Tom Kane's Blog

A word can change a mind. A sentence can change a life. A book can change the world

image halloumi cheese salad

Halloumi Cheese Salad

According to a Cyprus government spokesperson, Cyprus is losing the halloumi trademark in the UK after failing to act on time was ‘an act of suicide’ for the interests of Cyprus.

Food trademarks are big business worldwide and the failure of the commerce ministry in Cyprus to respond on time to applications filed by a British company, John & Pascalis Limited, have now led to the trademark for halloumi cheese to become something of a hot-potato in Cyprus.

Halloumi cheese is big business and the production of halloumi cheese has been going on across the island for centuries and is believed to be the birthplace of the cheese. The earliest descriptions of halloumi were recorded in the mid-1500s by an Italian visitor to Cyprus. Whether halloumi originated on the island of not, it’s plain that it’s been made here for centuries and losing the UK trademark would be like Cheddar in the UK losing its trademark to Finland.

Reports are surfacing that a governmental investigation is under way and that the the EU collective word mark of halloumi, registered on 14 July 2000, remains in force across the EU, which includes the UK, and will still be in force after Britain’s succession from the European Union on March 2019.

It seems there is some sort of problem at the department dealing with such matters within the Cypriot government, as it’s reported that the ministry has stated it’s currently handling 79 similar cases in Cyprus and overseas, with a further 64 other cases already having been dealt with.

Seems like someone in the ministry has been out to lunch too long and hasn’t had their eyes on the cheese!

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my series Living in Cyprus covering 2013 to 2017 with the new volume, 2018, to be published in January 2019 – Only £1.49 each volume on Amazon Kindle.

 

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

image of two dogs in water

The ‘H’ Team

Swimming comes naturally to dogs and my two English Springer Spaniels are no exception. As you can see from the picture above, Holly (the liver and white) and Harvey in front, taken a few years ago at the local dam, aren’t afraid of open water. Collectively they are know as the ‘H’ Team, because they do everything together.

Which is why I enjoy the summer so much because it gives us a chance to cool off by swimming in the pool. Sadly as time has gone by Harvey has become less and less interested in the water because of his age and arthritis. He’s 14 now and he’s slowed up a lot. But when we first arrived in Cyprus both of them loved the water, so much so they were both prone to falling in the pool when playing, so keeping an eye on them around the pool was essential. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to jump into the pool to rescue one or the other.

imGE OF DOGS AROUND A POOL

It’s a potential problem I’m acutely aware of and there isn’t a year that goes by, here in Cyprus, that a dog has been found drowned in a pool because the owner has gone out and left their dog outside, with open access to the pool. As you can see from the picture above, a toy rubber bone in the pool can be a fatal attraction to lively dogs. Since moving home in the last week or so, it’s been a bit disorientating for them and for me and the whole layout is taking them a while to get their heads round it. We have actually moved into an identical bungalow, but it’s in reverse to what we’re used to. However, the pool area is almost identical in that it’s the same shape and with the same amount of area around the pool for walking round. Of course, it’s winter here now and too cold to go in the pool, so we’ve not been in since we moved here.

This morning I did make the almost fatal mistake of assuming my dogs were coping with our new home and used to the pool after six years in a similar environment… similar, but not the same.

At five O’Clock this morning I awoke to a cold, dark, wet and miserable morning, with the rain lashing down. As always the first thing I did was let the dogs out for a pee. It’s been miserable weather lately and today promised more of the same wet weather we have had all week. I started the coffee and then stood at the back door waiting for two bedraggled dogs to wander in because the rain was so heavy. Holly came around the corner and into the kitchen, where I toweled her off. Next was Harvey, or so it should have been. But being Harvey, an inquisitive soul, he was probably sniffing something around the corner in the pool area. After a minute or two with no sign I decided to bring him in, or he was going to be soaked by the rain. But as I rounded the corner to the pool area what did I find… Harvey in the pool, swimming desperately in circles trying to find the steps out of the pool. He had never been good at finding the steps in the old pool, even after six years living there. This pool had steps on the opposite side and he was searching the area they used to be in the old house. Generally speaking they don’t wear collars around the house, I decision I immediately regretted. But luckily he had his anti-bark collar on and I managed, in the dark, to steer him to the steps and out of the pool.

With no apparent damage to him and both of us soaked to the skin, I rubbed him down, dried him off and then he decided that he had such a good time in the pool he was going to go a little potty with excitement. Harvey is a typical mad springer. After nearly an hour I managed to calm him down and he’s finally gone back to sleep, none the worse for his little adventure.

In future, I’m going outside with them come rain, snow or tornado, just to be on the safe side and because jumping in a freezing pool rescuing my dogs is not exactly a fun way to start a cold winter morning.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my series Living in Cyprus covering 2013 to 2017 with the new volume, 2018, to be published in January 2019 – Only £1.49 each volume on Amazon Kindle.

