Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Cheesecake

I love cheesecake, so it's surprising that I've never attempted to make one before.

I've looked at various recipes over the years, so I have a vague idea in my mind what ingredients are needed.  Mr Ayak bought a large quantity of cream cheese and two cartons of yogurt when he popped home on Saturday, so I was suddenly inspired to make a cheesecake.

Now..as is usual with me.. whenever I decide I want to make something, I've never got all the ingredients. I made the decision NOT to search the internet for a recipe, because I knew that every recipe I found would require something that I just didn't have.  I thought...I'll just go ahead and make it anyway...what's the worst that can happen?  It could end up in the bin or the dogs?  No big deal!

I had some biscuits similar to digestives but with raisins in.  Not a huge quantity so the base would have to be quite thin.  I melted margarine (I would have preferred butter but didn't have any) and added the crushed biscuits together with a dollop of honey.  I lined a round tin with tin foil, pressed the base into it and popped it into the fridge.

In a large bowl I put around 500 grams of cream cheese and about the same of low-fat natural yogurt.  I added some lemon juice and another big dollop of honey (I have a vague recollection that one should use sugar but I thought honey would be better).  I then added 3 large eggs and whisked the mixture throughly.

I poured it into the tin and baked in the oven for about 45/50 mins..I'm not sure of the temperature because I kept watching and adjusting it and hoping it would be OK!

This is the cheesecake straight from the oven:



It looked as though it might well collapse when I came to remove it from the tin so I put it in the freezer for half an hour.   I then carefully removed it and coated it in the plum jam that I made on Saturday. 

 

It doesn't look terribly neat but the real test was what did it taste like? I wasn't too optimistic but it is absolutely delicious.  I can't quite believe how nice it is.  I should have weighed all the ingredients properly and written them down, because I'm not sure I'll be able to reproduce it again....and I definitely want to!

Billy..... Summer 2010




Just look at his little face when he's with the "big boys"...taking it very seriously....trying to be like them!



Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Grapes

My grapevine is absolutely overloaded with grapes.  The bunches are becoming so heavy that they are dragging the vine down with their weight.  One large bunch actually fell off today.  The problem is that they are just not ripe enough yet.  They are a lovely variety, small and seedless, but they just need a bit longer before they are ready to eat.

Working on the basis that if you have fruit you can make jam, I picked a few more and experimented today. I only made one pot of jam and it's actually very nice...although the colour isn't so appealing:


I just wondered if anyone else has made grape jam?  Or better still, does anyone have any suggestions for preserving or using these unripened grapes?   I will have to pick some more tomorrow to prevent the vine from collapsing under the weight, so any tips would be most welcome.

It's still cheaper to holiday in Turkey!

Sometimes (not often) I love the Daily Mail.   Tourism in Turkey needs a bit of a boost at the moment and this is just the job!

This article appears in today's edition.

And here are some pics of Bodrum just to tempt you:








Monday, 28 June 2010

Dentists


I don't enjoy visiting the dentist....well I'm sure there aren't that many people who do actually ENJOY it!

I've always tried to look after my teeth.  When I lived in England I had a check-up every six months,  I brush them regularly and floss them.

However, I've been a bit neglectful of late.  Oh I still brush and floss, but I haven't visited a dentist anywhere near as often as I should have.  The reason is mostly because of all the moves we've made to different areas.  It takes me ages to find a dentist that I trust, and to my horror I realised this week that it was in fact 4 years since I last saw one. I hasten to add that Turkish dentists in my opinion are simply the best.  The technology is first class, and the hygiene standards amazing.  You cannot even enter the building without first putting on plastic covers over your shoes.  The problem with my putting it off  is to do with not settling in one place long enough...but mostly it's fear!

I have this recurring problem with a large tooth at the back of my mouth.  It has broken and been re-built three times over the years.  Most of the time it doesn't bother me, but occasionally I become aware of a jagged edge that causes me to bite the inside of my mouth when I'm eating.  I know I ought to have it removed, but some years ago I had a similar tooth on the other side of my mouth removed and it was such an ordeal.  The root is very curved and the dentist (in England) had great trouble removing it.  He ended up having to break it up and remove it in small pieces, and my face ended up swollen and bruised as a result.

So you can understand my reluctance to have this one out.  But this week the jagged edge has been bothering me again.  The tooth doesn't ache because it's dead but the skin around the tooth was incredibly sore.

This morning I caught the bus over to Mr Ayak's hotel, and he took me to a dentist who was recommended by his cousin's wife.  He was a lovely man, very kind and gentle...but the real plus point being that he spoke English.

It would appear that there is an abscess next to the tooth, which I suspected, but he is not keen to remove the tooth.  He thinks it will be more uncomfortable eating without it there.  But he agrees that it can't be filled or re-built anymore, and it would be best for it to be cut down and crowned.  He also discovered an infection in the gums at the bottom front of my mouth, so I am now on a course of antibiotics and a mouthwash, because he can't carry out any treatment until this and the abscess has cleared up.  In the meantime he did file down the jagged edge which has made it much more comfortable and I have an appointment for next Monday to sort out the problems.

So I have vowed today that I will never go this long again.  I really thought that my teeth were generally OK, but it just goes to show that even regular brushing and flossing is just not enough.

I just thought I'd mention...apart from the excellent dental treatment here, the cost is far cheaper than the UK.  In fact it's been possible for a few years now to book package dental holidays to Turkey.  You can have your flights, accommodation and all your dental treatment carried out for less than you would pay just for the treatment in England!

Although it's not really my idea of a holiday!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Satisfying Saturday

It's been a lovely day today.  The weather hasn't been so hot for the past few days which  makes it more comfortable to do housework,and spend sometime sitting outside.

We have one fairly small plum tree and this is the first year it has borne fruit.  I noticed yesterday that some of the plums were dropping off the tree...much to the amusement of Beki and Poppy who decided to play with them.   Having got bored with rolling them about they started to eat them.  I'm not too bothered about them eating a couple but I don't think it's wise for them to eat too many so I decided to pick them today.  They are still quite hard and there were a fair number that had been attacked by maggots (Mr A refers to them as worms).  So after sorting out the good ones I decided to make some jam.  I've also made about a litre of puree which is lovely with natural yogurt or icecream and  it freezes well.

Mr Ayak borrowed a car and came home for a few hours today...with more bags of shopping (as if I needed more!).  But he had no-one to impress but me so he bought basic, practical stuff like washing powder, eggs, vegetables etc.

He was going to do some more work in the garden because he's worried that I can't cope with it,  but I insisted that he just relax.  So we had lunch together and chatted about the business and how it's doing.  It's going pretty well, and he has been able to pay a lot of the bills for the business.  He also settled the balance due on some work that was done in the house last year.  It always amazes me how often Turkish businesses will do work for you, accept half the money and then are happy to wait for six months for the rest!   He paid this month's rent on the personnel accommodation, and bought an inexpensive printer to use with his laptop.  This will save on printing costs of leaflets etc.

