Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tagged???

I've been tagged by "Not Waving but Drowning". Now I don't really know what being tagged means but I am guessing that I am expected to answer the same questions as she did. So this is what I will do. If at some stage I find out that this is not what was meant, then I will get embarrassed and delete this post.



Here goes:



1. What are your current obsessions?

My grandson and Cadburys chocolate.



2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?

Jogging bottoms.



3. Last dream you had?

I can't remember the last dream I had but I do have a recurring one where I can fly. It always starts off with me standing at the top of a hill...I jump and fly to the bottom.

4. Last thing you bought?

An electric bottle steriliser this morning because my daughter was struggling with a secondhand, warped microwave steriliser and I wanted to make life a little easier for her.



5. What are you listening to?

Heavy digging machinery. I'm staying with my brother and his neighbour is having his drive re-surfaced.



6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?

Hmm...difficult one...possibly Hestia...Goddess of the hearth and home, the focal point of every household.



7. Favourite holiday spots?

Venice, St Lucia, Cappadocia.



8. Reading right now?

I'm not finding time to read anything properly at the moment. I am intending to hit the bookshops in the next day or so. However as I always need to read a few pages of anything to get me off to sleep at night I am reading a paperback which I picked up from my daughter...but I can't remember what it's called, where it is at the moment, or even what it's about!



9. Four words to describe yourself.

Sensitive, caring, trusting, loyal.



10. Guilty pleasure?

A large bar of Cadburys chocolate or a box of Maltesers whilst reading a good book in bed.



11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?

Eddie Izzard...particularly his one-man shows.



12. Favourite spring thing to do?

Admiring the spring flowers and blossom in England which I am fortunately able to do at the moment.

13. Planning to travel to next?

Home to Turkey on 25th May...with mixed feelings...looking forward to being home and seeing Mr Ayak and my dog, but also sorry to leave my daughter and my new grandson.



14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?

Mmm...bacon sandwich...I do so miss bacon and eat as much of it as possible while I'm in England.



15. When did you last get tipsy?

I can't really remember...a long time ago. I don't really get tipsy these days because I don't drink in Turkey. Only because I like wine but not Turkish wine. I do have a few glasses of wine when I'm in England though because the choice is good...but not enough to get tipsy.



16. Favourite ever film?

The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland because it reminds me of the enjoyment of watching it with my children (over and over and over again!) when they were young.



17. Care to share some wisdom?

Yes...my favourite quote from William Shakespeare is pretty wise: ""Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none"



18. Song you can't get out of your head?

The workmen in next door's driveway had a radio playing this morning and I heard the song "Hi Ho Silver Lining"...although I can't remember who sang it...but it keeps going round in my head and is driving me nuts...aaaargh!



19. Thing you are looking forward to?

Hopefully being able to afford another trip to the UK soon to see my grandson...so in other words...looking forward to winning the Lottery so that I can come and go whenever I want to!



20 If money were no object, where would you choose to live?

I'd choose to live in two places...in Turkey primarily but I'd also have a house in England, by the River Thames, and I'd have a private jet to transport me back and forth whenever I wanted to.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Welcome to the world Billy


My grandson, Billy was born at 3.03pm today, weighing in at 7lbs 8oz. He is of course absolutely gorgeous...which I naturally would say because I am biased.
I am amazed at the bravery of my daughter who had no pain relief other than gas and air, and who looked so wonderful after giving birth. In fact she looked like she had perhaps just been out shopping or some other routine daily chore.
And I now feel kind of stunned. I can't really explain the feeling except to say that I am immensely proud of my daughter and I'm as pleased as punch!

Monday, 20 April 2009

D Day and waiting

It's due date today and I'm hoping my daughter doesn't have too much longer to wait.

On Friday I made a temporary move...I'm house-sitting for a friend for a week whilst she is away. It's very convenient at this particular time too because it's literally minutes away from my daughter's home.

We had a lovely day yesterday. The weather was glorious and my daughter and son-in-law came to me. We enjoyed a long leisurely brunch and a pile of Sunday newspapers out in the garden....lovely. I do hope this good weather lasts a bit longer.

