• Living the Dream – 19. Shattered

    It’s shattered. I finished the last post with the following reference to leaving Margaret alone just after our container arrived:

    “Predictably – the day after its arrival, I’m back to London for a brief business trip. Mags will face the mountain of boxes alone, at least for a couple of days. Unfortunate timing? Or excellent planning? Again. I’ll let you know next week.”

    I flew to London Thursday afternoon for a Friday conference. I was giving the last presentation. It went well. There followed an awards dinner, complete with cheerleaders and a stand-up comic. All great fun.

    On Saturday morning, I awoke early and through some sort of instinct checked my phone.

    “#livingthedream” shattered there and then.

    Mags was in the village square, screaming and sobbing, our beloved miniature schnauzer, Nero, bleeding at her feet.

    A dog, habitually chained up, had somehow been freed. It saw Mags and Nero and charged them. Instinctively, Mags scooped Nero up and tried to shield him from the attack. The aggressor snatched Nero from her arms and savaged him.

    Mags’ screams of terror had roused the village and the dog was pulled off. I called at this point. Mags called some local friends who whipped Nero to the vet and my wife home.

    I was due to leave from Heathrow at lunchtime and arrive home in the evening. Mags and I talked on the phone, exchanged messages. Physically, she was relatively unhurt, but I could hear the trauma in every word, sob and tear. Never have I felt so useless and so remote.

    The 12 hours between the voice mail (which you can listen to here – although it’s a very hard listen) and finally getting home are the longest that I have endured.

    So – to answer the question that I posed at the end of the last post – “unfortunate timing?”

    Definitely.

    Timing that will haunt me forever.

  • Living the Dream – 18. Wins and Losses

    Wins and Losses. I shelved this post – after the dramatic events described in the next post. I thought I’d publish it anyway. You will not miss the irony.

    Telecoms

    I left you last week lamenting that I would be without broadband for the weekend.
    Good news. They fixed it. Sort of.

    On Monday morning, I went to the Police station to finalise my statement with regards to the burglary. Upon my return, two technicians arrived from Cyta (Cyprus Telecoms) to ‘bond’ two lines; the only way to get a decent upload speed, or at least a better upload speed.
    With dizzying alacrity, they climbed a ladder, dropped a CAT5 cable, mounted a new faceplate put on the phone point and installed a shiny new modem. Fantastic!

    Only, it didn’t work. There followed two intense hours of frowning, constant phone calls and replacing of cables. As all hope seeped away, the lights turned green. Huge thumbs up all round and off they shot. I ran some speed tests. The results bore a striking resemblance to the speeds achieved before the drama. Hmmm…

    My Mum texted – “Phone still not fixed?”. I tested. I could call out on the phone, but if I called to it – I got the unobtainable tone. So – I’m worse off than when I started, but better off than I was at the weekend.

    Customs

    On the other hand, our visit to customs was astonishingly brief and easy. We found our contact, handed over our log book, signed some papers and everything was done. Delivery of our car and furniture is pencilled in for Wednesday. Or – I just gave our car away.

    I’ll let you know which, next week.

    Insurance

    Insurance was easy. I thought it might be. Somehow, paying over large amounts is always easily done. Still – we have insurance for the car and for the house.
    The arrival of the container will be a big deal. first, it will be a huge pain – but as the house starts to take shape, and the hire car is replaced by our own vehicle, life will feel much more familiar.

    Business Trip

    Predictably – the day after its arrival, I’m back to London for a brief business trip. Mags will face the mountain of boxes alone, at least for a couple of days.
    Unfortunate timing? Or excellent planning?
    Again. I’ll let you know next week.

  • Living the Dream-17. What’s the hurry?

    What’s the hurry?

    Last week, we celebrated the arrival of a somewhat shaken, but not stirred, Nero; the real ruler of our household.
    This week, all three of us have been getting more settled and focused on designing our new lives.

    Windows

    A Cypriot friend organised for the ‘window man’ to come. He arrived, quoted, and promised to fit new locks to all of our windows on Tuesday evening.

    We gave our apologies to the quiz team and settled in to await his arrival. On Wednesday, we learned that regrettably, the required locks were not in stock, and would only be available in two weeks. I felt that this information would have been useful to us on the Tuesday evening…but hey.

    Doors

    Our bedroom door needs replacing. It’s a bespoke size. Fortunately, it was made by a fellow from the village. So I called around. Literally, I called. His ferocious hound threw itself at the gate repeatedly as, in the deepest voice I could muster, I called for its master. No response. However, his neighbour, a village elder, promised to let the ‘door-man’ know of our problem. It seems he’s retired from doors, but his son keeps his hand in on a part-time basis. We’re to await contact.

    Phones

    I recorded a podcast episode. It took around 18 hours to upload. I spoke to the Telecom people. They assured me, that on Tuesday or Wednesday, I would get a call, telling me that my broadband was now the best it could be. On Thursday, my phone rang as I walked to the first tee. In our pidgin English and Greek we thanked each other. In an hour, all would be done.
    The phone rang again on the 4th.
    “You are in the house?”
    “No. Should I be? I’ll be there this afternoon.”
    “We can’t do afternoon.”
    “Ah. Well, I’m at Customs at the Port tomorrow morning…”
    “Ok. We come Monday morning.”
    “Ah. Right. Thank you.”
    “Now. Your line no work. Ok. Bye”
    “But! But…” I was talking to myself.

    No phone, no broadband for a whole weekend!

    Hence, I find myself drafting this post on my phone, and uploading through my UK mobile account. So please excuse any typos and formatting errors. Fat finger syndrome.😁

    Friday, we’re off to customs and the insurance broker.

    Bet that’ll be fun…

    Still, I sunk a monster putt on the second.

    What’s the hurry?