Thursday, 29 October 2009

Two weeks in England

It's now Thursday.  I arrived on Sunday and much as I expected, the time is just flying by.

I have spent every day so far with Billy and my lovely daughter.  I have to admit to being quite anxious about Billy's first reaction to me.  After all I haven't seen him since he was four weeks old, and of course he couldn't possibly remember me.

But my fears soon disappeared....when I received a lovely smile from him.  He is such a happy little boy and it's a real joy to be in his company....and to give him lots of cuddles.   I feel so much love for him.

I have a busy weekend ahead.  I'm off to the shops on Saturday with my shopping buddy Janet.  We are good at shopping together.  Mostly it's window shopping as she's usually as hard-up as me.  But we like the same shops, and we both know when we should stop for coffee, and when we've had enough and it's time to go home.

My daughter has invited her inlaws and me for dinner on Saturday evening...which I am looking forward to.  They are really nice people...My daughter has married into a lovely family...and because we live apart, I am relieved that she has become part of a  family who care a great deal and watch out for her.

On Sunday my brother has arranged a family get-together, which will be my chance to meet my neice's baby boy who was born a month after Billy.

My brother has given me a digital camera.  I'm very excited about this, but being a technophobe, I'm still trying to digest the I have no pics to share at this point in bear with me whilst I continue to learn how to use it.

More later.............

Friday, 23 October 2009


Time has a habit of going very slowly when you are looking forward to something...and it goes too fast when that eagerly awaited event arrives.

This last couple of weeks, leading up to my visit to England has been going far too slowly, and I know that the next two weeks will absolutely fly by.

My daughter and I can't wait to see each other on Sunday.  I love and miss her so much that I have a permanent ache in my heart.  I often shed tears just thinking about fact I'm doing so now...even writing about her overwhelms me.  Two weeks with her is just not long enough. If it wasn't for the fact that Mr Ayak will be going away to work again as soon as I arrive home, I would stay in England for the whole winter.  But I have 3 dogs to take care of.  Of course I love my dogs, but I often think about how much  easier life would be if I didn't have them.

Billy is 6 months old today. From .....


in just 6 months...

Where does  the time go?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Billy enjoying solid food!



and rusk

Never book cheap flights!

I almost always travel to and from the UK with Turkish Airlines.  They are reliable and the service is good, but they are a bit more expensive.  The other disadvantage is that all flights go via Istanbul, so there's always a wait at Ataturk airport before the connecting flight.

When I was in the UK in April/May I had to cancel my original flight which was to return to Izmir, and re-book a flight to Bodrum as Mr Ayak had moved house whilst I was away.  It was more economical to book a return flight, so the return journey is the one I will make on Sunday.  I planned to stay for two weeks so needed a return flight for around the 8th November.  In July a friend told me about a cheap one way from Gatwick to Bodrum with Thomas Cook so I booked and paid for it.

Last Friday I received an email from them telling me the flight was cancelled and if I wanted a refund would I telephone them.  I emailed back to say that I had no intention of incurring costs by phoning England, so as they had cancelled they should phone me.  This seemed to prove difficult for them to comprehend, as they just continued to send me emails asking me to ring them.

To cut a long story short...I started to get angry and several emails later, I eventually received a phone call from them, gave them my card details for them to credit my account with the refund.  The girl on the other end of the line then informs me that...ooops she had debited the amount...not credited it.  But she reassured me that she had put through another transaction for twice the amount. bank account now shows the debit but not the credit.  More emails later, including one confirming MY cancellation of the flight, and several auto-replies telling me that my query would be dealt with in order of departure date (errr...what departure date?)...I finally received an email 10 minutes ago at last apologising and reassuring me that a credit transaction had now been made.  Oh...and they will give me 30 pounds compensation if I would like to telephone them to implement it!  So I have just replied I will not be telephoning...please just send me a cheque.

I've managed to re-book a flight with good old Turkish Airlines...and I'll stick with them in future.

Do you think I might be done for libel if I say I wouldn't advise anyone to book anything with Thomas Cook?  Oh well never mind...I'll take a chance on it.

Monday, 19 October 2009

This time next week...........

