Monday, 30 January 2012

I miss.....

...Mr A.   Well if I'm totally honest I'm not actually missing him that much because before he left for Istanbul on Thursday he had become Mr Grumpy again.  He's been like that for weeks, mostly due to being out of work since October.   I'm enjoying the peace and quiet, and the fact that I don't have to tidy up after him.  Why do men make such a mess? 

I won't say much about his new job, which he started on Saturday, because I don't want to jinx it.  So you can all keep your fingers crossed until I let you know otherwise.

Now...two people that I really really miss are my adorable grandsons Billy and Jimi.  My daughter's laptop is on the blink and the webcam has been out of action for weeks so I haven't "seen" them.  Thank goodness I get regular photos, and I'll share some with you:

Billy loves cooking

The next Jamie Oliver?
Jimi loves eating!

On his feet already and he's only 9 months old

Such a happy little boy

Brotherly love

Friday, 27 January 2012

Beki's new bed

After much faffing around and because of my non-techy brain, I have at last managed to work out how to take a photo with my phone and upload it to my notepad.

OK the photos aren't particularly good quality, but as my camera isn't working, this solution is better than nothing.

My lovely Beki, who is now around 10 years old, suffers with arthritis in her back and hind legs  (hmm I know how she feels).  As those of us who are inflicted with this condition know, it's much worse in winter when it's cold and damp.

We found yet another vet in Milas last week.  This one is definitely a keeper and I wish I had discovered him before Poppy had her op a couple of months ago.  This new vet has a surgery which is clean and well stocked, together with a shop that has everything a dog could need.  And a bonus is that he speaks good English and is very knowledgeable.

I spent some considerable time last week discussing my dogs with him and he suggested various treatments for Beki.  To start with he gave me a 10 day course of tablets which have helped considerably and Beki is no longer yelping quite so much when she tries to jump up.

We allow Beki to sleep on our bed in winter because it's warmer and gives her some comfort.  I know there are probably lots of people out there who don't approve of dogs sleeping on beds, but no dogs are part of our family and Mr A and I will allow them to do anything which makes them happy.

Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly difficult for Beki to jump up on the bed now so we decided we must get her a warm comfy bed.   The new vet ordered one for us and it arrived yesterday.  It's extremely hardwearing and excellent quality.  The vet only charged me 55 lira (less than 20 pounds) which is amazing as in the few places here that I've seen them they have cost far in excess of 100 lira.

Beki loves it...and as you can see from the photo..Poppy has taken rather a shine to it too!  In fact every time Beki gets out of the bed, Poppy jumps in.  Unfortunately Poppy does have a tendency to leap about a bit, which can be uncomfortable for Beki.  Poppy has put on loads of weight since her op and has outgrown her own little bed, so I think I may have to get a new one for her too.


Update on Mr A.   We had been waiting since Tuesday to hear about building work.  Yesterday afternoon he received a call from Istanbul to start work in a carpet centre there immediately.  I could scream...if only he had stayed there on Monday instead of returning home, we could have saved the expense of him having to go again.  So he flew to Istanbul last night.  Fingers crossed please that this is a real job and not another false hope.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Village People

I mentioned in my last post that Mr A had travelled up to Istanbul on Sunday to find work.  He planned to stay with a friend,  albeit that the room provided was cold and damp and no bigger than a cupboard..but he wasn't complaining.  He's stayed in far worse over the years.

Before he left he popped into the village shop to get me some cartons of milk.  They only had one but the shopkeeper knew Mr A was heading off to Istanbul, so he offered to get some more for me on Monday, to save me having to go into Milas.  I went down to the shop on Monday afternoon and sure enough my milk was waiting for me.  The man kindly offered to get me anything heavy that I needed from Milas while Mr A was away, to save me the trouble.

