Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Searching for Inspiration

It's been a week since I last did a blog post..most unusual for me.  I just don't seem to be able to find anything interesting to write about at the moment.  So just a quick update which will have to do until I feel a bit more enthusiastic and inspired to write more.

Today is the first day of Şeker Bayram, the holiday following Ramazan, when people eat far too much chocolate and sweets.  I have my basket of sweets by the door ready for the children who will come calling.

Mr A changed jobs last week.  Still selling the hamam experience, but for a hotel spa centre in Torba, just outside Bodrum.   He had become disillusioned with the way the last hamam was being run.  You may recall my recent post about this.   His new boss is someone he has known for a few years.  He worked for him a couple of winters ago in a hamam in Istanbul.  This man has been regularly contacting Mr A for weeks now, trying to persuade him to join him.  Finally, Mr A succumbed, and the decision was made easier by the promise of a higher percentage commission, and the possibility of a job for the winter.

The in-laws arrived yesterday, and have actually been quite pleasant company so far.  They are off out today to visit friends, then will start working on the land tomorrow.  As usual, I have no idea how long they will be here.

And that's it for now.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

My wonderful brother-in-law....

Mr A's brother is a treasure.  He lives in Ankara.  We never see him.  But every time I have a problem with my laptop I contact him and he takes control of my laptop via teamviewer and sorts it out for me.

He is extremely busy though and has very little free time, so I always feel a bit guilty about asking him for help.  Sometimes I have to wait a few days but we get there in the end.

The problem is that his free time seems to be very late at night and when I'm expecting him to call I have to force myself to stay awake.

Last night he called at 11.30pm to help me reconnect to the wireless network, something TTNet's technical department seem unable or unwilling to do.  No wonder, as this time the whole process was a lot more complicated than it usually is.  Certain downloads had to be uninstalled, new ones installed, some of which didn't work.  They were then uninstalled and others tried.  Each time I had to re-boot the laptop, which meant that on opening it again I would have to download teamviewer again for BIL to connect.

I worried about him having to be up early for work in the morning and told him I wouldn't be offended if he decided to give up for now.  But he cheerfully replied that he would keep trying.

Eventually at 2.45am I was reconnected to the wireless network and could remove the USB cable.

I thanked him and apologised for keeping him from his bed, to which he repied " or night..I'm happy to help".    Bless his heart!

Guest Post

I was very honoured to be asked by Jack at PerkingthePansies to write a guest post for his blog while he is away on holiday.  Here it is:

If you haven't yet discovered Jack's blog, do take a look. He writes with such good humour and I always look forward to his posts.    I'm delighted to report that he has now written a book which is due to be published in December....can't wait to get my copy! 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Coping with Ramazan

We are in the last week of Ramazan.  The heat at this time of the year is intense and I don't know how those who are fasting are managing to cope without even being able to drink water.  I admire their determination.

This year is the first time we haven't had a drummer banging away from 3am onwards every day, and it should be a relief for someone like me who doesn't fast, and resents being woken up at this unearthly hour.  However, the woman with mental health/learning disabilities who lives in the lane below us, seems to have decided to take matters into her own hands.  She can be pretty noisy at the best of times.  She shouts, wails, calls the cats, and takes great pleasure in immitating every sound she hears, from sheep and cows to tractors.  It's surprising how one can actually get used to noises and most of the time I don't notice her.  Most mornings during Ramazan....not every morning thank goodness..she is waking up around 3.30am, standing outside her house and giving her interpretation of a drum...very loudly.

I've pretty much ignored it...turned over, put the pillow over my head and gone back to sleep.  But this morning I'd had enough so went outside and shouted for her to be quiet.  She responded immediately and silence reigned.  But she'll forget and will no doubt be outside doing the same thing tomorrow morning.

I have Gwen from Selçuk staying with me for a few days.  We're off to Milas market this morning, but it's just after 5am now and having had little sleep, it's a trip I'm not looking forward to.

Ramazan ends on the 28th, to be followed by Şeker Bayram.  The shops are full of sweets and chocolates and I will be getting my supply in today, ready for the visits of children from the village. 

The in-laws are due to descend on me at the end of the week and as usual I have no idea how long they will be staying.  I have a feeling I may be spending most days over at the hotel with Mr A.

I'm off to visit my grandsons on 17th September just for a week.  Having this to look forward to keeps me sane!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Benni's Story

This is Benni's story.

