Sunday, 31 July 2011

Baa baa black sheep....

Are black sheep more intelligent than white sheep?  Or just a bit more independent?

A couple of female neighbours from down the hill bring their flock up past our house very early in the morning, they turn onto a narrow track at the back of our house then up and over the hill to graze for a couple of hours.

They repeat the process again early evening.

Having watched this most days since we moved here more than two years ago, I can see how easy it is to control sheep.  The women make clicking noises with their mouths to call the sheep.  They also use an empty plastic coca-cola bottle filled with pebbles.  If one of the sheep climbs onto the wall at the back of the house..a couple of bangs on the wall with the bottle usually brings them scurrying back to join the rest of the flock.   After all...they are sheep...they just follow each other like....well...sheep!

There is one black sheep amongst the flock, who seems intent on doing  his own thing.   He charges on ahead of the rest of the flock...or hangs back and chews on anything that grows....usually one of our olive trees, the branches of which hang over into the lane.

This black sheep is running riot in our garden.  This started over a week ago. I discovered that a small grapevine which we planted this year...a cutting from the large vine, had been chewed, leaving a few straggly leaves.  Also three small apple trees are now almost bare of leaves.    Also there was further evidence...sheep poo. 

Because I had been at the hotel most days, I hadn't seen the sheep in action.  However I was at home yesterday and my dogs were outside barking furiously.  I ran out to see the black sheep munching his way through the garden.  He manages somehow to get into the part of the garden which is mostly enclosed by chickenwire, and the parts that aren't have a wall with a high drop to the lane below.

I chased him with the broom and to my surprise he leapt over the wall into the lane below.  It's a long way down but he was very agile and it caused him no problem....but it would be impossible for him to climb in the same way.  He then sped off in the opposite direction of his home, with one of the women chasing after him...shouting sorry to me as she passed.

The same thing happened again last night and this morning.  I honestly can't see how he manages to get into the garden other than if he climbs the lower wall into my neighbour's garden, and would then have to walk about 10 metres along a narrow stone wall, almost like walking a tightrope...and then taking a huge leap into our garden. 

Clearly the women have no problem controlling the rest of their flock...but this black sheep has a mind of his own.  We need to do something very soon to prevent him gaining access to our garden, before there is no garden left!

Friday, 29 July 2011

What I'm missing

The past few days have been quite hectic.  I'm going over to the hotel most days and am really enjoying it.  Since I've been there during the past couple of weeks, I've been getting to know the woman who runs the small hotel shop with her husband.  She is English, her name is Gwen and she has been married to her Turkish husband for two years.

We seem to have lots in common and we are both absolute the time has flown by.  It has been extremely hot and humid today and Gwen and I were discussing how our ankles swell up and our feet are  sore.  I said wouldn't it be lovely to be able to sit there with our feet in iced water.

I didn't realise Mr A was listening and 5 minutes later he appeared with a huge empty container, full of water and ice cubes, so Gwen and I took it in turns to dip our feet... what bliss!

Oh......  my post title..."what I'm missing"......this is what I'm missing and what I can't wait to see in beautiful grandsons...who are growing and changing every day:

Good grief it's Friday again!  Where has this week gone?   Have a good weekend everyone xx

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Too helpful?

It's a common Turkish trait....being helpful.   Everywhere you go in this country, people bend over backwards to help if you have a problem.  I think it's what visitors remember most about the Turks when they return home.

I've talked before about dolmuş drivers going out of their way to accommodate their passengers.  On Sunday I planned to bus over to Bodrum mid-afternoon and travel back in the evening with Mr A.  I waited at the village bus stop for the bus due at 2.30pm.   Before the dolmuş arrived the phone was ringing in the tiny office and one of the men from the teahouse popped over to answer it.  When the dolmuş arrived he had a word with the driver.  I got on the bus, paid my 1 lira which takes me to the main Bodrum road, a journey of 5 minutes.  However, the driver reversed the bus and set off back in the direction that he had come.  He carried on driving until we reached the next village...about 12 kilometres away, and a bit further till we reached a fish restaurant way out in the woods (a place I never knew existed, but think I'll visit some time). 

It would seem that the phone call was from the restaurant to say that two customers needed collecting to go to Milas.   When we arrived, there was no sign of them.  One of the passengers got off the bus and went to look for them...nothing.  We waited 5 minutes, then the driver went off to search.  He came back on his own and we waited a further 5 minutes.   Eventually, someone came out and informed the driver that the people concerned had managed to get a lift into Milas after all.