It got me thinking about the people in this village.  They do tend to be a bit nosy.  They always ask where you're going or where you've been if they happen to meet you on the lanes.  But they really are very helpful and genuinely care about my welfare.  They will share fruit from their gardens, meals they have cooked.  The woman next door often gives me one or two eggs that her hens have laid.  I reciprocate of course by sharing my homemade cakes, shortbread and lemon curd, and bring them sweets and biscuits back from England on my trips.

When I went over to Aydin to visit Gwen last week, I needed to get from the village to the main road to pick up the bus, but instead of having to catch the village dolmuş, one of  Mr A's friends from the teahouse gave me a lift in his car to the end of the village and waited to flag down the bus.  He and Mr A also collected me from the same place when I returned home.

Mehmet, who lives at the top of the hill behind our house always looks out for my post in the village when it arrives every week from Milas, and brings it up to the house for me.  He also proved to be very helpful when Mr A was rebuilding the garden wall, often spending hours helping him to shift heavy rocks and sand.

I won't forget how kind my neighbour Şevke was when I was in England for the birth of my second grandson. Mr A was looking after the dogs, but he was also working and didn't have time to cook food for them, so Şevke kindly boiled up several lots of chicken livers and pasta for them.  She's afraid of dogs so if her granddaughter was around she would come into the garden to feed them.  If not, our friend Mehmet would do it, and he also took responsibility for making sure they had fresh water.  He loves our dogs and always stops to talk to them through the gate when he's passing.

Mr A spent all of yesterday walking the streets of Istanbul looking for work.  Nothing.  While he was there he received a call about the possibility of another job in Kusadasi to start around 15th February.  It's another case of just " wait and see".  Mr A flew back home late last night and went out at 9.00am this morning, with a friend, to see about some building work going on in and around Bodrum.   He arrived home at 7.30pm...totally drenched...because the rain today has been relentless.  He will know within the next week if there's work for him on a building site between here and Bodrum.

In the meantime, here are a few pics of some of our lovely village people:


Our friend Mehmet
Bread in the shape of the star and crescent from the Turkish flag, made by one of the women from the village

One of Mr A's elderly friends in the teahouse

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Nothing is ever straightforward!

It's been an interesting few days.  I set off to stay with my friend Gwen in Aydin on Wednesday.  The bus journey should take just over two hours.  Unfortunately mine took a fair bit longer.  The road going through Bafa Lake is being widened and there is one stretch where only single file traffic can pass.  As a result the bus, along with lots of traffic came to a halt, and we were stuck there for nearly two hours.

One of the reasons for going this week was to keep Gwen company as her husband Suleyman had been planning to go to Bodrum on Wednesday, then from there up to Istanbul for a couple of days.  Suleyman went down with a nasty cold in Bodrum, so decided to delay his trip to Istanbul and return home to Aydin.  He passes the road to our village on his way to Aydin,  and he takes a different route which avoids Bafa, so he could have collected me.  He phoned Gwen to suggest this, but it was too late because at this time I was already stuck on the bus.  So he set off much later than I did, but arrived before me!

After being dosed up with cold remedies, Suleyman was feeling much better by Thursday and decided to go to Istanbul in the evening.  Gwen and I spent the day browsing the shops, and catching up with all our news.  We are a couple of chatterboxes, and I think Suleyman was quite please to get away on Thursday evening!

Now I'm back at home, and should be feeling relaxed..but not quite.   Mr A was due to start the job in Denizli on 7th February.  The past couple of weeks has seen us shopping for new clothes and shoes for him as his wardrobe had become quite depleted.   Yesterday he had a call from the Denizli carpet centre to say that his job has fallen through...apparently they do not have as many group bookings for February as they had anticipated, so don't need so many staff.

Mr A is sick to death of sitting around waiting for something to happen, so today he is travelling up to Istanbul, staying with a friend, and endeavouring to find a job.

Oh...and it's raining again...the house is leaking once more.... and I am coming down with Suleyman's cold.