Benni was found wandering the streets of Turkey.  He was 7 weeks old, alone and starving.  TAG rescued Benni from certain death.  They fed Benni, gave him shelter and veterinary care.  Soon Benni was fit and healthy and was able to get his pet passport.   TAG searched for Benni's forever home.  Benni found his new home and arrived in the UK in July 2011.  At first he was very scared.  He had never been in a house before and had never met children.

This video was filmed 3 weeks after he arrived in his new home.  Benni loves everyone he meets.  He is a fantastic dog and has learned to trust humans.  He was one of the lucky ones who was given  second chance.

Can you help TAG give a dog or cat a second chance?

From the streets of Turkey to his forever home in London. His is one of the many success stories of T.A.G. (Turkish Animal Group) and the wonderful work carried out by Karen Lowrie Wren.   They need people to adopt, foster and sponsor the dogs and donations to help with food , vet fees., and the costs involved in finding and transporting them to their new homes.

Please support T.A.G. in any way you can, even if only to spread the word on social network sites.

Watch the will make you smile and brighten your day.

Look for the Turkish Animal Group (T:A:G) - Dog Adoptables Page on Facebook

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Inappropriate behaviour

Well I'm back online again...just!

While I was at the hotel yesterday Mr A phoned TTNet to check whether they had fixed the phone line and restored internet access and they said yes it was all fixed.  When I arrived home I discovered it wasn't.

Mr A phoned again this morning, and was advised that it was fixed outside but as they couldn't get into the garden because of the dogs they couldn't complete the job (well we all know by now how these macho Turkish men...Mr A excluded...are terrified of dogs).   Anyway...they promised to return today.  They did and fixed the telephone line and the modem showed access to the internet but I couldn't get the wireless connection on my laptop so I'm now attached to the USB cable again.  Inconvenient but better than nothing. I'll get my brother in law to sort it out for me again when he's not too busy.

It's now 11.30pm and I've just been chatting on the phone to Mr A and he's very upset.

Anyone who has experienced hamams (Turkish baths) will know how they are run.  They are respectable establishments and everything is very proper.  Mr A just sells the tickets so doesn't go into the hamam very often, but occasionally he pops in to check that everything is running smoothly.  A couple of weeks ago he noticed one of the masseurs enter a massage room with a young female customer and close the door.  It's a rule that while someone is having a massage, the door is always left open.   He reminded the masseur of this who replied that this was his "new" girlfriend and she wanted the door closed.  Mr A told him it was not allowed and that the masseur should know better than to bring his girlfriend there.   An argument ensued...the girl was asked to leave and Mr A reported the masseur to the boss.  It was pretty obvious what this couple were up to, and Mr A insisted that this was very damaging to not only his reputation but that of the hamam.  The masseur was sacked.

He was replaced by a new masseur a week ago.  I met him a couple of days ago, and my strange sixth sense told me that there was something just not right about him.  I couldn't put a finger on it and I didn't mention it to anyone.

This evening a female customer has complained that this new masseur touched her inappropriately.   She was extremely upset and so was her husband.  Mr A told me he was so angry with the masseur, he took him outside the hotel and had a huge row with him, and  Mr A actually hit him.  I don't approve of violence but I have learned that this is often the way Turkish men deal with men who they feel have behaved I do understand how he feels.

Mr A has spent the last couple of hours talking to the customer and her husband, apologising and trying to calm them down.  The husband insists that he is going to write about the incident on Tripadvisor when he returns home...and that's not good news.  The masseur has of course been sent on his way.

When we finished talking on the phone Mr A was about to have strong words with the manager who employed this particular masseur.  I doubt he'll get much sleep tonight.

Reports of this incident will naturally spread around the hotel.  It's really bad for business.  Really bad for Mr A who works for commission only.   Mr A is wondering if I might go over to the hotel tomorrow and talk to the customers concerned and use my "people skills" to pacify them.   I honestly don't know if I can do any good.  Although I suppose I'd really like to get to the bottom of the incident.  There's always a possibility that the woman wasn't touched inappropriately...maybe she was mistaken...but naturally one has to assume that the customer is always right.

What a mess.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Patience.... a virtue.  So they say.   My patience has been wearing thin of late.  Today it has almost run out.

I have patiently tried to adapt to the ongoing powercuts, knowing that I would have internet access early morning and late evening.  I'm even coping with the water cuts, making sure I fill up large containers for when this happens.

