Pages

Friday, 29 April 2011

Welcome



A very warm welcome to my second grandson, Jimi Stan, who was born at 1.05 this afternoon, weighing in at a healthy 8lb1oz.   Mother and baby are doing very well.   Another gorgeous boy...just like his big brother Billy.  I'll get my first glimpse tomorrow morning....can't wait!


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Waiting

I seem to spend an awful lot of time waiting.  In fact I recall doing another post about waiting some time ago...probably to fill the time while I was waiting for something to happen.

Well I'm still waiting for my new grandson to put in an appearance.  Yesterday was due date, and in spite of a few signs or false alarms, he hasn't arrived yet.

While I'm here in England, I tried to renew my passport, but the process was far too complicated, so it will now have to wait until I return home, and then be sent off to Dusseldorf.  I guess I was concerned about this new system at first, but I've now discovered that it's actually quite straightforward after all.

I also decided while I'm here to talk to the CAB to get some advice about my credit card debt, and the best way to deal with it.  You may recall that I approached the bank direct asking them to reduce the interest rate, but with no luck.  I then spoke to them on the phone in February and they blocked my credit card, at the same time still refusing to reduce the interest, but they eventually reduced the monthly minimum payment for a period of 4 months.  It hasn't been very helpful and the CAB agree with me.  I saw them for a preliminary assessment yesterday and have a further appointment with them next week, when they will approach the bank on my behalf to see what can be done.

And finally, just before I left for England last week, Mr A and I had time to discuss our plans for this year.  We weighed up our priorities.  Number One is for him to be in a secure job for which he gets a regular salary.  The job in Kusadasi seems to fit the bill.  The possible job in Bodrum is unpredictable.  The Kusadasi job started in March and will continue until the end of October.  The Bodrum job starts mid-May and will probably finish early September.  So the Kusadasi job it is.

We know this means spending more time apart.  We don't want to waste money on renting an apartment in Kusadasi for me to stay there all season, and its not practical for Mr A to attempt to come home every day.  However, we are working on ways that it will be possible for us to see each other at least once a week.  We're going to give it a try and see how it goes.   I know that I need to adapt more than I have.  Turkish wives are used to husbands working away for half of the year, and then having them home for the winter months.  It's something I have been used to before we moved to this village, when we lived in areas where I had friends and a social life.  It's more difficult in the village, but not impossible to achieve if I make a little more effort.

Of course it's easy to feel positive about these arrangements, while I'm here in England, and the village seems a million miles away, but I'll give it my best shot.

Oh and while I think of it...it seems that the Blogger ban in Turkey has been lifted.  I wouldn't have noticed while I was in the UK of course, but at least when I return home, it's one less thing to have to wait for!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Billy's Birthday

Billy was 2 years old yesterday.  He is an amazing little boy.  He's happy and gentle and very clever.  I'm his grandmother so of course I'm biased!  But he is an absolute joy.

His birthday party has been postponed for a couple of weeks, because the new baby is due any time now.  We thought he may arrive yesterday, or perhaps even today, but it's difficult to tell...he'll be here when he's good and ready I guess.

However, Billy had a lovely day yesterday, with visits from his grandparents and lots of exciting things to play with in his garden.  Here are a few photos:






Friday, 22 April 2011

Normal service is resumed..

...not permanently.  Just for a month.   I mean being able to blog normally. It's easy to take a lot of things for granted until you don't have them.  I hate this blogger ban in Turkey.  Well to be honest it's not so much the ban as having my freedom of choice removed.  That's what I really dislike.  You all know by now how much I love Turkey and the Turkish people, but I do get irritated and often quite angry at some of the petty decisions made by the "powers that be" and the way in which the Turks just seem to accept it without really fighting back.

So here I am in sunny England!  Excellent flights with Pegasus Airlines...This is the third time I've used them and I'm still impressed at their service and efficiency and how reasonably priced they are.

