Friday, 26 June 2009

The Turkey Journey...continued

Now...where were we? Before we were interrupted by the birth of my grandson during my 6 week trip to England, and the moving house and area?

I was telling you about where I've lived and we had reached Goreme.

I did tell you all about Cappadocia and how beautiful it is. Now I'll tell you a little about the time I spent living there.

Goreme was a turning point in my more ways than one. It was my first experience of Turkish village life and also my first experience of living alone in Turkey (more about that later).

I also added new skills to my repertoire. I started working in a small cafe which specialised in borek and gozleme and learned how to make them...this is an actual picture of them from the cafe I worked in.

It was a tiny cafe with an impossibly small kitchen, and I worked with the owner Refik. It was very popular and we were always busy and between us we had to do everything. Buy provisions, prep food, clean the cafe, lay tables, serve customers with drinks, cook food and serve, wash-up, etc etc. Looking back I don't know where I got my energy from. It must have been something to do with the good clean air!

During this time, Mr Ayak and I went through some personal problems and the result was that we split up for 18 months. I told him to go...sort his life out...and let me know when he'd managed it. I'm not going into details about the problem...suffice to say it was nothing to do with anyone else (Mr Ayak and I have always been totally faithful to each other even when we've been apart). But it was...we both agreed...the right thing to do at the time.

We did however keep in touch. Mr Ayak phoned constantly to see if I was managing on my own. I was in fact managing very well and actually enjoying the challenge of living on my own in Turkey. I learned some very useful lessons about survival in a different country.

Workwise, when the cafe became to much I spent a short time in an antique shop, but the money wasn't very good so I moved to a very nice gift shop. It wasn't always busy and there was a computer there ...which was where I first experienced the internet...and gradually taught myself (by trial and error) how to find my way around the world wide web.

18 months passed quickly in terms of work, but during my times alone in the evenings I missed Mr Ayak's company. But I was determined that I wouldn't back down on the ultimatum I'd given him.

Eventually we were both satisfied that we could move forward with our lives together in a more positive way, and he had achieved what he had set out to I packed up and moved to Selcuk.

An important lesson was learned by both of us during this time apart. It's not wise to totally rely on someone else because you never know when they may no longer be there. We both know for sure now that, although our lives are much happier and richer for being together...if we have to survive without each other...we can do it.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Magic Moments

There are times when I really wish I had a camcorder. This afternoon has been one of them.

A rampant male donkey has been terrorising the village. It would seem that there is a female donkey here on heat and this highly-sexed male donkey (use your imagination) has been charging about, chased by a gaggle of village women...shouting and throwing stones. No-one seems to know who he belongs to. He was obviously tethered but the strength of his desire has enabled him to break free.

Beki was barking at him as he passed our house. He stopped...hee-hawed at her...and gave our gate a good kicking. Beki retreated into the house... quickly followed by me and we are continuing to watch the spectacle from the window.

It's been going on for about two hours now. Mr Donkey is going round in circles...he passes our house every 10 minutes or so, and the numbers of women chasing him are increasing.

I don't really know what they are trying to do. It would seem a little pointless to me to keep chasing him round in circles. Surely it would be better to try and catch him? Try to calm him down?

Or maybe this is what passes for entertainment here and the women are simply having fun!

Monday, 15 June 2009


They've been getting into my electrical things. I mentioned that my year-old laptop had died and due to a 3 month wait for it to be repaired I have had to buy a new one.

A week before the kettle died. Mr Ayak took it apart (groan) in an attempt to fix it..but the hammer didn't do the trick this a new one was purchased.

We had new curtain tracks to fit so out came the electric life in it at all. Out came Mr Ayak's hammer again...and you've guessed repair possible. We tried to get it repaired in town but it was cheaper to buy a new one.

On Friday the vacuum cleaner let out an enormous puff of smoke and dust ...coughed...and died. This didn't really come as a surprise because it's been on it's last legs for some time and actually throws out more than it picks up. So we bought a new one.

The washing machine is doing strange things at the moment. Sometimes it starts a cycle...sometimes it doesn't. I shouted at it..."don't you dare die"...and I think I scared the washing machine gremlin because for the last day or so it's been OK.

These damn gremlins even get into the plumbing. Somehow they are causing water to leak through the bathroom wall into the bedroom. As a result there is a damp patch on the bedroom wall that's getting bigger.

So yesterday morning, fairly early, Mr Ayak armed with his hammer, switched off the water at the mains, shut himself in the bathroom and prepared to attack the plumbing gremlin.