Imagine how I felt last night when the power came back on and I discovered that the phone line was dead and I have no internet access.

Mr A phoned TTNet last night and they said it would be fixed...last wasn't.  He has phoned again this morning and they have promised it will be fixed today...hmmm.

So this morning I am at the hotel using the internet..but I have limited access.  Hence this blog post to say to my followers, old and new, thankyou for continuing to read and leave your comments, and apologies if I don't always manage an individual response.

Bear with me please...hoping to be back to normal service soon...I live in hope!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Here we go again....

Blogger is preventing me from commenting on blogs again.  It's been difficult  trying to catch up with everyone's blogs during our daily powercuts.  I'm managing to read them, and just when I'm up early enough  to be able to comment before I lose connection, I find I can't.   I have just typed out comments on three blogs, only to lose them completely.  So frustrating! 

It's only Blogger of course.  Others like Wordpress are no problem at all.  I will have to consider changing if this goes on for much longer.

I'm getting into a different routine now during the day...adapting to life without electricity...and most days without water too.  It's given me the chance to do a bit of sorting out.  Tidying wardrobes and cupboards, sorting out paperwork...and reading.  The internet seems to take up too much of my time when I'm at home and I haven't been reading as much as I normally would.  At the moment it's easy to get through a book a day.

Some days I'm going over to the hotel to see Mr A.  Although he is so busy chatting to customers that I don't really get to spend any time with him.  He has turned into Mr Grumpy.  He's like a bear with a sore head.  I think it's mostly due to stress.  Working for commission only and no salary creates so much pressure.  He has to constantly be Mr Happy to all the customers, even when he can't stand them, and he is exhausted.  Working 16 hour days, 7 days a week, without breaks is taking it's toll.   So on the rare occasions when we find time to attempt a conversation he is snappy and takes out all his frustrations on me.  I should just let it go over my head but I don't.  I make it worse by snapping back.  As a result we both end up feeling hurt and unhappy.  If he finds time to bring me back home, we are both so wound up that we don't even speak.  He then has to rush back to work.  He hasn't been able to spend a night at home in weeks. 

Yesterday was particularly bad and left me feeling wretched.  I vowed I would keep my distance...stay out of his way...until the season is finished.

When power returned yesterday, I checked my email box.  I read my horoscope.  It talked about one particular relationship being tricky at the moment, and about feeling like you want to run away but you know you can't.   It quoted the old adage "you always hurt the one you love..."  but that the one doing the hurting is also hurting just as much.  I phoned Mr Grumpy and read it out to him.   We both agreed that it was so true and he admitted that he feels hurt too. We apologised to each other, and promised to try not to let all this get out of hand.

I don't exactly have Mr Happy back.  That won't happen till the end of the season.  But I did sleep better last night knowing that I had seen a glimpse of the real Mr A beneath the Mr Grumpy exterior.  It will have to do for now!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Guest Post

I was very honoured to be invited to do a guest post on Deniz Bevan's blog. 

Here it is.

Thankyou Deniz. Enjoy your holiday xxx

Friday, 12 August 2011

Just a quick message.... say that because of the daily powercuts in our village which we are now told will be a further 10 days at least, I am spending very much less time on the internet.  At the moment the power goes off around 8am and doesn't come on again until 7 or 8pm.

I won't be blogging so much, and I'm afraid I probably won't have the opportunity to read as many of your blogs as I would like to.

Here's hoping normal service will be resumed as soon as possible...before I tear my hair out!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Trying to be nocturnal

No sooner had I loaded up the washing machine and switched on the laptop yesterday morning, than the power was cut again.

I asked my neighbour if she knew how long it would be off.  She shrugged her shoulders.  She doesn't really care.  After all she has only had electricity in her house for a couple of years.  She's used to managing without.

I hadn't intended to go over to the hotel because the bus fares are adding up...and so is the petrol if Mr A has to bring me home.  It's also unbearably hot and waiting around for buses isn't pleasant.  It's also Mr A's busiest time and he really can't be away from the hotel or he will miss customers.

However, on the spur of the moment I decided to go.  I spent a hot sticky day there and although really not looking forward to it, was prepared to make the return journey by bus.  But Mr A insisted on bringing me home.  Just after he dropped me off and was about to return there was an announcement from the Muhtur over the public address system to say that the electricity would go off again this morning and wouldn't be switched on again until around 6pm.

It would seem that work on the new electricity system for the village, which should have started last month, has finally begun.

