Friday, 15 September 2017

New internet installed!

I had already got ADSL boradband installed by Cyta when I first moved into the villa. The maximum speed I could get was 16Mb/1Mb. Problem was it was not very reliable, particularly in the evening.

I have MAG254 boxes and on the Standard Definition channels, in the evening it would still frequently drop out and buffer. Now, this could have been also due to other reliability issues elsewhere on the internet, but I had noticed that when I was sitting in my office, I would notice that the Amplifi HD router would display internet connection lost. I would turn to look at the ADSL modem, and it would have lost its Sync with the exchange. So, not an internet issue....

I had looked at several internet providers that provide WISP (Wireless ISP), where they install an access point dish on the building and point it to one of their antennae. The prices varied dramatically and some also do not cover all areas etc.

I contacted a few of them, some didn't respond, others were sketchy with their responses to higher bandwidth options, symmetric connections etc.

In the end I decided to go with Cosmos Wireless, who offered a 30Mb/4Mb connection for a reasonable price compared to some of the others in the area. After contacting them and confirming I wanted to proceed with their proposal, they contacted me to tell me they could install the next day.

Next morning, the installation team called to say they were lost and couldn't find the villa, easy done in the area, but gave them some more directions and they eventually arrived.

They took a look at where I wanted to install the dish and got to work. They tried 2 different types of dish, but were just not happy with the connection speeds they were getting. After a few more trial and error with the positioning they concluded there was a lot of interference and would have to move the dish back in behind the house, so the dish was sheltered from the interference. After mounting a new wall mount arm, getting the connection up and then fine tuning the alignment, they managed to get a sustained healthy speed test connection at the service level they said they could provide.

They gave me a username and password for their client website, which allows you to access to data graphs, invoices etc. then left.

I switched over my internal wifi system over onto their new router, which was a simple case of swapping the Ethernet cable. I then went to try the IPTV box on the new connection and the results were clear instantly.

Turning on the TV and going to the UK:Entertainment menu, the first channel on the list is a FullHD one, and it immediately came on, it had never done that before, On the TV menus, a lot of the channels are repeated in FHD, HD and SD, and I have always had to choose the SD. Now, the FHD channels work a treat!

So, far happy with the connection, and very few minor blips, but this might be drop outs elsewhere on the internet or issues at the IPTV service provider. On the whole these are few and far between, and compared to what I had previously this is a winner!

The two guys that came to do the install and the individuals that I had communicated with via email and FB were all great. So thanks Cosmos Wireless!


Here are an example of the client website graphs, showing my connection data usage.

The dish feed arrangement they have used is a Ubiquiti Powerbeam M5 (PBE-M5-400), but they said if I had issues they would look to maybe change this for some other equipment, although time will tell how it performs.

I currently have an EdgeRouter Lite, still connected to the Cyta network, so will look to move this new connection over as the main feed to the EdgeRouter. I am using the EdgeRouter to provide address routing, with a split network, one side on a permanent OpenVPN tunnel to the UK, and the other side to local internet access, more discussed in the article I wrote while in Qatar: Building OpenVPN Site-To-Site Tunnel on Dynamic Addressing Endpoints, just need to update the settings to handle the new setup.

Ubiquiti Powerbeam and Dish.


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Zoo day!

First weekend for the kids. So decided to head up to Paphos Zoo.

We arrived about 11.45, and which was just in time for the 12:00 show. They had a number of parrots and Owls flying around, riding a bike, basketball etc. and one of the owls also starred in the first Harry Potter movie. At the end of the show they also took in a 10 week old tiger cub.

After the show, we took a walk up to the zoo restaurant, it was lunchtime after all! Food was very nice, and it wasn't busy. After lunch took a stroll around the zoo, and got finished about 3pm.

On the way back we stopped of at another supermarket that we hadn't yet been in. It was very deceptive, as didn't look big from the outside, but had pretty much everything inside, including cases of beer, which was really the first place I had seen that had not just loose, six or 12 packs.

Got back to the villa, and went to fit some pigeon spikes to the fence near S's bedroom patio. The neighbours cats have a habit of coming round the corner of the fence and down into the garden and into the house. The door is left open to keep a draft coming through. So trimmed the fir tree back a little and fitted the spikes, see if that stops them.

Also, I still hadn't really turned my main computer on since it arrived from Qatar. I wanted to set it up for mining and put a power meter on it to work out the cost and returns. After setting up Claymore Miner in dual mining for Ethereum and Siacoin, it runs at round about 550w. It does about 64MHz/s on Ethereum and 650MHz/s on SiaCoin simultaneously. I haven't try to optimise the machine yet, so don't know if I can squeeze more hashes out or drop the power usage down. Just want to make sure it is stable over night and see what it is doing.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Medical Insurance

After dropping off the kids at school, it was time to head to the bank again. We had an appointment at 9am with the Medical Insurance representative.

With some time to kill, headed to the DIY shop as I was needing a new 20A Distribution board MCB. While I was scouting around the house, I had turned off one of the breakers to see if the marking tied up to markings on one of the wall switches. Sadly they didn't, but this also introduced a problem. The breaker just wouldn't stay reset. I guess it had never really been off, and it was tired. It just kept randomly tripping, even with nothing plugged into the circuits.

The DIY shop didn't have any, but told us where to get from the electrical wholesaler. Eventually we found it and walked in asked for what I wanted and in about 10 seconds had one in my hand. Being Cyprus, I was waiting for a killer price tag to match, but was pleasantly surprised at the pricey sum of €2. Screw-fix and B&Q in the UK are charging at least double this, and even more for the premium brands.

We next stopped off at the bookshop again. M was needing some A3 paper as she had to make a poster for a school assignment.

Then it was off to the bank. Arrived on time and met with the agent. She told me that I will have to get a quick check by a doctor, seeing as I declared my High BP and was on medication. Thought this would be set up for the following week or something like that, but nope, it was straight after the meeting at the bank. Anyway, all paperwork/contracts/bank direct debits etc. and initial premium all paid up/signed and we headed off. The medical clinic 'St. George Polyclinic' was just round the corner. We walked in, the lift was already on the 3rd floor were we wanted, but no amount of pressing the 'up' button made the lift come to us. Had to press the 'down', very bizarre.


Anyway, went to the reception desk and the woman pointed me to the doctors office. Knocked on his open door and went in. He was sat waiting. Anyway, filled in a form, he had a poke about with his stethoscope, took my BP and we were finished, off we went.

Went back to the villa and had a couple of hours in the sun before it was time to pick up the kids from school. After school, took the kids for an ice-cream that N had promised S at the end of the school week.