Today is another milestone for me...four months since I gave up smoking....a decision made because I was determined that I didn't want my grandchild to associate this particular grandmother with the smell of an old ashtray. I am feeling a lot healthier but the downside is that I have put on weight but I'll have a go at shifting the excess later. It's a small price to pay.

Mr Ayak still continues with his latest venture/adventure. He hasn't made his fortune yet...in fact he hasn't earned much at all. But it's early days and because I'm so far away from him at the moment and I am distracted by other things, I'm not going to worry about it. Experience has taught me that it's best not to get stressed about things over which I have no control.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

No News

I'm waiting patiently for my grandson to arrive...no sign yet. I have dragged my daughter out for long walks this week in the hope that this might hurry things along, but he's clearly not ready to put in an appearance yet.

I always feel like a fish out of water every time I come back to England for a visit. It takes me several days to get used to crossing roads safely with traffic moving on the other side of the road. I fumble with the small change in my purse when paying for things in shops because I have to get used to the currency all over again. I think in Turkish lira so I find myself converting from sterling to lira whenever I spend money...I wish I didn't do this because it just reminds me how expensive it is here!

And the worse thing is adjusting to the 2 hour time difference. I'm generally an early riser...usually around 6.30am.....and now I'm waking up at around 4.30am. Of course at the other end of the day I'm falling asleep hours before everyone else.

So...this post is turning into inane drivel, which I attribute to my general feeling of anxiety....I'm often reminded that I waffle on aimlessly when I'm anxious...so I'll stop now before I bore everyone to tears.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Back in good old Blighty

Well I left glorious sunshine yesterday morning and arrived at Heathrow to rain yesterday afternoon and it's been drizzling ever since.

My daughter is blooming...motherhood is going to suit her ....of that I have no doubt. She is getting a little impatient now and just wants it to be over but I am pleased that my grandson has decided to wait until I arrived.

Mr Ayak continues with his latest adventure...the last I heard he was in or near Ankara.

And Beki has, as I expected, settled in well with my friends in Antalya. They tell me she has taken over their sofa and they don't mind at all. She's getting lots of long walks and is subsequently sleeping a lot so they think it's only fair that she has the most comfortable spot.

I don't have anything else to report other than I have eaten far too much chocolate today....and hope you are all having a lovely Easter!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Slowly making Progress

Finally, after a week of problems, Mr Ayak set off last night at around 10pm to take Beki to Antalya, before setting off to make his fortune.

He thought he had negotiated a deal on Monday for a van in exchange for his car but that fell through. Similar deals were almost struck and again fell through on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Yesterday he arranged to borrow a car, the boot and back seat both filled with his stock. We then had to squeeze Beki and her stuff into the front passenger seat and Mr Ayak (who is a large man) squashed into the driving seat. I have to say I waved them off on their journey of 500km to Antalya with a great deal of concern.

He aimed to stop on the way to sleep (fortunately he has always been able to sleep in even the most confined spaces) and then arrive at our friends home this morning.

I spoke to him at 7 am and he is around 80km from his destination, and both he and Beki are fine.

We made the decision yesterday to make the move to my father-in-law's house when I return from England, but I can't even think about that at the moment.

So...today I will be washing, ironing and packing, and tomorrow I set off for England and the imminent birth of Grandson No 1.
There may not be time to post so much for the next few weeks, but I'll keep you updated as and when I can.
Just a last word from me to all my new blogger friends... many many thanks for your encouragement and support xxx

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Another move?

After the awful business with the nasty neighbours yesterday, Mr Ayak brought up a previously discussed subject again.
Some time ago my father-in-law said he would give us a house he has bought and has been having renovated in a village between Bodrum and Milas. When I say GIVE...I use the word loosely because the deeds will still be in his name, but we will be allowed to live in the house. This is pretty much par for the course in Turkish families as far as property is concerned. I mentioned before that Mr Ayak Snr had given houses to his other son and daughter, but here again the deeds remain in his name. The only time that changes is when Mr Ayak Snr dies.

