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How Things Work at the Cottages
Essential information for visitors to the Carmichael Country Cottages at Bellapais
I) WATER: The village supply comes from a spring/well high in the mountains above the houses. Although plentiful, demand is great and increasing annually due to the increased building between the village and Girne. Careful use is essential especially during the summer. The water is "turned on" to our part of Bellapais sometimes only for a few hours every third day. Our big storage tanks fill automatically.
2) SITE MANAGEMENT: Yusof Sacir is a Turkish Cypriot who speaks good English and has looked after our house and others in this area since 1976. He maintains gardens and pools with his son Bans. He lives in Girne, home telephone 815 4482, mobile 0542 851 5094. He should be contacted if anything goes wrong and will be in the garden some mornings during your stay.
3) SEPTIC TANKS: Minimum disposal is essential. There are bins with lids and bags in them beside every toilet for things that should not go down them, including in Cyprus most toilet paper! Plungers should be used to release temporary blockages as soon as the bo water level rises or fails to fall naturally.
4) ELECTRICITY: the three houses are wired separately. Mains switch and master trip switches are in the meter boxes outside each gate. Fuse/minor trip circuit boxes are easy to spot on each floor. There is one for Jack's house outside the donkey stable door at the foot of the stone steps beside the palm tree. There are occasional powercuts for which patience/candles may be required.
5) POOLS: the main pool is always full and filtration/chemicals keep it clean. Please do not move switches etc in the pump/pool house. The small pool in Jack's House garden is currently covered over and closed as it has no filter and needs water changes regularly. No glass or food in pool areas please.
6) KITCHENS: Mountain and Riverside Houses have electric ovens with gas hobs and one electric ring. To function they must be switched on at the electric power point as well. In Jack's house this is on the far side of the kitchen. Gas bottles are stored in cupboards next to cookers. When they run out they need to be exchanged at the village shop for full ones. Jack's House is best for larger group dining. Mountain House is best for BBQ on roof. Laundry washing machines are in Jack's house kitchen and the central pool/pump house area. There is a dishwasher in Mountain House but everything dries very quickly in the drainers. There are drying fold-up racks in each house, which can be taken outside, and lines in Jack's house garden.
7) CAR PARKING: 4 WD Suzuki Jeep parking is available outside each gate. Please do not block the turning space. The drive up the main street past Lawrence Durrel's house may look daunting but in low box 4WD second gear it is easy. Other vehicles (e.g. Renault, Opel etc) can be parked above Mountain House – to walk there take the path to the right at the spring at the top of the village, follow round the back of the houses to the steps and left and up the steep short path to the ruin. This is good parking accessed by car form the Ambelia road. Spaces immediately below Riverside in the newly filled in parking area beside horseshoe bridge can always be found. The Mountain House has off street Jeep parking through the big wooden gates and the space at the Riverside House front steps adjoining the house is also privately owned by us.
8) FAMILY COLLECTIONS: Jack's house is a 40-year family home. There are collections of pictures, books, vinyl records, games, CD's, Muski glasses etc. Apart from the blue muski glasses beside the fireplace you are welcome to enjoy and use these collections. Please do not remove them. Paintings are by Richard Carmichael's mother (EB) or Deirdre Guthrie's mother (VG - Deirdre still lives next door and operates a lovely garden bistro) or by other Cyprus artists. They picture this area 40 years ago.
9) HOT WATER: Mountain and Riverside have solar panels. Additionally immersion heater switches (samovar) are inside the front door of Mountain House, inside the bathroom cupboard of Jack's house, on the kitchen wall of Jack's house and on the wall to the left of the bathroom just inside the main door of Riverside House. Only switch immersions on when needed as the combination of solar panels and electric heater can make the water very hot indeed.
10) LIGHTS: Outside lights are best turned on at dusk before going out to dinner. The important ones are in Riverside because they light the path, in Mountain House (light over outside gate and over lounge door) and in Jack's house (balcony lower and above main door) Also garden steps light switch is at the bottom of steps near Riverside covered terrace. Pool light switch for night swims is near the pool terrace on the steps up to the mountain house. Please turn off lights when not needed as electricity in the TRNC is oil fired and expensive and light pollution obliterates the glorious night sky.
11) CONSUMABLES: Alcoholic drinks, olive oil, washing up liquid, toilet rolls, sugar, salt, bottled gas etc can be used on a replacement basis. Fruit, lemons, bay leaves, rosemary etc can be consumed from the garden. Breakages should be replaced - try "Dizayn 74" for pottery and "1001" for glasses and crockery.
12) CYPRUS CHESTS/SANDUKIS: the two big sanduki chests in Jack's house and the small one in Mountain House bedroom contain private family items as does the store below Mountain house and the locked upper cupboard in Jack's House bathroom.
13) GARDEN/TERRACE/BALCONY FURNITURE: Sun umbrellas by the pool and the white plastic chairs and tables can be moved around but should be returned to their original locations
- one set in Mountain House and one set in Riverside. Cushions , cyprus village chairs and soft chairs should be brought in at night or when rain threatens. There is often a heavy dew.
14) SECURITY: Upper Bellapais is generally quite safe but cash should not be left lying around anywhere. High windows can be left open on hot days even if you are away for the day. Windows open and shutters closed on lower floors ensures a cool house. Lock up doors when out. Shutters should be secured/tied back as winds usually occur morning and evening and during weather changes.
15) RUBBISH: Please take your rubbish to one of the skips in the village. Handy one by the river bend below or in the car park on the way out of Bellapais on the left
16) VILLAGE RESTAURANTS: There are 6 restaurants in the village within walking distance. All offer excellent Cypriot food in a variety of ambience and location. We can confidently recommend them all! Tree of Idleness, Kybele (within abbey gardens) Abbey Bell Tower, Aged Restaurant, Bella Moon garden, Bellapais Gardens. The Old Mill in Ozankoy (20 minutes walk down the rough dirt track to the right in the car park below the house. Keep going down and left until you see the mosque then it is to the right of and below the mosque in Ozankoy) is particularly good value and offers local fare. A taxi ride back is advised.
17) SHOPS: There are 2 small grocery stores in the village which sell basics. The nearest is at the bottom of the steep street down to the village. There is a good Lemar supermarket just to the east of Kyrenia – signs on the right before the traffic lights on the new Harbour/Port ring road. It is well signposted.