Time for home, into the pool for a bit, swapped out the faulty MCB that I had purchased earlier, dinner, TV and done for the day!


Thursday, 7 September 2017

More ice-cream.....

Started the day off with dropping the kids off a school. Day 2, went in a lot easier today, so things definitely settling down.

Next off was the Bank, needed to get another account set up and bank card for N. We went in, and signed the usual mountain of paperwork, but the woman in the bank is very helpful. Pick the cards and pin's up from the branch next week. While we were in, she also set up an appointment for the next morning to see the medical insurance rep.

After the bank it was off to the Bookshop again. On day 1, M had been told which Greek book she needed, so went in to get it.

Then it was back to the house for a few hours chill, before it was time to pick up the kids from school. After picking them up, we headed over to the Elysium Hotel where our Qatar fiends were staying. Met up with them for some ice cream before they were heading back to Qatar that afternoon. Actually ended up with two helpings, as we were first sat down in the Mediterranean restaurant, where had a selection pot of Häagen Dazs, then went up to lounge where I couldn't resist a Häagen Dazs chocolate brownie and ice-cream once the kids had started looking through the book.

Said our goodbyes and see you laters to our pals and headed back to the villa.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

School Day 1......and a spot of Mobile accounts

Up early, can't be late for school on the first day! Also need to make sure we leave enough time, as not actually found the 'best' route to school yet, never mind seeing what it was like on a school day.

Arrived in plenty of time, then we had the inevitable anxiety issues.....anyway, managed to get them both into class, let's just leave it at that!

We went back to the villa for a bit, then headed to meet the Qatar crowd in the Elysium Hotel for breakfast. Chewed the fat for a while and then set off.

Headed into the Cyta shop in the Kings Avenue Mall, but were told I couldn't set up the family plan there as I needed to pay a €500 deposit, and that had to be done at the main branch.
Back into the car, and headed off to find the main branch up beside the civic square. Found the place, and parked up and headed in. Sat down with the guy, told him what we wanted, paid the deposit. He also managed to get mobile numbers that were very close to my existing number, and off we went with 3 new SIM cards and a bunch of paperwork.

Picked the kids up from school, and had the expected unhappy faces. See what tomorrow brings.

We headed for some ice-cream, and ended up having an early dinner. We drove along the coast and stopped at Theo Sunset Bay Holiday Resort, and had some food in their outdoor cafe area that overlooks the bay.

Went back to the villa, and after trialling the 24hour IPTV subscription, decided to take out the full subs package. So got that registered and set up on the box. Works out at £110 per year, for 3 connections on the premium package.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Last day of the school holidays.....

After yesterdays BBQ, today was definitely a lazy day. Tidy up and cleaning and lazying about.

I started a 24hr trial of the IPTV subscription with the provider I had narrowed it down to. I had followed the instructions for configuring the MAG box and the portal services with the correct URLs, but kept getting a 'blocked' message. in the end I contacted their support. Very prompt reply. and it turns out that even though my MAG box is connected to the network via wireless, and the MAC address of the wireless connection is different from the unused wired connection, the authentication is actually done on the wired connections MAC. Setting the new MAC address in the providers subscription portal, and all is good.

Did have an issue getting sound at first, but this is actually down to the internet connection to the villa. the VSDL link is a bit temperamental. and see frequent Sync loss and slow downs. Definitely need to look at a WISP provider and bin the VSDL link or use it for fall back.

Monday, 4 September 2017

School Readiness and BBQ!

Here we are on Monday...the kids start the new school on Wednesday.

First stop of the day was into the school to get their school uniforms. The uniform is very similar (in colour) to a rival school in our hometown, so needless to say, it doesn't go down well with the kids.

S gets PE two days a week, and on those days she gets to go to school in her PE kit. At least that takes away some of the struggle of getting her to wear it. Also, the fact that the skirt is a skirt and not a skort doesn't go down well. She will maybe wear a pair of shorts underneath, to make it feel like a skort.

After the school run we headed to the bookshop and got all their school books. There is one main bookshop that does all the school books Kyriakou Full Page Bookshops. The shop also has a good selection of stationary, arts and crafts stuff etc.
Next up was the butcher. We headed to Butcher Boy, where they have a great selection of meats and other delicatessen products. We came away with some good cuts of steak, sausages, chicken legs, chicken kebabs, minced beef, basically everything we could do with for this afternoons BBQ! I was getting hungry just walking round the shop looking at it all.
After the butcher, it was onto the baker, Papantoniou, there was one on the way back to Tala in Tremithousa, picked up some bread rolls, and cakes for pud.

Time to get the last of the things ready for the guest arriving in about an hour.

Our visitors were the crowd from Doha, who were over in Cyprus for the Eid holiday. so perfect for a reunion since we left a couple of months ago. 

The weather was perfect, food and booze was flowing and crowd were on usual top form! Everyone chilling below after food...must have been late on, as moved onto spirits good old Vodka and Irn-Bru! Kids had fun in the pool, and ended up with a couple of them [the kids] staying over night, and will drop them back at their hotel in the morning.



Sunday, 3 September 2017

Shopping

We headed to the supermarket for the first 'big' shop. We have some Qatar friends coming tomorrow for BBQ. The butchers shop was closed, so will have to get that tomorrow.

After getting the shopping, the kids settled in to doing some more of their room tidying, as well as hitting the pool.

I got to work on setting up the new WiFi. I had ordered up a Ubiquiti Amplifi HD + 2 Extra mesh points and delivered them to Aberdeen. N took them out with her.

It was really easy to get set up, and switching all the meshes to use a 2.4GHz backhaul to get the extra distance, we had at last full villa coverage, including pool area under 1 WiFi SSID. Just wish the actual internet connection from villa to the exchange was better. Definitely going to have to get a WISP provider installed.


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Family Arrival Day!

Yep, today was the day, the rest of the family arrived from the UK.

Needed to do a basic food shop, so there was enough for them to get breakfast and something to drink. They arrived late at night, so only really need stuff first thing the next morning. Then can get a proper shop done.

I also needed to get some fans. The villa is warm and needs the fans just to stir up the air and help move the heat out. I went into the old Carrefour, and by chance and they had a 40% sale on all the fans. I started pulling the boxes off the stacked display, and the assistant shouted across, and I told him I wanted 5, and wasn't wrecking the place...

Next to the old Carrefour, there is a direct sales gas cyclinder shop, so also picked up one for the BBQ. I think it was something like €10 deposit for the steel cylinder, a €12 for the gas, can't remember exactly, but was just thinking it was cheaper than the UK and Qatar.

Got home and went to work building the fans. Then finished off re-assembly the BBQ now I had the gas regulator to attach to the hose. The regulator is different from the type they use in Qatar, and also different from the type they use in the UK.

