Sunday, 28 February 2010

An Award

I've just received the Happy Blog Award from Heiko here.  His is a wonderful blog on his life of self-sufficiency, and if you haven't already come across it, it's well worth a visit.

Thankyou Heiko.

In accepting this award I have to list 10 things that make me happy.  I think I may have done this before with previous awards, so forgive me if I repeat myself. 

1.   My grandson Billy and my daughter see them on webcam makes me really happy.

2.   Cadbury's chocolate.  (Will it taste the same when Kraft take over?  I hope not)

3.   Custard....with everything or just on it's own...happy comfort food.

4.   Books...I could never be without them.

5.   The view from my house...unbelievably beautiful.

6.   Mr Ayak returning home from his frequent trips.

7.   My dogs Beki and Poppy...for their unconditional love and lots of cuddles.

8.  My youngest brother...the best in the world, for all he does for me to make me happy.

9.  True friendship...those people whose words or presence make me happy.

10. Blogging...which has opened up a whole new world for me.

I would like to pass this award on to two people whose blogs make me smile:

Firstly, a new blog to me, one that I have only recently discovered ..Bombshellicious here.   I love the way she writes, it's like chatting over a coffee.

And secondly, Jes at Prospero's Cellphone here.  She always seems so happy that you can't help but smile.

P.S.  I've just noticed that Jes has received the same award today from someone else, and also passed it on to me...thankyou Jes...another reason to be happy!


I was just thinking this morning about how different Sunday has become over the years.

When I was a child growing up in England, Sunday was always very special.  No shops were open, so families stayed at home and spent time together.  I have memories of the smell of the roast dinner being cooked whilst listening to "Family Favourites" on the radio, followed by the "Billy Cotton Band Show".  Anyone else old enough to remember them?

My Dad loved music...all kinds of we always had the radio on.  We were forced to listen to "Sing Something Simple" and the "Black and White Minstrel Show" on the radio early evening, with my Dad singing along at the top of his voice.  When television arrived we had to sit through "Songs of Praise" so my Dad could sing along to all the hymns.   For years if I heard hymns being sung by a choir, or songs being sung by  Richard Tauber, Maria Callas, Perry Como or Andy Williams, it reminded me of my Dad and Sundays.

I didn't realise, that what my brothers and I considered a bit of an ordeal at the Dad and his music programmes...would become such fond memories for me of a father I loved so much, and still miss dreadfully nine years after his death.

When I was married to my first husband, before we had children, I would leave the joint roasting in the oven, whilst we popped over the road to our local pub for a few drinks with friends.  We'd come back, eat our roast dinner, and fall asleep in front of the television.

When my children arrived, the tradition of Sunday roast dinner, eaten at lunch time, continued, but we also did other things.  Shops were open on Sundays so we would go out for a browse.  Pubs became more child-friendly and started providing gardens, so if the weather was good we could take our children for a pub lunch, and they could run around and play with other children.   Barbeques became more popular, so this was another way of spending Sundays, either with family or friends at our house or theirs.

Sunday in Turkey doesn't feel like Sunday.  It's the same as any other day.  In my early days here I would cook a roast, in an attempt to recreate that "Sunday feeling", but it didn't really work...because you need the British atmosphere.

On my trips back to England, I've noticed that amongst family and friends, the traditional Sunday, as I once knew it, has almost disappeared.  Although my daughter has been known to do a Sunday roast when I'm visiting, which I really appreciate.  

And in case you're reading this Stella...this is a big hint for you for my next visit!  (But we'll skip "Songs of Praise"!)

Friday, 26 February 2010

Struck by Lightning

Yesterday morning, with no warning at all, our house was struck by lightning.  I was in the bedroom when there was a flash and a terrific bang..well more like an explosion. 

I ran into the sitting room and it was full of black smoke. My modem had exploded into thousands of pieces and there were three big scorch marks on the carpet.

The telephone cable had been directly hit.  Where it came through the wall, there was a gaping hole and black scorch marks surrounding it.

The power lines were also down at our end of the village, and we had no electricity until about 11pm last night. Until that time I had absolutely no idea how many other electrical appliances had been affected.   We have since discovered that our Digiturk TV box is completely dead, so we think that the satellite dish was probably also hit...but other than that, everything else is working.

Turk Telekom promised to be out to us in the afternoon to repair the cable, but in the meantime we needed to do something about getting a new modem.  Mr Ayak phoned around and the cheapest modem we could find would cost us 150 lira.   Why is there always unexpected expense when you really can't afford it?

I recalled that TTNet had a campaign running recently where if you signed up to their unlimited package, they gave you a free modem.   Mr Ayak telephoned them and asked if we could do this.  Unfortunately I am locked into my present contract for another 15 months, so it wasn't possible.