Today I decided I would stay at home.  We just can't afford all this travelling back and forth.  But I was prepared.   I stayed awake as long as I could last night to make the most of being able to use my laptop, get the washing done and vacuum the house.  The dogs woke me up as usual at 6am, and after being fed and going out, I managed about an hour on the laptop before the power was cut just after 8am.  It returned again at 6.30pm. 

As you can imagine in this heat food in the fridge is going off, and stuff in the freezer is gradually defrosting.  It's a bloody nuisance!   Mr A phoned to say he had spoken to the Muhtar who informs him that these daily powercuts will continue for the next 10 days!

So I am trying to adjust my body clock to accommodate.  Today I have had two long naps and am hoping this will enable me to stay awake tonight, to do all the things that require electricity, that I would normally do during the day.

By the end of the 10 day period I should be completely nocturnal.

Monday, 8 August 2011

It's Monday

 We have electricity today, but the water coming from the tap is a pathetic trickle.   My first load of washing is still in the machine.  It's been there since early yesterday morning, having done 5 minutes of the wash cycle, before the 10 hour powercut, and before the water dried up.

I am in desperate need of a shower.  I have managed to wash myself...sort of...with the trickle from the tap, but it's not enough.  I had intended to catch the bus over to the hotel but it's so hot I can't face it.

The work on the roads in the village continue. This is a typical "before" shot of one of  the many winding lanes leading up the hill to where we live.

In fact this one is pretty good compared to most of them.

Today the workmen have reached the lane in front of our house.  They are attempting to even out the surface of the lane with a huge digger.  The noise and the dust is unbearable.

This is what one of the completed  lanes  looks like, and what they will all be once they are finished. 

They are still uneven but a vast improvement on the existing ones.

 We are due another powercut sometime today, and I've no idea when the water supply will be back to normal.

I'm not in the mood to write much today so I'll leave you with a little video I found of Milas...our nearest town.

şu milasın içinde - nazmi yükselen türküsü loveinbodrum

(If you can't open the video..just click on the link below it)


Please note that my earlier post PLEASE WATCH THİS VİDEO is now closed for comments.  Please read the post by all means, and if you feel there is any way you can support Karen in her work, then please follow the link to the T.A.G. Facebook page.

Sorry to have to do this, and to introduce comment moderation on my blog, but I never realised there were so many nasty, vindictive people involved in animal welfare and rescue.  Their comments are not welcome here.

My support for Karen Lowrie Wren continues.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I want to feel cold again

The heat of August is stifling.  Hot, sticky and so humid it's difficult to breathe at times.

I've just come online after a 10 hour powercut.  Not only that, the water has been off for about 8 hours so I can't even cool down by taking a shower.

I had decided to stay at home today because housework needed to be done and also a pile of washing and ironing.  But of course without electricity and water I haven't been able to do anything.   Mr A came home with me last night, and had I known what it was going to be like today I would have gone to the hotel with him this morning.   The bus service from the village on Sundays is almost non-existent so I decided against attempting to get to Bodrum under my own steam.  In any case I really didn't want to venture out in my lack-of-shower smelly state.

When we leave the hotel, we  normally arrive home around 6 or 7pm, and often Mr A returns to work.  At this time it's still hot and although it's preferable on the back of the motorbike rather than inside a stuffy car or bus, the breeze is still warm.

However, last night we left later than usual, at 9.30pm.  It was dark and there was a stronger breeze and it was cooler.   The cool air was so wonderful, I didn't want the journey to end.  At one point I actually shivered!

I'm definitely in favour of leaving later in future....I really want to feel cold again.

Friday, 5 August 2011


The way that dogs live in Turkey is something that I find distressing.  In all my 13 years here, I have never been able to get used to the numbers of dogs starving and dying on the streets.  In my early days here, I adopted a number of dogs, had them vaccinated, kept them for a while and then Mr A found homes for them.

Since then, finances have not allowed me to do more...although my regular followers know I've taken in three more since we moved here but couldn't manage to keep them.  However we gave them a good start and Mr A found a home for them.

My own two dogs, Beki and Poppy, were also rescued.  Beki almost 10 years ago at 2 weeks old, and Poppy 18 months may well have seen the "before and after" photos of her on here.

Foreigners come here, see what's happening, and with initial good intentions, try to do what they can to help. They set up dog shelters, raise money to feed the strays and to pay for veterinery treatment.  But it's just the tip of the iceberg.   The best run shelters operate a mass sterilisation programme and return the dogs to the streets.  It's better than herding them all into one place, where they will starve through lack of money, and suffer long lingering death through disease.