You may wonder why we didn't jump at the chance before now? There are several reasons why not. Firstly the relationship with Mr Ayak and his father has always been a difficult one and I was concerned that if we lived in this house and the two of them fell out, we would end up on the streets. Secondly, the Turkish patriarch likes to control the rest of the family. If we live in his house we have taken a step towards his control and away from our independence.

Another factor to consider is that members of his family are then likely to turn up whenever they want to and stay for as long as they like. This is one of the most irritating things about Turkish families. They give you no warning..they turn up...and they stay...for ages. It's not the done thing to ask them how long they are staying. It's considered very rude to do so. As far as they are concerned, members of the family are welcome in any of their homes...ie your home is my home and vice versa. A good example would be when we invited an aunt and uncle of Mr Ayak's to lunch one day and they stayed for 24 hours.

So that's the downside...but of course the advantage is that we will have no rent to pay. The house, although small, has a lot of land and is in a quiet village location. It would be absolutely wonderful for Beki as well. Of course if Mr Ayak's travelling selling business takes off, it won't really matter where we live. We have always previously had to live near to where he has worked.

I haven't seen the house or the location yet, but here are some pics that my brother in law sent me today:
Having looked at the pics I am very tempted. I guess we could give it a try...we have nothing to lose?

A bit of a dilemma........ Plenty to think about while I'm away in the UK for the next six weeks.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Neighbours

Sometimes I may have to use this blog to have a scream....aaaaargh!
Forgive me for that but I am so upset and angry.

It's normal if you break something or something doesn't work...to fix it. The responsibility lies with the person who does the damage. For example a couple of months ago Mr Ayak drove over the bottom marble step outside our block and broke it (I told you he was clumsy!)..but within two hours he had found someone to replace the marble...good as new!

Over a week ago someone broke the catch on the main door to the block. It wasn't Mr Ayak because he wasn't here. And I know it wasn't me. So it had to be someone in one of the three other occupied apartments. Well..it's not been fixed. The door won't close and it's important for security that it does...particularly at night.

Mr Ayak asked the neighbour downstairs this morning who had broken it and were they going to fix it? She replied: "I don't know...maybe it was you"... He was quite angry about this and said that someone needed to take responsibility for it.

He went off out and half an hour later the Zabita arrived. The Zabita are a sort of environmental police/ health officers...I can't think of any other way to describe them. Anyway three officers turned up....and the neighbour downstairs appeared and it would seem that she had phoned them to complain about my dog!! We've been here since last August....so why now?

They were all talking so fast I couldn't understand what they were saying...and I was trying to get hold of Mr Ayak on his mobile phone at the same time, but it was busy. When I finally managed to get hold of him they had left, so he set off to see them.

When he returned he told me that the complaint was about our dog being noisy. Which is crap frankly. I'm here most of the time and she doesn't make a noise. In fact the neighbour who complained usually has their TV so loud I can hear it above mine...but I've never said a word. Mr Ayak spoke to the other neighbour downstairs and she said she doesn't have a problem with the dog but she has a problem with me because apparently when she came up to see me about something recently, she claims I slammed the door in her face! I'm really shocked at this..because it clearly is not true. ..it's a blatent lie.

Why do people do this? There is one reason which I don't really like to consider, but past experience has proved otherwise, and that is quite simply xenophobia. I'm English and they think I am odd because I don't want to spend all my spare time in their homes drinking tea and gossiping, and because I don't constantly invite them into my home to do the same. It's a cultural thing...it's what Turkish women do...and it's what most English women tend not to do.

I'm not unsociable. I speak to the neighbours whenever I see them. I take them cakes when I bake. I pass the time of day or talk about the weather. But somehow it's not enough for them. It's not really a criticism, because they generally are lovely people, but sometimes they want to be more involved in each others' lives and want more of me than I'm prepared to give. They don't like it, so they seem to feel the need to cause trouble.

Of course I could be wrong...maybe I've misjudged them...but I don't think so. But as I said it's left me feeling angry and upset. Actually upset more than angry. That dreadful feeling you get when you think everyone is blaming you when you know you've done nothing wrong? And my current state of mind has to be taken into consideration of course. So I've taken a deep breath...counted to 10...and taken a step back from it.....well I'm trying to!