HOWEVER...there are times when I actually welcome corruption and backhanders.   Mr Ayak spoke to the manager who said that he could change my contract and give me a free exchange for 50 lira for his back pocket!

Actually...I'm not sure if the modem is actually free..even if you sign up legitimately for the package...reading the small print, I think you pay for it in small instalments starting after six months use.  But it has solved the immediate for that I'm grateful.

So we set off for Milas, in torrential on the back of the motorbike.  I would rather not have gone but it is my name on the contract so I had to sign for it.  I was also concerned about how this bumpy ride would affect my back...but touch wood I had no ill effects...apart from being soaked to the skin by the time we returned.

The telephone cable was fixed in the afternoon, so at least the telephone was working.  However as power wasn't restored till late last night, I wasn't able to test my new modem.  Finally, around midnight I was connected to the internet.   Ten minutes later I lost my connection.

Mr Ayak and I were up until 4'o'clock this morning, whilst he was on the phone to the TTNet 24-hour helpline trying to sort out the problem.   Finally we gave up and got some sleep.  I phoned them again at 9.00am...and half an hour later my connection to the internet was restored.  But I'm not holding my breath...I'm typing my blog now, and will answer some emails, as quickly as I can, in case I lose my connection again.

Today, we need to fill in the hole in the sitting room wall, try to clean up the damage to the carpet, and attempt to get a Digiturk engineer out to repair or replace the box.

I'm also willing the sun to come out so that I can deal with all the washing that has piled up over the last few rainy days.

Who says village life is boring?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Well a week has past and no sign of father-in-law, I'm happy to say.

Mr Ayak has been busy this past week, tying up loose ends and organising the start of his business venture which should get off the ground in mid-April.  I'm still holding back with the optimism though, as we have had so many disappointments in the past...but if nothing else it gives him something to focus on at the moment, which is good for his state of mind.

In the meantime, he needs to earn money, and jobs are almost non-existent at this time of year.  Through a friend of a friend, he managed to find some labouring work on a building site yesterday.  He arrived home last night  exhausted and covered in cement, but happy that he was at least earning something.  It's not regular work...there's nothing for him today..but he has been told to turn up tomorrow.

The weather has been quite good this week, so I've managed to catch up on washing large items like curtains and blankets and get them dry.  Mr Ayak has cleaned all the windows, which were caked in mud from the gales and torrential rain we had recently.  Unfortunately more wind and rain is forecast from today onwards, so no doubt it will all have to be done again.

Today Mr A is continuing to dig over the garden which he started at the weekend, ready for planting vegetables.  Although the neighbours who pass by keep telling him it's too soon to be digging.

We are also due a visit today from the people who installed the uPvc extension.  We paid them the balance owed for the work at the beginning of December.  I wasn't happy about this, as I knew there were minor problems that needed to be fixed, and I think we should have held some of the money back until they were resolved.  But Mr Ayak trusts people more than I do, and said not to worry, as they would come and fix things whenever we wanted them to.   So...guess who was right?   We have had promises of visits from the company for weeks now...and still no sign of them!

It's a strange time of year.  It seems to affect my moods.  When the sun is shining it lifts my spirits..when there's wind and rain, I'm pretty miserable.   So I'm very up and down at the moment.  The uncertainty about Mr Ayak's work situation this year, also leaves me feeling quite anxious.

The first little light at the end of a long tunnel is looking forward to my visit to England in April to see my daughter and Billy and help them celebrate Billy's birthday.  We all need things to look forward to, don't we?

Monday, 22 February 2010

Billy....10 months old

Time for some more beautiful pics of Billy:

Isn't he just gorgeous?

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Today is Saturday

Father-in-law was expected here on's Saturday and there is no sign of him.  Maybe he got lost on the way from Ankara?  Who knows?  I suspect it's all about control, and that he will in fact turn up quite unexpectedly at some point.  No matter....I am ready!

I haven't seen very much of Mr Ayak this week.  He has been busy going here and there, sorting out work for the future...hopefully to start in April.  In the meantime, there is absolutely no work to be found locally, so we will muddle through as best we can.

The past couple of days has found me sitting outside in a t-shirt in the sunshine.  The weather has been glorious, with temperatures around 70 degrees F.  The sun cheers me up no end, and I suddenly get that "summer" feeling of anticipation.   I know that summer isn't really here, so I don't start packing away my winter clothes just yet.  I'm reminded of this fact when I woke up this morning to gale force winds again, and a grey sky.

I'm enjoying British TV at the moment on the website I downloaded on my laptop.  The "free" viewing time is almost up, so I will have to start paying a monthly subscription.  I have decided to justify this by cancelling my Digiturk contract.  It costs more per month than the TV site subscription, so as I don't watch Digiturk anymore, it seems to be the obvious decision.