Money is going out as fast as it comes in...but at least it is coming in.  Our personal debts will just have to wait a little longer...but we can at least see a light at the end of the tunnel at last!  Inshallah!

And finally, having had a usb cable attached to my laptop, like an umbilical cord, for the past two weeks, my brother-in-law contacted me this afternoon to sort out my wireless connection.   He has been so busy with work and has also had exams so didn't have time until now.   When he phoned today he was on the bus to Istanbul to see his girlfriend.  He had his laptop with him and as they have internet on the buses  he was able to take control of my laptop and after half an hour or so of what appeared to be an extremely complicated procedure (to me anyway!) I was finally connected and could cut the umbilical cord....freedom at last!

It's now 8.30pm.  I've just finished watering the garden and I'm about to settle down to watch some more football.

All in all...a very satisfying day.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Are the British becoming a race who can't make decisions for themselves?

It seems to me that Britain is fast becoming a nanny state.  Do those in power believe that the British people can't make informed decisions for themselves?

It's a bit of a coincidence that I did a post only yesterday about smoking during pregnancy, then stumbled across this article this morning (OK I know it's the Daily Mail, but it's still food for thought).

The headline reads:

"Expectant mothers to be given smoking breath tests: Health watchdog tells midwives to challenge all pregnant women"

You can read the full article here.

We do of course have a lot of restrictions here in Turkey...censorship (ie banning of many websites, including Youtube) being one of the most irritating.  Having a government who decides what we should or shouldn't watch or read.

I'd be interested in your thoughts, not only on this article, but on any other aspects of  everyday life, where you feel that you are restricted or prevented from making your own choices.  Not just in Britain, but anywhere.

Reckless Driving

Not a day passes in this country when you don't see an example of reckless and dangerous driving.

I haven't checked the statistics but I was told recently that Turkey has one of the worst records for road traffic accidents in the world.  And frankly it doesn't surprise me.

Hardly anyone uses their seatbelts.  Motorcyclists rarely use crash helmets.   Drivers seem to think traffic lights are to be ignored.  They use mobile phones while they're driving.  It's not unusual at all to see babies and young children, unrestrained, on the laps of their mothers in the front passenger seat.  The dolmuş (local bus) is often overloaded with far too many passengers.  Not to mention the fact that our village bus stops at the petrol station to collect petrol in plastic containers for use by a village tractor...which are then placed inside the bus with the passengers.     The list of risks taken by Turkish drivers is endless.

And there is an obsession with over-taking...even on roads where there are clear "no overtaking" signs...often with tragic results.  See this report in Todays Zaman......absolutely devastating.

I have asked several Turks in the past, including my husband, why they take such risks.  The answer is always the same.  "Everything in life is in the hands of Allah...what will be will be...when it's your time to go, it's Allah's decision, not yours"...or words to that effect.

I hope I'm not being disrespectful when I say that this is carrying "faith" just a little too far.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The new generation of bloggers

This is an award for two very special girls.  Mel at http://melroxx.blogspot.com/, and Kaibee at http://diaryofanallpakistanigirl.blogspot.com/.

Mel lives in India, and Kaibee lives in Pakistan.

They are both in their teens and at school....studying hard (most of the time!) and going through all those familiar experiences and emotions that are a distant memory to most of us.

I love the way blogging covers all age groups, all continents and all cultures.  And I particularly like the fact that this new generation of bloggers are a sign that blogging is going to be around for a long long time.

Both Mel and Kaibee prove that it is possible to close the generation gap, and that we all have something interesting to say and to read about, whatever our age.

The award comes with no conditions, other than for you both to post it up on your blog, with my thanks for being loyal followers, and with the hope that you will continue with your blogs for many years to come.

Smoking during Pregnancy

Mr Ayak's cousin, Derya, and her husband, who visited us on Saturday, are expecting their first baby in November.  They have been married for just over a year, and are very happy and excited about the baby.

She's a very intelligent young woman, well educated and very westernised in her outlook on life.  After they had been here for 5 minutes or so, she lit up a cigarette.  And she continued to smoke throughout the afternoon.

I was very shocked, and it's been on my mind ever since.  Of course I didn't comment on it at the time.  What would be the point?  She must know the risks, and it's her choice.

But it did get me wondering about when we started to find this practise shocking...obscene even?

I've been a smoker most of my life, but I gave up when I was pregnant with my first child some 30 years ago. In fact I didn't smoke again for 9 years, which saw me through the birth of my second child, and through the formative years of both of my children.   I don't think I'd have taken up the weeds again if it hadn't been for the stress of a messy divorce.

If we go back to my parents' generation, things were very different.  My mother was a heavy smoker, and she continued to smoke through all three of her pregnancies, but she produced three large very healthy babies.  We were brought up in an environment of cigarette smoke.  No-one ever considered that passive smoking could be harmful.   And it would seem that it didn't actually harm any of us.

Most of my daughter's generation are  obsessed with avoiding absolutely anything that can harm their unborn child.   When my daughter was pregnant with Billy, anyone who smoked would not be allowed within a 100 yards of her.  And through information so freely available these days, she knew all the foods that should be avoided, and all the risks that should not be taken.

I am still one of those people who is yet to be convinced that passive smoking is really harmful.  I believe there is so much pollution in the atmosphere anyway, from traffic etc, that smoking makes up a very small part of that.  But having said that, I have always respected others' beliefs, and would never just light up a cigarette in the company of non-smokers without their permission.

I wonder then why I almost had this feeling of disgust at seeing Derya smoking?  Have we been brainwashed in recent years to believe that smoking is more harmful than anything else?  And that the sight of a pregnant woman smoking is obscene?  It seems that way to me.

What do you think?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Monday in Milas

Mr Ayak gave me some money on Saturday to get some more shopping.  I know..it's difficult to believe that I actually needed anything else after his mammoth shopping spree, but in his haste to buy expensive food, he had forgotten basics like eggs, washing powder, toilet rolls etc. There was also enough spare cash for me to get my hair done...long overdue...I had dark roots on top of dark roots!

When I arrived at the bus stop in the village I noticed the Muhtar go into his office so I thought I would just pop in and ask him about the rubbish collection...again!  Mr A informs me that he doesn't recall it being collected since before I went to England.  Well that was the 6th May...so you can imagine how it's piling up.  It's as well I found something heavy to cover the bin or the smell in this heat would be appalling...even though I wrap all the rubbish several times.

Anyway the Muhtar was full of more excuses and apologies and promises to deal with it.  Then along came the bus so I couldn't pursue the matter further and he gave a sigh of relief!

When I was going through some paperwork yesterday I found the receipt for the payment of my postbox in Milas.  I had paid for a year but this ended on 28th May.  I hadn't received a reminder from the PTT but I thought it would be a good idea to go in and pay again.   How many Turkish post office workers does it take to renew my postbox subscription?  The answer is three.  One to search for the receipt pad, another to find carbon paper to insert in same (yes...they're still using carbon paper here...isn't that quaint?)  And a third to supervise the whole procedure.  So between the three of them they wrote out all the details again, using my old receipt for information.  Man No. 1 said it was valid for a year.  Man No. 2 said it was valid for 7 months.  And Man No. 3 realising that I was confused, actually wrote the expiry date on the receipt...28th November 2011!   "2011?" I asked.  "Yes" he replied.

So I have absolutely no idea when it expires...but I only had to pay 3.5 lira so I'll check it out again some time in the future.  On second thoughts I'll get Mr A to check it out!

Next stop the eczane (chemist) to try and find Ibubrofen gel.  I bought some in England last year.  It's wonderfully soothing for my aching back and I like the fact that it doesn't smell of anything.  I hate all those anti-inflammatory creams that have a really strong smell.  It can be a bit embarrassing on a crowded bus.

I found a Turkish equivalent...although a cream rather than a gel...but the main ingredient was 5% Ibubrofen which is the same as the English one.   Well now I'm at home and have tried it, I realise that they have added other things...things that make it smell.  It's mostly a lavender smell but there's something else there as well that I can't quite work out.   I wonder why the manufacturers feel the need to do this?  Maybe it's because the Turks need to smell something to believe it's doing them some good?  Anyway I'll only use it when I'm in the house.  It will do for now.

I paid a visit to my hairdresser who agreed with me that my roots really needed doing.  Even though I ask for the same colour, I get a different shade of red each time I have it done.  Today's shade is rather nice though. I like it and have asked him to make a note of it so that it will be the same next time...but I won't hold my breath that this will happen!

It was by now coming up to midday so I made my way to the bus station and got on the bus.   A lovely young Turkish girl, from one of the other villages near us, asked me where I came from.  When I said I was English she proceeded to practise her English on me.  I am quite used to this.  It usually doesn't last much longer than "My name is... what is your name?"  "Where are you from?" "How are you?....I am fine" etc etc.  But this girl did manage a little more.  She was so bright and cheerful, I guess around 16 years old.  Anyway she reverted back to Turkish and was telling me that her older sister was about to go to university, but that she had decided that it wasn't for her.  She just wanted to get married and have lots of babies!  I thought what a pity she can't do both.  But I didn't say anything because her mother was sitting next to her, and you never know what the reasons are behind her statement.  Maybe they can only afford to send one child to university, and this girl just accepts that it won't be her?  I don't suppose I'll ever know...but she was so bright that I thought it a shame she wouldn't have the opportunity.

The bus left at 12 o clock for the 20 minute or so journey to the village.  However, there was something going on in Milas today.  The flags were flying off all the balconies and buildings, and there was a strong jandarma presence.  And traffic...lots of it!   And we were stuck in it...for over an hour, in a hot sticky bus, with the temps in the mid 90s.  I don't know what was happening because it isn't a national holiday as far as I know.

I was sweating of course, along with everyone else.   You know that sometimes when you have your hair coloured, there is still some excess colour which comes out after the first wash?  Well...my head sweated...and I had pinkish red streaks running down my face.  But of course I didn't notice until I arrived home and looked in the mirror.   Oh how embarrassing!!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

A follow-up post


Thanks to my knowledgeable blogger friends I'm starting to understand the excitement of discovering edible plants (I will no longer refer to them as weeds) in my garden.

I knew that this was semizoto in Turkish but I didn't know until today that it was called purslane.  I've been googling for more information and have come across a website containing recipes.  I know how to use it the Turkish way but it's wonderful to find more ways to use this remarkable plant.

It is truly remarkable.  I've copied the first paragraph from this website as follows:

"Think of it as a weed, and you'll be missing out on one of the most nutritious greens on the planet. Purslane has more beta-carotene than spinach*, as well as high levels of magnesium and potassium. Historically it has been used as a remedy for arthritis and inflammation by European cultures. Chinese herbalists found similar benefits, using it in respiratory and circulatory function. Recently, it's been found that purslane has alpha linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Researchers see evidence that these substances lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as make the blood less likely to form clots. And, purslane has only 15 calories per 100 g portion".

Isn't that amazing?  And to think I was digging it up last year and throwing it on a heap until my neighbour told me I could eat it.  I still didn't bother and Mr Ayak cleared a whole area of it last week.  Not to worry though, the garden is awash with it, so there is enough to keep us going!

If you're interested the website with recipes is here.

I'm also delighted to discover fennel growing too.  I've had a couple of goes at tasting and smelling it, because I was uncertain whether it was fennel or Tansy.  But now I'm pretty sure it's fennel..

It's the custom amongst Turkish women when they are baking to give neighbours a dish of whatever they have produced.   Then when you return the dish it's customary to put something on it that you have made.  It's really not the done thing to return an empty dish.  Last night I gave Şevke a plate of choc chip and peach muffins that I baked yesterday, and she has just returned the dish which is now full of dolma.  These are stuffed vegetables.  She has given me stuffed tomatoes, vine leaves, peppers and courgette flowers. Delicious!

I also gave her about 2 kilos of aubergines  this morning. Mr Ayak always forgets that I don't really like aubergines, so I wanted them to be used by someone while they're still fresh so she has also given me a dish of her wonderful olives seeped in olive oil.  I love olives and have tried many varieties over the years but I have never ever tasted any so wonderful as those that Şevke produces.

As you can see from the last couple of posts I now have food coming out of my ears.  I can't even give it away without getting even more in return!

I'm not complaining...but I may well be gaining some excess weight in the near future!

Attention Heiko and Mr H!

...I need your help identifying some "weeds"!  And anyone else who visits my blog who can tell me what these are.  They are growing in my garden and I don't want to keep weeding them out if I can use them

I bought Richard Mabey's book while I was in England, but I'm still not confident enough to identify them myself.

My pictures of course are nowhere near as good as his, but maybe you can see what they are?  The one above...I just have no idea.



I think...at least I hope...that this could be fennel?
Now I do know what the Turkish name for this is...it's semizoto.  And it is used in salads, also boiled and mixed with garlic and yogurt, and cooked like spinach.  But I can't find a translation for it.  This is growing in abundance in my garden, and I'll never be able to use it all, so I offload a fair amount to my neighbour Şevke.  So does anyone know an English name for it?



And just a few more pics I took this morning while I was out watering the garden.   My very first apple from a baby tree. The first lemon. The plums ripening nicely.  And the vast quantity of grapes on the vine...not quite ready.  There so many that I will be drying them out on the roof at some point...to use for cooking cakes, etc.


















Saturday, 19 June 2010

I really should be more grateful.....

...for goodness sake, why was I complaining earlier today about a new vacuum cleaner and loads of food!

The vacuum cleaner was presented to me with a flourish.  OK I'm still being a little cynical..because I just know it was given to impress.  But I AM grateful, because it's a lovely little piece of machinery...lightweight and efficient...so not so much strain on my back. 

Mr Ayak,  Derya and her husband (sorry...I keep forgetting his name) struggled in with so many bags of food shopping, that I lost count.  The kitchen floor was covered in shopping bags and it took me ages to unpack and try to force everything into the fridge, freezer and cupboards.    There were two enormous chickens, lamb chops, spare ribs, six large steaks, minced beef, chicken portions in a barbecue sauce, and 10 packs of chicken livers for the dogs.   Not to mention, 6 cartons of fruit juice, 2 x 200mg packs of coffee, 8 cartons of milk, half a dozen bottles of coca-cola and fanta, and enough vegetables and salad stuff to feed the entire village....oh and loads of other things as well.

As I suspected, Mr Ayak was out to impress.....Well I was certainly impressed!  It was a bit like Christmas to be honest.  He made a point of saying that he hoped this would last me a couple of weeks...more like a couple of months at least!  I've probably mentioned before just how expensive meat is here.  I was shocked at the prices on the packets.  The cost of the meat alone would have bought enough basic food to last me for months.

BUT....I'm going to enjoy all this wonderful food and try not to think about what sort of effect this shopping spree will have on Mr Ayak's finances.  After all...the gesture clearly made him happy.

Fortunately, we had a barbeque, so we used up half of the barbeque chicken and spare ribs, and even though I made an enormous bowl of salad, there's still about 5 kilos of tomatoes left, together with 3 lettuces, peppers and spring onions.

I've managed to freeze  most of the meat, but I will probably share the vegetables and salad with my neighbours, because it won't last for too long.

The strange thing is that I have been longing for some really nice food for weeks, and now my fridge and freezer are absolutely crammed...I don't actually feel hungry....It must be the shock!

Awards

I'm very happy to have received two awards today.

The first is the Heartfelt Blogger Award which has been given to me by Gaelikaa at Gaelikaa's Diary.  Gaelikaa writes so beautifully about her life in India, and it's always so enjoyable to read.

Thankyou Gaelikaa xx

The conditions for this award are as follows-


Display the logo.

Nominate some blogs that make you feel comfy or warm inside.

Link to your nominees.

Let them know they have been nominated by commenting.

Link to the person from whom you received the award.

So I pass this on to-


Maggie May at Nuts in May

Monalisa at My Life


auntiegwen at auntie gwens diary

Fly in the Web at French Leave


                    



The second award is from Kaibee at Diary of an all Pakistani Girl and it's a present for my blog...not me!  I've mentioned Kaibee before.  She really is a lovely young girl who blogs about her life in Karachi  (and she always says such nice things to me!)

So I would like to pass this award on to the following blogs, that are interesting reading, or something a bit different from the norm, or blogs which give useful advice.












Keeping up Appearances


Mr Ayak's business is slowly picking up.  There is money coming in at last, but it's going out at a pretty rapid rate.  There are lots of bills to be paid in connection with the business,  and it's going to be some time before there's actually anything for us.

I've been living very frugally...much more than I usually do.  I know that there isn't any spare money available to buy food for me and the dogs or to pay the bills at home, but I've accepted that we can't run before we can walk.

Mr A also can't get home much, because it is his role to find customers, which means tht he has to be there 24/7.  I decided this week that I wouldn't make any more trips over to the hotel, because of the cost of the busfare and the time involved in getting there and back.   Mr A said that he would come over as often as possible.

Yesterday he phoned me to say that his cousin Derya and her husband were visiting.  They are staying with Mr A's cousin Habib, who runs the hotel opposite Mr A's business, and was there any chance I could get over there to see them.  It wasn't possible because I didn't actually have enough money for the busfare.  I also mentioned to Mr A that the vacuum cleaner had packed up.   This was my very old one, which I cleaned up a few weeks ago, because the new one I bought last year is broken.   It's still under guarantee and it's the attachments that are broken, but Mr A would have to take the whole thing back to Milas to get it sorted...something I can't manage to do on the bus.

He must have mentioned something to his cousin, because late last evening, Mr A phoned me to say that he was coming over with Derya and her husband today, and that they had bought me a new vacuum cleaner as a house-warming present.  Of course I'm very grateful, but I hate the thought of them wasting their money, when my existing cleaner could have been repaired or replaced under guarantee.

But what is really annoying me is that Mr A then said that he would get food shopping for me on the way, and what did I need.  Well...I laughed and said everything...which is true.  But I know he doesn't have spare money for this, and he is only doing it to impress his cousin.   They will no doubt stay for the day....and Saturday is Mr A's busiest day, so I also know he can't afford to be away from the business for too long.

You may wonder why I'm annoyed.  It's simply because Turks just won't be honest about their financial situation.   They have to pretend that everything is far better than it is.  And I'll be expected to keep up the pretense and make out that life is just wonderful and we're rolling in money.

I hate it because in my culture, in families, we tell it as it is.  We are accepted for what we are rather than what we own.  We don't have the need to impress those people in our lives that we are closest to.

So Mr A will turn up with an extravagant amount of shopping which I know he can't afford, and which I don't need, and spend time here today that he really can't spare ...all for the sake of keeping up appearances.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Tagged back

I recently tagged 5 bloggers with 10 questions.  One of these was Kaibee, a really sweet young girl whose blog is all about her life in Karachi, Pakistan.   Well, dear Kaibee has tagged me back and I've promised to answer her questions.   But don't worry...I won't be tagging anyone else with 10 more questions...because I've run out of ideas.

So here you are Kaibee...your questions and my answers:


1. Do you have a tattoo? If you don't would you like to get tattooed one day?

No I don't have one, nor would I have one, because I really don't like them...and it looks painful!


2. What is your guilty pleasure?

Cadbury's chocolate

3.What is that one thing you would really like to do before you die?

Ah...there are lots of things I'd like to do before I die, but I'm not sure I'll get the chance.  Mostly, there are countries that I'd like to visit.  In particular China, India, New Zealand...oh lots more!

4. If you get a chance to meet one of your blog readers, who would you like to meet and why?

I wouldn't actually mind meeting any of my blog readers.  I couldn't really choose one in particular.  They all seem like really interesting people..so it would be lovely to meet any of them.

5.If you get a chance to live the life of one of the characters you have read in a book. Which character would you choose and why?

Oh this is a difficult one.  I think probably it would be Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.  Such a gentle character, very refined, and brilliant at solving murders...completely unlike me! (the refined bit is completely unlike me.. not the solving of murders!)

6.Name that one book or movie or piece of art or music, that you think should be burned.

I would never want to burn books, movies, or music, but there is one piece of so-called art that should have been burned, and that's Tracey Emin's "My Bed" which was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999.   It was disgusting and embarrassing.

7. What is the sweetest, most heart-stopping thing anyone has ever said to you. You can also mention who said it! :D

It was said many years ago by Mr Ayak.  I'm older than him and the age difference used to bother me.  It doesn't anymore, and it's never bothered him.  But I once said to him "What would happen in the future if I became ill and ended up in a wheelchair, what would you do?"  And he answered, without any hesitation, and quite seriously "Well I'd just push you around in it wouldn't I?"

8. What is that one thing that never fails to make you cry or smile?

Seeing my grandson Billy and my daughter Stella.  They always  make me smile, and I sometimes cry because I miss them.

9. Describe yourself in one word.

Complicated

10. Dark chocolate, Milk Chocolate or white chocolate?

Milk Chocolate...preferably Cadburys.

11. -Optional- If you were a season, which one would you like to be?

Spring.

...............so that's it...no more tags for a while!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Hot or Cold?

I've spent the day in the bedroom...the coolest room in the house.  Oh I did get up at 5.30am, fed the dogs and let them out, watered the garden and did some housework.  But by 7.00 am it was already too hot to do anything else.

Poppy likes staying in the house, whatever the weather, but Beki loves to be outside.  Even she can't bear this heat and both dogs have been flat out on the cool bedroom floor all day.

It's now 36 degrees (that's 97 in fahrenheit...I'm of the age where I can only really grasp fahrenheit).  It's only mid-June.  July and August will be much hotter.  And for the twelfth year running I'm dreading it.  I seem to find it harder every year to cope with the heat.

Shopping in Milas will now have to be done early morning.  That was the plan yesterday.  I caught the 8.15am bus and intended to return on the 9.45am bus to the village. I arrived at the bus station at 9.30am in plenty of time, but the bus was cancelled so I had to wait in the hot, sticky, shadeless bus station until the next one at 10.30am.  It was market day in Milas, so the bus was crowded and I found myself pushed up against the window by a very large woman with sweaty armpits, and several bags of vegetables. And I'm always amazed at how many clothes the women here wear when it's hot.  Long skirts, long sleeved tops, usually with a cardigan on top, and the obligatory headscarf of course....and socks with their sandals!  Socks...for goodness sake!

Then there's the climb up the hill when I get off the bus.  I swear I will die on that hill in the middle of summer.  I'll never know how I manage to get as far as the house without passing out.

Of course most people who move to Turkey do so for the climate amongst other things.  Not me...I moved here for love of course.

So it has prompted me to ask the question.   Are you happy with the climate you live in?  Do you prefer hot or cold weather?

My ideal climate would be around 65 to70 fahrenheit for most of the year, but with cold spells every so often.  I like to sit outside in the sunshine but not when it's too hot.  There's nothing I like more than snuggling up under the electric blanket in winter. Mind you...talking about my electric blanket right now has made me feel quite faint!

So...what's the perfect climate for you?

(Edit...whilst writing this post the temperature has risen to 100 F.  I think I should get rid of the thermometer...somehow knowing the temperature makes me feel worse!)

Neighbours

I was reading a post on Gaelikaa's Diary (a wonderful blog and well worth a visit), this morning about her nuisance neighbours, and it prompted me to write a post about my neighbours.

I have some wonderful neighbours...you may recall my mentioning Mehmet, the deaf guy who lives just up the lane from me.  Whilst I was in England he, along with some more neighbours looked after my dogs when Mr Ayak couldn't get back from the hotel.  He also found my post in the village yesterday and delivered it to my gate, with a promise to look out for future post for me.

 And there's Şevke, next door, who is just lovely.  She is the one who cooked food for the dogs while I was in England, but as she is scared of dogs, she got her daughter and granddaughter to bring the food into the garden to feed them.  I buy my olive oil from Şevke...it's absolutely delicious.  It costs me just 5 lira (about 2 pounds) for a litre.  She sells it in empty coca-cola bottles, and I always pass my empties along to her so she has a stock of them.  She is also happy for me to throw my weeds over the wall for her chickens, so I avoid having to light a bonfire.

And talking of bonfires.  My neighbour on the other side...who's name always escapes me...has an obsession with bonfires.  She has a habit of lighting one when the wind is blowing in the direction of my house and I have the windows open, and washing on the line.  I've had a word with her on a couple of occasions, as has Mr Ayak, but it doesn't seem to make much difference.  But I tolerate it, because I like her.  She is quite grumpy and shouts a lot.....mostly at her animals.  She has two cows, three goats, a donkey and chickens.  She did have a young bull at one point, but one day the frisky young thing tried to mount her...I saw the entire incident and was so shocked I was rooted to the spot.   Shortly after, he was moved to another home!  She talks to her donkey and he talks back...honestly!   I love the way she covers him with thick plastic sheeting when it rains...it shows she cares.  She gets my leftover bread for the animals, along with empty 5 litre water bottles which she uses for milk from the cows.

Just below our house is a ramshackle, dirty, almost derelict house.  Here lives an elderly couple who both have learning difficulties...I suspect as a result of the in-breeding that goes on in these remote villages.  The woman collects cats...loads of them.  She seems to feed them better than she feeds herself and her husband.  Most of their house is now in ruins and they live in one tiny room.  Their belongings are piled up in the garden and covered with plastic sheeting.  They are both very dirty and smelly and it's unlikely they ever wash themselves or their clothes.   The neighbours look out for them though, particular the lovely Şevke, who has the patience of a saint.   They have no bathroom or toilet.  They just have a semi-circular pile of stacked stones in the garden which they use as a toilet.  Unfortunately, the woman sometimes doesn't bother to use their "toilet" and I have seen her come out of her door, lift her skirt, and squat just outside her house.

I know from years of working with people with both mental health problems and learning difficulties, that it's important to enable them to live as "normal" a life as possible, and this includes encouraging them to have some self-respect.  I talked this over with my father-in-law when he was here, and with Mr Ayak.  The mentality amongst the rest of the village seems to be that "they can't help it...they know no better".  I don't subscribe to that idea at all.  They may have problems but they are not stupid.  Mr Ayak has talked to the woman about making sure they use their toilet, and not just squat anywhere, and he has said that they should try to build the stone-stacked toilet a little higher, and when they have done so, Mr Ayak will make them a roof from some of the old timber we have.   They do add a few stones from time to time, so I think they've got the message.