The Zabita told Mr Ayak they think the neighbours are very silly, but they have to log the complaint. If you get more than one complaint it goes to court apparently.

So Beki is off to Antalya tonight with Mr Ayak, who will then be away working....and I set off for England on Saturday.

The way I feel at this moment..... I won't be in too much of a hurry to return.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Mr Ayak's adventures

Mr Ayak arrived back on Sunday night after a week away. He is still persisting with trying to set up his selling/delivery business. He has, quite sensibly, decided that the tourist industry is too unpredictable and he needs to find something different.


I am a little concerned at times because Mr Ayak doesn't really have a business brain..he has attempted other ventures in the past and they've failed But if nothing else he is always optimistic about a new scheme...and always convinced that this is the one that will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams. I am of course more realistic!

This latest idea has more hope however..although no money at the moment...which is what we really need right now! He chose a partner who had a van..essential for stock of course. He filled it up with petrol and they set off. On Friday evening Mr Ayak phoned me to say that he was very angry because this wasn't working out and that he was on his way home.

OK...I was a little exasperated but I asked myself "did I really expect it to work?" and my answer of course was "no but I hoped it might".

Mr Ayak arrived home and explained what had happened. They had in fact sold their stock but his partner had insisted on staying in decent hotels, and Mr Ayak said he had never known anyone eat so much as this man, as well as smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. Whereas Mr Ayak would have preferred to stay in cheap accommodation or sleep in the van, because his aim was to earn money. Obviously this wasn't his partner's main concern, perhaps he just went along for the ride. They had a very heated argument about it but Mr Ayak had little choice in the matter as the other guy had the van.

So after using the last of their earnings on filling up with petrol they came home. However Mr Ayak spent yesterday negotiating with the owner of the factory who supplied the stock, and is hoping that he will be able to borrow a van so that he can continue with his new enterprise on his own. He feels certain that he will be able to sell well and if he does it alone, he can keep his overheads to a bare minimum.

He should be setting off again this evening with a bit of luck. He thinks he will be gone for about a month. This coincides with me heading off to the UK on Saturday for up to 6 weeks and fortunately our friends in Side, Antalya will be looking after Beki....Mr Ayak will take her down in the van before setting off on his latest adventure.


And this is really what it is.......an adventure. OK it involves looking for work and earning money, but it's satisfying his need for adventure.


Mr Ayak has to have an adventure from time to time. He doesn't know he's having an adventure and he will have another explanation for it ...but I recognised this need of his some years ago.He just finds it impossible to settle in one place for too long...hence the reason why we have moved around so much. For several years I just went along with it. He always thinks that he will find the perfect job if he looks further afield. So he would set off and I would follow. But I don't follow anymore...I just let him go and do whatever he needs to do. It works pretty well. I don't get lonely...I enjoy my own company, and when he returns we enjoy each other's company so much more.

I'd prefer it if he settled in one place with a steady job, but he wouldn't be happy...and to be honest there aren't really "steady jobs" for people here unless they are highly qualified. I am always safe in the knowledge that whenever he earns money he hands it straight over to me. When he's not earning, we just muddle through...we survive!


I spent too much of my life before I met him trying to control those around me...trying to get them to conform. In other words trying to change them into something that suited me. I tried it with Mr Ayak for a while, and he tried to oblige, but I didn't like what I was turning him into. So I've learned to let go...to allow him to be himself. And if that means he will always be a bit of a nomad...then so be it. Finally I've found a way of life that actually works.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Depression (1)

Most people have suffered from depression at some point in their lives. Fortunately for many it's just a mild dose...a reaction to some difficult or tragic event in their lives. But for others it's something that is with them for life. Oh it disappears from time to time, but then rears it's ugly head when you are least expecting it.

It's been with me for as long as I can remember..certainly most of my adult life but it usually gets pushed into taking a back seat while I get on with dealing with the task of living. In many cases, certainly in mine, I think it's genetic. My father was a depressive, and my two brothers have also had their moments of melancholy.

Mine was so severe at one time...about 14 years ago..that I spent a year in and out of hospital. It's almost amusing to note that I was working in a private psychiatric hospital at the time...although I thought it highly inappropriate to be admitted to this hospital...just a bit embarrassing!