In any case I'm now hooked!  I would have hated to have missed Eastenders live episode last night which revealed the killer of Archie Mitchell.  It was brilliant...proving that these characters can really act.  Eastenders at it's very best.   If I'd watched it on Digiturk, I would have had to wait another two weeks for this episode, by which time I would have read about it, and it wouldn't have been so enjoyable.

I'm also well into the other soaps...Emmerdale and Coronation Street.  We don't get them here and up until a couple of months ago, I hadn't seen them for years.  I've now more or less caught up with the characters and there are very good storylines in both at the moment.

I'm sure some of you will think I'm a sad individual...sitting here in front of my laptop...glued to the soaps, Jeremy Kyle and This Morning.   But winter here is just so boring.   I love being outside, but the weather in winter generally prevents this.  The tourist areas are like ghost towns at this time of year, and the villages where people are out in the fields and their gardens during the good weather, seem almost deserted as the inhabitants stay inside huddled around their wood-burning stoves.  Even the animals are quieter...almost as if they are a bit fed up with the gales blowing outside.

We are having to be very economic as far as food is concerned at the moment.  I actually quite enjoy this because I have to use my imagination when it comes to producing a meal.  You would be amazed at how many meals I can produce from one chicken!

I picked up an enormous cabbage for half a lira at the market this week.  Yesterday I used the larger outer leaves for stuffing.   I remove the stalks and bring the leaves to the boil and simmer until slightly limp.  I buy chicken livers for the dogs which are cooked and mixed with pasta or rice.  I saved some of the chicken livers to make a stuffing for the cabbage leaves.  I chop them and fry in olive oil with chopped onions and garlic, seasoning and some chilli flakes.  This is then mixed with bulgur which has been soaked in hot water with half a stock cube.  Having stuffed the leaves with the mixture, I place them close together in a large pan, with a little water, and steam with the lid on until they are tender.   As I had some of the chicken liver mixture left over, I also stuffed some large tomatoes which were going a bit soft, and baked them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil.  Delicious!

I often make bread pudding, using leftover bread, soaked in milk.  To this I add sultanas, sugar, marmalade or jam (whichever I happen to have), an egg and some margarine cut into small pieces.  This is baked in a greased pan in the oven.   It's really tasty, and keeps for a few days...that is if you can stop yourself scoffing the lot as soon as it comes out of the oven!  It's also delicious served with custard.

I'm interested to know if any of you have tried and tested recipes for very economic meals...please let me know.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Tomorrow is Thursday's Thursday tomorrow, and I was informed by Mr Ayak when he returned from Ankara last week that his father would be here tomorrow.

As yet we have heard nothing.  This isn't really unusual.  He wouldn't think of ringing me to let me know when he is due to arrive...because he doesn't talk to me.  He would normally phone Mr Ayak, who would then tell me.  The problem is that since Mr Ayak returned from Ankara last week, FIL isn't speaking to him either.  Also it's quite normal for members of Turkish families to turn up unexpectedly, and it's just accepted, so they don't feel it's necessary to let you know.

You may recall that my friends from Antalya came up to visit me over Christmas, and stayed for almost two weeks.  This had been planned well in advance, and as I had spent so much time on my own, I very much looked forward to having them here.   Two days before they were due to arrive, FIL phoned Mr Ayak to inform him that he would be arriving here on the 26th December.   Mr Ayak then informed me.  I sent a text message to FIL saying that, I was very sorry but my friends would be staying here at the time, so it wasn't really convenient.  He knows very well that the house isn't big enough to accommodate more than two guests at a time.  I had no reply from him, but he then phoned Mr A and told him that I had said he (FIL) wasn't "allowed" to come and stay in "his" house.   He said then that he would come here whenever he wished.  So I have to admit to being a little anxious over Christmas about whether he would just turn up!  He didn't fortunately.

There was a huge row in Ankara last Thursday, just before Mr A left.   Mr A had informed me that although he travelled up there at his father's request (or rather..insistance) to pay him the property/land tax, he decided he wouldn't pay it after all.   However, the row lasted around 7 hours, and ended up with Mr Ayak throwing the money in his father's face, and walking out. His father's last words were that he would be here on Thursday.

Mr Ayak has been very busy this week finalising the setting up of a business with another man.  Contracts have been signed, and his partner is thankfully able to cover the immediate costs.  I don't want to tempt fate by talking about this too much, because I will end up disappointed if it doesn't work out.  I hate to sound so pessimistic, but anything to do with work in this country is so unpredictable...and we have had disappointments in the past.  So I'll leave it at that for now.

But I'm feeling anxious now, because I don't know whether FIL will arrive tomorrow or not, and even though I'd like Mr A to be around if he does turn up, I don't want to prevent him from dealing with the many things that he has to do at the moment.