.........I will be having lots of cuddles with my beautiful grandson Billy

Saturday, 17 October 2009


I've always craved isolation.  After years of working with people and their problems, and coping with the hustle and bustle of living in the UK, and also some of the busy tourist areas in Turkey, I've found the perfect place to live.

Anyone who has read any of my posts since we moved to this village in May, will know that achieving this idyll isn't without it's problems.  But they are problems that are easily overcome...and they do nothing to spoil the joy I experience when I wake up each morning to the wonderful view and the sounds of the countryside.

An incident last night though, stopped me in my tracks, and made me consider another aspect of isolation...that of risks and danger.

We had gale force winds yesterday and even though the temperatures were still around 80 degrees F, I had to keep all the doors and windows closed to avoid all the dust and debris flying around.  Mid evening I could hear a crackling sound outside, didn't take much notıce at first as I thought it was the trees in the garden being battered by the wind.  It continued and I decided to check on Beki and Milly to see if they were ok.  When I went outside I could see a fire raging at the bottom of the hill..a pretty large one at that.  For some reason all the street lights were out so it was difficult to see whether it was a house or something else burning.  But most worrying was that it was spreading rapidly and the wind was blowing in my direction.

I phoned Mr Ayak and he was about to jump on the motorbike and head home, but apart from being an hour and a half away, I was very concerned about his safety on a motorbike in this weather. 

I gathered up the dogs and put them in the house, then I unravelled the hose pipe in the garden, in readiness. I'm not sure how effective this would be, but I knew I would have a damn good go at protecting my precious dogs and me!

Three fire trucks arrived and at the same time Mr Ayak called me to say he had phoned someone in the village and they had said that the fire was under control.  Trees and hedgerows were burning and they were quite close to houses, but the firefighters had responded very quickly...and eventually the fire was extinguished.

I suddenly realised my position...we are almost at the top of the hill.  If the fire had continued to spread in this direction, I would have had no means of escape.  I need to think carefully about this...I need to be prepared in future.

For me, isolation is bliss, but sometimes it comes at a price.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Passing on an Award

I received this Award last month details here and I duly passed it on to two other very enjoyable blogs.

At the time I was browsing and adding other blogs to my reading list and knew that I would be back to pass it on to others.

So I have pleasure in presenting it to the following blogs, recently discovered by me, that really add sunshine to my day.  If you haven't already discovered them for yourselves, do have a look:

The first one is Prospero's Cellphone here

and the second is Path to Self Sufficiency here

A very nice Award

This a lovely award which I am very pleased to accept from Chaitra at recipesforthelife here

This is Chaitra's first award and I'm sure those of you who have received numerous awards can remember the excitement at receiving your first, and the pleasure you experience from knowing your blog is read and appreciated.

Well done Chaitra...and I hope this is the first of many.

And a big thankyou for passing it on to me.

This award says "Hope..Courage...Faith".  I'm going to pass it on to just one blogger at the moment who I think deserves this award because he possesses these qualities...It will be his first award and I know he will be very pleased to receive good friend Amagerican at Amagerica here

A few more pics of my village and surrounding countryside

Updates and Stuff

After 31 hours without water, it finally returned at 4pm yesterday.  My neighbour tells me the work is not yet finished so it could be cut off again at any time.  So in record time I managed to have a shower, load up the washing machine, wash the dishes, and fill as many containers as I could find with I'm now prepared.

We had one of the daily powercuts last night...of course it's getting dark much earlier now, and till now the power has gone off in daylight. Last night however it was dark and I couldn't remember where I'd put the spent half an hour searching with light from my mobile phone and a cigarette lighter.  The candles are now dotted about the house in readiness for the next cut.

Milly, the newly rescued pup, is settling in very well.  In fact so well that she is rather over-confident, and runs rings round the other two. It makes no difference that she's so much smaller than doesn't stop her leaping on Beki when she's trying to sleep, jumping all over her and biting her tail.   Beki tolerates her up to a point but then gives her a little nip to encourage her to back-off.  Poppy on the other hand is still quite a fragile little thing. She likes to play with Milly for a few minutes but when it gets a little too boisterous she comes crying to me to pick her up.  Poppy is so tiny..she's not very strong and she doesn't eat very much. I worry about her.  Two or three years of ill treatment before I rescued her has taken its toll.  She stays in the house with me, day and night, and is happiest when she is as close to me as possible.