My colleagues were all psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and psychiatric nurses, so I did get a great deal of support. One of them, an eminent psychiatrist, called John, took me on as a patient, and had me admitted to another private hospital in the area. Thank goodness for the private health insurance I had at the time, as state psychiatric wards did (and still do) leave a lot to be desired.

It was a good hospital, with excellent therapy groups, but my real lifesaver was John. It was normal for patients to attend groups and individual therapy and see their consultant once a week. Because John was also my friend he made a point of seeing me every day. Even when he was moving house one weekend, he popped in to see me.

I continued to see him as an outpatient when I left hospital and at the same time decided to give up my job for a while. This meant that my private health insurance ceased, but John insisted on seeing me for a further year free of charge.

You can't completely get rid of depression if it's part of you. But the one thing that John did was made me search my past to establish the cause. Once I recognised this, it was easier to put it into perspective and therefore easier to deal with it. He taught me to recognise the signs of depression occurring and how to handle it.

I'm in a depressive phase at the moment. I have been for several months. I'm not pleasant company when I'm like this, and the last thing I want is to be setting off to the UK in a week's time for the birth of my grandson with this cloud of gloom hanging over me. So a few weeks ago I put myself back on medication for the first time in 12 years, because I know it works for me. And I will also know when it's the right time to stop taking them. Such is the insight that I have into my illness.

Starting this blog has also been extremly therapeutic. I'd recommend it to anyone going through the same thing.

There is still such a stigma attached to any form of mental illness. I have learned through being a sufferer myself, and also from working in the mental health field for many years, that it's important to be entirely open about it. If you aren't, then people don't really understand where you're coming from. Of course..those who still don't understand or can't be bothered to try..aren't in my opinion worth bothering about anyway.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Arriving in Cappadocia

As we drove into Goreme I couldn't believe my eyes. The scenery is magical. Oh I had seen all the photos but nothing prepares you for the reality. It takes your breath away.

We decided to stay in a hotel in Goreme (where they were happy for Beki to stay in our room) for a few days while we searched the area for somewhere to live.

Our friends (waiting patiently with the rats and bats in Ceyhan) wanted something in Goreme. This was and is a difficult task. Everyone wants to live in Goreme and rented accommodation is scarce. However we did find one cave house which I knew they would love and we paid the deposit for them.

Mr Ayak had also been in touch with some contacts and had been for an interview at the large carpet company in Avanos. Mr Ayak is a brilliant salesman and carpets are his speciality. It was now October ...winter season... and the job would start in March. In the meantime he worked for one of the pottery factories in Avanos, who still had a steady stream of customers through the winter.

So naturally it made sense for us to rent an apartment in Avanos. We found a suitable one..which was huge and had central heating (almost unheard of)...although it didn't work properly so we ended up having to buy a soba (wood and coal burning stove). The apartment had been newly decorated with what I can only imagine was a job-lot of bright pink paint...every room...awful...but at least it was clean.

Our friends and furniture arrived a few days later and we settled in.

Avanos is brilliant for dog-walking...lots of hills and open spaces for them to run around. I also spent many an afternoon sitting under the shade of the trees by the river watching and feeding the ducks....or strolling around the town watching the potters at work.

I liked Avanos but I longed to live in Goreme. I had friends there and I trotted back and forth on the bus, but it was impossible in winter because of the snow and temperatures around minus 20 degrees, so I felt a bit isolated.

After a year we managed to find a small house to rent in Goreme...by word of mouth..which is really the only way..and we set about packing up our belongings yet again!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Mr Ayak

Let me tell you a bit about Mr Ayak. We have known each other for 11 years and been married for 10. I have been married before (twice) and Mr Ayak has also...just once. I have adult children from my first marriage and Mr Ayak has a son.

As far as our respective sons are concerned we have a great deal in common, and a large amount of empathy. Neither of us have contact with them anymore. Their choice...not ours. My son can't or won't forgive me for coming to live in Turkey, and Mr Ayak's son won't forgive him for choices he made many years ago. We have both made many many attempts to build bridges with our sons but it doesn't work.