I know Mr Ayak would be here if I asked him...but I am just going to put on my very brave face and tell him that it's fine, that I'm not bothered, and that I can deal with anything.

I just have to convince myself now!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentines Day

I've never been too bothered about celebrating Valentines Day.  As far as I'm concerned it's just another over-commercialised event.  Another opportunity for retailers to grab your money.

Mr Ayak almost always remembers.  He usually gives me a single red rose, which he's probably paid way over the odds for, and which wilts and dies within a day or so.

I suppose the day gives lots of people the opportunity to make romantic gestures that they perhaps wouldn't do normally.  But we shouldn't have to feel that we are supposed to do this.  We should be romantic because we want to...any day of the year..not just on 14th February.

Mr Ayak will sometimes come home with a few wild flowers that he's picked for me. Occasionally he'll pick flowers from someone's garden (perfectly acceptable in Turkey..really!) or he'll bring me a bar of chocolate, and these gestures, out of the blue, mean much more to me than the red rose on Valentines Day. 

At the moment Mr Ayak (and I) have so many other things on our minds, that I doubt very much that he will remember it's 14th February....and I wouldn't dream of reminding him.   We both try to make a point of expressing our feelings for each other every day of the year, even (or especially) when we're apart...and that's what really counts. 

However...I don't want to appear too cynical.  If this is a special day for any of you ..then I do hope it's a really happy and enjoyable one.

Friday, 12 February 2010

After the storm

It seems that extreme weather conditions are being experienced everywhere, and Turkey is no exception.

Whilst Mr Ayak has been in Ankara this week, we have had the strongest gale force winds that I have ever experienced.  It was particularly frightening on Wednesday night.  The gales started during the afternoon, and shortly after, the power lines went down...and stayed down till yesterday morning.   It was impossible to sleep...or even I sat in candlelight watching through the window as a heavy table and three stacked chairs were lifted and blown over the railings of my balcony.   At some point I needed to take Beki and Poppy out into the garden to go to the toilet.  Beki was in and out like a flash...clearly terrified.  Because Poppy is so tiny I had to put her harness and lead on, for fear she would be blown away.  At the same time I had to hold on to the fence, because I could feel myself being lifted off the ground.

As I have previously mentioned, when we moved here last year, we enclosed the large open balcony with uPvc panels and windows to make another room.  The wind was blowing so ferociously that these started to bend and I was certain they would just break.  Fortunately they didn't, but it's now clear where there are gaps and where windows haven't been fitted tightly, because to say there were draughts is an understatement.

Yesterday, the wind gradually died down...but then came torrential rain.  At the same time power was restored, but the water supply was cut.  This didn't flow again till late last evening.

The damp patch in what was our bedroom, but is now the spare room, has spread around the entire room and the smell is awful.  In our bedroom there was also water running down the wall which appeared to be coming from the electric socket which I use to plug in my electric blanket and laptop.  So I have had to run a long extension lead from another socket until this can be checked.  Water has managed to get in to one corner of the sitting-room and soaked the carpet.  Outside, the windows, balcony, covered with splashes of red mud.

This morning is the calm after the storm.  There are still lots of grey clouds lurking, but no wind or rain, so I have been able open all the doors and windows at last!

Mr Ayak was due back yesterday, but he stayed on the bus and went straight to Bodrum to talk to someone about work for the summer, so he will be back some time today.  He's going to be delighted when he sees how much clearing up there is to do!

Oh and he did pay his father the tax money after all.  I kind of guessed he would...anything to shut the man up!

And joy of joys...Mr A tells me father-in-law is coming to stay with us next week!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Love doesn't always run smoothly

In the comments section of my last post I was asked how I met Mr Ayak.  I suppose as we are coming up to Valentine's Day, it would seem like an appropriate time to write about it.

I was going through an emotionally difficult time in my life.  I had been married to my first husband, the father of my son and daughter for 18 years, when the marriage ended.  I rushed very stupidly into a second marriage, because I thought I couldn't cope with being on my own to raise my children.  This second marriage lasted 7 years, and it took me all that time to realise that my husband was a pathological liar and that I never really knew him at all. 

At the time I was working as Deputy Manager of a residential home for people with severe mental health problems.  The Manager was on long term sick leave so I was acting Manager as well.   We were short-staffed and I had to rely on unreliable agency staff, which often resulted in my doing 24-hour back to back shifts myself to cover the gaps.   In short...I was burning out...which so often happens to people in this area of social work.