Roll on summer!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I need a break...

...from the monotony of winter in this village.

I have just typed out a fairly long post and managed to delete it.  I have no idea how I did that but I'm not in the mood to re-do it.

It's really cold today. I woke up to -3 degrees and I'm reluctant to get out of my bed.   But I must because I need to escape this village for a while.

I'm heading off to Aydin today to stay with my friend Gwen for a few days.  Her husband has to go to Istanbul, so we thought we would have some female time...chatting, shopping, and just generally relaxing.

See you soon!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Just a flying visit....

....thank goodness.  FIL is only staying for one night.  He'll be gone in the morning.

Mr A phoned me from down on the land, where he spent the day helping his father.   He sounded anxious. He knows I'm not happy about the way his father spoke to me the last time he was here.  He was very nasty.  Of course Mr A didn't witness it because FIL only does it when Mr A isn't around.

I don't want Mr A to feel uncomfortable, or stuck in the middle, so I told him that I had prepared food.  I had made soup, börek, salad,cake and shortbread, and had left it all on the kitchen table, but that I was going to bed.  I said he could tell his father I wasn't well.  It's not actually a lie.  Winter plays havoc with my arthritis and osteoporosis, and I do get some relief by getting into bed with the electric blanket on.  "But you will come and say hello to him won't you? asked Mr A.    I said I would think about it.

I made up the second bed in the spare room.  As I mentioned recently, Mr A has been sleeping in there with the soba burning.  He loves the intense heat..but I can't stand it, so I've been sleeping in our bedroom.  So he and his FIL could share for one night.

Mr A arrived back at the house shortly before FIL and lit the soba.  Mr A told me that when FIL arrived at the house he offered him food.  FIL refused.  I knew he would.  He always does, but it's usually me doing the offering and he appears to take great pleasure in refusing. 

I could hear them outside in the garden so I forced myself to go out.   I said "Hello, how are you?".  He didn't look at me, but grunted "Fine".  There was a pause and he added "How are you?" through gritted teeth.  "I'm OK thanks although my arthritis is playing up so I'm keeping warm in bed".
"Everyone has arthritis"  replied FIL.   Oh, OK, well there's really no answer to that is there?

Mr A, who at this time was facing me, with his back to FIL, silently mouthed "Thankyou".

I returned to the comfort of my bed.   FIL went to bed at 7.30pm.  Mr A was not best pleased.  He likes to stay up late with his laptop in the spare room, with the hot soba, on which he brews up endless pots of tea.  No chance.  FIL settled himself in the warm room and switched off the light.

Mr A finally came to bed in our bedroom, but has kept me awake until now, complaining about how cold it is in here.  So he has now moved on to the sofabed in the sitting room, with several blankets and has the aircon heater blowing full blast.

Mr A is fast is are the dogs, curled up on my bed.   I am the only one wide awake at 2.40am, wondering why FIL decided to turn up unexpectedly without warning.  We still have no idea why.

He'll be leaving early in the morning.  I won't be getting up to wave him off or wish him a safe journey.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Mr A's adventures...continued

I haven't mentioned Mr A and his adventures much recently.  It's been a quiet winter so far and I've enjoyed the fact that he's been keeping out of mischief and causing me much less stress than usual.

He's worked hard on the garden since October.  It has cost quite a lot and he did originally lie to me about where the money came from.  He told me his father had sent it.  I wasn't too happy about this and frankly I didn't believe it.  By the time the work on the walls and fences were underway, he confessed.  I knew he would in his own time..he's not a very good liar.  He had earned the money himself during his last hamam job.  Instead of taking money weekly from the boss, he managed on very little and had the boss hang on to the rest until the job was finished.

I was rather pleased with him as he isn't generally very good with money, but I wasn't happy that he had lied about it.  His reason:  he reckoned that if he had told me, I would have insisted on using the money for other things.  He may be right.  I'm more cautious.  He was counting on the winter job in Istanbul and didn't worry about spending everything he had earned on the garden before the job started.