Wouldn't you think the driver would be a little upset or annoyed?  Not a bit...he shrugged his shoulders...reversed the bus and set off again.  My 5 minute journey to the main road took almost an hour.  I guess before I lived here, something like this would have annoyed me, but how can you be upset when someone is going out of their way to be helpful?

I've been over at the hotel with Mr A a fair amount this past couple of weeks and I've been observing this helpfulness firsthand.  If you are a guest in a hotel and you have a problem, your first port of call is Reception.  Guests latch on pretty quickly to the fact that if Reception don't respond immediately they can just take their problem to another member of staff...and another...and so on until they get what they want. 

Mr A works for the Hamam...his job is to sell tickets...that's it.  The running of the hotel and guests problems relating to their stay, are not his concern.  However, like everyone else here, he won't refuse to help if he can.  In the short time I've been there, I have seen him respond to the following:

"My aircon in my room isn't working"

"I'm not happy with my room, can you get me transferred to another one?"

"I've booked a day trip tomorrow, but I'm not feeling well, so will the rep refund my money?"

"I need to see a doctor"  (Mr A took this person to the hospital, and waited while they received treatment then brought them back)

"It's very windy and the umbrellas around the pool are blowing about...can you make them safe?"

"Where can I go to buy ...... ?(fill in the blank space with any number of items such as herbs & spices, shorts, sun lotion, medicines, etc)

I could go on...the list of requests for help is endless...and it's time consuming.  And I know that Mr A isn't the only one.  Everyone from cleaners, to bar staff, to waiters will be asked for help and will willingly give it. One of the Turkish reps actually took it upon himself to assist two guests to move to a different hotel.  They had been booked into this hotel by mistake.  Their own tour rep was unavailable until the evening and they were anxious to move, so he arranged transport and escorted them there.

It must be catching, because I was asked yesterday where the nearest ATM machine was situated, and having given directions and been met with confusion, I escorted the guest out of the hotel, 10 minutes up to the main road to show them where it was.

Coming from a country where it's more usual to get the response "I can't help's not my job" must be a refreshing change for visitors to Turkey to find that they only have to ask...anyone...and help is provided willingly.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Problems posting comments...again!

I seem unable to post comments on any blogs other than my own at the moment.  I'm not going to bother to seek "Blogger Help" because past experience tells me it's a total waste of time.  The problem will no doubt be resolved when Blogger chooses.

But just really letting you know that I'm still following your blogs...reading them...but not being able to comment.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Saturday Snaps

The first of the grapes
Making a start on the balcony sofra area..still work in progress. Have more ideas to make it more comfortable!

This is me with our wonderfully comfortable new motorbike....and sporting my new crash helmet.  It's bright pink...not my colour of choice but it's the only one we could find that fit perfectly.

My old helmet was the "perch on the top of the head pudding-basin" type.  Highly unsuitable for our new "go-faster" motorbike, which needs a helmet with a visor to protect my eyes and face from the wind, and also has to be much stronger and safer....and this one does the job on all counts.

I went to work at the hotel with Mr A again yesterday. Another enjoyable day.  I helped book some customers for the hamam and was rewarded with a haircut by the hotel hairdresser, plus re-shaping eyebrows with the cottoning method ( eyebrows were totally out of control so the process was pretty painful!).

We spent a lot of time on the motorbike yesterday.  To and from home, and  we also visited two of the hotels that Mr A covers.   The first was in Yalıkavak, and the journey there which takes you up high into the hills, then down into the resort  was a little like riding  a roller coaster at times!  The photo was taken on our way out of Yalıkavak, half way up the hill,  and you can see the sea in the background.

The second hotel was  in Gumbet, Bodrum, where we chatted to customers and had lunch, then back to Mr A's hotel for the remainder of the afternoon.

I'm beginning to think that I am somehow going through my "second youth".   When I was young, you would never have got me on the back of a motorbike...I was far too sensible to take risks.   Now you can't get me off it!   It's an amazing feeling to travel the road to Bodrum,  to see the wonderful turquoise sea as you drive through Guvercinlik,  the picturesque white houses as you come into Bodrum, the beautiful harbour and the hustle and bustle of this busy town.    The feeling of the sun on your arms, and the constant changes of smells, as you drive past restaurants, is something that can only be experienced on a motorbike.