 

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

image dry lightning

Tonight there has been yet more rain and the latest storm is one of a long line of storms. But a few days ago what started out as a dire warning of a major storm about to hit Cyprus, turned out to be quite a spectacular light show. Nevertheless, it became a night with very little sleep.

I have no idea what time it was but I awoke to what seemed to be a flashing light outside my bedroom window. It was as if someone had a car parked outside with a signal light going on and off at irregular times. It wasn’t long before curiosity got the better of me and I opened the curtain to see what was going on. My first glimpse of the lightning was pretty spectacular. It was pitch black when suddenly the entire night sky was lit by a rolling curve of lightning that flew through the dark and forbidding clouds from one side of the sky to the next. There was no thunder though. It was as if Thor, the Norse god of thunder and lightning, had forgotten his thunder. It also seemed he had forgotten his rain, because at that time the outside seemed pretty dry.

For a full twenty minutes I was entertained with a spectacular light show that no firework display or laser show could have matched. Dark, boiling clouds were lit up on the left and this followed different sections of the sky being lit in an ever more spectacular display of natures force and majesty.

It reminded me of the first lightning display I saw in Cyprus, when I first moved here ten years ago.

image pink lightning

I lived near Paphos then, on the coast, and was awoken in a similar fashion to last night. This time it was a thunderstorm out at sea with forked lightning. The odd thing was the lightning was pink in colour.

Until I saw this coloured lightning, I had only ever seen white lightning before, I hadn’t realised lightning can show many different colours depending on factors like haze, dust, moisture and numerous other particles in the atmosphere. All these can effect the colour by diffracting the the white light of lightning.

Nature’s a wonderful and complex thing, sometimes displaying natural wonders that are quite spectacular.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my series Living in Cyprus covering 2013 to 2017 with the new volume, 2018, to be published in January 2019 – Only £1.49 each volume on Amazon Kindle.

 

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image of Protaras Golden Coast

Protaras Golden Coast

Okay, it’s actually cold and wet and damp here in Cyprus as I write this on the last day of November 2018. But it’s about this time of year many people, in Britain at least, look to booking their summer holidays.

According to official figures from the Cyprus government, the number of tourists arriving here in 2018 is up on last year. In Jan to Aug 2018 tourist arrivals amounted to 2,719,622.

Cyprus is one of the safest locations in the eastern Mediterranean, indeed in the world. There are coast to coast blue flag beaches and sunshine most of the year round.

We can always tell how well the island is doing by the number of ‘Z’ cars, that’s self-drive hire-cars with a Z in their registration plate, which is coloured black and a dark red colour. This year there have been hire-cars on the roads all year round. Even today, in the rain and with a storm brewing I’ve seen five hire-cars in the space of a few minutes.

So what is it that brings visitors to Cyprus?

  • It’s relatively safe
  • It’s not too expensive
  • Wall to wall sunshine
  • Great scenery
  • Blue flag beaches
  • Good hotels
  • Good food
  • Greek & English speaking

I’ve lived in Cyprus for ten years. I’ve seen the country go from a Communist government that brought the island to its knees and a banking crisis that almost killed off tourism, to a phoenix rising from the ashes to become a leading player in tourism around the Mediterranean. Cypriots are, in my experience, a resilient bunch who know their island needs a good tourist industry, which is essential to their future prosperity.

In ten years a lot of small, but significant changes, have been made to bring in the tourists. Like the ATMs you see almost everywhere now. Ten years ago there were only ATMs at banks, so getting money out was a bit of a problem for many tourists. Prices have been kept down and tourists are made very welcome by and large.

But the important thing is Cyprus has something for everyone, from a long and varied history, spectacular scenery and more than enough blue flag beaches and tourist hot-spots anyone could wish for.

image Kalamies Beach Restaurant

Kalamies Beach Restaurant

image Protaras Strip

Protaras Strip

image McKenzie beach, Larnaca

McKenzie beach, Larnaca

image Omodos village

Omodos village

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my series Living in Cyprus covering 2013 to 2017 with the new volume, 2018, published in January – Only £1.49 each volume on Amazon Kindle.

 

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image of a wood chopper

Moving house isn’t too hard when it’s only next door. All you do is pack up your stuff, carry it all next door and unpack it. That’s the easy bit. The hard bit is getting to grips with where everything is located in a house that’s identical to the one you’re vacating, only reversed. I work from home and have for six years walked out of my office, turned right and walked into the lounge and then the kitchen or outside the house. This new home is in reverse. So while I’m carrying boxes of my stuff from one house to the next, once I leave my new office I have to turn left. Ninety-nine percent of the time I’ve turned right. I would hate to think how many extra kilometres I have walked these last few days.

