Thursday, 18 August 2011

Africa Ambiance Night

Electronic Invitation

We had a few people to thank for their kindness, generosity and hospitality over the recent months and weeks, so we decided to throw a dinner party last Saturday. TBH and I agreed on an African theme and I set about creating an invitaion. I really wanted to use some of the wonderful photographs that TBH had taken during our visit's to Africa, however I did not have time to make, print and send them, so I taught myself how to make and electronic invitation using microsoft publisher. Simple for some, but it took me a whole day, however I was really pleased with the results.

Then I put my head down to create a menu, I wanted a meal that was going to incorporate a mix of different African flavours. So I searched the internt and re read my African cook books and finally came up with this.....

Click on the photo and you will be able to see the menu.

So last Saturday I emmersed myself for the day in the kitchen grinding spices and chopping onions and tantalising my tastebuds with inviting aromas wafting through the kitchen. I was rather nervous as I had not made some of the dishes before and I am a bit of a stickler for cooking what I know I can do, but it was good to push the boundaries a little and step outside of the comfort zone.

I used Bouganvillia to decorate the table.

We prepared the house with the usual candles and solar lights and Tbh made sure there was lots of wonderful African tunes on our Ipod, Habib Kote, Johnny Clegg, Vieux Farka Toure to name a few.

The Africa Day Bed

All good lodges in Africa greet yu after your long hot journey with a cold towel and a welcome drink, and Tbh came up with teh idea to do the same. So we soaked some face clothes in water and kept them cool in the fridge in a tupple ware box soaking in eau de colone giving a wondrful refreshing start to our guest's evening. the welcome drink was a Tigoni Teaser, made of Passion fruit and Papaya juice with a dash of rum and we served freshly roasted cashew nuts sitting on the terrace enjoying the view.

Stavaravouni in the distance.

The evening flowed well as did the conversation by eased the flow of South African Chennin blanc and Pinotage which we were able to get from a local supermarket.

The dinner table.

The ingredients were not extraveganet, nor were the decorations, but with a little imagination and a lot of love in the gift of giving food, I hope that our guests had an enjoyable evening. We had a great time doing it.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Day Bed Bench

We are increadibly lucky to have a large terrace with a beautiful view. Mid afternoon the wind picks up and by early evening as the sun sets behind us, the verandah is one of the best places to be during the sizzling summer heat. ( we don't have AC) So after having searched our minds for ideas, we decided we needed a day bed out there. Somewhere to lounge so to speak and to bring a certain Arabic/Swahili element to the balcony.Initially we pumped up a single blow up bed that we had, but the cats had a wee argument on there and managed to puncture it.

Then I went on line looking for second hand wooden day beds, and found nothing in Cyprus appart from the very expensive ' modern PLASTIC wicker' which would not really match with the house. Added to this we really wanted to reuse and recycle. We went to the local skip to see if we could find anything there that we could make it with, but had no luck............

So I was delighted when TBH said ' I have some pallets at work we could cut them to size and use them' and so that is exactly what he did........

Thankfully Tbh's colleague helped him with the design and the idea began to take shape.

Then we used wood glue to stick the pieces for the legs together.

And weighed them down with stones to stick whilst we put everything in place ready to be put together.

If you click on the photograph you will see that we managed to get 3 EUR stamps for all 3 legs. I thought it was quite appropriate being as we were practiacally making it for free aside from a lot of determination hard graft and sweat. ( building furniture in 33 degrees heat is hot work)

Tbh, was fortunate enough to have been able to borrow some tools from work and hence managed to screw all the pieces together and hey presto the Day bed bench was made.

We threw on a sleeping bag to give it some softness along with a throw and some cushions that we had tucked away in storage.As you see one member of the family immediately made himself very much at home. It was a great feeling to have imagined something and to have thought ' out side the box' so to speak to find a way to make it happen using recycled materials. We will try to treat the wood before the rains come and intend to use it as a plant stand during the winter months.

What do you think? Have you ever made furniture from pallets? I would love to know your ideas of what can be done using recycled materials to make furniture. Leave your comments in the comment box below.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Frightening Flames

This was the bush fire that we wittnessed from our balcony last night. It is amaizing what an optical illusion it was as it appeared, as you can see in the pictures to be very close, and to have started in an orchard below and was moving swiftly down the valley.

With in 10 minutes it had spread vastly and I was very worried that if the wind changed it would be heading towards the village, So I had PP and important doc's on hand and was ready for getting the cats into the car for evacuation if needs be.

As the flames rose mightily into the night sky and the air was filled with the smell of smoke, I was frustrated as it seemed that the fire trucks were not getting near it........and I could not understand why, however as it began to die down it took on a triangular shape and then I realised that the fire was actually climbing a montain the other side of the valley. These places have difficult access in day light let alone night time. The fire had begun just after sunset, hence we knew it had not been started by a a glass bottle thrown in the bush. I stayed up until 02.30 am untill it finally died down.............

Click on the photo to enlarge.

This morning at 06.00 literally as the sun came up we heard the 2 fire fighter planes from Larnaca were out and we could see them circling around and around the valley, then one went far out turned left and came back towards us and down the side of the mountain and dropped foam across the hillside. The second one was still going around and then......... swooped down between the peaks and WOOOSH up the side of the mountain dropping his foam in the best piece of flying manoeuvre I have EVER seen. I honestly thought he was going to crash into the side he was so close.

It looks like snow but this is the foam

Sadly we didn’t get pictures of this, but rushed to get dressed and jumped in the car heading down into the valley to the scene in case the planes came in for another round. We came across some tired fire fighters who were still keeping a watchful eye on the smouldering bushes and it was quite clear by their reactions that yes.......the fire had started right next to the road so it is HIGHLY likely that some idiot threw his cigarette butt out of his car window. Thankfully there are very few, but very remote houses that are up there, and somehow they were spared..................
In the light of day it showed clearly what a fantastic job these firemen do,throwing themselves into danger at the expence of someone elses stupidity.

Hats off to them and the incredible fire fighting pilots.