Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cara starts guitar

Cara has bought herself an electric

guitar. She's very pleased with herself. Weekly lessons with 'Nicos'

(aka Dewey Finn, School of Rock) should be lots of fun! Stick it to the Man!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

End of the year 2010

The last 2 months of the year just flew by. It felt like summer for most of it. Ronan & Cara went on Cub & Scout camp on the last weekend in November. Ronan went cycling and kayaking that weekend, Cara went horse riding and scuba diving. They both had a fantastic time.

Granny & Grandad Johnson came to visit in December and stayed with us over Solstice. They left on the 29th Dec - back to the snow and freezing temperatures in Scotland.
The boys managed to go swimming in the sea on 1st January 2011, then.... winter arrived in
Cyprus - rain, thunderstorms and wind. Brr...
October 2010

Went swimming and diving near Protaras with Nana & Grandad.

Grandad dives in.

Ronan jumps off the top (taken through the keyhole!)

Cara jumps in.

Sam enjoying some 'air time'.

Sean went to Gibraltar to join with some other old booties to run up the Rock carrying stretchers to raise money for Help for Heroes. The McKinstrys came to visit and we spent a lovely day at Governors Beach with them. The Foley kids took part in the Larnaka Run and the Scouts Swimathon. And after a brief short life, little Taco (Ronan's hamster) died.

September 2010

September brought a blessed drop in temperatures. Cara turned 10 years old, we went to the waterpark with friends, and Nana & Grandad Foley came to visit for two weeks. Nana had a birthday while she was here.

Update time!!

Here's a rundown of the last few months in Cyprus....

August 2010

Taking advantage of the cool of the sea to escape the heat and humidity. We discovered a lovely spot near Ayia Napa for jumping in and snorkelling. We didn't find a lot of fish to look at until we discovered that the 'Yellow Submarine' tourist attraction comes to this point at 11am every day to feed the fish. If you are snorkelling in the water at the same time, you get to see hundreds of fish! The kids had lots of fun diving under the water among the shoals and waving to the people looking out of the porthole windows in the submarine. They found that if they took a big enough breath, they could actually dive down far enough to go right under the submarine. We found another good bit for jumping off - the arch of rock just east of Ayia Napa. Only for the braver among us!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Cyprus is well and truly sizzling now. The nature of the build of the houses means that they soak in heat all day, and then release it into the house at night!! So even at 10pm, it's over 30 deg C inside.

Some of the barefootclan have taken to sleeping outside! Great for stargazing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ronan turns 12

Ronan turned 12 on 15 July 2010. Where has the time gone? Only one more year til he's a dreaded teenager.

He had his first waterskiing lesson. This is him
learning the correct position with the instructor.
Also, walking out to the boat, and in the water.
Unfortunately, Sean didn't manage to get any
pictures of him actually doing it, but he did
manage to get upright and ski, holding a bar.
Later, we had a beach picnic with some friends,
and CAKE of course!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oh no, neglected again!

Oh dear, it's July and I see my last post was April!! Then again, I don't really know if anyone is reading this blog any more - if you are, please leave a comment every now and again to encourage me to write more!!

SO........ a quick run down. Since April, we have moved house. We said goodbye to sleepy Cypriot Mazotos and moved to Oroklini on the other side of Larnaca. Oroklini is a considerably non-sleepy village, compared to Mazotos anyway, and we needed some time to adjust to the noise of people and traffic (those darn scooters!) instead of sheep and dogs!! Overall, we like it. We are closer now to activities, the beach, Sean's clients, Scouts & Cubs and..... English speaking people!

Mum & Dad came to visit in May, and it was so good to see them. We walked in Troodos mountains where we dipped our feet in the cool water, visited Cape Greko where Grandad's sandals were torn to shreds on the unforgiving rocks, ate Cornish pasties (!) in Ayia Napa, visited Dhekelia beach, watched a raft race, and ate lots and lots of ice cream. The two weeks just flew by and it was sad to see them go.

At the end of May, Sam had a dream about a hamster called Scribble, and this was his hamster. We searched the pet shops for a Scribble, and eventually found him snuggled up with his brothers and sisters in the back of a pet shop. Sam has been taking good care of Scribble, and we've all been sure to keep him away from Moony as she doesn't need a 'he' friend.

