Tag Archives: Cyprus

New Year, none event


I spent too long in Cyprus this year trying to avoid the New Zealand winter. Only to get back to a summer that never was, well not so far. The bus had been in storage while I was away so I was a bit unsure of what I would find on getting back.  however the solar panels had kept the batteries up and she started first crack. No damp to report or infestations of any kind, as they say in the English speaking parts of France

Summer in Cyprus had been hot and I did not get anything done other than a security gate fitted on the side steps and the cracks in the lounge wall filled and painted. My little scooter had all sorts of petrol problems, so I sorted that out after a fashion.  think it ready for the knackers yard next year.  need to look at a car I think.

On getting back, my plan was to head off to the South Island before Christmas, disappear for a few months, find somewhere nice for New Year and then just drift around the south for a bit.  This did not happen.  My trip back from Cyprus was via Dubai to call in and see some old friends and also to finally close my Bank account there.  I had tried to do this before I left originally but banks being the pain in the arse that they are, couldn’t close my wife’s credit card account for some reason even though it was on my account and they had closed mine.  Anyway that’s another story. As I was saying.  I came back via Dubai and arrived in New Zealand with the start of a cold.  I always seem to sit in sneezing distance of someone who spend the entire flight coughing their guts up or sneezing.  First few day this developed in to a heavy cold, with the result that I did not feel like going anywhere.  I developed a bloodshot right eye and a pain in my right ear and jaw.  Two weeks later and the cold has gone but not the problem with the eye and the pain in the jaw was very uncomfortable.  off to see the quack.  He came back with a diagnosis of Bells Palsy.  Two weeks later and it had eased a bit but my right eye was still not right, if you get my drift. Opticians!  Well had very thorough exam and the suggested seeing a specialist.  This came to pass.  He referred me to a neurologist on the 7th December and up until yesterday I had not heard any news about a date for my appointment.  This of course has left me in limbo, so no South Island tour and not much else to tell you the truth.

Stayed at my daughters for Christmas which was nice but decided I would go away for New Year.  Plan was to head east as far as the light house on the east cape.  This would be the first spot in the world to see the new year in and also the first sunrise. Off we pop, stopping in varicose spots. I don’t think I mentioned it but I managed to re-home my two cats before I left for Cyprus and although I miss them, life on the road is so much easier and gives me so many more options of parking up.  Anyway off we set.  Now the east cape road once you leave Opotiki is pretty remote but the weather was good and I was in no rush, just had to be at the lighthouse by New Years Eve.  Friday I  am with in 40 klicks of my destination and just change down to tack a slow bend, bang! clutch linkage snaps. Now have to find somewhere to stop.  Also had to master changing gear without being able to disengage the clutch.  Old school eh!

Quick look underneath and there is about 200mm of clutch rod missing as well as the adjusting nut, which is a special domed shape.  I quickly realised that I could not cobble anything together were I was and also I needed to find the missing bit.  Next task find somewhere to turn around bearing in mind I would have to start  the bus in gear, be it first or reverse and once she starts she’s off. To cut a long story short we managed and got back to the spot of the disaster, parked up as close to the hedge as I could then spent a good half hour walking up and down the road looking for the missing bits.  Eureka I found them.

I have been up this road before and know there is nothing in front of me until I get the east cape and other than a couple of farms no facilities where I could get the clutch rod welded.  We needed a plan. Driving with out the clutch was not a big problem other than if I had to stop and I knew the road was uninterrupted until I got to Waihua Bay. Plan was to head for there before dark, park up, have a beer or three and ask if there were any welders around.  This we did. Beer there was, welders, nay. Sleep on it.

Saturday morning, New Years Eve.  Head back to Opotiki early!  arrived in town at 08:00 hrs and went for breakfast at the two fish café.  Well worth a visit and about the only place open.  Made some enquires re welders and ended up with two options.  one place I was actually parked outside but big sign in the window.  Closed until 9th of January.  Second place, Lowes Engineering was a 20 minutes walk so gave them a ring.  Low and behold they were open until 12 and only had two staff on duty.  It was my only option.  so clutch rod in had we walked over there.  To smashing guys and one of them could certainly use a gas torch. Twenty minuets later and I am on my way back to the bus with the rod repaired, they even painted it for me.  Ten minutes on my back and my hands covered in grease and we are up and running.

New Year was by now a right off.  so find a place to park for the rest of the day and New Years day then head back west.

may be next year


New Start

Well finally got around to starting my blog again.  It all went pear shape due to the bloody awful connectivity in NZ.  Vodafone claim 95% coverage of North Island, what they don’t tell you is that’s only in populated areas and as most of NZ is empty, when you hit the city limits the phone goes blank.  I have now switched to Spark which, although not much better does have free Wi-Fi spots dotted about in strange places.  We will see.

