Monday, June 30, 2008
Boom - Crash - Boom - But Paris Here We Come!
The noise is from the next floor down, they are STILL doing alterations there, and today there are loud thuds from time to time.... they are very startling, because it is just one thud, then silence until the next one, which is not predictable. Plus the usual tap, tap, tap, but we are now used to that. Alec and I grimace and mutter when the thuds come, more from habit than from any conviction. It is too hot to take the effort to protest convincingly.

Last night I thought it might be cooler walking around after dark, so I went to the Old Town to see if there were any restaurants I fancied, but in fact nothing much was open. I met some small kittens that I had not seen before, poor little scraps, I have to wonder if something happened to their mother, because I think they were six weeks max, and they were alone. I ended up having dinner at Nandos, so I bought extra chicken and took it back for them, they were pretty happy to see this. Lemon and herb flavour, of course, as its the most suitable for small kittens. I plan to go back with a brush and tidy them up a bit, I think they need a bit of help looking after themselves.

It actually wasn't much cooler after all that, I arrived back at the hotel simply bathed in sweat.... I am so looking forward to Paris, I hope it is much cooler there. I have the usual round of things to do, though, so not sure how restful it will be.
posted by Ally at 3:01 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Hot And Sick
Oh dear, this weekend has been so hot..... I was in the pool by 9am yesterday and out again by 10am, that was the only time of the day that it was possible for me. Today I haven't been at all, I slept a bit later than usual, as I have not been feeling great, the heat really takes it out of me anyway, and I have some more menopausal symptoms at present, which makes it worse.

In fact for most of yesterday I sat under the airconditioning and knitted. I had prudently gone to Debenhams at 8am when it opened and bought myself a long circular needle, for the frill on a Louisa Harding Frilled Scarf, and good that I did, I ended up with nearly 600 stitches on the needles by the end. The scarf is finished now, and trimmed with pompoms made using my new Clover pompom maker. If ever you think you will need to make more than a single pompom, rush out and buy this in all sizes now! It really is brilliant, and I made pompoms in Kimono Ribbon, which is a rather slippery ribbon yarn, with no problems at all. The scarf is really beautiful, I will have to take a photo as soon as I get the camera sorted out, and I have started on a matching Aurora Beret, as I fortunately bought quite a lot of this yarn.

I intend to spend the rest of today in similar crafty activity.....
posted by Ally at 1:01 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, June 27, 2008
Nice Mail Day
I ordered this a while ago - it is "Where Stitchers Gather" from Victoria Sampler, and I had started to get quite worried about where it was, but finally a card from the Post Office turned up and I went to get it yesterday afternoon.

In fact I left work at 4pm, unheard of, I know, and walked to the main Post Office, which is only about 10 minutes away, then back home, with the parcel, which also contained a large frame with clips, and of course I was bathed in sweat by the time I got back to the hotel. I went for a quick swim, I am getting to be a much better swimmer now, and cooled down considerably. Despite the fact that all the other people in the pool were youths and girls who were sitting on the side with cigarettes, and periodically plunging in (fortunately without cigarettes) and making a huge mess. Then I slept for an hour or so and felt much better after that.

It really is too hot here at present, well over 40 degrees, with sun that you can feel burning the skin. I hope to be able to escape to the pool again this afternoon, especially as I have not got a lot to do at present. Of course I keep on brooding about this new group and thinking of reasons why I don't want to be in it. And making lists of what I want if I have to be - with various helpful suggestions from David, mostly related to unlimited availability of hot men, honestly you would never think he was a perfectly respectable married man with two practically grown-up children! To distract myself from all of this, I have read practically every message on Ravelry, plus I am extremely well-informed on all sorts of current events.

Of course I am very enthusiastic about going home early, having a swim, a sleep and doing some stitching! I'm not normally this slack about work and other obligations, but really the heat here is far too much, it's the sort of heat when French people - who (very often) think the heat is wonderful, overdress and rush about like mad things in full sun with no hats or sunblock - drop dead. It does happen occasionally here, would you believe there are still people in France who do not use sunblock because they think a tan is healthy? And I have with my own eyes seen a Frenchman faint in the aisle of a Cyprus Airways plane when he boarded in Larnaca, wearing a padded jacket in the height of summer... given that you have a bus ride out to the plane and then climb steps in this heat, it is no wonder.
posted by Ally at 11:33 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Heatwave In Cyprus
This week has been so hot, and after a hot weekend as well - and unfortunately, this morning I woke up with a raging sore throat and slight headache, I may be heading home slightly earlier than normal today, I think.