Mr A arrived home on Wednesday in a rented car.  We had a pleasant afternoon together and had much discussion about his job and how being apart affects us both.  And we've made some decisions about this...I'll talk more about it in another post.

Mr A dropped me off at the airport and took Beki and Poppy for their holiday with Gwen in Selçuk.  They'll have a wonderful time.  They love Gwen and she has lots of long walks planned for them...plus a big box full of chewsticks and other doggy treats.

Since arriving in England yesterday I've picked up a passport application form and now realise that renewing my passport while I'm here is not as straightforward as I thought it would be.  Even though the website states that you can renew you passport while you're on a visit to the UK, you can't use the only application form that's available.  There's so much conflicting information on the web about all this, that the other alternative to send off an application for renewal of my British passport...from Turkey...to Dusseldorf..is actually looking like the easiest option after all.

And last but not least...the main purpose of this visit.  To see my daughter and Billy.  I managed to see them for a short time yesterday and am totally amazed at how much Billy has changed since I last saw him.  He is just so unbelievably cute.  He knows so many words.  He chatters, he sings, he dances..he's just gorgeous and I can't take my eyes off him.  Still awaiting  the arrival of the new grandson...could be any day now.  And it's Billy's birthday tomorrow.  I'm so happy to be here and really looking forward to the weeks ahead.

Monday, 18 April 2011

It's Monday again

I can always remember my father saying that time flies faster when you're older.  He was right.  Although I sometimes find that the days seem too long, the weeks just disappear in a flash.

It's Monday again and the start of another week.  One I'm very much looking forward to because I'm off to England on Thursday.  My new grandson could arrive any time now.  The sooner the better is what my daughter probably feels at the moment.  I'm not sleeping too well.  I'm waking up several times during the night and checking my phone in case I've missed a call to say the baby has arrived.

Mr A has now been away for almost six weeks and apart from one flying visit late at night until very early the next morning, all our communication is by phone or webcam.  Not really satisfactory because we  need to sit down and discuss what we will be doing for the rest of the season.  But it will have to wait until I return from England.  He had hoped to take an advance on his salary this week, so I could have some money to take with me, but it was not to be, so he will send me some when he gets paid at the beginning of May.  Just as well as I have to renew my passport during this visit.

Talking of renewing passports, the system for doing so in Turkey has changed.  When I renewed my British passport 10 years ago it was a simple procedure.  I took my existing passport to the nearest British Consul, which was at that time in Bodrum, completed the forms, produced the photos and the fee and it was sent off to Ankara.  The new passport arrived  a week later.

It's no longer possible to do this.  It now has to be sent to Dusseldorf of all places, along with credit card details, photos, etc....by post.   Then you just wait for it to be returned by post.    I'm not entirely happy about this so the alternative is to renew it on my trip to England.  This can be done through the "check and send" system at a post office, which takes 2 to 3 weeks.   So hopefully I have enough time to do it on this trip.

I had big plans for tackling the garden last week.  The weeds are out of control.  Unfortunately the weather has been unpredictable, very unusual for Turkey, and we've had strong winds and rain.  Every so often the sky clears and we have glorious sunshine, and then it changes again.  I managed an hour or so on Friday and wish I hadn't bothered.  My joints ache and my arthritic hands are so stiff and painful that even typing is now taking ten times longer.  I'm not going to attempt any more this week, but I'm dreading seeing the state of the garden when I return on 22nd May.  I think we may well have to find someone in the village to help out until Mr A has time to tackle it.

Mr A tells me he has sorted out a car to come here on Wednesday evening so that he can drop me at the airport on Thursday morning and then take the dogs over to Gwen in Selçuk.  I always get very anxious about him sorting out transport to get me to the airport.  He often leaves it till the very last minute, so I only really relax once I'm in the departure lounge.