My plan on returning to NZ for their summer was to head to South Island for a few months “Tiki Tour”.  After the events over the last couple of days, which I might add are still ongoing, I may have to re-schedule.  The infrastructure, roads and communications seem to be in a mess and will be for some time.  Guess there will be workarounds and alternative routes and I guess as I am not in a particular hurry or have any particular destination in mind should not affect me too much.  So currently parked up on my daughter’s path watching the news and planning my next move.

I managed to get my Royal Enfield certified and registered so all street legal.  The local dealer said it could not be done and basically said the bike was scrap.  My first thoughts were to ship it to Cyprus as if you pay enough money to some local, anything is possible.  Anyway I found a guy in Wellington who said he could do it for me and just before I set off for my 4 month in Cyprus he rang to say it was all complete.  he suggested I did not register it until I got back in October.  Fair play, dropped him a mail as I left Cyprus to say I was on my way and low and behold he got the rego done.  Ten hours on the train from Auckland to Wellington on the Thursday and a night in the backpackers hostel and I collected it on Friday morning.  She did not want to start.  after a plug change and a few kicks she was up and running. In hindsight I think a service prior to setting off on the 600 kilometre ride would have been prudent, but hey ho, will know better next time. We did the trip in two days, well one and a half. My big fear was getting stuck on the desert road.  This is pretty remote but once I got to Waiouru I decided to push on with a vague plan to find somewhere to stop for the night once the desert was behind me.  As it happened I got to Taupo and stayed there for  the night. Up early on the Saturday and rolled in to Pukekhoe and home around midday.  By now the Enfield was coughing and farting like a docker who smokes Capstan Full strength.

Now looking for a trailer so I can take the bike with me to South Island but it needs to be covered and have brakes.  the brakes on the bus are drum brakes and you have to stand on them to feel any effect.  hopefully a braked trailer will help a bit in shortening the stopping distance.


I’m mobile

Life has been pretty quiet since arriving in Cyprus and as I live at the top of a hill above Pissouri village, I have found walking to either of the two little general stores a bit of a bind. Going down is okay but coming back up the hill with to bags of groceries is a pain. The big supermarket down on the B6 is is about a 20 minute walk downhill but there is no way I could walk back up from there. This has lead to my diet to be fairly restricted and there is only so many eggs, bacon or chicken dishes you can create. My friend Brian to the rescue. He was going to take his car in for service to a local garage, to a man called George and suggested I tag along and see if George could find me some cheap wheels. George did just that. A 2001 MBK/Yamaha Skyliner, 125 scooter. 750 Euro and he would get it transferred and taxed in my name. Fair play, it’s a bit of an old nail but mechanically sound but I don’t think there is one body panel on it that is not broken and screwed together or fastened with bits of wire. A lot of empty bolt holes and screw holes which make me think that maybe it had been in someone’s garage in bit for years and was cobbled together for me.

As I said it runs well and apart from what I thought was a loose front wheel which turned out to be just getting the tyre pressure right and the fact that the suspension can bottom out if you hit a pothole, it’s all good. I can now get to the shops and the local café as and when I want. New found freedom!

Learning to ride it is a different matter. Unlike my Royal Enfield, this thing is automatic with one of those Variomatic belt drives [mvt/cvt] and a centrifugal clutch. There is no foot brake so what would normally be a clutch lever on the left is now the rear brake. With that said, riding/driving, requires a different technique. You have to get some revs on to engage the clutch and once engaged, the bike will move off. This can be a little too fast. Also going downhill, and there are lots of them in Cyprus, if you close the throttle the engine revs die and the clutch disengages, so there is no engine braking and you end up coasting. That can be a bit scary. The technique seems to be to use the rear brake lever as you would a clutch, rev up until you feel the bike pulling under you and then progressively release the brake. This way you have a constant drive and a much cleaner and stable get away. Going downhill you need to resist the temptation to close the throttle all the way and just keep enough revs to keep the clutch engaged and if necessary use the brakes [both of them] to regulate your speed.

Went to Paphos yesterday on it. Some of the hills are a bit steep but it did not drop below 60 km/hr and seemed to cruise at 80 just fine. So more adventures planned soon

IMAG0734 IMAG0730


Head in the clouds

It has been a while since my last blog and I guess this is down to a few things. One, I have left New Zealand to escape their winter, two, I did not bring my computer with me and three, I found that the Samsung tablet I have got in Cyprus is all but useless.

My plan has been to miss the winter and follow the sun so I left NZ for Dubai, primarily because I had a return ticket. I spent 10 days with old friends but realised about the second day that I have no desire to return to the Middle East. The magic that kept me there for 35 years has gone. Much as I would recommend Dubai as a holiday destination and cannot fault the quality of service there, I have done it and need move on. This retirement thing is magic, don’t have to be anywhere or do anything and no stress.

Planned journey.  New Zealand to Dubai, Dubai Cyprus then UK for whit to see my boys then back to Cyprus.  Return to New Zealand end of August/early September.