So here I am...a the start of my twilight years...growing old slightly disgracefully!  I almost convinced myself yesterday that I'd quite like a tattoo!    I said "almost".   It was a fleeting thought, and I quickly talked myself out of it!   I'll just stick with the adrenaline rush I get from the motorbike for now!

Have a good weekend everyone xx

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Unnecessary exertion and recycling

Those of you who have followed my blog for some time know that I have an occasional obsession with moving furniture around.  Of course it's best done during the winter months, but yesterday in temperatures which hit 41 degrees, I stupidly decided to move sofas and armchairs.  Not just for the sake of it..there was method in my madness.  We have a long window in the sitting room which allows us to gaze at the wonderful view.  There are two windows either side that open, but as is normal in Turkey, windows open inwards.

I had one sofa in front of the large window which meant that during the coolest parts of the day (ıe around 30 degrees!) I could only open one of the windows.  So I needed to swop sofa for armchair so that both windows could be opened.  As usual I end up with furniture all over the place.  It's a small room so everything gets stuck and wedged together.  At the same time I decided I was fed up with the large (very heavy) carpet, so I lifted that and dragged it out onto the balcony.  The space left was filled with a (heavy) kilim from the spare bedroom.

Eventually after literally sweating buckets, it was all in place and looks great...and I'm now sitting in 29 degrees of "coolness" with both windows open.

Mr A is home tonight and he has now spread the large carpet out on the balcony to make a sofra area (Turkish comfortable floor seating), and we have added an old soft throw, folded up to sit on, and an assortment of cushions.

So what to do with the round table and chairs that were on the balcony but now don't have a home?  Well a sofra area isn't complete without a low table for eating off, so he is at the moment, with great difficulty...and also sweating buckets, cutting down the metal legs of the table.  I do love recycling!  And I'm really looking forward to cooler weather so that we can enjoy meals out there in the traditional Turkish way.

And as if that wasn't enough exertion in this heat, I set off to the hotel again this afternoon and enjoyed a few hours there...meeting some more holidaymakers and staff.  

Mr A has another "new" (different) motorbike...don't worry if you can't keep up...I've lost track.  He is very much a motorbike man rather than a car man, and I have to admit there's nothing quite like riding pillion in this weather...the only way to feel any kind of breeze blowing through your hair.  However, all the motorbikes we've had so far have been very uncomfortable for me.  They're OK for short journeys but that's about it.  Well at long last he has found one that is so comfortable, it's like sitting in a favourite armchair.  So we travelled all the way back on it from Bodrum to the village this evening with me enjoying every moment.

Enough exertion for one week...tomorrow I'm doing absolutely nothing!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Venturing out in the heat

Yesterday I decided it was about time I visited the hotel where Mr A is currently working.  I set off on the village bus at 9.00am, picked up the Bodrum bus at the end of the village and Mr A collected me with the motorbike at Bodrum bus station.

From there it was just a 5 minute journey to the hotel.

It's not bad as hotels go.  It's one of the older ones and could do with a bit of updating in places, but with package deals being so cheap these days, I can't imagine how the owners would actually make much profit at all, let alone have any spare cash for improvements.

Which brings me to the subject of all-inclusive package holidays.  I don't like them and I wish Turkey hadn't jumped on the "all-inclusive" bandwagon a few years ago.  Because guests have all their meals and drinks included in their holiday price, most of them rarely leave the hotel.  This has had a devastating effect on local businesses.  It's also a great shame that those people who wish to confine themselves to their hotel for the duration of their holiday, miss out on seeing this beautiful country and what it has to offer.

And the all-inclusive hotels have become very competitive, slashing their prices to attract more customers.

My brother and sister-in-law decided last week to book a week's holiday in Bodrum at the end of September.  I hadn't mentioned the name of Mr A's hotel, and when my brother emailed me to confirm his booking, by sheer coincidence it turned out to be Mr A's hotel!

So this was one of the reasons for my visiting yesterday, so that I could take some photos and give my brother a bit more information about the hotel.

I talked to a few guests yesterday to get their opinions.  Most agreed that even though the hotel is rated 4 star, it doesn't compare with 4 star in England for example.  However, they did say that when you start to break down the costs of flight, room, all meals, drinks and entertainment, it was exceptionally good value for money.

