Joan and I went down to the Lambousa market this morning and then on to the veg market on the main road opposite The Cabin. Bits and pieces of other shopping follwed such as milk, eggs etc then bought the weekly newspaper and went back to the warm fire. We cheated abit today, by buying a cottege pie off Jacquie at Lambosa market, the easy dinner with some baked beans. Think it's called comfort food and we are all for comfort.

Interesting lead article in the Cyprus Today. "Expat's body held ransom". An Englishman died in Near East Hospital last week but the family where unable to pay the hospital bill of 92,000 TL for his treatment. Seems very harsh, but this guy and his wife moved over here six years ago, after he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and they say that the UK doctor recommended a warmer climate. OK, I will go with that but people should do their homework before jumping in the deep end. There is no deal with NHS and if you go back to UK you will need to reside there for some time before being accepted back into the NHS system, so the only solution is to put your hand in your pocket and pay the fees of very expensive private hospitals. If you are not prepared to do that, then go to an EU country where there are reciprocal agreements, at least for the time being. The hospital gave them a 25% discount on the overall bill but they are still asking BRS to get involved but they are not really able to alter things. So please folks, come over here is you must, it is a great place to live, but keep a pot of money in the background in case you get hosptal bills like this or try to negatiate a medical insurance before you come. It is no good crying after the event there is no support available here.

Also on the subject of health. British expats have been told not to panic after the UK government announced a new crackdown on so called "health tourists". The BRS has been active in trying to re-instate treatment for expats residing in the TRNC, because if we resided in the South we could simply go back and get treatment, but despite having paid in for 40+ years we still struggle to get UK treatment. At least the current UK government action has prompted BRS to take up the cudgel once again.

We are told that many local municipalities are heading for bankruptcy. I seems to be the smaller units whose income is very low, but in common with many others they are probably overstaffed. We still have the ludicrous situation here where everyone working as a civil servant gets 13 salaries in the year. Many civil servents, moonlight in the private sector which of course damages opportunities for private firms.

Still they are talking, but now it is reprted that the GC's are hesitant about sharing both power and the islands natural resources. So we are back to them wanting to have the whole cake again. Certainly our man Akinci seems to be quite adamant about a rotating Presidency and that is something the Grrek Cypriots will not agree to. Mr Akinci is saying that if no agreement is reached then the guarantee treaties must remain in existance. His political spokesman is saying that the President will not sign or put up a referendum plan to his people that does not include political equality for the Turkish Cypriot people together with their freedom and security.

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