Mr Ayak is due home within the next few days as his job will be finished.   As I am off to the UK on the 25th I'm really happy to have a few days with him before I set off.  He is intending to build up the wall surrounding the house and garden whilst I'm away, to prevent Poppy from getting out, and other dogs getting in.  As soon as I return on the 9th November, he will be off to Istanbul where there is a promise of a job for the winter.  I miss him so much when he's away, but we have no choice, he has to go wherever there is work.

So it will be a lonely winter but at least I won't spend Christmas alone because my very good friends from Antalya are travelling up to spend it with me.  I don't usually celebrate Christmas here anyway, nor do my friends, because it's just another day here..but we decided we would make it special this year.  My friend used to be a chef and she has already been making christmas puddings and christmas cake, and lots of other it should be very enjoyable.

I continue to talk to Billy on webcam most days and he certainly seems to recognise me now.  His latest "trick" is to blow a raspberry when you say "Hello Billy"...very funny.

I can't wait to see him and smother him (and my lovely daughter) in kisses and cuddles...... 10 more sleeps to go!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


I have now been without water for 24 hours.   I am in desperate need of a shower.  I have dishes piling up in the kitchen needing to be washed and my laundry basket is overflowing. 

This is a  normal occurrence.  I am pretty used to it after more than 11 years. 

I wouldn't mind so much if I had some kind of warning that this was about to happen...or indeed for how long.

In most areas the water supply is the responsibility of the Belediye (local council) so they do tend to put out a warning announcement over the public address system.  But in some villages, particularly isolated ones such as ours, it's different.  The water for this village comes from a spring somewhere in the mountains through pipes that have probably been neglected over the years.   The responsibility for the water supply is down to the Muhtar who is the "head" or "chief" of the village.  This position is usually handed down from father to some muhtars are better than others..and some are not really up to the job.

For example, the muhtar should also organise refuse collection with the Belediye in Milas.  He has, up to a point.  However, there are only rubbish bins down in the centre of the village, but it's not collected from the houses on the hillside..of which ours is one.  This is because the roads, which are narrow, bumpy and potholed, are not easily negotiable for a large truck.  

The maintenance of the roads is  down to the Muhtar too.  The road from the village out to the main road is about 5km long, and this was recently re-surfaced.   There is talk of re-surfacing the roads up the hillside...but apparently they've been talking about this for years so I won't hold my breath.

When we moved here Mr Ayak spoke to the Muhtar about refuse collection and he promised to send a tractor up to us every Sunday to collect our rubbish.  Well we've been here since May, and in spite of constant reminders, it's never happened.

Back to the water problem.   Late yesterday afternoon, Mr Ayak phoned me and I told him about the problem.   He phoned the Muhtar at about 5pm who told him that pipes were being repaired in the village and the water supply would be switched back on within the hour.   It didn't happen.  Mr Ayak tried phoning the muhtar again late evening but there was no reply.  He also tried a couple of other acquaintances in the village, but was unable to contact them.  So we could only conclude that the workmen had probably decided to finish for the night, without having completed the work.  

I had asked my neighbours earlier if they had any idea when the water would be back, but they just shrugged their shoulders.  They are so laid-back, they just don't worry about it.  Some of them probably remember the days when they had no running water, so they manage somehow.  To be honest, most of them are not too concerned about washing their dishes, their clothes or themselves on a regular they're happy to wait it out.

So at the moment I have no idea when the supply will be switched on again...but one thing is certain...I have learned never again to take water for granted.

Update:  Mr Ayak has just spoken to the Muhtar who tells him that the pipes are still being repaired and they THINK the water will be back on again today!   Oh dear...when they say they "think" something will usually doesn't.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

How easy it is to be misunderstood

I suppose it was inevitable that I would write a post or make a comment on a blog that was misinterpreted.

It happened to me this morning.  My post on Depression was prompted by the response to a post on another blog.

The blog post I was reading was brilliant...and I completely understood where the blogger was coming from, but I responded to a comment made by another blogger, and I think the blog author thought my comment was aimed at her...rather than someone commenting on her post.