He has been introduced to a vet in Kusadasi who is a friend of his boss.  She has offered to give Beki and Poppy a check-up.  Beki has arthritis in her back legs, and Poppy's teeth need some attention.  The vet has offered to sort all this out free of charge, so Mr A will take them to see her before he drops them off at Gwen's house.  It's hard to find decent vets here, but Mr A feels confident about this one, so it will be great to have the dogs checked out.

Finally, a big thankyou to everyone for continuing to read and leave comments during the blogger ban, even though I can't respond.  It's very much appreciated.  The ban continues and there is absolutely no news anywhere about how long it's likely to last.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Another PJ day

Another day of doing very little.  That was yesterday...a whole day spent in pjs.  Blame it on the weather.  Gale force winds and showers.  I just can't muster up enthusiasm for doing anything when it's like this.  But when the sun is shining I'm raring to go...until the intense heat from June onwards of course.  It was also Mr A's and my 12th wedding anniversary yesterday and he had hoped to try and finish early and make the journey home but there were customers and this weather on a motorbike is treacherous.  So the weather suited my mood...miserable.

My friend Gwen arrived on Monday and left on Wednesday lunchtime.  Wednesday was a glorious day.  As soon as she had gone I stripped beds, cleaned the house, did piles of washing and ironing and thought about making a start on weeding the garden.  I decided to leave it till yesterday, assuming the good weather would continue.  So it didn't get done and looking at the weeds this morning they seem to have multiplied over night.

Mr A and I are still dithering over whether he should stay in the Kusadasi job and try to find something for us to rent over there, or to pursue a job in Bodrum.  It's not easy to discuss all this on the phone so I'm hoping he can get home in the next day or so, then we can sit down and work out our budget.  I'm concerned that we may end up with outgoings exceeding our incomings, so we need to put it on paper.

It's 7.30am and the sun is shining and my mood has lifted.  I'm off on the early bus to Milas to get some shopping and then I'll be back to tackle the garden...provided that the sun continues to shine of course.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Dying villages

There are thousands of villages like mine dotted about all over Turkey.  What is most noticeable about a lot of them is the ageing population.

The neighbour to the left of my house and also the one on the right, are both elderly widows.  There are many such women in this village.  My personal opinion is that Turkish women are used to working hard all their lives.  They raise families, take care of their husbands and their homes, as well as working in the fields.  They have immense stamina and they seem to live longer than men.  In my experience the men don't do as much work on the land as the women do.  They seem to spend an awful lot of time sitting in the men-only teahouses, drinking tea, playing tavla (backgammon), Okey (a game with numbered discs) and cards, in between watching TV and putting the world to rights.

In this particular village there is a history of alcoholism amongst the men.  One of the main contributors to their early demise.   Good muslims of course don't touch alcohol.  My father-in-law often comments on how bad the men are in this village.  He says they drink too much and when he is visiting here he tells me that the mosque is almost always empty.  He, of course, is a good muslim (she says with tongue firmly in cheek) because he doesn't touch alcohol and he prays the requisite five times a day.  Although I do recall a conversation I once had with him about religion, where I expressed the opinion that even if people attend mosques or churches on a regular basis, it doesn't necessarily make them good people.

We have an infants school and a secondary school in the village, but the youngsters wanting further education have to go away to obtain it.  And it does seem that parents here do their utmost to achieve this for their offspring.  When they have finished college or university they seldom return to the village because there is no work suitable to their qualifications.  Even those young people who don't go on to further education no longer have any interest in farming, so they set off for the tourist areas to find work, perhaps returning for the winter months, but more often than not moving to the big cities to find work until the summer season starts again.

So we are left with people who are getting old, and farming isn't easy for the elderly.  My FIL mentioned when he was here recently that some years ago all the olive trees were on the hillsides, and the farming land from the village to the main road 5km away was completely flat and given over to vegetable crops.  This is no longer the case.  The elderly can't manage to harvest the olives on the hillsides, so now a lot of the farming land is filled with olive groves.