On a brighter, and warmer note, the heating system in our new home is different. The old home has gas fired central heating that’s a little bit cranky. The boiler is located outside in a small brick housing, which requires the user to get on their hands and knees, stretch in and increase the water pressure manually, before it will turn on and heat the water. That’s a daily chore.

Our new home has a wood burner, or briquette burner if you want to be a little more green. This only heats the main living room and we have fitted electric heaters for the other rooms if needed. Getting to grips with setting a fire is essentially plonking a 21st century office worker into a 18th century backwoodsman scenario. (As a footnote to this story, I’ve discovered a British meaning for backwoodsman – Informal British term for a peer who very rarely attends the House of Lords.) In days of yore a north American backwoodsman would have had to chop down a few trees, let them dry out a little, then chop the tree into logs and hey-presto, he has the means to keep warm in the winter. Not quite true as I have discovered.

First off I need to put some newspaper into the burner. Then a little kindling. I light the newspaper which in turn lights the kindling. Once a good fire is going I carefully lay a briquette onto the fire, shutting the burner’s door by 90%. Once the briquette is burning I can shut the door fully and open or close the flue depending on how much air I want to let in to make the briquettes burn faster or slower.

Okay, that sounds simple enough, until you realise that you’ve used up your one and only source of newspaper! I buy one newspaper a week, on a Saturday. Then you also realise you have to use a chopper to create your own kindling. I have never used a hand-held chopper in my life. I’m a computer programmer, a designer and a writer. Where in all these skills does it say in the manual of life you need to be skillful with an axe?

Chopper skills I need to learn on the job or I start to freeze at night. Cyprus is sunny during the day mostly, but the winter nights are very chilly.

So, dear reader, if you notice my average posts on here begins to suffer a few spelling errors and in general is getting less and less, it only means I’ve taken off a few fingers in my desire to be one with nature and as green as possible.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read a free sample of my WW2 action/adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image of a chair

Moving home is considered to be one of the most stressful things you can do. I’ve never had a problem with moving, in fact it’s usually been pretty easy. I’ve worked in many cities in England, from Newcastle to London, Belfast to Birmingham, Ipswich to Epsom and even had a stint in Madrid and Paris.

I’ve turned down a few job offers in exotic locations, but perhaps my two regrets were not moving to New York USA and Winchester UK. I’ve been to America, Los Angeles, but only stayed for a couple of weeks. The New York job offer was almost 30 years ago and all I can remember about it was the location, Times Square. I was sorely tempted if only because as a programmer it would have looked great on my CV. But no, I turned it down because in retrospect I didn’t fancy living in such a busy location. Winchester, in England, on the other hand is somewhere I would have dearly loved to have worked. But down to the last two candidates and I lost out. C’est la vie.

However in my jobs, moving to new locations has been straightforward.

Here in Cyprus I’ve lived in Paphos and Larnaca. But perhaps the shortest duration was our first home in Secret Valley, just outside of Paphos. We came, we moved and withing a few weeks we had moved away again. It was a period in our early days here, ten years ago, that was full of turmoil interwoven with a steep learning curve. But that was then, and you can read a free sample of my move to Cyprus if you scroll down the page.

Today, it’s perhaps our last but one move, or maybe even our last move. But at least it’s pretty easy because we’re only moving to the bungalow next door to our current home. As I get older, I like my home comforts too much to stray to far!

Told you I found moving easy.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read a free sample of my WW2 action/adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image of a blackboard

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “England and America are two countries divided by a common language.” Being half British and half American, Churchill knew better than most the differences between our two people. He was of course correct in saying that and none more so evident than since Donald Trump came to power in the US. There have been so many legal wranglings and abuses of power that following the madcap antics of Trump and his gang has become almost like watching a soap opera. But this has also thrown up a lot of words and pronunciations I have never heard.

If the American president, Donald J. Trump has taught me anything, it’s a few new words and how to be civil and respectful… nah, I’m only joking. Civility aside, I have learned a few new words since Trump took office.

A good example of ‘new’ words is Closure and Cloture which mean the same thing. That’s something I’ve learned today, having never seen the word cloture before.  Cloture is used almost exclusively to describe an American Senate rule that permits the shutting off of debate. Based on the French cloturer, which means a closing or in English, closure. That’s one of many new words I’ve discovered that we simply don’t use in Britain.

Redaction is another good one. It may well be used in legal terminology in the UK, I have no idea, but certainly I had never heard of it before Trump came to power.

Other oddities in our shared language have popped up while watching American news coverage, in particular the way we pronounce certain words so differently. The best example of that is Iraq. Amercans say Eye-RAK and we Brits pronounce it E-RAK.