I am mortified to think that because of this misunderstanding, I might have offended anyone.  So I re-read my post and can see how my words could have been misconstrued.

Of course I naturally wanted to put this right.  Sometimes though it's possible to try too hard to correct something.  I went back to my post and I edited it.   Then I returned to it and edited again, giving an explanation as to why it was the same time deleting the comments made on the original post. Then I returned a third time and just edited out the explanation.

And here I am again...trying to put it right.

I think I may well be over-egging the pudding don't you?

But that's my final word on the subject...I'll shut up now!

Depression (2)

As someone who has had bouts of depression throughout most of my life, and also worked for many years as a social worker in the field of mental health, I guess I do get a little irritated by people who make assumptions about the condition, without taking the trouble to find out more about it.

There is still a stigma related to depression or any other kind of mental illness.  People who are depressed are not mad...they are just experiencing difficulties in their lives, which they find hard to cope with.

Most people will probably experience a form of mild depression at some time during their lives...maybe without even realising it.  Some are strong enough to cope with it and move on with no ill effects. Some, like me, will have learned to recognise the warning signs and through years of experience, will know how to deal with it.
To others, however, it becomes a burden...a heavy weight on their shoulders, that drags them down into a bottomless pit with no apparent way out.  This of course is the time to seek help.  It's not always easy to ask for help, however, because there is still a lot of prejudice out there.  It's difficult for some to seek help from those closest to them, because they worry that it will be seen as a sign of weakness, and that people will think less of them...or even label them as "mad".

There are early warning signs to look out for...not just for those suffering...but for those close to them to be aware of:

- A change in sleep patterns..or difficulty sleeping.

- Overwhelming feelings of anxiety.

- Lack of interest in those pastimes that were previously enjoyable.

- A feeling of hopelessness, lack of self esteem and guilt

- Fatigue and overall lower energy levels

- Loss of appetite or abnormally large appetite, leading to weight loss or gain

- Irritability, restlessness and short temper

- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

- Problems with  maintaining close relationships
This is the best time to seek help, before the condition gets worse.
Sometimes experiencing Depression can be a positive thing.  It's an opportunity to change your life for the better. In my case I learned a lot more about myself and how I react to certain situations...and most important of to deal with it and get on with my life.
Please be aware of those around you.  If you think they are suffering in what you can to help, or gently steer them in the direction of a professional who can give them the help they need.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


"Ah, beware of snobbery; it is the unwelcome recognition of one's own past   failings." (Cary Grant).

This is really one of my pet hates in life.   Not that I think about it a great deal.  I guess at my age I've come across snobbishness in all shapes and forms during my life, and I tend to tut inwardly and roll my eyes and just ignore it.  Unless I can see that someone being snobbish is actually offending or hurting someone else.

I was reminded of this recently when my in-laws were staying.  My father-in-law is a snob.  He is like a lot of people who start off  with very little but strive during their lives to achieve more in the way of position and material wealth, but instead of just appreciating the fruits of their labours, they somehow think that their achievements make them  better than everyone else.    My father-in-law likes quality in everything...nothing wrong with that of course...but he doesn't seem to accept that not everyone can afford quality.  He is very set in his ways and I know from his family that they tolerate his behaviour.  It's more difficult for the Turks to stand up to or argue a point with the head of the family.   But I'm not Turkish and I don't tolerate his behaviour so readily.

He criticised almost everything during his stay, and when one morning I had prepared breakfast for him as usual, he sniffed the cheese and said where did you get this?  I told him that Mr Ayak had brought it along with other food when he came over to welcome them on their arrival.   FIL then asked me if I had any different cheese, because this cheese was sour, inedible and of very poor quality.   So I replied that, our finances are such that we don't actually "do" quality....and that Mr Ayak had probably had to borrow the money from his boss to enable him to buy it anyway.   FIL was not happy with my dare I answer back!

Anyway, I just thought he was being his usual nitpicking self, so I was a little surprised when I went to market with my neighbour some days later, and we met up with some of the other village women, and they were asking me if my in-laws were still here.  I said they were and they proceeded to tell me that he was a snob.  Now I didn't know the Turkish word for snob but the gestures they made (flicking their noses with their fingers) were quite clear.  And I clearly understood that they don't like him because he thinks he is better than them.   They are also surprised that Mr Ayak is his son because he is nothing like him!  And judging by the hugs and kisses and pats on the back I received from them, I guess they sympathise with my having to put up with my father-in-law!

