You may recall (if you have followed the journey on my blog...sorry I can't do links to the posts...I will learn one day I promise!) that I did the 17 hour journey with my furniture and belongings and my dog Beki, from Goreme in Cappadocia to Selçuk. Mr Ayak and I had been apart for 18 months and because I had given him an ultimatum, and he had kept his side of the bargain, we were getting back together again.
Mr Ayak had rented an apartment in readiness for my arrival. It was around 7 am and I hadn't slept for nearly 3 days. The apartment was large and airy, but that was about all it had going for it. The top half of every room was painted bright yellow, the bottom half bright green, with an awful border in the middle, which was hanging off in places. The exceptions were the bathroom and kitchen which were tiled in neutral colors. Imagine my curtains and sitting room furniture in shades of burnt orange, terracotta and beige, fitting in with this decor...yuk!
Mr Ayak was in a new job so had to leave me to unpack. The furniture was unloaded and brought in, and to my horror I discovered that the men who had loaded it in Goreme had put the soba (wood and coal burning stove) pipes on the sofas and armchairs and they were now covered in thick black soot....impossible for me to clean by hand.
On his way to work, Mr Ayak found a man who he sent to the apartment to steam clean the furniture. It ended it up very wet and took 5 days to dry out. He was so thorough that he removed some of the original colour in places, but at least it was clean. So I started the unpacking. Mr Ayak sensed my dismay at the decor, particularly the sitting room, so when he arrived home he was armed with paint and brushes, and stayed up all night painting the room beige.
Gradually over the coming months, I painted the hall ,during which time Beki stepped in the paint tray and covered the floor and herself in beige paint...don't you just love dogs? Finally I painted the bedrooms in neutral colours and it all looked so much better.
The landlord and his wife lived in the apartment below (just two apartments...theirs and ours) with their 6 year old granddaughter who had been abandoned by her mother, and their 27 yr old wheelchair-bound son. The landlord was a heavy drinker and physically abused his wife, as well as keeping her short of money. Many times I found her in tears, along with a few bruises, and all I could do was to give her a hug. To attempt to get further involved would, I know, have left me with egg on my face.
When winter, and rain, arrived, we discovered more problems. The building had a flat roof which hadn't been sealed properly, so as a result our ceilings were damp. The bathroom and kitchen were the worst affected...they were black with mould. One night we were woken up by an almighty crash. We leapt out of bed to investigate, only to discover that the hall ceiling had collapsed...there were lumps of plaster and bricks everywhere. How lucky we were that it hadn't happened during the day, when one of us may have been injured.
After much complaining to the landlord, he got builders in to repair the damage. And of course I had to re-paint the hall. We had been complaining for some time about the state of the ceilings in the bathroom and kitchen, but it fell on deaf ears.
It was very difficult to sleep at night because the balcony adjoining the bedroom at the back of the house was very close to the balconies of the houses behind us. Because it's so hot in summer, neighbours would be on their balconies until the early hours...sometimes all night...drinking tea and chatting loudly...and boy are the Turks loud!
During this time the landlord said he was going to increase our rent. We already knew that we were paying more than the place was worth and we argued the point. He wouldn't back down until we finally reached a compromise. I would clean and re-paint the ceilings, and the rent would remain the same for the next year.
However, a few months later he started asking again for more rent...and we had finally had enough...so we moved again...to a lovely apartment on the other side of town. And that was where we had problems with neighbours (which I wrote about at the beginning of my blog) and which encouraged us to take up the offer of this house by my father-in-law.
It wasn't all doom and gloom in Selçuk. It's a lovely town and I made some good friends during the two years there. We keep in touch and a couple of them have already been to visit me here.
So I set off for England on 11th April for the birth of my grandson, and returned on 25th May to the house in the village near Milas, which I now call home.
That more or less completes the Turkey journey to date. I still intend to see a lot more of this beautiful country, but just in short bursts. It's finally time to put down roots.