Then of course we have the "professional complainers", and unfortunately I got stuck with one for half an hour.  She was the most miserable woman imaginable.  She moaned about absolutely everything. I did point out that you get what you pay for, and in this case you get an awful lot for your money.  She wasn't convinced, and even when I suggested that if she wanted 5 star luxury, then she would need to pay at least double, she didn't agree.   It's impossible to reason with people like this, and when Mr A approached us he could read my expression which said "please rescue me"......and he did!

I have only one regret about venturing out yesterday and that is this damned sweltering heat!  It's just unbearable.   When I was ready to come home just before 5pm, my dear Mr A dropped me at the bus station to pick up the Milas bus.  He then went ahead on the motorbike to the top of the village road and waited to take me back to the house...just so that I woudn't have to wait in the scorching sun for the village bus.   After dropping me off he returned to Bodrum...a round trip of more than 2 hours.  It was a timely reminder for me that this journey for him is dangerous and tiring...and he's getting so little sleep at the moment with the excessive number of hours he is working.

And talking of sleep...none at all for me last night.  My bedside fan just moves the hot air around.  I moved to the sitting room and tried the sofa with the aircon on.  The noise kept me awake.  I tried the spare bedroom...that didn't work.  So I stayed awake.   I managed an hour's nap this afternoon but I'm desperately hoping for a drop in temperature tonight...but according to the forecasts there's not much chance.

....and the forecast says it's getting hotter....groan!

Friday, 15 July 2011


It's just too hot to write..too hot to do I'll post up some photos.

Mr H at Subsistence Pattern asked for a pic of my grapes.  They are coming along nicely and should be ready soon:

And here's a photo of Jimi who is now almost 3 months old...and I thought I'd post one up of Billy at roughly the same age to compare. I think they look very different.  Billy resembles his father's side of the family, whereas Jimi is more like his mother's side.  Both absolutely gorgeous!

Jimi at 3 months

Billy at 3 months



Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Word association and heat

You might have gathered from previous posts that I'm no good with foreign languages.  That's an understatement...I'm useless.

When I first met Mr A his English was very limited.  It's now pretty much fluent.  OK we have a few laughs at his misinterpretation of certain words at times...and he often "invents" English words.  For example if he is looking around an area he refers to it as "rounding".  And he still calls toes "feet fingers".   His English is so good that he actually dreams in English....I know this because he occasionally talks in his sleep...and it's often in English!

He has also grasped an understanding of several other languages as a result of chatting to tourists..his German is now pretty good too.

And here I am,  13 years in this country, and I still have problems communicating.  I have a fairly extensive vocabulary.  I just can't put all the words together in sentences which would enable me to have a proper conversation with anyone. 

I do so envy those people who absorb a foreign language so's a gift isn't it?  It's not that I haven't tried.  I've had lessons in the past, I've bought lots of "teach yourself Turkish" books and dictionaries but I'm still struggling.  Still just getting by.

It occurred to me yesterday that the way I remember certain words is by using word association.  I must do it subconsciously most of the time, because it was only as I was struggling to recall the Turkish word for label that I realised I was doing it.   "label" in Turkish is "etiket".   How did I eventually remember it?  Don't laugh please!   Etiket sounds like etiquette.   I had a picture in my mind of Hyacinth Bucket (the expert on etiquette) in the opening credits of Keeping Up Appearances where she is setting out place names at her dining table. names...labels...etiket.   Get it?

Well it works for me!   BUT if any of you out there also struggle with languages and have any other useful tips for me, they would be most welcome!


I don't know why, after all these years here, that July and August and the intense heat of these months, always comes as a shock.   The temperatures are now in the high 30s and getting hotter.  I'm confined to the bedroom for most of the day as it's (only slightly) cooler than the rest of the house.  I don't use the aircon in the sitting room because, having cooled down and then having to move to another room or venture outside, the sudden difference in temperature actually makes me feel faint and physically sick. 

The dogs have settled for the bedroom too, and it's a real effort to get them outside.

I only go outside to move the hose pipe around early morning and early evening.  We have it set on a constant dribble, so each tree gets 12 hours.  This seems to be working well as all the trees are looking very healthy.  There are huge amounts of grapes on the vine, which should be ready soon.  And we will have bumper crops of figs and pomegrantes this year.