I was naturally quite concerned because as you know DIY really isn't Mr Ayak's forte. He spent a whole day in the bathroom. He located the leak, but not before having smashed several tiles with his hammer in the process. He then removed the taps...but damaged them before replacing had to go out and buy new ones. He returned with the taps and a man. The man fitted the taps in a flash....but the leak is still there. After another couple of hours in the bathroom Mr Ayak assures me that it's all under control (why don't I believe him?).

And this is where I sign off for today,because I have to wake Mr Ayak early this morning as he has promised to fill in the holes in the bathroom wall before he goes to work.

Oh...and I've hidden the hammer...

Thursday, 11 June 2009

No complaints...surprisingly!

The photo has nothing whatever to do with today's post...but I don't need an excuse to post another pic of Billy do I?

We were expecting the men yesterday morning to complete the enclosing of our terrace with windows and doors....and to fix metalwork and steps to the balcony. By 10.30 am there was no sign of them so Mr Ayak set off to see what was holding things up. He phoned to say they were still building the panels etc and that he would stay there to encourage them to work a little faster.

He phoned me throughout the day, saying it won't be long now...perhaps another hour. But after he said this several times, I decided to just expect them when they were ready.

They eventually turned up at 9.45pm and it was dark, but that didn't deter them from setting to work. They worked until around 2.30am and the noise was unbelievable...drilling, banging, welding etc.

I was quite anxious about keeping the neighbours awake. We British are always concerned about upsetting our neighbours...we are so used to complaints about the slightest thing. Well of course there are Turks who like to complain about their neighbours too as I have experienced, but this just never seems to happen in villages. In fact two neighbours actually turned up at around 1.00am to see if there was anything they could do to help! And a few others have popped round this morning to admire the building work and to wish us well. We apologised for the noise in the early hours, but they just brushed it aside saying it was absolutely not a problem.

Anyway...the builders are due back today to finish off. It's looking really good so far, but there's a lot of cleaning and tidying up to do. Mr Ayak was up until 5am clearing up most of the mess, he's had a couple of hours sleep, and he has started his new job today...just hope he can last out the day on so little sleep.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Happy Days

Billy's first proper smile (not wind) snapped by my daughter on her mobile phone. Doesn't it just make you so happy to see a baby smile?

Happy days are here at last. I should be depressed...I have debts and no money. My year-old laptop packed up yesterday. It's been sent to the manufacturer as it's still under guarantee but should take about 3 months! I can't be off the internet for that long. No internet cafes in this out came the credit card again! Ah well....

Like I said...I should be depressed..but I'm not..far from it. Today is the first day of my new optimistic outlook on life. It's been a long time coming, but it's never too late.

I just have to step outside the door and gaze at the view to know that nothing in life is as important as Living for the moment, that's what it's all about. Here come the cliches..."you're a long time dead", "life's short", "live each day as if it were your last"...etc etc. But they're all true aren't they?

I'm very happy with how my life has turned out, and I'm talking about it today in the hope that my happiness will rub off on all of those reading who perhaps don't feel too good thoughts are with you and I'm doing my best to send happy vibes your way!

Friday, 5 June 2009

A work of Art

....yes a work of art. The completed balcony that is. It's not just's lovely. Mr Ayak finished it last night. One of the old ladies came round and insisted on doing the finishing touches to the wet cement with the trowel. I don't think she actually made any difference, but Mr Ayak just stepped back and let her do it.

Not only is it finished, but at the same time Mr Ayak has been clearing the garden of weeds and rubble. This is necessary as there are lots of snakes about at this time of year. Most of the villagers have put down poison, but we can't because of Beki. So the best solution is to clear the garden, just leaving flat soil, so the snakes have nowhere to hide.

We have some cement and sand left over so Mr Ayak is going to make an area for Beki. There is a delapidated building in the garden, which we have plans in the future to renovate for guests to stay in. But that's a long way off. It has a rickety shelter at the front with a grapevine growing over it. Beki likes this spot as it is shady, but she finds it difficult to get comfortable because the ground is uneven. So today it will be levelled out and cemented and become Beki's terrace.

You may be wondering about Mr Ayak's job? The travelling/selling business wasn't really successful. He couldn't make enough money. It did satisfy his lust for wandering for a month though. Before he started work on the balcony he had been out searching for work locally. He is desperate to get out of tourism because it's so unpredictable and the season is short, but there's absolutely nothing going. The season in this area doesn't really start till mid-June, and even then bosses won't take on staff until absolutely the last minute. So he's seen a lot of people, who have his details, and will now just have to wait for a phone call. Although he's planning another blitz of the area this weekend..just in case he's missed anything.

It's not an easy way to live...every year we have the same problems. I used to get very stressed about it all, but after 11 years I've realised that we can't change things, so we just have to go with it. He manages to earn money for part of the year...hands it all over to me....and we get by. I am reassured to a certain extent that by no means are we the only ones going through this.