Mr Ayak is a hard worker but jobs in the tourist industry are scarce. In fact at the present time he has been out of work for seven months. This is the longest ever. We normally expect him to be out of work for 3 or 4 months during the winter because there is no work out of season. But the credit crunch is hitting Turkey too. Work normally starts at the beginning of March, but there's nothing. No sign of tourists...but lots of unemployed men to be found sitting aimlessly in the tea-houses. However, you won't find Mr Ayak sitting around aimlessly waiting for a job to fall in his lap. He is out from dawn to dusk searching for work. In recent weeks he has tried to set up a selling/delivery business with a friend but things keep going wrong. Mr Ayak is a bit of a walking disaster. He won't mind my saying this, because he agrees with me. He is clumsy and accident prone, and most things that he attempts in life have a knack of going wrong. But he tries so hard. I often lose patience but then I think "what's the point?" I can't change how he is and would I really want to?

No I wouldn't...because the man beneath this clumsy exterior has a heart of gold. He is one of the kindest people I know. He will give his last lira to someone who needs it more than him. He would give the shirt off his back...in fact he did once. A guy he knew who was really poor, was getting married and Mr Ayak gave him his beautiful linen shirt that I had bought for his birthday, so that this man would have something nice to get married in.

And it's not just people, he feeds stray dogs and if he had his way would bring home every stray puppy he comes across.

He's an intelligent man but because he hasn't had the benefit of a good education his choices are limited. I blame Mr Ayak's father for his predicament. Mr Ayak was the only child of Mr Ayak Snr's first marriage. Mr Ayak's mother left when he was two weeks old and he was wet-nursed by his aunt, who he is still very close to to this day. At the age of seven he was sent out to Sivas in the east of Turkey to live with his paternal grandparents, where he walked 7 km to school every day, and at night slept out in the stables with the animals. He was very happy though and adored his grandparents. At the age of 14 his father brought him back to Ankara and put him to work in a restaurant, so his education ceased at that time. Therefore everything that Mr Ayak has done in life from that point in time has been down to sheer hard work and being willing to do whatever he had to do to earn money.

Compare his upbringing with that of his half-sister and half-brother, the offspring of Mr Ayak Snr's second marriage. They have had every opportunity that a good education provides. The sister is now an orthopaedic surgeon in private practise with a house bought by her father. The brother...I'm not sure about his actual job..but I do know he achieved the equivalent of a Masters in quantum physics. He also lives in a house bought by his father.

Now, if I were Mr Ayak I would be quite bitter and resentful....and I can never understand why he isn't. In fact he is quite the opposite. He doesn't expect anything from his father, and he is enormously proud of his siblings' achievements.

He makes me laugh and he can laugh at himself. He gets himself into some ridiculous (and very funny) situations at times. He also makes me cry with frustration and anger sometimes....and we've spent a few periods apart because of it. But we always end up back together, because I make a point of reminding myself what it was that made me fall in love with him....and whatever life throws at us...that doesn't change.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Cappadocia

Cappadocia is unique. The strange rock formations and subterranean dwellings provide unforgettable sets of experiences, memories and photographs. The interesting rock formations, known as "fairy chimneys", have been formed as the result of the erosion of a tufa layer, sculpted by wind and flood water, running down the slopes of the valleys. Water has found its way through the valleys creating cracks and ruptures in the hard rock.


The softer, easily erodable material underneath has been gradually swept away receding the slopes and in this way, conical formations protected with basalt caps have been created.The fairy chimneys with caps, mainly found in the vicinity of Urgup, have a conical shaped body and a boulder on top of it. The cone is constructed from tufa and volcanic ash, while the cap is of hard, more resistant rock such as lahar or ignimbrite. Various types of fairy chimneys are found in Cappadocia. Among these are those with caps, cones, mushroom like forms, columns and pointed rocks.Any time of the year is beautiful here whether walking through the valleys in the summer sun shine or trudging through the snow in winter. .