I'm finding it extremely difficult to venture down to the village to pick up bread and other daily essentials, because the climb back up the hill in this heat nearly kills me.  Mr A pops home every few days and brings supplies with him, which keep me going.  But every so often I really need to get into Milas to do a big shop.  He managed to get home yesterday for a few hours, around 4.30pm, so we set off for Milas.  It was an opportunity to check my postbox and post some letters at the post office, and then hit the supermarket.  You would be amazed at the amount of shopping the two of us manage to carry on the motorbike.   It's a bit dangerous really, but this is Turkey, and you will often see an entire family...mum, dad and a couple of chiildren squashed onto a motorbike, so the two of us and half a dozen bags of shopping is quite normal.

I'm getting up around 5am most days, particularly if I need to clean the house.   Around 6am it's possible to sit outside with a coffee, but by 7am it's just too it's back to the bedroom.

Roll on winter!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The 7 Links Project

I've been asked by Karen at Being Koy to take part in  the Seven Links Project which was started by Katie at Trip Base.

To quote Katie "The idea is simple: bloggers publish 7 links from their blog to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again"

Karen reckons I'm "someone who reflects more than most so it should be a doddle"...we'll see!


1. The Blogger is nominated to take part by another blogger

2. He/she publishes their 7 links on their own blog. One Link for each category

3. They nominate up to five more bloggers to take part

My most beautiful post
My Beautiful Daughter   I can't really write beautiful posts.  I don't have a beautiful way with words, unlike many other bloggers out there.  It's the subject of this post that is beautiful, and the feelings of love I experienced when writing these few words, that make it beautiful for me.

My most popular post
Marriage in Turkey    I don't think about how popular my posts are.  Do you judge popularity by the number of views or comments?  I don't really know, and I've waded through my statistics in the hope that I would find the answer.  This is one of several posts that I've done about differences in culture...and I think readers are always curious about such things (I certainly am) and maybe this is why this type of post is popular.

My most controversial post
An eye for an eye   I think this may be my most controversial post.  It was how I felt about the death of Osama Bin Laden.  It was an emotive subject, which clearly dredged up strong feelings with a lot of people.

My most helpful post
Depression (2)    I have written a fair bit about Depression.  It's a subject close to my heart, and one which I feel should be talked about much more.  Sometimes we don't recognise the signs, and I did this post because maybe someone out there will see my "checklist"..identify with it...and seek the help they need.

A post whose success surprises me
When the cupboard is bare.   This is one of many posts I've produced about how to make meals from basics.  Those times when money is scarce..or non-existent...the cupboard is bare, but you can still rustle up something to eat.  This is based on my extensive personal experience of course!  So this..and my other cheap and cheerful recipe posts seem to be successful and this did surprise me!

A post I feel didn't get the attention it deserved
Try as I might...I just cannot find a post to fit this category.  Why?  Because I write my blog first and foremost for me.  The fact that I get attention at all, is always a pleasant surprise, and will continue to be so as long as I can keep this blog going!

The post I am most proud of
Depression (1)  Well this post goes hand in hand with My most helpful post above.   Having worked for many years in the mental health field, and having also been a victim of Depression for most of my adult life, I am someone who believes strongly that Mental Health should not be brushed under the carpet.   We all need to be more open about it and this is what I try to do from time to time on my blog.   The reason this is the post I am most proud of, is simply because it took a while for me to pluck up the courage to be honest about my experiences and how I feel at times and to share them so publicly.

 I actually found this task quite difficult to do.  And now I have to nominate 5 more bloggers to undertake the project.   So here is my choice.....Good Luck!

Fly in the Web at Costa Rica Calling

Nomadic View

Claudia at A Seasonal Cook in Turkey



Saturday, 9 July 2011

Local "Expert"

Well the scheduled powercut due at 8am yesterday to run till 6pm, didn't happen.  No-one knows why, and as usual no-one really cares or bothers to find out.  I enquired of my neighbours yesterday afternoon if they knew what was happening and got the usual shrugs of shoulders.  The people in this village are so laid-back...they are happy to just go with the flow.   Maybe it will happen today?  Who knows?  It's going to happen some time and I am prepared for hours without the internet.  I have a list of jobs to do which don't require electricity and I have a pile of books to read.

Late yesterday afternoon two men turned up at the house.  As usual I was in the bedroom on the laptop, keeping as cool as possible, with the dogs sprawled out on the floor doing likewise.