My next door neighbour has two cows, two goats, a donkey and chickens.  She has problems with her back and legs but still she struggles on.  Her son and family visit every couple of months, but they work and live in Milas.  When she passes on, there is little chance that he will take over her house and livestock.  No doubt the house will lie empty for years.  There are many of these dilapidated dwellings all over the village.  No-one wants to buy them. 

Mr A mentioned recently that there is a golf complex being built on the other side of the airport, due to be completed in two years time.  His source tells him that this will be good news for villages such as ours, because people will buy up old properties and land, and maybe they'll even build a hotel or two.  

I don't always trust Mr A's sources.  It's very common for men in the teahouses to start such rumours.
Although I would hate to see this village commercialised and overrun with tourists, I have to admit that this could be a good thing.  It's very sad to see the village dying slowly, and maybe it needs something like this to bring it back to life.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

This has to stop

Yesterday two beautiful horses died in the Grand National.  They are not the first and I doubt they will be the last.  Apparently, whilst these two poor creatures...one broke his neck and the other his back...were lying on the racecourse, a BBC commentator referred to them as "obstacles".

I despair.  Why, in a supposedly civilised country,  is this barbaric race still happening?   It's all about money isn't it?  Where there's money there's greed and this will always override any consideration for animals and the cruelty inflicted on them.  

It has to stop.

(You may be interested in reading this: http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse/ALL/2460//  and this:  http://www.merseysideanimalrights.co.uk/horse_racing.htm )

Saturday, 9 April 2011

I think it must be addictive.....

....blogging I mean.  No sooner have I decided to take a break than I start getting withdrawal symptoms.  I thought I had nothing to say but as soon as I say I have nothing to say, suddenly I have something to say. 

So the break didn't last long but a couple of days did seem to be enough to clear my head of all the crappy stuff to make room for enough words to jot down here.

Firstly, thanks all you lovely people for the comments on my "taking a break" post.  It was so nice to know I'd be missed and of course your encouragement only feeds my habit doesn't it?  Karen at Being Koy blog said "You'll think of stuff to write, you won't be able to help yourself now. I was just making marmalade and was missing my UK cooker and ten minutes later had a blog done about what I wish I could have brought from home and what I'm glad I brought".   And she was right.  I was sitting on the dolmuş this morning on my way to Milas and had all sorts of bloggy stuff going round in my head.

And as a result of my post and Karen's comment we realise that we ought to have made an effort to meet up before now, and we are planning to do this soon.   She also lives in a Turkish village and, like me, gets lonely at times and starved of English conversation.  If you haven't already discovered Karen's blog do take a look...it's great.   And if you are thinking of moving to Turkey, just  look at the pics of her house which is up for sale...its absolutely beautiful.

Mr A continues with his job in Kusadasi.  He is still staying in the cheap and dingy hotel, because there is no personnel accommodation.   The carpet centre is miles away from anywhere with no public transport, and now they have ceased to provide personnel transport,  so he has another motorbike.  BUT he was paid last Tuesday, albeit 6 days later than promised, so all our bills are up to date and we have food.  He has been away for a month now.  He is working 7 days a week.  No days off but this is perfectly normal here during the tourist season.  However he did come home last Wednesday night, dodging rain on the way and arrived just after 10pm.  He had to get up at 5.30am though to make the journey back. This wasn't so good and it took him much longer. 

We would prefer to be together, but it's proving difficult to find a solution. The job in Bodrum to start mid-May is still a possibility, and the ideal solution, but there's always the risk that they might not pay...whereas we now know that the Kusadasi company do.   But I'm  off to England on the 21st, so he will stick it out in Kusadasi until I return on 22nd May...then we will decide what's best.

I am continuing to make my "very adaptable cake" which has now been renamed "very adaptable microwave cake" due to my lack of oven.  In fact I'm not in much of a hurry to replace it. I seem to be managing quite well without.  I made one yesterday using Nutella as the flavouring with sultanas. I've just attempted to post a pic of it but the facility is just not working today so you'll have to use your imagination. I used a slightly wider dish this time and I think I overcooked because it was a little dry.  But if I cut a slice and give it a few seconds blast in the microwave before eating it becomes moist and light again ... it's particularly nice with  cream or icecream.