Pottered about some more in the villa and then headed off to the computer shop to see about IPTV boxes. Ended up with 3x MAG254w1. I had been doing a lot of digging, and this is what they had in stock, and was what I was looking for. I will wait for tomorrow to set them up as N is bringing the new wifi gear with her from the UK. Still have to decide on a service provider, but have narrowed a few down.

Got some more stuff sorted out in the villa, and made up the kids beds, then had some dinner and watched the telly for a bit, before heading out to the airport to pick them up.

Checked on Flight Radar where it was, and it was just about over south coast of Turkey, so about the right time to head off. Got to the airport, parked up and headed inside. small delay, but they eventually arrived. Got to the car, and managed to get all the suitcases in and headed back to the villa.

Got back to the villa and as you would imagine, the kids were a bit excited. This was the first they had seen it with all our furniture in it. Noise was a bit loud, and it was very still outside, so the noise carries a long way. Sorry neighbours / Tala!

Eventually got to bed about 1am....tired....zzzzzz




Friday, 1 September 2017

Packing Box Collection........new chair and garden stuff.......

I had emailed the local shipping company before I left Qatar to come and pick up the boxes the following week, however, I got a message back from them that they would pick it up today. I had requested they let me know in advance, so that I could be in as I had a few things to do today.

So after getting up and pottering about, I was just getting ready to head out and my mobile rang. I answered, and as I answered I happened to walk towards the kitchen window and noticed the removal company van sat at the bottom of the drive. Plenty warning then...

Anyway, wend down and opened up the garage, and gave the guy a hand to load everything in, it was a tight squeeze, but just managed to get everything fitted into his van, with a few box emptying and shoving paper and bubble wrap into odd spaces. Off he went.

Next up was to go and get fuel. Despite the car saying there was however many km left last night when I parked, this morning it said it was empty empty. Not even telling me how many km left, and simply a big Refuel warning and not even a hint of a single pixel of fuel on the fuel gauge! this could be interesting. I headed off down the hill, trying to remember where the nearest fuel station was. Eventually popped out at one, so pulled in. Over here you have to pay first, but I had no idea how much a completely empty tank would take. I knew the first time I refuel, it took €50, but it wasn't empty, so I took a guess at €60. It took it all no problem.

I headed to the DIY shop as I was needing a couple of things. First up was a garden hose hanger. There is a hose near to the outdoor pool shower, that is just dumped on the ground, and looks untidy, and collects all the bits that falls from the fir trees. I also needed to get some BBQ coals, BBQ gas regulator, lighter fluid. I was also needing an office chair as didn't have one. In Qatar I had been using a spare fixed height kitchen chair, and it was the most un-comfy thing to use at a desk. Ended up with a gaming chair that had everything adjustable, reclines all the way back (for those feet on desk moments) and adjustable/removable cushions.



After the getting home, I headed back out to do another food shop. Then came home and fitted the hose hanger.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Back again!

Back in Cyprus after my 1st official rotation offshore from here.

Arriving off the afternoon flight, came through the airport relatively quickly, then outside to phone for the car park bus to come and collect me. The bus was already sat outside, but the driver was no where to be seen, he must have recently dropped someone off at the airport as there was no one else waiting. After a few minutes he arrived and I jumped in.

Couple of minutes in the bus and round to the car park. The driver dropped me off right at the car. I threw my bags in and this is when the 'hope it starts' feeling kicks in! Pressing the engine start, she fires up. Yah! So it should, it is a new car, and only been sat there in for 3 weeks, ok, it has been in the heat for 3 weeks and that can do funny things to the battery, but all is good. Stopped at the office to pay for the parking, and you really can't complain at €67 for 3 weeks.

I knew the car was low on fuel, but wanted to see how far I could get on 1 tank, so decided not to fill it up and just drive back to Paphos as long as my nerves could hold out. The drive back was effortless, simply popped the cruise control on and sat there.

I made it back to the villa right on schedule at just after 9.30pm, and by now, the computer was saying refuel and 30km remaining. Think I'll be refuelling first thing in the morning!

Went into the villa, had a check around that everything was ok, and then simply headed into bed knackered.

At least I'm back.......

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Arrival comes to an end........Day #20

So that's it! The 'Arrival' is over........

Back to Qatar today. Next time I'm back though the family join.

Did all the usual, empty the fridge, the bins, made sure the building was secure etc. jumped into the car and headed off. About 45 minutes later, got a phone call from the car garage. They wanted a copy of the new log book as they forgot to take on before they gave the document to me. They will just have to wait!

I just sat at the speed limit, as didn't want any hassle. I had seen plenty of police on the road before. It was just a nice pleasant stress free drive. Car in cruise control and the fuel economy probably averaged around the 50 mpg.

Arrived at the car parking place, got pointed to the area where I need to go for the booking type and the minibus picked me up from the car and dropped me round at the airport. Checking the odometer, the car has done 494 km now.

Checked in, through security and it was straight to the gate as they were ready to start boarding. Timing was perfect, but probably a little to close for comfort! Maybe leave a bit earlier next time.

And that's it...Good bye Cyprus, see you soon again.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Arrival........Day #19

Today, the last full day before I head back to Qatar.

I had to pop in past the bank to pick up my PIN, as the one they sent out never arrived at the villa, reason unknown! I did mention to the bank that the address they have on account and on the letters I have seen that I picked up doesn't exactly match the villa address, but they said it isn't a problem and no need to change it.

Also went with the land lady today to the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, and got the electric meter transferred over onto me. We will have to do the water another day as that is done up in the local village somewhere.

Also had another success today, setting up the Sonos system, surprised how much easier it was to do than the wifi. The technology in the Sonos boxes must be more efficient, better positioned antenna or whatever reasons, but they all linked up without any hassle.

Last few moving things around etc, and start to baton down the hatches before tomorrow.

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Arrival........Day #18

Walked down the hill today to pick up the car from the restaurant after last nights meal. 2km, downhill did make it easier. Had considered taking one of the kids scooters, but decided against it and just enjoyed the walk. Think it would have been a killer trying to come up the other way, glad I got a taxi lift to the top of the road, although the last few hundred yards up the steep bit was still a killer.

Contacted the land lady to see if she was still wanting to go do the electricity today, but she has other plans, so that is a job for tomorrow.

