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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A welcome break

This past couple of days we have had a very welcome break from the recent intense heat.  There have been strong winds blowing from the north...in fact high on my hill they've been pretty much gale force at times.  I've had to move tables and chairs off the balcony or risk losing them forever.

Temperatures had reached the late 30s...at one point briefly touching 40 degrees, so this wind has been such a relief.  I've managed two nights of much needed sleep with the windows open.   Of course the furniture is now covered in thick dust as a result, but it's a small price to pay!

This morning the wind has dropped and I will set off to market in Milas early before it gets too hot again.

My friend Gwen stayed for a couple of days last week and today is on her way back to England.  She's back again in August/September. 

I'm planning a trip over to England for just a week in September.  I need to be with my daughter on her birthday.  I have missed far too many of her birthdays since I moved here, and it's about time I rectified this.  She is looking forward to it as much as I am.  And of course I can't wait to see my grandsons again.  Billy continues to be as cute as ever and I just love talking to him on webcam and Jimi grows more gorgeous every day.

Beautiful boys!

Mr A continues with his job over in Bodrum/Gumbet and isn't getting home as much as he or I would like him to.  He's working long unsociable hours, is very tired, and frankly I worry about the journey from Bodrum to home on the motorbike.  It's a busy, fast road, and one well known for traffic accidents.  He intends to come home this evening and of course I'm looking forward to it, but I'm getting used to this situation yet again.   I don't like it but I have to accept that he needs to earn money and that has to take priority.   I cope when I have something good to look forward to...my planned flying visit to England in September helps.

An update on the rubbish collection...it still hasn't been collected.  I spoke to the Muhtar myself the other day and got the usual shrug of the shoulders.   Having filled the bin to overflowing, I placed an old plastic bin beside it which is also now full.   So I'm now taking my rubbish further down the hill to the next available bin....which is also almost filled to capacity.  I can't understand why I seem to be the only person in the village actually bothered by this problem.  I decided against dumping my rubbish in the Muhtar's office...it's right opposite the teahouse, and I don't relish being laughed at by the men gathered there.  So I have decided not to pay my water bill.  It's overdue, but it includes the charge for rubbish collection...so it won't be paid until the rubbish is cleared.  This small act of protest makes me feel a little better, although as most villagers seem to avoid paying their bills for as long as six months, I doubt it will have any effect on the Muhtar.

Well that's all for now...off to face the crowded dolmuş to Milas.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Anonymous

In the Macmillan Dictionary, one of the definitions of Anonymous is "something that is anonymous has no interesting or unusual features"

This post is a message to "Anonymous"...you know who you are...in fact there are many of you who tirelessly post your drivel in the comments section of my blog and others.

Do you not yet realise that Blogger has a pretty efficient method of dealing with spam?  Because this is what it is.   Why do you bother?  What's the point? Your post goes straight into the Spam box and then it's deleted. 

If you REALLY have something interesting to say, why not post your real name?  Why be a coward and hide behind the name of "Anonymous"?

As the definition above says "you have no interesting or unusual features".   You are boring...stop wasting your time and find a more worthwhile activity.


..........And to all my dear blogger friends who wouldn't dream of posting anonymously....thank you for your comments..they are always welcome and always interesting....keep them coming!

Enjoy your weekend xx

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The (Turkish) Male Mentality

You'd think after all these years I would be used to the male attitude.  Turkish men on the whole do feel they are superior to the female race.  They're not likely to change.  After all the women here have encouraged them.  When a boy is born into a family, he is spoilt rotten.  His mother, grandmother, and aunts indulge him and pander to his every whim.  Girls, on the other hand, are raised to know their place...their purpose in life is to make sure the men are happy.  Of course it's not the same everywhere in Turkey.  In the larger towns and cities, women have careers, they have important roles to play and they do their best to be seen as equal to men.  In villages, however, time stands still.  The old habits still exist, and will probably continue way into the future.

Those foreign women who are married to Turkish men often find it difficult to adjust to the Turkish male mentality.  They are swept off their feet with the charm that oozes from Turkish men...oh yes they are very charming....and romantic and so different from the men they perhaps have been used to.   But it's at this point in the relationship...before commitment...that groundrules have to be established, or the marriage is doomed to failure.  And so many do fail.