My friend Gwen, who is looking after the dogs in Selçuk while I'm in England, is coming over here to see me on Monday and will stay until Wednesday.  I need to try to cheer her up because she has now discovered that an apartment block is very likely to be built on a tiny piece of land next to her apartment, completely blocking the wonderful view she has now.  I've seen the piece of land in question and it's so small I can't imagine how anyone could build more than a garden shed on it!  Such a shame as she may well now decide to sell up and is reluctant to look around for anything else.  It always surprises me that in such a large country with so much space, people still build apartment blocks close together.  Often so close that you could pass someone tea from your balcony to theirs in the next block.

The Blogger ban continues and I'm still waiting for my brother-in-law to sort out a way of enabling me to post normally, along with comments.  It's very frustrating not being able to do this and I'm hoping it will be rectified soon.  At least I'll be able to post and comment in the usual way when I'm in England for a month so I'm looking forward to that.

That's it for now .....

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break from blogging.  I was actually thinking of closing the blog altogether, but had second thoughts.  I just don't have anything to say at the moment, but maybe I will sometime in the future so I've decided not to delete..just in case.

I'll still be reading your blogs though.

Have a good weekend.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Earthquakes and Storms

Apparently, according to Mr A, there was an earthquake in Muğla yesterday. He heard from a friend, who heard from his friend and so on...Chinese whispers in action. Muğla is a city but it is also the province in which our village is situated.  I have been informed by people in this village that we are on solid ground here and rarely experience tremors.   I have felt them in the past, when we lived in Turgutreis and in Selçuk.  Nothing really substantial.  It feels much like standing on a train platform when an Inter-city train speeds past.
I can find nothing in the news about the earthquake in Muğla so it couldn't have been serious.  We do in fact have earthquakes in this country almost every day, but they mostly go unnoticed.

Last night we had the mother of all storms here...probably the worst one I've experienced in all my years here.  It lasted for about 8 hours, and it was relentless.  Continual lightening and claps of thunder and torrential rain.  I'm not concerned about storms generally.  I make sure electrical appliances...particularly my modem..are disconnected and just wait for it to finish.  But I have to own up to being quite scared of this one.  It was like I would imagine it to be in a war zone with bombs dropping all around.   Beki hates storms and she was in an absolute state of panic. She runs from room to room as if she thinks she can get away from it and when she realises she can't she cowers in a corner, trembling.  No amount of comfort or reassurance from me calms her.  Poppy is not normally affected by storms, but this time she leapt onto my bed and burrowed under the quilt and lay trembling on my feet.

When I got up this morning the sky was dark grey, and there were still flashes of lightening and claps of thunder but the rain had eased off a bit.   I needed to go into Milas to get some food so I decided that I'd just have to suffer the weather.  I got wet going down to catch the dolmuş and even wetter when I returned to the village to climb the hill to the house.  I've been back for half an hour, shed my wet clothes, and would you believe it?  The sun is now shining!   If only I'd waited a bit longer.  However there are more black clouds in the distance so I'm sure there are more storms on the way.

The Blogger ban continues and I can find no up-to-date news about it.   Other bloggers in Turkey don't use Blogger so they haven't been affected.  Others are finding alternative ways around the problem.  Claudia from A Seasonal Cook in Turkey kindly messaged me on Facebook to give me information about getting a VPN.  She has done this and is back to normal blogging.  I'm scared of anything too technical but I think Claudia is sensible in taking this route, so I've emailed my brother-in-law in Ankara for some technical assistance.

In the meantime, I'll continue to post this way, and again apologise for not commenting on your blogs or being able to respond to your comments on mine.

Have a good weekend.