The winter job didn't materialise of course.  Mr A was so sure it would.  I, of course, don't believe anything until it actually happens.  So there we were with a beautiful garden, and no money coming in.  However, we have managed.  We always do.  Mr A sold one or two things, including his precious iPhone.

A few weeks ago he was approached by a carpet centre in Denizli (he still has many contacts in the carpet industry) and informed about the possibility of a job with them to start on 1st February.  He would then be transferred to their branch in Bodrum on 1st May for the summer season.  The salary they mentioned was pretty good and there is a possibility of being able to work for 10 months of the year.

He set off to Denizli on Wednesday...a bus journey of some 5 or 6 hours...had his interview and returned home.  He has been offered the job, albeit the starting date is around 7th February, not the 1st, and the salary is actually half of what was originally mentioned.  Turkish bosses always do this...just to get you there.  Then you are so desperate for work, they know you will accept less.

On Thursday we set off to Milas on the motorbike to do some shopping.  On our return,  we were stopped by traffic police who were checking the documents of every vehicle entering the village. I can hardly believe what happened.  Mr A produced his driving license but was informed that this didn't entitle him to drive a motorbike.  It would seem that one has to have a separate driving license for a motorbike.

I can't believe Mr A wasn't aware of this, but due to the shock on his face, he obviously wasn't.  I also can't believe that he has not faced this problem before, in all the years he has been driving motorbikes.  It's not something that would have crossed my mind, as I understand in the UK for example one can ride a motorbike on a normal driving license.

Anyway...there we were laden with shopping bags, waiting while the policeman filled out various forms, and after telling Mr A that he would have to take his motorbike test as soon as possible...they then  took the motorbike Milas.

Mr A asked how he could retrieve the motorbike and was informed that someone (anyone) with a motorbike license could collect it!  Mr A asked if they could hang on until he could find someone in the village with a license...and they said no.   So off went one of the police officers with the motorbike, and Mr A then found a friend in the village with a motorbike license who went with Mr A less than an hour later,  to Milas to collect the bike.  What a waste of time!

Mr A doesn't need the motorbike for the job in Denizli.  He had intended to catch the bus there in February and leave the bike at home.  So with this in mind yesterday, he sold the bike.  All's well that ends well because he managed to buy back his beloved iPhone from the shop where he sold it for the same price (after much haggling).  He also desperately needed new clothes for the new job, so these have been purchased, and we are left with sufficient funds to get us through the coming weeks until he gets his first salary.

We will then endeavour to save for a car. 

So this morning the sun was shining and we were both feeling quite content.   We were having a lie-in when the phone rang.  It was dear father-in-law.  We haven't heard much from him lately, other than some weeks ago he informed Mr A that he wouldn't be coming here anymore (yay!!)  He'd had enough of the travelling and mother-in-law was no longer enthusiastic about making the long journey.  He told Mr A that he could do what he liked with the land in the village, and because Mr A has no interest in it, nor the time to tend it when he's working, he (Mr A) said we might as well sell it.  FIL said that was fine.

Of course as most of you know I don't trust FIL as far as I can throw I don't believe a word of it.

Back to the phone call this morning.  It would seem that FIL is the village...on the land...NOW!  Having travelled overnight from Ankara.  He asked Mr A to bring tools from our shed down to him. "So is he coming to the house?  Is he staying here?" I asked Mr A.  "I have no idea" replied Mr A, who set off with the tools about two hours ago, and I have heard nothing from him since.

Something's going on.  FIL is playing games again.  I don't know what he's up to, but no doubt we'll find out soon.  

Watch this space.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A post devoted to Spam not THAT Spam.  Although the origin of the word spam in relation to unwanted email, blog comments, etc is indirectly linked to the tinned meat.