There have been a couple of other annoyances this week also. Firstly, I really don't have enough to do at present, and secondly, there is the question of what I shall do after this project finishes, which is supposed to be the end of July. What I would like to do is go on to David's project in Poland, and he is obligingly telling his PD that my presence there would be really wonderful. Nicky is there too. Failing that, there is supposed to be a new project in Estonia that would be quite good for me, nice, cool country, could fly there via Copenhagen, they have wonderful traditions of embroidery and knitting there, etc etc.

BUT the Big Boss has decided to set up this new group for "managed services", which is what happens after customers go into production with our system and they want to do extra developments or have problems that they need our assistance to solve. Now who apparently is the first person they think of to join this group? Moi, it seems. And I am not sure it is something I want to do, for one thing, that group is managed by someone whom I do not respect, and for another, it seems a bit of a dead end to me and too similar to what I was doing before I started the present job. I also suspect that it may have something to do with Sylvain, who is still cross with me after I told him that shouting at me was unacceptable. Honestly the guy is a forty year old baby, he hasn't answered any of my emails since then!

I talked to our resources director about the job, he is sweet and always gives good advice. He warned me that I may not really have a choice, apparently I am the top pick for this group, and apparently the other people approached have also not been keen, and he says someone has to be in this group, because BB is very keen on it. However he did say he didn't see this as a permanence, but more like people rotating in and out sort of as they would longer-term projects. I went home last night really depressed about the prospect, and I have been making lists of pros and cons. I would certainly ask for a salary increase and a grade increase....

And apart from all of this, Skype will not work in our office since the weekend, so I can't consult David instantly about things. Plus we have building works going on around us, this has been for a while and has gradually crept closer to our room, and will culminate in our having to move desks to the other half of the room (which Alec is glum about, he hates relocating himself). This morning they are drilling in the mens' loo off our room, and it seems to involve one guy inside drilling and shouting to another guy who is outside and drilling and shouting back. I just said to Alec probably the guy outside is located in Larnaca, given the volume of the shouting from the guy inside.

Poor Alec, he got back here on Sunday night as usual, and found that there was no water in his apartment building. It got restored in the middle of Monday night, so he was able to shower normally yesterday morning, then this morning, he showered again, and when he got out, started to hear angry Greek voices from the stairwell - so he tried the taps again, and no water! Hopefully it will be restored tonight, as he is in a Monday - Wednesday - Friday supply zone. My hotel is Tuesday - Thursday - Saturday, and I know they had to buy water on Saturday, as the tanks may have run out before the evening. Which would have been annoying for the guests, but really sad for the bride who was having her wedding party there on Saturday evening.

And I think that is about all the moaning and groaning that anyone can stand for one day.......... oh goodness, I hope I can go early today!
posted by Ally at 11:11 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Friday, June 20, 2008
And that Beauty One that is Going Around...
Foundation: I wear this in Paris, at the moment it is Diorskin - in Cyprus, I only use tinted moisturiser, that is either Clarins or Sisley.

Mascara: Hardly ever, as my eyes are so sensitive, but, if I do, it is green

Day Cream: Rebalance by Eucerin

Favourite Make-up Product: Lipstick, I almost always wear it

Perfume: Where do we start? I like at present Chanel Cristalle, Prada Infusion d'Iris, quite a few of the Guerlain Aqua Allegoria range. I alway wear perfume, even if it is only Eau Pure from Biotherm or that green Aquatonic stuff from Lancome.

Nails: Very weak, I just keep them short

Hands: Not bad, I have used handcream regularly all my life, and I don't let them get sunburned, so I think they are not bad for my age

Feet: I have pedicures quite regularly, as I use my feet a lot, not having a car

3 Products to bring to a deserted island: Sunblock, Eau Pure, Rebalance Cream

Women I admire for their beauty: Princess Mathilde of Belgium (and she has also has many good qualities)

Women with the best sense of style: Ines de la Fressange, Princess Mathilde again

My ultimate dream: to take my laptop, my library and my stash and go live at a thalassotherapy spa

How do I define womanhood: Well, normally I don't think about this too much, but I guess it has to do with good manners and appropriate behaviour. There's nothing less womanly than spoilt, childish, petty behaviour.