In June, we did some house & dog sitting for some friends in... Mazotos! It was weird to be back there for a week, and we were glad we had moved (phew). We looked after Hannah (a Great Dane).

Also in June, Sean turned 44, woo-hoo another birthday!!

Then at the end of June, Cara had a very sad day. Her beloved hamster, Moony, had been getting slower recently, and then one day, at the end of June, she passed away. Cara was so sad, but glad to have been able to hold her in her hands in her last few moments. Next day, she organised a beautiful burial ceremony on Oroklini Hill as the moon rose into the starry sky. It seemed a fitting way to let go.

In July, Sean made a fleeting trip back to the UK for his Dad's 70th birthday celebration. Of course, he also had a list of things to get - including those disgusting cheesestrings - that can't be found here!

Later in July, 3 new baby hamsters found their way into our lives: Texas (black & white female), Stella (black with white feet female) and Taco (brown & white male) .

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Spring has arrived, here are some pics.

Grapevines just sprouting.

Poppies and Daisies

Walk through the wheat field

A thistle??
Olive tree

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Animal connections

Here are a few photos of some of the creatures of Cyprus we've encountered recently.

A black Whip Snake that we found dead on the road when we were out cycling. These aren't poisonous, but give you a fright when you see one!
Also, on Sean's hand is the moth that started life as this enormous caterpillar.
Then we have a poor donkey who is tethered near the church. (The donkey
is the one in the middle). She is always getting sores on her legs where the rope rubs against them as she moves around grazing. The owner does treat the wounds with spray, but the flies make it difficult to resolve properly. Oh for a little fence so she could be untethered, but that's just not how they do things here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winter Walking and... Puppies!

Here are some recent pics from a walk we had on Mazotos Beach (nearest to where we live) and our most recent trip to Argos Sanctuary.

We went to walk dogs and groom cats, but there was a new addition to the sanctuary this day..... puppies!

5 tiny puppies had been found abandoned in a
cardboard box, and brought to the sanctuary.

Just the job for the barefoot kids to give them
some love and attention!

Sam turns 7

Sam had his 7th birthday at the end of January. In our house, turning 7 means leaving 'early childhood' - the years from birth to six. Something really seems to happen when a child turns 7 - it's a new era. We had a special ceremony for Sam, where he carries a globe with a tiny model Sam on it seven times around the 'sun' (the candles). As he went round the 'sun', we played a slideshow of photos from his birth, crawling, walking, running, riding a bike... all the up to the age he is now: climbing trees, reading,and swimming in the sea.

This year's cake theme was a knight's
castle, complete with Lego figures etc.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Volunteering at Argos Animal Sanctuary

When we made our 'wishes for 2010' list
at the beginning of the year, the kids
all wished for more connection with
animals. So we went along to the Argos
Animal Sanctuary on 9th January to see
what we could do.
Cyprus has a huge problem with unwanted stray cats & dogs, with few
services to cope with them. Kittens and
puppies tend to find homes, but the
older animals aren't always so lucky.
Some do find themselves adopted by
holiday makers, and make their way
to the UK and Germany!

We spent an afternoon walking dogs,
grooming cats, being jumped on,
barked at, slept on and purred at.
At first, Sam was a bit overwhelmed with
the noise and craziness of the dog runs.
One run a day is let loose so there were
about 20 dogs roaming around the place
which was a bit scary to begin with.
The dog area sure was a contrast to the
peace and tranquility of the cat's
By the time we left, the kids all
reckoned they'd had a great time and
were asking to come back again the
next day - which we did!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What Happened?

Well, the blog has been somewhat neglected since October - I don't know what happened, but I just have been so busy. So here's a quick run down til the end of 2009!

Samhain: pumpkins in Cyprus are not your round, plump, easy-to-make-a-lantern-out-of kind of vegetable. They're long and skinny. Cara was REALLY keen to make lanterns for our Samhain celebration, so the nearest thing we could find that would do the job was watermelons - just still in season. Of course, we had piles of watermelon after carving three lanterns, we just juiced it, bottled it and drank it for 3 days!