Two single, unattached women, Angie and Anita,  did occasional shifts at the residential home and I got to know them quite well.  Anita was a frequent visitor to Turkey and she was about to go off back-packing for two weeks.  I had never been to Turkey, nor had Angie, and she talked us into going with her.  I needed a break and it seemed the perfect opportunity.   Angie and I decided to go for just a week.  So we booked our flights for August and set off with our rucksacks.  We ended up in a small marine resort called Gocek.  It was beautiful.  Anita had decided we should stay one day then set off on a route she had planned for us.  However, Angie and I had different ideas.  We were quite happy to spend the entire week in this lovely place.  So we compromised, one week in Gocek, then we would return home and Anita would set off on her own for her second week.

Mr Ayak was working at a restaurant where we ate on our first evening.  He was quite shy....very different to many of the Turks who use their charm to lure customers into their restaurants...and often into their beds!

So this was no holiday romance.  We ate there most days, and he would sit and chat.  His English was almost non-existant then, and I helped him with it.   Angie and Anita...being free and single...often went off to bars and nightclubs, but that wasn't really my thing.  Mr Ayak and I were happy to sit and chat and get to know each other.  Each evening he would walk me to the door of the hotel, and respectfully leave me there. The closest we got to any sign of romance was when he shyly asked if he might kiss me!  Which he did....chastely on the cheek!

On his day off, he bought bread, cheese and fruit and we went for a picnic....otherwise we just sat with my dictionary and phrasebook and attempted conversation.

At the end of the week, we exchanged phone numbers.  Anita set off for her second week and Angie and I returned home.  I didn't expect to hear from him again so I was quite surprised when he telephoned me a few days later.  We continued to speak on the phone and I decided to fly over to Turkey in the October.  By this time my marriage had been over for some time, and to be honest I think I was looking for an escape.  I also realised that I was beginning to become very fond of Mr Ayak.

Mr Ayak and I travelled around Turkey before finding our first home in Gumusluk.  However, I did a lot of flying back and forth.  It was a big decision...difficult on so many levels...some of which I find hard to talk about even now.

I had reservations at first about whether this relationship would work.  I was worried that I am older than him..   You also read many stories about Turkish men marrying older foreign women for their money and a visa to get to England.  Well I didn't have money...I ended up with very little from my divorce (having ignored  my solicitor's advice)...and what I did have at the time was spent on furniture, and frequent flights back to the UK.  Now of course I have absolutely nothing...and almost 12 years later we're still together.  He didn't want a visa either...he has no desire to live in the UK.   So I guess after all this time that he must love me!

It has by no means been an easy journey.  We have seperated a couple of times. The reasons were varied, but I think language and cultural differences caused a breakdown in communication.  And the fact that I would be the first to admit that I am not the easiest person to live with.  Mr Ayak is more tolerant of me than I am of him. 

I spent one of these periods living back in England on my own, and another on my own in Goreme.  Something that I should, on reflection, have done between marriages.  It served a very useful purpose.  It made me more independent and self-sufficient.  Something that has proved invaluable recently with Mr Ayak being away. It also made me realise that this is the country that I now call home, and that if I ended up on my own for some reason, this is where I would stay. wasn't your typical Shirley Valentine holiday romance, but more a love that has grown stronger over the years, in spite of (or maybe because of) the problems we have experienced along the way.  We will have been married 11 years in April.  We've both mellowed an awful lot, and we've both learned a lot of lessons along the way.  I pretty much think that we're stuck with each other now!

Love doesn't always run smoothly does it?  But it would be quite boring if it did!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A ripe old age

I may have mentioned some time ago in one of my posts, a little about Mr Ayak's childhood.  He has happy memories but some sad ones too.  He was the first child born to his father and his father's first wife.  When he was just two weeks old, his mother left, leaving him behind.  He has never been told why.  Of course there must be members of the family who know the reasons, but no-one ever talks about it.  Around the same time, his cousin was born...the son of my FIL's sister, and she wet-nursed Mr Ayak for a while.  Because of this, he has always been very close to his aunt and also his cousin.

When Mr Ayak was seven years old he was sent out to Sivas in the east of Turkey to live with his grandparents.  He slept  in the outbuildings with the animals.  Not something that he considers cruel...although most of us would think fact quite the opposite.  It was his choice and he loved it!  He used to walk 5 km to school every day and then back again in the afternoon.  I don't imagine it was an easy life for a young boy but he has very fond memories, and says it was one the happiest times of his life.  He absolutely adores his grandparents.  When he was 14 years old, his father brought him back to Ankara and put him to work in a restaurant kitchen, so he didn't have chance to finish his education.  In spite of this, he is a very clever man, and although he has had to take on a number of different types of job over the years, he adapts very quickly and is a fast learner.  But it's not easy in this country...or anywhere for that matter...if you haven't had a good education.