Favourite fashion publication: British Vogue
posted by Ally at 4:29 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Mosaic for Friday
This is something I pinched from another blog, a mosaic of Flickr photos to answer the following questions:

1. what is your first name?
2. what is your favorite food? right now?
3. what high school did you go to?
4. what is your favorite color?
5. who is your celebrity crush?
6. what is your favorite drink?
7. what is your dream vacation?
8. what is your favorite dessert?
9. what do you want to be when you grow up?
10. what do you love most in life?
11. what is one word that describes you?
12. what is your flickr name?

I love the newspaper cutting about "architects are sexiest", I am not showing that to David! Mind you, there is some truth in it, Alec and Nicky are both very good-looking......... we used to have an HR lady in Paris, who had a terrific crush on Alec, and she would sigh at me, oh you are so lucky to work with Alec, he is SOOOOOOOOO gorgeous.....

I have been horribly busy this week, we had a kind of little crisis yesterday and I ended up staying until after 8, and then practically crawling home to sit comatose for an hour before I went to bed. Honestly it has been hot too, today is well over 40 degrees, when I went out for lunch, it felt as though my skin was burning. I'm certainly not going too far afield at the weekend........... stitching and sleeping may be the order of the day.
posted by Ally at 2:43 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
37 Degrees Every Day
It is so hot, the weather forecast gives 37 degrees every day for Nicosia, but that means it is really probably about 40 degrees mid-afternoon. When I walk to work at 8:30 or thereabouts, it is already well over 30, and by the time I walk home again at 7:00 pm or so, it is still really quite hot. Last night I had dinner out by the swimming pool, I like doing that, although they give such huge portions in the restaurant that I can never eat it all.

Now that Alec is back from his holidays, I have not really got a lot to do, actually I don't think he has either. Just a bit of testing, and some information regarding problems for the developers in the Far East who do our fixes. I have been filling up some time by ordering a couple of LHN charts and the Lizzie Kate snippet about "Housework Never Killed Anyone" from SBB, but if this goes on, I could well have the largest stash in history.... maybe I should take up some improving hobby, like learning advanced SQL, that makes it look as though I am working?

As well as going and dining by the pool last night, I pressed on with my Red Velvet Building Blocks, it is progressing quite nicely, although the 1 over 1 is not so fast. Actually I am doing this in half cross stitch, not cross stitch, as it is much quicker, and I think looks better as well. The linen is 32 count French Lace from Permin and I am using the recommended Gloriana Rosewood, the effect is really good.

I've started to think about summer holidays, they are only six weeks or so away, although I have not yet asked for the leave... I can't really go anywhere after having been to NZ in May, but I have a list of things I need to do at home...

I've also been talking via MSN to my friend Suzette in Paris, who is still stuck at the horrible place on the outskirts of Paris where I was working last year. She says the people there are worse than ever and all are exhibiting serious signs of bipolar disorder, plus a few other disorders that render life unimaginably bizarre. She goes home to London every couple of weekends, and to catch the train and get home before midnight, she leaves half an hour earlier on those Fridays - never before 6pm - and they make pointed remarks about all the time off she has! She and the other person who are there asked for half a day out of the office to do performance appraisals, and the weirdos spent more than half a day on debating whether they should allow this! Poor girl is begging to come and join me and meet all the street kittens, she is volunteering to look after Leo full time.
posted by Ally at 10:26 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Summer Sunday - and VQ Finish
Yes, I have finished Victoria's Quaker, yesterday afternoon, but no photo - I am still having camera problems, and I need to get a new battery! I haven't yet found the correct place to get one here, the local shop sells every sort but. It's infuriating sometimes living on an island.

Not sure yet what I shall start today, I am going to have a good look at what I have here with me and see. I do feel in the mood for another big one, though. (Edited somewhat later to say, I have started BRD Red Velvet Building Blocks)

I've been swimming, but have just come out, as the Greek family crowd has arrived, the ones who throw enormous footballs and frisbees around the pool and fill up the (quite large) jacuzzi with all of their children. I usually manage to get in an hour or so before them and swim around with a few other normal people before they arrive. Plans for the rest of the day include stitching, reading, maybe going out for a salad or something. It's a holiday weekend here, so tomorrow is a day off.