Reserved car parking at one of the Airport car parks for when I fly back to Qatar. Had originally planned to use a hire car, but it didn't make sense. Cheaper just to use my own car and park it there. That way it will be ready for when I come back and negate the need for another hire car on the return, and associated taxi's etc. etc.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Arrival........Day #17 - Family meetup

Still pottering about, move stuff around and setting up more of the electrical items. With the size of the villa and the concrete construction, it was difficult to get complete coverage. Fortunately, I have a stack of extenders, and with the main router + 4 extenders, I have semi-decent coverage. I plan to replace all these eventually with a mesh wifi system (probably the Ubiquiti AmpliFI), but need to see where I can get those parts here.

Today, also had a meet up with my brother and his family who were over on holiday. Hadn't seen them since before I moved to Qatar, picked them up from their hotel, and came up to the villa for a look, then went down to the little restaurant at the bottom of the hill. Arrived at the restaurant around 7, and were eventually the last to leave at 1am, so overall, think it was a great evening!

The restaurant was called Casa Luna and you can see the Trip Advisor reviews at https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g190384-d2716572-Reviews-Casa_Luna-Paphos_Paphos_District.html

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Arrival........Day #13, #14, #15, #16 - Lots of unpacking

It was nothing but box after box, corrugated cardboard and bubble wrap.

Progressively working through everything. Working out where the contents were going to go, and assembling furniture.

I got my bed built on the Wednesday, so no more airbed! I am glad I took everything to bits in Qatar, because it made putting everything back together a lot easier.

Also, my tools were in a box easily identifiable, so had them from the start. There were still a couple of items that I didn't know which box the packers had put things in, so had to stop one room and move to another until I found the missing bits etc.

On Thursday, I got a call from the car garage, the car had been registered and they now had my number plates. I popped into the garage and got them fitted.

I was also meeting the land lady to look at a couple of replacement items for the kitchen, the Fridge Freezer had seen better days and was needing replaced, and one of the hob rings was also broken. We also went to the place to get the electricity and water done, but will have to go back next week as needed more current meter readings.

While I was out, I got a message from one of my pals I worked with in North Sea, he had appeared at the villa! He was over visiting family in Cyprus, and said he was going to come up past if he was in the area, but didn't say when. So as soon as I got finished up in town, I dashed back up to meet them. As I was finished driving for the day, it was opportunity for a break from unpacking and crack open a bottle (or 2) of bubbles. Great to catch up with him again after was must have been almost 5 years.

By Friday night, everything was unwrapped, and majority of things put away. I got the network sorted out so, the link to Aberdeen was up and working again and the telly was happy :-) (i.e. no geolocation issues)

I was also adjusting the arabian lights, that we had bought in Qatar. We turning one of them, there was an almighty flash and arcing sound. Fortunately, I didn't get an electric shock, but even after the arcing and the noise had stopped, the lights kept on, I used my shoe to flick the switch on the wall socket as didn't want to touch anything. Surprised that no fuses blew or breakers popped. On closer inspection, it looks like the joints had been simply wrapped in electrical tape, and this had shifted with moving the light. Will need to get a proper joint on it at some point, in the meantime, the light is out of service and a label wrapped to the plug!


Saturday, I had sorted out all the packing material, all paper was flattened and all the bubble wrap bundled and corrugated cardboard rolled.



I decided to move everything into the garage, which was just as well, as we had a shower of rain.




The last thing I opened was the large crate which contained the round glass table top for the garden table. When I opened the lid, there was a draft of hot air coming from the box, the glass inside was absolutely roasting. The centre of the glass was too hot to touch. It had been sat in the garden in the sunshine.

When I picked up the glass, I felt it flex, and made an audible bowing noise. That is when I noticed it had actual gone visibly concave with the thermal expansion, and the noise was the raised centre flexing through to the other side. I am surprised that the glass hadn't shattered when the flex happened. I stood with it edge onto the sun, in an attempt to get it to cool down before I attempted to move it anymore. After a good few minutes, it was now possible to touch the centre, but there was still a small amount of bowing. I dragged it on its packing cardboard into the shade, and again waited a short while before was happy enough to try and lift it onto the table top. Got it into place, and relaxed...

I think the worst parts of the unpacking were;
  • Opening the corrugated wrapped large items. Especially those that had been smothered in packing tape and had odd shapes.
  • The kitchen, all the small items from all the boxes...
Not to worry, it's done - no more boxes!

Desert Dust Washdown!

All the garden furniture still had a layer of Qatar Deset Dust on it. Lined everything up, cushions as well and went to town on them with the jet wash. Certainly looks a lot better now. At least here, it won't be covered again as soon as they are cleaned.

Internet Woes

I unplugged the villa DSL modem, to move it to another location, to see if it helped with coverage, but unfortunately, even though the DSL sync was good, there was no internet. I took to Twitter and contacted Cyta support, they had a play about, but were having issues as well. They talked about sending out a technician to check the line, but I repeated that the modem has Sync'd to it cannot be a line problem. The error message that was showing up was an Authentication failure. The messed about for a couple of hours almost, and after sending them serial numbers, and checking for lights flashing when they did stuff, they eventually got it back working. According to them, there was a configuration error with their system. They said it shouldn't happen again! Time will tell.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Arrival........Day #12 - Container Arrived!

Up early in anticipation of the container arriving. Went to the shop and got more water and soft drinks for the crew, just in case.

My phone rang and it was one of the crew, asking the best way to get to the villa. I had previously sent marked up map with the best route for a 40' container on a truck, but this had not been passed to the delivery crew.

The guys arrived in the village, and I could see the van at the bottom of the hill from the balcony. The phone went again and I went down to meet the guy, this was just the crew and not the container, so I drove round the two routes so they could see the options, and agreed that the route I suggested was the best.

They crew came up to the villa and waited for the container coming. The also contacted their office and requested a big forklift with basket, to make the job easier getting everything into the villa.

The customs officer was the next to arrive, and everyone just had to wait for the container coming.

I was watching from the balcony and did see a container truck go past on the main road in the village, but if it was it, it missed its turn! Sure enough about 15 minutes later it was back again, and this time it founds its way up to the villa.


They checked through the paperwork, seal numbers etc. etc. there was a lot of discussion, so don't know if there was a problem, but just left them to do what they needed.

Then it was time to break the seal and open the doors....

The road outside the villa is quite steep, and they were concerned that the angle could mean things could fall down while unpacking, they wanted to turn the truck round.

Fortunately the truck managed to drive up the hill a bit and reverse back into another junction and turn. We had to get the neighbours cars parked on the road moved out of the way. Anyway, truck into position, and crew now happy. Just in time for the forklift to arrive and the unpacking to commence.

The customs agent informed me that she would just be randomly opening boxes to check contents as the crew unloaded.


As each box was checked off the inventory grid, I had to work out where it was going, and they loaded the forklift accordingly, top, middle or bottom. With each load, the forklift went up the driveway, and to the relevant balcony, where the crew would offload over the handrails into each floor.