A lot depends on the woman really.  She may well be the subservient type.  In which case she will fit right in.  However, if she has a strong character...and heaven forbid...opinions (like me) ...then there's a lot of adjustment to be made.

All marriages need compromise, whether inter-racial or not.   There has to be a determination on both sides to want to make it work, but it's not always easy.  It's important for the Turkish man to understand the differences in our cultures....and to accept these differences.  It's equally important that we as foreign women understand and accept the differences in their culture.  But most important in all this is communication..if that breaks down it's inevitably the end of the relationship.

Mr A and I have had our ups and downs over the years...lots of them...but after 13 years together I guess you could say that we've cracked it.   Any rows or disagreements we have are generally about money (or lack of it), but can also be down to his Turkish male mentality.   Fortunately the latter isn't so much of an issue these days.   Many hours of conversations over the years about how different we are, have more or less resolved these issues.  It's not been an easy journey..we've split up a couple of times because it had seemed impossible to make it work.  Above all...the marriage is based on love.  Not the exciting passionate romantic love of the early days, but a deeper love that grows over time.  That is why we make the effort to accept and respect our differences, and we do our best to compromise.  That's how it works.

I hadn't intended to talk so much about this when I started this post.  I was going to talk about the Muhtar and the rubbish, and the man who repaired my oven last night!  It's strange how you can start writing about something and your thoughts run away with you!

The rubbish...it's getting on for two months since it's been collected.  The temperatures hit 40 degrees yesterday so you can imagine how bad it is.   I'm angry with the Muhtar.  I saw him yesterday and told him so.  Ah...but I'm just a mere woman...he shrugged his shoulders and dismissed me.  I asked Mr A to phone him again yesterday.  Mr A informs me that the Muhtar can't find anyone with an available tractor and trailer to collect it.  Mr A just accepted that.  They are men....they don't fall out with each other...they don't make a big deal of it....they're not bothered.   I give up!

My oven has been out of order for months now.  Before I went to England in April, I found a man in Milas who may have been able to repair it, but it was impossible to explain to him how to find our house.  I've been waiting for Mr A to find the time to collect the man and bring him here, but there just hasn't been an opportunity.

Mr A came home on Tuesday night.  Before he left early yesterday morning he suddenly told me that he knew a man in the village who worked for Beko.   My oven is made by Beko.  "How long have you known this man?"  I asked.  "Oh since we moved here" came the reply.   So why hadn't he mentioned this before?  He had forgotten!  Aaargh!  So he called at the man's house before setting off to work, and the man promised to come to fix the oven last night.  Which he did.  It needed a new element as I suspected and the job took him 15 minutes.  All this unnecessary waiting and inconvenience.

Talking about the Turkish male mentality...this is what happens most times when a women attempts to deal with problems, or buy large items in shops, or take out a contract for telephone lines and internet etc. The men can't seem to acknowledge the fact that we mere women are capable of dealing with such things.  It's the man's job!   The Beko man filled in the invoice.  He asked for a name.  I gave him mine...but no...he didn't want that...he wanted my husband's name!   Years ago, I would have made a fuss about it, and insisted he took my name.   But now...who cares?  I gave him Mr A's name and shrugged my shoulders.  If it enabled him to leave feeling important, having put another woman firmly in her place, then so what?  I can live with it!

Today my friend Gwen is coming over to stay for a couple of days.  After her embarrassment last time when the inlaws turned up unexpectedly, I intend to spoil her and make this a pleasant stay for her, before her return to England next week.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Flying Visits

Mr A made another of his flying visits last night.  I'm beginning to wonder if it's really worth the effort.  He arrives quite late, around 10.30 to 11.00pm.  He is exhausted.  He sits down, we start to chat...well at least I do, because he doesn't seem to have much energy for talking.  So I talk...and he falls asleep.

He's then up very early in the morning and off he goes again.

And today...a flying visit from someone else...father-in-law.  At least this time he actually phoned me on Friday evening to give me some warning.  All he said was that he would be here on Sunday.  I didn't know if he would be alone, what time he would be arriving, or how long he would be staying.   So nothing new there!

Just before Mr A set off this morning he gathered up insecticide and the pump contraption for using same, plus a few other items from the old house and got on his motorbike with them.  I asked where he was going with them and he said his father had asked him to drop them down at the land for him.  "Is he already there?" I asked.  "Maybe or he's on his way" Mr A replied.  "How long is he staying?  Is he on his own?  Do I need to make the bed up? Do I need to cook for him?"   I asked.   "He's on his own...I don't know any more than that" was the reply.  Mr A suggested I phone him myself.  Do you know?  I'd almost think there was some conspiracy in this family to try to keep me in the dark about everything!