Intellectual snobbery is by far the worst kind, in my opinion.   It usually manifests itself, not in those people who are truly intellectual, but in those people who THINK they are.  The intellectual snob will dominate a conversation, usually with people they know may not have as much knowledge as them and they will sneer at the responses from those they deem to be inferior to themselves.   But  have you noticed how they  keep quiet when in the company of anyone who is intellectually superior to them? 

I have posted on a good many forums (or fora for those intellectual snobs amongst us) and the one thing that really gets to me is the person who sets themself up as the "grammar/spelling police".   They feel it's their role to criticise or "joke" about those they think are illiterate.  I have on more than one occasion objected to this.  There are many reasons why some people are not so articulate as doesn't mean that what they say is not of value.  It's what people have to say that's important...not how many mistakes they make when they say it.

When I attended grammar school many years ago, it was at a time when Speech Training was part of the curriculum.  For the first year we had 5 lessons a week of "how now brown cow" and "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain" with the sole aim of getting rid of our accents and enabling us to speak the Queen's English.  The repercussions were awful for an 11 year old like me, who lived on a council estate, where my family and the neighbours all spoke with a broad Berkshire accent....I was labelled a snob...and I was ostracised as a result.   Needless to say, I hated the school and the extreme snobbery that existed there, and left as soon as I could.

Snobbery will always exist...more's the pity...such a shame people can't just accept themselves and others for what they really are, instead of trying to be something they are not.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Relying on public transport

I've mentioned before about my normal mode of transport.  The dolmus (minibus) that goes from our village into the nearest town, Milas.  I've also said that I like them because the drivers go out of their way to be helpful, but at times they can be a little irritating.

With Mr Ayak away working, I have to go into Milas for food and household shopping.  As I have a difficult hill to climb when I return to the village, it's not possible to get all of my shopping in one trip, so I tend to make about three trips a week.

I set off earlier than usual on Tuesday morning.  I had things to do at home and the idea was to go and get my shopping as quickly as possible and return to my list of things to do.  The bus was due to leave at 8.20am and as I was just at the bottom of hill and turning the corner towards the bus stop at 8.15am I saw the bus heading off in the distance.  One of the old men in the teahouse told me it had left early because it was full.  OK fair enough, so I sat at the bus stop and waited for the next bus at 9.00am.

I managed to complete my shopping quite quickly, and according to the timetable at the bus stop in the village, there was a bus due to leave Milas at 10.00am.  I arrived at the bus station at 9.50am to discover that there was a bus at 9.45am which I had just missed, and although the timetable states that the next bus was due at 10.30am, it would seem that they have changed the timetable without letting anyone know, so in fact the next bus wasn't until 11.15am.  Tuesday is market day in Milas, so the 11.15am bus was absolutely full of people, bags of vegetables, sacks of fertiliser, etc etc.   I arrived home at around much for my quick shopping trip.

Today I made better plans, I was at the bus stop in the village in plenty of time for the 8.20am bus and it arrived at 8.30am!   I only had one supermarket to visit, so I was in time to catch the 9.45am bus back. When we set off there were only two to spread out with my shopping. I should have been back home by 10.30am at the latest.

However the driver had different plans.  Firstly he made a detour off his usual route, to visit a cash and carry store to pick up 12 crates of coca-cola for the village shop, so we sat and waited while he went in, made his purchases and piled them into the bus.  Next stop was a glass workshop, where he collected two large panes of glass, which the other passenger (an elderly man) held very carefully to stop them falling over.   Back on to the normal route, where he first stopped to pick up three 50kg sacks of fertiliser, and then to the petrol station where he filled up with petrol, then went into the shop to buy his cigarettes and newspaper.  I finally reached home at 11.20am.

Of course no-one ever complains, or finds this kind of behaviour strange...they take it all in their stride.  Because everyone knows that if you want the driver to make a detour for you to collect something, he will do so willingly.

Can you imagine any other country offering this sort of bus service or people willing to accept it?