The container was empty by mid-afternoon, the crew worked non-stop to empty. The customs agent left, and once I had checked the container was completely empty, the truck left.

The crew took a break for some food, and then spent the next couple of hours unwrapping all the big sofas and kitchen and dining room tables/chairs.

When it came to the piano, it was a bit of a brute, but they got it in and assembled. There was a few heart stopping moments....but they did well, and no dropping from the 1st floor.

This was all I wanted them to do. They took all the packing material away that was from the unwrapped stuff.

Now it was over to me.....chaos for the next few days! 229 packages in total to get through.

By 11.30pm, I had had enough and was ready for my bed, still not tackled the bedroom furniture yet, so another night on the airbed for me.

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Arrival........Day #9, #10, #11

Day 9/10 - Saturday/Sunday

More waiting and more pottering about in the villa.

Day 11 - Monday

Headed into town to collect my passport from the car garage. Was going to need the passport tomorrow for the electricity changeover. 

However, on the way into town, got a phone call from the Shippers.

The container is being delivered tomorrow! Yah!

Needless to say had to cancel the plans to meet the villa agent to do the electricity changeover.

Carried on into town, picked up my passport and then carried on to the bank to collect my new bank card.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Arrival........Day #7 & #8

Day 7

...was an extremely quiet day. So quiet it didn't even warrant its own page!

Still no word on the shipment. :-(

Really just more pottering about in the villa.

I did get an email from the Villa agent, asking to meet on Friday to get the water and electricity put over onto my name. However, I need my passport for this, and it is still with the car garage for the registration process.

Day 8

Having had the car for a couple of day now, I was happy it was time to take the hire car back. I do have it for another few days, but I wanted to get it out of the way before the shipment did come.

I took the hire car and got it refueled to full. I had only used 1/2 a tank and it took €25 to fill. The petrol station was next to the car hire, so it was an easy drop off.

I then took a walk to find a taxi to get back to the villa. However, I managed to find my way into DT's Sunset Bar for a lunchtime pint, which turned into 3. I got speaking to a builder from Woking who was over seeing a pal. His pal stayed up in Tala, so he dropped me off at the bottom of the road from the villa and I walked up the hill. Long walk after 3 beers in the midday sun.


I got back to the villa and there was only one thing to do, beer and the pool.

Must have been floating about for a good couple of hours, and did nod off at one point for about 10 minutes. Had some dinner and then climbed into bed. I was knackered. Ended up sleeping for about 12 hours. Think the week of early mornings and running around, coupled with the heat, the pool and beer took its toll.

Wish this shipping would hurry up! Still no word yet... :-(

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Arrival........Day #6

Today turned out to be a relatively lazy day compared to the last few.

Still no word on when the shipment is coming.... :-(

I took the car out for more of drive, see what it was like in traffic and then a longer run out the road.

Out and about I stopped of at a couple of DIY / Home type shops to see what they had. Handy for when you need something in a rush and don't need to try and find it last minute. One shop I came across is Paphos Homemarket, probably the closest thing I have seen to a B&Q for a couple of years outside of the UK!

As you can see from their website gallery (https://homemarket.com.cy/english/gallery/) it is spread over 4 floors, and has a good mix of stuff.

Here is there promotion video which is aerial drone footage taken outside and inside the store mixed in with some other steadycam shots.


After a run round the shops, headed out the coast road to St. Georges harbour at the end of the island, grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed home.

Here is another aerial drone video I found on YouTube of the St. George area.


Back into the villa, into the pool and a few beers were in order.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Arrival........Day #5

First thing on the agenda was to head off to Limassol, I had to be there for 9.30am to meet the customs clearance agent.

Getting to Limassol was the easy bit, but the instructions were to meet at Limassol port, not any particular building or office etc. There was a couple of gates into the port, but these were strictly for the actual container trucks. I asked one of the security guards and he pointed me back along the road to another building.

I arrived at the port car park around 9.10am, so had a bit to kill, there was a building that had "Customs House" on it, but not exactly sure where I was meant to be meeting the guy. Seeing as I had plenty of time, I dropped an email to the shipper, and they said simply to phone the guy and he would meet me at the door.

So, phoned the guy and sure enough he rocked up outside customs house, but his office was round the side in a separate wing. We went in and he started completing the paperwork. I had previously received an email from the shipper listing examples of paperwork I would need to provide to prove I was transferring my residence and that goods were used. This was for the duty free import of goods from outside of the EU. At least two forms of evidence were required and passport was a mandatory requirement, so over and above this, I provided;

For the point of origin;

  • villa return paperwork
  • school attendance certificates
  • contract termination
  • Qatar RP card


For Cyprus end;

  • Villa lease agreement
  • School acceptance letter
  • New car order
  • New mobile phone contract

After this was completed, we went into the main Customs House and the customs inspector reviewed the evidence, checked them off the list and then stamped the paperwork. Job done.

The agent and shipper now had to arrange for a customs agent to be present at delivery to witness the container seal breaking and verify the goods were used. This could take a few days. I will just have to wait for the shipper to get back to me, probably the day before delivery...time to wait again.

Car Pickup

Having confirmed the opening time of the car salesroom the previous day, I did a search for local taxi companies and gave one in Coral Bay a phone to come and collect me. I had tried the number online for the one in Tala, but it was dead. I gave the expediter the address and he said it would be about 15 minutes. A short while later, I received a call from him and the driver couldn't find the address, so explained to him again. Another phone call shortly later and the guy said the driver was on the road waiting, but I couldn't see him anywhere and no cars had been past. I went looking and waited outside, but no joy. I phoned the guy back and said I would meet the taxi at the Amphitheatre cafe and to wait there. After a short walk, the car was waiting. Jumped in and we headed off to the garage in Paphos.

Arriving at the garage, I walked in and was met by the salesman. The car was inside the showroom waiting. We had a look round the car, and the guy fitted trade plates on the car as it still wasn't registered. He took my passport, as they needed it to register me onto the Department of Transport system and get the car registered. He said this would take a few days.

After they took the car out of the showroom, off I went. The car feels great, better than I thought it would. On the way home, I took it up some and down some of the really steep inclines and descents, and it managed no problem. Better than the hire cars did anyway!

Anyway, here it is;









Monday, 24 July 2017

The Arrival........Day #4

Monday.

Start of a new week, and it is going to be a busy one I feel.

I was getting ready to head out, and I got a call on my Cyprus mobile, it was Cyta Engineer, he was looking for the villa to get the number off the phone connection box, he asked me to come outside and stand in the street so he could find me! He took a note of number he wanted and left just as quickly.