So a bit later I phoned FIL and asked if he would like me to get him some food when he had finished work.   "No" was the reply.   "I've made your bed up for you" I said.   "I'm not staying" he replied "I'm going home tonight".     Yippee!!

He came to the house around 6pm, we drank coffee and chatted about the garden.  He had a shower and left at 7.30pm.

Some flying visits are disappointing...others are quite the opposite!

PS.  Finally after about 4 weeks of my laptop being attached to the modem by USB cable, my brother-in-law found time this evening to take control of my laptop with teamviewer and reconnect me to my wireless network.  Thank goodness I ignored the so-called expert at TTNet who insisted I should see an engineer as there must be a problem with my laptop....there isn't!  Three cheers for my lovely brother-in-law!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Rubbish

I've been back from England for 4 weeks now, and no-one has been to empty our rubbish bin.   In fact I'm pretty sure it wasn't emptied for the best part of the month that I was away.

It's over-flowing as you can imagine, and in this heat extremely smelly.  The bins in the village are old oil drums, which the Muhtar (village chief) had painted blue with "property of the Muhtar" painted on in white letters.  They have no lids so are a welcome invitation to all the stray cats and dogs in the village.  No-one else seems to be bothered by cats jumping in and pulling out all the rubbish and scattering it everywhere....or dogs jumping up and tipping the bin over.

I found half of an old heavy wooden door which I place on top of the bin, held down with a large rock...so at least I can't smell it until I remove the "lid".

Mr A has made numerous calls to the Muhtar over the past couple of weeks and is always informed that the rubbish will be collected as soon as possible...how long is that?  How long is a piece of string?   The problem is that a tractor and trailer regularly collects rubbish from the rest of the village but for some reason they conveniently "forget" to drive up as far as our house.  It may well be time for me to start taking bags of rubbish down to the village and depositing them in the Muhtar's office....maybe that will get a reaction?

Mr A continues his job over in Bodrum.   The hours are really unsociable.   Because he has to catch new intakes of tourists, before they are sold over-priced hamam trips by their tour operators at their welcome meeting, he needs to be around when they arrive.  This means working at crazy times like 3am or 5am.  He then tries to snatch some sleep in between.   It's not leaving him a lot of time to get home.  He popped over on Tuesday evening around 10.30pm but then left here at just after midnight, to get back in time for a new lot of arrivals.  If you are working solely on commission, as he and thousands of others are, you have to be available more or less 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The season is short so they have to make the most of it.  No wonder men who work in tourism spend most of the winter months sleeping!

In the meantime, I am recovering slowly from my flu bug, although I have been left with an irritating cough...but with the help of some very strong medicine, that should be gone pretty soon.

Yesterday we had  storms, powercuts on and off all day, the water was off for 8 hours, and my laptop is still playing up.  Other than that.. everything's just fine!

Life...as I know it...goes on.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Mr A's adventures continue

Mr A has been working over in Bodrum for a week now, selling the hamam experience to tourists staying in a group of hotels.  He dashes back and forth from one to another on his motorbike.

Because he's working on a commission-only basis he's really having to put in the hours to earn money, starting around 7.30 in the morning and often not finishing until after midnight.  He has been coming home on his bike every two days, but sometimes he is just so exhausted that he stays in Bodrum and  grabs a few hours sleep in one of the hamams.

He knows I don't like being here on my own so he does make a huge effort to get home as much as possible, but I worry that I've been selfish in  putting a bit too much pressure on him to do this.  So I've told him to just come home when he feels like it. 

I awoke yesterday morning with a nasty flu bug, which continues to get worse.  My whole body aches, my neck is stiff, swollen glands, sore throat, earache and blocked nose.   It's particularly uncomfortable in this heat. I needed food shopping but was in no fit state to venture into Milas on the bus.

I was happy to make do with what I have, but Mr A insisted that he would come home last night with provisions.  Unfortunately, the motorbike has broken down (again...sigh) and will take a couple of days to fix.  So he borrowed his boss's car, drove home with bags of shopping, including treats like icecream and chocolate, but as he had to return the car promptly, couldn't even stop for a coffee.

