Thursday, 30 January 2014

What do I write about....

...when nothing much is happening?   Sometimes I think I could go for weeks without doing a post, but the longer I leave it, the more difficult it is to write. Do you ever feel like this?

I guess it's this time of year.  The rain doesn't help.   It finally stopped today and the sun came out.  Mr A hasn't worked since last week and was hoping to be back today, but the man he is working for phoned to say that they can't continue at the moment because the ground where the wall is being built is so waterlogged, it will be a few days more before anything else can be done.

Yesterday afternoon, and all day today, Mr A has continued building the drystone wall at the back of our house, which surrounds the dog area.  Although it's muddy, it's on a slope so not impossible to do.    It seems to be taking forever to complete, and the dogs have been unable to use it for a couple of months now.  He has had to do it in stages, fitting it in with weather and other work, and when we can afford to buy more cement and sand.

He is running out of stone now and yesterday asked a man he knew in the village with a tractor if he could bring from somewhere else.  The man wanted 120 lira to do this, so he decided against it, and is now climbing up the steep hill behind the house, breaking up huge rocks, and transporting them down in his wheelbarrow.  It's hard work, but I keep telling him the exercise is good for him!

We are continuing to feed the dogs on the industrial estate.   There are fewer dogs in the village at the moment, but these are being fed in the evening.  (You can see my daily updates on the page at the top of the blog).

The weather today enabled me to catch up on a pile of washing, including all the dogs' blankets and towels.  I was also in the mood for cooking, so made a huge pot of mercimek (lentil) soup, chicken and broccoli in cheese sauce, and a casserole with chicken, tomatoes and chickpeas.  

I challenge myself every week to see how many meals I can make from one chicken.   I boil the whole chicken and use half of the stock for the soup and half goes into pasta for the dogs.   We had a roast dinner  yesterday, cold chicken with bubble-n-squeak today, and the two meals I mentioned above with the remainder of the chicken.   Oh...and the chicken bones are given to the street cats.  Nothing is wasted and a chicken, together with vegetables, chickpeas or beans, can last us almost a week.  It's a good job we like chicken!  

Today is the first day I have felt a little less lethargic, and I am determined to shake myself up  and get out and about a bit more than I have lately....maybe then I'll have something more interesting to write about!





Monday, 27 January 2014

Easy come...easy go

Today is the third day Mr A has been unable to work with the builder because of the rain.  

This morning he set of alone to the industrial estate to feed the dogs. It had stopped raining and we decided I should stay at home just in case the builder phoned to tell him work was on for today, and he could go straight there and not have to bring me home.

As some dogs disappear, more arrive to take their place (see my daily update on "Street Dog Feeding and Treatments" at the top of the page).

The roads in the village are gradually being repaired, but although we were told that our stretch of road was not going to be done, it seems that due to Mr A's constant protests and nagging the Muhtar, it will be done...eventually.  No idea when.  In the meantime it continues to cause damage to our car.

When Mr A reached the outskirts of the industrial estate this morning it was clear that there was damage to one of the wheels.   Fortunately, the man who did the previous repairs was in his unit and towed the car there.   A new part has to be purchased and then the wheel fixed.  He is not charging for his labour, but it will still cost 120 lira.  

Mr A is owed 90 lira from his previous job, less 5 lira for the transport which equals 85 lira.   The current boss owes him for 2 days work so far (100 lira), although he is unlikely to get this yet.   As usual we are paying out before it's coming in.

Easy come, easy go?    Certainly it goes out far quicker than it comes in!

Edited to add:  It's that time of year for moaning...and I really need to find something cheerful to write about....bear with me!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Changing jobs

These building or labouring jobs for Mr A come and go so quickly it's difficult to keep up.  After the building job that lasted two days, for which he was eventually paid (thank goodness), I told you about the job up in the hills.  Clearing trees and burning wood.  He worked along with 14 other men on Monday and Tuesday.  It rained on Wednesday, so there was no work.

Mr A was in the teahouse on Wednesday evening and was informed by some of the other workers that this job had finished.   Apparently it was being done illegally (I have no idea what this means), but as usual Mr A and the other men are all owed 2 days pay, which has been promised for Monday...we'll see!

Not to be deterred Mr A asked around and was given the phone number of a builder who works in the areas between here and Bodrum.  He phoned him and was told to turn up yesterday morning to help build a wall about 3km from the industrial estate.   He will be paid 50 lira a day (the exchange rate today is 3.83 to the pound...so this is about £13).  He worked yesterday and today, and hopefully (fingers and everything else crossed) this will continue for a bit longer.  It seems a little more promising as the man actually gave Mr A some petrol money today, and he provides food.

He has also said that if Mr A finds any other work in the area that they can do together, then they will split the profit 50/50.  So we are a little more optimistic. 

The one advantage with this work is that all this physical exertion is making Mr A feel a lot healthier, which is good.

The weather yesterday and today has been lovely, with temperatures around 19 degrees, so I have been cleaning out the dog house and washing their blankets.  Making the most of the sunshine as rain is forecast tomorrow and the coming week.  

We are continuing with our street dog feeding programme, and undertook quite a large task yesterday.   You can keep up to date with this by clicking on the "Street Dog Feeding and Treatments" at the top of the page.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Rain, Hairdressers and the cost of living

Rain today meant there was no work for Mr A.  There are 15 men in total being collected from this and another village to make the steep climb up into the hills for this hard labour.  I mentioned previously that they are being paid 45 lira a day.  It is normal practise here to provide transport for this type of work.  Mr A tells me that each man is having to pay 2.5 lira each day for the transport, which will be deducted from their wages.  It is also usual to provide food but in this case nothing is provided, not even water.

As a result all the men feel exploited, and are not pushing themselves to work as hard as they should.  This means of course that the job will take much longer, and they will be paid for a longer period...false economy!

We took advantage of the fact that we didn't have to make such an early start to go out to the industrial estate this morning, so left here at 8.30am.   We fed a total of 19 dogs, and also gave the immune booster again to 7 puppies.  It was also nice to be able to spend a little more time with them in daylight and see how much they enjoy some human interaction.  They know our car now and come bounding towards us when we arrive.

We then drove into Milas to collect two more 15kg sacks of dogfood, and I decided to indulge myself in a little pampering.   I've written several times before about hairdressers in Turkey.  It's difficult to find one who does exactly what you ask him to do, and if you do manage to get one they invariably up and leave and you have to start the search again.   Or the first haircut seems to be pretty good, but subsequent cuts leave a lot to be desired.  My last hairdresser in Milas was from our village.  First haircut OK, second one not so good, third one pretty bad.

I found another one months ago.  He is super, but I was reluctant to write about him after the first visit in case I jinxed it.   Today I had my third haircut with him, and he is fantastic.  It is actually the cleanest, most modern salon in Milas and I would have expected to pay considerably more than usual, but this is not the case.   I had my hair washed, then cut, then dried and checked for odd bits to be trimmed, washed again and blow dried.  It was perfect.   I then had my eyebrows shaped...waxed, cottoned, plucked and trimmed to perfection, and also a top lip wax.  The total for all this was just 27 lira (by today's exchange rate approximately £7.50).   Unbelievable isn't it?

Which brings me to the cost of living here....at the moment.  The Turkish lira is weak.  Today the pound will buy 3.7 lira.  I am told this is unlikely to change until after the elections.   Although prices have started to rise, we seem to be in a situation where some businesses haven't managed to keep up.  Hence the price charged by the hairdresser this morning.  The sacks of dogfood have increased by 5 lira for 15kg...not in my opinion a significant increase, I'm pleased to say.   Many other everyday items don't seem to have been increased in price.  Although for some reason potatoes are ridiculously expensive here right now.

This cannot last, so it's a case of making the most of our lira going further  while we can, because you can be sure that when it eventually grows stronger, prices will not come down accordingly!



Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Work and another busy day

Mr A has some work at the moment...thank goodness.   It is labouring work up high in the hills, clearing areas and burning wood.   He started yesterday and will work every day, weather permitting.  If it rains or is too windy there will be no work.  Even if they work half a day and the weather changes, they will stop, but WON'T be paid for work done that day.   It's not fair is it?  But that's the way it goes.

He and 7 other men from the village are collected at 7.15 am and returned to the village around 6pm.  They are to be paid weekly, at 45 lira a day.  This is around £12.  Not much, but people are so grateful for any work they can find during the winter.   No food or drinks are provided, not even water, so they have to take a packed lunch and water with them'

He is still owed 60 lira from the previous job, but yesterday was so busy that he didn't have time to collect it.

We fed the industrial estate and village dogs at 6am yesterday.  When Mr A arrived home at 6pm we set off to Milas to do some food shopping and to see Mehmet the vet.  We had a long discussion about how to keep all these dogs as healthy as possible.   The pups are the priority.  We have come to the conclusion that we cannot vaccinate all these dogs.  It's an impossible task, so we are going down the prevention route.  It we can boost their immune systems, they are much less likely to get sick.   In this respect, we have bought some special paste to add to their food which will boost their immune systems and also some syrup which kills all parasites and is also an immune booster.

We treated ourselves to pide as it was getting late and we were hungry.  This is still such good value for money.  We had a pide each, with a large salad, cola and water and the bill was 13.5 lira (approx. £3.50!).  Then on to the supermarket for shopping, finally getting home at 9pm.

The puppies in particular need this treatment urgently, so this morning we set off again before 6am.  It's difficult to administer these treatments to all the dogs when it's dark, but with Mr A working we have to go when we can.   I was up at 5am to feed our dogs, and to prepare portions of food containing the paste and syrup.  

These prepared portions were given to the 2 black pups living in the oil drum, three 3 female pups who have the kennel, 1 larger black pup, and also to the brown mum and pup.  We are delighted to see that the mum and pup are now sharing the kennel with the other 3 girls and all getting along well.

There were a few more dogs there this morning.   We fed a total of 26 dogs today.   This container
holds around 7 or 8 kilos, half a sack, and this is now  empty.  Any village dogs will be fed this evening.

We will give the paste and syrup to all the other dogs on a day when the weather is bad and Mr A is unable to work, so that we have daylight to see what we're doing.


Dog food, portions containing treatments, and some of the paste and syrup

Another  busy, but very satisfying day.



Monday, 20 January 2014

A few more paintings

Following on from my previous post about my brother's love of painting, I told him I had posted about his talent, and although he was embarrassed he doesn't mind my showing them to you.  So here are a few more:

Corfu

Corfu

South Shields

Wales

Wales

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sunday

Mr A and I were up early this morning and set off to the industrial estate with a large container of dog food and a supply of worm tablets.

We fed 21 dogs today, including 7 puppies.  It's important to worm  puppies to prevent all sorts of problems.  We gave the first dose to the pups and will give the second dose in 10 days time.   One pup gave us the run-around and was determined not to be caught, but we persevered and finally cornered her.  

A wooden kennel has appeared since yesterday, and it seems that this is apparently for use by three puppies.  There were only a few men actually working today and we asked one of them where the kennel had come from, and apparently a carpenter on the estate made it for the puppies.  This act of kindness really restores my faith in human nature.  It is so rare to find someone taking the trouble to do something like this, so we will make a point of looking for the man tomorrow so that we can thank him.  Two little black puppies are still inside the large oil drum so maybe we can ask the carpenter to make another one for them.

Although, as I mentioned before, someone is leaving a container of food slops out, there was no sign of this today, and I doubt very much whether this is a regular occurrence, judging by how hungry all the dogs were today.

On returning to the village we fed four more dogs, and then we called in to see one of Mr A's friends.  This man used to be scared of dogs, but having visited us regularly has lost his fear and become friendly with our dogs.

He was recently working in a nearby village and picked up a puppy from the street and took him home, so we thought we would check to see how he is doing.   He is a lively little dog and is being well cared for, mainly due to advice given by Mr A .  I also gave this dog, called Pasha, his first worm tablet and will give the second in 10 days time.   After some discussion, Mr A's friend has agreed to take Pasha to our vet's for his vaccinations, and will have him neutered as soon as he is old enough.

This evening Mehmet, our vet, came out to visit.  He gave all our dogs a check-up, but in particular Sammy who has been limping for a couple of days.  It seems to be a sprain, nothing broken, so he was given an anti-inflammatory injection.  It could possibly be arthritis, which Megan also suffers from.  She has been on Glucosamine tablets for some time now, which seem to help, so Sammy will be having these too.  I also keep a supply of Rimadyl tablets but only use these for 7 days if Megan has a particularly bad limp.   Both Megan and Sammy are a little overweight (a big difference from when they first arrived!).   Although they eat the same amount as Freddie and Blondie, they don't run about quite so much and tend to be lazy, so we'll have to cut down their food and encourage them to exercise!

Blondie had a nasty cut in the soft pad behind her ankle (I'm sure there must be a name for this pad but I don't know what it is).  I have been treating this with an antibiotic spray that I had previously bought from Mehmet, and then putting a dressing and bandage on it.   However she keeps chewing this off, but Mehmet says it is healing nicely and he gave her an antibiotic injection just to make sure, and we will continue with the spray.

I was halfway through typing this post when Mehmet arrived, and just as he was leaving we told him about the dogs on the industrial estate.  He gave us some bad news.  Apparently, just before he passed the estate, a dog had been hit by a car on the main road.  He stopped to see if he could help but it was too late and the dog had died.  Someone told him it was from the industrial estate, and we think it may have been one of the puppies.  I guess we will find out tomorrow. Poor little thing.

He was pleased that we are feeding the street dogs, and we have said that we want to do as much as we can to keep them healthy. Obviously we would like to get them all vaccinated in time, but the most urgent one would be for Parvovirus, and we will be collecting enough vaccine from Mehmet this week to administer to about 30 dogs.   He will let us have this as cheaply as possible which will be a great help, and he is happy to wait for payment.   We are lucky to have such a good vet, and some lovely people who have donated to make all this possible.

You will notice a new page at the top of my blog "Street Dog Feeding and Treatments".  This is mainly for my benefit, to keep a daily record of dogs being fed and treatments being administered. It also means that you can see what we are doing, without my having to do so many posts like this one.

It's been a busy Sunday.  We are making progress, slowly but surely.  There's still a long way to go but I'm allowing myself to be a little more optimistic.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

And now for something completely different

"At last!"  I hear you say.  Does this woman do nothing else but talk about dogs!

I'm sorry that it has become rather an obsession of late and I'll try to stop boring you all with it.  I think by now you know what it's all about, so I will try to blog about other things as well from now on.

MY BROTHER THE ARTIST. 

Well, he is not a professional artist, but he has enjoyed painting for as long as I can remember, since his early teens.   One of his first jobs was with Sylvia and Gerry Anderson who made the Thunderbirds series (if any of you are old enough to remember!).  He was very young and inexperienced but he helped to design the sets for the TV series.  He has had a few other jobs since those days, mostly in silk-screen printing, and I can remember him designing football club pennants for one company.

All this is so long ago so I don't recall much of what he did during his working life, but I do know that his love of painting has been with him always.

He has never been particularly confident about his works of art, and reluctant to share them, which I think is a great shame, because I think they are good and I am very proud of him. 

Here are three paintings that he did recently, of scenes in Corfu, where he and his family have been holidaying for many years.

 
 
 
 
 


Update and Photos

I want to say a huge thankyou to those kind people who have donated to my dog feeding fund in response to my last post.  Three people have also set up regular monthly payments which has enabled me to budget for sacks of dog food, and it's a relief to know that I can now feed strays every day.  I am so grateful to all of you...bless you.

The village strays are coming and going.  This is a little worrying because although there still some around, others have completely disappeared.  Mr A has established through the grapevine that some of these may have been shot by farmers here, the others have been dumped elsewhere.

We heard that some of them may have been taken to the industrial estate out on the main road, so we set off early to see if this was the case.  We recognised one or two, but there are also many more dogs on the estate.  We have decided to travel out to the industrial estate every day now to feed the dogs there.  We have spoken to men working there who have promised to put out water for them.  To be honest, I feel they are safer there than in our village.   Someone has also been putting out slops in a container, which although doesn't look too appetizing, at least shows that someone cares enough to leave some food.

There are puppies amongst those we found.  Two are being looked after by one of the workers in a large oil drum to keep them safe.  We have promised food for them every day and we will also worm them.   Three more puppies were fed and we will also worm them on our next visit.

Because Milas Belediye is not being very helpful about the problem at the moment, and I doubt they will be until after the local elections, Mr A and I are planning to drive over to Mugla within the next week to talk to the Governor of the Province.  We are hoping to persuade him to put pressure on Milas Belediye to do something about these dogs...at least to implement the TNR (trap, neuter and release) programme, which they should be doing by law.   Although our village does not yet come under the control of Milas Belediye, the industrial estate does, so hopefully this may work.

We took lots of photos this morning as Mr A wants to show these to the Governor, but I thought I would share them here too:
















Mum and baby



This one has an ear clip which indicates it has been neutered, so either dumped by someone in Milas or came here by himself









2 pups being kept safe by in an oil drum by one young man. We will feed every day and worm them



3 more pups to be fed every day and we will worm them too  



Thankyou again to all those who have donated to make this possible. If anyone else would like to help, you will find the Paypal button at the top of my blog.   Every little helps, no matter how small.  Thankyou xx 


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Fighting a losing battle....

...in more ways than one.

I arrived home on Saturday evening.  On Sunday Mr A started a labouring job.  He was helping to build a wall around a mosque in a nearby village.  The man employing him said that he had lots of work lined up in the area and would pay Mr A 60 lira a day.   This is around £17 for approx. 10 hours work...do the maths...it's not much but to us it is a lifeline.

He turned up again on Monday and did another full days work.   On Tuesday he turned up but there was no sign of the man, and his phone was switched off.  No way of contacting him.  He spent yesterday trying to find out where the man lived, which he eventually did, but no sign of him there.

He then managed to find the person responsible for giving the work to the man, who it seems hasn't yet paid for any of the work carried out.  Mr A has asked this person to pay him (Mr A) direct for his two days work, which he says he will do at the end of this week.   I won't hold my breath.  Again, the same old story...working and not being paid.  In the meantime Mr A is trying to find similar work which he will do on his own.  If he does manage this, then I have said he should ask for money up front before starting work.  He is too trusting...I am most definitely not!

Most of you will know that Mr A has always worked in tourism.  This means 5 to 6 months work each year, mostly on commission, but once the season ends we have to survive the winter on my pension. 

We love our  6 dogs.  We are committed to giving them the best life possible after rescuing 4 of them from their harsh lives on the streets, and giving a loving home to our two recent additions through other rescue groups.  We live a very basic life.  We don't socialise or go out, and we are very economical as far as food is concerned.  The dogs have always been our priority, and if there is a choice between our food and their food...they win every time.

We also do as much as we can for all those strays left on the streets, both in our village and any others we come across when we are out and about.

Thanks to donations over the past couple of months we have been able to do this, but sadly, apart from a commitment from my first ever donor, who has set up a regular payment of £25 per month (Bless you....you know who you are and I won't embarrass you by mentioning your name)   the donations have dried up.   As we suspected, more dogs have turned up in the village this winter. Many have been dumped here.  Those of you living in Turkey will know this to be common practise.  If only people would just address the problem rather than passing it on to others to deal with.

I don't want to turn my back on any of the dogs that need our help, and will continue to feed as many as I can for as long as I can, but I need help.

This is unashamedly a begging letter.  If you can give just a little, it will be so much appreciated. (Just click on the Paypal button at the top of this page)

Thankyou for reading. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The things I CAN change

I think most people have come across the Serenity Prayer, the first verse of which has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous, and from which so many find comfort:

                    God grant me the serenity
                    to accept the things I cannot change;
                    courage to change the things I can;
                    and wisdom to know the difference


Even though I am not religious, these words have been in the back of my mind for years, and often pop to the forefront and ring a bell.  I found myself repeating them under my breath over the past two weeks.   Things happen that we find distressing.   We want to do something to solve the problems facing others, but sometimes we just can't and we have to accept that the only people able to do this are those who are actually experiencing them.   I know this all sounds a bit vague, but it's all about family and not something I can talk about here.

I arrived home from my trip to England last night and Mr A was waiting at the airport for me.  He is feeling much better now and pretty much recovered from his recent bout of pneumonia.  When we got to our house, I was very warmly greeted by my six lovely dogs....in fact almost knocked off my feet in their enthusiasm.  I was clearly missed by them all.
Tommy and Monty taking over the bed in my absence

I bought rope-type chewy toys for them all.  Maybe they will now leave the blankets alone!  Also chewsticks, a little fleece jumper for Tommy, more Glucosamine tablets to help with Megan and Sammy's arthritis, and a large supply of worm tablets.

I'm hoping I have enough worm tablets to dish out to the village strays as well as my own dogs, but now I'm not so sure.  Mr A has continued to feed the strays while I've been away, apart from a few days when he was feeling ill, when our neighbour Mehmet took food down to the village for them.  I'm afraid the numbers are increasing.  Even though they don't all turn up at the same time, one day last week Mr A  counted a total of 27 different dogs who are in need of food.  Some of them have since disappeared, but there are still a fair number left.

We are doing what we can, but we can't afford to help them all.  I am so grateful for the donations I have received so far, which have enabled us to feed other dogs apart from our own.   

I am feeling a little less depressed than I did a few days ago, because I have a purpose here.   This is something I am able to change,  but I need help if I am to  continue to care for these animals.  If you feel you are able to help, please go to the Paypal button at the top of my sidebar.  As always, please do not feel obliged or under any pressure to give, but rest assured every little helps.     Thankyou xxx





                   



Thursday, 9 January 2014

Responses

Thankyou to those who responded to my previous post.  I feel a post is necessary rather than little replies to your comments.

I want to tell you all how very much your words have meant to me.  It is very clear that many of you have similar experiences and this constant battle with this awful thing that controls your mind.   I don't wish it on any of you, but  I am actually glad to read that others go through the same thing. It makes me feel less alone. 

It is so reassuring to hear about how you feel and how you deal with it.
  
This has been a lifetime affliction for me and having also worked in the mental health field for years, I know the signs, the triggers and the ways in which I have to push myself through the fog.
It's much worse being here rather than at home because things that have happened since I arrived have pushed me into this nightmare and I'm finding it difficult to cope.  

No-one would know of course.  The brave face mask is on.  People think I am absolutely fine.  Oh how we become experts at hiding how much we hurt inside!

I'm looking forward to going home on Saturday to my little bit of normality.   My dogs keep me sane.  Mr A keeps me sane.  Having to nag him and worry about him makes me focus on something other than my own problems.  

I spoke to Monty and Tommy on webcam yesterday.  They both responded.  Tommy barked.  Monty tilted his head to one side, then the other, then tried to lick the screen, bumping his nose in the process.   Oh how I miss them all.

Writing all this down really helps.  Hearing all your reassuring words and your own experiences also help.  Sometimes it's easier to give comfort to others when we are feeling the same, so please, if any of you are feeling despair at any time, email me.  I am happy to listen and do what I can to help.

Thankyou again xxx

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A life sentence

I'm afraid this is one of those posts that is probably best avoided, but those of you have followed my blog for some time will know that I am prone to bouts of depression and also that writing about my feelings can often be therapeutic.

It's the hidden, silent illness, that creeps up on you often without warning. You find yourself suddenly awake in the middle of the night, sobbing uncontrollably and not understanding why.   Well of course, you kind of know the reasons why.  Circumstances, problems, all sorts of things have gradually been building up, until your head is just so full of it all.  

Then there is the guilt.   You have made mistakes in your life.  Poor decisions...or even the right decisions but at the wrong time.  You know that some of these decisions have affected others and even though much time has moved on, you still punish yourself constantly, and can't rid yourself of the feeling that everyone else's problems or behaviour must somehow be your fault.  Although there is a little glimmer of rational thought that tries to tell you that people are responsible for their own choices and behaviour.  It's not your responsibility.