His father married again, and Mr Ayak has a stepbrother (the quantum physics whiz kid) and a stepsister..the orthopaedic surgeon.  These two siblings clearly had the best education available to them.  Something that I feel very angry about. In the past when my FIL criticised Mr Ayak to me about him being unable to keep a steady job, I clearly expressed my feelings to his father about how unfairly Mr A had been treated compared to his other two children.  I would imagine this was the start of the animosity my FIL feels towards me, but I don't regret one word I said at the time.

You would think that Mr Ayak might feel some resentment towards his brother and sister wouldn't you? Not a bit...he loves them dearly and is immensely proud of them.  He also has a very good relationship with his stepmother.

So back to the grandparents. They are still alive and now in their 90s.  I have come to realise since we moved here, that people in these isolated villages tend to live to a ripe old age.  It must be the country air and the simple way of life that keeps them going I guess.

Over recent years Mr A's grandparents have been regularly brought to Ankara to spend the winter.  Sivas is just too cold for them at this time of year.  At the moment, grandmother is in hospital in Ankara and she is very frail and poorly.   Although it was with some reluctance that Mr Ayak set off for Ankara yesterday to hand over the property tax money to his father, it was also a chance for him to see his grandmother for what may turn out to be the last time.

He arrived in Ankara late last night and went straight to the hospital, and he has been there ever since. There has been no change in her condition, and this afternoon Mr Ayak's aunt and uncle are taking her out of hospital to their home.  Mr Ayak will return home tomorrow evening.  I'm so glad he has had this opportunity.  I only had the pleasure of meeting them once, about 6 or 7 years ago, when they were staying with an aunt in Izmir.  We were only there for a couple of days, but grandmother spent the entire time cuddling me on the sofa, and cried when I left.  She is just such a sweet old lady.

I don't know what has happened between Mr Ayak and his father during this visit, but when he phoned me today he told me he was not going to pay his father the money, and that he would just have to wait for it.  No doubt I'll hear the full story when he returns.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Our house or not?

Mr Ayak arrived back from Fethiye yesterday afternoon, with most of his dental work having been completed.  He needs to have it finished in a month's time. There was just too much to be done in such a short time...not because the treatment itself couldn't have been completed, but because his mouth is so sore and he needs a bit of a break from it.  To be honest I never realised his teeth were so bad.  You'd never know...they looked fine.  Hidden problems I guess.

Before he left Fethiye, his father phoned him...having taken 48 hours to respond to Mr Ayak's message.  I know I keep saying it...but it's all about doesn't surprise me that he would make his son sweat over this.

It would now seem that he is not selling our house...and that we can continue to live here.  He didn't actually deny having told Mr Ayak's aunt that he was selling...and I know her well...she doesn't lie.

He's never going to make it easy for us.  I just know that there will be other times like this, when he will attempt to make us grovel and thank him.  And now he informs his son that the property tax is due and we have to pay

I wasn't aware of this tax before, but it appears that property taxes are paid each year on the tax values of land and buildings at rates varying from 0.1% to 0.6%.

I did know that in the case of the sale of property, a 1.5% levy is paid on the sales value by both the buyer and the seller...but I thought that was it.  Oh learn something new every day.

He knows Mr Ayak is out of work, he knows we don't have money and are struggling at the moment, but he is insisting that Mr A travels the long distance to Ankara tomorrow and hands over the money so that he (F-I-L) can go and pay it at the Government offices.  Talk about making it as difficult as possible for us.

I said that surely if we are going to now be liable for all expenditure on this house, on-going renovation and repairs as well as taxes, then the deeds should be in our name.  Mr Ayak will suggest this to his father...but I won't hold my breath that he'll agree.

Just a quick update on my back.  Over the last day or so I've seen an improvement.  I don't think there is any serious damage, and my sister-in-law did say it would take weeks to get back to normal, so I'm not going to rush off to the hospital just yet...which is more expense...but will be patient and wait a little longer.  Mr Ayak is going to give me a massage today...he's very are most of the Turks.  It's almost a cultural thing...something they learn from an early age.  I know this must be progress because a few days ago I wouldn't have let anyone touch my back.

And to end on a brighter note...I had two parcels this week from two friends in the UK. One containing Bisto granules and custard, and the other containing Cadburys chocolate.   Wonderful!

So today it will be gravy with dinner, custard with pudding, followed by chocolate and a massage.  It doesn't take a great deal to make me happy!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

E-mail notifications

Has anyone else stopped receiving email notifications when you comment on someone else's blog, or when someone comments on yours?

I have tried to find out from Blogger what the problem is, without success, so I wondered if anyone else who has or is experiencing the same problem, had a solution?


Mr Ayak has been away for a few days, staying with his cousin in Fethiye.  His cousin is a dentist and he has been carrying out a considerable amount of work on Mr A's teeth....long overdue.  What he's having done would take weeks in the UK but it's all been achieved in a couple of days.  It's very painful...I can tell from the conversations we've had on the phone...he can hardly speak because it's so uncomfortable.  He's due back today with his nifty new gnashers!