I'm aware that I moan a lot about Mr A, particularly when he's away, but I realised last night that I really ought to be more grateful.   He's kind and thoughtful when it really matters...and I should consider myself lucky to have him.

Alice's Bucket List

Jack at Perking the Pansies wrote about this blog.   Alice's Bucket List is a blog written by a 15 year old girl who is fighting cancer.   It's not a tear-jerking blog...it's down-to-earth and so positive.  Alice is inspirational.

If you want to have a look, you'll find it here

Friday, 10 June 2011

Nothing much to say.....

...at the moment.  Maybe it's the heat...the sudden arrival of summer and temperatures up in the 30s.  I just can't think of anything to write about.

I'll leave you with some nice pics of Billy and Jimi though:
















































Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Creepy Crawlies

With temperatures now up in the 30s lots of bugs are making an appearance.

I have ants in the kitchen and they are driving me mad.  I'm spraying everywhere and I have these little plastic disc type things that normally get rid of them but nothing seems to be working.  I hate spraying chemicals all over the place, so I'm wondering if any of you have any other ideas for getting rid of them?

Because we have mosquito frames on all the windows, we manage to keep most of them out, but of course the odd one always manages to find it's way in..just when you switch off the light to go to sleep...it starts to buzz around your head. On goes the light but of course it's nowhere to be found!   Some of you may know about the Skin So Soft range of body lotions made by Avon?  Someone told me some years ago that it's a good mosquito repellent.  I've been using it and so far so good...no bites yet.

Last night I spotted a salamander crawling around the ceiling.  They used to freak me out at one time until I discovered that they eat mosquitoes.  Now they are my best creepy crawlie friends!

We have  lot of flies in this village.  To be expected with the number of farm animals.   And a fair number of different types of spiders, some of which can give you a nasty bite if you're not careful.  I used to be terrified of spiders years ago, but I've just had to get used to them here, particularly when I'm on my own and there's no-one else to dispose of them.

The dogs have been picking up ticks during the past few days.  They are probably coming off the sheep that pass our gate several times a day.   Beki and Poppy are overdue for flea treatment.  I use Frontline during the summer months, and flea collars during the winter.  They never seem to get fleas so this system is obviously working.  But I hate ticks and they are difficult little buggers to remove.

So I set off to Milas this morning to find some Frontline.  Not an easy task as most of the vets in this area deal with farm animals and don't cater much for domestic pets.   I have paid hugely varying amounts for Frontline here from 25 lira (some years ago) up to as much as 50 lira, per treatment.  It's an expensive business when you have two dogs to treat.

I am absolutely delighted because I have found a new vet in Milas.  He's a young guy and speaks a little English...and he had Frontline!  Not only that, he also had some antibacterial/antifungal shampoo which I've been searching for.  He asked me all about the dogs...where did I get them...how long had I had them...etc.
He asked if I had pet passports for them.  I did have a record of Beki's innoculations, which I only continued to have done for 3 or 4 years.   Poppy was 3 years old when we took her in over a year ago.  She had some jabs from a vet at the time, but not since.  He agreed that it probably wasn't necessary to have any more as both dogs mostly stay in the garden and don't mix with street dogs.  And there was I expecting him to try and sell me more jabs!

When it came to paying for the Frontline, he informed me that they were 40 lira each, and the shampoo was 15 lira...making a total of 95 lira.   However, he asked me to pay him just 45 lira in total.  He said that this was his present to me for having rescued my dogs.  How lovely was that!   I hope he sticks around because I will definitely use him in the future.

Both dogs need a haircut.   Mr A had intended to do this last night but he arrived home too late and was exhausted.  So on my return from Milas I made an attempt at trimming Beki.   Oh I wish I hadn't started.  I have cut loads of hair but it seems to have made no difference at all.  Except that my arthritic fingers are swollen and I've done my back in whilst trying to hold her.  I managed to shower her as well, so at least she smells good!   I'll leave Poppy to Mr A I think...and he'll probably have to tidy up Beki as my handiwork leaves a lot to be desired.

That's all for today!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Comments

Thankyou all so much for your comments on my previous post.  For some reason I haven't been able to comment for the last  couple of days.  Internet, blogger and general laptop problems just seem to be accumulating lately.