By the way, Leo and cats.... he says that the cats in his neighbourhood are malevolent creatures who do their business in the middle of his lawn (he's a keen gardener). I have pointed out to him that cats seek privacy for such matters and bury the results neatly, but he swears the cats in Tel Aviv do not! Actually I think he is allergic to cats, I know when he was staying in the same block of apartments as me, and Hotel Kitty took a fancy to him, he was walking around with a large box of Kleenex, sneezing his head off.
posted by Ally at 11:41 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Back At Work
Yesterday I worked from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm, with only a short break for lunch, Rosetta has deluged me with strange one-off problems.......... mostly ones that I can track back to a single bizarre instance of data entry, although it is time-consuming. Today I hope I am coming to an end of them, as I have serious testing to do before Alec comes back next week.

Plus there are a few problems that are actually quite important, as opposed to being the results of people's inability to read. I hate to sound negative, but when you get users who, instead of adding a new person, change the name of an existing person to that of the person they want to add, it is no wonder that strange things are happening from time to time. I don't think it's a training issue, I think these people are the people who park on the pavement because there are double yellow lines on the road. And they are related to the woman on the plane to Paris last week who carried on a very loud conversation for some time, then, when asked to be a little quieter, said she just had a very loud voice and if people didn't want to hear her, they should simply move further away!

My little Leo is growing, soon he will be a proper Cyprus street kitty - the life of a street kitty here consists mainly of sleeping in the sun all day, then going to the nearest restaurant after dark. You can actually tell the quality of restaurants here by the cats hanging around, no cats is a rotten restaurant and sleek well-fed ones is a good restaurant. After this, the street kitties are ready to do whatever it is that street kitties do all night.... not that little Leo is anywhere like old enough for this yet. By the way, big Leo now knows that little Leo is named after him, and is a bit miffed (he is not a cat-lover), especially because the entire street is now calling this kitten Leo!
posted by Ally at 5:10 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Friday, June 06, 2008
Friday in Paris
Here it is somewhere between 15 and 19 degrees - every temperature gauge I pass says something different - but I am not unhappy about this! It's a while since I've felt so nice and cool, and it's good for going around and doing things, which I have been doing.... this morning I have been to the hairdresser and I am going to the pharmacy shortly, then to do some more shopping.

Yesterday I went to "Des Fils et Une Aiguille" and bought "Shores of Hawk Run Hollow", which I have no intention of starting any time soon, but it is in the pile of things I want to do one day. Not sure what I will start on when I finish Victoria's Quaker, which will probably be in a few days time, but it could well be Toccata Four, which I have everything for.

It was also the funeral of Yves St Laurent yesterday, I saw on the news that the President and Carla were there, also a lot of very famous people, Empress Farah, Mme Chirac, the Mayor of Paris, Laetitia Casta, Bernard-Henri Levy and Arielle Dombasle. Also beautiful flowers.......... and his companion gave a very moving address.
posted by Ally at 12:55 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Monday, June 02, 2008
Monday After a Hot Weekend
It was so hot this weekend, nearly 40 degrees both days - the weather on TV said 36, but it is always slightly hotter in Nicosia than they say. On Saturday, I barely made it to get newspapers and cold drinks, then in a fit of insanity decided to walk up to the knitting wool shop. I bought some sari silk and other yarns to make bags, also a Vogue On the Go bag knitting book, then I returned home to lie under the airconditioning all afternoon.

Sunday I managed to get get to the pool fairly early, so I was finished swimming before the crowds arrived and the sun got too strong. Then again it was under the airconditioning in the afternoon. I've made quite a lot of progress on Victoria's Quaker, but cannot photograph, as my camera battery needs changing, I will have to get another one at the airport or in Paris.

I just texted our taxi driver to take me to the airport on Wednesday morning, she texted back to say could it be half an hour earlier than usual, as she is also picking up Alec from the airport - he will be here for two days this week while I am in Paris. Then I will come back on Saturday and work all next week without him and then we will both be here the week after. It's all a bit complex. I feel guilty making him come for two days this week, but I desperately need to go to Paris, for various reasons.

Leo is leaving the company........... it's funny, people keep on assuming he is retiring, because he is well over 60, not sure exactly how much, but he could be 65. He gets really cross about this assumption, because nothing could be further from the truth, he has found himself another job, with a quite exciting company. I think he was feeling stifled, because since our company got taken over by the giant, there really is no place for free thinkers here, both Alec and I have problems with this sometimes. Well, I think everyone does really. But everyone, including the Big Boss, is sad that Leo is going, Big Boss told me they had tried everything to get him to stay.
posted by Ally at 9:54 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments