Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Chicken house

Mr A has been busy for the past few days making a house for the chickens using old scraps.  We love recycling materials.

Placed against the old house at the top of garden


Note the two nesting baskets and in the middle a sleeping area and perch
Now all we need are the chickens to go in this space.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Dursune's chickens are beautiful.  The best kept chickens in this village.  I admire them greatly and we have decided to  get some of our own.

Note our old washing machine. Still in Dursune's garden!

Yesterday, Mr A helped Dursune to build a new chicken house in her yard.  The old one had collapsed because she just didn't have the strength to make it secure enough. 

Daily visits from one of Dursune's chickens

Most of her chickens are happy in the new house now, but there is one who prefers to be outside day and night.  She makes several trips into our garden and is very tame.  Poppy barks at her but she just ignores it and continues to forage for tasty morsels in the soil.

Excuse my appearance...just out of bed!

Dursune came round for coffee early this morning, and we had a long discussion about chickens.  Her advice is invaluable, and today Mr A has set about making our own chicken house in the garden. 

When it's complete, we will buy some chickens from Milas.

I'd still like a donkey and a watch this space!

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sharing too much?

I had the following comment on my previous post from an Anonymous follower, although she signed  herself "Ione:

I've read your blog often but have not commented, as much as I can remember. I love reading about your living in a different country and how you adjust. But I must admit, I don't understand why you are with Mr. A. He doesn't seem to add that much to the relationship. He is often gone, leaving you alone in a strange country and is not very nice to you when his family is visiting. And his family is atrocious. Also, I have wondered if you could live much better with more financial security if you were back home, living closer to your grandchildren. I hope you don't mind my saying this, but you did put "it" out there, you feelings of dissatisfaction. I don't mean to be a mean troll. Just wondering why you remain? Ione"
and this was my response:
"Anonymous/lone. Welcome to my blog, and of course I don't mind you expressing your opinion. I always welcome honesty. To try and answer your questions. I am with Mr A because I love him.I am the kind of person who accepts that no person or relationship is perfect. It also has to be understood that life is very different in this country. Wives are very used to being alone for months on end because their husbands have to go wherever they can find work. Yes I am often alone, it's true, but after 15 years living here it is no longer a "strange country". It's my home. I certainly would not be more financially secure living back in England that's for sure. The cost of living here is much lower, and it's easier to live well on less money. I have no property in England, I receive my pension, and if I moved back to the UK I would be one of the many having to rely on benefits to live. I prefer to be self-sufficient here to be honest.

Yes Mr A's parents are awful, and I hate it when they visit. Mr A, like most if not all Turkish men, will behave differently when his parents are here. But I think most people behave differently when in the company of their parents don't they? It doesn't last. If it did I am sure Mr A and I would have given up years ago. For all his faults, he is a kind and loving man with a good heart.

So when you ask why I remain, I hope I have explained. I stay because the positives far outweight the negatives."
I went back and re-read the comment because I have to admit it bothered me.  I wondered why someone would say something like "I don't understand why you are with Mr. A. He doesn't seem to add that much to the relationship", or why they wondered if I wouldn't be better off financially living back in England close to my grandchildren.
I felt at first that it was a little judgmental and how could they possibly know what Mr A adds to the relationship, or whether I would be better off in England.  After all, this person doesn't know me...or maybe they do?  How would I know if it's someone I know when they post anonymously?
Another thought crossed my mind.  Perhaps I share too much information about my life on this blog.  Although I'm pretty sure I don't disclose enough for anyone to make the above assumptions.  But nevertheless, it got me thinking about what I do write.
I write a lot about my feelings.  I have often mentioned that I find it therapeutic.  I also appreciate the interaction between me and my followers.  Mostly you all seem to be fairly like-minded people.  Sympathetic, empathetic, with a good sense of humour, and often with trials and tribulations of your own which you share on your blogs.   I guess I gravitate towards those who blog about their lives...the good times, the bad and the interesting.  We seem to have built up a kind of support network for each other, and some really good least that's how I feel.
So I would like to thank "Ione" for her comment which has given me food for thought and I'd like your views on whether you think we sometimes share too much about ourselves on our blogs?  If we do, does it matter?  Should we be bothered by the assumptions others make because of it? 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


It was late morning on Saturday.  Mr A was on his way back from Milas, and I was pottering around in the kitchen.  Poppy was outside barking furiously at the gate, which usually means there's someone there.  I popped out to have a look, and lo and behold...the in-laws.

They haven't been to visit for a year now...thank goodness.  In fact Mr A had said that they wouldn't be coming again as they have undertaken another retirement project.   My brother-in-law Yakup has a house in the countryside, nearer Ankara, which FIL gave him.  It has a lot of land, so FIL is building a house there for him and MIL  Naturally I am pleased about this because it means I no longer have to put up with FIL's hateful comments (always when Mr A is out of earshot).

I have also learned that although MIL is always very sweet to me, she often encourages FIL's attitude towards me.  I can't stand people who are two-faced.  At least FIL is honest in how he feels about me.

Unfortunately, earlier that morning, Mr A and I had had a huge row.  We hadn't had chance to resolve things, so weren't talking.   Don't you just hate it when people turn up when you're in that situation, and even though you are seething, you feel the need to put on a brave face?

So there they are...turning up unannounced.  All the way from Ankara.  How hard is it to make a phone call to say they're coming?  Of course I should be used to this.  It isn't the first time it has happened.  I used to think it must be a cultural thing.  It's's just bloody rude.

They walked through the gate and I welcomed them with a smile (through gritted teeth).  Mr A returned and they sat outside.  Mr A asked me to make tea.  That annoyed me.  Of course I was about to do so, but because we weren't exactly on good terms, I resented him telling me what to do.  I served tea and sat with them, but was totally ignored and excluded from the conversation. 

Apparently they had come to collect household items that they had stored in the old house, so the three of them set about removing them and carrying down to FIL's truck down the hill.  In the meantime, I made a large pot of cauliflower soup.  I had very little food in the fridge as we were about to go shopping.  A couple of hours later, Mr A came into the house and asked me what I had prepared for lunch.  He saw the soup and said "Is that all?"   My response was that if people turn up out of the blue, I can hardly be expected to produce a 3 course meal.

There was some cooked chicken in the fridge so I sliced that.  Also some salami, which we don't particularly like, but Poppy does.  So I added that to the chicken with some tomatoes, and bread.  They only ate the soup anyway and didn't touch the meat.

Mr A insisted they stay the night.  I made up the beds and they went to bed early.

They were up at the crack of dawn on Sunday and ready to go.  I offered them breakfast but they declined.  I said goodbye and they left, with Mr A following on the motorbike.  I assumed he was going into the village to get bread.   More than an hour passed.  I phoned Mr A to ask if he was bringing bread for breakfast.   He said he and his parents were down on the land doing some work.  I asked if he wanted breakfast.  No, he had already eaten breakfast with his parents, as they had brought food with them.   Excluded again...I think I get the message.

I have never known such rudeness from anyone.  And I am still not best pleased with Mr A for appearing on this occasion to collude with them.

Sometimes I wonder why I'm here.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Leave well alone!

All I wanted to do was to change the photo at the top of my blog.

I did that without any problem, and should have left well alone.  But then I decided that the font for the blog title should be changed...and that's when the problems started.

Don't ask me how I did it, but two or more hours ago my sidebar disappeared.  I searched for all the stuff posted on the sidebar and eventually found it all at the bottom of the page.

In the meantime I somehow managed to reduce the font size and the background.

Eventually I clicked and dragged all the stuff from the bottom of the page back onto the sidebar...every link and by one.   I'm surprised my mouse hasn't died in the process.

I returned to the template advanced settings and tried to change the font size again....can't do it!  And now my brain hurts.  My eyes hurt too because I'm squinting to read the ridiculously small font size.

So if anyone else is also squinting, I apologise but at this point in time I haven't a clue what I'm doing, so I'd best leave it as it is before I end up deleting the whole blog.

Edited to add I gave it one more shot and have managed to increase the font size...but can't change the colour.  Now I am definitely going to leave well alone!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

And what's Mr A doing these days? might well ask.

Not a lot.  He has been out of work since 30th September, when there were no longer any customers at the hotel hamam in Yalikavak.  A few days later, just before Kurban Bayram, his elderly grandfather died and he made the long journey to Ankara for the funeral, which because of bayram, took place a day later than would normally have happened.

Since then, he has been looking for work, but we all know how difficult it is to find anything at this time of year. 

There are things he should be doing at home, like re-sealing gaps where the rain gets in, and various other DIY jobs on my list...yes I have a gets longer by the day.  However, he doesn't seem to be able to muster up any kind of enthusiasm, so I've given up  nagging reminding him.

He did go for an interview a couple of weeks ago at a 5 star hotel in Bodrum.  They need someone with good English to work in their reservations department.  It's an all-year job, and not only did he know the general manager there, but his father worked for the hotel temporarily some years ago.   A case of "it's not what you know but who you know".  The job comes with personnel accommodation and food, as is usual with hotel work.

They have offered him the position to start on 27th November.  I'm keeping fingers and everything crossed that this one works out, and that he sticks with it.   

In the meantime, because we need to budget, he has  sold the car and bought a motorbike.  Petrol is just so expensive here, and we have to make cuts wherever necessary.  He's not too unhappy about this, because he has always preferred motorbikes to cars.  It's a comfortable bike, similar to the last one we had, which is fine for me...although I won't be on it much during the winter months.

It will be more economical for him while I'm in England next month, because he will finish work around 5pm, and instead of staying at the hotel, he will  come home to take care of Poppy.

With this in mind we have bought a lovely sturdy plastic dog house for her which will be on the balcony.  She will be outside every day while Mr A is at work, and although the balcony is covered, this will give her additional shelter from wind and rain.  At the moment she has no interest in it.  She refuses to set foot inside, but hopefully she will overcome her fear within the next few weeks before I go.

The weather here is still lovely for this time of year.  Glorious sunshine every day and it's great being able to sit outside.  It's saving on heating costs too.  Although the temperature drops at night so I may have to think about switching the electric blanket soon.

I'm getting excited about my trip next month and looking forward to Christmas with my family.

The Christmas ads are appearing on UK TV already..some good...others irritating.  I absolutely love this John Lewis ad.  I know it's silly but it makes me cry!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Expat Blogs Contest

The winner and runners-up of this contest were announced  last night, and you can read the winning entry HERE

It's an excellent piece and full of really good advice to anyone who is thinking of moving to another country.

The contest itself turned out to be not quite what I had expected.  but I'm glad I was brave enough to enter.  As most of you will know by now I'm not a competitive person, so for me to even think about entering something like this is a bit out of character...done literally on the spur of the moment, almost at the last minute befure I had chance to change my mind!

(And if I'm totally honest, the prize money was an incentive!)

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a massive thankyou to those of you who took the trouble to leave such lovely, encouraging comments on my entry.....words that mean so much more to me than winning.

Congratulations to the winner and runners-up..very well done.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A mark of respect

At 9.05am today, Turkey will stand still to remember the death 74 years ago of one of the greatest men who ever lived.

Ataturk is mourned as much today as he was then. 

You can read more about Ataturk on my friend Burak Sansal's website HERE.

In fact, there's not much that Burak does not know about Turkey, and his site is always a useful point of reference for me. 

In remembrance of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Are we there yet?

What I really mean, is winter here yet?  It ought to be by now, but it's still too warm.

Temperatures are still up in the mid 20s, sometimes a little higher, and I'm still wearing my summer clothes.  OK I do try to fit in with the locals, who, as soon as September has gone, start wearing their jumpers and jackets.  I put a cardigan on the other day to go into Milas, but was sweating buckets by the time I got there.

The Turks do behave as if it's winter.  Some villagers are lighting their sobas, because I can see smoke wafting out of chimneys.  The village shop has stopped selling icecream (they say here that you shouldn't eat it in winter because it will make you ill).  The dolmus windows are firmly shut (because a draft will make you ill), even though it is stifling with the sun shining on the windows.  Not to mention quite smelly, because no-one showers much in winter (in case it makes you ill).

I put the quilt on the bed some weeks ago, because it should be colder at night, but end up kicking it off after a couple of hours.  Sometimes when I'm unable to sleep I get up in the early hours and sit out on the my winter dressing-gown..which is too warm, but protects me a little from the mosquitoes...yes there are still plenty of them buzzing about..they really should have hibernated or died, or whatever they do, by now.

We did have a storm last night and more rain than we have had recently.  Maybe this is a sign that winter is here.   But no.  It's another warm morning and at 7.00am I'm on the balcony in my summer pyjamas, and the sun is trying to break through the clouds.

It doesn't look like the winter clothes will be needed until I go to England on 6th December.  And judging by the weather forecast there, they will be put to good use.

(By the way, the recent interview I gave to Expat Blogs has been published, if you would like to have a look here)

Monday, 5 November 2012


I've had this conversation many times with people in my age group.  This thing about memory and the way in which we can recall incidents from many years ago, but can't remember something that happened yesterday.

When I was in Milas recently, collecting medication from the eczane, I looked at one of  boxes at the name of the drug, and instantly remembered that it was marketed by a pharmaceutical company that I worked for more than 35 years ago.

Sitting on the bus I let my mind wander back to that time, recalling the name of the company.  I had many jobs during those times and only worked for this particular company on a temporary basis for about three months.  Not only did I remember the name of the company, but also the full names of the two pharmacists I worked for and the other secretary whose office I shared.  I can clearly recall the way they dressed, the hairstyles, how they preferred their coffee.  I even remember one of them saying that her favourite breakfast was grilled tomatoes on toast.

I am amazed that I can recall so much detail from so long ago, but so little from some recent events.  It's almost like the older we get, the more the memory plays tricks on us.

I was then reminded of being asked many years ago what my very first memory was.   This one is still very clear in my mind.  I was just over a year old (I later verified this with my mother).   It was a sunday and my mother had cooked a roast dinner.  My dad had gone to the local pub for a few drinks and had been told what time to be home for his meal.  He was late...very late...and slightly worse for wear.

My mother was furious and when he walked through the door, she threw the plate of food at him.  He ducked and it hit the wall.  I was playing on the floor and can still remember peas rolling under the chairs.

What was your first ever memory?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Writing contest

I recently told you about being nominated for an award by Expat Blogs.  And some of you  have left comments on the page at the Expat Blogs website. 

I am overwhelmed by the lovely comments you wrote and I want to thank you all very much for taking the time to do this.  It is really appreciated.

Being a little bored this week, and with plenty of time on my hands, I  did an interview with them and this will be appearing sometime this week.

They are also running a contest four times a year, and the first one had a closing date of 31st October.  I decided to enter, as have many others from all over the world.

I don't expect to win, but it's helping to keep my brain cells ticking over.  As they say...use it or lose it!

The entries will be judged this week, and we have been encouraged to share our contributions on Facebook, Twitter and our blogs.

This is the link to my entry:
if you would like to read it.  Apparently it will also help with the judging if people leave comments after the entry.  So if you feel inclined to do so, I will of course be very grateful.

Thankyou xxx

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Ants in November?

What's that all about?   They should be long gone by now.

Surprisingly, there weren't so many ants in the house this summer...far less than usual.  It seems that they were just hiding and waiting, and when the sun came out did the ants.

Yesterday I made a chocolate cake and put it in an airtight cake box on a side table in the kitchen.  Next to it was an airtight tin full of biscuits.  I opened the cake box half an hour ago and there were these tiny ants crawling all over the cake.  I checked the biscuit tin and found the same.

I suppose I could have brushed them off and kept the cake and biscuits, but I just didn't fancy them, so they went in the bin.  What a waste.

So I have been all over the kitchen with the ant spray and hope that they have disappeared.  I never thought I'd say it, but roll on colder weather so we can say goodbye and good riddance to creepy crawlies for a few months.

Thursday, 1 November 2012


Hope those of you who celebrate it had an enjoyable Halloween.

Here are two little boys who had a lot of fun:

Billy the Pumpkin


Jimi the Skeleton

I miss my two gorgeous boys...only 5 weeks until I see them again