There have been other family members staying with his cousin this week, one of them being his cousin's father-in-law's sister.  Mr Ayak phoned yesterday to say that his aunt told him that my father-in-law is going to sell our house...yes that's the right...the house we live in!  You'd think he might have told us first?

I don't know how true this is.  Mr Ayak has sent him a message asking him what's going on, but as yet has received no reply.  Perhaps it's a misunderstanding on the part of his aunt?  My first reaction was to burst into tears...but I recognise now that this was just my responding to all the shitty stuff that's been going on recently, and I somehow had to let it all out.  Mr A tells me not to worry.  He says he will sort it out.  I have to trust him to do this, and having slept on it, I know he will do what he can to make sure we stay here.  And even if we don''s not the end of the world....we've moved so many times, I'm getting used to it.

There are other issues concerning my father-in-law...there are problems within his immediate family in Ankara which are causing a great deal of stress to all those concerned, so I'm taking a step back from all this and waiting for the dust to settle.  I suppose it's quite possible that he made some throw-away comment about selling our house, in the heat of the moment, and it's been picked up and taken out of context.  Wait and watch this space.

I have to own up to putting off a visit to the hospital to deal with my back problem.  I always procrastinate when it comes to seeing doctors.  I just keep trying to convince myself that it's getting better.  Well it isn't really, so I've agreed to go to the hospital on Monday.  It will be two weeks since my accident, and I should have seen some improvement by now.

I've mentioned before how I have this need to keep changing the furniture around.  The damp patch on the wall in our bedroom has increased in size and I'm not happy about continuing to sleep in it at the moment. So Mr Ayak has agreed to move us into the spare bedroom when he returns today.  Of course if I didn't have a problem with my back, I'd have attempted it myself by now, so all I've been able to do is to measure up the space and decide where everything's going to be placed.  It probably sounds a bit silly, but I'm actually quite excited about moving into a different room.  It's sad isn't it?  I really should get out more!

I'm still sad about having to re-home Milly and Monty, but at the same time relieved that I did it sooner rather than later, before I had chance to become so attached to them that I'd never have been able to let them go.

The next task for Mr Ayak is going to be to find a job.  He has work lined up for the summer which will start around the end of April, but needs to find some way of earning money in the meantime.  It's not easy at this time of the year, particularly locally, and I don't hold out much hope.  So it may mean him having to go away again for a couple of months.  It's not ideal...but needs  must.  We'll cope...we always do.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Circle of Friends Award

I've just received this lovely award from Fly in the Web at French Leave blog here.  I am to pass it on to five other bloggers and to tell you five things that I enjoy doing. 

I could pass it back to Fly...but that would be a bit silly...because she would then feel like she had to pass it back again to me...and so on...and we could spend days doing this!  What I'm really saying is that I enjoy her blog immensely, and I appreciate her comments,encouragement and thank you!

Five things I like doing:

1. Talking with my daughter and grandson on Skype.  What would we do without the webcam?  It's enabled me to watch him grow and make progress, something I would miss completely if it wasn't for this wonderful invention.

2.Waking up in the morning to the sounds of chickens, sheep, cows, donkeys and goats.  It's much noisier than the sound of traffic...but so much more enjoyable!

3. Spending time with my husband which is rare these days, but appreciated all the more because of it.

4.Reading a good book with a large bar of Cadbury's chocolate...also rare because I can't get Cadbury's chocolate here.

5. Blogging...of course...because it has opened up a whole new world for me.  It has given me the opportunity to share my joy, my anguish, frustrations, sadness..and so many more emotions, with people I have come to think of as friends.  People who accept the bad and the good about me, and are always ready with kind words and encouragement.

Choosing just 5 people to pass on this award to, is quite difficult.  I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my if you're not on my list, please don't be offended... just consider yourself part of my Circle of Friends.

Firstly, Mr H at Subsistence Pattern here.  I'm being a bit naughty here because Mr H doesn't really accept awards. Our first conversation was a little heated because we disagreed about awards, but we thankfully ended up as friends.  Sorry Mr don't have to accept the award but you need to know that I love your blog and your comments on mine.

Secondly, Heiko at Path to Self Sufficiency here.  Another wonderful blog.  Both Heiko and Mr H live lives of self-sufficiency in totally different environments.  So interesting and lots of good advice.

Thirdly, Maggie May at Nuts in May here.  Someone who's courage I admire tremendously, and who still finds time to visit my blog.  You are always in my thoughts Maggie.

My fourth and fifth are are slightly different. Two people who follow my blog, but don't have blogs of their own.  I wish they did have their own blogs, because they have so much that's worth sharing...maybe this award will encourage them to start.