I have a shuddering screen.  This has been going on for a while and I've no idea why it's happening but it's really irritating when I'm trying to read or write.   MSN and hotmail have also been playing up and sometimes I am unable to open my hotmail inbox for hours on end.   My keys are either sticking or not typing at all, which means I have to go back and edit what I've written, after every half a dozen words.

For the past week my laptop has been attached to the modem by a USB cable because without any warning I just lost my wireless connection.  I contacted TTNet customer services who inform me that there is no problem with the line, so we went through the procedure to re-connect with my wireless connection.  It didn't work and I was then referred to their technical department.  I had Mr A call them because I can't deal with anything in Turkish which is technical.  They went through a similar procedure but using teamviewer to take control of my laptop.  They couldn't solve the problem either and said there must be something wrong with my laptop...tell me about it!

There isn't an engineer in Milas that I would trust to take my laptop apart.  Oh there are a fair number of computer shops, where untrained and unqualified young boys will happily take your laptop to bits and put it back together again...maybe solving the problem, but more than likely creating another one at the same time.

I've been in touch with my brother-in-law...who does know what he's doing and always manages to sort out my pc problems.  He's away working at the moment with absolutely no free time but he returns home next week and will have a go a dealing with these headaches for me.

Mr A started work in Bodrum yesterday.  A very long day...he set off at 8.00am and returned just before midnight.   Hopefully he won't have to work such long hours from now on, but who knows?  He is working for a hamam at one of several hotels in a group.  He isn't working in the hamam...he's travelling around to each hotel getting customers to book turkish baths.  He was recommended by one of the guys there who worked for him at his hamam last year.  I'm not sure it's what he really wants to do, but it's work, and he has the opporrtunity to look around for something better if necessary.  He is working on commission only on sales, but the advantage is that he will be paid every day for the previous day's sales.

We found a massive snake in the garden on Friday...at least Poppy found it...and thank goodness Mr A was outside at the time and managed to rescue Poppy.  Mr A killed the snake and received a round of applause and pats on the back from the neighbours...haha we have such exciting times in this village!

So that's it for now...life is pretty much back to normal...whatever normal is!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Gone but not forgotten!

The outlaws left this morning....normal life resumes.

Mr A spent his first evening home on Tuesday in the company of his parents, and as mentioned in my previous post I left them to it.

Yesterday morning he and I had planned to go into Milas to do some food shopping, but before doing so, FIL needed Mr A to go down to the land with them to help plant a tree.  They set off at 8.00am and Mr A said he would be about half an hour.  Turkish time equals..double what was quoted...so I expected him back within an hour.  Two hours passed and I phoned and Mr A said he was helping his father work on the land.  I didn't get angry...there's little point, because I knew this would happen.  Mr A is so anxious to receive approval from his father that he'll do anything to achieve it.  It was too hot to go into Milas on the bus so I just popped down to the village shop for milk and bread, assuming that Mr A would be back some time mid-afternoon so that we could go shopping.

No such luck....they all arrived home at around 7.00pm.   Mr A had of course had breakfast and lunch with his parents down on the land.   On their way home Mr A  bought a large chicken from the village shop which he intended to cut up and barbeque.  Unfortunately it was frozen solid and he then proceeded to try to defrost it in the microwave...on FULL power!   I suggested he run it under the cold tap and then cut it up and continue to defrost in the microwave on the correct setting.   But he's impatient and the chicken portions were placed on the barbeque still partly frozen.   He asked me if I would be eating with them.   "No chance" I replied "you can all risk salmonella but I'll give it a miss!"

So another evening was spent with me on my  laptop indoors, whilst the three of them were out in the garden being attacked by mosquitoes, and taking a chance on developing food poisoning.

I was beginning to wonder if Mr A and I would ever get some time together, but fortunately the outlaws packed up and left early this morning.

A very odd thing happened before they left.  MIL came into the kitchen and hugged me and told me she loved me and that life is difficult for women and they have to put up with so much.  She shed a few tears, and I'm afraid I did too.  I know she does some strange things, but I think she is completely dominated by FIL, and maybe she envied the way I was standing up for myself?  Who knows?  But I enjoyed the gesture....and I gave her the seeds that she had coveted the day before....big softie that I am!

So at last Mr A and I had some time to ourselves.  He went off to Bodrum this afternoon to look for work and has one job possibility which he should find out about this evening.

I feel utterly calm and content this evening...hope it lasts!