At least now the burden of finding monthly rent money has been taken is the risk of being evicted if we can't pay.

At long last I'm starting to feel secure.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Progress and Language Problems

The balcony's taking shape. Mr Ayak has built the base which consists of a wall built with stone from the garden and then filled with more stone and rubble. I had my doubts yesterday as it was sloping...but today I'm more appears to be quite level after all.

It's going to be a "rustic" balcony. I can't think of another way to describe it. I don't have a digital camera so you'll be sorry to hear that I won't be able to upload a photo of it (go on..admit are sorry that I'm depriving you of a laugh aren't you?).

Some time next week the terrace will be enclosed and we will have another room. There will be metalwork surrounding the balcony and steps leading up to the new door. I can't wait!


There are lots of different dialects in Turkey, as of course there are in other countries. I recall the story about my friend from New Zealand, who has lived in Goreme for the past 20 years. She has a thriving business there and also gives demonstrations and talks all over Turkey, mostly to foreign embassy and consulate personnel. Naturally she learned her Turkish from the people of Goreme, and was quite embarrassed when after many years someone told her that her Turkish was spoken very badly. She had picked up the Goreme village dialect plus all the bad language habits...which didn't go down too well with the circles she mixed with in her trips to Ankara and Istanbul. So she decided to get a tutor and start to learn the language properly.

My Turkish is not very good at all...I am one of those people who is useless with languages. I really envy people who seem to pick up languages so easily. I get by of course, and I understand quite a lot, but I'm not good at holding a conversation. It's probably a lack of confidence as much as anything. I haven't really noticed the different dialects in the areas we have lived, other than being aware that some people speak a lot faster than others.

The people in this village speak very quickly, and for over a week I haven't actually been able to understand a word. I've just been nodding and smiling and hoping for the best. Imagine my relief when Mr Ayak informed me today that he has never come across such a strange dialect in Turkey before, and even though he is Turkish, he is finding it extremely difficult to understand them too.

I did wonder why he was also doing a lot of nodding and smiling...glad it's not just me!


Mr Ayak is building a balcony. Yes I know I have mentioned before that his attempts at DIY consist of using only a hammer but I have no choice but to accept his decision on this occasion.

Look at this picture. The kitchen is to the right of the open terrace. Behind the terrace are three rooms...a sitting-room, bathroom and bedroom. We decided that as we have plenty of space we could enclose this terrace and make it a sitting room, thus giving us two bedrooms. To do this we would first need to build a balcony at the front and steps leading up to what will be a door on the right hand side...otherwise we will just open the door and sort of fall out.
The builder who was finishing off the septic tank and concreting when I arrived just over a week ago seemed pretty efficient so we decided to ask him to build the balcony and steps. That was on Friday and he was due to start work on Saturday.

He didn't turn up so Mr Ayak went to find him. He had unfortunately broken his leg and was in hospital, so Mr Ayak set about finding someone else to do the work. After several visits by different men, and much drinking of tea and chatting, Mr Ayak settled on a rather elderly, frail man. He is 76 years old. I was rather concerned about this as he was determined that he could undertake the entire job on his own. I had serious doubts.
So on Sunday he made a start. The base of the balcony consists of large rocks, of which there are lots in the garden. Of course he couldn't lift these so Mr Ayak started digging them up, loading them into the wheelbarrow and shifting them. Then he couldn't manage the bags of cement so Mr Ayak shifted those and mixed with the sand. You're getting the picture now aren't you?
By Sunday afternoon, Mr Ayak was busy building the balcony, whilst the old man was sitting in the shade. I did mention to Mr Ayak of course that we were paying this man to do the job and it seemed a bit ridiculous for Mr Ayak to be doing most of the work. He replied that he had to help the man as he was old and couldn't manage on his own. (OK Mr Ayak's too kind for his own good and people take advantage of him but I've given up trying to get him to toughen up).
Monday arrives but no old man. In the meantime, Mr Ayak continues to build the balcony and carries on with it yesterday (Tuesday). The old man put in an appearance at midday to say that he wasn't feeling well the day before (but obviously didn't think to let us know). He then sat in the shade whilst Mr Ayak was continuing to work up a sweat.
Enough is enough. I took Mr Ayak to one side and said that there is no way that we could consider paying the man to build the balcony and that he would have to tell him. He did so and offered him a day's pay (which I think was over-generous) and the man went on his way.
Therefore Mr Ayak continues with his DIY. The balcony is sloping one way and I dread to think what the steps will be like..but what choice do I have?
I'll keep you posted.