Kitten Rescue: in November, we found a little kitten
mewing pitifully in the road nearby our house. We left it over
night hoping it's mother would find it, but it was still there
in the morning. There are so many unwanted cats & gods
in Cyprus, many are feral and end up being poisoned by locals who get fed up of the mess they make raiding bins etc.
So this little chap was temporarily adopted by the barefoot clan. He was in a bad way - very skinny with terrible diarrhea (probably worms & fleas). We contacted a nearby sanctuary but they were full. The only place we could find for him was in Paphos - at the other end of the island. A sanctuary van comes up our way once a week, so we looked after the kitten for a week and then (sadly) handed him over to the sanctuary van. We know he'll get the necessary medical care there, and maybe even rehomed. It was a sad day for the barefoot kids.

Winter Solstice 2009: we celebrated Solstice on the 21st and 22nd December. On the 21st we had our winter feast and gift exchanging, and on the 22nd we were up at 5am to go to the ancient city of Amathus in Limassol to watch the first sunrise after the solstice. There was a small gathering of people there - it was being filmed - and the Ma Gaia frame drummers performed a drumming ritual to Aphrodite in front of the ancient temple grounds. In the picture of the five of us, you'll also see our delightful friend Natalie in the middle!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Race....!!

The 13th annual Larnaca race called to the barefootclan kids. We only heard about it a few days ago, and training was only for 3 days, but they were keen, keen, keen, so we went.

The first race was the 6-9 year olds, so Sam & Cara were in this together. Sean ran with Sam. 1400m up Larnaca sea front and back. Cara was over the finish line with some of the first ones.
This is Cara finishing.

Sam at the finish line.

Then Ronan's race, the 10-12 year olds. By this time it was getting pretty hot - I was only watching, but still sought the shade. Ronan said he did feel like giving
up at one point, but he kept on and finished with the middle bunch, red faced
and puffing! Maybe the poem "The Race" helped - I read it to them on the drive in this morning, when excitement and anticipation was running high. Here it is:

The Race
"Quit, give up, you're beaten!"

They shout at me and plead.
There's just too much against you now.
This time you can't succeed. "
And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure's face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene,
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being.

A child's race, young boys, young men
How I remember well,
Excitement sure! But also fear.
It wasn't hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win the race,
Or tie for 1st or if not that
At least take 2nd place.

And fathers watched from off the sides
Each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his Dad
That he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
To win to be the hero there
Was each young boys desire.

And one boy in particular
Whose Dad was in the crowd
Was running near the lead and thought,
"My Dad will be so proud!"

But as he speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace
And mid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face.
So down he fell and with him hope
He couldn't win it now ...
Embarrassed, sad he only wished
To disappear somehow.

But as he fell his Dad stood up
And showed his anxious face
Which to the boy so clearly said:
"Get up and win the race!"

He quickly rose, no damage done,
Behind a bit, that's all
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.

So anxious to restore himself
To catch up and to win.
His mind went faster than his legs
He slipped and fell again.

He wished that he had quit before
With only one disgrace,
"I'm hopeless as a runner now.
I shouldn't try to race. "

But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his Father's face,
That steady look that said again,
"Get up and win the race!"

So up he jumped to try again
Ten yards behind the last,
"If I'm going to gain those yards," he thought
"I've got to move real fast!"

Exerting everything he had
He regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lay there silently
A tear dropped from his eye.
"There's no sense running anymore
Three strikes; I'm out; why try! "
The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error-prone:
A loser all the way.

"I've lost so what's the use?" He thought
"I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his Dad
Who soon he'd have to face.

"Get up" an echo sounded low
"Get up and take your place,
You were not meant for failure here,
Get up and win the race! "

"With borrowed will, Get up" It said,
"You haven't lost at all,
For winning is no more than this
To rise each time you fall. "

So up he rose to run once more
And with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose
At least he wouldn't quit.

So far behind the others now
The most he'd ever been,
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.

Three times he'd fallen stumbling
Three times he rose again,
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line 1st place,
Head high, and proud and happy
No falling, no disgrace.

But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.

And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he'd won the race
To listen to the crowd.

And to his Dad he sadly said,
"I didn't do so well,"
"To me you won!" His Father said
"You rose each time you fell."

And now when things seem dark and hard
And difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy
Helps me in my race.

For all of life is like that race
With ups and downs and all,
And all you have to do to win
Is rise each time you fall.

"Quit, Give up, You're beaten."
They still shout in my face,
But another voice within me says,
"Get up and win the race."

by Dee Groberg
Medals and certificates were gratefully received. Oh, and ice cream!