Sadly, some of these shelters are so badly run that the dogs would be far better back out on the streets.  The video in this post is an example.

The Turkish Animal Group (T:A.G)  is run by Karen Lowrie Wren.   Karen has worked tirelessly and unselfishly for 9 years to address the problem.  She has relied on donations, and a considerable amount of her own money, to rescue dogs, get them speyed and vaccinated and eventually to be adopted by people here and abroad.

She has also been visiting some of the shelters and secretly filmed the following video.   You can hear the frustration and distress in her voice, when her requests to take some of the dogs for adoption is refused.  I warn those of you who care about the welfare of animals, that this video is hard to watch.

sopen izmir

click on the above link if the video doesn't open on here
If you feel that you can do anything at all to help, please visit Karen's Facebook page here.


To all those people posting nasty vindictive comments and personal attacks on either Karen or myself who also hide behind "Anonymous" because they don't have the courage to reveal themselves.   Don't waste your time.   Your posts will be deleted.   My Blog = my choice.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Difficult journey

Today didn't start terribly well.   I woke up this morning to find the water was off, and shortly after the electriciy was also cut.  I had intended to spend a relaxing day at home, but when Mr A phoned he suggested I catch the bus over to the hotel and he would bring me back this evening.

As it's market day in Milas, I decided that I would avoid a crowded dolmuş and catch the one due at 1.00pm.  I set off to the village early at 12.30 because work is being done on the roads leading up the hill, so I thought I may have to go by a different route.

I arrived at the bus stop with 10 minutes to spare and waited...and waited.  By 1.20pm the bus still hadn't arrived so I phoned Mr A to let him know I'd either be delayed or may give up and go home.  He called me back 5 minutes later to say he had spoken to the Muhtar who had informed him that there was a new system on Milas market day.  Apparently the bus driver won't leave the village before ours until he has at least 6 passengers.  Would have been nice if we had been told!   So eventually it arrived at 1.40pm, then sat and waited for a further 10 minutes for some more passengers.

Eventually I reached the main road and crossed over to wait for the Bodrum bus.  I rarely have to wait more than 10 minutes, but today I waited for 35 minutes.  When I got on the bus there were no seats, but a man sitting in the back row got up to give me his seat.  It might have been better if I'd remained standing as I was then squashed between two very large, very sweaty people, so it was rather unpleasant.   And there I remained for the rest of the journey, which normally takes 45 minutes.

When we reached Guvercinlik (about half-way) we were diverted into a lay-by where the Jandarma were doing one of their checks.  This does happen from time to time here but I've been pretty lucky so far in that this is only the second time I've experienced it.  A jandarma officer got on the bus and collected up everyone's kimliks (ID cards) and took them away to be checked.  While we waited the bus driver decided to collect fares.   He tried to charge me 7 lira instead of the usual 6 (maybe because he thought I was a tourist) but when I informed him that it always costs me 6 lira, he gave in!

We waited for a further 10 minutes, then the driver set off.....without the kimliks!   As I was sitting in the back row I could see the jandarma officer shouting to him to stop, and at the same time some of the passengers on our bus were doing the same.  He seemed quite oblivious to all this commotion until one of the passengers got up and proceeded to the front of the bus and shouted at him.   So he eventally stopped, reversed back up the road, collected our kimliks and off we went.

This journey normally takes me just over an hour.  Today it took two and a half hours.

To top it off, as I was getting off the bus in Bodrum, my sandal broke.  However, the day did get better.  Mr A gave me some money to get some new sandals.  He was going to one of the other hotels with his boss in his car, and they dropped Gwen and I in the centre of Bodrum where I managed to get some lovely new sandals.  We spent a couple of hours happily browsing and were then collected by Mr A and his boss, calling in at another of the hotels for coffee and then back to our hotel.

Finally, instead of coming home on the motorbike, and because Mr A had to return to the hotel this evening, his boss brought us back to the house, where we had coffee before they returned.

This picture is of one of the teahouses in the village. These men must be so bored.  They sit here from early morning till late at night.  It must be even worse at the moment as Monday was the start of Ramazan...the month of nothing must pass their food, drink or cigarettes.

So it's now just after 10pm...time to relax.  The water is still off however, so no shower for me tonight....but the electricity is back on...for now!