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

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.