Banking

Starting off the day with a trip to the bank. Need to open a local account. Armed with a handful of paperwork, I headed into town. I was originally going to go to a branch out of town, but on the way there, for whatever reason went through my mind, I decided no, I wanted one in town. I think I had visions of it being more busy, being a smaller branch or being less equipped or I don't know what.

I remember where I had seen branches for the one I wanted, so headed off in that direction, and found it. Parked round the corner and headed in. There were the main teller desks and then there was another single desk, and she turned out to be the one who dealt with the account openings.

Sitting down, we went through everything, signed a million bits of paper, took photocopies of my bits of paper and passports and Qatar RP etc. And that was it, the account was open, she gave me an ID and a seal security envelope with a code to register for the digital banking and said I would receive my debit card in a week, so just come back to collect it.

Internet

While I was in the bank, I got a text message from Cyta, saying that the internet account was ready and to come and collect the modem. I headed back into the Mall, and picked it up from the shop.

Heading home, I went in and opened the box and spotted that the cable was your normal DSL RJ11, and there was no DSL filter in the box and all the sockets in the villa were standard BT. Checking the instructions, the box contents should have included a filter.

I had a choice of either going all the way back into Paphos, and into the mall and up to the shop etc. or take my chances and going to the computer shop in Kissonegra, and see if the had one. That was the option I took. Less hassle. Sure enough, they had one and it was only €5. Great.

Back to the villa, plugged it in, BINGO! we have internet........left it to stabilise for a few minutes and ran a speed test. Only getting 16MB. still better than nothing. No 50MB for me then. After having 100MB in Qatar, and 76MB in UK, and reduced now to this.....may have to invest in a WISP account later when the family arrive.

Later that afternoon Cyta phoned me and said they cannot achieve the 50MB I requested, but could offer me the 16MB contract, or I could cancel......easy choice at this stage!


Driving back from the computer shop, this cloud formation was building behind our hill. I was hoping for a thunderstorm, but alas, it never came to anything.

Shipping Update

Got the email from Qatar shippers with details for the Origin Charges. Fortunately I still have the bank accounts in Qatar, so managed to do a local bank transfer within the same bank, so it was over and done with quickly.

Also got an email from the local shippers, requesting my presence on Tuesday at the Limassol port to do the customs clearance for the container. Yah, progress!

Car

I requested a car insurance quote via a website, and they got back to me the same day with the price. I needed to get hold of my No Claims Discount, from my previous insurance in the UK. I logged into the website, but expired motor policy not listed, and nowhere to download the proof of NCD. I didn't fancy phoning the UK, and with no email contact details, I took to Twitter. I Direct Messaged them and they came straight back to me. I gave them all the info I had, Reg Numbers, current House policy number, confirmed payment methods and confirmed I wanted this emailing to me. and in no time at all, I had the NCD letter. Forwarded this to the Cyprus insurance company I was using, and then they phoned me to take payment for the policy and job done. I had car insurance ready going active at noon the next day. Received all the documents in the email, and forwarded the certificate to the Car Dealer and confirmed when they were open the next day.

A busy little Monday, but progress is good! Things are moving along nicely.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Arrival........Day #3

Again, another early wake up....my luxurious airbed creaked and groaned, or maybe that is my joints, but nonetheless, I'm awake.
The luxury air bed, it was those sheets or some garish 80s neon colours - limited choices in that supermarket!
Sunday, wasn't really sure what I was going to do.

Pottered about, went to the supermarket again for more stuff...had a drive around.

Did get an email from the property Agent to meet on Tuesday to get the Water/Electricity transferred to me.

Also got an email from the shipping company in Qatar. I need to pay some origin handling charges for the piano. and my shipment wouldn't be delivered until it was paid. Last thing I need is more delays, so sent them an email asking for how to pay asap.

No update from shippers locally on the container...

Generally a quiet day.......oh, did I say it was sunny and the pool was lovely!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Arrival........Day #2

Despite being relatively late to bed last night with all the running around and prepping etc. I still woke up early, maybe it was the air bed, it seams to be very noisy, or maybe something else made a noise and woke me, or the light or what, but I was awake around 5 am.

Was in one of those not sure if I wanted to move or not mindsets....after all it was still early, but had heaps to do.

Eventually got up and had a shower, pottered about a bit, then checked what time the Kings Avenue Mall opened so I could head to Cyta and sort of mobile/internet. Plenty time to kill so spent the next 2.5 hours mopping all the floors...I was knackered by the end of that, never mind doing anything else.

Headed into town, which is really easy to get to, basically down the hill, turn left and just head straight all the way into town. The mall car park was really busy, but found a space in the lower basement, and headed up to the shop.

There was a couple of other customers being seen to, so just waited my turn, then got one of the salepersons, who said I need to speak to the other one, as she dealt with the new orders. Waited for her to finish with the person she was dealing with and got started discussing needs.

At this point Mike (from work in Qatar) and his family, said hello! I had a million things going through my head, and then seeing him, just knocked utter confusion into my skull and he must have though I was on another planet! It should have been a surprise, as we were meeting later for a catch up. Anyway, said quick Hi and then back to business.

First up was a new mobile contract, went through the options, discussed the 'Family Plan' for later when the rest arrived, and changeover to that, which is relatively painless process - apparently. I had taken the villa lease agreement with me and my passport so that satisfied the paperwork needs. Great 1 Sim procured!

Next up was the villa internet. no FTTH here, or WISP with Cyta,  just good old fashioned DSL. Although there options list did include a 50MB speed as the highest tier. Anyway, that's what I said I would take, but until it is activated and line tests are done, we wouldn't know what I would actually get. She said I would get a text in a couple of days to come and collect a modem from one of the shops once the order has been processed. Anyway, off I went, happy now to have a local sim. At this point still not put it in the phone, didn't want to lose the other sims that were already in it, so would wait until I got back to the villa.

Headed back into the supermarket for another quick shop, its amazing how there is always something else, but not to worry....Shopping done and back to the villa.

Mike and family were meeting, and got a call from them to say they were lost, so met them down at the Tala Amphitheatre cafe. had a small snack for lunch and bit of a chin wag, then they came up to the villa for butchers, and more of a chin wag. Inherited some Irn-Bru and water they had left over, as they were heading back to the UK that day.

Spent the rest of the day again pottering about in the villa again, of course, had to hit the pool for a cool off. Beer and Lilos....Did also eventually put the new Sim into my phone, and bingo 4G internet on the mobile. I can now use Wireless AP pairing with my laptop/tablet and get decent screen size and applications again.

Great view for a Sunset from the villa
Still had no word from the shippers on the container.....more waiting. I know it is in Cyprus, as I had been tracking it via Maersk Shipping website. so, there is some progress.