They barked and headed towards the door.  I held on to Beki's collar and opened the door.  I then proceeded to open the mosquito screen door (outwards)...still holding Beki, to talk to the men.  As soon as one of them saw Beki he pushed the screen door shut..trapping my finger in it!  Boy was I angry...and boy did it hurt!   I lost my temper and shouted.  I asked them what they wanted and they said they wanted to see Mr A.  I replied that he wasn't here.   Just as I was talking (or rather shouting) at them my mobile phone rang.  It was Mr A.  I explained what was happening and proceeded back to the door with the phone so he could talk to them.

As I opened the screen door ...the blasted man did the same thing again...pushed the door shut and fortunately this time I removed my hand just in time.  However I let go of Beki's collar and she ran out.  She sniffed at the men and the one who had pushed the door raised his hand and was about to hit her.  I responded by shouting even louder "Don't you dare touch my dog!"   The other guy said he was sorry but his friend was afraid of dogs.  I replied "I don't care.  You hit my dog, or shut my finger in my door again and you'll be sorry!"

Naturally Mr A could hear all this on the phone and I spoke to him briefly about what had happened and then passed the phone to one of the men and left them outside to talk. He passed the phone back to me and Mr A said they wanted to see him about some paperwork to do with his  motorbike, so he had given them his phone number and the address of the hotel where he is working in Bodrum.  He also said that the man had apologised to him about shutting my finger in the door but he had done this because he was scared of the dog.  Rather a shame that he couldn't actually apologise to me!   He proceeded to ask me for directions to Mr A's hotel and I said I hadn't a clue.  He continued to talk but by this time I had run out of patience and just told them to go away (I actually used stronger language)...they got the message and left.

I'm left feeling a bit embarrassed and slightly ashamed at my outburst.  I wouldn't normally behave like this but I guess they just caught me at a bad time.  The finger was swollen for a few hours, but with the help of some ice and ibubrofen gel, it's back to normal size, but a bit tender.

I'm very honoured to have been asked recently by three people to do guest posts on their blogs.  Two fellow bloggers Deniz Bevan, and Jack Scott from PerkingthePansies, will be publishing guest posts on their blogs whilst they are away so my contributions will appear towards the end of August.  I'll let you know when this happens.

The third request was from a blog run by Easyjet.   Ooh I thought, how wonderful, maybe I'll get free flights!  I submitted a post yesterday. They are happy with it and it will be published in the next few weeks.  No-one gets free flights..sadly...but I have been awarded a badge which you will see on my sidebar, which according to Easyjet makes me a "Local Expert".   I'm still chuckling at the thought...Local Expert?  Me?  Hmmm.... 

To be perfectly honest I'd rather have recognition than a freebie.  Of course it works for Easyjet too,  because it's free publicity, but it also means that more people get to read my I'm happy.

So this is your Local Expert signing off and wishing you a happy weekend!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Here come the power cuts

I thought I'd better do a blog post this evening, as the Muhtar announced from the mosque this afternoon that the power will go off at 8.00am tomorrow and will be off until 6.00pm.  There is a new electrical system being installed in the village...there's been talk about it for months of the excuses we were given for not repairing the street light outside our house.

So now it's all happening.  This will be the first of many daily cuts until the work is completed.  It baffles me why this work can't be done during the winter months, rather than when temperatures are now up in the high 30s.   Fridges get warm and food is wasted.  Aircon can't be used.  And worst of internet connection.  It's Turkish logic.  The same logic that's applied when main roads are also re-surfaced at this time of year...there's nothing much worse than hot sticky tar!

Yesterday I picked plums from the one plum tree in our garden.  They're not ripe yet, but last year most of them were destroyed by insects, and in spite of treating them with insectide regularly this year, I noticed a few days ago that they'd been attacked again.  So I decided to pick them as they are.

I made some jam...not easy when the plums are too hard to de-stone before cooking and very messy having to remove them afterwards.  I also made a plum crumble and some shortbread

Today was my birthday and I wasn't really expecting Mr A to be here.  It's very busy at the hotel, and when he does manage to get home it's very late at night.  So I was pleasantly surprised when he turned up mid-afternoon with a bottle of wine and a delicious double-chocolate cake topped with chocolate almonds

We ate far too much cake.  We also ate shortbread.  We even ate bowls of plum crumble with icecream.  No sensible food at all.  Thank goodness birthdays are only once a year!

Monday, 4 July 2011

The wonders of the internet

Here I am at 2.00am watching live streaming of the Casey Anthony Trial direct from Orange County Courthouse in the USA....on my laptop.   It's a fascinating case.  There's been little or no coverage in the UK as far as I'm aware and certainly none in Turkey.  

