I am pleased to receive the latest letter from David in Cyprus, we have been writing to each other now for over a year.
Hi Sara and all Farming Friends,
Well no matter what the tourist brochures tell you it can be cold and pretty wild in Cyprus in january and february. As I write we have a jolly thunderstorm going on and even the cats have retreated under the kitchen table. One lightning strike close by shook the house and I suspect that the power will go off any minute. Add to that a severe hailstorm a few minutes ago and I suspect many tourists will be wondering why they came out to the so called sunny island. There is fairly thick snow in Troodos village where I understand about 15 cm of snow fell in a couple of hours and most of the mountain is now capped with a good covering. I have not ventured up to the land as I suspect the police will prevent me from going into the mountains without snow chains but I did have the presents of mind to cover my winter lettuces with glazing units last week so I hope they will survive. Last week we had hurricane type winds and one gust took both water tanks and solar panels from my roof and deposited them in next door’s garden where they remain as I am still waiting for the insurance assessors to call. The tank arrangements are very common in Cyprus but for some reason they do not seem to anchor the supports to the roof. Of course when they work they are most efficient and during the summer I have very hot water with a back up immersion if required. Cyprus was recently criticised in the press for not being green enough which I find rather odd with all the solar panels about. Anyway it is back to rather primitive washing facilities at the moment and showers are taken in friends houses as necessary. All good experience for the mountain site!!
Two days later and what a difference. A warm and sunny spring day with blue skies and the almond blossom bursting out all over the place. Today I went up to the mountain as the snow has receeded with sunshine all the way. From Tsada I usually go down into Pafos and then take the Limassol motorway past Geriskipou to the second exit for the airport. Then I turn inland past the Asprokremmos dam and up to Nikokleia where there is a supermarket. I think the young lady who works there is russian and as I always buy a local type of peanut brittle she thinks that the english have very strange breakfast tastes. There are two routes to Troodos from Nikokleia one going up the Diarizos valley and the other going up the Ezousa valley. I tend to go up the Diarizos valley as you pass along the riverbed with high rolling hills on either side. Of course the Avidimou dam higher up has reduced the river to a stream but it is a very fertile area and citrus trees potatoes melons squash and all sorts of vegetables are grown.There are sections of the road that are only a single car width and when you meet a lorry it is really a question of going onto the unmade verge to get past. All quite fun but it does seem to worry some hire cars.
It is now two weeks later and the tanks have been renewed and I have nice hot water again. One benefit is that the old galvanised cold tank is only slightly bent and does not appear to leak so I will salvage it and take it to the Troodos site where it will be a very useful water store. Despite my digging I have still not found the water sump but as the soil is now very heavy due to rain I will wait until it dries out a bit. I have planted various vegetables in Tsada in a cold frame and hope to plant these out in raised beds on site in the next week or so. I have planned the site for the polytunnel and have found a good builders merchant in Platres where I will be able to get the plastic pipe. There is a large plastics factory in Geriskipou where I can get the plastic sheeting so this will be the next project.
The blossom is everywhere at the moment and this is really the best time to see Cyprus. There is a rather cool wind today and they are forecasting another storm on thursday but with the wild garlic coming out together with other wild plants and flowers it will soon be summer again. My sister who lives in London tells me that there has been more snow but I hope it will be short lived for all you farmers and growers in UK. Marina the gardener has tried to grow ginger but without success so if anyone has any tips I would love to hear them. Likewise another friend is hoping to grow some sweet potatoes and I am getting ready to put in the next crop of ordinary cyprus potatoes.
We have a petrol strike at the moment. Apparently the government fix the price of fuel and they have said that the public are paying too much at the pumps. Many of the petrol stations are privately owned and they say that the goverment price is unrealistic and does not allow them to make a fair profit. It will run and run I fear so I have stopped all trips to the Troodos. Aristos needs some wine from Nelion but he will have to get it himself this time as my tank is on empty.
We had the carnival a few weeks back and now most of the cypriots are fasting on the run up to Easter.This means that you can get to the meat counters in the supermarkets without the usual queue. Most of the dishes for Lent are quite delicious and Joanna, Aristo’s wife, always gives me food to try when I go in for a drink. The beans cooked in stock with carrots, celery and various wild herbs are excellent.
Snow is forecast tomorrow in the Troodos but generally the weather is warm. I think we are due one or two more Coptic storms then it should warm up quickly.There is a lot of dust in the air at the moment so a change in pressure and wind direction will be useful.
By the next time I write I should be in Kedares.I asked the address of the house and was told “It is the house opposite the Old School” I will be amazed if the telephone company will be able to connect the phone on that information and any letters may or may not get to me. All very Cypriot but quite good fun.
Anyway Best wishes to you all and lets hope the weather improves soon.
Thanks David for another wonderful letter, I do so enjoy reading about life in the Troodos Mountains. It is interesting to learn about the weather conditions in Cyprus throughout the year and hearing about the places you visit and the people you meet or are friends with gives us a great insight into life in the Troodos Mountains.
I will ask on the farmingfriends forum and growing ginger and sweet potatoes in a warm climate.
If you would like to read David’s other leters then click on the following links: