Thursday, 30 June 2016

"God" help us?


If there is a God or Allah, or whatever you to choose to believe in, then "He" has certainly got it in for Turkey at the moment.

I don't need to give you a list of everything that's been thrown at us over the past year or so.  If you read the papers or you are on Facebook, then you already know.  And it doesn't seem to be getting any better.  

It must be hard for those who have faith in something/someone they can't see or touch to carry on believing that to pray will save them.  They will tell you that it's not "his" fault.  It's human beings that create this chaos.  Well of course it is.

This beautiful country and it's warm and welcoming people are suffering.  Their indomitable spirit is being eroded bit by bit.

Tourism has taken the biggest hit because people are too afraid to come here.  It's understandable of course, but if they choose to go somewhere else for their holidays they are just as much at risk.  Nowhere is entirely safe.

Those who work in tourism have a few months to earn what they can to support their families throughout the rest of the year.  My husband is one of them, but I consider us to be better off than a lot of others.  We live rent free in a house owned by my father-in-law, and I have my state pension to subsidise us, which is just as well as my husband has recently been laid off from his job and is now in a different area with a similar position.  But still there are few tourists, so little chance of earning money.  I feel for those whose families who have no other income other than that provided by their men working in tourism.

This latest atrocity at Istanbul Airport would seem to be the final nail in the coffin.  My thoughts (but not prayers) are with those who have lost loved ones yet again from an act of terrorism.

Most of the blame has to lie at the feet of the one running the country, but of course I am not going to say anything more about that.  Those who live here know exactly what I mean.   I'll keep my mouth shut...we no longer have freedom of speech.

The world is changing...and not for the better.  Leaders everywhere seem to have little concern for the people of their countries.   Their interest is solely about power and control.  We are seeing so much hatred and prejudice.  

Love is the only way forward.  Unconditional love for our fellow man.  Hate never wins.

 






Sunday, 12 June 2016

It's Sunday....

Living in this village, away from civilisation (not entirely of course but it sometimes feels like it) every day is much the same.

I am up before sunrise.  My body clock wakes up around 4.30am and by 5am my 12 dogs let me know it's time for breakfast.  And so the routine of my day begins.

12 rescued dogs, all different, and most of them having arrived over the past few years with issues, take a lot of looking after.   But it doesn't stop there.  I have committed myself to feeding and caring for other street dogs in our village and at the sanayi 5km away on the main road.

You may recall my having mentioned that I now have a car.  I still need to sort out my license but Kaya has checked with the traffic police and I seem to be ok with the documents I have at the moment.  Naturally I don't know if this is entirely accurate.  It largely depends on which policeman he spoke to.  If he decided to check it out with 6 more policemen, I have no doubt each would have a different story.  Anyway, for the time being I am driving and if I get stopped by the police then I'll soon find out for sure.

At first I stuck to driving on the back roads between my village and my friend's village.  No traffic police...just tractors, sheep and cattle.  I've had to slow down at times to let cats, dogs, tortoises and a lizard cross the road as well.

Having not driven for more than 10 years, I was quite anxious at first, but with each day my confidence has grown.  In fact it is beginning to change my life for the better.

The week before last I crossed over the main road to deliver sacks of dogfood to the sanayi, then to the dog Annie's mum who feeds several dogs, and also to Osman in the village shop who does the same.

I needed more stocks of food.  On a trip over to my friend's village we drove into the nearest town (at least he drove because I was still anxious) and bought sacks of food.

But I knew that I would have to venture further to get supplies myself so on Thursday I drove into Milas and bought more from Migros who still had dogfood on offer.  I then went to Kipa to do my own shopping before setting off for home.  On the way I filled up with petrol (another worrying moment overcome...making sure I bought the correct fuel), and a drop off of more food to the sanayi.

I have until now had to rely on others to do these things for me.  Kaya rarely manages to get home and he is permanently exhausted so I feel guilty for putting pressure on him.  He had to come home last night for a couple of hours however, because we had a bit of an emergency.  Sadie somehow managed to break one of the fences in the first section of the big dogs' area and get out into the small dogs' area, followed closely by the other 6 big dogs.   After much frantic activity and a lot of sweating in this heat, I managed to get them all back into the far area and shut the gate.  The fence is now fixed...we'll see how long it lasts before Sadie breaks out again!

I am lucky to have a good friend in David, who has helped enormously over the past few years.  I am a naturally independent person so it's hard for me to ask others for help.  I don't know how I managed without him.

On Friday I drove again into Milas, this time braving the roadworks in the centre of town.  I needed to go to the bank to get a new debit card, but also my dear friend Fleur was driving over from Kusadasi to see me.  We had lunch together and a good catch-up and as we were saying our goodbyes it really hit me how much I am enjoying the independence this car gives me.   Not only that...I am prone to bouts of depression and my mood has now lifted considerably.  Who would have thought it could make such a difference to my life.

Wishing you all a very happy Sunday xx





Sunday, 29 May 2016

How to make life as difficult as possible.


I'm afraid many British immigrants here (sorry I hate the term expats so won't use it) are starting to believe that there is a concerted effort to make living here as difficult as possible.

There are residents permits to contend with.  There is a system of sorts but it seems dependent on the area in which you live as to whether you can sail through the process without problems.

You can't work without a work permit and they are not easy to obtain.  You cannot do a job that can be done by a Turk.  I actually agree with this up to a point.  It seems that teaching English is one of the few options open to foreigners.

It's always been possible to open a business here as a foreigner as long as you employ a certain number of Turkish nationals.  As far as I was aware if you met this criteria you could work in your business, but I think I may be wrong on that point.  Certainly in recent weeks it has come about that foreigners are now being fined and deported for not being aware of a change in the law in 2014 which apparently wasn't publicly announced (except as it seems in a newspaper called Resmi which covers such things, and which I frankly had never heard of before now).

One such lady in Didim bought a business a few years ago from another foreigner, has done everything by the book as she understood it, paid her taxes etc and employed Turks.  She wasn't even working herself but was quite suddenly told that she would have to leave the country in 30 days as she didn't have a work permit...as well as having to pay a hefty fine.  One could say that she should have made herself aware of the changes, but frankly it's impossible to keep up.  Laws are made or revised constantly, goalposts are moved, and even those in authority who are there to implement and uphold the laws don't always understand them.  Sadly, this lady has four young children, and has also during her time here done a lot for her local community.  She is very much appreciated by those who know her, and who are trying to raise funds to help her.

I am fortunate to have been married at a time when things were a lot simpler.  I automatically obtained dual nationality upon marriage, which allows me to live here without a residents permit, to work, to vote..in fact everything that a Turkish national is entitled to.  If this wasn't the case, and I had to jump through all these hoops, I very much doubt I would still be living here.

Kaya has now traded the motorbike in for a car.  We realised that it was going to be impossible to manage without one.  I haven't driven for a number of years.  The photo on my UK license expired a couple of years ago and I didn't renew it because I no longer have an address in the UK.  However, I showed this, along with the paper license to the traffic police in Bodrum in November and they assured me that I could have my license translated and noterised and as long as I had exit and entrance stamps on my passport every 6 months I could drive here.  I was a bit wary of this advice but got the translation and had it noterised.

The law then changed again in January and UK licenses now have to be exchanged for Turkish ones unless the 6 month date stamps can be shown on passports.  This isn't helpful for those immigrants who don't leave the country on a regular basis who will now have to do so, or change their licenses. I recently learned that as a dual national I could have exchanged my license years ago.  I wish I had known before it expired because if I want a Turkish license now I will have to take a driving test.  This is something that fills me with horror and it also costs money that we cannot afford.

So I have this car parked in front of the house which I can't  drive.

 So I will have to make a decision at some point about taking a test.   I'm reluctant to rush into doing this as I have no doubt the law will change again.

It's not easy here for foreigners these days and it's no wonder many are deciding to up and leave.

NOTE:  There is a wonderful page on Facebook to help foreigners through all the red tape.  It's called Doc Martin's Surgery for Expats in Turkey and you can find it by clicking this LINK

Monday, 16 May 2016

DREAMS

I saw this on someone's timeline on Facebook yesterday and it prompted me to do a blog post.

I've never really taken too much notice of the books, articles etc that interpret dreams.  I'm not sure I really want to know what they mean.  How does anyone know how to interpret them anyway?

We all have dreams don't we?  Or maybe some people don't.  They can stir up all sorts of emotions:  happiness, sadness, anxiety, and especially if they are so vivid that when we wake up we believe that they are real.

When I was a child I had a recurring dream about being able to fly.  In my dream I would come out of the house, to the end of the road, turn left until I came across a road which was a steep hill.  I would stand at the top of the road...jump...and fly to the bottom.

A common dream seems to be about falling.  I've had this one many times.  Another is trying to reach a destination but finding it impossible because of so many obstacles in my way.  I tend to get this last one if I am due to go on a journey, or if I am anxious about the dogs.

A rather more pleasant one that I had when I was a child was when I would be walking along a road and every few steps I found money on the ground.  I picked it up, continued walking and finding more.   If this was a sign that I might win the lottery, it never happened!

Occasionally I have a dream which, on waking and realising it's not true, upsets me dreadfully.   I have been estranged from my son for 18 years.  His choice, even though I still make attempts to contact him.   In my dream we have reconciled and my son is part of my life now.  It all seems so vivid and real.  Initially on awakening I still believe it and feel really happy.  After a short while the truth hits me and the sadness overwhelms me.

What do you dream about?   Are your dreams happy or sad?  Interesting or disturbing?  Have you actually tried to find out what they mean?  I'd like to know.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Scaling back

This time last year the tourist season was well under way and Kaya was doing well in his job.  He gets a small basic wage but his earnings rely on selling excursions to customers when he does his welcome meetings at the many hotels he is responsible for.

So far this year, he is still working long hours.  There are fewer reps employed by the company which means those who are working have more hotels to cover.  But there are not as many customers so it's proving difficult to earn money.  I think most of us suspected that this would be a bad season but we tried to live in hope.  Businesses will close because rents won't be covered.  There will undoubtedly be many out of work this year.  We are lucky that Kaya still has a job.

I am pretty good at economising when I need to.  I've had times in my life when I could afford to buy whatever I wanted, but times when money was in very short supply.  I can adapt easily and the habit I have had for years of checking prices in supermarkets for the best deals, has never left me.

Kaya has sold the car.  He has replaced it with a motorbike which is almost brand new.  This means that the debt on the car has now been cleared.  He has a company car with his job but if he wants to use it to come home the company make him pay highly for the privilege.  The idea was to leave our car at home for me to use throughout the summer but because of the changes in law on driving licences, I am not able to drive here now, unless I take a Turkish driving test at great expense.  Now he can come home sometimes on the motorbike and the cost of petrol will be a fraction of what it costs to use the car.

It will be difficult if we need to take dogs to the vet, and collect sacks of food, but we will have to borrow a car if necessary.   I think some of you may remember just how much Kaya can manage to carry on a motorbike...so we'll manage!


I am used to using the dolmuş to go into Milas or further afield, and my good friend David usually takes me shopping in Milas once a week, which helps enormously.

We may also have to cut back on what we provide to the dogs in the area.  Even though we have donations coming in, it's never enough.  My fund is still in the red.  When I see dogfood on offer I buy it anyway because I can't afford to miss good deals, and then hope money will eventually come in to cover it.  Sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn't.  Feeding and providing vet care for my 12 rescues costs a great deal, so I rely on donations to pay for all the other dogs (and cats) out there that we are trying to help.   We will continue to feed those we are committed to, but we know our limitations and it will be difficult to take on responsibility for any more.

I hate asking for money.  To be honest, writing about it in a blog post seems easier than just coming straight out with it on my Facebook page.   I am however extremely grateful for those who have continued to donate.  Without your generosity, we'd never have managed to help so many animals in need.

If you would like to help, you will find the PayPayl button at the top right hand side of this page.  Thankyou xxx











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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

When you just don't have a clue!!

Yesterday I lost my internet connection on my laptop but still had it on my phone.  To my non-technical brain this just doesn't make sense.  Although I'm sure you pc wizards out there know exactly what was wrong.

So I fiddled about with all sorts of things in the hope that I would by some miracle be connected again.  I wish I wasn't always tempted to do this.  I don't know what I'm doing and I am sure I do more harm than good.  Does anyone else do this?

At one point I decided to refresh my PC which meant that apps that I use every day were uninstalled and those I had painstakingly uninstalled last year were reinstalled.  And of course it made no difference whatsoever to my internet connection.

I phoned TTNet last night wishing my Turkish was better, and wishing even more that the customer service operators who answer after you have chosen the "English speaking" option could actually speak English...or at least something vaguely coherent.  I think he said it was a router problem and gave me another number to call.  I asked him to repeat it three times, still didn't understand so gave up.

I phoned them again this morning and got a girl who was most unhelpful so gave up again.  I sent a message to my brother-in-law who usually helps solve my pc problems but he's out of the country.  I asked Kaya if he knew anyone in the village who might be able to help.  Sure enough he did.  The guy turned up at 4pm with his little dog on a lead.  Tiny timid little thing but very well cared for and loved...that was quite clear.

I have my laptop and modem in the bedroom, but I couldn't bring the man and dog through the gate and into the house as the dogs would have gone berserk.

So he tied the dog's lead to a pole at the side of the house and climbed through my bedroom window.  No problem here, except that a couple of neighbours just up the road were watching.  No doubt this bit of activity will spread like wildfire throughout the village.  Ah well gives them something to talk about.

The most important thing is that he managed to sort out the problem with my laptop in 10 minutes....then exited via the bedroom window...being closely watched again by the neighbours.

I had an appointment at the hospital yesterday concerning the problems with my hip and leg.  X-rays were taken but it's not clear what's causing the problem.  In the meantime I have strong painkillers and anti-inflammatories and will go back in 10 days, and probably have another MRI scan if there is no improvement.

Although Kaya has been working since the end of March, this season is so quiet and he is not earning money yet.   We are considering selling the car and getting a motorbike.  Because of the license situation I won't be able to drive it anyway and a motorbike will be cheaper to run.  This is going to be a very difficult season for those working in tourism.  Let's hope it picks up.

Meanwhile, the dogs are all OK.  Blondie is doing well and I think I may be able to remove her bandage tomorrow as the scar has healed well.  I'll leave the lampshade on for a while yet to make sure she leaves the wound alone.

I am still in the red with my donation fund and am getting quite anxious about being able to buy more stocks of food for the village and sanayi dogs.  I may have to consider cutting back on what we provide.  Thankyou everyone who donates to help us to care for the dogs, and if anyone else would like to help, it will be very much appreciated. (You will find the Paypal button at the top right hand corner of this page).


If you are on Facebook and not yet a member of my group page, you are very welcome to join.  Just click on this link: Ayak's Animal Welfare (Dogs and Cats)


Sunday, 24 April 2016

I've been gone some time.....

...well I haven't of course.  I've been here all the time but it's been a long time since I did a blog post.

Our work with rescuing dogs continues.  We now have 12 at home.  Kaya had taken several dogs over to Mugla shelter who agreed to treat them.  Some isolated with mange and some that the shelter agreed to vaccinate, neuter and spay as long as we collected them and returned to the areas from which we removed them.  This has now been completed.

One of the dogs taken to Mugla was a boy we called Arthur.  He had a tumour on his face which the vet removed.  He was vaccinated and neutered and Kaya collected him two days later and placed him at the sanayi for safety.

Several hours later Arthur turned up in the village where he found Kaya at the teahouse.  He had crossed two dual carriageways and walked the 5km to the village.   Kaya left him there and returned home.  Ten minutes later Arthur found his way to our house and cried outside the gate.  We took him in and he has now been with us for about 4 weeks.

After a couple of days he went down with kennel cough.  He was very poorly and was taken to our vet.  He deteriorated so we got a second opinion from Pethane vets in Bodrum.  They prescribed medication and after a bit of a struggle which included having to feed him with a syringe, he finally recovered.  He was very thin but is eating well now and is very much stronger.

As I suspected, my other dogs succumbed to kennel cough.  In fact out of the 12 dogs, Sadie was the only one to avoid it.  They all recovered quite quickly, thanks to being fit healthy dogs.

I've had visits in the past few weeks.  Audrey from Bodrum popped in for coffee and spent some time playing with the dogs.   My friend Tamara on a visit to Turkey, stopped off to stay with me for 4 days and we had a great time.

Kaya started work at the end of March.  It's quiet at the moment.  It's early in the season and we are hoping that the recent problems in this country won't have too much effect on tourism.  We'll just have to wait and see.

I have had problems with my hip and leg, which is clearly all part of my osteoarthritis....old age creeping up on me I'm afraid.   It wasn't helped by an incident yesterday when I went out to feed the 7 big dogs.   Three dishes placed in the first area for Chas, Melek and Sadie, and as I was walking up the step through the connecting gate to the second area, I slipped and fell on my back.  At the same time 4 dishes of food shot up in the air and scattered so there was a bit of a free for all with the dogs.

Recovering myself, I returned to the house and brought out more food for the dogs who didn't manage to get to the scattered food quick enough.