Sadly the paranoia seems to take over, and rational thought slips away.  You continue to blame yourself and feel that you are worthless.  

You know this feeling won't last.  You know you've been here before so many times.  You know you will get through it eventually  but when you are in the middle of it, it's a nightmare.  And you know that it will return again at some point and you'll have to face it all over again.

I'm sure this post won't make sense to anyone who has never experienced depression.  Those who have will get it. 

Depression...it's a life sentence.

Monday, 6 January 2014

The start of a new year

Hello 2014.  I was full of hope that this year would prove to be better than last.  Early indications are that this may well not be the case.

Mr A has been poorly since I left home on the 30th December. He has seen a doctor and he has pneumonia.  I feel bad that I am not there to look after him, but he is trying to remain cheerful in spite of it, and fortunately the weather at home has been mostly good.  Sunny days, that have enabled him to sit outside and relax.  One positive that has emerged from this, is that the doctor said he must stop smoking, and he has now for 5 days.   I realise how difficult this is for him, and he must be feeling pretty ill, because normally nothing would stop his craving for cigarettes.

He has been updating me by sending me photos of the dogs, so that I won't worry about them, and these two shots show that they are quite happy.  He has given some dried food to our neighbour, who has taken it to the teahouse, to feed the street dogs, until Mr A recovers.


.

Here in England, I have enjoyed the company of my adorable grandsons.  They are boisterous and they wear me out, but I love it.

However, there are several big family problems at the moment which I couldn't even talk about on here, which frankly seem insurmountable at this point in time.  This is causing me a great deal of stress and anxiety, mostly because I doubt there will be solutions before I return home on Saturday.

Not the start to the new year that I hoped for, but fingers crossed it will get better very soon.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

What a year

2013 wasn't one of the best years for me and my family.  We've had tragic, sad and anxious times, but a few bright moments.

Back in March when I was getting ready to travel to England for Billy and Jimi's birthdays in April I had a call in the early hours of the morning.  It was my youngest brother M, telling me that my brother D's daughter's husband had collapsed suddenly and died.  He appeared to be a fit and healthy young man, so this came as a huge shock.  He and my niece had been together for some time.  They had a little boy called Matthew, the same age as Billy, and only the previous year they had travelled to Mexico, along with my brother, sister-in-law and other members of the family, to get married.

I was in England for the funeral.  Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to this very popular young man.  My niece was just 12 weeks pregnant with their much wanted second child, when her husband died.  This was just so sad.    My niece gave birth in November to another little boy, Daniel.  I saw him for the first time on New Years Eve, along with dear little Matthew, and my niece who has my utmost admiration for the way in which she has coped during this past year.

In July,my daughter had treatment at the hospital, after high-grade cancer cells were discovered during her routine smear test.  As a result of this, she will continue to have 6 monthly check-ups.  The next one is due on Monday while I am here.  If she needs more treatment I will be able to help out while she recovers.  Fingers crossed though that all will be well.  One thing that came out of this was her spreading the word about the importance of regular smear tests, particular for those in her age group, which are only given every three years.  Had she missed hers, the consquences could have been very different.

Back in February two stray dogs turned up at my gate.  I wrote about it HERE.  Things have moved on since then, as most of you know.  Those two moved in, were soon joined by two more.  We sadly lost Poppy quite recently, and we have also adopted two more dogs.  So we now have six grateful dogs and we adore them all, and thanks to donations from some very kind people we have been able to feed more dogs out on the streets too.  This we will continue to do for as long as we possibly can, finances permitting.

 I will be returning to Turkey with a batch of worm tablets for the street dogs.  I have already bought flea treatment.  When we can get near enough to them, we will administer these to make them more comfortable.  Eventually it is hoped we can also get them neutered.

That's pretty much my 2013.  There have been highs and lows, sadness and joy, and the usual frustrations and anxieties of life that we all experience.  Another year gone, and the anticipation that this new year will be a better one.

Here I am at the start of the new year, in a wet and windy England, but the company of my two adorable grandsons is bringing some much needed "sunshine" into my life.

Happy New Year everyone.  I hope 2014 brings you joy, peace and good health for you and your families.