While I was in UK I decided to go to PC world and get a new laptop, which I did. Nice little unit with a detachable screen so it can be used as a tablet to. Down side it is loaded with windows 8 and the format is like android but does not work that well. There are almost no useful apps to download or buy. But okay in desktop mode. However there is this “Cloud” thingy. My understanding is that you can now save stuff to this cloud and it can be accessed from any device anywhere in the world, well maybe not China and certainly not in the back woods of New Zealand. Vodafone coverage is shite.

My new computer does not seem to give me any option other than the cloud. I have forced it to save things to the hard drive, which is tiny but it is not the default. Now it would appear that I have encountered Microsoft cloud before because when I logged on my account already existed except it was in Arabic. Think this is why I abandoned it in Dubai. Of course I have a couple of Android devises too and guess what Google have a cloud. Not only that, the new laptop is an ASUS and ASUS have a cloud. Adobe now open and store any PDF files I receive in the ADOBE cloud. This is fantastic I now use very little actual memory and can store tonnes of stuff free, access it anywhere at any time [with the above exceptions]. This has thrown up a few issues, which cloud did I but the stuff in, what is the account name and password for that particular cloud and if I have no internet connection, how the hell do I access my stuff?


Clock is ticking.

Quick dash to Cyprus before Eid to shut up shop for the winter.  Now back in Dubai getting ready for the big push to New Zealand on the 4th November.  So much to do but allsorts slowing things down.  Can see this turning in to blind panic nearer the time.  Cyprus was as always magic. Love the people and the weather and the views.  Hope to be back for next spring.

Meanwhile back in NZ, the bus “Inshallah” has been measured for solar panels so hope that is completed by the tie I get there.  The roof needs painting but the logic is that if I paint it first, then it will get messed up with all the drilling and bolting of the panels and there hast to be a satellite dish fitted and also a hole for the stove chimney to go through so think we will get he work done then paint.

The windscreen has been fitted but still has a small leak but that could be anything.  I don’t think they where particularly good from new.  All adds character.

Been researching composting toilets which is a fun subject.  The Airhead seems to come out best but there is a locally made unit called ” the KiwiBog” need a bit more info on them and if they comply with self containment regs.

Now looking for a second hand Segway as personal transport.  Push bike seems like hard work.

Cats go in to kennels on the 1st and fly 17th I am up in Orewa for the Ukulele Heaven convention on the 14th so all a bit crammed in the start of the month.  Christmas with the kids but might do a runner for New Year if I can get away.

Have an old work friend and his wife arriving next week so that will just be one big piss up me thinks.  BBQ will need a dust off just hope the weather cools a couple of degrees.

Guess it will be swimming tomorrow with my Irish friend from next door.  Mind you she is still in RAK so may not get back tonight.


On the year rolls on

Well May halfway through and Dubai getting hotter by the day.  Sat out on the deck on Tuesday but very humid.  Spent Easter in Cyprus with my Daughter and grandsons so much swimming (for the boys not me) and much eating (me not the boys).  A bit different for them as Cypriot Easter is a big thing and done a bit different from the UK.

I took my Eggbot so we could draw on eggs and we blew the eggs afterwards so the could take them home and keep them

Next two week’s I was on my own so stroll to the local tavern for beer and souvla every lunch time and a sleep in the afternoon.  Really relaxing.  Back to reality now back at work.  I don’t want to be here anymore all the fun has gone out of the place.  Never mind.  On a brighter note I submitted my Visa application for New Zealand.  If and when that comes off then Vroom like a rat out of an aqueduct I’ll be gone.  Think that’s it for the middle east and me.  35 years.


9 o’clock, not a woman washed and Park Lane full of Spanish Captains

Where has the time gone.  Last year seemed to end on all things bad. I had to have Capucino put down just before Christmas but hopefully this year will be more positive.  Christmas and New Year went okay and I then had a quick trip to Goa to sell my bungalow there. One less headache to worry about.  Another quick trip to UK to sort out Barbara’s probate and my income tax and off hire the flat I had taken while B was ill.

Now fostering two white Persian cats.  They are hard work but lovely animals, couldn’t call them pretty though.  What with brushing their coats and wiping their eyes they are a full time job.

My trip to Goa was strange as its the first time I had been away as a single person, whole new set of rules to learn.  Quiet lonely at times.  Flew Air India.  outward-bound was cattle class but hat to up grade to business on the way back.  Cant be doing with the smell and the bad manners.

UK was also Business class as Emirates had a special offer on so spent much of the flight out. standing in the bar on the 380.  Back on a Boeing 777,  not in the same league as the Airbus.

Now booked my flights to Cyprus for Easter and to meet up with the Grandsons and our Lisa.  Will have to organise an egg hunt on the Sunday.

Weather in Dubai getting warmer though we di have a hell of a storm over the weekend.