What amazes me most of all, is that while I'm watching it here in Turkey, one of my blogger friends, Charlotte Ann who lives in Louisiana, is also watching it...and we are discussing it with each other on Facebook.  Instant communication between two people who live so far from each other.

Isn't the internet fantastic?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Disturbances and lack of sleep

I was very tired on Friday evening and was hoping for an early night.  It's impossible in these temperatures to sleep without the bedroom window open, so I am quite used to village noises at night...dogs barking, cows, chickens, sheep, etc.  These sounds don't bother me at all...I also hardly notice the call from the mosque these days.  I think most of us get used to the sounds within our own environment.  I remember once in England, living fairly close to a railway line.  At first the noise of the trains kept me awake, but after a while you just get used to it.

My neighbour, Şevke, had family visiting.  They were pretty noisy until around 10.30pm, but then they left and I settled down to go to sleep.   About 10 minutes later I heard shouting from the hill behind our house...just one man's voice, and he sounded drunk.  The street light closest to our house which illuminates our garden has been out of order for months...(another ongoing battle with the Muhtar to get things fixed) so it was impossible to see who was making all this noise...not that I particularly wanted to go outside and investigate.  I sent the dogs out into the garden...they barked at the man and he stopped shouting.  Five minutes later he started again....and this carried on for a further half an hour or so.

Mr A phoned during this time to say goodnight and he could actually hear the man even though I was on the phone in the bedroom.  Although I didn't feel unduly dogs always make me feel safe...Mr A said that he would come home.  It was late and he was very tired so I was concerned about him making the journey back on the motorbike.  So he decided to ring the Jandarma and the Muhtar to report the man.

A little later two Jandarma officers and the Muhtar arrived at my gate,by which time the man had disappeared, but they reassured me that they would search the area and find out who it was.   In spite of my protests, Mr A did in fact come home.  On his way he saw the Jandarma with the Muhtar and they had found the man concerned.   It was rather sad really.  He used to live in a house behind's no longer there.  All that remains are the foundations and a few bricks.  His parents spent their lives in that house.  They died in that house.  Sometimes the man gets drunk and he goes up to the ruins of the house and sits there with his memories.  He apologised to Mr A and asked him to ask my forgiveness...not necessary of harm done.  He says he won't do it again, but I'm not concerned if he does.  At least I know the reason and I wouldn't be alarmed in the future.

So not much sleep on Friday.   Last night there was a wedding in the village...these are very noisy no sleep last night either.  Maybe tonight will be third time lucky!

At 7.30 this morning a tractor and trailer arrived to collect the rubbish...I literally jumped for joy....hmmm I really need to get out more!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Are you having problems posting comments?

One or two people have mentioned problems they are experiencing in that they can post comments on some blogs but not on others.

I have had the same problem for the last couple of days.  You type a comment, try to post, it asks you for your click "google account" get sent to the google log in page and log go back and try to post your comment and it just keeps sending you back to Google log in on a loop.   So frustrating!

I have spent hours trying to find a solution on Blogger Help.  I've cleared the cache (even though I don't really understand all that stuff), deleted cookies and browsing history, and followed various other instructions...but to no avail.

At last I spotted a comment from someone who suggested it may be an Internet Explorer problem, so I've changed over to Firefox browser...and guess what?  It works!

Maybe some of you are already aware of this, but in case you aren't I thought it would be useful to share this info.

Friday, 1 July 2011

A day trip, life and death and other stuff (again!)

This morning I did this post...published it...and then it disappeared.   I searched but couldn't find it so I posted again but wasn't happy with what I had written.  I received a comment from Jules who had found my original post and she kindly copied and emailed it to me.  Thankyou Jules...I am so grateful.

My apologies to Bombshellicious and Kelloggsville who commented on my original post before it disappeared giving me no chance to respond.

I am now about to delete my second post, because I wasn't happy with it.  I couldn't re-create what I felt when I wrote this one.  So I would also like to say thankyou to those of you who commented : Deniz, Charlotte Ann and of course Jules, and apologies because of course your comments will be deleted along with the post.