This morning I am hobbling about.  I have a big bruise on my backside and I think I will have to start wearing my orthopaedic corset once again and use the strong painkillers prescribed just before Christmas.

It's at times like this I realise how much I miss Kaya when he's working.

We had hoped that our car would be left here this summer for me to use.  I was told by the traffic police in Bodrum that as long as I had my UK driving license translated and noterised I could drive on this...even though my license has expired.  Frankly I was doubtful but got it translated and noterised anyway.

The law concerning driving licenses changed in January this year, and recent info seems to indicate that an expired license would not be allowed.  I would have to take a driving test here to obtain a Turkish license...at great expense.  Those people with resident permits can change their current UK licences.  But even if my license hadn't expired, I have dual nationality so it doesn't seem to apply to me.  Most foreigners here will agree that there seems to be a concerted effort to make life as difficult for them as possible.

So the bottom line is that a car is of no use to me here.  If I need to get shopping I will have to use the dolmus, wait for the rare occasion that Kaya can get home, or rely on others, such as my friend David when he goes into Milas.   I hate not being independent!

Just a few photos from the past few weeks.

Tamara playing tug of war with the dogs

Kahve and another dog on their way back from Mugla Shelter

Arthur

Arthur

Feeding Arthur with syringe

Kaya with Arthur and the little ones

Audrey with Arthur and little ones

Me with some of the big ones all wanting cuddles





Saturday, 5 March 2016

My Turkey Journey

Occasionally people ask me about where I have lived in Turkey and a few years ago I did a blog post about my journey which began almost 18 years ago.

The last post in the series was written in our last home in Selçuk.

We moved from there to this village outside Milas almost 8 year ago and this is where I upped my game in rescuing and caring for dogs, simply because at long last we had the space to do it.

In the absence of being inspired to write anything at the moment, I thought I would share my journey for those of you who may be interested in some of the different areas of Turkey, and my ups and downs along the way.

The following list links to old blog posts for each area, and ends with Selçuk, before moving to our current home.

So, here are the links, in order, starting with my first home in Gümüslük.

Gümüslük

Turgutreis

Side, Antalya

Ceylan (on the way to Cappadocia)

A bit about Cappadocia

Arriving in Cappadocia

Göreme

Recent post - memories of Göreme (and a video)

Göreme to Selçuk

Selçuk

Friday, 26 February 2016

Recovery and Moving on

After I published my last blog post about my anxiety HERE I knew that writing about my feelings would help me.  What I didn't expect was the huge level of support I received as a result.

Of course I wasn't surprised that my close friends who know me well would understand completely that when I am in this black pit I'm not always the best person to be around, that I can act out of character, or shut myself away.  

It's to be expected that some I considered to be friends would not understand, but instead could be harsh and unforgiving, but that's fine.  Not everyone gets it. Depression can make you lose friendships, but it also makes you realise who your true friends are.

It's not always easy to hold your hands up. and apologise unreservedly for a blip in one's normal behaviour.  I can do it because over many years I have learned that none of us are perfect.  We are all flawed on some way.  So I forgive easily if someone upsets me.   I hope to receive the same in return.  If I don't then reluctantly I move on.  To dwell on it will not change things.

So thankyou so much to all those who sent me such lovely messages of support and encouragement, particularly to those who also suffer from depression, anxiety and paranoia.  You already know that I will be there for you when you are low, because I get it, and I appreciate your friendship when I need it most.

My mood has lifted considerably since last week.  I was sorry to leave my daughter and grandsons.  My time with them is always so short.  But each time I stay in the UK I feel more and more like a fish out of water.  After 18 years in Turkey, and in spite of all the problems we have here at the moment, it is my home.  It's where I belong.

I have thrown myself back into caring for the animals here.  Our 11 dogs gave me the best welcome, as did Kaya.  Like most men, he copes when his wife is away, but prefers me to be here.  He hasn't been well and has been making trips to the hospital, but we are remaining positive.  He quit smoking three weeks ago.  He has tried many times over the years to do so, but has never lasted more than one day.  I am amazed and very proud of him.  

Fistik has been receiving treatment for her yeast infection. This has necessitated trips to the vet every three days for injections and using lotion on her body to prevent her licking and scratching.  I'm afraid this dear little girl has always had skin problems, way before she came to us, and may continue to have these, but we will always make sure she has the best treatment.