And to bed it is, Day 2 is done....


Friday, 21 July 2017

The Arrival........Day #1

I've Made it!

Touchdown in Larnaca Airport around 11.30 am, the flight wasn't bad, not full, and no-one sat next to me, so a bit more arm room. Picked up my carry-on and headed off the plan to the baggage collection. Not as prompt at getting bags off the plane as Doha, but wasn't too long to wait. Grabbed my two suitcases and headed  through customs and headed to the hire car area.

Did the usual with the paperwork for the hire car and handed the keys, walked out to the hire car collection area, handed the agent the key and the paperwork, and she headed off to find the car, wasn't too long to wait, it was only parked 4 spaces away! Car inspection, usual dents and scrapes etc etc. Kia Sportage this time, loaded the suitcases in the boot, and heads off.

When we were in Cyprus earlier in the year, I remember there were a lot of police on the motorway, so just sat at the speed limit and enjoyed the drive, the weather and the view. Nice to see some greenery, compared to Qatar!

I stopped off at the supermarket to get a couple of essential I thought I might need from the moment I arrived in the villa, like water and bog roll etc. I had planned to do a bigger shop after I had been to the villa, but better to be safe than sorry with the absolute essentials. 

I had previously been in touch with the landlady about my arrival plans, and had estimated I would be there about 3-3.30pm, but was now a touch later than planned due to getting lost! I had remember the way through Paphos and to the supermarket etc. but got completely lost on getting to top end of Tala. had to stop and turn on Waze and UK mobile Sim to get the last bit.

Arriving at the villa it was empty, I had received an email a few minutes earlier from the landlady saying she had just left and to call her when I arrived and she would come up as she was only 5 minutes away. Gave her a phone and she popped up with the keys for me.

We talked a few things over, had a general chat, look around the villa again and she was on her way. She had bought some fruit and cakes from the Bakery, which were very nice and very kind of her.

I had a wander around had a think of what I would need, cleaning things, food, rubbish bags, etc. etc.

Headed into Paphos to one of the main supermarkets and did a bigger shop, it will do until tomorrow!

The shipment was still to clear customs, so was going to be without furniture for a few days more. So air bed, sheets, cutlery, drinking glass, plate. Essential and minimalist! Oh, but did also treat myself to a cheap lilo for the pool......no point having a pool and not chilling floating around in it :-)


Still on UK Sim and not giving me 4G, although the data roaming/internet is working, I think I know what is priority tomorrow.

Day 1 done, knackered and off to bed.




Monday, 15 May 2017

Car [window] shopping - update

Took a trip into a couple of the car garages in Qatar to have a look at the models that were coming into Cyprus, based on what the Cyprus dealers were stating.

So, the mind is made up...

Contacted the dealer again in Cyprus and confirmed that the 3 cars that were coming into country in July were still available. He confirmed, the scheduled arrival date and expected delivery date to customer and request some details should I wish to proceed.

Shortly after, he sent me through confirmation of the order, and the bank details where to send the deposit.

Given the timings, I should be able to get it the week after I arrive in Cyprus, providing there are no delays. This will save a lot of hassle with hire cars, short term leases etc. I'm sure the car will be fine, and certainly that variant get fairly decent reviews, and it wont break the bank too much, and take away some of the risk around 2nd hand cars etc.

I got a quote from one of the banks insurance division and it appeared to be quite reasonable at ~400€/year for the two of us, which includes off road insurance and the optional trailer insurance.

You will just have to wait for the reveal in July/August!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Car [window] shopping

Does it count as window shopping if it is done over the internet?

I have been trying to work out what car to get when we move to Cyprus. So while offshore, I have been trying to look at reviews and contact dealers etc.

Cars in Cyprus are expensive, particularly western brands. Also looking for a 4x4, but not a big petrol thirsty one like you get in Qatar, as fuel prices are a lot more in Cyprus compared to Doha.

Would also like one that would be able to handle the hills and maybe a bit of light off roading round coastal routes and into the national parks etc.

The second hand market is also expensive, with cars holding there value better than the likes of the UK or Qatar. Another thing is leasing, the dealers don't do leasing options. All financing is done through the banks and interest rates are higher than you would expect.

Would also prefer new, so at least there is warranty comeback, particularly with me being away for half the year.

Contacted a couple of the garages to see what 2017 models they have coming into country over the next few months, or what the typical lead times are for orders.

One garage I spoke to, has some pre-spec'd cars coming in May and in July, and they are the same spec as what I was considering, so this could simplify things. They have also quoted me a price which is favourable. I suppose if they can get a sale without having to have a pre-spec sat on their forecourt, it makes it easier for them!

Will need to take a trip into the local garages in Qatar, to see if they also have the equivalent cars to get an idea and maybe help make the final decision.


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Time to go home....(to Doha)

Well it has been an interesting trip to Cyprus.

From the hike up the hills, to the tears over school tests, to the viewing of the villa's, I think we have achieved quite a bit.

As I said in an earlier post, at least we have achieved the two main objectives for the trip:

  • School places
  • Somewhere to live

Now it will just be a chaotic next couple of months in Doha, getting the house packed up and shipped off to here.

Anyway, we left the hotel and headed for the airport at Larnaca. Unfortunately, due to a lack of concentration on my part, I can't remember what we were all yapping on about, but when you see a person in a fluorescent jacket step out into the road, you know it isn't going to be good. I took my foot off the accelerator and was ready to apply the brakes. Initially I thought he was going for the car in front, but alas no. It was the local police and they were pulling me over. Yes, rumbled for speeding. After a small discussion and and given we were heading to the airport, the nice man gave me a warning and a receipt for the warning.

Still hard to find the speed limit for the area we were in was as low as it was, as there was no buildings, nearby, no hazards or obstructions, just a flat, straight road in the middle of nowhere. Now we know to be more careful! So does the guy who got pulled over while we were being dealt with.

Making it to the airport, needless to say, N&M managed to find things to buy (aka makeup) and I also bumped into someone that I hadn't seen for a number of years who was transiting through Cyprus! Small world...

See you in the Summer Cyprus!r

Monday, 3 April 2017

Spot of shopping...

Today, we took a trip to Kings Avenue Mall, wanted to see what shops they had and what it was like.

Ok, fair to say it is no Middle East mall......a few of the shops that I definitely think will be used. First they had a Public, which is a bit like a Virgin Megastore, definitely up my street, and then usual clothes shops etc.

Still managed to come back with a mountain of shorts and tops for the kids....'just looking' 😏

In the morning before we left, I had sent a message to a couple of computer shops in the area, I was on the hunt for a high power PSU for the machine back in Doha, so I could complete the graphics card upgrade.