Mr A was asked by his boss if he would be prepared to collect his car for him yesterday. This would mean Mr A travelling by bus to a place called Salihli, which is 90km east of Izmir. The boss agreed to take Mr A's bookings for him in his absence, to make sure there was no loss of earnings, and to pay for any expenses incurred. It seemed like an ideal opportunity for Mr A and I to spend some time together, so he bought bus tickets for both of us.

I left the dogs out in the garden yesterday. It's now very secure and they have a large area in the old house for shelter from the sun, so making sure they were settled, I caught the dolmuş to the main road outside the village to wait for the bus carrying Mr A, which left Bodrum at 11.00am.

I haven't done any long bus journeys for a number of years. I've always been impressed by the service provided and how inexpensive and efficient it is to travel all over Turkey by bus. Things have improved enormously. There is now internet connection, each seat having its own monitor . Although I decided not to make use of it makes a change to have a totally internet-free day. As soon as I sat down the steward brought me an icecream..lovely. He then dished out water at intervals, and half way through the journey served coffee/tea, cold drinks, and a huge variety of cakes and biscuits. They even have a little "dolly trolley" like the airlines!

There are always problems of course. Mr A's boss has had his 10 year old son, Ali, staying with him for a few days, and he needed to be delivered back to his mother at Izmir bus station, so he accompanied us. Mr A tells me that the boss and his wife are separated and the boss doesn't treat his son terribly well. In fact a couple of days ago Mr A almost came to blows with the boss for the way he was shouting at his son. He's a lovely boy, but quite timid...and clearly quite scared of his father. I felt like weeping for him.

Poor little boy clearly suffers from travel sickness, so spent the entire 3 and a half hour journey throwing up into plastic bags, which Mr A gathered up and disposed of once we reached Izmir. Mr A was so kind and gentle with this little boy...he really looked after him and was rewarded with a big hug from Ali when we said goodbye.

From Izmir we caught a bus to Salihli...90 km further. There's some interesting history attached to this town here but we didn't really have the opportunity to explore...maybe another time.

At Salihli bus station we picked up a taxi to take us to the address provided...which turned out to be a huge tomato warehouse...don't ask me why...I have no idea, and nor does Mr A. The car had been undergoing repairs by a guy who also humps crates of tomatoes...well this is Turkey...nothing comes as a surprise. The car was absolutely filthy, inside and out. Boy am I glad I changed my mind about wearing my white jeans. The cleanest bit of the car was the ashtray...and that had been well used.

We set off on the return journey, hitting Izmir at around 6.30pm and decided to pop in to Ikea. We had something to eat in their "value for money" restaurant, and a quick browse. We don't have money to burn at the moment but I picked up a couple of doormats for 2.95 lira each (just over a pound) and a large frying pan for 9.95 lira (about 4 pounds). We then popped into the Kipa supermarket next door and bought some dog food and milk, both on offer, and I managed to get a small electric fan for the bedroom, which at 24 lira was a pretty good deal.

We arrived home, exhausted at 10.30pm and the dogs were absolutely fine. I worried about them being left for 12 hours, but it didn't seem to bother them at all. Mr A took a shower then set off back to Bodrum to deliver the car.

It was a tiring day but one that gave Mr A and I some rare time together to talk. He was telling me about an accident on the Bodrum road that happened around 7am yesterday, when he was driving back to work on the motorbike. A car driving extremely fast overtook Mr A so close that Mr A had to swerve. No more than a few minutes later, the driver of the car seem to lose control and ploughed into two young men standing at the side of the road. They were thrown up into the air, and died instantly. The car crashed and was a complete wreck, the driver was taken to hospital in a serious condition. Mr A witness the whole thing, waited for the police and ambulance along with other witnesses. The incident has really shaken him up...understandably.

While we were walking around Ikea yesterday, Mr A received a call from his father to say that Mr A's grandmother is dying. Mr A is very close to her. He spent more of his childhood with them than his father. Grandmother is 97 years old. Grandfather is the same age. They have spent more than 70 years together. I'm not sad when people die who have lived such a long life. It's almost a cause for celebration. Grandmother has had a long, happy life...her time is up.

Mr A usually becomes quite emotional about his grandparents. He loves them dearly. Yesterday however he said he couldn't be sad about his grandmother dying because he can't stop thinking about the two young men, in their early 20s, whose lives were so tragically cut short without warning. This is really sad.

A strange day for us both. A timid little boy..scared of his father. A dearly loved grandmother coming to the end of her life, and two young men losing theirs so abruptly. A thought provoking day in so many ways