Ann...a blog follower and loyal friend.  We've never physically met, but we have been internet friends for a couple of years and we talk on the telephone sometimes and email each other every day.   Always there for me during the good times and the bad. Always with a kind word or good advice.  Love you lots xxx

Finally, my daughter Stella, who follows my blog, but hasn't worked out how to make comments!  I am immensely proud of her and I love her more than words can say.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The usefulness of families

When Mr Ayak and I had a lengthy conversation on the phone with his sister, Esma, this week, it got me thinking about how useful it is to have a doctor in the family.  And particularly with my current predicament, because she is an orthopaedic surgeon.  You can never be quite sure that doctors are giving you the best advice, but when it's a family member, you know they will do their best for you.  I'm not sure my back is getting much better, but Esma says it will take time.  If it's no better by the end of the week then she insists I need to have more checks.  I really wish we lived nearer to Ankara so that I could receive treatment from her.   I'm almost tempted to make the long journey, if it becomes necessary.

My brother-in-law, Yakup, is simply a genius.  Quantum physics is his speciality.  My mind boggles at the thought.  He's also brilliant at dealing with computer problems.  When I occasionally have a problem that I just can't solve, I phone him and he gains access to my pc from his home in Ankara.  Whilst we are talking on the phone, I just sit back and watch while the cursor moves and clicks and he sorts it all out for me.

I shouldn't forget to mention my father-in-law of course.  Although I dislike him, I am grateful that he has given us this house to live in.  So useful in our current financial situation, not having to pay rent every month.

The family I married into is a large extended one.  Amongst the various cousins there are teachers, musicians, and more doctors.  Because they are dotted about all over Turkey, I've only met a fraction of them.

Mr Ayak has been having problems with his teeth for some time now.  Serious problems.  He's afraid of dentists. He won't admit it... he just makes excuses about not having time to see one.  His cousin, Volkan, is a dentist.  He used to live in Sivas in the east of Turkey, which meant that Mr Ayak rarely saw him,  Because Mr A spent his childhood with his grandparents in Sivas, he and Volkan grew up together so were very close.

Volkan moved down to Fethiye with his family last year and he and Mr A talk on the phone quite often. Volkan keeps telling him to go and stay for a few days so that he can sort his teeth out for no charge. Now is the time to do it.  It's the perfect opportunity and I've managed to talk Mr Ayak into getting his teeth fixed at last.

During the past two days Mr Ayak has achieved quite a lot.   The conversation he had with Esma has made me less anxious about my injury.  He recognised the problems I had with Milly and Monty and has re-homed them.  My landline has been out of order for a week, and he has dealt with this.  He visited the Muhtar and the over-flowing rubbish bin has now been emptied.  He accompanied me to Milas so that he could carry back all the heavy shopping.  He also called in a favour from a friend in the village...who spent yesterday clearing the garden...and will be back again today to finish the job.

So yesterday I sent him off on the bus to Fethiye to have his dental treatment.  He needs root canal work, bridges and crowns and all sorts of things.  It will only take a few work is fast and efficient in Turkey.

He'll be back in no time....with a dazzling new smile!

Monday, 1 February 2010

One step forward.....

...and six back!

It's been lovely having Mr Ayak here.  I only expected it to be for a few days.   It now seems like it could be longer.  It would appear that when he left Istanbul to fly here on Saturday morning, he had a row with his boss.  The boss told him he couldn't take any time off.  Mr Ayak told him that he had no choice, that his wife needed him and he had to go...and that he would return as soon as possible.  This man has him over a barrel.  He advanced Mr A's wages to enable him to settle some of our bills and debts, and Mr A has subsequently been working for him for nothing so he can pay what he owes.

Mr Ayak had been here only 24 hours when his boss phoned to say that he didn't need him to return, that business wasn't good (due most likely to the fact that Mr A generates most of the business anyway) and that Mr Ayak must pay the money he owes within the next couple of days.  Of course Mr A can't pay him now and he's told him, to which the response was that he would take him to Court.

This is how Turkish bosses behave...I've blogged about it.  I naively thought that this one might be different.  After all he did lend Mr A money.  But he had his reasons...Mr A is good at selling.  No...he's better than just good...he could sell fridges to eskimos.  Lending him money keeps him tied to the boss. Like most Turkish bosses, he's very short-sighted.  They have to be in total control, and he would rather cut off his nose to spite his face by sacking Mr A, than give him a few days off.  Bastards...all of them!

There's no work locally...there won't be anything till around the end of April/beginning of I don't know what we will do.  Struggle on I we always do.

It was a pretty awful day all round. Milly and Monty went to their new home, which left me distraught. In spite of strong painkillers my back doesn't seem to be improving

I'm fed up with whinging and moaning and I'm not going to write another blog post until I have something cheerful or positive to write it may be a while before you see me again!