According to Wiki-answers:

"The history of calling inappropriate postings in great numbers 'Spam' is from a Monty Python skit (yes, it is very silly... see ) where a couple go into a restaurant, and the wife tries to get something other than Spam. In the background are a bunch of Vikings that sing the praises of Spam. Pretty soon the only thing you can hear in the skit is the word 'Spam'. That same idea would happen to the Internet if large scale inappropriate postings were allowed. You couldn't pick the real postings out from the Spam.
Spam is useless, therefore it is called spam"

That Monty Python sketch is one of my particular favourites.

I get very irritated with Blogger these days because it is becoming increasingly difficult to find solutions to problems such as commenting on other blogs...or even not being able to access certain has happened to me today.

However,their Spam filtering system is working perfectly.  And isn't that a relief?  Today I checked my Spam box and I had 47 comments to delete.  A lot of them are just gobbledegook, some are trying to direct me to links selling anything from viagra to handbags.  A few are downright pornographic....I'm not easily shocked but I have been pretty disgusted by some of them.  Others are in what appears to be Russian.   I've lost count of the number of comments containing lengthy paragraph upon paragraph on how to unlock my iPhone...pity I don't have an iPhone or I'm sure I would find the following instructions most useful:

"Systems for Unlock Iphone 4 you have g Anyone who has an apple iphone really should are generally shown for your needs and they also have to have unlock iPhone 4 gr ideas, commonly in connection with amazing software which is certainly all at once safe.Nevertheless, it may be very annoying as a way to open ones own my partner and i cell phone if you refuse to find very good brand-new iphone removing the fastener on utility.Web site in commercials everywhere you look, still, minus selected realizing in the market, truly stuck, consequently several options many massive revenue on the subject of next to nothing"

........clear as mud isn't it?   And what's this all about:

"There are some attention-grabbing deadlines on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There’s some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further.  Added to FeedBurner as properly"

So to all you Anonymous Spammers out there:  Rest assured that Blogger are doing their job.  Make the most of  the spam I've quoted  in this post, but don't get too excited because none of them will ever appear in my Comments box.  They are mostly irritating...but sometimes they make me laugh.

It's good to share

I'm very pleased to have received this award from Kelloggsville  because she thought that my blog, amongst others, was a good read. Thankyou very much's much appreciated.

This award is being passed around the blogosphere so that we can discover other blogs that we may not have noticed particular .those that have less than 200 followers. I have to choose 5 blogs to receive this award and the following are just a few of the many blogs that I enjoy.

Those receiving the award should feel no obligation to pass it on, but please post the award on your sidebar.  Should you wish to give this award to 5 of your favourite blogs, then please do a post, linking back to the person who gave it to you, and inform the people whose blogs you have chosen.

My choice of 5 are all very different types of blogs...have a look and you may find something to your taste.  It's a great idea to share links from time to time, and I hope it increases your readership.

A Seasonal Cook in Turkey

A Year Down the Line (Well 4 years now)

Costa Rica Calling

Moving On

Perpetually in Transit

PS.   Blogger's messing me about again and I am having trouble either accessing or leaving comments (or both) on the above blogs, with the exception of one.  So I'm hoping those who were chosen will pop by and collect their award....sorry!

Monday, 9 January 2012

A brilliant new book

I have just finished reading the first book by author Jack Scott, one of my blogging friends.   I've been following Jack's blog perkingthepansies for some time now, and it's one I look forward to every day.  It's a very popular blog and Jack now has thousands of followers from all over the world.

He writes so well, that it was inevitable a book would follow, and with much encouragement from his followers Perking the Pansies, the book, was published before Christmas, and is proving a success already.

I kind of expected the book to be much like the blog.  In a way it is, but it is so much more.  It's funny of course, but it is incredibly moving too.   On reaching the last page, it leaves you wanting more, and I have it on good authority from Jack that he is indeed thinking about the next installment.  I can't wait.