Sunday, 4 October 2009


Every so often I have to shuffle all my priorities and come up with a sensible "to-do" list.

The weather is getting a little cooler so it's not so uncomfortable doing work in the garden.  Not to mention tidying up the mess made by three boisterous dogs...and daily  filling in a large tunnel that Beki has enjoyed digging overnight.  I don't think she's trying to escape...if she is, she's digging in the wrong place.  She just loves digging.  And to be honest, she's very good at it...very precise and neat.  If you ever want a hole dug...Beki's your girl.  I also need to take the three of them out for more walks...I could  do with some more's just been far too hot up until now...for me and them.

I have a lot of little jobs to do around the house, which I've also been putting off because of the heat.  I made a start yesterday in a small way by pruning my wardrobe...something I always seem to do at this time of year.

I allow myself a certain amount of time on my laptop each day.  I'm not really one of those people who sits in front of the screen all day long.  I have a Facebook page, but hardly ever use's a good place for getting photos of Billy and my daughter, as I still don't have a camera.  But I otherwise I don't really see the appeal. I do have a chuckle sometimes though at the comments people make.  My brother recently joined and lasted a couple of hours. I asked him why and he replied "Why would I want to read  (so-and-so).... has just scratched their arse... in fact why would (so-and-so) even think anyone would be interested?"  

 There seems to be an obsession with games and quizzes,which I just don't get.  I have on the odd occasion found myself completing one of the quizzes, then asked myself "why am I doing this? There have to be better things to do".  And of course there I switch off the laptop and go and do them.  And as for the games, they leave me cold.  I am not in the least competitive you see.  I've always been the same.  I don't feel the need to win so I have no desire to take part. 

I remember my ex-husband (a county badminton player in his time) once trying to teach me the game.  He couldn't understand why I wouldn't run about from one side of the court to the other to reach the shuttlecock.   But I didn't see the point...if it doesn't come anywhere near your racquet...why exhaust yourself trying to get to it! are not for me...I'd sooner let my opponent win and get it over with.

Anyway I digress....priorities.   I'm assembling my list, and have much to do over the next few weeks, followed by my trip to England on the 25th.  So I won't be blogging as much as I normally do for a while.  I love blogging, and I enjoy reading so many other wonderful blogs.   But whilst my mind is now focussed on real life activities, I find I'm less inspired to write.

I will of course find the time to read other blogs, and if  the mood takes me I'll post a few lines on mine.

So I'm off now to enthusiastically make a start on my list!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Just three weeks to go

Three weeks on Sunday, the 25th, I will be off to England for two weeks to see my beloved grandson Billy.  I don't have the words to describe how much I miss him, and my lovely daughter.

It's at times like this that I have a few niggly doubts about living so far away from them....and wish my finances were such that I could just pop over whenever the mood takes me.  I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking this way.  There are so many people out there that have moved to a different country, away from their loved ones, for one reason or another.  It's not an easy decision to certainly wasn't for me 11 years ago...and it doesn't get any easier with time.

I don't know what I'd do without the internet, and the wonders of the webcam.  Who invented the webcam? I don't know...but they deserve a huge hug!

My daughter spent the day with my niece yesterday, together with her little boy Matthew, who you may recall was born one month after Billy.  I'll leave you with a few pics of them together:

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Presenting an Award

It gives me great pleasure to pass this award to the following:

French Leave here.  If you haven't already done so, please have a look at this blog.  It is an honest portrayal of the life of an expat in France, warts and all.  I always look forward to the next post...they are so interesting and full of colour.

(It's also given with a little bit of mischief on my part, because I know she will have fun posting it up on her blog and practising links!!)

I would also like to present it to Gaelikaa who has two blogs, Gaelikaa's Diary  here and Out of Ireland and into India here .  Both excellent blogs which give a wonderful insight into Gaelikaa's life in India.

Finally I am awarding this to Not Waving but Drowning here.  This lady writes beautifully.  She has an extremely interesting family and when she tells their individual stories, she leaves each post with a cliffhanger which has you sitting on the edge of your seat...anxiously waiting for more!

There are so many excellent blogs out there, and these are just three of my favourites.  Do have a look at'll be glad you did!