The woman also makes a lot of noise.  She likes the sound of her own voice.  I have to admit that it bothered me a lot at first...it still does when I'm in a bad mood or I have a headache.  But like most things, after a while you just don't notice.

I asked Mr Ayak how they survive...do they have money?  He told me that they never have to pay for anything from the village shop, or for their vegetables from the Monday market.  And people give them things. I have  given them the odd things, like biscuits and cakes, and some fleece tops for the woman...although I've never seen her wear them.  She didn't thank me but asked if I had a jacket!

During the winter months, a tractor and trailer came up the hill to deliver some sacks of coal for this couple, who had managed to fit a soba (wood and coal burning stove) in their tiny room.  I was looking out of the window at the time.  The husband came out to take the sacks of coal from the delivery man and to pay him.  Out of his pocket came an enormous wad of money.  There must have been hundreds if lira in his hand.  What a shock...there they are, living off free handouts, but they clearly have money.

Like I said, people may have learning difficulties, but it doesn't mean they're stupid.   This couple certainly aren't !

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Testing the Postal Service (and the Muhtar)

I have mentioned before that the postal service in Turkey is quite unpredictable.  In some of the areas where I've previously lived, I hardly received anything that had been posted to me from England.  So I just asked people not to bother to send post to me.

It should take about a week for something to reach here from the UK, but I've sometimes waited weeks or months for a delivery.  Some years ago I received a christmas card in February, from a friend in England, who had posted it at the beginning of December, clearly addressed.   The envelope had stuff written all over it, and it appeared to have gone via Malaysia for some unknown reason!

When we moved to the village last year, I discovered that the delivery of post was very erratic.  A van from Milas would come to the village with post, only when he had enough of it to justify the trip.  So I decided to take a postbox at the main post office in Milas, and so far this has worked very well.  In fact the postmaster there has got to know me quite well, and if I receive parcels, instead of him putting a slip of paper in my box for me to collect from one of the counters in the main building, he just hangs on to them for me in his desk, and I just pop my head round the door and ask if there's anything for me.

When I was in England last month, there was some post for me at my brother's address.  Some of it was in my former name, and none of it was of great importance or urgent.   But it was correspondence that I wished to continue receiving.  So I decided to test the postal service.  I sent my new address to the people concerned, without changing my name.   I not only put the name of the village in the address, but also the post office box number too.  Haha I thought...that'll confuse them!   No-one in this village has a house number.  Any post will just be addressed to the name of the person and the name of the village.  And that's it.  The postman from Milas will bring the post and dump it in the teahouse in the village, and the villagers will collect it from there.

Well I am delighted to say that it has worked.   Last night, the deaf guy from up the lane, who was so kind to the dogs whilst I was in England, turned up at my gate with an envelope.   It was addressed to me in my old name, with the name of the village and the postbox number.  He asked if this was me?  And I replied that it was.   Of course it wasn't too difficult for anyone to realise that this was my post.  After all it had an English postmark, and I am the only English person living here.  But a least he had taken the trouble to find out.  And...bless his heart...he has promised to look out for any further post for me and to deliver it to me in future.

And...testing the Muhtar (the head of the village)?  I went into his office this morning to pay our water bill.  You may recall that it took us months to get a rubbish bin outside our house.  They are supposed to collect the rubbish every week, but it's not happening.  I am supposed to pay 3 lira extra on top of my water bill for this service.   So I handed over the money...less 3 lira.  He asked for the rubbish money, and I said he could have it when the rubbish had been collected...it hasn't been collected since I returned from England.

He jumped up from his desk...called out of the door of his office to the man with the tractor who normally collects the rubbish....and told him the rubbish must be collected today...and has assured me that it will.  We'll see...

Saturday, 12 June 2010

So...who's watching the World Cup?


Well I thought I may not be able to watch England's first game tonight.  We no longer have a television.  I watch a UK TV website on subscription but even though I was reconnected to the internet on Thursday...albeit with the radio signal off, and with a usb cable joining the laptop to the modem, I haven't been able to get connected to the site.  

I decided to get the bus over to Mr Ayak's hotel to watch it on a large TV which Mr A's cousin has installed in his bar in the hotel opposite, for the English tourists staying there.   I was getting ready to catch the last village bus at 6.00pm when we had another storm.  More thunder and lightening and a heavy downpour.  Apart from the fact that I didn't relish the idea of getting drenched, Mr A would have had to bring me home on the back of the motorbike after the match...and it's a journey of an hour.   Sensibly I decided against it.

I resigned myself to the fact that whilst everyone else would be watching the match, I would most likely just be gazing out of my window at the storm.

I decided to give the website one more go...about an hour ago...and woohoo...I have a picture...and sound.   Just in time for the game!  OK it's a bit jittery and freezes from time to time (hopefully it won't when England score!)  but it's better than nothing.

So are there any other football fans out there?   Are you watching the World Cup?   Do you just watch your own team out of a sense of patriotism?  Or do you get drawn into the whole event?  Do you watch football regularly, and if so which team do you support? 

Me?  I've been a lifelong supporter of West Ham.  Although since I've lived here I have to own up to having lost track of how they are doing these days.   I love the World Cup and the European Championships, and even though I start out just intending to watch and support England, I find myself getting absorbed by the whole thing, and end up watching lots of other matches too.   I also support Turkey when they play international matches, but unfortunately they didn't qualify this time.   Mr Ayak supports Fenerbahçe, and he, like most Turks are absolutely passionate about football.   There's nothing quite like the atmosphere after Turkey have won a match, when everyone takes to the streets in their cars, waving flags and sounding horns.

Well it's almost time for kick-off...so I'm off now to watch.


Friday, 11 June 2010

I can do dull...just give me a chance!


A storm has been brewing all day.  It's been so hot, sticky and humid and I was desperate to see some rain.   The sky was magnificent and I took my camera outside to get some shots.

When I went to get the usb cable to upload from my camera from the drawer where it is always kept, along with my camera, it wasn't there.  Oh great...just what I need.

Then the storm started.  The wind was quite vicious and glancing out of the window I could see that the metal poles holding the cover over the gazebo had collapsed, and it looked like the cover was about to take off like a hot air balloon.   So out I rushed, armed with sticky tape and string and attempted a temporary repair job. 

On returning to the house the electricity had gone off.  This always happens when there's a storm.  So I unplugged everything, to avoid the surge when it returned.   Ever since my modem exploded a couple of months ago after we were struck by lightening, I never take any chances.   So I used the time to search the whole house for the usb cable.  I emptied every drawer and cupboard in the house but it was nowhere to be found.  I even pulled out furniture, which resulted in my knocking over a coffee table and smashing a lovely onyx ashtray that was a present from a good friend of mine.