You can read more about the book here

Well done Jack.  Here's to your continued success.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Surviving winter weather

The weather here for the last two days has been atrocious.  Gale force winds, storms, torrential rain.

It's pretty much typical for January, but being stuck at the top of the hill in this remote village makes us feel very isolated.

I'm content to stay in bed to keep warm and dry, but Mr A is like a caged animal.  He can't cope with being inside the house for too long.   So most days he will brave the elements and slide down the hill on his motorbike and spend a couple of hours in the village teahouse.  Otherwise he will make a mad dash for his beloved shed and cut up wood or drill things...I have no idea what he is drilling but it keeps him occupied.

The dogs are extremely reluctant to set foot outside and Mr A has been forced to carry them out one by one and insist they go to the toilet.

In readiness for the rain this winter, Mr A spent a considerable amount of time sealing up all the leaks in walls and window frames...or so he thought.  It hasn't worked.  Thank goodness we have lots of towels left over from the hamam business as these are being put to good use, stacked up around the skirting boards and underneath windows to mop up the water.

The wind has been blowing full force in one direction bringing the rain with it, resulting in water pouring in one end of the sitting room.  We have had to move the furniture to the other end and take up the rugs.  The fitted carpet is now drenched.  It's spreading and every couple of hours we move the furniture further away from it.

The bedroom window is leaking and we have towels on the window sill and the floor to soak up the water.   Two of the kitchen windows are also leaking.  It's  worse than last year.  If we hadn't recently had the roof built over the balcony, it would be far worse...we may have had to relocate to Mr A's shed by now.

There is one room that is habitable...the spare bedroom.  We have moved the soba (wood burning stove) in there and although this room is prone to damp walls, having the soba lit day and night has helped to prevent this.  It's cosy...up to a point...but after a while it's far too hot for me.  Mr A like most Turks, loves hot rooms, and so do the dogs.   So the three of them are sleeping in there and I am back in the bedroom listening to the drip, drip, drip of water coming through the window frame.

There will be a lot of work to be done before next winter to make sure that this house is really waterproof, but in the meantime we will just sit it out for now.  

As usual, when Spring arrives, and the sun is shining...all this will be a distant memory..

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Getting back to normal

I returned late last night from a week in England, visiting my daughter and grandsons.  My flight was due to depart at 11.40am.  As my brother had to be at work and also needed to avoid the rush hour traffic on the M4, he dropped me off at Heathrow at 7.20am.   There's nothing worse than hanging around airports when you really just want to get going....made worse by the fact that the flight was then delayed by an hour.  This resulted in a mad dash at Istanbul airport to get my connecting flight to Bodrum.

Mr A had hoped to borrow a car to collect me but unfortunately was unable to do so, resulting in squashing me and my luggage on the motorbike.  Boy was I glad to get home  and climb into bed with the electric blanket on.

I am usually quite organised with my English shopping list but this time I got it completely wrong.  I was overloaded with chewsticks and treats for the dogs, but completely forgot to get filter coffee or chocolate. I can just about do without the chocolate but I'm not sure about the coffee.  It will be at least another three months before I can stock up again.

Mr A is waiting to hear about a job to start on 1st February.  It's back to selling carpets again which he is happy about.  It means he will be away for a while but frankly, after having him under my feet for almost three months, I'll be glad of the break from him!

I've missed reading all your blogs for the past week and once I've waded through the washing and ironing and re-stocked the fridge and food cupboards (Mr A compulsively eats while I'm away!) I'll find some time to catch up.

I also find that if I don't blog for a while, I can't seem to find anything to write about...hence this post which is already making my eyes glaze over.  Hopefully I'll be back to normal soon.

In the meantime I'd like you all to tell me what inspires you to write a blog post.  Do you search for topics?  Does something just pop into your head giving you a perfect subject for a post?  Where do your ideas generally come from?   And do you, like me, occasionally find yourself with a blank mind?