Cyprus Mail

Letter from London: It’s so cold, in Cyprus

By Alexia Saoulli

I HEAR it’s absolutely Baltic in Cyprus at the moment. Photographs on Facebook this week confirmed just how cold.

I didn’t actually believe it when I was speaking to one of my girlfriends last week and she said it was really cold. I asked how cold and she said at the time it was 6 degrees. Now that is cold, I agreed. Especially as homes aren’t built for the cold in Cyprus. Come to think of it, this year it’s not even that cold in the UK and I was up working in Manchester last week where it’s normally grim. Having said that, it did rain three out of the four days I was there. Additionally, when it is really cold here, it’s lovely and toasty indoors. I can’t say the same for Cyprus. I’ve often felt so much colder there than I do here. I’ve even gone to some houses and refused to take off my coat. I know that’s probably the height of bad manners but I really do feel miserable when I’m chilled to the bone. I just get really irritable and then become quieter and quieter until I can’t speak anymore because I’m trying to employ mind over matter and to imagine myself on some tropical island soaking up the heat.

At the moment all I can think about when I hear it’s cold in Cyprus is my EAC bill at the end of Christmas. When I bought my flat years ago storage heaters were more economical to install. I didn’t actually have the choice of putting in central heating, which I’d have preferred. Or even better gas! Why don’t we have gas in Cyprus? I love it. You have heat instantly and even better, hot water the minute you turn on the hot tap. When I was buying my flat in Cyprus, however, it was either split units, which I hate, or storage heaters. I opted for the latter.

Storage heaters are far from cheap. Last Christmas I was in Cyprus for all of 10 days and my bill came to a whopping €223! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have them on every day or in all rooms. This year, when I’m back for longer, and it’s colder, I dread to think what it’ll be. It also takes a while for those things to kick in and to heat up the place so that means jacking them up full blast until they take effect and the place even begins to feel remotely liveable. We also arrive in the evening so the flat will feel like one of those big walk-in butchers’ fridges you see in the movies (where the baddies always try to kill the goodies). My mum has already been on the phone asking if the heaters need to be switched on. Bless her. She’s always really thoughtful that way. I think I might have to ask her to nip round and do just that to avoid being hit by a blast of cold when I walk through the door; the type of cold where you don’t want to undress and get ready for bed but would rather climb under the covers in your clothes (coat, socks and all) because you just can’t bear the thought of taking anything off. In fact, I’d better put a reminder on my phone to bring my hot water bottle with me! My fiancé is an effective water bottle on most days, but when my feet are like two blocks of ice, I think even he would appreciate it if I planted them on something other than his bare skin!

The other thing about having no gas is you need an immersion heater. That thing takes ages to heat the water. People say it only takes 10 minutes but that’s not true. Unless they mean 10 Cyprus minutes, which is closer to half an hour. It’s not normally a problem, but when you’re in a mad rush, and only nipping in and out between engagements, it’s not so easy. Especially as there are two of us. It’s more of a problem for me, than my fiancé to be honest. He likes tepid water so 10 minutes would probably suit him rightly. I, on the other hand, like the water to be piping hot. Even in the summer I’d take a warm shower. I’ve never been a fan of having cold water coursing down my back even if it is 40 degrees outside. Granted I won’t have it hot but I won’t have a cold shower either. In my flat that’s not even an option in the summer to be honest because I’ve got those solar panels in place. If you therefore have a shower at midday, and turn on the cold taps, you’ll still only get tepid water which suits me just dandy. In fact people often complain that our sea can be too warm at the end of the summer. I disagree. I love it and it beats the waters of the Amalfi coast in Italy or the Ionian Sea in Greece any day.

Granted the sea there is wonderfully refreshing and clean, but it’s also oh so cold when you first get in. So cold in fact that sometimes I don’t even have the strength to pluck up the courage to jump in. And don’t get me started on the North Sea or the Atlantic in the north of Ireland. Now there you need a wet suit for sure otherwise you’ll just cry.

I’ve somehow managed to digress again. All this talk of cold has made me think of all the times I’ve been cold. Last week I was actually staying in a B&B in Little Bollington (the most amazing B&B called Ash Farm where I will definitely be going back) and in the middle of the night I woke up feeling like an icicle. Then I realised I needed to pull the throw over me as an extra layer and I was as right as rain. By the time I woke at 6am the heat was back on and my room was lovely and toasty. Hopefully I’ll have a similar experience in Cyprus. However storage heaters only work off peak so basically my flat will be really warm when I’m not in it. I know the heaters are supposed to store heat, as the name suggests, but do they Jack. Also, with floor to ceiling windows, the heat doesn’t stay in for long.

Anyway no point complaining about it I guess. I’ll have to wait till I get back next week and see for myself how it is.

On a brighter note, it’s only 10 days to Xmas. I can’t believe how fast this month has flown! Soon I’ll be tucking into my Christmas dinner followed by Christmas pudding lathered in custard and fresh cream. Mmm. Can hardly wait! Now there’s a feast that’ll warm my bones.

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