I made the third call today to Turk Telekom to find out why my new phone tariff was still not open, having waited two days for it to happen.  The first two calls resulted in my being unable to locate the Turk Telekom guy who speaks a little English and has tried his best to help.  Third time lucky and I managed to get hold of him.  He said he would check with someone about my phone line and call me back.

As I have mentioned before, for the past year I have only been able to make outgoing local calls...no national or international.   I changed the tariff on Wednesday to be able to do this.  Mr Helpful Telekom Man phoned back to say he had checked and that the person who had dealt with my change of tariff said that I had requested that the facility to make national and international calls be closed.   Hmmm...excuse me, I said.  How is it possible to close something that wasn't actually open in the first place?   Oh...he said...you've got a point...it must be our mistake.  So off he went to sort it out.  He phoned back to say that it was indeed their mistake and that the new tariff will be operational from 6.00pm today.   Aaaargh...why are they so stupid?

And now I really think I'm losing the plot.  The storm has moved on.  The electricity is back on.  I went to put my camera away in the drawer....and there was the usb cable staring me in the face!  How on earth did that happen?   I switched on my laptop, connected the cable....and guess what?  None of the shots I took are anywhere to be found on my camera.   I give up.

My laptop is still attached by cable to the modem, and my brother-in-law will help me to fix this problem.  I sent him a message yesterday.  He actually rang my mobile twice last night and I missed the calls.  It wasn't late but I was asleep.  I'm a pretty light sleeper so I always hear the phone, but I think the events of this week have taken their toll and I must have just crashed out with exhaustion....out for the count.

Oh...and I've had what I think are nuisance calls on my landline today.  Some Turkish guy who won't say who he is or what he wants, but is asking where I am.  He's only phoned twice but in my present state of mind, it's enough to freak me out. I just hung up both times and he hasn't phoned again thank goodness.  I don't have caller identity on my phone, nor do we have the 1471 facility here that they have in England.  And as far as I can make out there seems to be no system for reporting nuisance calls.  Mr A says not to worry about it...just to hang up.  He says I'm perfectly safe in this village and I know he's right.

My friend Ann made a comment on my blog today about my life never being dull. How right she is. But I'm getting just a bit fed up with it right now.

I can do dull...I want the chance to do dull.  I'd do just about anything for a bit of dullness right now.

Tagged!

I've been tagged by Fly in the Web at French Leave.  She thinks I need something else to do instead of weeding...and she's right!

I have to answer 10 questions that Fly has asked me.  Then I have to think up 10 questions and pass them on to 5 other bloggers.

So here goes with Fly's questions...and my answers.

1. What will you be doing while the football world cup is on?

I'll be watching the England games....and maybe a few others if the mood takes me.  We don't have a TV anymore because I now watch UK TV on subscription on my laptop......so internet connection and electricity permitting...I can watch all the programmes I like and miss from the UK.


2. What picks you up when you're down?

A few things do.  Seeing Stella and Billy on webcam.  Spending rare time with Mr Ayak.  Blogging...and in particular receiving comments from people I now consider as friends.

3. Indian or China...we're talking tea here, not economics...

Neither.  I'm not a tea drinker.  Although I do have the occasional glass of çay (Turkish tea) when offered...out of politeness.  I'm a coffee drinker and I drink far too much of it.

4. What do you value most about blogging?

I kind of answered that in question 2.  The fact that I have regular followers, who give me advice, offer an encouraging word, and who take the time to read my words, is what I value most.  But I also value the fact that it's an outlet for everything that's going on in my head.   I find it very therapeutic to write it all down.

5. What can't you bring yourself to throw out of your wardrobe?

There are two things.  Both kept for sentimental reasons but will probably never be worn again.  The first is a long flowing skirt...multicoloured...the first item of clothing that Mr Ayak bought for me 11 or so years ago.  It was quite expensive but it's hideous...he has no taste in clothes.  But I wore it several times because I love him and I didn't want to hurt his feelings.  He has bought other clothes for me over the years...all hideous, until I sat him down one day and gently asked him not to buy any more. I told him that I don't need more clothes...which is partly true.  Anyway I just can't throw the skirt away.

The second is the dress that I wore to Stella's wedding in July 2007.  I had bought it in Monsoon in England the previous January, gained weight between then and July and only just managed to squeeze into it and hold my breath for 12 hours.  It's a lovely dress and I live in hope that I will wake up one morning to find all my excess weight has disappeared overnight and I can wear it again.

6. Would you rather someone didn't ask your views on controversial issues?

Yes...most definitely.  It's a sure way to lose friends and gain enemies.

7. Do you recommend people..and then wish you hadn't?

Oh yes...often..and then having to keep apologising for it.

8. Do you own up to reading light novels, or hide them under the cushions if visitors arrive?

I own up to it.  I used to be more discriminating when I lived in England.  But it's almost impossible to find English books here...so if anyone offers me books, I'll read them.  I don't always enjoy them but I can't imagine a life without books.

9. Content with your own company or gregarious?

Very much content with my own company.  I would say that I was gregarious when I was younger, but having spent years working with people and their problems, I very much value time on my own.

10. One thing which would noticeably improve your life.

To receive a letter from my credit card company to say they've cancelled my debt.  I was going to say a lottery win...that would be nice...but getting shot of the credit card would be a start!

...................................................

OK...here my 10 questions:  (They're not as good as Fly's and I was tempted to cheat and use hers!)

1. Is there anything in your life that you wish you'd done differently?

2. Are you a morning or night person?

3. Cats or dogs?

4.  Savoury or sweet?

5. Do you keep in touch with old friends or do they get lost or forgotten along the way?

6.  If you had the choice, where in the world would you like to live?

7.  Popular or classical music?

8.  What characteristic in people in general do you most dislike?

9.  Do you enjoy spending hours shopping, or do you try to get it over with as fast as possible?

10. Who is the person who has had the most influence in your life?

I'm going to nominate 5 people, in accordance with this tag, but I've picked them at random, and would be really pleased if  anyone else  takes up the task.  I love finding out more about you all.


Cross the Pond

Bombshellicious

Diary of an all Pakistani girl  (Kaibee...I know you're bored...this will give you something to do!)

Nuts in May

My Life

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Quite an eventful week

It started last Saturday.  My gas bottle ran out.  I only have one which is used for my cooker.They are huge and very heavy here, and everywhere else I've lived you have them delivered to your door, then the man takes the empty one away.  Not here in this village however.  They have them down the steep hill in the village shop, but there's no way I could manage to get one without a tractor.

