Archive for January 16th, 2012

  Our friends Julia and Rob are off to Thailand for some sun and tropical warm weather and they have kindly loaned us their car.  Today we made good use of it driving to Lefkosa/Nicosia to the Turkish Embassy to clear up the motorbike mess created when our usually competent agent Sonar forgot to have our motorbike checked out from Turkey when we left.  He was paid to handle all of the paperwork and forgot about the bike.  Turkey has all of that information on computer and someone noticed the motorbike was, according to the computer, overstaying its welcome and still in Turkey.  We tried several ways other than actually riding the bike to the Turkish Embassy to deal with it, but phone calls and faxes didn’t cut it.  Our friend Sharman had to go to Nicosia today, so it seemed like a good idea to drive the car there, give Sharman a lift and hope that with a letter from the marina, our Cyprus motorbike insurance paper, a photo of the bike here, etc that would be enough proof and we could avoid a long cold motorbike ride.  Sharman had to visit the Cyprus Immigration Office so we took her there and we went off to the Turkish Embassy.  It was actually quick and painless and we were assured by the lovely clerk, successful.  While we were waiting a young Nigerian university student came in wearing a Boston Red Sox hat but since we were in the Embassy, no photos.  All tasks were accomplished successfully and we were all on our way home by noon.  There is a quite good supermarket on the way back so we stopped there, ate at the Pizzatown next door, shopped and were home by 4pm.  (We ordered a meat pizza which was interesting as the meat tasted like fried bologna and there were kernels of corn sprinkled around too.  But the crust and cheese were good and it was actually ok.)  A long day, but successful and Sharman is good company, so also a good day.



So, what’s happening with all of you?

Randal and I are fine but our friends are having some hard times. The Turkish lessons and walks are canceled for now. Denise’s brother, ill with cancer, took a turn for the worse so Denise and Dina have gone to England to be with him. And poor Scruffy dog has gone missing leaving Julia and Rob heartbroken. We all hope Scruffy will turn up, but after several weeks, it’s not likely. Scruffy and Ellie, two pals played together up in the hill community where Julia and Rob live. They always stayed around the complex. But both are missing. Sadly, some farmers put out poison so stray dogs won’t bother their sheep or goats. Locals don’t seem to neuter their pets so there are lots of strays that get dumped so it’s a mess. The people of Cyprus are so nice and the children and farm animals certainly seem well cared for, but not the dogs and cats. Now especially there are lots of puppies wandering the road to Sipahi but I won’t let them follow me because we just can’t have one. Sad situation.

So mostly we’ve just been on the boat or doing our own walks. I have taken up knitting again and even picked up my pastels along with some watercolor attempts. And I do still try to practice my Turkish. I was walking the other morning in Sipahi and had a short conversation with one of the women who lives there along the way. We each said how are you and I am fine kind of things. I pointed around and told her it was beautiful. I could tell her where I was from and that Randal and I live on our boat in the marina and that I love to walk. She loves to walk too. But then she told me other things, maybe where she was from, but I couldn’t understand. But it was good.

Randal and I also made a return trip to the local butcher and got some beef shoulder, some of which we asked him to grind up. In Roanoke, the meat guy at Kroger might cut up something for you back behind the counter where you couldn’t see. Here you see what you are getting…


The butcher in the meat locker cutting off our chunk of shoulder.


When we paid for our meat, the butcher gave us a package of his pastrami. It was an interesting conversation asking if it had to be cooked. It doesn’t. I just tried some so I could tell you what it was like. Lots of spice flavors and I think it would be great in tomato sauce. The butcher told us to cook it in a pan with eggs so we will.


The butcher and his wife weighing and wrapping our meat.


Their new baby girl who I think looks like her mom.

We had brought a cooler and packed the meat into it. It was Monday market day so we left the meat with the butcher in his cooler to collect on our way home. We made the butcher our first stop because beef isn’t always available and we didn’t want to take a chance it would be gone later in the morning.


This man was selling soaps, shampoo and oils. We bought olive oil shampoo and lavender oil and soap. Randal uses the oil like cologne because he likes lavender. It’s very subtle so it’s ok.

The weather has been North Cyprus’ version of winter weather. Nights can get down to the high 40s and days the low 60s. Sounds like early spring in Virginia and it sort of looks like that with everything blooming and fields being planted. But Randal and I have thinned tropical blood in our veins so we feel cold. Our friends who’ve come from the UK or north Europe wear shorts! You can count on wind and rain some of each day, but enough sun, that if you plan it, you can walk. The problem is the trails are very muddy. I walked the other day with every intention of staying on the paved roads through Sipahi. But the road to Hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions.* I walked up the road, followed the loop it made and then decided to walk further into Sipahi because I wanted a longish walk. I came to a road that went off to the right and followed it thinking it would loop back around to the road I was on. But it kept going back down the hill and the further I went the less I wanted to turn around. The pavement eventually stopped but the wide dirt path seemed mostly dry so I kept going and then the path got a bit more muddy and then more narrow. Finally it split and I took the path towards the right thinking it would lead me back to the main road I’d walked up on. But it didn’t. It took me to the backside of a plowed field with no path through it. I had no desire to retrace my way all the way up the dirt path, all the way up the paved road, and then back and down the road I’d walked up on. So I mucked my way around the field as best I could, not wanting to trample any of the small shoots of whatever that was growing. I eventually got to a path blocked by a huge puddle but could walk on some mashed bushes around it.


Can I get there from here?

I could see the Mediterranean and the marina, but unfortunately this path ended in the fields.


What used to be dry as dust now is thick and sticky as new cement; packs right into the treads on the bottom of my shoes.


Like red Georgia clay!

While in Library School in Tallahassee I joined some classmates to go caving in Georgia. I had to crawl through stuff that looked like this! Amazingly those clothes came clean in the wash.


How to clean mucky shoes: rub the muck off in tall grass.


Rub the muck off on an old tire lying near the side of the road


Find a puddle and hope it will wash more muck off than it adds back on.

Getting into mud and muck has been my way since I was a wee tyke. We have early home movies of me, wearing a clean white dress and shoes stomping in a puddle left at the edge of our porch. My mother had just hosed off the porch and for some reason let me go outside. Instead of killing me someone got the movie camera and it’s there forever. That’s also around the time I gave myself a haircut just before I was to have professional photos taken so we only have them of my older sister. When I was a camp counselor one of the kids taught me about dealing with dirt. I saw 8 year old Sedalia walking without her shoes and I told her that her socks would get dirty. “So, we got soap,” Was her answer. She wasn’t being snotty or anything, just matter-of-fact and logical. “So, we got soap!”

The Sipahi paved road loop takes us by homes with sheep and puppies and flowers and cats.


Sheep in a pen.


Puppies who understand the English word “Stay!” thank goodness!!! But sooooo cute.


Flowers blooming


Cat in the planter.

The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions… I looked up the quote and found a link to Samuel Johnson. This site explains that Johnson didn’t exactly say those words, but something similar. It also gives lots of interesting quotes attributed to Johnson that he really didn’t say.

Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.” Is one of the quotes

Another is….

The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.

This is a corruption of something Johnson actually did say. When visiting an estate, Johnson seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing the contents of the library. Boswell quotes Johnson as having defended himself with the famous line, "Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." The corrupted form is not found in either Johnson’s works or the contemporary accounts about Johnson.

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Ruth and Randal

Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.