It's a pretty gloomy month for most people. Those who celebrate Christmas are now counting the cost. People who work, who were probably paid early before Christmas, are now wishing the days away to January payday.
We get the worst of the weather here in January. We had below freezing temperatures a couple of weeks ago, and we've had a good deal of rain. And when it rains in Turkey...it buckets down.
The house is damp...very damp. We try every year to solve the problem. Sometimes it works, but more often than not, it doesn't. I'm beginning to feel that the only solution would be to knock the house down and start again, but that's unlikely to happen, unless we win the lottery.
Mr A has had no work for weeks. There is just nothing around at the moment. There are jobs in supermarkets, but they require basic qualifications...school certificates, and thanks to his father Mr A didn't finish his education so has nothing to show. The reason why he has worked in tourism for years, where bosses are happy to take on anyone and pay them commission only.
He spends most of his time at the teahouses, both in the village, Milas and local areas. This is where men wait to hear about building work. If they are lucky someone will turn up and give them work for a few days or weeks.
He has also done a fair bit of work in the garden. The dogs' areas are now separated and safe, and yesterday he replaced the pallets in the dogs' bedroom in the old house with shelf type beds on legs. We have also moved Chas and Melek's kennels into this room as they tend to sleep with the others. It was getting quite squashed, so even though these new "beds" take up less room, there is more sleeping space. The dogs love it, and because it's off the floor it makes it much easier to keep the area clean.
We continue to provide sacks of food to the man at the sanayi who is feeding around 20 dogs a day. However we are very concerned about the dogs that have recently turned up in the village. They don't come close enough to feed. We have contacted the council shelter in Milas and asked them to collect these dogs because they are not safe here. We can't get a definite agreement from them but are hoping this will happen sooner rather than later. If they don't get fed here they may move on. If they come close enough for us to feed them, they will stay, and we then put them at risk of being shot or poisoned. It's a real dilemma and we have no idea how to solve it at the moment.
Mr A's car has been exchanged for a motorbike. Those who follow my blog will know that this happens every year, when he reaches the point where a car is too expensive to maintain.
But it's not all doom and gloom. I recently had contact with an English woman, Jacky, on Facebook who is involved with the street dogs over in Tuzla. She and her husband, Jim, feed around 40 dogs a day. They have had a fair number of problems with the local council and neighbours (I'm sorry to say these neighbours are mostly foreigners) but they are very determined people and carry on regardless, doing as much as they can for the dogs. They have a good deal of support from tourists during the season, and organise such events as car boot sales to fund their work.
It transpired that they had friends living not far from us, Rita and Steve, ...also involved in the welfare of the street dogs, and last Thursday I met all four of them at Rita and Steve's house. It was a really enjoyable afternoon and we talked non-stop about dogs. Both couples donated to my fund, for which I am extremely grateful. Money is very tight at the moment, and this was most welcome.
They have a wealth of knowledge between them and some useful contacts, and are happy to give me support in the future. It's wonderful to find people to turn to for advice. It makes me feel much less isolated.
So gloomy January is almost at an end. Once we are into February I feel a little more optimistic, with Spring just around the corner.