Only one thing for it...play the helpless female.  I hate doing it but it's the only thing that works.  So after a lengthy conversation with the shopkeeper, with much wringing of hands and sighs of despair on my part, he accepted an extra 5 lira to get a man with a tractor to deliver it for me.

The water has been off every day for nearly two weeks.  Whilst I was down in the shop sorting out the gas bottle, it came back on again.  When I returned home, my kitchen was flooded.  I had inadvertently left the kitchen tap on full blast, with a bowl in the sink blocking the plughole, so it had overflowed and had almost reached the sitting-room carpet.

My laptop battery decided to stop working.  It had been on the blink for a week or so...it just kept clicking on and off, accompanied by that irritating bleep from the laptop every time it disconnected.  By Sunday night it had given up completely.  So on Monday morning I set off to Milas to get it repaired,  which took 2 hours.

And on Monday afternoon after arriving home and using my repaired adaptor for a couple of hours, I completely lost my internet connection.  A couple of hours later I started with the phone calls to TTNet in Istanbul...and I won't bore you with the details, other than to say I lost count of the number of calls I made from Monday evening till Tuesday evening.  It cost me a small fortune in credit on my mobile phone, but the matter was not resolved.  I was promised a visit by an engineer on Tuesday, but he didn't show.

Because my landline tariff is for outgoing local calls only (to avoid the temptation on my part to ring England on a regular basis, and to stop Mr A ringing his friends' mobile phones), I decided that now was the time to change tariffs and opt for all outgoing calls.

So I caught the 8.00am bus into Milas yesterday morning and went to the Turk Telekom office.  After about half an hour I managed to locate a man who spoke as much English as my Turkish (which leaves a lot to be desired) but he was very helpful and between us we managed to change my tariff, which was to take immediate effect.   It's now more than 24 hours later and it hasn't happened.  I also managed to arrange for an engineer to come out today to check my ADSL.  He arrived at 1.30pm and was here for two hours.  He managed to get me connected to the internet, but not without using the usb cable attached to the modem.  He says it's a problem with my laptop...the modem is fine, the wireless service is fine.   So I've left a message for my brother-in-law in Ankara to contact me to take control of my laptop and sort it out for me.  OK it's a bit of a nuisance being attached to this short cable...but it's better than nothing!

The real climax of this problematic week happened yesterday afternoon.

I went straight from Milas to Mr A's hotel yesterday morning.  I caught up briefly on his laptop.  Then we had lunch.  Not in the restaurant as we have before, but we had "personnel" food.  Anyone who lives in Turkey will know that personnel food is crap.  It's very very basic...really just to fill you up.  As personnel food goes yesterday's meal wasn't too bad. It tasted pretty good in fact.   Unfortunately half an hour later I started throwing up.  I felt pretty awful and was keen to get home as soon as possible.  Mr A took me to Bodrum on the motorbike...any further and I would have thrown up again.  Fortunately the Bodrum to Milas bus is comfortable and has aircon, so I managed the 45 minute journey without throwing up again.

When I reached the bus stop from the main road to the village, I thought I had a wait of about 10 minutes for the village bus.  I was wrong...no bus.  Almost an hour later I was feeling very sick, when a car came onto the village road from the main road.   It's pretty much normal here, particularly in villages where buses are so infrequent, for people with cars in the village to stop and offer you a lift.  If a man is driving alone he wouldn't stop to give a lift to a lone female...it's not the done thing.  

The car that pulled up to offer me a lift contained 4 young boys, around 18 years old.  I recognised all of them, and they know me.  One is the shopkeeper's son, and two of them are sons of one of Mr Ayak's friends.  For a second I hesitated.  I suppose if I was in England, there's no way I'd get into a car with 4 young boys whether I knew them or not...after all at that age their driving is a bit reckless.

However, not knowing how much longer I would have to wait for the bus, and feeling much sicker by the minute, I decided to accept their offer of a lift.

We set off at quite a slow pace really, mainly because they were all busy chatting to each other about their day spent at the beach.  I started to feel a little anxious because the driver didn't seem to be concentrating as much as he should.  We had probably only travelled about 200 metres and I was just about to tell him to be careful and concentrate, but before I could get the words out, he seemed to lose concentration and the car veered off the road, down the bank, and landed on it's side in a ditch.

I know people say that their lives flash before their eyes when they think they are going to die.  Mine didn't...maybe I've lived too long and there's just too much stuff to flash in a couple of seconds!  But it did all seem to happen in slow  motion.  

The side that landed in the ditch was the side where I was sitting.  I wasn't hurt.  The boys were also unhurt and all clambered out of the car, one of them helping me to climb out and up the bank.  I think I must have been in a state of shock, because all I could say was...OK I'm going to walk now!  So off I went.  I just wanted to get as far away from the car as possible.

About 5 minutes later a bus came along, but it turned off to another village.  So I carried on walking.  Somehow a 5km walk didn't seem so bad as being in that car.

After another 5 minutes, a middle-aged man and his wife who I recognised stopped in their car and gave me a lift.

I seemed to be fine...until I arrived home.  Then I just burst into tears and couldn't stop shaking.  I phoned Mr Ayak and he said he would come over and take me to the hospital, but I wasn't injured and felt sure I'd be OK.  He phoned his friend, father of two of the boys, and discovered that the boys had in fact been drinking!  I have to say I didn't smell alcohol in the car, but it does explain the erratic driving.

I was left feeling quite angry.  Angry at them for putting my life at risk...but also angry with myself for not realising that they had been drinking, and feeling pretty determined that I would never make such a foolish mistake again.

Mr Ayak actually came home at 2am this morning.  I didn't ask him to, but he wanted to see for himself that I was OK.  He was cross with me for accepting a lift with them.  But I think it was more like the way we sometimes shout at our kids in anger when they do something that puts themselves at risk...anger out of concern really.

Anyway it was nice to have him home.  Just a short visit.  But he got up very early and got shot of 90% of those blasted weeds in the garden before setting off back to work!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Out of Action

I'm just letting you all know that I lost my internet connection on Monday and goodness knows when normal service will be resumed.

I am having quite a battle with TTNet at the moment which has resulted in very costly phone calls from my mobile.  My landline is outgoing local calls only, so I was in Milas at 8.00am this morning to change the tariff, and also to search the building for someone with at least a tiny bit of English, to try and sort out my ADSL problem.

I've found a man whose English is about as good as my Turkish...leaves a lot to be desired in other words!  Anyway between us I think we may be getting somewhere.  I have been promised a visit from an engineer tomorrow to sort out the problems.

In the meantime I decided to hop on the bus and spend the day at Mr Ayak's hotel and use his laptop to catch up with my emails....and at least I'll get a free lunch!

So apologies if I don't reply to your comments or visit your blogs for a while.  I'll catch up as soon as I'm connected again.