When we got back from the mall, one of the shops had replied saying they had one in stock, so Maya and I took a run out to check it out. It was Paphos Computers in Kissonerga, just along the road from the hotel, after clearing the confusion on where they were, Facebook said one thing, Google another, and just using the address on their website was fine! Arrived in the shop, exactly what I needed, so job done.

Maya and I headed back into the car and headed to have a look at cars, but couldn't find the garage we were going to originally look for, so gave up, but passed a large DIY shop and Maya wanted to have a look in there. It had everything from paint to Sofa's, Garden furniture to kitchenware, so a bit more than just a DIY shop.

I have a feeling when we move here, there is going to be a lot of general shop hunting!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Visit to Akamas National Park

Nice day and didn't want to do an indoor thing, so dragged the kids to the great outdoors.

We headed up towards the Akamas National Park, and took a visit to Aphrodite Baths and then followed the nature trail up into the hills.

Now, this is where we maybe could have been better planned! We hadn't a clue how long the walk was, and the maps for area were not the best, and neither were the sign posts. There was a sign at the bottom that pointed up the hill and had 2.5 km, I had it in my head that this was one of the trail lengths. There were numerous trails shows on the map, but these did appear on the sign posts.

After making it to the top, the sign gave no indication as to whether the trail to the left or the trail to the right was longer/shorter or even how long it was. We went with the left as it felt more 'down' than the trail to the right which looked it was heading up another hill.

After a while we stopped walker coming the another way and his '800m' and pointing indicated that we might be 'nearly there'. We did keep passing distance markers, in Km I must add, and by the 5 Km, the youngest was pooped. Then 6 Km came along....think we were out of water by this stage...Then 7 Km appeared, at least by now we were heading down and appeared to be on a normal wide track. We had just come down through a rocky gorge with narrow paths. When Sasha took a tumble and face planted, I thought there would have been more 'damage', but fortunately there were no scratches and just a few tired tears.

Looked like we were on the home straight, with the 8 Km marker being on the actual proper road on the way to the car park, so only another 500 m to go.

We got back to the car park and headed straight for the ice cream! Some other tourists were tasting the flavours before messing about with there purchase, must have been about 10 of them, they were taking ages. N&M had a hair appointment back in Paphos and time was already ticking, and this was the last thing we needed.

Back on the road we headed, and made it back to the hotel, only 10 minutes late for the appointment.

Good to get out and about however. Maya said around the 6 Km marker that she wants to do this 'every weekend', will just have to see how long it takes for the novelty to wear off!

Lots of lizard spotting and Maya was delighted to spot a big black snake slithering into the grass.

There were plenty more walks to do, but next time, I think we will be more prepared and not have any appointments that force us to rush!







Saturday, 1 April 2017

Visit to Saint Neophytos Monastery

Today, we went out for a drive along the road past the Tala villa, round the back of the hill to the nearby monastery, Saint Neophytos Monastery, about 12km North West of Paphos.

Dating back to the 12th Century, the monastery is set in the hills. With the original chapel and tomb carved into the rock, and featuring the painted walls and ceiling. There is also a small museum with various artifacts to see.

You can read more about it here on Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agios_Neophytos_Monastery








Friday, 31 March 2017

And then the rains came!

Today, we had just been out and about wandering around, but as the day went on, it was clear that there was a storm brewing.

Out over the sea, the clouds were getting darker and darker.

Late afternoon the winds started to get up and the then the thunder and lightning started. It got closer and closer and there were several that strikes were very close as the noise was deafening.

I tried to capture some of them on camera, but you know how it is, never pointing in the right direction, or stopped and started the camera at the wrong time, or they just didn't show up on the videos.

However, I did managed to catch one strike that came out perfectly, out over the sea...

As you can maybe see in the video, it also looks like heavy rain in the distance and it looked like a wall of water slowly heading towards the hotel.....sure enough it rolled in and it tipped down as you can see below:

At least the kids made the most of it. also clears the air and gives everything a wash down!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

3rd School Visit and Villa Lease Signing!

Today was time for another school visit, the 3rd school on the list.


The International School of Paphos, was a larger school, probably about the same size as the current school in Qatar. We arrived in the school and waited in reception to meet the registrar and just people watched. You can get a lot of subtle signals just from how the staff/pupils come and go, the staff/pupils interact and the general buzz around the place. The Registrar took as through to her office and we had a general chat and then took a tour of the facilities. met some of the classes, met the school guinea pigs and had a good look around. The school had a lot more non-Brits compared to Aspire and TLC. Today was just a visit, and tomorrow we had assessments.

After we left, we had a good chat between ourselves and the kids, and in the end decided that we felt Aspire was a better fit for both the children. We didn't want (and they didn't want) the children to go to different schools, and taking everything into consideration, Aspire topped the list.

I drafted and sent emails to all 3 schools thanking and notifying each of our intentions.

That's the first key objective of the Cyprus visit accomplished - School Places!

Next up we headed up to the Tala villa again, this time we were also meeting the owner. We had agreed to take the villa and I had sent Demetra a copy of my passport the day before so that she could prepare a draft lease agreement.
While we waited for them arriving, we had another wander around. then it was time to do the business. Lease agreements signed and witnessed in triplicate. All done!

That's the second key objective of the Cyprus visit accomplished - Housing!

When I got back to the hotel, I set up a bank transfer for the deposit. Once that was confirmed as received by the owner, I would send the main advance rental payments as agreed in the lease conditions.

It certainly was a relief getting those two objectives met!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

1st School Feedback and Tala Villa 2nd Viewing

We started the day off with another visit to Aspire British School. We met with the principle (the girls waited in reception) and spent almost 2 hours doing a through review and discussions of the kids assessments, understanding individual needs and discussing how the school can provide the needs of each of the kids. This session was most enlightening and valuable. It certainly wasn't the half hour session I expected!
Fortunately, we came away knowing that the school was offering places for both the children in the next school year. We met with the Registrar again and she gave us the paperwork and a quick run down on the next stage should we wish to proceed once we had made a decision following visiting all the schools.
At this point, we both felt that this was the right choice, but would wait and see what the 3rd one was like and had to offer.

After leaving the school, we headed back up to the villa in Tala. We had arranged a 2nd viewing with the agent. I had a good look around, took lots of pictures and tried to image how our furniture in Qatar would fit in, which bedrooms would be the girls etc.

I think our minds are made up, this is the villa to lease......

We also did some timings from the villa to both Aspire and International, and they were both less than 15 minutes, which is great. Reckon there is still optimisation to be had in our routes, as still felt like a lot of unnecessary turns, but this will come with time as we explore the options more.