I bought flea collars and worm tablets while I was in England and these were used on our 11 dogs yesterday.  The collars were normal ones, but they won't offer enough protection against ticks once the weather gets warmer, so these will be replaced by Paraband collars in April.

We travelled over to Bodrum on Tuesday to stock up with more dog food, and called in to see Annie on the way back.  We left some food, and also met Annie's "mum's" cat Sarı.  



The dog in the village that bit a child has been removed by the Belediye, but the four remaining dogs who we recently vaccinated, remain here.   We don't know how safe they are.  People are saying that if we continue to feed them, they will also bite people.  They just don't get that the opposite is true.  We are planning to remove them and place at the sanayi.  Two of them are female and we want to get them spayed, but we need to raise the money to do so first.

More food has also been delivered to the shepherd for his dog and more will be delivered to the sanayi today.  We continue to feed cats outside our house, and at least three are making good use of the cathouse Kaya built.  We also continue to supply food for Dursune's cat, Tekir.

As usual, thankyou to those of you who continue to donate to help with our work.  Donations are always needed and are very gratefully received.

We gathered together some leftover tiles yesterday and now have enough to lay them under the gazebo in the garden.  So this is Kaya's current project.  He likes to keep busy.

In the meantime I am making plans to get out and about a bit more.  Catch-up for coffee in Milas with my dear friend David today.   I am meeting up with two friends in Bodrum on Sunday, and the following week will be going to Didim for a couple of days to stay with friends who will be visiting their holiday home.  Another friend is hoping to come over from the UK to stay with me sometime in April, and I am looking forward to this.  My friend Gwen will also be over for a couple of months and will catch up with her too.

Moving on...onwards and upwards.   Have a good weekend everyone.



Friday, 19 February 2016

ANXIETY

Feeling constantly anxious is part of my everyday life.  It goes hand in hand with my depression and paranoia.  Those who have followed my blog for some time will have occasionally seen posts like this one.

There are two reasons for putting my thoughts and feelings here.  Firstly, those of you suffering from any kind of mental health problem will recognise them and maybe you won't feel so alone.  Secondly, when I am feeling as low and anxious as I am at the moment, writing about it sometimes puts it into perspective and can help me to cope.

So I am here in England for 12 days and should be happy, right?  Then why am I waking up each morning in tears? Why am I feeling like this?

There are things going on both within my family and in the outside world that make me incredibly anxious.  This is not ordinary anxiety and concern ...it is way off the scale.   I can't talk to anyone here about my feelings.  In fact there are very few people I can talk to these days.  People have their own problems.  I don't like to bother them...so I write about it instead.

So then the paranoia raises its ugly head.  Feeling hurt at the slightest innocent remark.  Reacting badly to such remarks.  Apologising but receiving no sign of being forgiven.   Making conversation but feeling that you are being ignored.  Always asking how others are and showing concern and interest, even though they don't ask how I'm feeling.    Generally feeling like a bloody nuisance.

So that's the self-indulgent part of depression.  It is a selfish illness made all the harder if you are not a selfish person by nature.  That perhaps sounds like a contradiction.   I do care a great deal, perhaps too much, about my family, friends, people and animals......and what's happening every day in this violent uncaring world.  But I sometimes feel that when it comes to my needing a bit of understanding, there's no-one there.  So it's all too easy to sink into a black hole and feel sorry for myself.

So there it is...off my chest...and I'm feeling better already (well just a bit)

Now I can talk about the best bit of my visit.  Two hectic days in Bristol with Stella, Billy and Jimi.  We arrived after midday on Monday and left at 2pm on Tuesday, but managed to cram an awful lot in.  We visited @Bristol Science Museum on Monday afternoon. Dinner out in the evening.  There are so many lovely restaurants in Bristol.  After a hearty breakfast at the hotel on Tuesday we visited Bristol Aquarium and then M Shed which is a museum dedicated to the people and history of Bristol.

After a quick lunch we headed back on the train feeling quite exhausted but I think the boys enjoyed themselves.

Much has been going on at home while I've been here.  Another bomb in Ankara and further attacks in the east of Turkey.  Warships being sent to the Aegean to apparently deal with the traffickers taking refugees to Greece...quite how this works or what will happen to the refugees is not altogether clear.  No doubt even more suffering for these people who have already been through far too much.

So it's a worrying time and no doubt I'm not the only one feeling anxious about the future.