year in the Eurovision song contest, but the fact remains that they are both totally independent countries. Greece has never had control of Cyprus at any stage in its history. So for Cyprus to celebrate Greece’s Independence and National Days does seem somewhat bizarre.

Anyway, I wrote last year about how I was woken up at 6am on a Sunday morning by a lone drummer walking along the street. It happened again on Tuesday. A year to the day. Only this time it was the whole marching band rehearsing for the big parade later. Just what you need at 6.15 in the morning!

Spring is upon us now. New shoots are appearing everywhere, and the cherry blossom tree that I inadvertently photographed in black and white last year has produced its first petals. There are a few people sunbathing on the beach every day, and even one or two brave ones swimming in the sea.

So what?”, I hear you cry.

Well, I just thought I’d tell you, that’s all. I realise that this month has been a bit short on Letters, but there seems to be a dearth of amusing incidents at the moment. Or maybe I’m just lacking inspiration at the moment. So I’m writing this Letter just for the sake of it. Take it or leave it!

I think there’ll be something on Monday though. Stay tuned!

And don’t forget to do the clocks forward thing this weekend. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, so I’m seriously thinking of putting mine back an hour instead, just to be awkward!


©MPB 28/March/2008