The towns of Avanos and Nevsehir and the three villages of Goreme, Urgup and Uchisar are all good bases for exploring this region.Accommodation and food are cheap (as is the locally produced wine) and many people, especially backpackers, enjoy the laid back and friendly atmosphere. You can walk, cycle, taxi or even bus around this area or book a guided tour with one of the many tour operators. Better still a balloon trip across the famous fairy chimneys and valleys is an experience of a lifetime.


We spent our first year in Avanos which lies 18km to the northeast of Nevsehir. The main economic activity in the town is pottery, a craft dating back to the Hittite period. The red clay, which is worked by local craftsmen, comes from the residue in the Kizilirmak river.



Then we moved to Goreme where we stayed for a further 3 years.
Goreme, situated 10 km from Nevsehir, is found in the area surrounded with valleys, within the Nevsehir-Urgup-Avanos triangle. The old names for Goreme are Korama, Matiana, Maccan and Avcilar. Since Goreme was referred as Korama in the earliest written document known from the 6th century, it is thought that that is the oldest name given to the place. In that document, it is said that St. Hieron was born in Korama at the end of the 3rd century, was martyred in Melitene (modern Malatya) with his 30 friends and his hand was cut off and sent to his mother in Korama. A very big depiction of St. Hieron of Korama is found in the Tokali (Buckle) Church in Goreme Open Air Museum.

It is believed that Goreme and its surroundings were used as a necropolis by the people of Avanos in the Roman Periods. Both the monumental twin pillared Roman tomb hollowed out into a fairy chimney in the centre of Goreme and the presence of numerous tombs in the vicinity support that idea.
Goreme was an important Christian centre in the early years of the Middle Ages. Despite the vast number of monasteries, churches and chapels in the vicinity of Goreme, there are not many inscriptions bearing dates. For this reason, these religious buildings are mainly dated according to their architectural features.

So this maybe gives you some idea of what Cappadocia is like. Living there was a wonderful experience, and it's my favourite part of Turkey. I'll talk some more about life in Cappadocia in future posts.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

On the way to Cappadocia

We had some friends who had knowledge of living and working in Cappadocia, and who were intending to move back there, so we left Side and set off to visit them. They were living temporarily in a town called Ceyhan which is fairly near Adana....a journey of around 700 km if my memory serves me well.

The truck containing our furniture set off and we followed in our car with Beki...who was a tiny pup at this time.Unfortunately when we reached Alanya...some 50km down the road, our car blew up...literally. It just went bang and collapsed in a heap in the middle of the road. So we had it towed to a workshop, hired a car and resumed our journey.

We arrived in Ceyhan in the early hours of the following morning, our furniture having arrived some time before and unpacked by our friends and stored in one of their empty rooms. There was a powercut so it was too dark and we were too tired to take notice of our surroundings, and just fell into bed and slept.

The next day was such a shock. The house we were staying in was appalling. It was in a road of slum dwellings that looked like something out of a Dickens novel. There were rats the size of cats running around on the rooftops. The bathroom consisted of the usual squat toilet with no flushing mechanism...and a tap sticking out of the wall. Although most of the time there was no water anyway. If we used anything electrical and the apartment downstairs switched on something electrical, then ours just switched itself off...and vice versa.

Mr Ayak and I were very unhappy about staying there but he had to drive back to Alanya to return the hire car, and sort out our car, so my friend's husband went with him and my friend and I just had to sit it out. I asked her what possessed her to rent such an awful place, and she told me that she had no choice. Her husband was Kurdish, his family along with lots of other Kurds lived in this road, and they had rented the apartment for them. They also hated it but decided that they would have to stay a little while so that they did not offend his family.

Turkish people will tell you that there is no discrimination towards Kurds...that they happily integrate. To a large extent this is true. However there are still areas like Ceyhan where Kurdish ghettos exist on the outskirts of town. The people were lovely...but the poverty was overwhelming.

So...our car took a couple of weeks to fix, during which time my friend and I fought off the rats ...and bats which also came into the sittingroom at night....and because of the lack of water settled for packets of wet-wipes to avoid smelling too badly

As soon as Mr Ayak arrived back with our car, we set off for Cappadocia. We would search for accommodation for both us and our friends, and they would follow on with theirs and our belongings.