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Termites and the Titanic

Life back to normal in North Cyprus

After arriving in the early hours of Monday morning, we have re-acclimatised to life in North Cyprus. The temperature has increased from a temperate 31C at the beginning of the week to 39C today. The water or the air con are the only options. The shade doesn't do it except in the early mornings. There was something else to cope with, too, an entirely new problem for us over here. Termites.

The termites had not, fortunately, taken up residence indoors. They had instead chosen our deck chairs. Now these are no ordinary deck chairs. They may look like a rather robust version of the kind of thing you'd find at the English seaside. But no. They are based on the ones used on the Titanic (or at least the film of the Titanic). A local Cypriot carpenter watched the film many times over riveted not by Kate Winslet but by the outdoor furniture. He recreated the original and so now we have deck chairs that are actually transformers. Lean back and you're suddenly actually lying down. This can come as a shock for those just wanting a quiet spot with their gin and tonic.

I've never seen these remarkable contraptions elsewhere but perhaps they're testimony to necessity being the mother of invention. Since the embargo the Greeks have managed to enforce for decades, the Turkish part of Cyprus, the North, can trade only with Turkey. So if they want something slightly more unusual, they have to make it. Now, I'm not suggesting that the deck chairs on the Titanic are an actual necessity, unless of course, you're obsessive-compulsive and feel the need to do a lot of re-arranging. However, the embargo has made the locals remarkably resourceful and they can run you up pretty much anything made of wrought iron or wood or any kind of fabric. And for us there are other upsides. There's not a Big Mac to be seen for a start.

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