Yes, the last two years of watching Trump make a mockery of the United States has been a lesson in how not to run a country, but it’s truly taught me that Americans and Britons are very different people.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As an English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read a free sample of my WW2 action/adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read and download my FREE books on Amazon Kindle

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging

 

Living in Cyprus: 2015

 

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

 

 

image of our dog Harvey

If you have followed Harvey’s illness you will know he’s been very anxious since we brought him home from the vets a few weeks ago. So much so he was constantly barking if I wasn’t in the same room. He even barked if he couldn’t see me despite being in the same room.

That has now thankfully passed and he’s a lot happier dog. We still have a long way to go in his treatment but he’s walking with greater confidence, jumping up low steps and able to walk down a few steps at a time. He is thankfully stumbling less and less as his spinal injury recovers.

But the poor boy has a small problem derived from his original injury. He goes out and has a normal wee, but on occasions he will do an involuntary wee indoors. Again, this we are told by the vet is normal and should clear up. But the poor boy has also caught ringworm, probably either during his stay in the vets or from the innumerable stray cats that wander through our garden at night. He’s certainly in the wars, but he’s a brave fighter.

Interestingly our other springer, Holly, initially ignored Harvey when we brought him home, but the pair are now re-bonding. We assume she knew he was ill and wanted to distance herself, even to the extent she wouldn’t let Harvey lick her. Now she’s allowing him to lick her.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2018

 

image depicting changes

Change is inevitable. Change is constant.
British Statesman, Benjamin Disraeli

It was the fabulous David Bowie who sang, “Turn and face the change, ch-ch changes.” That about sums up life, everything changes and you have to either run away from the change or embrace it. Running away from change only delays the inevitable and makes the change even harder to deal with. At the very least, you have to make the best of it that you can. Life is change. The moment you are born there are two certainties at play, change and death and some say that death is just a change in your current status.

In the ten years I’ve lived in Cyprus I have seen more dramatic changes to my life than in the previous fifty plus years. From the financial crisis in 2008, to the financial banking meltdown in 2013 and illness that has caused a major shift in our lives. And now I see major changes on the horizon once more.

Some of the changes are due to age. My wife and I are both in our sixties and semi-retired verging on full retirement. Our two English Springer Spaniels, Harvey and Holly are getting old too and changes are coming to them with age and some ill health. But the next major change is that we are moving home.

In ten years on this Island in the Mediterranean we have lived in three very different houses in three different locations. These were changes brought about due to circumstances beyond our control. But we embraced the change and made our lives better for it. Our current home is between Larnaca and Limassol on the outskirts of a sleepy little village. It’s my step-daughter’s home that we rent. Change has come to her family too and they need to be moving back into their home and so we have to make a major change to our lives… well, not quite. Because as luck would have it, the bungalow next door to where we live has become available for rent and that’s where we’re moving to.

It’s still a bit of an upheaval but we can do it at a slower pace because we don’t move until December 1st and next door is actually empty, so we can just move over a matter of weeks instead of in a single day. It’s major change, but not as we know it. It’s a gradual change and in fact the location is only a matter of a few metres away.

Some of my readers may know that I like to potter around in my concrete garden and grow fruit. Next door will offer a little less in concrete space to grow, but more in actual garden with real soil. I’m even taking over some fruit trees, including a grapefruit tree. But I’m losing my rockery and my grape vines. More change.

Our original plan for the future was to buy an apartment to rent out and then move into in a few years time. That’s been put on hold due to a sale of property in England falling through, so again, a change in plan.

Change happens all around us, all the time. It’s how you deal with the major changes that define how you live your life.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read a free sample of my WW2 action/adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image of a confused woman

Ever had the feeling you’re going round in circles and never getting anywhere? I get that a lot with trying to figure out why a book sells or a free book is downloaded.  I have three free books I give away all the time, see the links at the end of this piece. For no apparent reason, especially with free books, I sometimes have a peak of downloads that doesn’t seem to make sense. It first happened in January 2018 where 1279 downloads of my free book Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb were downloaded. Historically this book has seen around a hundred of so downloads a month, mainly in the UK and USA.

I put this sudden peak down to people receiving kindles for Christmas, but it’s now happened again. This time it’s the same title but downloads are almost entirely in India, where I would normally be lucky to get a sale or free download once in a blue moon. Yet so far this month there have been 230 downloads of Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb in India alone. Why India all of a sudden? Has there been a sudden upsurge of kindle reader sales in India? That can’t be the answer because the kindle was first launched in India in 2012, six years ago. So it has to be down to some other factor that I have no control over, like for example the emails Amazon sometimes sends out to market books. Indie authors have no say in when their titles appear in such emails, so we have to just sit back, relax and hope it all makes sense one day!

It’s not that I’m complaining, far from it. But I do like to have a little control or say in when and how my titles are marketed. Sometimes, being an independent author can make life a little bit unpredictable.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read a free sample of my WW2 action/adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here