Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Updates -- On All Fronts

School is really over!  Alex finished his last IGCSE yesterday at noon, and with a flying leap vaulted over the wall, yelling 'I'm free!'  We're looking around for work for him at local garden centres and restaurants, and are arranging his Provisional Driving License and a set of lessons.  He has been promised my car, if his IGCSE average was B.  Results come in at the end of August -- in the meantime we are all trying to forget about it.

Sophia finished Friday, and with a huge sigh said: 'Well that's that!  No more going back there...'  She is taking a week off before diving into her distance learning IGCSE's and hopes that she scored well enough on the exams that she just took to get into the schools for which we have applied in the UK.  The results of those come out July 4, and we will duly send them off as well as making plans for a week's visit to England at the end of September.  She is highly motivated, and I think will do well.

Leo & Theodoros baking carob cookies.

Zenon and Leo finished in the middle of last week and are having a good time.  Both have projects to work on and friends to play with, so most days see them either at friends' houses, or with friends around here.  A mate of Leo's from school was over and they were making carob cookies today -- turned out delicious!  I know that some parents dread the holidays, I thrive on them...

House works...

At long last I have persuaded Best Beloved that SOMETHING Had To Be Done About The Floors Downstairs.  When we were building, I had wanted concrete.  My dad's house in Hawaii had a concrete living room floor.  It was beautiful: a mellow golden colour with weathered brick lines to discourage cracks.  The Turkish-Cypriot house in Agios Ioannis that we rent has a concrete floor, smooth, mottled, and coloured with ochre.  I wanted something similar for here.

Trouble is, no-one knows how to do plain, polished concrete floors... Believe it or not.  And we ended up with an ugly patchwork that BB decided -- against my and a friend's strong counsel -- to paint.  Disaster:  flaking, ugly, difficult to clean.  I have been lobbying with increasing stridency for a change, and he finally caved.

The Corridor Before...

Sophia's Flaking Floor

Leo Helps Tile His Room
The Corridor During.

We chose black granite for the corridor, and grey tiles for the bedrooms.

For the last week the house has been full of misplaced furniture (as each bedroom has been done at a time), dust, and the whine of the angle-grinder.  We are almost on the home stretch.  The five bedrooms have been done -- just in time for my sister's arrival this evening.  The guest bathroom has been done with pebble panels, and now the downstairs corridor is slowly being covered with black.  I got really cold feet over the corridor:  the granite would be too dark ("It will be like descending to the Abyss down there, Manamou!"), it would show every speck of dust, it would look like crap and I would never be able to change it...  But I think it's beginning to look really nice.  The next few days will tell.

The Irish Satellite...

Will Try to Enter for Companionship...

For some reason Leo cannot get his tongue around the name 'Sputnik' and instead insists on calling our latest family member 'Spud Mick'...  But whatever we call him, the Small Golden One has morphed from a Shivering Emaciated Wreck that peed himself if we so much as looked at him into a Happy Little Being who bounces around the garden and verandah, comes (mostly) when he's called, pees and poops (mostly) in his toilet spot near the old goat shed, and stretches out through the heat of the day in a doorway to catch any available breeze.

Training -- Mili came to learn how to cope with Lucky
Training -- Leo is the most dedicated of us all

A dog trainer paid us a visit one afternoon last week and gave us some tips on training him which I implement when I take him for his walks.  Leo is is most loyal supporter -- taking him for 'potty walks' every hour of the day, cutting  up treats, and teaching him to 'sit' on command.  Lucky, of course, is wildly enthusiastic at the presence of another canine about the place, but must be very jealous to see him wandering free.  Sophia takes both dogs for a run every evening, and reports that Lucky's rambunctiousness is as ill-contained as ever, but that Sputnik, although only about one-eighth her size, is learning to hold his own.

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